What is the focus of this month? You got it, THANKSGIVING!
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord Always I will say it again Rejoice.“
Skip down a few verses and read about what to focus on rejoicing in.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy, think about such things."
In Ann Voskamp’s Devotional book she hits this straight on from the beginning. Someone dared her to count one thousand things that she loved. Out of blogging about the gifts and graces God had bestowed upon her, thankfulness to God began to change her life.
This first week of November as we focus on Thanksgiving I am giving your family the same challenge. It is ok if this project takes you all month, but as a family take time every day to try to come up with 1,000 blessings.
As a family first pray and ask God to open your eyes to the thoughts from Philippians 4:8. Someone be the recorder, or each of you could record your own lists then compile them and read them allowed. (One rule: you cannot repeat the same blessing twice!) When your given time is up for recording for the day, praise God together as a family. Praise can be through prayer, singing or celebrating in a creative way.
Have Fun this week celebrating the blessings!
Last week’s Challenge was tough. Some of your families may still be working through your 1,000 blessings and that is ok! God does not promise us perfect easy going lives which can sometimes make writing those lists of blessings (although even more necessary), very difficult.
Read 1 Peter 1:6-7 "In [salvation] we greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
- What are we asked to rejoice in?
- How valuable is your faith in God?
- Why does God allow trials in our lives?
In spite of the trials, remember what you read last week in Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always!
- How do you suppose we are to rejoice through those trials? (Re-read Philippians 4:8)
In fact last week I asked you to skip a few verses. Go back and lets read them now. Read Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
As we offer our requests to God with Thanksgiving, what will happen to our hearts and minds? For the rest of this week I am going to ask you to go deeper as a family by doing two things:
- Continue to write your blessings
- Family Prayer. Ask one another, “How can I be praying for you?” Pray together with THANKSGIVING that God will hear and answer your requests and anxious thoughts.
Make sure to pray for everyone in your family, and to thank God daily for the 1,000 blessings.
Well I must admit, I can hardly write a devotion or speech without coming to my very favorite chapter in the whole Bible: Romans 12. In this chapter of the Bible we find a resource for living out God’s recipe for life. Many children ask or criticize parents’ decisions on how their children dress, act, and think. Well, think of making chocolate chip cookies; if you didn’t follow the recipe, you could end up with a pile of gooey gunk! God gives us His Word, the recipe for life in the Bible. He guides us on how to live to both protect us, and give Him the most glory. In this one chapter, we find a wealth of ingredients on living.
You have spent the last two weeks writing out blessings, spending intentional time praying for one another, and offering your requests to God with thanksgiving. Perhaps this has happened to you the past two weeks. Read Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will."
- How do you see this verse lining up with Philippians 4:6-7?
- What is the pattern of the world when it comes to challenges in life?
- In week one of November you were given a verse to help you focus on the blessings you were writing. What was that verse?
- How can focusing on that verse renew your mind?
As you are renewed in mind you will be able to live out my favorite verses in Romans 12. Read Romans 12: 9-21.
That is a lot to absorb! This week, concentrate on my very first memory verses: Romans 12:9-13 "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice Hospitality."
- In another week you will undoubtedly be with many other people beyond your family. How can living out your transformed mind by focusing on God’s blessings and offering up your anxious thoughts with thanksgiving be applied to these verses?
- When in school or work or at home, who is it that you could honor, offer hope to, or provide hospitality to?
Each night this week keep counting your blessings, praying, and now start planning in your hearts and minds how you will apply Romans 12:9-13 to all your friends and family next week.
Happy Thanksgiving Week!
I have given you a lot to work on over this past month. This week you will have a perfect opportunity to put to practice all that you have been working on. Each Day of this week I would like you to read the Psalm or verses given as a family. It might be nice to do this in the choral reading fashion, where everyone reads the verses aloud at the same time. Take time to meditate on the verses given, then close in prayer as a family. On Thanksgiving Day, it would be nice to take out your 1,000 blessings and share with other friends and relatives the challenge that was given to you and how focusing on those blessings transformed your thinking.
Day 1 - Psalm 146 "Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save."
Day 2 – Psalm 103: 2-4 "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion."
Day 3 – Psalm 7:17 "I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord most high."
Day 4 – Hebrews 12:28 "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptable with reverence and awe."
Day 5 – Psalm 100 "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is Good and His faithfulness continues through all generations."
Day 6 – Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing."
How awesome to know that just as we rejoice in God, He is rejoicing over us!
Day 7 – Psalm 150 After a very busy week, and hopefully now resting in His love for you, I would like you to read this one last Psalm together which demonstrates the full expanse of our possible worship.
"Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His might heavens. Praise Him for his acts of power, praise Him for his surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with strings and flute, Praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord."
What can you do to celebrate and Praise God today in this sort of way? Try having a party of singing, music, instruments and dancing all for the Lord!
I have enjoyed writing for you this month. I hope you have enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving and your hearts and minds are renewed. God Bless you all. If you would like to write to me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “devotional response” in the subject line.