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Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category


Psalm 9: The Book of God’s Wonders

Monday, March 6, 2017psalms9_2-31

The MESSAGE version of this psalm speaks to us in our core. Anyone who has been wronged, anyone who has suffered injustice of any kind, anyone who looks for refuge in the storm of life will smile as they read these verses.

I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.

What are the miracles of our relationship with God will we want to enter into the Book of God’s Wonders?

The day my enemies turned tail and ran, they stumbled on you and fell on their faces. You throw dirty players out of the game, wipe their names right off the roster. Enemies disappear from the sidelines, their reputation trashed, their names erased from the halls of fame.

We look for the patience to allow God’s plan to blossom and flourish.

God holds the high center, God sees and sets the world’s mess right. God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked.

We pray for the hope we will need to remember God’s promise of safety, and we pray for the courage to knock at heaven’s door as Jesus tells us we must.

Sing your songs to Zion-dwelling God, tell God’s stories to everyone you meet: How God tracks down killers yet keeps an eye on us, registers every whimper and moan.

We pray for the fortitude to weather the storm, knowing that although the horizon is dark, God navigates our lives.

psalm-9_18Be kind to me, God; I’ve been kicked around long enough. Once you’ve pulled me back from the gates of death, I’ll write the book on Hallelujahs; on the corner of Main and First I’ll hold a street meeting; I’ll be the song leader; we’ll fill the air with salvation songs.

We pray for the courage to thank God in public and to share the stories we list in the Book of God’s Wonders.

They’re trapped, those godless, in the very snares they set, their feet all tangled in the net they spread. They have no excuse; the way God works is well-known. The cunning machinery made by the wicked has maimed their own hands.

We remember to intercede for those who would harm us.

The wicked bought a one-way ticket to hell. No longer will the poor be nameless—no more humiliation for the humble.

We ask for mercy for our enemies, and the grace to step away from the temptation to seek revenge.

Up, God! Aren’t you fed up with their empty strutting? Expose these grand pretensions! Shake them up, God! Show them how silly they look.

We ask God to steer us clear of all pretension. We ask that Christ lead us in the ways of the just. And we ask that the Holy Spirit abide in us forever, as we proclaim the wonders God has wrought for us.

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to compare other translations of this Psalm, we discover that we have a great deal to record in The Book of God’s Wonders, and to share with all the world. 

 

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Colossians 3:15-17: Be Thankful

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Colossae Ruins

Colossae Ruins

Today we take a portion of Paul’s letter to the people of Colossae and we apply it to our own lives as we once again learn to . . .

Be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly and . . . be thankful.

Teach and admonish one another in wisdom and . . . be thankful.

Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and . . . be thankful.

Live with gratitude in your hearts and . . . be thankful.

In word and deed and in everything you do . . . be thankful.

In the name of the Lord, Christ Jesus . . . be thankful.

Amen.

When we explore other translations of these verses, we discover that a new sense of gratitude settles into our bones and sinews . . . so that we might live out God’s call to thanksgiving each day.

For more posts on gratitude, enter the word into the blog search bar.

Click on the post photograph to see more images and to learn more about Colossae

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1 Thessalonians 3:9-13: An Adequate Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 6, 2016givethanks-desktop

We enter the month in the U.S. when we traditionally offer thanks for full harvests and healthy lives. This is a time when we ask what our gratitude means, how we best express it, and how we might best offer our thanks to God.

What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience?

We too often rely on ourselves alone when we tackle obstacles and solve problems. We must remember to include God in all our equations.

We do what we can, praying away, night and day, asking for the bonus of seeing your faces again and doing what we can to help when your faith falters.

Like the Thessalonians, we find that God is our best bulwark against the storm, the most reliable defender and protector.

May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you!

Like the Thessalonians, we find that God’s love can heal all injury and convert all harm.

And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.

thanksLike the Thessalonians, we discover that the love we experience multiples as we share it.

May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.

Like the Thessalonians, let us give more than adequate thanks for the presence of God in our days and nights, for the work of Christ during our highs and lows, for the love of the Spirit in good times and bad.

For more reflections on Thanksgiving, search The Noontimes blog using the category cloud in the right-hand sidebar. 

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Psalm 30: Thanksgiving – Part VII

Sunday, October 2, 2016 giving-thanks-for-your-life

Adapted from a Favorite written at the beginning of a new year, January 3, 2009.

