"Contentment is a discipline we learn, not a feeling we experience." Kurt Bruner, Thriving Family Magazine.
Paul writes, "I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:11,12
Paul's secret? Gratitude.
He was thankful to the Lord. In prison - thankful. In chains - thankful. In comfort - thankful. In hunger - thankful.
Contentment is a discipline.
And it is born of a grateful heart.
Last night, Brent and I led the boys through a devotional on contentment and gratitude. Much of the material I gathered from a fantastic article in Thriving Family magazine.
As good as it was for the boys, it was even better for me. Oh, to be disciplined in contentment. Grow me here, Jesus.
What is Gratitude?
Grant: Is it like an attitude?
Yes, it is an attitude of gratefulness.
What is Gratefulness?
Ethan: Saying thank you.
Yes! Saying "thank you" to God.
Read: Romans 11:36
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen!
Everything we have and all we do is through God.
Ask: Why do we give thanks?
1. Giving thanks makes us rich. Being grateful for what we have helps us realize how richly blessed we are. God is so good to us. He provides for our every need.
2. Giving thanks helps us be content. Our sinful nature makes us want and want and want. Giving thanks helps us overcome our natural tendency to be this way.
3. Giving thanks brings us joy! Our hearts are glad when we express thankfulness to the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Our focus turns to God and away from ourselves.
Family Memory Verse: Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
What are examples of giving thanks in all circumstances? (Ethan: What are circumstances?)
We also read through and discussed Psalm 100:1-5 and Colossians 3:15-17.
After that, I lost 'em :)
But, other great verses to discuss this week are Philippians 4:4-12 and Hebrews 12:28
Before bed we played a gratefulness game suggested in the article. It is much like "I Spy." Begin by saying, "I am thankful for something in this room..." Offer clues until your child guesses the object (or person!). We were thankful for our van, our house, people in our family, etc. Ethan was particularly thankful for his Transformers calendar. Hilarious.
I see this will be an ongoing discussion at the Crenshaw home. The boy's natural tendency for more, more, more is very evident right now. They have an artificial sense of poverty as they focus on all the Christmas presents they want, but don't have.
I can relate.
I need this devotional as much as anyone else.
I'd love to hear what you are doing in your homes this week to prepare for Thanksgiving with your kids.
Love you all out there.
Thanks for putting up with my pajama pictures :)