Sunday, 1 January 2017

Our Daily Bread devotional, January 1, 2017 - Thanks-Living


Topic: Thanks-Living [January 1, 2017]

Read: Psalm 23, Bible in a Year: Genesis 1–3; Matthew 1

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. Psalm 23:6

Wanting to mature in her spiritual life and become more thankful, Sue started what she called a Thanks-Living jar. Each evening she wrote on a small piece of paper one thing she thanked God for and dropped it in the jar. Some days she had many praises; other difficult days she struggled to find one. At the end of the year she emptied her jar and read through all of the notes. She found herself thanking God again for everything He had done. He had given simple things like a beautiful sunset or a cool evening for a walk in the park, and other times He had provided grace to handle a difficult situation or had answered a prayer.

Sue’s discovery reminded me of what the psalmist David says he experienced (Ps. 23). God refreshed him with “green pastures” and “quiet waters” (vv. 2–3). He gave him guidance, protection, and comfort (vv. 3–4). David concluded: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life” (v. 6).

I’m going to make a Thanks-Living jar this year. Maybe you’d like to as well. I think we’ll see we have many reasons to thank God—including His gifts of friends and family and His provisions for our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. We’ll see that the goodness and love of God follow us all the days of our lives.

Prayer: Dear Lord, You bless me in more ways than I can count. Thank You for Your love for me.

When you think of all that’s good, give thanks to God.

Insight:

Psalm 23 is a familiar favorite of many people. Modern believers are unlikely to connect shepherds with sovereigns. Yet in the Bible world, people did think of kings as shepherds. Look up Psalm 78:71–72; 2 Samuel 5:2; Isaiah 44:28; and Jeremiah 3:15. (Amazingly, note that in Revelation 7:17 a Lamb will shepherd His people!) After all, what does a shepherd do? He cares, controls, governs, protects, and so on. Isn’t that what any good king would do? In other words, the job profile for kings and shepherds is not all that different. God’s giving is the trigger for our responsive thanksgiving. And thanksgiving can be packaged as “thanks-living.” Why not take an inventory of ways God has provided for you this week? How might your thanksgiving practically manifest itself in “thanks-living”?

This message was written by Anne Cetas [Our Daily Bread Ministries.]

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