And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:16–19
Heavenly Father, this passage underscores our calling to love all kinds of people in all kinds of situations—including holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving. No calling exposes our need for the gospel more than the command to love well, and no calling better positions us to trust you to do much more than we can ask or imagine. In a year when some families are divided along post-election political lines, may your grace be supersized in our hearts and midst.
Because of your great love for us in Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of the risks of love. As this Scriptures says, we can “know and rely on the love God has for us”. May your perfect love continue to drive out all our fears—including the fears related to the loving in messy, awkward, broken family stories.
Help us love our family members in fresh and creative ways. Give us thick skins, so we won’t take things too personally; and give us big hearts, so we’ll love family members for who they are, …
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess. 5:18)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:1)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful (Col. 3:15).
Heavenly Father, I woke up today thankful, and I simply want to acknowledge it; for what do we have that we haven’t received from your heart and hand? You’re the God from whom all blessings flow, by whom all grace is given, through whom all hope springs up. May a grateful heart beat loudly in my breast this whole Thanksgiving week, and well beyond.
Thank you for the texture and taste of flourless chocolate cake, for hiding my life in Jesus; for deep blue skies on low humidity days; for working in all things for our good and your glory; for the pull of a fish on my line; for the angels you deploy daily on our behalf; for the smell of bacon cooking; for Jesus’ declaration, “It is finished!”, for the sound waves make crashing on the shoreline; for the fact we can trust you with our children; for the sound of loud congregational singing; for sweet potato fries; for a limit on our sufferings; for…. Father, I could go on and on, and I want to and I will…
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col. 2:6-7
Lord Jesus, on this Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, we want to get an early start on giving you the thanks of which you alone are worthy. Not like a slow drip, babbling brook, or meandering stream; but joyfully overflowing the banks of our souls with gratitude.
The worship-worthy things in our lives exponentially outnumber the whine-worthy stories. The nanosecond you gave us faith to trust you as Savior; we were fully forgiven, robed in your righteousness, and rooted in your love. Just as we can’t add one iota to your righteousness, we can never be separated from your love.
You’ve already rescued us from the penalty of sin; you’re continually setting us free from the power of sin; and one Day you’ll deliver us from the very presence of sin. Hallelujah!
You liberated us from a life of “selfies” and self-ism, and have written us into your big Story of redeeming love and cosmic restoration. You’ve made us citizens of heaven, heirs of the new earth, and conduits of your mercy and grace. Hallelujah!
Your generosity is off the charts measureless, and your gospel is beyond-all-imagining magnificent. Absolutely nothing can alter, deter, or spoil your plan for our lives, and your purposes for the universe. You are that sovereign and that good.
Jesus, we’d love to be done, forever, with all carping and complaining, boohoo-ing and bellyaching—and with every other expression of ingratitude. But until that Day, cause a …
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me (Psalm 50:23 ESV).
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Cor. 9:15 NIV)
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NIV).
Heavenly Father, obeying these Scriptures is pretty easy in this moment, for my heart is filled with thanksgiving. Thank you for being such an incomparably kind and relentlessly generous God. Though the weakness of my flesh and the whisperings of the devil will try to sabotage my gratitude as the day unfolds, I want to tell you what is presently fresh and real in my heart.
First of all, thank you for the “indescribable gift” of the gospel. Because of Jesus, no condemnation is left for my sin; perfect righteousness is declared to be mine; and I cannot, and will not, ever experience separation from your love. O, the knee-buckling wonder of it all!
Thank you for your commitment to finish your work of salvation in me. I so want to be like Jesus, and I’m so not like him in many ways. But I praise you that you love me right now to the degree I’m in Christ, not to the degree I’m like Christ. I’m 100% in, so I’m good, and thank you!
Father, thank you for being steadfastly at work for my good in all things (Rom. 8:28)—in the things that thrill me and the things that annoy me; in in the wounds that still hurt me and the failures that still haunt me; in the “unanswered” prayers and in unexpected gifts; in delayed flights and in countless delights.
In the …
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 1 Cor. 4:7
Dear heavenly Father, I take way too much for granted, still indulge an occasional bout with an attitude of entitlement, live with an assumed right to things the poor of the world would consider luxuries, and live at a pace of life which makes it easy to keep on going without saying, “Thank You”.
