Archive for the ‘thanksgiving’ Category

This is the four-year anniversary of the worst fire in Los Angeles history. It destroyed 500 homes, including mine.

Sylmar fire fog

It was 2008 when the Sylmar fire jumped from the foothills into the city. I was a college student, and was still living in my parents’ home. I was one of the worship leaders in the college ministry at my church (Grace Community Church), and I was completely comfortable in life.

I was out with friends, and received a phone call just before 11:00 PM from my sister. There was a fire approaching our home, and our family was evacuated. I raced the fire crews to my house, and had about 10 minutes to grab whatever I could. My family then stopped and prayed in our driveway. That would be the last time we would ever stand there—by morning everything we owned was burned to the ground. Firefighters said that the heat of the fire was so intense, our house had melted into its concrete foundation.

My family walked through this trial that many considered tragic. But as believers in Jesus Christ, we clearly see that He used this time to draw us closer to Him and to each other. It’s crazy to think that this fire would be used by God to bring us joy, but that’s exactly what happened. The God of this universe was watching over our tiny family!

Keith Smith explains why here


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Psalm 136 (ESV)

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;

4 to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;

5 to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;

6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;

7 to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;

8 the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;

9 the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his steadfast love endures forever;

11 and brought Israel out from among them, for his steadfast love endures forever;

12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever;

13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two, for his steadfast love endures forever;

14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for his steadfast love endures forever;

15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his steadfast love endures forever;

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;

18 and killed mighty kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;

19 Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his steadfast love endures forever;

20 and Og, king of Bashan, for his steadfast love endures forever;

21 and gave their land as a heritage, for his steadfast love endures forever;

22 a heritage to Israel his servant, for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever;

24 and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever;

25 he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

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A top reason for thanks this day:  “The riches of His grace!”

How blessed is the thought that God is rich in grace! His throne is a throne of grace. His scepter is a scepter of grace. His covenant is a covenant of grace. His thoughts are thoughts of grace. His ways are ways of grace. His word is the word of grace. His treasure house is stored with grace.

Hence all His gifts and manifestations to His people are results of grace. Grace called Jesus to His work. Grace found the ransom. Grace accepted it. Grace determined who would be redeemed. Grace made them willing in the day of power. Grace keeps them through faith unto salvation.

Oh! the riches of the grace of our God! While we have breath let us extol and magnify it.

— Henry Law Family Devotion

(HT: FI)

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To learn more about the circumstances surrounding this hymn by Martin Rinkart, read Terry Enns’ post. Clue: it wasn’t written while he was on vacation in Hawaii or just received word of a promotion!

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

On this week of Thanksgiving, let us also take care to offer words of gratitude — even when circumstances seem to dictate otherwise.  We have a Savior who has given us all we need.  Let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to him.

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Nancy Leigh Demoss writes, “It’s difficult to face trials without fear—being utterly confident in God and His plan for your life. Below are a few quotes from 90 Days of God’s Goodness by Randy Alcorn that I found especially meaningful. Download a designed PDF here.”

Here are a few of the quotes Nancy shares:

Protection from conflict produces soft, spoiled, and selfish people, while enduring conflict is more likely to produce someone strong, capable, and caring.” (p. 5)

“Our own suffering is often our wake-up call to the world’s sufferings.” (p. 18)

“Paul insists that our sufferings will result in our greater good—God’s people will be better of eternally because they suffer temporarily. From Paul’s perspective, this trade-off will in eternity prove to be a great bargain.” (p. 31)

“Satan and God do not engage in hand-to-hand combat, with Satan sometimes getting the edge. That’s not the Bible; that’s Star Wars.” (p. 34)

“If we come to see the purpose of the universe as God’s long-term glory rather than our short-term happiness, then we will undergo a critical paradigm shift in tackling the problem of evil and suffering.” (p. 35)

“The world has gone terribly wrong. God is going to fix it. First, for his eternal glory. Second, for our eternal good.” (p. 35)

“When asked what allowed her to endure the concentration camp, Corrie ten Boom responded, ‘Not what, but Who.’” (p. 55)

 Read more here.

