Daily Devotion for November 23, 2017
Thanksgiving Day (U.S.)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
We decided to have a “Virtual Church” version of this hymn rather than a slick professional video. I got a big kick out of this - it's just like most churches: the guy with his hands in his pockets, the lady correcting her little boy, the latecomers looking for a seat, some young man who looks like he is in a coma, to the very end where you can hear the inevitable older lady with the loud warbly voice.
he chastens and hastens his will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to his name, he forgets not his own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
so from the beginning the fight we were winning;
thou, Lord, wast at our side, all glory be thine!
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still our defender will be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Traditional Dutch Hymn
Lyrics translated by Theodore Baker (1878)
Prayer of Thanks
Almighty and gracious Father, I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me and all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Simple Gifts is Shaker song was writtern by a Maine farmer, Joseph Brackett, in 1848.
For our restful sleep at night,
For the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,
For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks we render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 111:1-6, 10
I will praise the Lord with my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
The works of the Lord are great,
Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
His work is honorable and glorious,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
He has declared to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.
Deuteronomy 8:6-14 (ESV)
Remember to Thank God
bserve the commandments of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord is bringing you into a good land — a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Notes on the Scripture
Most Christians learn, over the course of their study and prayer, that giving sincere thanks to God alleviates much of the misery and depression they feel. Our base instinct is to complain. We look forward: what we have, we take for granted; what we lack, we bewail.
But our Spirit is just the opposite. We know that all good things we enjoy have come from God, for without Him, we have nothing, neither life nor breath.
Another curative for self-pity is to consider those less fortunate; and at Thanksgiving Day, it is proper to remember the actual conditions in which the Pilgrims lived. They had landed in the middle of the New England winter. It isn't necessary to describe, in gory detail, the privation they endured. The statistics tell it all: By the time spring came, only 47 of the original 102 colonists were alive. And of those alive, only seven were strong enough to function, and had to take care of the rest.
They were thus truly thankful that they had harvested enough food that they would not become extinct in their second winter. Thankful simply to eat and be able to live in a world with nothing but cold, work, and nights without light. In the words of Edward Winslow, one of the survivors who wrote an account of their experience the first year,
"And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."