30 Days of Thanksgiving – Week 4

picture-week1november 20psalm 136sunday
In what ways does the goodness of God give you a spirit of thanksgiving?

Psalm 136 goes on to list many different things God has done that shows us his enduring love and causes us to give him thanks. What things would you add to this list?

november 211 timothy 2.1-7monday
Why do some people find it difficult to be thankful for political leaders?

In what ways can your thankfulness for earthly leaders point people to the one king who is sovereign over all the earth?

november 22psalm 119.57-64tuesday
Why are you thankful for the law of God?

What things can you do today that demonstrate your thankfulness for God’s law?

november 23psalm 106wednesday
The psalmist sees God’s enduring love as closely tied his mighty acts. What mighty acts of God have shown his love for you?

How has this resulted in a life of thanksgiving and praise for you?

november 24philippians 4.4-7thursday
Why do our anxieties prevent us from being thankful?

How much time have you spent in prayer and petition with God today?

november 25psalm 118friday
Psalms of thanksgiving are the result of God doing what the author could never do. How has God rescued you in ways beyond what you thought was possible?

In what ways are you thankful for the light of God shining on you?

november 262 corinthians 4saturday
In what ways does thanksgiving bring glory to God?

How does your life cause others to be thankful?

november 27acts 3.1-10sunday
Why is it often difficult for us to attribute good things in our life to the power of God?

Describe a time in your life when you could not help but talk about God and the power of his salvation? Howcan you do that today?

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Week 3

picture-week1november 13psalm 107sunday
What is the story of your redemption?

How often do you share this story with others, sharing your thankfulness for the enduring love of the Lord? Why not share it with someone today?

november 14daniel 6.1-10monday
What sort of example does Daniel provide us regarding regular times of prayer and thanksgiving, regardless of the circumstances?

How many times have you prayed today? Why not pray now?

november 151 corinthians 15.50-58 – tuesday
In what ways do we often assume death is the worst thing that could happen to us?

What is your response to knowing that God gives us victory over death through Jesus Christ?

november 16jonah 2wednesday
When you have moments when God “brings you up from the pit,” what is your response to him?

In what ways does hitting rock bottom cause you to be even more thankful when you are rescued?

november 17colossians 3.12-17thursday
Why would Paul put “the peace of Christ” and being thankful on similar footing?

How well have you done all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father today?

november 18revelation 7.9-12friday
What does it mean to give God praise and glory … and thanks?

How can you both praise and thank God today?

november 19luke 24.13-35saturday
How does the Lord’s Supper remind us of our thankfulness to God for what he has done through his son?

Why do you think it was this event that caused the disciples to recognize Jesus?

november 20psalm 136sunday
In what ways does the goodness of God give you a spirit of thanksgiving?

Psalm 136 goes on to list many different things God has done that shows us his enduring love and causes us to give him thanks. What things would you add to this list?

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Week 2

picture-week1november 62 corinthians 9.6-15sunday
Why does generosity evoke thanksgiving in others?

Think of someone who has been generous to you. Show them—and God—thanksgiving today.

november 7ephesians 5.8-20monday
Why is it natural to see thanksgiving as closely related to psalms, hymns, and songs?

In what ways have you made the most of the opportunities you have today to let your thanksgiving be a light to others?

november 8isaiah 51.1-16tuesday
If you were translating Isaiah for a contemporary audience, what are some comparisons you could list here that communicate going from waste to beauty?

How can you use God’s working in your “ruins” and “deserts” to create joy and thanksgiving in your life and the life of others?

november 9psalm 18wednesday
In what ways should the thankfulness of Christians be even more impactful than that of those who do not follow God?

How does your thankfulness serve as a witness to those around you?

november 101 corinthians 10.14-22thursday
Why would Jesus call the cup offered at the Lord’s Supper the “cup of thanksgiving?”

How can you make your reaction to a negative situation one of thanksgiving, rather than fear?

november 11romans 1.18-23friday
Why would a lack of thanksgiving darken your heart?

