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Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

As I read Paul's exhortation to the Thessalonians, I'm reminded to pause and count my blessings. Memorizing these passages allows me to recall them anytime and anywhere, and it has benefited me through challenging times. When I was unemployed for several months, prayer and thanksgiving helped me maintain a positive outlook until I found work. When my parents passed away, prayer and gratitude kept me grounded and helped me through the grieving process.

In hard times, gratitude doesn't come naturally, but it can be developed. With each new day, you can make the choice to be thankful. Choosing to be thankful can transform your life. The problem that once drove you to despair takes its rightful place behind your blessings. Counting your blessings can help you stop and take notice of what you do have. Praise and thanksgiving shift your attention away from yourself and onto God, who gives you the strength to endure your trials.

When life is hard, be thankful that Jesus will be with you through every trial you face. Be thankful for God's strength that brought you through the day and will bring you through tomorrow. Be thankful that God is sovereign and in control and can bring good out of any circumstance. Praise your Lord Jesus Christ for giving you the precious gift of eternal life. Jesus is worthy of praise in both good times and bad.

Heavenly Father, thank You for all of my blessings. You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You for Jesus, the greatest gift of all. In Jesus' name. Amen.

SUSAN FERGUSON

Susan Ferguson is a freelance writer who lives in Madison, Mississippi with her husband. She is an accountant by profession and works during the day and writes at night. She is a member of Faithwriters and participates in their daily devotional. She likes to read, travel, and cook for family and friends.