Grateful Offerings

(This devotion is day 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 Chronicles 29:10–22; Leviticus 7:11–15

As a kid, one of my parents would give me money to buy the other parent a birthday gift. Even when I had an allowance and helped around the house, any money used for cards or gifts had to come from my mom or dad. I had nothing to give them they didn’t provide first.

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Are You the Nine or the One?

(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 on the classic books, The Berenstain Bears. Since I’m forcing my toddler to relive many of my experiences, including my favorite childhood books and shows, we’ve watched episodes of The Berenstain Bears online. One of my favorites is “Say Please and Thank You.” Brother and Sister Bear (the children) forget to say “please” and “thank you,” but they don’t realize it until they see it in others. They do favors for their friends, but feel unappreciated when those friends never say thank you.

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Day Three: Worship the King with Thanksgiving

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

Read Psalm 100

What is the proper reaction of creation to its Creator? If God is God, and we live and breathe in His world, provided for and blessed in countless ways, what is a fitting response? And even more significant, if we were God’s enemies under His righteous judgment because of our sin against Him, and yet He out of love and grace redeemed us at the cost of His Son, what should be our posture before God our Father?

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Day Two: Give Thanks in Trials

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

Read Daniel 2:17-23; 6:10; Romans 8:28

Yesterday focused on recognizing God as the source in blessings. We feel gratitude and we give thanks. Today, we’ll broaden our definition of blessings.

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Day One: Give Thanks to God

(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.[1] 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.

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Family Activities for Practicing Thanksgiving

(This guest post was written by Heidi Sweet, the Director of Children’s Ministry at College Park Church Fishers. I get the privilege to serve on staff with her and learn from her.)

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November 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge

“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.

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Communion Meditation: Give Thanks, Remember, and Trust

(The following is a Communion meditation shared in my local church as we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday.)

The Lord’s Supper is also called Communion or even the Eucharist. That latter term, Eucharist, comes from the greek word eucharisteo, which means “to give thanks.” In Luke 22, when Jesus instituted this meal, breaking the bread and drinking the cup, it says he did so by “giving thanks.” Since we’re less than two weeks away from what might be my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, I thought it might help us approach Communion today by considering why it’s a meal about giving thanks.

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2018 November Thanksgiving Reading Plan

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)!

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Thanksgiving Resources

(For an updated reading plan different from what’s below, see this blog.)

If you’re looking for some additional resources and ways to practice giving thanks, here’s a place to start.

  • Read a book specifically on thanksgiving or gratitude. Some recommendations would be Thanksgiving by David Pao; The Things of Earth by Joe Rigney; One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp; Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss; or God is the Gospel by John Piper.
  • If a book seems like a bit too much of a commitment right now, read one of the following articles.
  • Listen to a sermon on thanksgiving.
  • Sing Christian hymns or worship songs related to the theme of giving thanks.
  • Do something as a family that makes this an enjoyable and memorable experience, such as a gratitude tree.
  • As you interact with other Christians—in formal settings such as small group or informal settings like work or a restaurant—ask them what God has done for them that they’re thankful for.
  • If things like gratitude trees are a bit too artsy for you, just keep a list of things you can thank God for. Keep a journal, a sheet of paper in your Bible, or use something on your phone like “Notes” to record and revisit these reasons for thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Verses
Below is a list of 30 verses that mention giving thanks, thanksgiving, or thankfulness. I’d encourage you to read them at the start of your morning and meditate on (chew on) then throughout the day. There are plenty of related words in the Bible tied to this theme we could have looked at, or even words showing the problem with a lack of thanksgiving (such as ingratitude or murmuring). A quick word search on Logos resulted in 132 occurrences of thank/thanks/thankful and 38 occurrences of thanksgiving. So this is meant to be a starter rather than an exhaustive list. Hopefully it helps cement the importance of and joy in giving thanks in your heart, as well as providing some specific examples of what it looks like in the Bible.

Day 1: 1 Chr. 29:10-13
Day 2: Ps. 30:4
Day 3: Ps. 100:4
Day 4: Col. 1:3, 12
Day 5: Col. 2:7
Day 6: Col. 3:15-17
Day 7: Col. 4:2
Day 8: Ps. 107:1, 21-22 
Day 9: Ps. 118:1, 19-21, 28-29
Day 10: Luke 17:16 (see 17:11-19)
Day 11: John 6:11, 23
Day 12: John 11:41
Day 13: Ps. 50:23
Day 14: 1 Cor. 11:23-24
Day 15: 2 Cor. 2:14
Day 16: 2 Cor. 4:15
Day 17: 2 Cor. 9:11-15
Day 18: Eph. 5:4
Day 19: Eph. 5:20
Day 20: Ps. 147:7
Day 21: Ps. 136:1-3 (see all of 136)
Day 22: Phi. 1:3
Day 23: Matt. 15:36
Day 24: Acts 27:35
Day 25: Ps. 138
Day 26: 1 Thess. 3:9
Day 27: 1 Thess. 5:18
Day 28: 1 Tim. 4:3
Day 29: Rev. 4:9
Day 30: Rev. 7:12