Today is Thursday, November 26, 2020. Peace be with you!
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. I wish all of my U.S. readers a happy Thanksgiving. May your day be restful and peaceful. Please be safe.
We all know what’s next. 29 days until Christmas! As many of us have noticed, there are many people who have already put up their Christmas decorations. Ours went up earlier this week, a little earlier than usual. And that’s okay. In fact, I will never complain again about people putting up Christmas decorations early. The “cheer” is most definitely needed, this year.
As previously noted, we will be having our Thanksgiving with only the people in our household. Recent surges in Coronavirus numbers, along with health department strong recommendations, have led to that decision. R & J are together at their house, we will be here, and Mama will be by herself. This saddens me, but it is best. And there will be phone conversations, I’m sure.
Once again, I want to point out that there is a difference between caution and fear. We are not reacting out of fear. We are being cautious. There are many who are acting with neither. And that is why the U.S. had 181,139 new cases yesterday. Almost four times the next highest country in the world. That, my friends, says a lot about the mindset of the U.S. We had 2304 deaths yesterday, as well. Texas had almost 15,000 new cases yesterday, leading the country.
I’ve already shared our menu for the day. Pecan-crusted Buttermilk Chicken (we aren’t turkey fans, here, and don’t need a whole turkey, anyway), a corn casserole recipe from the Emily Bites website, and a “healthified” (slightly) green bean casserole. There will be no pies or baked goods. And I’m not sad about that. I’d rather keep losing weight.
After that, I’m not sure what will take place. There might be hanging of Christmas lights outside, on the house. Most are already up, since C had two extra days off, this week. All that is left will be hanging the ones on top of the house. It’s more of a two-person job, due to the large, heavy ladder.
On to the devotional, which will, as always, include thankfulness.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
Scriptures and Prayers from The Divine Hours
Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.
(Psalms 81:1-4 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- For this day, devoted to giving thanks for our many blessings
- That You have placed thanksgiving in my heart every day, not just one day out of the year
- That You care for us even more than You care for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field
- To be part of Your “cause” of making Your praise glorious and Your Name lifted high in all the earth
- For the love of and for my family
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
(Psalms 86:11 ESV)
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
(Psalms 71:15 ESV)
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
(Psalms 147:7 ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
(Matthew 6:25-30 ESV)
You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.
(Psalms 65:9-13 ESV)
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
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.
"Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; 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)
"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, I pray, a faithful steward 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. Amen." (The Divine Hours)
You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.
“Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
(Isaiah 12:1-6 ESV)
“We might give thanks easily during harvest celebrations such as Thanksgiving, when we’re enjoying an abundant feast with friends and family. But can we express our gratitude to God in difficult times, such as when we’re missing someone from our table or when we’re struggling with our finances or when we’re locked in conflict with one close to us?”
(Amy Boucher Pye, Our Daily Bread)
Amy makes reference to the Martin Rinkart hymn, translated by Catherine Winkworth, “Now Thank We All Our God.”
Our circumstances have not necessarily been conducive to a thankful heart, in 2020. We are still suffering through a pandemic, and the anxiety level was increased through the madness of the election campaigning, regardless of which side one was on.
But God has given me a thankful heart. “I have a thankful heart, that You have given me,” sang Petra, once upon a time. Truly, I believe that is one thing that has kept me sane, this year. And as my faithful readers (and Facebook friends) will note, I put up at least five things each day, for which I am thankful. Some days, it is more difficult than others to come up with five. Other days, there might even be seven.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
(1 Timothy 4:4-5 ESV)
A Psalm for giving thanks.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
(Psalms 100:1-5 ESV)
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
(Isaiah 25:6-9 ESV)
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side— let Israel now say—
if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone the raging waters.
Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
(Psalms 124:1-8 ESV)
God is “for us,” so who can be against us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:35-39 ESV)
The idea of God being “on our side” is a very dangerous idea, and has been severely misused, throughout history. I want to be clear. When I say God is on my side, what I really mean is that I’m on His side. God is “for me” because I am “for Him.” God does NOT champion my cause.
Let me say that again.
God does NOT champion my cause. He does not champion your cause, no matter how righteous you think it may be.
God champions no one’s cause but His own. And that is the only cause that I will champion.
What is that cause? I suppose that is open to interpretation. But I believe that the “cause” of God is that His great Name be glorified and worshiped throughout all the world. Call that arrogant, if you want. But there is no other being in the universe who has the right to do that. He created this universe and all that is in it, therefore, He has the right to demand worship and praise. If you have a problem with that, let me see you create something out of nothing, by simply speaking it into existence.
In the words of Frances Ridley Havergal (I seem to be on a hymn kick, this morning), I will gladly sing:
Take my life, and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise, Let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of Thy love; Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee, Swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice, and let me sing Always, only, for my King; Take my lips, and let them be Filled with messages from Thee, Filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold; Not a mite would I withhold; Take my intellect, and use Every power as Thou shalt choose, Every power as Thou shalt choose. Take my will, and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart; it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne, It shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love; my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure-store. Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee, Ever, only, all for Thee
I love looking up hymn lyrics. There are almost always stanzas that I have never seen before.
Father, I am so very thankful today, but not just today . . . every day. I have so much to be thankful for that I could write pages and pages were I to list every single thing. It would be a list of things both simple and complex. Most of all, though, I am thankful to be included in the number of those who follow Christ in this life. And thankful that You drew me to that place, for I would not be here, were it not for the calling of the Holy Spirit. So my gratitude is unspeakable, as there are not enough words to thank You. I pray today, that all of my family will have a blessed and peaceful day. I would pray that our nation would be able to set aside its division, but I am not hopeful for that, as we are a stubborn and arrogant people. God forgive us for this, please.
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!
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Grace and peace, friends.