Why Give Thanks?

November 22, 2008

(For a version of this devotion that is easier to print, follow this link.)

What does the Bible tell us about thanksgiving?

Not about the American holiday. Not about pumpkins and Indian corn and turkeys. But about the giving of thanks to God. How does the Bible emphasize the importance of giving thanks? When are we to give thanks? To what end? For what reasons? In what manner should we give thanks?

In preparation for the holiday, I read all the verses of Scripture that contain the words “thank,” “thanks,” or “thanksgiving.” I encourage you to read a subset of these verses, available online at this link. Here are a few key verses to answer these questions: Read more

The Desire for Selfish Gain

November 15, 2008

What does your heart go after? What does your heart desire?

Our hearts naturally desire abundance, ease, and security. Indeed, the candidates for various offices in this fall’s election all tried to attract our votes by claiming that they – and not their opponents – would be best for our pocketbooks. And such appeals work.

The psalmist warns us against these natural desires:

Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!

There is an inherent trade-off between having a heart inclined toward God and His Word, and a heart inclined toward the things of this world. The two are like oil and water. They may be mixed for a brief period of time, as the Holy Spirit works within us. But in the end, one will come out on top. Read more

Forget Not All His Benefits

November 7, 2008

(For a version of this devotion that is easier to print, follow this link.)

David writes in Psalm 103:

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 benefits

Pray with me as I recount some of those benefits:

  • I praise You, Lord, for though I deserve your wrath and judgment, instead in Christ I have forgiveness for all my iniquities.
  • I praise You that Your love and mercy follow me all the days of my life.
  • I praise You for giving me health and energy – all the health and energy I need to fulfill Your plans for me. In particular, I thank You for the physical ability to go out for a run on this brilliant autumn day.
  • I praise You that You work justice for all the oppressed – that You will eventually right all wrongs, that You will eventually see that perfect justice is done. In the present, Lord, I thank You that it is possible today for a man to be elected President of this country who only a few decades ago would not have been allowed to sit next to me at a lunch counter in this city. Read more