I repent, this morning, and want to express heart-felt gratitude for a wide array of things I would never have if you weren’t so generous. I praise you for giving me a wide array of gifts—each of which you intend for me to greatly enjoy and freely share.
Father, I praise you for a full and complete salvation in Jesus. By your sovereign goodness, you revealed the depth of my need, and then lavished the riches of your grace on me. I’m forgiven of everything and have been declared righteous in your sight. I’m an object of your constant affection and a subject in your unshakeable kingdom.
I’m a beloved child of yours and a called servant in your story. I a roof over my head and the new heaven and new earth as my permanent home. These things, alone, mock any whining and pining I can muster on any given day. But there’s more, much …
One of them (one of the lepers), when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:15-15 (NLT)
Dear Lord Jesus, I want to be more like the healed Samaritan leper that came back to you shouting, “Praise God!” Indeed, I want my whole being to yell “Thank you!” for all the blessings and benefits I have in you.
As my Creator and Sustainer, Jesus, I bless you for every good thing you’ve given (and give) me: Food and clothing, shelter and a bed; lungs and breath, a vocation and vacations; medical care and money to spend, a family to love and friends galore; fish to catch and bread to share… and the list goes on and on.
As my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus, I adore you for living in my place and dying in my place; for sins forgiven and righteousness given; for victory over death and grace for life; for your steadfast love and daily mercies; for citizenship in heaven and a place in your kingdom; for the hope of glory and the glory of the gospel… just to name a few!
As my Lord and King, Jesus, I worship you working in all things all the time for my good. You have my hairs numbered and …
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 (ESV)
Dear Lord Jesus, I’d do well to read this Scripture every day. You’ve given us so many reasons to be a people of gratitude and joy—even in those seasons of life when brokenness seems more apparent than beauty. Here are a few things for which I give thanks as this day begins.
You’ve blessed us with many creature comforts—things we either take for granted, or assume we have them because we deserve them or earned them. Things like our jobs and homes, clothing and food, the wonders of creation and the privilege of vacations. Thank you for your persistent and pervasive generosity.
And like your first disciples, you give us the joy of being used in your service—no small thing, indeed. Thank you for the privilege of sharing the gospel, serving in your church, laboring in your kingdom. Thank you for the honor of loving our neighbors, working for justice, and caring for the poor. Every one of us has been given a place in your story of redemption and restoration.
But as this Scripture reminds us, …
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me. Psalm 50:23
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph. 5:20
Dear heavenly Father, before we have a chance to whine today, we want to worship you; before we start counting our disappointments, we want to declare our encouragements; before we fall into fretting and blaming, we cho0se to rejoice and give thanks. You have given us ample reasons to do so.
First and foremost, we bless you, Father, for your steadfast, unwavering, and enduring love. Most of our gripes can be traced back to not believing you love us as much as you say you do. We look to people and stuff, circumstances and storylines to fill the agape-shaped hole in our hearts. It never works, and we only end up making ourselves and other people miserable. By your Holy Spirit, renew and supersize our core conviction of the utter sufficiency, and immeasurable wonder of your love for us in Jesus. Hallelujah, the gospel is true!
And Father, we also thank you (by faith) for circumstances we can’t control, people we can’t change, and regrets we can’t undo. For these things drive us to Jesus in ways we, otherwise, wouldn’t choose for ourselves. Though we’d rather be self-sufficient, you …
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thess. 2:16-17
Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Rom. 15:4
Dear heavenly Father, I praise you today for your compassion-driven, wisdom-laden, Swiss-timed commitment to encourage us. You could delegate a legion of angels or you could send a raven to feed us breakfast—either of which would be cool, but instead, you personally come to us in the Scriptures by your Spirit.
Indeed, the Bible is such a gift to us—a treasure trove of hope, an artesian spring of refreshment, a perpetual supply of redemptive surprises, an always-working GPS for return trips to gospel sanity; for it’s the “cradle of the Christ,” not a manual for self-reform. It shows us that wisdom is a Person—the Lord Jesus, not a formula for success. It reveals the depth of our need, so we might boast in the riches of your provision—the gospel of your grace.
Father, may the “eternal encouragement and good hope” of the gospel free us for a week of gratitude, not grumbling; blessing, not cursing; giving, not grabbing; encouraging, not criticizing—loving one another as Jesus so radically loves us.
As this day begins (and …