Joy and Thanksgiving – Gratitude Scripture Chain

Today, we are studying a scripture chain on Gratitude. I wish I could say that there was more of a “theme” to these scriptures, but mostly the theme is: Gratitude Scriptures I Like. That being said, I think that there are definitely themes and things to learn with this series of scriptures.

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” – Alma 37:37

I love this scripture because it makes prayer seem so personal. We need to counsel with the Lord. We need to discuss our ideas with him, share our dreams with him, and also let him have a part of our plans and daily lives. If we counsel with Him, then He will advise us. Pretty awesome.

Oh yeah, and we need to be grateful – this scripture gives us good advice on what gratitude is: a heart full of thanks.

A grateful heart is an important part of counseling with the Lord. Here’s the thing…In Alma 37:37, we are taught to counsel with the Lord. And we are also taught in Jacob “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.” – Jacob 4:10 There is a difference – between counseling with the Lord and telling Him what to do. I have a tendency to “tell the Lord what to do.” I mean, I just ask for blessings and kind of leave it at that. Counseling with the Lord implies a conversation. We discuss with the Lord what we’re thinking, desiring, and doing. Yet, with the attitude of a grateful heart, we also allow Him to speak, and that is how we will get the guidance we need.

“And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with.” – Doctrine and Covenants 46:32

We must give thanks to God for all of the blessings we receive. This section is specifically speaking giving thanks when we are blessed with gifts of the Spirit. I think that this commandment is not limited to such blessings. We need to give thanks for every blessing we receive from the Lord.

One thing that is difficult for me is to be grateful for all of the ways that Heavenly Father blesses me – especially when these blessings come in the form of trials. I don’t think that we are expected to be all “jumpy” and “happy” when enduring trials, but we are expected to look to the Lord with cheer, hope, and gratitude.

“Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” – Psalms 97:12

I like this scripture because it brings up two different but related concepts: joy and thanksgiving. I feel like the concepts of rejoicing and thanksgiving are more closely related than I’ve ever really recognize before. As we rejoice in the Lord and in His holiness, we really recognize our need for Him. Rejoicing in the Lord, finding Joy in His blessings, humbles us. And, as we rejoice in Him and find joy in our lives, we become more grateful.

But I don’t think that joy necessarily comes first. It almost seems like joy and thanksgiving are companions. Because as we fill our hearts with gratitude, joy comes along. The joy leads to greater gratitude, which leads to greater joy.

I’ve noticed something about the gospel: it is an upward cycle.

Oh, and before I move to the next scripture, again, I’m thinking about Joy and Gratitude within the context of our trials. I think that the end of this verse helps us understand how this is possible: “give thanks at the remembrance of His Holiness.” Often, when we go through trials, we have intimate experiences with the Lord and His atonement. We have personal, deep experiences with His Holiness. Even though our trials are difficult, when we experience His Holiness and atonement so personally, our gratitude and joy grow.

“I, the Lord, am willing, if any among you desire to ride upon horses, or upon mules, or in chariots, he shall receive this blessing, if he receive it from the hand of the Lord, with a thankful heart in all things.” – Doctrine and Covenants 62:7

I like this verse because it teaches us more about the nature of God. He is willing to bless us in any way that is within His will or power. We simply need to receive such blessings with a thankful heart.

He loves us so much.

“And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” – Doctrine and Covenants 78:19

Again, I’m struck by the word all in this verse. There is no caveat that we are to be grateful only for the things that seem to be positive or favorable. We need to be grateful for all.

When we are grateful for all, then we’re made glorious.

I think that this is because when we are grateful – even for our adversities – we manage them better. We let the Lord work miracles in our lives. And ultimately, the miracle He works is our perfection. (pretty glorious if you ask me…)

Gratitude is essential in our progression. As we live gratefully, we receive more blessings from Heavenly Father – including the instruction and Spiritual gifts that we need to be like Him. As we become more like Heavenly Father – we come closer to His nature…and His nature is happiness. So, gratitude leads to happiness.

Pretty cool. 🙂

***
For tomorrow’s assignment, please read The Divine Gift of Gratitude. As you read, mark anything that stands out to you. Write a few notes on why these things made an impression. Take a minute to really learn from the Spirit.

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