Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving.

I love the Thanksgiving holiday.

A set aside time to be with family and close friends. Time to reflect on life's blessings. Time to unwind.

For today's thankful reflection I'd like to share an excerpt written by my pastor, Bill Tibert.


"Today, I’d like to focus on two more aspects of giving: Giving thanks and giving to those in need."

"Giving thanks is not really about thanking God for what we get—though that is certainly a good thing. Giving thanks begins with the recognition that everything about us—all that we are, all that we have, all that we are able to do—everything comes from God and really belongs to him. God is the Creator, “we are his workmanship”—his work of art (Ephesians 2.10). We have life because of him—“… he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things … in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17.25, 28); “The earth is the Lord’s and all that live in it” (Psalm 24.1)."

"When we start there, we are set free to give thanks to God in the midst of all things, regardless of the circumstances; regardless of what we have or don’t have; regardless of what we get or don’t get. This is what Paul is getting at in Philippians 4.11: “I have learned the secret of being content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty.” Earlier in his letter, he tells how we enter into that secret: by rejoicing in God, knowing that he is near, giving up worry, and making our requests to God in prayer with thanksgiving."

"This week we have the opportunity to join with people all across our nation in giving thanks. Some will be focused on giving thanks for what they have received, as ought we all. But I encourage you to give thanks and praise for God himself: that we live in the shadow of his wings and the hollow of his hand, that he is near, that he created us out of love for love, and that we have been invited into the realm of His Kingdom to carry out his plans and purposes in the world."

"Give thanks!"

"Give to those in need. Repeatedly throughout the Old and New Testaments, God reveals his bias on behalf of the needy: the poor, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the outsider, and the stranger. And God wants us to give in a variety of ways to help those in need. Following is a selection of Scripture passages I encourage you to reflect on:"

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20.35

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19.17

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ Matthew 25.35-40

“Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Proverbs 22.9

“Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6.2

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” Matthew 10.8

“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth …’” Matthew 5.1-48

"One more verse that ties these two together—in 2 Corinthians 9.11 Paul says: “You will be enriched in every way for your generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us … and overflow with thanksgivings to God.” When we give generously, the floodgates of thanksgiving open up and overflow! What a great image and promise."

(thoughts by, Bill Tibert, Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church)

May this be ever true in our lives in increasing ways.

Happy Thanksgiving

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