Gratitude – How to be Thankful in the Tough Times

Gratitude - How to be Thankful in the Tough Times



Philippians 4:4-8 NKJV

(4) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

(5) Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

(6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,

with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

(7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,

will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

(8) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—

meditate on these things.




Philippians 4:6 AB

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance

and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests),

with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.


Filippense 4:6 AOV

Wees oor niks besorg nie, maar laat julle begeertes in alles deur gebed en smeking met danksegging bekend word by God.




Someone once said: “Gratitude is what always spoils life when it is left out.”

A thankful spirit enables one to praise God even when circumstances are difficult.

Alexander Whyte, the Scottish preacher, always began his prayers with an expression of gratitude. One cold, miserable day his people wondered what he would say.

He prayed, “We thank Thee, O Lord that it is not always like this.”


Worry, anxiety and stress are becoming bigger problems in the times that we live.

We live in touch times. It is easier to be thankful in good times.

Is it even possible to be thankful in touch times?





I want to share five keys with you on overcoming worry, anxiety and stress. Especially in the touch times that we are living in.


  1. Make a choice not to worry


Worry about nothing.


Philippians 4:6 NLT:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.


Worry is one of the biggest wastes of time and energy.

Well it is easier said than done! We live in the golden age of anxiety!

What are we anxious about? Just look at the news, listen to what people say!

It is not “Good morning South Africa” anymore. It is “Bad morning South Africa”!

Everything in our newspapers is bad news and negative!


And then we read in the Bible: ‘Don’t worry about anything!’

In 2006 Dr. Walter Calvert did a study of the things we worry about. He discovered that:

  • 40% of the things we worry about never happen
  • 30% of our worries concern the past
  • 12% are needless worries about our health
  • 10% are insignificant or petty
  • 8% are legitimate issues

So, 92% of our worries are a waste of time and energy!

They are about things that either won’t happen, or that we’re unable to change!


  1. Live one day at a time


Don’t worry about tomorrow. Jesus said in:


Matthew 6:34 NIV

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!


The Apostle Paul is in prison, possibly facing death and he is telling us in our text verse: “Don’t worry!”

Paul had all the reasons in the world to worry, to have anxiety and to be stressed out!


2 Corinthians 11:23-27 MSG

(23)  … I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often,

beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time.

(24)  I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes,

(25)  beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once.

I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day.

(26)  In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers,

struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm,

and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers.

(27)  I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather.


Whenever God gives you a ‘don’t’, He will also give you a ‘do’.

God said: “Don’t worry!” So then what is the ‘do’ that we must do?


  1. Pray


Philippians 4:6 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,

by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


Pray about everything!

Some people may say today: “Pastor, but I don’t have the time to pray about everything!”


Well, we are serving a practical God:

Remember, according to statistics, 92% of our worries are a waste of time and energy!

So use that 92% of the time and energy to pray instead of worry!

Every time that you start to worry, stop and make a decision: “This next 15 minutes that I take to worry, I will not worry but pray instead!”


If you do this, your life is going to turn around and you will have a change in attitude!

You will even realize that your Pastor is going to become a better preacher!


1 Peter 5:7 NLT

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.


1 Peter 5:7 PHILLIPS

So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand,

and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.


You are God’s personal concern!

God does not worry about you, He is concerned about you.

He is more concerned about you personally than your circumstances.

He is more concerned of what is happening inside of you than what is happening around you! So, worry about nothing! But you cannot just do nothing! Don’t worry but do pray!


  1. Thank God


Thank God in all things!


Philippians 4:6 New NLT

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.


Thank God for everything!


1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


Give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances!

There is always something to be thankful for.

The Bible tells us to ‘give thanks’. It is something that we must do. It is a verb.

The American people have something called ‘Thanks giving’ once a year.

‘Thanks ‘and ‘giving ‘goes together.

It is an expression of gratitude.

Faith without works is dead (James 2:20)


  1. Right thinking


Think about the right things!

Keep your mind busy with the things of God.

What are you depositing into your mind?

Who of you know the term GIGO? (Garbage in, garbage out).


Philippians 4:8 NIV

Finally, brothers and sisters,

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—

think about such things.


The test is easy: Is what I am thinking to the honor of God? Yes or No.

If you want to change your life, change what you think and what you meditate about.

The root cause of worry, stress and anxiety is the way I choose to think.

How do you see your husband/wife/child/parent/friend?

How do you see yourself? As a looser or as God sees you?


Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

God created you. God created every human being to be good and to fulfil His purpose!





There is an old saying that says, “worry is like a rocking chair.  It will give you something to do, but won’t get you anywhere!”  Worry troubles your mind, agitates your emotions, disquiets your spirit and drains your energy.


In his book, ‘Choose Your Attitudes Change Your Life’, 

Dr. Robert Jeffress, called worry “Satan’s flaming missile.”

He wrote, “unfounded worry is a favorite weapon of the Evil One.”


Somebody once said, “If a matter is not serious enough to pray about, then it is not serious enough to worry about.  If it is serious enough to pray about, and if we have prayed about, then there is no need to worry about it.  God will take care of it in his own time!”


Worry impedes our relationship with God, weakens our faith, and gives birth to doubt that dampens our hope. Anxiety diminishes our focus and distracts us from spiritual priorities.


So, in order for us to be thankful in touch times we must:

  3. PRAY
  5. Think about the right things


An antidote to our worries is prayer and thanksgiving.  Counting our blessings.

Appreciating how God has provided for us and blessed us in so many ways.




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