The Altitude of Gratitude
Have you noticed that in the last couple of years people tend to be more agitated and grumpier than before? Stress levels have increased almost every year in the last 30 years. Some studies indicate that stress is up by over 30%. Stress is a major contributor to our mood, our responsiveness, our ability to interact with people, and our emotional intelligence. Stress can also have physical implications too, which can further cause us to be more agitated or grumpy.
The other day I was pulling out of a parking spot and the car behind me was waiting patiently. Another car comes down that row and swerves around both of us, yelling and almost caused an accident. I'll be honest I really wanted to yell back, but I let it go. Later that day, while I was getting coffee, there was a customer behind me who appeared agitated and soon began to make loud comments to the barista.
Perhaps these scenes feel familiar to you, or perhaps it's a neighbor or family member who seems to be ticked off at the smallest infraction. Do you know someone who always seems annoyed or negative or angry at the world? Does it seem impossible to change their attitude or perhaps your attitude?
John 14:15-16 "If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever."
The Bible says that God will send me an advocate, The Holy Spirit, to be with us and guide us. I find that when I submit myself, my feelings, and my life to God that He elevates my level of gratitude. The Holy Spirit gives me a change of perspective and allows me to respond more positively.
It is kind of like hiking. At the base of the mountain, the trail seems so daunting. How am I ever going to make it pass this obstacle, uggh Why did I choose to do this? But at the peak of the mountain, one's perspective changes and you get to admire the beauty of all that transpired. This month we are talking about raising the Altitude of Gratitude in our relationship with God, Our Friends/Family, and the World. Join us as we learn about how God can help you cultivate a grateful heart.
By Pastor Alex Hardt
November Sermon Series
Week 1 - Elevating Your Relationship With God
Main: John 14:15-21
Memory: John 14:21
Week 2 - Climbing the Relationship Mountain
Main: Philippians 2:1-5
Memory: Philippians 2:3-4
Week 3 - Clicked Into Others
Main: Ezekiel 33:2-7
Memory: Proverbs 14:25
Week 4- A Valley of Thanks
Main: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18
Memory: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Why Joy Matters?
September 19, 2022 following Alex Hardt’s sermon of September 18.
Pastor Alex used Psalm 128 as the basis of his sermon on finding joy in our lives. Psalm 128:1 was also our memory verse for the week. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.” As I reflected on his words of how joy points us towards what God has done for us, in us and through us, a sense of gratitude permeated my very being. When I consider the God of the universe, working on my behalf and doing things through my life, it is very humbling and creates joy within my soul. The question is, do you let that joy filled attitude translate into joy in your life?
As I was thinking about this I looked up the word joy. It is mentioned repeatedly in scripture and is found in 42 of the 66 books of the Bible. There are 242 verses about joy or where joy is mentioned. Why is that? Why is joy such a prevalent theme in the Bible? Pastor Alex had it right when he said that joy matters because it reflects our state of mind and being in relation to God. Joy is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit within us in Galatians 5:22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” Since joy is the work of God’s Spirit within us, we should acknowledge that and let His Spirit shine out through our life. Alex’s gave us a good example of his friend that was Happy, Happy and bubbled over with joy. When he was with him, it was like he was feeling Jesus right in their midst. That is what His joy does to our Spirit. If you are not joyful, spend some time in prayer asking God, Am I letting the worries and cares of this world, the sadness in my life and circumstances overwhelm me? Seek to put those aside and focus on the joy you have in the Lord. Seek to renew your spirit from within. Guaranteed, those old worries will fade into the background and you will see the joy of the Lord.
Here are a few joy verses to help restore your joy perspective:
Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Being cared for by God brings joy to your soul.
Isaiah 51:11 “Those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” God’s joy in our life is eternal. It starts when we receive Jesus as our Savior and will be with us throughout eternity. Praise God!
John 15:11 “ I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”. The joy we have and experience in Jesus is complete joy. It will fill us and sustain us in the best and the darkest of times. His joy overcomes adversity!
Acts 14:17 “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” We are assured that living in this world God has provided us with glimpses of His joy. We may see it in a beautiful sunset, a green valley or the ocean’s waves but it is all around us testifying to God’s love for us and His joy.
May you find joy in your life that nourishes your soul, is your source of strength, is complete in Jesus, eternal and tangible in your world today. Ask God to open your eyes so that you can see His joy and rejoice in Him.
Hope Unites | Why Joy Matters
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Sermon series, "Hope Unites." Today Alex Hardt teaches from Psalm 128
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