Paul said, "i beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1). What changed when I presented myself to God as a living sacrifice? What rights and
expectations are possessed by a sacrifice? As a sacrifice, do I have a right to get angry because everything is not going my way? May I get jealous because others have more?
We Must Renew Our Minds "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:2). Our beliefs changed when we presented ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Our focus changed from our will to His. To be renewed is to be transformed. Our expectations will change when our beliefs change: then our attitudes, emotions, and actions also will change. We Must see The Truth Romans 12 continues, 'For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think: but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (vs. 3).The truth is that we are needy and God is generous. We can do nothing without Him, but He can do anything through us. When we understand this, our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and praise to Him. We then reap contentment which is the harvest of thanksgiving. Gratitude Brings Benefits An attitude of gratitude cultivates physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits. Our relationship with God deepens. As our spirits go up, our stress rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels go down. We con make the choice to rejoice, or choose to lose. We Must Cultivate a Grateful Heart Begin to focus on His capabilities and praising Him instead of focusing on your needs and whinnying to Him. I ask God to remind me when I murmur and complain. He has been faithful; and I have been amazed at how often my thoughts, attitudes, and words dwell on the negative. I started meditating on God's attitude and found that His resources are unlimited. I memorized these words and measured my thoughts against them: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8).
We con pass the art of thanksgiving to the next generation by doing the following:
1. Model it. We can thank God for things we take for granted-beautiful sunsets, safety on the road, warm houses, hearing-the list is endless.
2. Make it a priority. Print Bible verses, poems, or just items worthy of those at thanksgiving on pieces of paper. Ask those at your dining table to share them and add something of their own if they wish. When you tuck your children into their beds, count your blessing together.
3. Mail notes of thanks. Send at least one note a week to thank someone. I love to begin notes with 'I thank my God upon every remembrance of you' (Phil. l :3).
4. Minister to others, Visit people in nursing homes and hospitals. Clean out a closet or toy box and take