“What is the secret to happiness?” is a frequently asked question. One needs to go no further than the Bible to find the answer. Simply having an attitude of gratitude results in having a merry heart.
Are you tired of the negativity and pessimism that seems to permeate our world today?
If so, you’re not alone. But what if there was a way to cultivate a positive mindset and find joy even in the midst of challenging times?
In this attitude of gratitude Bible lesson you can learn how you can acquire a merry heart.
Drawing wisdom from King Solomon and the teachings of the Bible, we will discover the transformative effects of gratitude on our lives. Join us as we uncover the keys to living with a grateful heart and embracing the beauty of each day.
How Do Adults Think Our Youth See Our World Today?
“Today’s youth have no imagination or creativity. All they do is play on their cell phones,” complained John at our family gathering. “Yes,” agreed Ruth, his cousin. “They want everything and couldn’t agree more,” added Uncle Ben. “I’m glad I’m old and won’t be here to see what a mess the country will be in when they take over. Today’s politicians are bad enough, I can’t imagine….”
The Good Old Days
No doubt we have all been part of this kind of “the world is going to hell in a handbasket; I miss the good old days” conversation. They take place at work, gathering with friends, and in Sunday School. Everyone tries to outdo others with negative insights about corporate greed, dishonest politicians, immoral, anti-Christian popular culture, etc.
We compare our present world to some idealized “Good Old Days” we grew up in and our parents grew in.
What if we really are living amongst a perverted and evil generation? Should we strive to be like the Pollyanna little girl in Robert Browning’s poem who proclaimed, “God’s in His Heaven and all is right with the world.”
The answer is that it is not an either-or choice to dwell on the negative or to ignore the negative in this fallen world. What is wrong with the former is that it turns un into “fault-finding, sourball grumps.”
Attitude of Gratitude Bible Lesson in King Solomon’s God-Given Wisdom
Here is your Attitude of Gratitude Bible Lesson. No mortal person was given more wisdom by God than King Solomon. He wrote in Proverbs:
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Dwelling on the negative and constant fault-finding results in heaving a negative and fault-finding spirit. The result is not becoming the Christian witness God attends us to be.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23.
OK, So How In Our Fallen, Wicked World Do We Acquire a Merry Heart?
God, in His word, tells how. Yes, it is true that all we must do is channel surf on TV and see how far our popular culture is from Judaic Christian values. All we must do is follow the news to know how embattled Christians are. Major TV shows today, such as “Family Guy,” openly ridicule our Savior, showing Him as a drunken womanizer. In Muslim countries, one cannot proclaim the Gospel without risking imprisonment and torture.
However, we must always remember that God told Judah in II Chronicles 20:15, which also pertains to Christians today.
“And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” II Chronicles 20:15
How Does One Get a Merry Heart?
One cannot have a merry heart without an attitude of gratitude. Modern psychology has rediscovered this truth that the Bible has taught for three thousand years. Psalms 103:2 says:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits” Psalms 103:2
The Psalmist goes on to describe God’s benefits. Psalms 118:24 instructs us always to remember,
“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24
Ephesians 5:20 instructs us:
“giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ephesians 5:20
Paul says again in I Thessalonians 5:18:
“in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18
But how do we apply these words during our day? James, the half-brother of our Lord, reminds us in his letter 1:17,
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
There Were No “Good Old Days.”
The more I learn about life in the past, the more grateful I am to God for living in the present. Throughout most of history, most children born died before reaching adulthood.
Living in medieval England was hardly as romantic and adventurous as it is shown in Robin Hood movies. The life expectancy was thirty. Rats, fleas, and cockroaches were everywhere. Recorded music was nonexistent, as was running water.
Hollywood portrays an idealized, sanitized past we wish we lived in. I grew up watching “Rawhide” in the early 1960s. Every Friday evening, the 1870 cattle drive crew had another adventure. Beautiful women were rescued, bandits were apprehended, and treasure was found. No one got sick, the food was great, and everyone was treated fairly. A friendly, clean Western town greeted the cowboys at the end of the trail. All the crew enjoyed themselves so much that they made a career of driving cattle.
Like many of my contemporaries, I wished God had deposited me in the “good old days” to ride the range with my buddies. Instead, I was stuck in school and had mundane jobs like mowing the lawn and delivering papers. Weekend scout camping trips were as close to nature as we got.
As an adult, I learned what a grind being part of some cattle drive really was like. One spent from sunup to sundown in the saddle, breathing in dust. Lunch was beans, hard tack, and coffee. Flies pestered you, as did fleas. There was no change of clothes; one could go between bathing and watering holes for a week or two.
When most cattle crew members finished the drive, they did not head to the bar to be pursued by beautiful women. They headed to a hotel for a hot bath and a square meal. Then they bought new clothes and half their money was gone.
Unlike the Hollywood Western, no one made a career as a cattle driver. Most of them quit after one or two drives, believing there must be a better way to make a living.
I bet that the “good old days” cattle drivers would be jealous of today’s long-distance truckers with their access to music, air-conditioned cabs, and truck stops. Reminding ourselves of this will help instill an attitude of gratitude for living in the present.
Our Memories of Living In the 1950s
This writer has vivid memories of living in the now-idealized 1950s. Breast cancer was a death sentence for women. Domestic violence was not taken seriously, and numerous autistic children were written off as uneducable “retards”. Secondhand cigarette smoke was everywhere: in buses, movie theaters, offices, and restaurants. It was even in doctor’s offices created by the doctor.
How is Living Today Different?
Even if we still believe we missed living in a better age, we can give praise to God for living in the United States. If one thinks our government is intrusive, try living in a Muslim country, China, Cuba, or Russia.
Here, we are free to criticize our public officials, vote, hunt, and fish on public lands. In America, women are not forced to wear a Barca. We are not arrested for preaching the Gospel, and we can go to the church of our choice.
If we do not like one newspaper or TV station, we can choose from dozens of others. In Muslim countries, one cannot ever own a dog as they are considered “unclean.” I thank God daily for living in the land of the free.
A Life After Death
Some readers of my blog have chronic pain or may even be terminally ill. If this describes you, what can you praise God for? Paul gives us an answer in I Corinthians 2:9,
“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9
All who love God can look forward to living with Him in a world with no pain.
Christian Themed Children’s Books
Do you have a child or grandchild that enjoys reading?
Leland has many Christian-themed children’s books that spark imagination and intrigue with sometimes rhyming storytelling. Here are two that have Christian-based values.
Join Toby, a faithful lighthouse keeper, as he navigates the challenges of his important role while finding companionship in his loyal dog, Buddy, and an adorable kitten named Mittens.