Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

Being Still this Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

This is a repost from 2007 Gospel.com post titled, A Thanksgiving Reflection from Gospel.com. While it might be getting old by the internet’s standards, the advice has aged well.

How can you take time to “be still” before God and reflect this Thanksgiving weekend?


As those of us living in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving today (our friends in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October), we here at Gospel.com would like to encourage all of us—no matter where we live—to take time this week to reflect on the many things for which we should be thankful.

It might be easy to call these days “uncertain times,” especially when we focus on the temporal events and concerns that bombard us each day. But God is at work in our world, and if we take the time to “be still” and look for Him, we can see that handiwork.

Our prayer this Thanksgiving is that each of us might know the reality of a living Savior, that we might have the eyes to see where He is at work in our world, and that we might have the courage to get involved where we see Him working.

May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Today’s Devotional: Practice Makes Perfect

Friday, July 30th, 2010

One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is because it asks us to stop and enumerate everything we’re thankful for. At its best, it’s a day of love and goodwill that changes attitudes in a way that few other holidays can. Likewise, one of the reasons I love celebrating communion at church is because it humbles me by reminding me of my place in my relationship with God. Humility and thankfulness, for me at least, require regular practice. If I don’t practice them I tend to slip into a selfish pride that does nothing but damage my thought life and my relationships.

In the following devotional from Delve into Jesus, Michael Lane discusses how we don’t just magically become humble and thankful. Both are postures we have to commit to in our daily lives:

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m not certain how to make myself become humble or to force myself to feel thankful. If I were to attempt it and fail, then I might be inclined to shrug my shoulders and give up in despair. But no, we are commanded to do, not to be. Fortunately, I do know how to humble myself and how to give thanks, so I can concern myself with doing something tangible, instead of trying to be something intangible.

Though we may not succeed in becoming humble and thankful by striving for that directly, by humbling ourselves, we will become humble and by giving thanks, we will become thankful.

Every day, there are terrific opportunities to humble ourselves which we may overlook. It’s a choice we have to consciously make whenever we feel that we may not be getting our due. When we discover that a co-worker has been promoted to the position we felt we deserved, then we can choose to compliment and congratulate them or we can choose a bitter and resentful reaction. When you volunteer for an event at your church and all that remains is the job of cleaning up, then you have a choice to make. Will you walk away in disgust because that job is beneath your talent, or will you gratefully accept the task and complete it without grumbling? Humbling ourselves is as simple as making the decision to suppress our pride whenever it rears its ugly head. The more we do this, the easier and more natural it will become until, at long last, we will be humble.

Giving thanks is likewise a conscious decision we need to make daily. As part of our regular prayer time, we need to get on our knees – metaphorically and literally – and thank God for the abundant and rich blessings in our life. We should list all of our blessings – our home, a warm meal, the love of friends and family and most importantly, our salvation – and take a moment to truly appreciate each of them. In time, we will evolve from someone who gives thanks to someone who is truly thankful.

Do you find it hard to be humble or thankful?

Give thanks: Thanksgiving essays from the Gospel.com community

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

With Thanksgiving (in the U.S., at least) coming up tomorrow, it seems appropriate to review some of the best Thanksgiving articles from the Gospel.com community. Each of these probably merits its own post, but in the interest of conciseness, here are the best ones I’ve come across this week:

  • Not feeling especially thankful this holiday? Do you lack the family and blessings for which we traditionally give thanks on Thanksgiving? Joe Stowell challenges us discover the joy of thankfulness despite our circumstances.
  • On the Revive Our Hearts program, Nancy Leigh DeMoss interviews Leslie Basham about why Thanksgiving is so important and inspiring. Don’t let Thanksgiving slip past because you’re so focused on the approaching Christmas madness! (See previous Revive Our Hearts programs on the same topic.)
  • Dick Innes encourage us to ask God to give you a thankful heart this holiday season. Elsewhere on the ACTS International site is a good essay on the power of giving thanks.
  • Take a few minutes today to check out these Thanksgiving articles, especially if you’re not feeling particularly in a “thanksgiving mood.” Giving thanks is an important and deeply rewarding element of the Christian faith, and now’s the perfect time to learn more about cultivating a thankful heart.

