From an early age we learn about cause and effect. Universal lessons like, “For every action there is a reaction”, and “if you punch your sister she will cry and then tell on you” are among our first experiences. And for some things, it is easy to tell what is a cause and what is an effect. But, is it easy for everything?
What about gratitude?
Is gratitude something you have, that causes something else to happen; or is it the effect of some circumstance - like an unexpected gift?
In my head, I am settled that gratitude is a cause. It comes first, it is a choice; but when I look at my life, it is clear that often, my behavior would suggest that I believe gratitude only to be applicable when my circumstances are positive. I live as though it is a result or an effect of something else, something that I have no choice over.
It is in this behavior that I am struck with the fact that I miss so much simply because I don't choose gratitude first. I choose to focus on scarcity, not on the abundance that I have in Christ. I choose to think about the challenge of what I don’t have, instead of the great riches I do have because the Father loves me.
It is an audacious command for Paul to tell us in 1 Thessalonians to “...Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Because to rejoice always and to pray always and to give thanks always requires us to see rejoicing and gratitude as something we have control over; a choice.
A choice that is not connected to circumstance, jealousy, opinion or the feeling of being victims to our surroundings.
As we start the holiday season, our choice to be grateful will be pressed over and over again. We’ll be tempted to think about what we don’t have, how we aren’t good enough, and how difficult things are. Even in our shortcomings, we have a choice to allow Him to make our weakness strong. This isn’t a choice we make once, but one that we constantly make.
So, let us go in to this season focused on the abundance we have in Christ, and let’s make gratitude the cause that God uses in our lives to transform us.
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The One to One Soul Care Conference will be held at MCC November 9-10. Are you interested in biblical counseling? Do you feel you want some training on how to walk with a brother or sister in their dark seasons? Please join us! Click here to register at or contact Elizabeth for more information.
Please note - the Sponsorship Training for the Wood Ministry will be rescheduled for a later date. Please contact Don & Ann Moore with questions.
Pull out your mixers and aprons! SHINE is looking for people who can donate cakes, or other desserts, for A. Montoya’s Fall Festival! Cakes can be dropped off at the church foyer Friday, October 26 between 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Questions? Click here to sign up to bring a cake!MCC is gearing up for the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Shoebox drive! The mission of OCC is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Last year MCC collected 230 shoe boxes to be gifted to children around the world! Boxes will be available this Sunday, October 21st, in the foyer and the final drop-off date is November 11th! It is a great time to start gathering items to bless children around the world!
Shine also has a unique food pantry at A. Montoya! Kids often go to bed without dinner, come to school too late for breakfast, and aren't sure if there will be dinner that night. We have been asked to create a small food pantry at the school that would contain items like tuna packets, apples, macaroni and cheese, Ensure or Boost, peanut butter crackers, nuts, and the like. The children could keep these items in their backpacks so that they would always have something to keep them going. We are working on putting together a list of items, including gluten-free ones, that we would like to stock the pantry with. Please pray about whether you would like to donate items or money to help keep the pantry stocked year-round!