On this Thanksgiving Day, Americans are encouraged to pause and give thanks to God. In his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
I might say that I struggle with expressing gratitude to God. Yet, in truth, my problem isn’t a lack of gratitude so much as a failure to think about God’s gifts to me. When I actually take time to consider God’s grace in my life, when I actually remember the ways he has saved, healed, and transformed me, then gratitude flows quite easily. For me the formula is simple: Time + Remembering = Gratitude.
Beginning today, we’re going to take a short break from our slow devotional walk through Genesis in order to focus on giving thanks to the Lord. As most of my readers know, this coming Thursday is Thanksgiving Day for residents of the United States. It is a day for us to express our gratitude to God for his many blessings. At least that’s the idea.
Today is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday in the Christian year (or church year or liturgical year). Millions of believers throughout the world focus today on the coming of God’s kingdom as we worship Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. Today is, in fact, the last Sunday of the Christian year. Next Sunday we begin the new year with the first Sunday of Advent. (Even if you do not follow the Christian year, I can think of no better devotional focus than the royalty of Christ.)
Today, I’d like to base this devotion on two verses from Psalm 22. In the first verse (22:2), the psalmist laments God’s lack of response to his desperate prayers. Even though he has called out to God day and night, God has not answered. The second verse (22:24) seems almost to contradict the first, affirming God’s attention to those who cry for help in their suffering.
May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans.” Psalm 20:4 Psalm 20 is a prayer for the king of Israel. In this prayer, the psalmist asks God to grant the desires of the king’s heart and to make all of his plans succeed. That’s a fine request, to be … Read More
Growing up, one of my heroes was a Presbyterian pastor named Ben Patterson. He was the speaker at many of the Christian conferences I attended as a teenager. I was gripped by his theological insight and poetic skill. When I began work as a young pastor, I listened to dozens of Ben’s tapes, seeking to learn from him how to be an effective communicator of the Gospel.
Psalm 18 celebrates God’s deliverance of David from danger and distress. “The cords of death encompassed me,” he writes, “The cords of death encompassed me” (18:4). Yet, as David cried out to the Lord, God heard him and came to deliver him.
Hypocrisy is high on the list of critiques about religious people. As leaders who claim to follow Jesus, we are susceptible to being criticized for not “walking the talk.” And, rightly so.
Psalm 16 begins with a cry for divine help: “Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge” (16:1). Yet the bulk of the psalm does not focus on that from which the psalmist needs refuge. Rather, Psalm 16 celebrates God’s help in difficult times, his presence that keeps us safe and gladdens our hearts.