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365 Devotions for a Thankful Heart

365 Devotions for a Thankful Heart

by Zondervan Publishing

Learn More | Meet Zondervan Publishing

January 1

Awakening Gratitude

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

    —Psalm 95:6

A quick step to a thankful heart is to spend a few minutes worshiping God. Open your Bible and read aloud a favorite psalm, Philippians 2, or any favorite passage. Sing a classic hymn. Thank God for evidence of His presence.

Another idea: in your journal, share your reaction to Brother Lawrence's thoughts on worship:

  • "To worship God in truth is to recognize him for being who He is, and to recognize ourselves for what we are."
  • "To worship God in truth is to further admit that we are entirely contrary to Him, and that He is willing to make us like Himself if we desire it."
  • "We must worship him ... by a humble and true adoration of spirit in the depth and center of our souls."

Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century monk, was the author of The Practice of the Presence of God, in which these and other thoughts about worship are found. The book's very title seems synonymous with the psalmist's call to worship the King. And spending time in worship awakens gratitude in our hearts.

January 2

At Work Behind the Scenes

A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

    —Proverbs 16:9

Have you ever had to make a decision and then watched the situation turn out better than you'd hoped Consider a couple of examples:

  • The worship leader needed a substitute singer—in half an hour. He wasn;t sure why Haley came to mind, but he was confident she was the one he should call. Haley had just been turned down for the lead in the school musical, and now she was the worship leader's firest choice!
  • The temp agency sent many possible hires to the human resources department. One of them, Brenda, had been interviewing at various businesses and sensed God telling her to accept the first offer that came. Before he interviewed people for the position, the decision maker in HR had prayed for guidance, and he was teh first to offer Brenda a job. Now another believer brings God's light and grace to that company.

When we realize that the Lord has worked behind the scenes, let's be quick to thank Him. Hindsight offers many reasons to grow in gratitude!

I am grateful, Lord, for the hope-and-peace-giving truth that You are at work in my life!

January 3

God's Rhythm

"The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work."

    —Exodus 20:10

Are you someone who reads the instructions before you start assembling the bike or the bookcase Paying attention to what manufacturers have to say about what they've made is a good thing.

In the command to rest from Exodus, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, we see a basic rhythm God wove into His creation: six days of work followed by a day of rest. How could we regret setting apart that one day to rest and let God reorient, redirect, recharge, and refresh us After all, when we do so, we are living according to the Manufacturer's specifications.

Sometimes, though, a manufacturer doesn't addesss every situation that may arise. Many of us have learned, for instance, that turning off our computers or smartphones for a few minutes and then restarting them can override aglitch, and we're good to go!

But you and I are far more complex than any computer or smartphone. Let's be thankful that God knows how important it is for us to trun off, to slow down, to rest so He can reset us for use again in His kingdom work. God has given us the instructions; all we have to do is follow them!

Thank You, Lord, for wanting to bless me with rest. Please give me the discipline to choose Your rhythm for my life.

January 4

Whistle While You Work

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

    —Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NIV

If you have watched Disney's classic film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, you probably know the song "Whistle While You Work." Even if you've never heard it, the song's title is self-explanatory, and the lyrics flesh out its idea of choosing joy even while performing mundane tasks.

Snow White made it look simple, but this mind-set takes effort. It is all to easy to grumble and complain while you're working, whether you're sweeping up your child's Cherios for the millionth time, sitting through a long meeting, studying for a big exam, or working long hours to finish a project. But when we gripe, we often find feelings of negativity following us for the rest of the day. If we decide to adopt a positive attitude or choose to figuratively whistle while working, we'll find life much more enjoyable.

Consider whistleing through work today, in whatever form is helpful to you. Listen to your favorite song to start your day. Savor your coffee during a tough drive to the office. Remind yourself of the good that's coming from your work, whether it's a clean and peaceful home, a paycheck to feed your family, or a step closer to your degree. Don't grumble; whistle!

Father, please remind me to choose a lighthearted response to the mundane tasks of the day.

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