The Most Exquisite Pleasure I Have Ever Had

Would you like to increase your joy in the Lord? ?(Talk about a loaded question. ?No Mark, I want less joy. ?Tell me how I can decrease it).

One of the ways God produces joy in my life is giving thanks.

Giving thanks – as much and as often as we can for as many things as we can – is one of the most important spiritual habits we can cultivate.

David MacIntyre, in his book, The Hidden Life of Prayer, tells us:

Fraser of Brea, at one time a prisoner for Christ?s sake on the Bass Rock, resolved that he would search out and record the loving-kindnesses of God. He did so with a very happy effect upon his own spirit. He says, ?The calling to mind and seriously meditating on the Lord?s dealings with me as to soul and body, His manifold mercies, has done me very much good, cleared my case, confirmed my soul of God?s love and my interest in Him, and made me love Him. Oh,…what wells of water have mine eyes been opened to see, which before were hid. Scarce anything hath done me more good than this.?

Recently two things have inspired me to try to be grateful for small blessings.

I recently asked a friend who is suffering from cancer what he was going to do that evening. ?He said, ?I?m just going to stay in and stay warm. ?I used to make all kinds of plans to do this and do that, but now I?m just grateful to be able to relax in a warm house.?

How many blessings I take for granted. ?I should thank Jesus every day for a warm home, a hot shower, a cup of coffee in the morning.

I was also inspired by this quote from the The Hidden Life of Prayer:

?I have experienced today the most exquisite pleasure that I have ever had in my life,? said a young invalid; ?I was able to breathe freely for about five minutes.?

Wow. ?How often do we thank God we can breathe? ?That we can see and hear? ?And walk? ?And read, and think clearly, and laugh?

Let?s thank God today for every small blessing – every ?exquisite pleasure? – we can think of. ?Make a list. ?Write your blessings on post-it notes. ?Write them on a white board or in a prayer journal.

What are some small blessings you are grateful for?

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I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I’ve written a lot of worship songs. I also like to paint.


  1. Laurie says

    I needed this reminder today. Sadly, I need it everyday because I am a spoiled brat about how great my life is. Thank you for reminding me that giving thanks to God is crucial for my joy in Him.

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Thanks Laurie – I think most of us are spoiled brats in that sense. I'm president of the club. Glad you were encouraged!

  2. Hillary Empfield says

    Mark, Have you read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp? This is exactly what the book is about. Finding joy through giving thanks to God for the many, many things that we miss as we go through our busy days and/or take for granted. It's really a wonderful book and I would highly recommend it!

    • MarkAltrogge says

      Hi Hillary,

      My daughter read it and told me about it. It does sound like a great book. I know several people who began journaling their thankfulness after reading it.

  3. Maggie says

    Thanks, Mark, for the reminder. I've recently been trying to cultivate gratefulness in my life rather than focusing on all the things I don't have, which usually crowd my vision. I keep repeating that if I'm warm, dry and fed, that's more than I deserve.


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