Can you know God and not be thankful? If not, then be thankful today.

november 12luke 17.11-19saturday
How does God—his healing or his offer of salvation—cause you to do things you would never have thought you would have done?

Completely surprise someone today: thank them for something when they least expect it.

november 13psalm 107sunday
What is the story of your redemption?

How often do you share this story with others, sharing your thankfulness for the enduring love of the Lord? Why not share it with someone today

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Week 1

november 1psalm 100tuesday picture-week1
What picture comes to mind when you think of entering the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise?

List the ways you have seen the goodness of God today or this past week?

november 2colossians 2.6-15wednesday
What is the difference between thankfulness and thankfulness that overflows?

What is one way you can live more in Christ Jesus today as you show your thankfulness?

november 3john 6.1-15thursday
Why do you think Jesus took the time to give thanks for this meal he was about to serve this crowd?

What are ways you can be sure to be thankful for the food you have?

november 41 peter 2.4-10friday
Describe a time when you were chosen for some-thing special. How did it make you feel?

Show someone your thankfulness and praises to God for being chosen as a child of His.

november 5ephesians 4.29-5.7saturday
Why does Paul contrast “obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking” with thanksgiving?

Pick someone and show him or her your thankfulness for him or her today.

november 62 corinthians 9.6-15sunday
Why does generosity evoke thanksgiving in others?

Think of someone who has been generous to you. Show them—and God—thanksgiving today.

Vacation – June 30

Text: Revelation 6.1-8.1 (Read it here)20160630

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”

(Revelation 7.11-12, NIV)

Silence
Author: Rob Anderson

It doesn’t end quite like you would expect it to, does it?

In Revelation 6, the Lamb begins to open the seven seals of the scroll found in heaven.

After the first seal is opened, there is a voice like thunder and a white horse rides out, bent on conquest.

After the second seal, a red, fiery horse, with a rider who has a large sword, having the power to make people on earth kill each other.

After the third seal, a rider is on a black horse with a pair of scales.

After the fourth seal is broken, a rider on a pale horse named “Death” comes, one which had the power to “kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.”

After the fifth seal, the souls of those who had been slain call out in a loud voice: “How long?”

After the sixth seal is broken, there is a great earthquake. The sun turns black and the moon blood read.

So what would one expect as a climax after the seventh and final seal is opened?

My assumption would be that complete chaos would break loose after this last seal is broken. There has been a buildup of events, leading up to the culmination of … thirty minutes of silence.

Why?

I believe that once that final seal is broken, the deed is done. God’s punishment on the wicked and salvation for the righteous is complete and the only natural response to the sovereignty of God is silence.

In Habakkuk 2, we are reminded that false gods need to have their voices provided for them, but when the One in power is acknowledged, silence is the best option. There is no need to clamor or try to say just right thing. God has already done what needs to be done and now, we simply rest in his goodness.

Let all the earth be silent, indeed.

Questions:

Revelation 5 tells us that the lamb that was worthy to open the seals of the scroll that told of the final battle between God and Satan was a lamb that looked like it had been slain. Does a lamb, much less a slain lamb, evoke a sense of power and awe in your mind? Why or why not? In what ways does the death of this lamb actually indicate a power far beyond what it appears on the surface?

Stop and think for a moment about the 7 attributes applied to God in Revelation 7.12. What does it mean for God to be worthy of these seven things? How do these attributes help cement in your mind God’s sovereignty, that is, his worth as the creator and sustainer of the world, and in the book of Revelation, the victor over evil?

When the final seal of the scroll was opened, there was silence for half an hour. What did you expect to happen when this seal was opened, based on what you have read about the other 6? In what ways does silence actually show power, more power than a commotion would have indicated? What examples can you give that shows this to be the case?

Vacation – June 29

Text: Psalm 145 (Read it here)20160629

I will exalt you, my God the King;
    I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
    and extol your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    his greatness no one can fathom.

