The Power of Gratitude

Psalm 118:1-18; 22-26 | Sermon Resources | 2 April 2023

Sermon Summary

Guest Preacher Greg Hills will be preaching for Palm Sunday. Greg is ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America and serves as the Northeast Hub Director for Mission to the World.

Life can be so unpredictable—joys and sorrows, blessings and trials can come unexpectedly. Our life’s dreams and plans can change in an instant. We all know this to be true. So what is the Christian response?  Imagine having a heart of praise and thanksgiving even when the hardships of life cross our path.  Is it even possible?  Psalm 118 gives us a glimpse into the power of cultivating a heart of gratitude even when it hurts.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is typically your first response to difficulties and trials in your life?
  2. Theologian John Calvin said: All, indeed, desire peace of mind; but the consequence of robbing God of the praise due to his power, their own ingratitude does not permit them to realize this blessing.  Restate Calvin’s quote in the positive.
  3. In verses 10-14 the Psalmist gives 3 images of his struggle.  What is the emphasis of each one?  How are you tempted to react when situations like these enter your life?
  4. Verse 17 mentions the power of recounting the Lord’s works.  What is at least one thing the Lord has done in your life in the last 3-6 months?  Share it with the group.
  5. This Psalm encourages us to give praise and thanksgiving in the midst of trials.  Yet giving thanks when things are going poorly can produce an internal tension.  Do you think that tension keeps you from giving thanks?
  6. Why does God call us to be thankful in all circumstances?
  7. 1 Thess. 5:18 says to give thanks “in” all circumstances not “for” all circumstances.  Why is that an important distinction?
  8. Take time this week to:
    • reflect on God’s promises and His work in your life.
    • recount them by listing them on paper or in your journal
    • re-tell them to someone in your life.

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