Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.
A SPECIAL NOTE about ADVENT
After this week, Daily Steps will take a break for the month of December, but we will be providing an Advent guide to help you prepare to celebrate the coming of the Christ child. This guide is available now on our Study Guide blog and it will also appear here on the Daily Steps blog beginning December 1st.
Psalm 136:1-3 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
“Thank you.” Two short, simple words. Yet, often so profoundly hard to say from the heart. Even more difficult to utter when we are in the midst of struggle, anger, or frustration. If most of us were really honest with ourselves, we’d admit that saying it doesn’t come naturally. Why else would parents have to so diligently instruct and prompt small children to get in the habit of responding with appreciation? As we grow up, most of us become reasonably competent at expressing thanks when anyone shows us special consideration or offers a gift. So, why then, do we struggle so much to offer heartfelt gratitude to God regularly? Is it that we don’t remember Him? Perhaps it’s because we don’t recognize the constant blessings being poured out on us daily? Maybe all the hardships and disappointments obscure His goodness. The list of reasons for our lack of continual thankfulness could be as endless as the flood of blessings themselves.
The Thanksgiving holiday seems to function as an annual parental reminder to pause, acknowledge our blessings, and say thank you to those we cherish and to God as well. But what would happen if more followers of Jesus would spend time expressing heartfelt gratitude to God every single day of the year, not just once a day, but throughout the day, for all things? Not just the obviously good things, but also the difficulties and disappointments because every single one of them will work together for the glory of God… at some point. As the apostle Paul declares in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” So we must believe that He loves us beyond what we can fathom, and while we may not understand what His plan is, we rejoice in the unseen, unknowable blessings that are to come eventually.
This kind of gratitude is not naturally within us, but it’s what our souls are longing for as children of God. And the more we get in the habit of soul-deep appreciation, the more automatic it becomes… the more blessings we will recognize around us… and the more joy will overflow from our hearts. Simply put — Gratitude. Changes. Everything. It is an effective weapon against almost every ailment of the heart, including worry, anger, bitterness, frustration, unhappiness, greed, selfishness, and pride, just to name a few. Like an immediate antidote for poisonous thoughts, sincere appreciation lifted in praise to Jesus works quickly to lift our spirits and shift our perspectives. And this amazing heavenly cure can be applied to almost any situation in every area of our lives, from relationships and careers to finances and parenting.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to make gratitude a daily habit and to increase your joy exponentially — especially during the Advent season — is to make a Joy Jar for your home and place in a central location. What’s a joy jar? It’s a container of any kind in which you — and every everyone in your home — can deposit little notes about things, moments, people, places, and circumstances that they're thankful for and bring them joy. You can learn more about Joy Jars on this page or come back and visit Daily Steps beginning December 1st. If you practice using the Joy Jar on a regular basis, in just a few short weeks it will become second nature for you. And here’s another bonus effect — practicing gratitude and choosing joy will make life better for those around you, as well. And when people feel better about being around you, your relationships will improve, you’ll have more support during times of need, and your reasons to be grateful will increase all the more.
Daily Bible Readings
Practicing gratitude daily along with collecting reminders of life’s joys has some incredible — and almost immediate — byproducts that will actually help slow the spinning of your mind and give you a greater sense of calm, especially in the hectic days ahead. This week’s readings are designed to help you experience the amazing effects of cultivating a thankful heart. As you read each passage, spend time thinking about the impact it has — or could have — on your life. Each day, spend time meditating on one of the verses or a phrase that jumps out at you from the readings. As you listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to you, ask God to help you see all the blessings in your life and how you can share the joy of them with others throughout the Advent season and beyond.
Monday — When we praise God and give thanks to Him, we will receive a greater sense of security and peace. Read Philippians 4:6-7 and James 1:2-4.
Tuesday — When we praise God and give thanks to Him, we will experience a change in our perspective to have a more joyful demeanor. Read Psalm 28:7 and Psalm 118:15.
Wednesday — When we praise God and give thanks to Him, the Holy Spirit will inhabit our praise and produce spiritual fruit, such as greater patience with yourself and others. Read Galatians 5:22-23 and 2 Corinthians 4:14-15.
Thursday — When we praise God and give thanks to Him, over time we will find ourselves becoming more generous and content with what we have and the circumstances we are in. Read 2 Corinthians 9:10-15.
Friday — When we praise God and give thanks to Him, the Holy Spirit will create in us a humbler and more gentle heart. Read Romans 1:21 and James 1:14-17.
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