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Are you thankful?

Are you grateful? Why not?  What are some of the causes of a lack of thankfulness in our hearts?

Check out Nathan’s post that discusses gratefulness beginning with talking and linking to a video about a woman who discovered one way to overcome her depression.

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Are you thankful for the blessings of freedom and the comforts of modern life?  This puts things in perspective for us.

Tyndale was taken to the Vilvorde Prison near Brussels where he was kept in solitary confinement. From the sixteen months that Tyndale spent in prison, only one piece of his correspondence has survived: a letter asking for warmer clothing because of the cold and damp, a lamp so he could see in the dark and Hebrew books so he could continue his translation of the Old Testament. (“The English Bible and Its Translators,” Herb Samworth, Glosses, The Bulletin of the Scriptorium, 1997 Fourth Quarter, Vol. II, No. 4).

Soon afterward he was charged with being a heretic, and on October 6, 1536, was burned at the stake.

As you get ready for your Thanksgiving celebration, give thanks for freedom, the comforts of home, and martyrs to whom we owe so much.

( HT: Aomin)

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Psalm 107 has been called “The Pilgrims’ Psalm” not because the psalm talks about this group well know ever since they celebrated the “First Thanksgiving” in 1621. Nor is it the Pilgrims’ Psalm because they loved it more than any other psalm.  But it is aptly called this because the Pilgrims saw themselves in this psalm.

The words of John Newton in his hymn “Amazing Grace” could apply both to this psalm as well as to the Pilgrims in the 1600’s.  “Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come, tis grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”

Governor William Bradford clearly refers to this psalm [the allusions are many] in his address as they Pilgrims landed at Plymouth,

The Pilgrims came ashore on a Monday–December 11, 1620–after having spent the prior day in worship to God. It is likely that Psalm 107 was among the passages they meditated on that day for Governor William Bradford clearly refers to this psalm [the allusions are many] in his remarks on this occasion:

May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: “Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and he heard their voice and looked on their adversity,” … “Let them therefore praise the Lord, because he is good: and his mercies endure forever.” “Yes, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord his loving kindness and his wonderful works before the sons of men. (From Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford), p. 63)

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Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but here’s a prayer that will help you “prime the pump” of thankfulness this week:

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

Dear Jesus, a week from today  is Thanksgiving Day, and as much as I’m looking forward to some serious eating with people I love a whole, whole lot, I feel the need to prime my gratitude pump. Like King David, I’m in constant need of rehearsing the cascading waterfall of benefits and blessings you lavish upon un in Jesus. Here’s a few…

Read the rest of Scotty’s prayer.

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Have you had a week of thanksgiving?  I hope this brief series has helped cultivate gratitude in your heart!

As was mentioned on Sunday evening, sometimes it it difficult to give thanks for some things.  But God’s Word says,”Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  It is challenging to give thanks for some circumstances or some people.

Life Action Ministries provides this counsel:

Dr. Helen Rosevear, long-time missionary doctor in the Congo, told of a point in her life when she was shamefully mistreated at the hands of rebel soldiers.  She described the painful struggle that took place in her heart, as she sought to make sense out of the humiliation and physical suffering she had undergone.  Then she told of the release and peace that came when she sensed God asking her, “Helen, are you willing to give me thanks for that which I may never give you the privilege of understanding.”

Are there past or present circumstances, events, trials, or relationships for which you have never given God thanks?  Write them down.  Then, as an expression of faith and obedience, say, “Lord, I choose to give You thanks for _______________________, which you may never give me the privilege of understanding.”  Acknowledge God as the loving, wise, and just Sovereign over your life.  Trust Him and give thanks in all circumstances.

Well, I hope that these entries have encouraged you to cultivate thanksgiving.  Aim to develop the lifelong habit of cultivating and attitude of gratitude.  Doing so will transform your life and conform you into the image of Christ more and more.

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