The Practice of Thanksgiving

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Followers of Jesus practice what Jesus practiced.

Jesus consistently practiced giving thanks to God.

Practicing thanksgiving helps us become more aware of and available to the presence of God, who is at work within us and others.

In addition to spiritual benefits, there are also physical and emotional benefits for those who consistently practice thanksgiving. Research shows that people who express gratitude are happier, have more energy, and feel more hopeful about the future. They have healthier relationships with others and are more physically and emotionally healthy. They also are less envious and less materialistic — all because they are thankful.

Here are four simple ways to practice thanksgiving. 

  1. Make the practice of thanksgiving a bedtime ritual.
    Want a quick way to feel more relaxed and centered before bedtime? Want better sleep? Do this. Place a small notebook next to your bed, or use some other format that works for you. Each night, simply reflect on your day and write three experiences you’re thankful for, then thank God. Think about including your spouse or your kids in this practice.
  2. Practice being present to appreciate each moment.
    Take a deep breath. Slow down your thoughts and engage in the present moment, wherever you are. Notice all the people you are with, your surroundings, and ask yourself these questions, “How is God present here in this moment, in this place, with these people?” and “How can I be more present?” Give God thanks for this moment.
  3. Post a bible verse of thanksgiving where you will see it often.
    These posts will help you remember to pause, to be present in the moment, to notice what God is doing around you and in you, and to give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is a great one to start with, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  4. Take a walk and practice thanksgiving along the way.
    This is very helpful when you’re feeling down or filled with stress and worry. Set aside 15-20 minutes and walk in your neighborhood, through a park or around your office. As you walk, be present to appreciate the moment. If you’re walking your neighborhood, give thanks for each neighbors as your walk past their homes. If you’re walking around your office, give thanks for your co-workers as you walk past their workspaces, if you’re walking through a park, give thanks for God’s creation. You get the idea.

That’s four simple things to consider. Choose just one and practice it for a season. Then try another and practice it for a season. Don’t overcomplicate this. If you do you’ll probably end up dropping it and feeling like you’ve failed in some way – and that’s not what God wants for you!

Keep it simple. Keep it doable. Keep it sustainable.

Keep it simple, doable and sustainable.

Simple Practices That Help People Grow

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by Pastor Sharon Reid

Finding our way to grow as followers of Jesus can feel a bit complicated, overwhelming, sometimes more philosophical than practical.

This site is about the practical.

Here, you’ll find spiritual practices that will help you grow in your love for God and others. Some of these practices have been used for centuries. Some are best practiced in solitude and some take on new meaning when practiced alongside others.

You’ll also find some of the foundations of our faith to guide you and a bit of recommended reading to inspire you.

Spiritual practices create space in your life where the grace, mercy and presence of God can be known to you – space where God can transform you, through the power of the Holy Spirit, into a deeply committed follower of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Faith With My Kids

I Want to Share my Faith with my Kids but I Don’t Know How to Get Started
by Anne Rabjohn

It’s the kids bedtime…………….finally!

“Go brush your teeth!”
“Oh, you want to read a book tonight?”
“Great! Yes, let’s do that – that’s good stuff.”
“Alrighty then, good job!”
“Lights out kiddo! Love you!”

Ugh! Another day gone and I didn’t talk with my kids about God, I didn’t pray with them, I didn’t share scripture with them……………how do I do this? It’s very important to me. And I want to! But at bedtime? I’m too tired and I’m just ready for them to get to sleep. God, help me figure out how to do this!

Does this sound familiar to you? If this scenario goes on in your house each night, if this prayer is recited by you most nights………………I’m right there with you, sister! Read on!! There is hope!

We want to. We are commanded to. But we don’t know how to.
We all want to share our faith with our children. Teach them in the ways of the Lord. Leave a legacy of faith with our children.

Always remember these commands I give you today. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road. Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up. Write them down and tie them to your hands as a sign. Tie them on your forehead to remind you. Write them on your doors and gates. Deuteronomy 6: 6-9

I remember your true faith. That kind of faith first belonged to your grandmother Lois and to your mother Eunice. And I know that you now have that same faith. 2 Timothy 1:5

But if you are new to the faith, or like me and grew up in a home where we just didn’t talk about matters of faith – even though we were in church every Wednesday night and twice on Sunday! – it’s really hard to know how to get started talking about “church stuff” at home. How do you do this and it not sound forced or weird or just so uncomfortable for everyone involved, you just decide to give up and let the Sunday school teacher do the job.

Be patient with yourself AND pray for yourself!
We’ve got the “want to.” Now we just have to figure out the “how to.” But, hey! We are industrious. We get things done. Put it on a list. Check it off. We can figure this out!

But wait!! Hold on a minute there sister! We aren’t changing a lightbulb, here. Our goal is something far greater than accomplishing a daily task to mark off the ol’ to-do list. We are attempting to ………………our goal is to teach our children spiritual practices that will lead them into a relationship with God. Oh, God!! How do I do that? How do I do that?

So I tell you, continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, if a person continues asking, he will receive. If he continues searching, he will find. And if he continues knocking, the door will open for him. …. surely your heavenly Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. Luke 11: 9-10 and 13b

But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. God is generous. He enjoys giving to all people, so God will give you wisdom. James 1:5

Only the Lord gives wisdom. Knowledge and understanding come from him. Proverbs 2:6

Here’s where we start. In prayer, ask the Lord to give you the “know how” to teach your family. Ask for eyes to see the moments for teaching. Ask for ears to hear His leading. Ask for patience for yourself and for determination to not give up. Ask for wisdom and for knowledge. Ask for mentors in your life circle to rise up so that you can draw from their experience and support. Ask for it. James and Luke both tell us to “ask for it.” Ask for it and expect it. Watch and listen. God gives good gifts. When you miss an opportunity to teach your children………..and you see it finally……..give thanks to God that He is opening your eyes. Forgive yourself and know that next time, you’ll see that teachable moment to share your faith with your family. You are growing in wisdom and knowledge from the Lord!

Try, try, try – and try again.

Oh my friends! I have been trying to find my style with this for some time now. My boys are six and nine years old. I didn’t start good habits when my boys were babies or toddlers of saying night time prayers or reading the bible to them. So starting now that they are older has been both embarrassing and humbling. But also, really amazing!

  • I tried a summer small group bible study with my kids’ friends and their parents. Worked one time.
  • I tried putting scriptures on the mirror to read while we brush teeth, Really? Boys in the bathroom?! Not the time to talk about matters of the heart in my house, with my boys!
  • I tried getting a storybook bible for them to read at bedtime. But that’s not nearly as fun to read as Paw Patrol!
  • I thought after school while they eat a snack would be a good time. Too tired and grumpy!

But, determined as ever, I tried something new just this week and I may have landed on something that fits our style. We have a short ride to the school in the morning and I have always used that time to tell them what we have planned to do when I pick them up – soccer practice, grocery store, you know the drill. This week I started reading a passage in the bible (an app on my phone) before we even leave the driveway, then talk for a minute about what it means and say a quick prayer. This morning I asked the boys what our passage from yesterday talked about – and the nine year old remembered! “If you are wise, you will have a long life.” And what is the beginning of wisdom? “Loving God.” Yes!!

As you can see, I have tried so many things. And this one…….I hope it gains some traction. This one felt right. It felt comfortable and fit into our normal routine well.

Don’t give up!
This is what I want to leave you with if you got all the way down this far………Don’t give up!

So I tell you, continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, if a person continues asking, he will receive. If he continues searching, he will find. And if he continues knocking, the door will open for him. …. surely your heavenly Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. Luke 11: 9-10 and 13b