Make 2021 a Year of Gratitude: Cultivating the Habit of Thanksgiving

“When we bless God for mercies, we usually prolong them. When we bless God for miseries, we usually end them. Praise is the honey of life which a devout heart extracts from every bloom of providence and grace.” Charles Spurgeon

Would you characterize 2020 as a year of gratitude or grumbling? Did you notice complaining rising in your heart and slipping off your tongue more than thanksgiving to God?

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Thankful for Eternity: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 30)

(This devotional is day twenty-nine of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Revelation 4:1–11; 7:9–17

Right now, in God’s presence, the heavenly hosts are giving thanks to God. Think about that. As we give thanks, we join the chorus of God’s creatures singing to Him. Revelation (not Revelations) pulls back the curtain between our world and God’s throne so we can glimpse this glorious spectacle. The angels, the beasts (which conjure images of the noble animals in C. S. Lewis’s world of Narnia), and the twenty-four elders offer God praise and thanksgiving.

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Daily Gratitude for Daily Grace: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 29)

(This devotional is day twenty-nine of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Psalm 145

For much of my life, thanksgiving has been a once a year activity. I gave thanks on Thanksgiving Day. I mean, if I do it too often, then Thanksgiving just becomes about turkey and football. Right? Okay, I wouldn’t say that (out loud), but I often live that way by marginalizing thanksgiving. As you’ve read gratitude-related passages from Scripture this month, I hope it’s opened your eyes to the relevancy and power of thanksgiving. It’s for every day and every season. It’s an action (giving thanks) and a disposition (gratitude) for all of life.

Continue reading Daily Gratitude for Daily Grace: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 29)

Five Ways David Gave Thanks: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 28)

(This devotional is day twenty-eight of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Psalm 138

Thanksgiving in the Bible is for both the sun-lit mountaintop and the deep, dark valley. Paul calls us to give thanks “in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18). We don’t wait until our faith is so strong that thanksgiving bursts at the seams. We practice thanksgiving because it’s part of how we set our eyes on God and cultivate faith in Him. Thanksgiving pushes back against the full-court press from worry, fear, and anxiety.

Continue reading Five Ways David Gave Thanks: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 28)

Resources on Thanksgiving and The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks

With the release of The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks, I’ve had the chance to write a few articles on thanksgiving and gratitude. For anyone interested, here are a few of those recent resources.

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Thanks be to God: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 25)

(This devotional is day twenty-five of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-28, 35-58

After an entire chapter on the resurrection, Paul ends it with two punctuating remarks. The first is that this glorious reality and hope leads to thanksgiving. If anything should lead to giving thanks, it’s reading 1 Corinthians 15. As this song reaches its climax, he thunders out, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

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Thanksgiving and Union with Christ: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 24)

(This devotional is day twenty-four of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Ephesians 1:3-14

When my wife and I married in 2012, we joined our lives together as one. Wedding rings symbolize this unbroken bond of union where I belong to her and she belongs to me. There’s not only the joy of companionship, but there’s also oneness through the covenant of marriage. What’s mine is now hers, and what’s hers is now mine. We not only take on one another’s assets, but we also take on one another’s debts. Her family becomes my family, and my family becomes her family. Even our emotional lives overlap because the things that burden my wife burden me. Spouses share sorrows, successes, and celebrations.

One of the greatest doctrines in the Christian faith is union with Christ. When we trust in Jesus, we’re united with him as one. Our identity becomes wrapped up in who we are in him.

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Three Dangers of Spiritual Forgetfulness: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 23)

(This devotional is day twenty-three of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Deuteronomy 8

The Bible is full of admonitions to remember God, what He’s taught us, and what He’s done for us. Through remembrance, we hold on to what we’ve learned in the past and live in light of it in the present. Throughout the Bible, God’s people face future fears by recalling God’s former faithfulness. Remembrance stirs up greater trust in God, it brings to mind what He’s done and said in the past, and it reminds us what we’ve learned from God. But the Bible also has many warnings not to forget.[1] 

Continue reading Three Dangers of Spiritual Forgetfulness: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 23)

Ingratitude Leading to Idolatry: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 22)

(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.)

Read 1 Samuel 8

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 much thankful he is he didn’t get what he wanted. He realizes what fell through and 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)

Some Stories Never Get Old: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 21)

(This devotional is day twenty-one of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Psalm 118

As a kid, one of my favorite things about holidays was how our family would gather and share stories. I would sit back and listen to them spin tales. A new one might be sprinkled in on occasion, but usually they rehashed the same old stories, but we would laugh as we relived the memories. As an adult, it’s still one of the best things when our family gets together. My sister is a good storyteller. She gets very animated and exaggerates stories a little more every year. But somehow, I never get tired of these stories we tell again and again, usually at one of my parent’s expense.

Continue reading Some Stories Never Get Old: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 21)