Thanksgiving for Deliverance

When we are in the valleys of life it is difficult to feel the hope of regeneration; so when we feel the sense of relief after delivery we will want to dwell in that sensation of rebirth for a while . . . and we will want to give thanks.

When days are dark we try to remember that liberation from anxiety and a sense of uselessness too often overtakes us, and then we remember that release is what the Savior comes to give us with an open and eager heart.

When days are bright and we revel in the ease with which challenges are met and overcome, we might focus on a keen awareness of those moments, taking into our consciousness the swell and ebb of those feelings. In this way we will know how to petition God when the sky grows dark.

We do not want to become complacent.

We concentrate on verses 7 to 11 and we know that we have lived too many days of assumed ease.  We have put our heads on pillows too many nights without saying Thank you, I love you.  We have forgotten to fully appreciate the one who always saves.  We know this now; and so we will make a conscious effort to put all things into perspective before falling to sleep . . . no matter the worry or crush of the day. Verses 12 and 13:

You changed my mourning into dancing;

          you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

With my whole being I sing endless praise to you.

          O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

Amen.

This might be our bedtime prayer for the year . . . and perhaps for years to come.

 

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Psalm 52: Thanksgiving – Part VI

Saturday, October 1, 2016OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Giving thanks for the Deceitful Tongue

In this Favorite from September 21, 2008 we find that thanksgiving finds us even when we encounter lies and deceptions.

Like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God’s love forever.

The image of the olive tree is used often in the Old Testament.  Either the fruit or its oil was present at every meal in Jesus’ time.  The tree is evergreen and grows anywhere it can get a foothold, even on rocky hillsides.  “It is no wonder it assumed an almost mythical character.  The tree became a symbol of fertility (Ps. 128:3), beauty Jer. 11:16; Hos. 14:6), divine blessing (Deut. 7:13), peace and bountifulness (Gen. 8:11), and it was inextricably associated with Jesus (the Mount of Olives [Mark 14:26; John 8:1]).” (Achetemeier 782)

The olive tree serves as an apt model for the life of a Christian.  It takes hold where it can; its fruit and oil sustain, light, heal and anoint.

I will praise you always for what you have done.

We so often turn to God in time of sorrow and trial.  We must remember to praise God in thanksgiving when we are blessed.

I will proclaim before the faithful that your name is good.

We so often think that when things go well we have been clever, “on top of things”, and well-prepared.  We must remember to give God credit for the good in our lives, for without God we have nothing.  God is the one who ordained us with our aptitudes.

The first portion of this psalm asks Why do you glory in evil, you scandalous liar?  It is a question we pose when we discover that someone we trust has been untruthful in such a way that our relationship has suffered.

The second portion of the psalm describes how God will strike down the liar while the righteous jeer.  From a New Testament standpoint, we know that compassion and Christ-like witness are the proper responses to an evil act.  Still, we can empathize with the pent-up anger expressed in this Old Testament view.  That is why it is all the more important to look at the third portion.

Like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God’s love forever.

It reminds us that after we have done all possible to rebuke a sinner, we must place our trust in God.

I will praise you always for what you have done.

It reminds us to thank God for the blessings in our lives, for the evil turned to good.

I will proclaim before the faithful that your name is good.

It reminds us to tell the wonderful story of our own conversion so that others may also be converted.

Like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God’s love forever.

It reminds us to trust God, to love as Christ loves, to endure, to hold on, and to be faithful to God forever.

Like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God’s love forever.

Achetemeier, Paul J. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE DICTIONARY. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996. 782. Print.

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Esther 10 and F: Thanksgiving – Part V

Friday, September 30, 2016

Jean Francois de Troy: The Triumhp of Mordecai

Jean Francois de Troy: The Triumph of Mordecai

A Favorite from October 6, 2007.

Mordecai’s Dream Fulfilled

A Favorite from October 6, 2007. To read the epilogue (Esther F), consult the New American Bible (NABRE) using the scripture link above. 

When we explore Esther’s story, we discover God’s gift of goodness.

