Family Devotion: Best Toy Catalogue Ever!

 

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Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because  you believe in Christ Jesus.  

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV)

Bible Story: Luke 17:11-19, Jesus Heals Ten Lepers

Terrific Truth:  I can be thankful every day because of Jesus.  

Wow, can you believe that the holidays are just around the corner?  Before you know it, you’ll be making Christmas lists and decorating the tree.  Speaking of lists, have you ever noticed how many stores like to mail you toy catalogues this time of year?  They love to show you pictures of all the things you don’t have, so that you can make a list of everything you want.  Their job is to try to convince you that you need everything in their store.  

What if one year you got a different kind of catalogue in the mail?  What it didn’t show you pictures of everything you don’t have, but instead showed you all the stuff you do have?  Can you imagine if you had a catalogue with all the cool stuff you own?  You may even discover some fun things you forgot you have.

But what if it didn’t stop with just toys?  What if it also showed you pictures of your clothes and your food and your home?  What if it showed the blankets that keep you warm at night and the hot water heater that heats up your water for a bath?  What if it was filled with pictures of people who love you and even pictures of God and all the good things He is doing in your life?  

That would be an amazing catalogue, wouldn’t it?  Instead of making you think of all the stuff you don’t have, it would make you thankful for all the things you do have.  

We probably won’t have a catalogue like that waiting for us in our mailbox, but God wants us to have one in our heart.  It’s called gratitude.  God loves it when we spend more time focused on all the goods things we have instead of complaining about the things we wish we had.  It sets us free from greed and envy and lots of other bad stuff.

There’s a great story in the Bible where Jesus healed ten men of a terrible skin disease called leprosy.  Not only did this disease cause the men a lot of pain but it meant that they had to leave their families and their jobs and couldn’t even go to the place where they worshipped God.  

When Jesus healed these ten men, He gave them their lives back.  They were so excited that they ran off to tell everyone what happened.  Except for one guy.  He didn’t run away.  He ran back to Jesus.  Why?  Just to say thank you.  

You see, his heart was full of the pictures of what God had done for him, and he was truly thankful.  

This holiday season, before you make any Christmas lists, make a gratitude list and tell God and your family all the things you are thankful for in your life.  It’s the best way to get what you really want this Christmas, a heart that is full of joy.   

Prayer

God, thank you for loving me and giving me so much.  Help me to keep my eyes on the good things I already have in life instead of the things I don’t have.  Help me to be thankful today. Amen.

 

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Thanksgiving 365

simon-maage-351417.jpgBe thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

When my wife and I first got married, I had this wild, romantic notion to keep a secret thankfulness journal for her. Here’s how it was supposed to work. Every day for a year I planned to write down one thing I loved about her. Then I would surprise her the next Christmas with a year’s worth of appreciation. I imagined when she opened it, she would swoon, kiss me and then cook me a really nice dinner.

Women love that kind of stuff, right?

So I went out one blustery January day, bought a pink, girly journal and began what I thought would be an easy way to score major points in my marriage.

The first week was awesome. On day eight, however, I had a slight problem. I ran out of material. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like my wife isn’t great, but after about seven days, I thought I had written it all down. I am a guy, after all. We’re not exactly wired for sensitivity and emotional intelligence.

My journal went something like this:

Day 1 – You’re pretty.

Day 2 – You’re nice.

Day 3 – You’re pretty nice.

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A Thanksgiving Mascot That Rocks!

Forget the pilgrims.  Forget the turkeys.  I’m nominating a new Thankgiving mascot.  The Good Samaritan!  No, not that guy.  The other good Samaritan.  You, know, the thankful one?  Hello? 

Oh c’mon, don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the other Good Samaritan.  Why does that first guy get all the good press?  Just because he gave some poor sucker a donkey ride to the ER?  Forget that joker.  Let’s talk about the real Good Samaritan, the guy who should become the new Grand Marshal of the Macy’s parade. 

So Jesus was walking down the road one day when these ten lepers start yelling at Him in a LOUD voice (remember the loud voice part – it’s important later), “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  When he saw these guys, he felt sorry for them and told them go to town and show themselves to the priests.  Apparently, that was standard operating procedure when someone got cured.  Only thing is, they weren’t cured yet.  On the way, however, Jesus did His thing, and they were healed. 

Enter our hero, Mr. OGS (Other Good Samaritan).  When Mr. OGS saw he was healed, he broke off from the pack, made a quick u-turn and ran back to Jesus, praising God (wait for it, here it comes) in a LOUD voice.  He dropped to the ground and thanked Jesus. 

“What about the other guys?”  Jesus asks.  “Didn’t I heal them too?”  Then he told Mr. OGS to hit the road and go celebrate.  His faith had made him well. 

The Bible makes a big deal about the fact that this guy was a Samaritan, implying that at least some of the other men were Israelites, the insiders, the ones who should have known better when it came to gratitude to God. 

Okay, back to the loud voice.  I’m good at that when I need help, right?  “Jesus, Master, have pity on me!  Please help me with (insert your personal struggle here)”  Medicial, financial, relational, you name it.   I’ll take it straight to God in a LOUD voice. 

But what about afterwards?  What about when God comes through?  Uhh, yeah.  About that.  I’m afraid I’m not so loud then.  I’m afraid I’m like the nine and not like the one, the one who came back, the one who said thanks, the one who praised God in as loud of a voice as he used when begging for mercy. 

Me? Not so much.  But Mr. OGS?  Man, that guy IS Thanksgiving.   Even if they don’t make make him Grand Marshal, he ought to at least get a float, a balloon, something.

This Thankgsiving, let’s follow his lead.  How about we bust out the same urgency, the same the desperation, that we take to God in our trouble?  How about we get loud? 

Isn’t that what Thanksgiving’s all about?