November 2022 Newsletter
How You Can Fill the “Gratitude Gap”
by Pastor Mike Novotny
I am so grateful for Tina.
Let me explain . . . Tina isn’t a person. She’s my 2005 Chrysler Town & Country minivan that I love like my third daughter.
If you could look past the rusted exterior, ignore the doors that don’t quite work, and endure the lack of air conditioning, you would see Tina like I see her, as a daily reason to be grateful.
You see, I thought Tina would have been scrapped by now. I assumed she would never make it to 200,000 miles . . . but then she did. I thought 225,000 was out of the question . . . yet she kept running.
And 240,000 was asking for a miracle . . . but then the miracle happened. These days, as she creaks toward 244,000 miles, I smile every time she starts and throw a personal praise party when she crosses another unexpected milestone.
Why am I telling you about Tina? Because her story can teach you a lot about gratitude.
During the Thanksgiving season, we think about being thankful. But as my minivan story teaches, 90 percent of your gratitude hinges on your expectations. Do you expect a perfect day? With perfect health? And perfect people wherever you go? If so, it will be hard to be grateful when imperfect moments arrive.
But what if you started to look at life with biblical expectations? What if you assumed a broken world would be broken? What if you believed you were a sinner who only deserved God’s absence and God’s anger? What would happen if, with that attitude, you woke up to a functional body, a warm bed, a big breakfast, a friend’s text, and a devotional about God’s love for you in Christ?
I think you would start your own personal praise party!
Gratitude is the gap between what you get and what you expect. Entitled people always have something to gripe about because they expect too much. But self-aware sinners always have something to be grateful about because they can’t quite get over the generosity of their gracious God.
How much do you expect today? Your gratitude hinges on the answer.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4,5).
You help take God’s Word to servicemen and women worldwide!
Since 2006, Time of Grace has been creating programs for American Forces Network (AFN) so servicemen and women around the world can learn more about Jesus. We feel very blessed to have this opportunity to offer God’s promises and sure and steady love to those who serve our country, people like Ken and Paula who tune in from South Korea:
“It is through your program that we are able to continue our walk with our Lord Jesus. Being overseas makes it very difficult to have a regular church. But we are able to share every weekend with Pastor Mike and really enjoy his sermons. Keep it up. It does affect many people like us serving overseas.”
We’re so grateful for friends like you who make our broadcasts on AFN possible—because together, we are bringing Jesus’ message of love and grace to people serving around the world.
Let God’s Grace Fuel Your Day!
You’ll never regret a moment in God’s presence. Because when you take time to seek him, God fills your day with his power, peace, love, and truth. Find your moment in the hecticness of life with the In God’s Presence Every Day devotional.
Filled with 365 easy-to-read devotions from Pastor Mike and the other great writers from Time of Grace, In God’s Presence Every Day invites you to take a break from the
hurry and let God’s Word speak into your life.
Explore what Scripture has to say about how to . . .
- Deal with anxiety
- Find hope in difficulties
- Enjoy God’s presence
- Pray with power
- Overcome struggles
- And much more
Request your copy of In God’s Presence Every Day as our thanks for your gift on the enclosed reply form, knowing your support will help reach more people through Time of Grace—and let God’s grace fuel your day!
Prepare Your Heart for Christmas
Advent is the season before Christmas when we look ahead to the coming of our Savior Jesus as a baby … the Son of God coming to earth to save us!
You can find many devotional plans from Time of Grace on the YouVersion Bible app to help you focus your heart on Jesus this time of year. Try this reading devotional plan to get you started:
Tune in to Time of Grace in December for Pastor Mike’s new four-part series: Christmas Stress. As you head into the Christmas season, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed and doubtful? Does the craziness of Christmas get in the way of worshiping your Savior? Watch the program and be reminded of God’s love for you through his gift of Jesus.
The first episode of Christmas Stress is available to watch on December 4th with new episodes released each Sunday in December.
By Andrea Delwiche
Have you ever spent time in God’s creation and made a list of the signs of his provision? What if you turned it into a thanksgiving song to God like this one composed by King David:
You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly … You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing. (Psalm 65:9-13)
Perhaps you might not pay attention to whether or not we’ve had too little rain for crops to grow well or to prevent fires from devouring forests and keep waters coursing in the stream beds.
Because we are often distant from these natural processes that feed and clothe us, purify our air, and lift our spirits, we may lose our sense of gratitude.
But God crafted and cares for his creation. He crafted and cares for us as well. Ask him for eyes to see his goodness, and then exclaim with the psalmist, “Praise awaits you, our God” (Psalm 65:1).
This article is taken in part from the 365-day devotional book, In God’s Presence Every Day. Get more encouraging truth like this when you request your copy as our thanks for your gift today.
Hello from Pastor Mike
Recently, a woman from our church shared how one of her coworkers had asked, “How do you do it? How are you so nice?”
Talk about letting your light shine, right?
This woman, whom I have known to be a humble, Jesus-loving believer, responded with a single word and a simple explanation—“God. I get so much love from God, and I just want to share it.”
I’m not sure you could explain the Christian life any better than that.
We live in a bitter and bickering world where impatient customers demand to speak to the managers and angry commentators spout off on social media. But that darkness provides the perfect chance for you to shine brightly.
Your gratitude, appreciation, and love will stand out in a self-centered world.
This is why we at Time of Grace thank God for you! Your prayers and financial support say something about the state of your heart and allow us to bring more grace to more souls each month.
I hope that this newsletter and our resources are a fitting way to express our gratitude and equip you for the day ahead. And I hope you’ll request your copy of the In God’s Presence Every Day 365-day devotional, which will help you let God’s Word speak into your life.
When you fill up your heart with grace, remembering that heaven, forgiveness, and salvation are all yours through the undeserved love of Jesus, you are ready to walk out into your world with overflowing gratitude.
I can’t promise everyone will notice or anyone will say something the first time they see you—but give it time. Eventually, someone will repeat the question in your direction.
“How do you do it?”
And you, like my friend, can smile and say, “God.”