One Thousand Gifts OBS Week 1 — Attitude of Gratitude

Eucharisteo is the Biblical Greek word that literally means to give thanks… what I believe Jesus did each and every day regardless of His circumstances. ~ Ann Voskamp

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. — John 11:41

Welcome to the One Thousand Gifts Online Bible Study with our dear friend, Ann Voskamp!

Hi there, friends! If you’ve been with us on previous studies, you already know me, but if not, I wanted to introduce myself. I’m Laurie McClure, your OBS leader and the editor at FaithGateway. My favorites include: the beach, reading, watching movies and old TV shows, listening to podcasts, going out to brunch on Sundays, and enjoying time with my dear family. I’m a Jesus girl, a Bible lover, and I love getting to know the Lord in a deeper way every year. I was married for twenty-four years and have five children. Since we can’t meet in person on a weekly basis, consider yourself metaphorically invited into my sometimes-messy, little home for this study. I can’t wait to begin! This is going to be all about the One we love above all else… Jesus!

In case you don’t yet know Ann, she’s a farm girl, a poet, a writer, a wife, a mother, and a friend. She’s known heartbreak and joy and digests both in company with the Savior unlike anyone I’ve ever known. Ann has a way of looking at the world with wonder, and appreciation, and adoration of God that will guide you and me to follow with the same kind of reverence and awe. She’s a captivating story-weaver and Jesus-impassioned spoken word poet and I know you’ll love her as our whole team does!

So, here we go! Let’s fight for the joy we’re aching for and fight for thanksgiving!

Ann’s question took my breath away: What has wounded you so deep that you think, “I am never opening my hand wide again to God”? To tell you the truth, that’s somewhat where I am right now. This year has unexpectedly been the toughest of my life and I found myself shadowboxing evil, harm, and pain stupidly and fruitlessly. I’ve had to pry my own hands open again with determination and trust the Lord in territory entirely virgin to me. Maybe that’s where you are, too.

How do we live in this world with hands wide open to receive what God gives when what He gives may not feel like gifts? How do you fill with hope and empty of hurt? ~ Ann

He means to fill us with His grace. ~ Ann

It’s a holy exchange. My hurts for the gifts He’s already given and continues to give. It’s a holy thing to look beyond the aches to see the goodness everywhere around us. The thanksgiving table is holy ground.

Listing my thanks — thanks-living — is reminding me that there’s a parallel story to suffering… and it’s written in gifts.

For the kitten curled up on my lap purring like a lawnmower
For Bible study buddies who are walking the same rugged road of faith in Jesus
For the friend who knows how to pray in a way that brings down fire from Heaven
For family who drop by for an impromptu pizza and movie night
For the text of support and kindness from loved ones
For the old friend returning from far away after far too long

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever… — Psalm 136:1-2

Living with losses, I may choose to still say yes to what He freely gives. ~ Ann

Eucharisteo means grace, thanksgiving, joy. It’s gratitude in action. Put to words. Put to motion.

It’s a turning. A widening. It’s easier to breathe.

Begin to wake to the wonder of the small… Begin to find joy in what really matters… in Who really matters. ~ Ann

Deep joy is only really found at the table of thanksgiving. ~ Ann

It’s both the invitation from and the door to Jesus. Thank You, Lord.

Eucharisteo.

This week in your study:

  1. Watch the video for session one on our study home page on our study home page and join the conversation with fellow OBS participants afterward… Take notes in your study guide on pages 11-15 and be sure to join us for the facilitated discussion at the end!
  2. Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 15-19.
  3. Read One Thousand Gifts, Chapter 1-3.
  4. Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week on pages 20-26.
  5. Join the conversations about the study and get to know fellow participants in the private Facebook group!

Scriptures this Week

John 11:41
1 Corinthians 11:23-24
2 Chronicles 20:12

Prayer for the Week

Jesus, we welcome You into our hearts, even the closed-off spaces, as we enter this season of gratitude. Help us to see You in the small. Help us to open our hands in release and trust. In the knowledge that You are good and we have so much to be thankful for. Tend to those tender places that are raw with hurt and ache and grief. Give us more of Yourself, Lord.  We love You, dear Jesus. Amen.

Laurie McClure

Laurie is a Jesus apprentice, a single mama of five (three homegrown, one Kentuckian, and one Ethiopian), a writer, a beach lover, and she is addicted to radical grace, Perrier, and yoga pants. Here at FaithGateway she is the editor, the curator, and the leader of Faith.Full, our women's community.

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