February 20, 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]


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]


In Search of True Peace

Let's face it, we live in a stress-filled world. We excel at being chronic worriers. We fill our minds with anxious thoughts of everything that might go wrong. Our souls are less than tranquil. We have all these pressures piled on us. Getting our next paycheck, keeping the car running smoothly, preparing for bad weather, following politics, paying for healthcare, fighting illness and exhaustion... And then there's the holiday season, when we face an unwritten competition to do everything "just right."  We're supposed decorate a picture-perfect house, play the perfect hostess, find the perfect gifts for everyone, send the perfect Christmas cards, and attend everything with a perfect [...Read More]


Being Thankful for Common Mercies

For the last few weeks, we've been enjoying a season of thankfulness across America, when everyone pulls out their thankfulness lists and dusts off their under-used words of gratitude.  True, we should be making the choice every single day of the year to worship rather than whine, to offer gratitude to God no matter what. But there's something special about this time of year, when so many people start meditating on everything they have to be thankful for. And as Christians, we have an even greater reason to be thankful people -- not just grateful for abundant physical blessings, but so many spiritual blessings too! Ephesians 1 tells us that, in Christ, we have all the spiritual riches [...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]


Let’s Chat about Thanksgiving Challenges

'Tis the season for thanksgiving! While we should be practicing gratitude every single day of the year, it's kind of fun to participate in some sort of thanksgiving challenge in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving challenges may be getting a little cliche, but they're refreshing to the soul and encouraging to the heart. They can infuse new life into your gratitude attitude, and sharpen your ability to give thanks in everything. And by doing a more public challenge -- like posting on Facebook once a day -- you may even influence someone else to start being more thankful, like this post from Carrie did for me! Need some ideas? Here's some popular ones to [...Read More]


Let’s Chat: Choosing Gratitude Daily

We are now six weeks into the Choosing Gratitude study. I hope you've been enjoying and learning as much as I have! But I wanted to take a break from the book this week to have a little "coffee date" with you, and chat about how we're making gratitude a habit in our own lives. I'm personally trying to make gratitude a daily habit by choosing to worship instead of whine. When I feel a complaining spirit coming on, I try to focus my thoughts on a passage of praise, like Psalm 103. Instead of griping and murmuring with discontent, I pray those words back to God: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his [...Read More]


Directing Your Gratitude

It's been a while since I wrote about gratitude, but I've still been thinking about it. There's been a lot going on, not just with my book, but also family stuff and unexpected news and decisions that need to be made. Some good, some not so good. But through it all, there's been plenty to be grateful for.  And the one thought that keeps coming to mind, regarding gratitude, is this: WHOM are you grateful TO? Gratitude is not specific to Christians. Anyone in the world can be thankful for life, for good things, even for blessings in hard things. Just like anyone in the world can be honest, or kind, or gentle. But what makes it distinctly Christian is not just being grateful, but being [...Read More]


Gratitude: One Unique Thing

We like to write gratitude lists, don't we? It helps us focus more actively on positive things, on blessings and smiles, rather than negatives. It helps us remember what we have, even when we're going through a season of have-not. But if you're like me, you tend to repeat the same things. Coffee makes my list at least once a week. So does my husband. So does time with God. And I'm always mentioning books, sunshine, fresh air, good food... Those are all wonderful blessings, and they certainly ought to be on our lists. We need to be thankful for everyday things -- but we need to show gratitude for unique things, too! Get creative! Think outside your usual boxes. Consider things that [...Read More]