Training Our Tongue to Say Thanks: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 16)

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

Read Psalm 33

I have a wonderful three-year-old daughter. The early days of her life consisted of feeding her, changing her, and trying anything to make her sleep. Then she became much more interactive. It felt like every week she learned new skills, sentences, and behaviors. Some words came naturally: mine, now, and I want to. Others took more work. Words like please and thank you needed encouraged and reinforced.

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Thanks be to God: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 15)

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

Read Romans 6

Sometimes we ignore giving thanks because we’ve become used to something, or someone. My wife does many things for our family, including cooking delicious meals. Sometimes I make the meal, but I’m more of the sous-chef and taste-tester than the master chef she is. While I’m grateful for her loving our family through a home-cooked meal, anytime something becomes common there’s a danger of overlooking it. Or maybe we feel thankful, but we show our gratitude a little less because we’re accustomed to it. This happens in the home, the office, and in the church. But it also happens in our spiritual life.

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God’s Steadfast Love Endures Forever: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 14)

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

Read Psalm 136

The Psalmist opens (1-3) and closes (26) this song with the call to give thanks. In between, he moves from God’s glorious attributes and powerful acts seen in Creation (4-9), Redemption (10-22), and ongoing Provision (23-25). There is more than enough reason to thank God in each realm. Anchoring every verse is the refrain: “for his steadfast love endures forever.” We thank God for His many gifts, and none are greater than His steadfast love.

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Grief and Gratitude: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 13)

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

Read Psalm 28

As you read through this Psalm, you might have wondered if you had the right verses. If thanksgiving is supposed to be joyful, why are we reading such a downer of a psalm?

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God’s Wonderful Deeds: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 12)

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

Read Psalm 9

We could all use a little more joy in our day. And not the fake-smile, posing for people kind, but real joy where rest and rejoicing come together, much like peanut butter and chocolate do for Peanut Butter M&M’s (so good). How can we find this kind of joy, in the best of times and the worst of times?

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Record in Order to Recall: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 11)

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

Read 1 Chronicles 16:1–36

What are landmark moments in your life? Can you recall times where God did something big in your life or taught you something? What are some of God’s wonderful works in your life, in your family, or in the life of your church? (These aren’t theoretical questions, so take a moment to answer them.) How did you celebrate those times and how do you commemorate them after the fact?

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Grumbling vs Gratitude: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 10)

(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.[1]

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Battle Anxiety with Adoration: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 9)

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

Read Philippians 4:4–9; 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18; 1 Peter 5:6–9

We live in an age of anxiety. Alongside the potent fears of our frail hearts and the steady barrage of bad news, the internet and social media have only made things worse. Anxiety, fear, stress, and worry can crush us.

Maybe you or a family member have had to fight fear while managing sickness. Pains linger or symptoms continue. Despite your better judgment, you take to the internet to find out what it could be. It’s very possible this is no big deal, but you also find a dozen websites planting a seed in your mind that something serious is going on. Anxiety reaches out its cold, powerful hand and squeezes your heart. The “what if” scenarios flood your mind. You want to hop off of the train moving too fast toward worry, but you’re caught.

Fight anxiety with adoration. Push back against fear and worry through the power of thanksgiving. Don’t think of gratitude as something to do when life is easy and blessings fall like raindrops. Gratitude is gritty. It’s needed when the rug is swept out from under us. Turn to thanksgiving when blessed or burdened.

Anxiety can cripple us if our eyes get so stuck on the “problem” that we can’t see God. It’s a dangerous cycle. Anxiety pushes God to the side when we what we need most in anxiety is Him. We’re not strong enough to silence our fear or overcome it with optimism. We need hope, but we also need help. God supplies both.

As much as you’re tempted today to let your mind get caught up in anxiety, go a different route. Say no to anxiety caused by trials and yes to adoration produced by thanksgiving.

Instead of strategies centered on self, Paul points us to God. But he doesn’t turn to gratitude as if to say, “It could be worse. Suck it up and look on the bright side.” Thanksgiving redirects our heart. It blocks off the surging waters of worry while opening our hearts to a river of refreshment with the knowledge of God. Paul writes, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:5–7).

