At the start of a New Year, says Philip Alley, our focus is usually forward – what we plan to do and look forward to. However if we would look back, and recognise God’s faithfulness and His workings in our lives, we would find cause for gratitude. Philip speaks of three levels of gratitude: Provision, Presence and Purpose. The first, Provision, Philip likens to a child in a high chair, learning to say thanks for what is given to him. The second, Presence, is the banqueting table where we are able to return thanks to God for all things. “It is well with my soul”. Then at the third level, Purpose, Philip draws a parallel with prison food. We give thanks and express gratitude because of the goodness of God, including gratitude for those things that don’t seem particularly palatable to us. Sometimes, says Philip, God is trying to bring something good out of us, but we are too busy complaining about the “ingredients” of God’s plan to recognise His hand in the whole. Philip closes the message with encouragement to become a people who give thanks for everything.
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