This devotional appeared first on Susan Cady’s blog, Get Real!
We continue our study of Psalm 86:11-13, as we seek to prepare our hearts and homes in order to celebrate what’s truly important this Christmas season. (Download/Print the study guide, including family activities and Preparing Our Home ideas)
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. —Psalm 86:12
We have reason to give thanks everyday.
Jesus gives us reason to be grateful and give thanks every day! Psalm 107 is a wonderful psalm of thanksgiving.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south. —Psalm 107:1-3
I love the phrase in this psalm: Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! As those redeemed from an empty, hopeless and sinful life, we have reason to rejoice and give thanks! Over the next two weeks we will focus on two hearts attitudes of one who seeks to give thanks and glorify God with our whole being. These two can be tough ones. I find myself falling into an attitude of wanting and whining about all I “don’t have”. We all can get caught up in the comparison game. But we always have reasons to be thankful and rejoice!
Today, let’s look at a heart attitude that characterize one who lives with a grateful heart that seeks to glorify God. Below you’ll find definitions for some of the words used in the New Testament for giving thanks, thanksgiving and being thankful.
How can we cultivate hearts that give thanks to the Lord with our entire being?
give thanks —eucharisteo —to be thankful; to express one’s gratitude; give thanks
- Present tense — continuous or repeated action
- Imperative mood —used to give a command
- Active voice —action being accomplished by the subject of the verb (you do it!)
thanksgiving —eucharistia—gratitude; active, grateful language; thanks to God as an act of worship
be thankful —eucharistos—(used only in Colossians 3:15) — thankful, mindful of favors, grateful
In the midst of each of these words is the Greek word charis which means grace. A grateful heart cultivates grateful language, a language of the heart. God’s Word tells us that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Mattew 12:34) Our heart is not just our feelings, emotions, desires and affections, but also our mind and will. With our will we CHOOSE. Many times we may not FEEL like giving thanks but we can CHOOSE to do so as an act of worship to God.
“Feeling gratitude is not a prerequisite to giving thanks.” —T.M. Moore, The Thanksgiving Solution
When I find myself with that wanting and whining heart attitude it’s usually because I’m seeking to find my contentment, comfort and confidence in something or someone other than the Lord. Instead of resting in who I am in Christ Jesus, I’m seeking to complete something in me with the things of this world. But praise and thanksgiving usher us into God’s presence and there we find ourselves content, complete, confident and comforted!
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. —1 Thessalonians 5:18
Something I’ve found helpful in my life to bring me out of the wanting and whining attitude is to change my perspective. To begin to give thanks for all I do have and to give thanks for those things that are hard in my life. I know that God uses the hard things to mold me more into the character of Jesus and for that I am profoundly thankful! When I begin to list the reasons I have to be thankful, it changes my perspective and my heart attitude. It moves me from wanting and whining to worshipping the One who has redeemed me from that empty, hopeless and sinful way of life!
How can you be more intentional about cultivating a heart of gratitude and giving in your life? If you have children at home, what steps can you take to cultivate hearts of gratitude and giving in their lives? (This week’s Preparing our Home has a few ideas). If there is something you’ve done in your family to foster generosity with your children, please share with us! Leave a comment.
Next week we’ll examine another heart attitude from Psalm 86:12.
Create a Thankful Tree – Create a tree for your family to use at Thanksgiving to begin your Christmas season. Here’s a link to an example and free downloads.
Giving Thanks Scripture Chain/Jar – Print verses on giving thanks and cut into strips. Form into a chain or place strips in a jar and each day read the Scripture as a family and share something you are thankful for that day. Close in a time of prayer focused on praising God and giving thanks. Consider praying the verse for the day back to the Lord. (It’s a great way to teach your children how to personalize and pray Scripture!)