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Developing Habitual Gratitude

The Coronavirus Pandemic has impacted so many facets of life in such a relatively short period of time. Besides the natural fear associated with a virus that can kill you, our work, finances, routines, social interactions and normal schedules have been and are being profoundly impacted. I don’t know about you, but I for one - like a predictable schedule. When sudden and profound change is forced upon me, I don’t like it. In fact, I find myself wanting a break.

One of the ways I find myself escaping is to turn to my phone to check the latest news or to be distracted or entertained. Smart phones are designed to keep you engaged. Maybe you reach for your phone to check e-mail or texts and while you are there, check Facebook as well. One article I read states that on average, we check our phones once every 6 ½ minutes. Why so often?

For some of us it is just a habit. For others it is a reflection of the desire to escape our current circumstances. I have a better option to offer.

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11)

Notice, how the writer of scripture included the little word “continually.” Unlike the habitual checking of our phone, constantly reminding ourselves of God’s presence, power, and goodness in our lives brings contentment and peace. One of my mom’s favorite verses was Isaiah 26:3.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (Isaiah 26:3)

Or as the Apostle Paul encourages us to do in Thessalonians chapter five.

“Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

Paul is encouraging us to develop “habitual gratitude” and Habitual prayer. I don’t know about you, but that means that I need to make prayer and praise more of a reflex in my life. Kind of like checking my phone. One thing that helps me is to set reminders on my phone. I have a couple, but probably need more. Another thing I have started doing when I check Facebook, is to pray for the friends whose posts I read. Doing this helps in a couple of ways. First, it snaps me out of mindlessly scrolling. Second, it reminds me that God has called me to something more than self-absorption and entertainment, but to love him and be a blessing to others.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Chuck

Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church

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