(This devotion is day one of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Read James 1:17; 1 Corinthians 4:7; Romans 11:36; Matthew 7:9–11
Last November, I browsed dozens of children’s books related to the Thanksgiving holiday, searching for one to teach my daughter about giving thanks. Almost all of them mentioned things to be thankful for but missed the fact that thankfulness has a person on the other end. These books teach kids to spot things they like: their dog, toys, parents, grandparents, teachers, falling leaves, good health, and pumpkin pie. Both kids and adults need help better spotting blessings in our life, so I appreciated the emphasis. The problem was they stopped short, suggesting thanksgiving is only about the gifts.
Continue reading Day One: Give Thanks to God
“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” Tim Keller
“I like to think of thankfulness as God’s ‘spiritual air freshener.’ It replaces the stale odor of resentment with clean, fresh-smelling air for the soul to breathe.” Gary Thomas
Gratitude is a bit like healthy eating. We all want it, and sometimes can do it for a few days, but our bad habits usually shoot us in the foot. Both take more than good intentions. They require replacing old habits with new ones.
Continue reading November 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge
Bible reading plans help answer the question, “What should I read today?” Rather than randomly flipping open the Bible and reading whatever page you open, it’s helpful to read through a whole book of the Bible. Starting this Sunday, my church will read through 1 & 2 Peter and James during the 30 days of September. You can download the reading plan and suggested questions for study here.
This coming Sunday begins what the Church has called Holy Week or Passion Week. The time from Palm Sunday to Easter (Resurrection) Sunday has provided Christians with a week to give special attention to the person and work of Christ. It interrupts our normal rhythms and intentionally puts Jesus before us so we can reflect on the events leading up to and including his sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection. Below is a reading plan for the week, as well as activities and resources to help you leverage this significant week in the Church Calendar.
Continue reading Holy Week Reading Plan & Resources
“Lent invites us into practices where the Gospel is felt in our bodies—in hunger, in longings that go unsatisfied, in wants deferred. And these aren’t just “intellectual” realizations. My growling belly has stories to tell me about who I am and who I’m made for.” James K.A. Smith
Next Wednesday, the season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. This time in the Church Calendar carries us to Easter and the Passion Week. Our church has provided a Daily Reading and Weekly Fasting Guide. The daily reading plan focuses on Easter, and then during Passion Week it shifts to the events of Christ’s life from the Gospels.
Continue reading Lent Reading & Fasting Guide
We all need encouragement to read the Bible regularly. Maybe one thing that’s kept you from consistent Bible reading is not knowing what to read or where to turn. The nice thing about a reading plan is it provides a starting point. It takes out the question, “What should I red today?”
Continue reading Matthew Reading Plan
“[Christmas] means not just hope for the world, despite all its unending problems, but hope for you and me, despite all our unending failings.” Tim Keller
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” C.S.Lewis
“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” Dr. Seuss
Have you ever gone on vacation intending to use that time to grow spiritually only to head home afterwards realizing you neglected your spiritual walk? Vacation is a time I’d like to spend more time in the Word but the opposite usually happens. My normal rhythms are interrupted. The pace is fast and our schedule is full. There’s so much to see and do. Even during vacation it’s easy for your time alone with the Lord to get squeezed out. While the week ends up being a lot of fun, you arrive home feeling spiritually weak because you’ve neglected the most important thing.
Continue reading Making the Most of Advent
In addition to “no shave November” there are other challenges you might take on in this month. A couple personal ones are saying yes to pumpkin anything and downing as much Thanksgiving Blend coffee from Starbucks as possible (while it’s around). It’s a month of food and feasting, and that is certainly something I can give thanks for with a full heart (and stomach)!
Continue reading 2018 November Thanksgiving Reading Plan