I have started to keep a gratitude journal, noting five things a day I am grateful for. Like the hawk I saw float over the fields of Garsington. My pink rose bush in prolific blossom.
And the very fact of slowing down and giving thanks, even, especially, when I am stressed or sad, does induce what Michael Hyatt calls “a change of state.”
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I picked up Selwyn Hughes, The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success from one of George Verwer of Operation Mobilization’s “Take what you want; Give what you want” book tables, which generally have excellent books.
The rest of this post consists of notes I’ve speed-typed from Hughes’ excellent chapter, “Counting Blessings.”
“Thou hast given so much to me
Give me one thing more
A grateful heart.” George Herbert
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Sir John Templeton, financier and philanthropist who gives away millions of dollars every year says that when he awakes, he lies quietly on his bed, and thinks of five new ways in which he has been blessed. He believes is this one of the chief reasons why peace and contentment flood his life.
John Templeton–For every problem people have, there are at least 10 blessings.
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Charles Spurgeon–”It is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of His ancient saints and to observe his goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping his covenant with them. But would it not be more interesting and profitable for us to notice the hand of God in our own lives?”
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“Count your blessings.” Impossible advice. Our arithmetic is not good enough.
When we exhort our soul to praise the Lord, our emotions follow. A law of the personality and of life: what we think about will soon affect the way we feel. Rational Emotive Therapy is based on this idea–“Change your thinking, and you change your feelings, and the next consequence is a change in behaviour.”
We would be much calmer and more confident in the presence of new troubles if we remembered vividly the old deliverances; if we had kept them fresh in mind, and been able to say, “The God who delivered me then will not desert me now.”
“His love in times past forbids me to think,
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink.”
Auden–“Let your last thinks be all thanks.”
William Law, “If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all perfection and happiness, he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that, whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing.”
In everything give thanks–for everything works out for good. “God can take the worst thing that has happened to you, and turn it into the best thing that has ever happened to you.”
The risen Christ is the greatest reminder that even the evil of the cross can be transformed into a new and exalted life.
It is a law of the soul that the more we focus on what we have rather than what we don’t, the more the soul begins to thrive.