Christmas Thanksgiving

Today is Tuesday, December 22, 2020, in the fourth week of Advent.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,930

Only three more days until Christmas!

And only two more days to work, this week.

Looking at the weather forecast, I just saw something that might be nice. There might be snow on New Year’s Eve!

Yesterday evening, the news broke that country singer KT Oslin has passed away at the age of 78. The report said that she had been battling Parkinson’s and was also recently diagnosed with Covid-19. However, no official cause of death was noted.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

This has been on my heart for several days, now. I put St. Teresa’s prayer here, yesterday, and I really like Margaret Rizza’s arrangement of it. She changes the words slightly.

"Let nothing disturb you;
Nothing distress you;
While all things fade away,
God is unchanging.
Be patient, for with God in your heart
Nothing is lacking,
God is enough."

It’s a beautiful prayer, and full of truth and encouragement, which is deeply needed, these days.

Psalms 66:16 ESV
(16) Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

Today I am grateful:

  1. That with God in my heart, nothing is lacking; He is enough
  2. For the things that He has done for my soul
  3. That You lead me to the Rock that is higher than I
  4. That You, the Creator of the universe, and Most High God, hear the prayers of your servants
  5. That You fill the generous heart with blessings uncountable

Psalms 67:1-2 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
(2) that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

Psalms 119:54 ESV
(54) Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.

Psalms 51:10 ESV
(10) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

John 4:23-24 ESV
(23) “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
(24) God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Psalms 61:1-5 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;
(2) from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
(3) for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
(4) Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah.
(5) For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

"Purify my conscience,
Almighty God,
by your daily visitation,
that your Son Jesus Christ,
at his coming,
may find in me a mansion prepared for himself;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV
(14) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
(15) and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
(16) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
(17) that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Luke 6:38 ESV
(38) give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Mark 9:35 ESV
(35) And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Philippians 2:5-7 ESV
(5) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
(6) who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
(7) but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Hebrews 6:10 ESV
(10) For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

1 Peter 5:5 ESV
(5) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Psalms 144:9-15 ESV
(9) I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
(10) who gives victory to kings, who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
(11) Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
(12) May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace;
(13) may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
(14) may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
(15) Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

“This hymn marks David’s deliverance from King Saul and perhaps his enthronement.”

In it, we also see the proper response to answered prayer: gratitude and thanksgiving. “A thankful spirit combines humility (because you see God’s answer was a sheer gift) with confidence (because you know a loving God always hears prayer).”

If you look back at the beginning of the psalm, you can see amazement that God even pays attention to us at all (vv 3-4).

Psalms 144:3-4 ESV
(3) O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?
(4) Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

But David doesn’t stop and rest after giving thanks. He keeps on praying; for protection, for prosperity, for justice, proclaiming loudly, “Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!”

Above this psalm, there are some other Scriptures upon which to focus. Primarily, the idea of generosity is emphasized. We can pray all day for prosperity, but if we are living our lives with clenched fists, hoarding everything that comes our way while orphans and widows (and anyone else who might fall into similar categories) go needy, God will not give us that prosperity.

Jesus, after telling us not to judge or hold grudges, also told us to give freely. The result of that would be that “it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.

I have experienced the truth of this. As God has moved us to generosity, He has blessed us even more. The only boast is in God, as He is the provider; he is the One who blesses. I don’t boast in my generosity, as even that is a gift from Him.

“Lord, I thank you that there are an infinite number of things to thank you for, if I reflect for even a moment! Now help me to take that time and to give you thanks for your many gifts I take for granted. Then let thankfulness begin to transform all my attitudes, toward you, myself, others, and life. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Father, I love that You have inspired me to daily gratitude. I remember that this was initially inspired because of people who suddenly get all grateful during November, and then don’t remember to give thanks the rest of the year. I want to be grateful every day. I want to give You thanks all day long, 24/7. Thanks for the little things like breathing; thanks for the simple things like coffee; and thanks for the big things, like grace and mercy. I could, quite easily, do nothing but sit and thank You all day long. But I must do other things, like work, during my day. That, however, does not mean that I cannot also be thankful. Help me remember to breathe little prayers of thanksgiving all day long!

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.