Long Devotional for Women:
The Value of Gratitude -
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. —Psalm 100:4
The movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released in 2005 and starred Johnny Depp as the famous Willy Wonka. In the movie, five lucky children were exclusively invited inside the chocolate factory. Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop, Mike Teavee, Violet Beauregarde, and Charlie Bucket were the lucky five who found the golden tickets.
If you have seen the movie, you are probably aware that each of the children who entered had character flaws. Veruca was selfish and self absorbed; she thought that she deserved everything. Augustus was a glutton; he could not seem to stop overindulging, no matter what warnings were thrown his way. Mike had no respect for authority and a quick temper. He bullied his parents and anyone else who was around. Violet was highly competitive and would do anything to win, even if it meant being blue for the rest of her life. And then there was Charlie. What was he? Grateful.
People who are grateful are the people who you see walking around life with joy written on their hearts and shining through their eyes. These are the people who have learned to appreciate what they have been given and, normally, are not focused only on stuff or things. They are thinking about friends, family, loved ones. Take a look at what the Bible, in the book of Romans, says about the ungrateful.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21)
The Bible tells us that we come into the Lord’s presence when we are grateful and give thanks. It is gratefulness that softens each person’s heart, helping him or her to be aware of the blessings each has been given.
The character Charlie understood. He did not need all the money or all the chocolate in the world to be happy. He had a life overflowing with the love of those who were around him. He did not dwell on what he did not have, but focused on all he did have. He was grateful. Truly, it is those who are grateful, no matter their circumstances, which end up with uncountable blessings for eternity.
1. Make a list of 5 things that you are thankful for in your life.
2. Why does it sometimes get hard to be happy with what you have or your circumstances?
1 Samuel 25:37-40; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Philippians 4:19
This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.
More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/
Long Devotional for Men:
Giving Thanks -
This devotional was written by Jim Burns
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:18
Happy Thanksgiving! I love this holiday as it is especially well suited for Christians, for God has blessed us in so many ways through Christ. Yet, life at times is painful and it would not be a stretch to understand on this Thanksgiving Day why some people might feel like crying out, “Thanks for what?”! And if we are not careful, we can easily slip into a pervasive attitude of negativity. When we choose to focus on the bad experiences of our lives, our shattered dreams and on our losses, we can become ungrateful and take for granted the many blessings God has given to us, reducing Thanksgiving Day into just another family gathering and meal.
Christians have every reason to be thankful because Jesus Christ was willing to sacrifice his very life in order to set us free from the constraints of sin. Paul explained it this way: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us," (Romans 5:8). We have a special reason to adopt the attitude of gratitude, because we know that whatever comes, our times are in God's hands. It was Jesus who said, in effect, "So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow, too," (see Matthew 6:34).
It was the apostle Paul who said that we should "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." But for many of us, the attitude of thankfulness does not come easily. We've learned from our past to complain our way through most circumstances.
In studying thankfulness, I've learned a very helpful idea: thankfulness is a key that unlocks your depressive emotions. You cannot be both thankful and depressed at the same time. They are opposite emotions. You can be sad, hurt, or angered and still be thankful; but you can't be depressed and still be thankful.
We can't make the decision about whether some of life's negative "stuff' is thrown our way; but we can decide to be thankful, even in the midst of a not-so-perfect world. Deciding to become a thankful person can transform your life!
Thankfulness is an attribute that transcends your circumstances. No matter what your circumstances, I believe there is reason to be thankful in them. Your circumstances may never change, but your attitude toward them can change and that will make all the difference. Today, may you truly experience a happy Thanksgiving!
1. Make a list of reasons you have to be thankful today.
2. Spend some time in prayer, giving God thanks for the items on your list.
Romans 5:8; Luke 17:11-18; Psalm 95
Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com.
Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California.
More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com