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Give thanks to the Lord

Nana Molly on her 90th Birthday with our Christi

I have been doing my best to start each day by reading the Bible. Not true. I make coffee first, take it back into bed, and open the email from that takes me to that day’s reading. Ryan and I are reading through the Bible in one year, and I am in the midst of the Psalms and loving them.

I keep a journal on my computer. Each day I open a new word doc, paste that day’s reading in (Psalm 106 and 107 today), and save the doc by date in my journal folder. Next, I note 3 things I am thankful to God for, and then begin reading, copying and pasting meaningful verses into my word doc, and making various notes. I love this routine. I love filling my mind with God’s Word first, before everyone else’s. And I love being grateful, not just in general, but specifically to Him.

Today I was urged to:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

In both Psalm 106:1 and again in Psalm 107:1:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

If we give thanks for 3 things per day, that amounts to 1095 thankful declarations per year. Being grateful increases many of our beneficial hormones, especially oxytocin, the glue that holds our relationships together. Gratitude increases blood flow and activity in the hypothalamus, the master gland that controls these and other hormones. It also increases the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, responsible for pleasure and calmness, among many other things. Being grateful has been shown to result in improved sleep, more frequent exercise, and stronger cardiovascular and immune systems.

I am always amazed at how many things that studies are proving are good for us, originated in the Bible. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers greatly influenced my love for God and His Word. My Nana always sat with my sisters and me, tucked up in bed, and had us read Psalms aloud when we visited in Huntsville. She taught us to open our Bibles to the middle, and there we were, in the Book of Psalms. I generally chose the longest one I could find to read so that I could stay up later. Little did I know that she was immersing us in one of God’s great principles for living: being thankful. And more than just being thankful, being thankful to Him.

And holding our Ryan Michael Harrison

Aha! It is not enough simply to be thankful. We must express that gratitude to someone. Dr. Robert Emmons explains that to fully experience the feeling of gratitude, we must go through two stages:

  1. "First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that all in all, life is good, and has elements that make worth living, and rich in texture. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.

  1. Second, gratitude is recognizing that some of the sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to other people, to animals, and to the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it, ie., who made sacrifices so that we could be happy?"

The Bible tells us, and I wholeheartedly believe, that God is the source of all goodness in our lives, indeed all goodness, period. When we take the time to acknowledge goodness, and then thank God for providing it, the blessings are infinite. Science has begun to discover and report on a few of them. God knows them all, and wants them all for us. After all, His love endures forever.

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