Thanksgiving stirs up trust and hope for what God has done and can do. As we lean into gratitude and note God’s goodness, it shines hope into our darkness.

Here are three ways to fight against fear and anxiety with thanksgiving.

Pray with Thankfulness

The first thing Paul encourages us to do is pray with thankfulness. This not only means making thanksgiving a bigger part of the pie in your prayer life (though that might help), but it suggests there’s a way to pray with thankfulness in all things.

Paul knows we clench our fists around whatever we fear. We want to fix it. We want to figure it out. When we pray, we don’t stop working toward a remedy and do nothing, but we do surrender control (1 Peter 5:6–7). We open our hands (and hearts) and give to God what only He can figure out and fix. Make your requests to God, and thank Him for His plan, purpose, and presence through whatever you’re facing (Phil. 4:6). You can give thanks even while you make requests because God listens and hears. He sees, knows, and cares (Ex. 2:25). And He’s working.

Give Thanks for Blessings

We also cultivate gratitude in anxiety by giving thanks for blessings. Worry can overshadow the way we see the world. It creates a fog hiding blessings from our sight. We start to believe nothing good is happening to us or God left us.

Give thanks for any blessing in your life. Start small and work your way up. Do you have breath in your lungs? Is there anything good you can recall from the last week or month? What is one blessing in your life today you can give thanks for?

Can you give thanks for forgiveness, mercy and grace, adoption in Christ, God’s Word, the Spirit at work in you, or the promise of eternal life? One day things will be made right, and you can give thanks for this not too distant future in the brokenness of the here-and-now.

Recall the Person and Promises of God

A third way to battle anxiety through thanksgiving is recalling who God is and what He’s promised to you. When we give thanks to God in light of who He is, adoration puts anxiety in its proper place. God shines bright as worry grows dim. Thank God for His power, faithfulness, mercy, righteousness, holiness, kindness, compassion, patience, presence, and love.

Tied to who God is are His promises. They are His attributes tethered to a covenant commitment to us as His people. When our feet shake beneath us as fear and worry send tremors into our life, we find stable footing by planting our hope in God’s promises. Stand on them.

What are your favorite promises in Scripture? As one comes to mind, springboard from it into thanksgiving.

God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you (Josh. 1:5). Give thanks.

He promised to walk with you through floods and fires (Is. 43:2). You are His.

God promises nothing can thwart His plan. He is working everything for your good (Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11).

Can you thank Him for these things? Read through a list of some of God’s promises and respond in thanksgiving. It’s better to search this online than to stoke your worries through WebMD. Spend more time soaking up the gifts of God declared in Scripture than stewing over the worry spread on social media or the news.

Fight back the fears of what could be with the rock-solid hope of what you know to be true. In your anxiety, give thanks. In your fear, rejoice in Him. When worried by things below, worship the One above and over it all.


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To go deeper in biblical thanksgiving and understand how it leads us to know and enjoy God, check out my book The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks: Reclaiming the Gifts of A Lost Spiritual Discipline

Say Grace: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 8)

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

Read John 6:11, 23; 11:41; Acts 27:33–38; 1 Timothy 4:3–4

In A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Charlie and Snoopy sit down to eat with their friends for a Thanksgiving meal. As they gather around the table—not yet aware the feast will be popcorn, pretzels, buttered toast, and jellybeans—and prepare to chow down, Peppermint Patty suggests they say grace first. Linus offers a prayer of thanksgiving representative of what the first pilgrims might have prayed. Now they eat.

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Forget Not All His Benefits: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 7)

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

Read Psalm 103

In my closet, there are a few shirts that don’t fit like they used to. I’m sure it’s because they’ve been through the dryer too many times, not because I’ve outgrown them. I can squeeze into them, but it’s a little too snug for comfort. I don’t wear them in public, but I do wear them in the safe confines of my house. Because they don’t get used often, these shirts need washed again to rid them of that stale, dusty odor.

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