How many times has this kind of rescue happened in small ways in our lives that we have given momentary thanksgiving and moved on to our next petition in our list of dreams?  How many times have we quickly curtsied or bowed as we said a hasty “Thank you” before rushing on to out next request?  We must always make the time to give full and abundant thanks to God.  For has not God’s goodness been overflowing to us?  We must pass along these stories to those who follow.  For have not these stories been passed along to us?  We must, like Mordecai who realizes that his highest hopes have been born out of God’s providence and mercy, gather together with joy and happiness before God that we may celebrate.  We must rejoice in the goodness of God for only this gladness and joy will carry us forward to New Life in the fullest.

When we spend time with the story of Esther, Mordecai, Haman and Ahasuerus, we open our hearts to thanksgiving. We open ourselves to the Spirit. 

Click on the image above to learn more about the characters in this very human story, or visit: http://www.moshereiss.org/messenger/15_esther/15_esther.html

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Esther 10 and F: Thanksgiving – Part IV

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rembrandt: Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther

Rembrandt: Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther

Mordecai’s Dream Fulfilled

A Favorite from October 6, 2007. To read the epilogue (Esther F), consult the New American Bible (NABRE) using the scripture link above. 

We must remember that God is always loyal to the covenant promise, and we need not expect anything less than perfection from God because with God all things are possible.  As Mordecai says in today’s reading when he realizes that the outrageous hope of which he dreamt has actually been fulfilled, This is the work of God.  Mordecai recognizes God’s effort to convert harm to good.  He sees that not a single detail has been left unfulfilled.  He recognizes the meaning of the symbols of the spring, the light, and the dragons which had previously been unclear to him.  He sees what God has arranged, and what man has plotted.  He recognizes that God has saved his people and delivered us from all these evils.  He now understands that God worked signs and great wonders which we were too frightened to see and appreciate as we ran the gauntlet of obstacles laid out by ourselves and others in anticipation of our fall.  Mordecai now feels the full impact of his rescue and reparation.  He has let the reality of the outcome of his innocent suffering come into focus.  He now sees fully that the horrific end which his enemies had plotted is not his and Esther’s – for it is not the Jewish people who hang from the gallows but instead, those who ordered the gallows built.  Not only has God saved, God has at the same time turned evil into good, passed judgment and handed out consequences.

Tomorrow, thanksgiving for rescue. 

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Esther 10 and F: Thanksgiving – Part III

Mordecai’s Dream Fulfilled

Aert de Gelder: Esther Talking to Mordecai

Aert de Gelder: Esther Talking to Mordecai

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 

A Favorite from October 6, 2007. To read the epilogue (Esther F) consult the New American Bible (NABRE) using the scripture link above. 

We have examined the following motifs: understanding that the innocent suffer, knowing that much is expected of those who have much, accepting that silence is assent, learning to trust our covenant with God, cautioning against weaving webs of deceit (for ultimately the victim of this web is always the weaver), allowing nothing to step between us and God, repenting and being doers of the Word.  This story is replete with solid ideas that are necessary if we are to approach and then pass through our Narrow Gate.  It always brings me joy to read these verses because the over-arching idea of this story is the following:  God will rescue his people, those who attempt to walk in The Way.  This rescue may not be as visible or as obvious as we would like, but it is always and constantly available to us . . . because God is incapable of any lesser action.  God will always console, God will always abide, God will always preserve, heal and protect.  God will always restore.  God will always be union and joy.

When we explore Esther’s story, we discover God’s gift of goodness; we encounter God’s desire to rejoice in us; and we find every reason to proclaim our thanksgiving. 

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Isaiah 12: Thanksgiving – Part II

Tuesday, September 27, 2016give-thanks

God is my strength and my song.

God says: I watch over you while you sleep as a loving mother or father. I prepare each day for you so that you might live in me. Sing out your praise and abide in the comfort of my hands.

Ask God anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what God has done, spread the news of God’s great reputation!

God says: I plan the mornings, afternoons and evenings you journey through. I prepare saving pathways and abiding companions to accompany on your journey. Rejoice in my endless hope for you.

Let the whole earth know what he’s done! Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion! The Greatest lives among you: The Holy of Israel.”

God says: When you share your joy with others, it multiplies the goodness I have showered on you. When you share your thanksgiving with others, it comes back to you ten-thousand fold. Rest in my deep and abiding love for you.

God speaks to us through the prophet Isaiah to bring us the good news that we are deeply and passionately loved. Let us rejoice today. Let us give thanks today.

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