(Psalm 145.1-3, NIV)

The Greatest of All Time
Author: Rob Anderson

In recent days, we saw the passing of Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers who ever lived and judged by most to be the most recognized sports figure of the last century. Ali may be the only boxer I can recall seeing fight—I am not really a fight fan. There was something about him, however, that made people take notice. If you read boxing history, Ali fights were spectacles sights to behold.

What other sporting figures stand out to you as the greatest of all time in their respective sport?

What other sporting events stand the test of time as the greatest spectacle you have ever seen?

What events rank high enough on your list that in the years to come your children and grandchildren will gather around at family gatherings and hear you tell the stories of: I remember the time I got to see in person…

Let’s go a step deeper.

What events or moments in your life have been so impacted by God that you will tell of them from “one generation to another?” (See Psalm 145.4)

You may have seen the greatest boxer or baseball player ever to set foot in the ring or on the diamond, but you also have a God whose greatness no one can fathom. He is the good worthy of praise and glory and honor.

So, when is the last time you talked to others about the greatest of all time, the Lord Almighty?

Questions:

Have you praised God today? In not, why not? If so, why and how did you praise him? Why is God worthy of praise “forever and ever?”

In what ways has previous generations commended the works of God to you? What specific people and what specific incidents can you think of that demonstrate this? How have you done the same for others? What happens when one generation fails to commend God to the next? Can you think of any examples of this happening?

How reassuring to you is the fact that God is trustworthy and faithful in all he does? In what ways do you make these promises a foundational element to your life of faith? How would your faith walk be different if you didn’t have these promises to count on? In what ways can you eliminate doubt and fear from your life based on these promises?

Vacation – June 28

Text: Colossians 1.15-23 (Read it here)20160628

And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

(Colossians 1.18-20, NIV)

Substitute Teachers
Author: Rob Anderson

Think back to your elementary days. Do you remember that time you had a substitute teacher? So just exactly how did you act?

When I was in the fifth grade, we knew we were going to have a substitute for an extended period of time—several weeks. We were pretty excited about it and to be honest, it was for all the wrong reasons.

Even before the first day the teacher was absent, we were already planning ways in which we would skirt the rules and dupe the teacher. We would sit in all the wrong places and convince her that our “regular” teacher allowed all kinds of things that she in fact would never allow.

On the day the substitute showed up for class, we were in for a surprise. The “substitute” was actually a teacher who had been in our school the previous year. She knew all of us by name. To make matters worse, she went to church with me!

We knew we were defeated before the school day even began. There was no way we would pull a fast one on her.

When we read Colossians 1, I wonder if the first readers of the letter assumed about Jesus many of the things we did about our substitute. There is a sense that a substitute teacher is not a “real” teacher. (He or she wouldn’t be called a sub if he or she was permanent, right?)

When the first readers of Colossians listened to Paul, here is what they heard:

  • Jesus is the image of the invisible God
  • He was the firstborn
  • In him all things were created
  • He is the head of the body
  • He has supremacy

Jesus doesn’t sound much like a substitute or like he is playing second-fiddle, does he? And he is not. It is through him that we have salvation. He is the one who reconciles us to God. Without Jesus, we have no opportunity to be with God.

How do you look at Jesus today? Is he just a small part of the bigger picture or is he the one you allow to bring you into a relationship with God?

Questions:

We often hear people talk about the “apple not falling far from the tree.” What do we mean when we say this? What characteristics do you have that you or others have seen in your parents or perhaps siblings? In what ways are your actions close enough to one another that you could even be mistaken for the other?

When we look at Jesus, we see God—the fullness of God dwells in him. How does this fact help you as you desire to know God? What things about God do you know only because you know Jesus?

What does Paul mean when we writes that Jesus is the head of the church, “so that in everything he might have the supremely?” What does it mean to be the supreme being? If Jesus is supreme, how does our life compare to his? How does this change or affect the way you chose to live your life?