Family Devotion: Best Toy Catalogue Ever!




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.   


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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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Kids This Christmas


Wow, can you believe it?  Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas is only 39 days away. 

I don’t know if you’ve already started shopping for your kids yet, but I wanted to offer a suggestion for the most valuable gift you could possibly get your children this year.  Best of all, it won’t cost you a dime.

It’s the gift of taking care of yourself.  

Wait!  Before you think I’m crazy, hear me out.  The holidays are busy, crazy and stressful.  I get it.  I’ve been there.  There’s so much to do, so many people to see, complicated family dynamics to navigate and on and on and on.  

What we label as the most wonderful time of the year sometimes turns us into the worst version of ourselves—tired, grumpy and distracted.  

If we’re running on empty and neglecting our spiritual health, we won’t have anything of true value to offer our families.  

That’s why I wrote a free ebook called Spiritual Travel Tips for the Holiday Road.   Inside you’ll find devotionals, Scripture and intentional questions to help you make a plan to keep yourself healthy, sane and joyful through the new year and beyond.


Sure, your kids may ask for the latest toy or gadget this year, but what they really want most is to make memories with you.  Give them the gift of being the best version of yourself, the person God made you to be.  

By the way, if you want more Christmas inspiration, you can check out my brand new book, Holiday Road: a Christmas Devotional.  It’s available in paperback on Amazon but you can download a free sample here.HolidayRoadCover