    Reflecting Christ’s generosity amidst the holiday shopping madness

    Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

    Today’s devotional is a short but appropriate challenge to us as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving… and as millions of shoppers brace themselves for the post-Thanksgiving consumer frenzy. In today’s devotional at Words of Hope, Steve Petroelje asks us to think biblically about where our money will go this holiday season:

    The biggest weekend in the Christmas shopping season is approaching. In the days ahead, many will awaken early and shop extensively. Lists will be made, deals will be sought, and lots of money will be spent.

    What if this year you gave to others besides your family and close friends?What if, instead of buying so many toys and electronics, you and your family provided food for someone who is homeless? Or gave some cash anonymously to someone who is dealing with unemployment or struggling to make ends meet.

    If Christmas is truly about God’s gift to us in Christ Jesus, then reflecting the heart of God would lead to giving generously to others.

    Read the full devotional at Words of Hope.

    So enjoy your Thanksgiving, and the inevitable preparations for Christmas. And take some time to consider how you will reflect Christ’s immense grace and generosity in the way you handle your time, finances, and gifts this holiday season.

    Finding a Christian perspective on Black Friday, holiday sales, and yet another commercialized Christmas

    Thursday, November 12th, 2009

    Brace yourselves for Black Friday! In a sign that the holiday season is finally and officially upon us, Wal-Mart, Target, and other major retailers have just released ads for their Black Friday sales—roadmaps for the annual shopping frenzy following Thanksgiving.

    I have no problem with anyone finding a good holiday sale at these or other stores, of course. But I can’t escape a twinge of despair at the thought of this annual celebration of consumerism. It’s partly guilt at the thought of so much money that will be spent on luxury goods and gadgets; it’s partly frustration that Black Friday is ironically linked to a holiday in which Americans (in theory) express their gratitude for and contentment with God’s blessings. And after the horror at a Long Island Wal-Mart last year, the thought of people stampeding through store aisles makes me feel somewhat ill.

    What’s a Christian to make of all this? We can decry the excesses of consumer culture and the commercialization of the holidays… but that message, which I’ve heard repeated every year since I first watched the Peanuts Christmas special, feels these days less like a bold spiritual statement and more like a dreary and obligatory annual Culture War complaint. We can abstain from Black Friday and the frenzied consumerism it represents, or at least moderate our participation. But what’s something positive we can do as we head into another holiday season marked by sales and rebates rather than spiritual reflection?

    This year, I’m going to use the beginning of the holiday sale season as a time to plan out how I and my family are going to live this Christmas. I’m not going to stop with the usual questions about Christmas shopping lists; this year I want to actively chart what we want to accomplish and think about during Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas. I’m going to ask the questions that usually get put off until the last minute, when holiday stress and expenses are high:

  • What will my prayer and devotional life be like over the holidays? Is there a particular book, devotional, or study I want to work through?
  • Are there any habits or behaviors God is calling me to give up?
  • What holiday programs in my community do I want to get involved with?
  • Who do I want to spend extra time with this holiday season?
  • What charities and organizations do we want to support this holiday season?
  • Who in my community is going to need some extra help (financially, emotionally, or something else) this Christmas? How will I help them?
  • What other questions should I be asking as the holiday season begins? Will you join me this winter in setting the holiday catalogues aside for a while, and making sure to ask these questions before the holiday madness distracts us?

    What do you think?

    Being Thankful Every Day

    Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

    When’s the last time you gave thanks for the simple things in life?

    If you’re like me, despite the many Biblical injunctions to be thankful, I rarely spend serious time in a spirit of thankfulness. I’ll devote a token amount of time on Thanksgiving to thank God for my family and friends—and that’s definitely a good thing—but I tend to miss out on the day to day opportunities for thanksgiving.

