Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Scripture and tips to help you accentuate the positive in your life.

By Norman Vincent Peale

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“Give thanks unto the Lord,” Psalm 107 admonishes us, “for He is good; His love endures forever” (verse 1). If you want to feel better physically, if you want a better outlook on life, remember that verse.

Every morning when you get up, instead of fretting and complaining, instead of turning to the media to see how bad everything is, just go and look out of the window. Take a deep breath and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” It makes you feel better just to think of doing that, doesn't it? How much better it will make you feel if you follow that practice every day!

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The art of thanksgiving is one of the most important skills a human being can develop. Sadly, I believe most of us are somewhat lacking in this area. But very closely related to thanksgiving is the art of appreciation. And if we develop the ability to appreciate, we also develop our capacity to be thankful.

Begin with acknowledging the small wonders of life, those little things like hot coffee or the smell of a rose, fresh sheets or bread warm from the oven. It is God’s will that we “give thanks in everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). All of us have simple, beautiful things that Almighty God has given us, which we can appreciate. Open your eyes and see that God “does wonderful things without number” (Job 5:9). Every day!

There’s another reason to be thankful for our blessings: Gratitude activates the flow of even more blessings in our life. And by the same token, ingratitude, fear, or doubt has the opposite effect. If you hold a thought—positive or negative—you create a soil that is hospitable to the germination of the fact for which the thought is the symbol. And the seed you plant, whether good or bad, “produces a crop yielding a hundred…times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23).

So don't entertain negative thoughts. Fight them, with God's help. Keep them out of your mind.

One important way to do that is not to articulate, not to express such thoughts in words. Cut off the articulation and you reduce half their strength. It will then be easier to cut them off mentally. You have to practice this. And in this practicing, visualization is helpful. Each day, pray with the Psalmist, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

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We used to sing an old hymn with this refrain:

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

How long has it been since you have counted up your blessings? When you invite a person to recount his troubles, you are likely to find he can do so all too readily. But if you can get somebody to enumerate his blessings to you, and you look at his face as he does it, you see somebody who really has light in his heart.

Let the light of gratitude shine in your life!