(This devotional is day twenty-two of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
I’m not afraid to admit; I’m a fan of country music. One song from the 90’s (the greatest musical decade) was “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks. The song reassures the heartbroken that sometimes not getting what you want, or not having your prayers answered, might be a gift. Garth’s lyrics tell the story of a married man going to his hometown football game and running into his high school flame. The future he once desired comes into mind and he’s struck by how thankful he is he didn’t get what he wanted. He realizes what was disappointing and painful became a blessing, leading to something greater: his wife. The chorus says these famous words, and it helps if you read them with a bit of Garth Brooks twang.
Continue reading Ingratitude Leading to Idolatry: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 22)
(This devotion is day ten of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Read Exodus 14:10–14; 15:22–16:8; Philippians 2:14
Do you have any complainers in your life? They possess a special calling to share their grievances with the world—whether you want to hear them or not. How do you feel after a few minutes around them? There’s something off-putting about murmuring and complaining. It’s easy to see this in someone else, but we all grumble.
Continue reading Grumbling vs Gratitude: Reading Plan (Day 10)
(This devotion is day six of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Paul lays out two paths we can walk in: gratitude or ingratitude. They direct our steps toward God or away from Him. Gratitude is that important. Giving thanks is no cherry on top of the Christian life we toss in on rare occasions. It’s the meat and potatoes, the heart and soul of following God.
Continue reading Two Ways to Live: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 6)
(This devotion is day four of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Read Luke 17:11-19
I grew up reading the classics. No, not Dickens, Austen, or Steinbeck, but Berenstain (as in The Berenstain Bears). Since I’m forcing my toddler to relive many of my experiences, including my favorite childhood books and shows, we often watch or read The Berenstain Bears.
Continue reading The Nine or the One?: Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 4)
(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 do teach kids to spot stuff they appreciate: their dog, toys, parents, grandparents, teachers, falling leaves, good health, and pumpkin pie. Both kids and adults benefit from considering the blessings in life. But each of these books stopped short.
Continue reading Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 1): 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. Good intentions need good habits if we want good results.
Continue reading November Thirty-Day Gratitude Reading Plan & Challenge
My book, The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks: Reclaiming the Gifts of a Lost Spiritual Discipline, releases today. It’s exciting to see the work become a reality, and I pray that God will use it to stir up gratitude in the hearts of his people.
Maybe you think you’re not really a grumbler, so a book on gratitude isn’t for you. Here’s a Grumbler’s Quiz (excerpted from the book) to help you know if it’s for you or not.
Continue reading Gratitude & Thanksgiving Book, Grumbler’s Quiz, and Discussion Guide