In The Face Of Suffering And Sadness, Remember The Power Of A Grateful Heart

In The Face Of Suffering And Sadness, Remember The Power Of A Grateful Heart

"A heart of gratitude leaves no room for complaining"
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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it would be an appropriate time to bring up what I feel a lot of us are lacking right now: gratefulness.

When life gets hard and things don't seem to be going our way, the last way we feel like acting is grateful, but maybe we're doing it all wrong.

I recently tried this new approach to taking on hard situations, one that included finding something to be grateful for even in the worst of times. Your response at this point might be, "Well, my life is falling apart. I'm failing a class, my heart just got broken, my family is a mess and my friends are no where to be found, what do I possibly have to be grateful for?" The answer to that question is a lot, you have a lot to be grateful for, no matter what your situation is.

If you're reading this article, chances are you have a functioning phone/computer and hey that's somewhere to start! You have the ability to go to your closest sink/water fountain and be provided water essentially at your fingertips, while others have to walk miles for it. You have a roof over your head and heat to keep you warm as the temperatures are dropping.

The fact of the matter is, even though you have a roof over your head, water to drink and food to eat doesn't mean you aren't suffering. But my point is, when we begin to think of how blessed we are and change our hearts to be grateful hearts, we find pain and suffering a lot more bearable, which is exactly what I experienced when I tried this approach. There was a lot less room for the enemy's input, and a lot more room for God to fill my heart. I was reminded that God is the giver of all gifts. I allowed more room for continuous blessings.

We are daughters and sons of King, the ever present and all providing God.

He has blessed you beyond measure with talents, gifts, love and tangible objects. Even when you are at your lowest of lows, it is important to remain grateful, thanking God for all He has provided you. When we dwell on that in which we can't control, we tell God that He hasn't provided us with what we need, and the truth is, He has, for all that we have has been graciously given to us by Him.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

My challenge to you would be, in the times where you feel you are suffering of faced with a lot of sadness, make a list of all you are grateful for. These things can be as small or as huge, intangible or tangible as you wish, just choose to be grateful for something. There is so much power in a thankful heart. Power to change your outlook on a situation, thus changing the ultimate outcome of the situation. When you feel that your heart is straying away from gratefulness, pray that God would open your eyes to all that He has provided and blessed you with.

“O Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Psalm 95:1-3
Cover Image Credit: 7 Themes

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Experiencing God Outside Of Church

(Part 1): A theological perspective explaining how it is possible for one can to experience God outside of the church.

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"Can one truly experience God outside of the Church?", Michael in his dorm room stared at this essay prompt for a while, with the cursor on the computer blinking at least 1,000 times before he started to write his first sentence. "No, one cannot truly experience God outside of the Church because", yet stopped writing there. He could not for some reason answer this question, and became extremely frustrated, as it was a Sunday, and planned on going out with his friends later that night. After 2 hours of staring at a blank computer screen with the same sentence, he walked away from his desk with frustration and decided to go for a run. "I need to get my mind off of this," he thought to himself, yet was still stressed about the 5-page essay, especially since it was due that Monday.

One of the first things Michael noticed as he walked outside was the bright sun, and how the radiant warmth from it hugged his body. He felt this feeling for 15 minutes as he made his way to Central Park, and began to run his usual running trail.

A couple of minutes into his long run, he began to notice a sort of haze covering the sun, making the center of the sun appear to be a tanned ivory color. And seeing this, he became instantly distracted from the stress of the essay and was really captivated by the site of this. And what was odd about this entire situation was that Michael himself had never been that interested in nature, and would rather spend his entire day walk down 5th ave than spend it exploring a park. And as he continued to be pulled into this vision in the sky, his migraine slowly faded, and all of the thoughts he had over his essay, other homework, lack of sleep, and low supply on money began to disappear, and a flood of calmness came over him. And in this calmness, he had no thoughts and no distractions, simply the trail ahead of him that he was running.

Michael himself struggled with his given essay prompt because of his spotty religious background. Raised Christian, he was familiar already with all of the religious teachings and accustomed to attending Sunday services. However, like many people, he fell out of his faith in his teens and started to stop attending church. And up until now, he struggled with thoughts with and questioned even the existence of God himself; "Why would God allow such terrible things as genocides and mass murders happen in the world?" he thought. And because of his strong doubts in God, he struggled to answer his essay prompt.

However, these thoughts and doubts of God ceased to exist as Michael continued his 6-mile run around Central Park until he reached the end. And shortly after stopping, he realized not only was he not out of breath, but also that he in a way found his happiness in the run. In that, he not only experienced peace and calmness while running the 6 miles, but also at the same time felt very content. And noticing this, he started to walk out of the park and back into the busy streets.

When he was about to cross the first street with one foot on the dry black tar, a strong hand on his arm pulled him back, causing him to narrowly miss being hit by the oncoming bus. And when he turned around, he saw a priest still holding his arm. Michael was about to thank the priest for this heroic action, but the priest already started to walk away and disappeared into the crowd.

Experiencing what just happened, Michael was in utter shock and instinctively looked at the sky for guidance. And when he did this, the fog-like haze had disappeared, and the center of the sun returned to a bright yellow again. Michael at that moment then realized what he was going to write about in his essay, and rushed back to his dorm.

"Yes, one can truly experience God outside of Church, because … "

For Further Reading:

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