    Thankfulfor.com is out to create a collective journal of everyone’s daily thanksgivings. They ask the simple question, “What are you thankful for today?” to which people have responded with everything from “This class being over in 45 minutes!” to “I am grateful that my mother lived for almost three years after stroke. I am happy that she met her grandson.”

    You can login using your twitter account, or create an account with thankfulfor.com. Or jump straight to reading what the world is thankful for.

    So, what are you thankful for today?

    Why celebrate Thanksgiving?

    Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

    thanksgivingThose of us in the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving in just a few days. Unlike Christmas or Easter, Thanksgiving isn’t a commemoration of a specific Biblical event—but it’s a holiday with an obvious link to the Christian call to give thanks in all things.

    We’ve got a number of Thanksgiving resources to share this week, but it makes sense to start with the very basics of the Thanksgiving holiday: when was it started? Why do we celebrate it today?

  • The Christian History Institute explains the history of Thanksgiving. If you thought the idea of a Thanksgiving holiday started with the Pilgrims in New England, you might be surprised to learn that the famous Pilgrims-and-Indians feast was not technically the first Thanksgiving holiday!
  • That covers the historical fact of Thanksgiving—but why do we still celebrate this holiday today, hundreds of years after the events of the first Thanksgiving? Max Frazier’s essay Why Celebrate Thanksgiving? A Study in Psalm 100 explores the importance of gratitude, and the value of the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • So even as you plan out your Thanksgiving get-togethers and short vacation from work, take a few moments to read up on the “when” and “why” of Thanksgiving.

    [image by Ben Franske under a Creative Commons license]

    A Thanksgiving reflection from Gospel.com

    Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

    As those of us living in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving today (our friends in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October), we here at Gospel.com would like to encourage all of us—no matter where we live—to take time this week to reflect on the many things for which we should be thankful.

    It might be easy to call these days “uncertain times,” especially when we focus on the temporal events and concerns that bombard us each day. But God is at work in our world, and if we take the time to “be still” and look for Him, we can see that handiwork.

    Our prayer this Thanksgiving is that each of us might know the reality of a living Savior, that we might have the eyes to see where He is at work in our world, and that we might have the courage to get involved where we see Him working.

    May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving.

    Being Thankful for Sports

    Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

    FootballThe day of Thanksgiving can mean a number of things for those of us in the United States. For some it’s the food. For others it’s centered on family. And still for others it’s all about football. Sports are everywhere in the United States and many Christians will find themselves huddled both around the table and television with equal earnest this Thursday.

    So, if this thanksgiving weekend you or a loved one will be catching the kick-off in between bites of various meats and vegetables, we’d like to point you towards The Sports Spectrum. It’s a site that “seeks to highlight Christian athletes of all sports and levels to help motivate, encourage and inspire people in their faith through the exciting and challenging world of sports. You can read parts of their articles on coaches Lovie Smith and Steve Kragthorpe, as well as one about David Pollack. Sports Spectrum also publishes a half-time evangelism alternative called Power To Win!. Over the past decade, Power To Win! has:

    • Attracted over 2 million viewers
    • Been viewed at more than 40,000 outreach parties
    • Resulted in over 50,000 decisions for Christ

    Also, if you’re looking for a way to share the Good News with a sports lover, Good News & Crossway has sports themed tracts available here.

    Perhaps your local sports team is interested in ministry. Word of Life Fellowship sends whole teams overseas to use their talents to reach youth with the Gospel.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we hope your team wins!

    New Back to the Bible website!

    Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

    BTTBBack to the Bible has a brand new website!

    All of Back to the Bible’s classic content—including the Bible Minute daily devotional and the Back to the Bible radio broadcast—are still there, but are now easier to find and use. You can take a tour of the new site (PDF) to get a quick look at their many different devotionals, radio programs, Bible studies, and more.

    If you’re not familiar with the broadcast ministry of Back to the Bible, now’s a great time to get to know them! Start with their website tour, or for a bit of holiday spirit, check out their special Thanksgiving message.