Thankful

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him,  and  bless His name. Psalm 100:4

Each day during our prayer time we give thanks and praise to our Lord for the simple blessings of life. We thank the Lord for such blessings as clean water, electricity, a roof over our head, warm clothes, food, etc.

Clean water.  In many places around the world people must walk a mile or so to a stream or river just to get a bucket of water. When they get home, they must boil the water or filter it, and then store it in a safe place. So, we are thankful that we have clean water right in our home.

Electricity, internet, and modern technology. We thank the Lord for electricity that enables us to cook our meals conveniently. In some places, people must gather firewood or tree branches, cut them, and then make a fire to cook. A few years ago, Vicki served in a children’s home in South America. Every day the cook and a couple of volunteers would get up at 4:00 or 5:00 am to get some firewood. They would then place the firewood on three big stones to make a stove, then light the firewood to cook a meal. The previous day some young men had to gather wood and cut them into pieces for firewood. They only had 2 hours of electricity in the morning and evening using a generator. So, we thank the Lord for electricity that helps us cook and keeps our appliances, air conditioner  and heater running. With electricity and the internet, we can work from home and be connected to the world.

Clean air to breathe. In one of the countries we visited in Asia a couple of years ago, they had  very cold winters. During our visit, the temperature ranged from -15 to +25 F degrees! The power company for the city burned really dirty coal to supply electricity and heating to homes and buildings which produced a lot of air pollution. We learned to appreciate and thank the Lord for the clean air we breathe.

The beauty of nature.  Did you ever stop to think that God could have made the world very utilitarian? Instead, he created this world with beauty – beauty that reminds us of our Creator God. Take a few moments today to enjoy a beautiful sunset, a walk in the woods, or a look up into the night sky!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)

Religious and political freedom. In many parts of the world, Christians risk their lives just to attend a church fellowship. We thank the Lord for the freedom we still have in this country to practice religion and be part of a church.

We are also thankful that the Constitution provides citizens freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom to elect leaders, etc. And we are thankful for those men and women who fought for our country through the years to preserve those rights. In many parts of the world, people do not have political freedom and the opportunity to elect their leaders, something that we often take for granted.

Families and friends. We thank the Lord for the love and care of our extended families and  friends.  We are also thankful for the prayers and support of our ministry partners.

Spiritual heritage.  We are thankful to the Lord for the faithfulness of those who have “gone before” us, for those saints of God who walked faithfully with God through the years and provided us with a godly example and a spiritual heritage. History is full of men and women who lived out their faith, sometimes risking their very lives to preserve our spiritual heritage.  And of course in this Thanksgiving season, we remember the faith of our founding fathers in the United States who prayed earnestly for God’s blessing as this nation was formed.*

Spiritual blessings. We are especially thankful for the love and mercy of God, the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8), the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, the hope of eternal life, a home in heaven, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and other spiritual blessings. (See Ephesians 1:3-6). We are very thankful for the gift of salvation! There are still 3 billion people in the world who need to know the Gospel and the love of God.

The Written Word. We thank the Lord for the availability of the Bible in our language. In Bible history, some sacrificed their very lives to have the Bible translated into our language. Many people are still waiting to hear the Gospel in their native tongue.  Currently, at least 2,000 languages around the world are still waiting for a Bible translation project to start.

Each day, if we pause and look around, we have so much for which to be thankful – not just on Thanksgiving Day! We are grateful also for the gift of life – each day is a gift from God.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. (II Peter 1:3)

History of First Thanksgiving

“In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith…

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days…”

https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving

*Mayflower Pilgrims – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayflower

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Only Jesus

Only Jesus can save

Only Jesus can do the impossible

Only Jesus can do what no human can do

Because only Jesus can save

Only Jesus can love the way He does

Only Jesus is the Savior

Only Jesus is the King of Kings

Only Jesus is the Lord of lords

Only Jesus is the Almighty God

Only Jesus is the God of love

Only Jesus is the God who came from above,

Only Jesus is the One who gave His life for us

Only Jesus can save our soul

Only Jesus can satisfy a hungry soul

Only Jesus can fill me up

Only Jesus is the bread of life.

Only Jesus can bring lasting peace

Only Jesus can give true happiness

Only Jesus can give eternal life and bliss,

Only Jesus!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6 (NKJV)

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11

http://biblegateway.com

Remembering Jane, A Life well-lived

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment – Hebrews 9:27

We only live once, here is a short devotional story of a woman who had a life well-lived. The Bible says in Psalm 90:10,12- “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away…So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Scripture Reading: Psalm 92:12-15

“They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing…”  Psalm 92:14 NKJV

I met “Jane” a few years ago at my husband’s church, just before we were married. Jane looked small and fragile, but always had a radiant smile, a sweet disposition, and kind words. She made me feel comfortable and welcome even though I was a total stranger. On holidays and wedding anniversaries, she sent me and my husband greeting cards. When my husband was away on mission trips, Jane would often ask how I was doing. She would often encourage me with these words, “I am praying for you and your husband.” Every Sunday, before the worship service started, she prayed with our pastor and anointed her with oil.

On one occasion, Jane invited me and two other ladies to meet her at church to learn how to make hats using a loom. She was making the hats for cancer patients. She also knitted prayer shawls for others who were ill. Whenever she could, she would send me colorful yarns to make the knitted hats.

During those days, Jane and her husband were both struggling with some significant health issues. At the same time, she was also busy with her own children and grandchildren. Although I only got to know Jane in the last 3 years of her life, she was an inspiration to me and left a profound impression on my life – a wonderful example of faith, love, and prayer. I had clearly seen in her life what it meant to be a true follower of Christ. She faithfully demonstrated the love of Jesus Christ to her family, friends, and to all who met her. Her life has often reminded me of these words from Scripture, “They shall still bear fruit in old age, they shall be fresh and flourishing to declare that the Lord is upright;” (Psalm 92:14-15). I miss Jane’s smiling face, but I know she is now enjoying her heavenly reward with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, as we journey through life, help us through the power of Your Holy Spirit to reflect Your love and faithfulness to others for Your glory and praise.

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