Do you have a refrigerator? If you do, then you are blessed, because 80 percent of the world's population does not own one. If you are reading this and have kids or grandchildren, then my guess is 100 percent of you have refrigerator magnets under which you place pictures, report cards and other things we use to brag about our kids.

I only have one thing that hangs on my refrigerator that belongs to me. It reads:

Attitude

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past; We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me, and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes." -- Charles Swindoll

I believe an attitude of gratitude is the crucial difference between being a victim or a victor in the events of life. We cannot control what will happen to us in life, but we can control how we respond to it.

When we face the inevitable tough times of life, and all of us do, we are free to choose our attitude. One alternative is to choose the attitude of resentment. To decide to focus on the bad and ask angrily, "Why did this have to happen?"

The other alternative is to simply choose to be grateful. This involves thinking through every facet of an event and asking, "What is there here to be thankful for, and what can I use amid all this wreckage to build a better future?"

This optimistic choice is encouraged in the Bible. In James 1:2-4, James said, "Consider it pure joy my brothers. Be thankful my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."

In Philippians 4:6, Paul wrote, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Throughout the Bible we hear God's people sing. Psalm 118:1 reads, "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever."

As we look forward to Thanksgiving Day, a day certainly to be embraced with an attitude of gratitude, I hope you will take time to "give thanks" to the one from whom all blessings flow.

If you want to be a blessing to others who have a refrigerator but not much to put into them. Send a tax deductible donation to the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance, P.O. Box 173, Hays, KS 67601. We also will distribute food at ECMA's Thanksgiving Day Feast at the armory and throughout the year.

We are better together.

Kyle Ermoian is the lead pastor at Celebration Community Church. Statements of Faith is a series sharing lessons from local church leaders and members. To submit a column for publication, contact The Hays Daily News at (785) 628-1081.