If faith is the cornerstone of your Christian beliefs, then it follows that the other corners that “square” your religious “house” would be gratitude, compassion and works.

Today, let’s examine gratitude. What is gratitude? How do we obtain it? What rewards does it hold? Most importantly, how do we nurture it in ourselves and in our family … especially in our children?

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude is the outward manifestation of our thankfulness. It is the expression of joy for the many gifts that our Heavenly Father has bestowed. It is no secret that when one shows gratitude to God we are blessed with a grateful heart. It is this grateful heart that gives us the feeling of well being and happiness. A grateful heart is the source of all joy.

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God Philippians 4:6

How Do We Express Gratitude?

As in all things spiritual, it begins with prayer. Each prayer consists of addressing God, showing gratitude for all the many blessings that we have received and petitioning for that which we are in need of, ending with the recognition of Jesus Christ as our Savior. We then open ourselves for teaching, for it is said that no prayer goes unanswered.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachersIsaiah 30:20

What Should We Be Grateful for?

One error that many make is in the belief that we should only be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives. Whatever challenges that have been thrown our way—health, finance or personal problems—there is a reason that they have come into our lives. In many cases, they are problems that need to be solved with God’s help. Be grateful for these challenges.

Teaching Gratitude through Example

Anyone raising a family knows how careful they must be in setting good examples. Children have tendencies to copy everything we do: good and bad.

Therefore it makes good sense to be shining examples. Be consistent in your actions. Begin with your gratitude toward your children and family. Be gentle in corrections and lavish in praise of all they do. This strengthens the bond between you and your family.

Next, be in the habit of being a praying family. Pray out loud. Begin the day with family prayer. Pray at each meal. Pray during the day when opportunities arrive. Pray as a family in the evening before retiring. By doing so, you become stronger as a family unit and strengthen the bond between your family and God.

From time to time, have family discussions on what each member of the family is grateful for. Discuss problems that have arrived and how they can be solved through the Lord’s help.

A true measure of gratitude is not what we have or what we desire, but what we are truly grateful for. This is why there are people of lesser means with joyful hearts and people of material wealth who live in anguish and doubt. Be happy; be joyful; most importantly, be grateful for all that you have.

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