A new “Endurance” record was set when 15 of Harrisburg’s finest showed up in the Labor Day Holiday gloom to hear a lesson of being “grateful/thankful” for what we have rather than focusing on the negative. YHC was truly grateful that so many showed up for his virgin Endurance Q, hope I didn’t disappoint.
It went something like this……
YHC passed out copies of paper with a Black dot in the center. What did everyone see/notice? That YHC had a bad printer? The paper had an imperfection? A period had gone astray? We all noticed the black dot but few us noticed that we still had a perfectly good piece of paper at hand. And for those that were keenly astute, a perfectly good writing utensil too!
Often times when we look at our life we only see the black dot. The bad things. The negative and we tend to focus on them. We get so consumed with the bad going on that we don’t take the time to look at the good things God has done. We don’t count our blessings enough. YHC made everyone write a list of “bad things” that happened to them within the last 30 days on the bottom half of the paper and then a list of blessings/something to be thankful for on the top half. All had more blessings listed than negative items. We went around the table and shared some of the bad vs. good.
The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8 to think about the good and positive things in our lives, not the bad things. Did you know that God can even make the things that seem bad work out for the good? He says so right in Romans 8:28. He says he will work everything together for the good for those that love him. Do you love him?
Jehoshaphat did! (2 Chronicles 17:1-6) Who was he? He was a King that followed God and not other idols/Gods, he had great wealth and honor and was in Gods good grace. One day he noticed that there were enemy armies coming towards his Kingdom. Jehoshaphat was alarmed and frightened. Instead of freaking out and running away he fasted, asked God for forgiveness and thanked him (2 Chronicles 20:3-4). He raised his voice to God and said, “We do not know what to do but our eyes are on You!” (2 Chronicles 20:12).
Being thankful and grateful for what God had given him allowed God to respond saying (paraphrasing), “Don’t be afraid or discouraged as you will not have to fight this battle, God will. March against the people and then watch what God will do! God will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17). In a nutshell, God helped Jehoshaphat trick the enemy armies into turning onto each other and in turn killing each other, no enemy escaped, no enemy left alive. No one in Jehoshaphat’s army or Kingdom was injured, killed or had to fight! Jehoshaphat gave his problem up to God and God protected him – there is no problem too big for God to overcome….when you allow him to help you.
What kind of problems do you have in your life right now? Problems at home? Work? School? Family? Over money and finances? Maybe you are not sure how God will take care of your family and you’re worried about it. Maybe someone you love has passed away and it keeps making you feel really sad. You know, life can be full of hard times but God does not want us to go through these hard times alone. He can help you fight problems that seem bigger than you, all you have to do is….ask.
Hopefully the lesson you took away today was that by looking at the the positive things in life (thankfulness and gratefulness) and turning your troubles over to God when the bad times are around will ultimately result in God opening doors to help you work through your problems in ways you might have never thought possible before.
Lastly, YHC passed around a handout titled “Gratitude Kills Depression” by Josh hunt. In this article the author talks about a study presented at the annual American Psychological Association meeting in 2011 where they tried to answer the question, What makes people happy? The conclusion, Being GRATEFUL for the good things you have in your life! Here are five things you can do to live a more vital and satisfying life:
- Count your blessings daily – list 5 a day
- Keep a “Gratitude Journal”
- Say Grace before meals
- Send “Thank you Notes” – handwritten are the best!
- Just say “thank you” – small gestures of kindness
Let me end by saying “thank you and I am grateful” to all who came out this morning and for allowing me to be part of such an extraordinary group. Aye!