April 28, 2017

Thoughts on Giving Thanks

There’s something special about this time of year, when so many people start meditating on everything they have to be thankful for. As Christians, we have an even greater reason to be people characterized by the habitual giving of thanks — not just for abundant physical blessings, but so many spiritual blessings too! The blogosphere is teeming right now with various thoughts about practicing gratitude -- from historical perspectives, to its uniqueness among Christians, and even some of its challenges. I hope you'll take the time over the next few days to work through some of these links! Why We Should Be Thankful for the Gift of Gratitude -- Why is it so critical for Christians to [...Read More]


Why Do We Give Thanks?

Every year around November 1, the online stratosphere gets inundated with thankfulness challenges. That's not a bad thing! I love the rise of gratitude each year, seeing people becoming more aware of all the ways God blesses us everyday. But have you ever stopped to consider why we practice gratitude? Is it just because it's the "thing to do" around Thanksgiving? Or is there a greater purpose behind developing a habit of thankfulness? I was recently reading Ephesians 5, and realized how tightly the command to give thanks is woven throughout the entire chapter. It's not just a stand-alone command: it's something that affects every aspect of our lives as Christians. Offering [...Read More]


What Better Reason to Give Thanks?

I hope you're praising God for all that you plan to enjoy this Thanksgiving -- a warm cozy home, a nourishing and satisfying meal, laughter and fellowship, family and friends, break from routines, new memories in the making. I hope you thank Him specifically for all the blessings of everyday comfort and happiness, and all the intangible joys of this life. In the midst of all that joyful gratitude, take some time to meditate on God alone. Praise Him for who He is at the very core of His being -- aside from all the tangible things He has done for you -- and exalt Him for His sake alone. Praise Him because He is GOD, and greater than we can comprehend. Praise Him because He is KING [...Read More]


Praise God in Private

Some days, thanking God on social media feels too... well, social. It feels too public. There's nothing wrong, of course, with praising God publicly -- in fact, we are commanded throughout Scripture to do so. Psalms especially tell us over and over to testify of His deeds among the nations, to praise Him in the sanctuary, to exalt Him before others. We must never disregard the need for corporate worship, public prayer, and shared times of testimony. But how often do we offer praise publicly -- and neglect it privately? When was the last time you personally bowed in gratitude before your Heavenly Father... when no one else was around? Our God is great and righteous and holy and [...Read More]


Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 9

Welcome to the Choosing Gratitude study! If you’re not sure what this is all about, we’re studying through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See the Introduction for more details. 5 Ways to Go "Gratitudinal" So gratitude takes work -- especially the distinctly "Christian" sort of gratitude, which offers specific praise to God even during times of great difficulty. It's a choice to reject whining, griping, and complaining. It's a choice to sacrifice self-pity and sorrow. It's a sacrifice of praise that comes out of the innermost parts of our hearts. So how do we make gratitude a regular lifestyle? How do we become "gratitudinal" people? Nancy offers 5 very practical [...Read More]


Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 8

Welcome to the Choosing Gratitude study! If you’re not sure what this is all about, we’re studying through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See the Introduction for more details. Choose Gratitude -- But Not Without Sacrifice Gratitude is more than just a pleasing sentiment. It's more than smiley faces and greeting cards. It takes hard work, and it costs something real. It involves sacrifice. "Out in the byways of real life, a grateful heart must often strap on sword and shield, summon up its deepest courage, and brace itself for battle." Consider Job. Think of all he lost -- his family, his servants, his livestock, his wealth, his health, even his friends. But is there any [...Read More]


Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 7

Welcome to the Choosing Gratitude study! If you’re not sure what this is all about, we’re studying through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See the Introduction for more details. Thanks... for Everything! I think it's just perfect that we're hitting this chapter right now... in November, in the middle of thanksgiving season, when thankfulness lists and gratitude posts abound. We are so blessed! We have so many things (and people!) to be thankful for. And not just generically thankful, but thankful to God Himself. God didn't just create us and leave us to get through life on our own -- He is with us every single day, caring for us and sustaining us through every [...Read More]


Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 6

Welcome to the Choosing Gratitude study! If you’re not sure what this is all about, we’re studying through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See the Introduction for more details. How Can I Say Thanks? We're finally getting to the heart of having a gratitude attitude -- how can we make it happen? Here are some practical steps we can take to make it an actual lifestyle. 1. Speak Up Tell people when you're thankful for them, or for something they've done! If you don't voice it, they don't know. For example, thank your pastor when he preaches an exceptionally encouraging or convicting message -- he won't know it was effective, if you don't say anything. Or thank that neighbor [...Read More]


Thoughts on Choosing Gratitude (from Sandy)

It's my joy to share a post from Sandy Cox, a woman who has greatly encouraged me with her reflections throughout the Choosing Gratitude study. Sandy lives in New Mexico with her husband of 20 years, two dogs, and two cats. She has been a Christian for seven years and knows that she has just begun her life with Christ and has much to learn from Him. In reading through the first five chapters of “Choosing Gratitude” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, I have learned about what gratefulness is and what it is not. I have been convicted about what it is not, as that spirit of ungratefulness is what I have been experiencing in my heart lately. One quote of Nancy’s that really hit home for me was, [...Read More]


Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 5

Welcome to the Choosing Gratitude study! If you’re not sure what this is all about, we’re studying through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See the Introduction for more details. Of Whiners and Worshipers Nancy points out six key differences between grateful people and ungrateful people -- the key being that you can't be both at the same time, and it is your decision which one you choose. This chapter was packed with quotables, and I'm going to pretty much let them speak for themselves: 1. A grateful person is a humble person, while ingratitude reveals a proud heart. Pride is the seed from which all other sins grow -- the first root of those being ingratitude. "Gratitude is a [...Read More]