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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

True Love

29 October 2014

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: O God Our Help in Ages Past

Theme: God Our Maker

Topic: True Love

Reading: Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
Refrain: From age to age you are God.
Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another. Before the mountains were brought forth, or the land and the earth were born, from age to age you are God. R You turn us back to the dust and say, "Go back, O child of earth." For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night. R You sweep us away like a dream; we fade away suddenly like the grass. In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered. R Return, O Lord; how long will you tarry? be gracious to your servants. Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life. Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us and the years in which we suffered adversity. R Show your servants your works and your splendour to their children. May the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us; prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork. R

It is for the Lord’s mercies and His everlasting love for us that we are not consumed.  One of the most popular quotes from the Scripture is John 3:16…. ‘for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to die for us, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life’.  Based on this immeasurable love of God, He who first loved us demands love from us; not just to love Him but to love others as well.  The hardest part of the commandment to love is that we should love our enemies as if they are friends, just as God loved us while we were His enemies.  This separates true love from lip-service or fake love.  As Christians, we need to understand that the commandment to love is a call to action.  It is a call to love the ‘lovable’ and ‘unlovable’; because we all have sinned.  It is the hallmark of true love i.e. Christian love.

1. Describe Christian love.  
Matthew 5:38-48
‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. 43 ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love

1 John 4:7-21
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

2. What are the lessons for us in Matthew 22:34-46 regarding true love?
Matthew 22:34-46
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’37He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ 41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ 43He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, 
44 “The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
   until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”? 
45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

3. How do we manifest true love in our everyday life?
Romans 12:9-21
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour.11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ 20No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. 3For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery,4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed;6nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others,7though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

1 John 3:11-24
For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15All who hate a brother or sisterare murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. 16We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.


If we love only those who love us, what reward will we get?  May we through the grace of God and help from the Holy Spirit love both friend and foe alike.      

Closing Prayer [Collect for Opening Prayers (1999), 114 alt.]

Your love, O God, is boundless. We who were strangers have been made your children; we who were defenseless have been brought into your household.  Keep us mindful of your mercy, so that we may love you with our whole heart and love our neighbor as ourselves.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


22 October 2014

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Theme: God Our Maker

Topic: Distinct

Reading: Exodus 33:12-23
Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, you have said to me, “Bring up this people”; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favour in my sight.” 13Now if I have found favour in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ 14He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ 15And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 16For how shall it be known that I have found favour in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.’ 17 The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name.’ 18Moses said, ‘Show me your glory, I pray.’ 19And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, “The Lord”; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20But’, he said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’ 21And the Lord continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.’

The Lord our Maker called and chose Christians around the world to be distinct.  This is not because we are better or more righteous than others, because the Scripture makes it clear that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, but for the grace of God.  Our distinctiveness as Christians stems from the fact that we answered the call of God to new life in Christ.  We have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb, forgiven, redeemed and accepted as joint-heirs with Christ.  Such privilege is not without responsibilities; as God’s chosen ones we are expected to show forth His love and grace to everyone around us.  We should live exemplary lives through which the gospel of Christ will reach non-Christians.  Although this may be difficult sometimes, with the power of the Holy Spirit, our light will shine and people in our lives will experience God’s love through us, and will give all glory to our Heavenly Father.

1. In what ways is the Christian life distinct?
Psalm 99:1-9
Refrain: The Lord our God is the Holy one.
The Lord is king; let the people tremble; he is enthroned upon the Cherubim; let the earth shake. The Lord is great in Zion; he is high above all peoples. Let them confess his name, which is great and awesome; he is the Holy One. R "O mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob." Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God and fall down before his footstool; he is the Holy One. R Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among those who call upon his name, they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; they kept his testimonies and the decree that he gave them. R "O Lord our God, you answered them indeed; you were a God who forgave them, yet punished them for their evil deeds." Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God and worship him upon his holy hill; for the Lord our God is the Holy One. R
Refrain: The Lord our God is the Holy one.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 2 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit,7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

1 Peter 2:1-10
Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture: ‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ 7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner’, 8and ‘A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

2. What are the lessons for us in Matthew 22:15-22 regarding being distinct?
Matthew 22:15-22
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ 21They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

Romans 13:1-7
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; 4for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.5Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. 6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. 7Pay to all what is due to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due.

3. What are some of the obstacles to being distinct?  How do we overcome them?
Matthew 5:13-16
‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Romans 11:11-24
So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israeljealous. 12Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! 13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry 14in order to make my own peoplejealous, and thus save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! 16If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree,18do not vaunt yourselves over the branches. If you do vaunt yourselves, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19You will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ 20That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. 22Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity towards those who have fallen, but God’s kindness towards you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23And even those of Israel, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

2 Timothy 2:11-26
The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. 16Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, 17and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.’ 20 In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. 22Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.23Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, 25correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, 26and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.


May our light shine through the power of the Holy Spirit, that people in our lives will experience God’s love through us, and give all glory to our Heavenly Father.               

The Collect (for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost)
Almighty and everliving God, increase in us your gift of faith, that forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to what is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of everlasting joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Eternal God, your word inspires our faith. May we who offer you our praise trust you in all things. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer 1
The Lord be with you.
        And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
        We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
        It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is indeed right that we should praise you, gracious God, for you created all things. You formed us in your own image: male and female you created us. When we turned away from you in sin, you did not cease to care for us, but opened a path of salvation for all people. You made a covenant with Israel,
and through your servants Abraham and Sarah gave the promise of a blessing to all nations. Through Moses you led your people from bondage into freedom; through the prophets you renewed your promise of salvation. Therefore, with them, and with all your saints who have served you in every age, we give thanks and raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy God, source of life and goodness, all creation rightly gives you praise. In the fullness of time, you sent your Son Jesus Christ, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all. He healed the sick and ate and drank with outcasts and sinners; he opened the eyes of the blind and proclaimed the good news of your kingdom to the poor and to those in need. In all things he fulfilled your gracious will.

On the night he freely gave himself to death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Gracious God, his perfect sacrifice destroys the power of sin and death; by raising him to life you give us life for evermore. Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Recalling his death, proclaiming his resurrection, and looking for his coming again in glory, we offer you, Father, this bread and this cup. Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts, that all who eat and drink at this table may be one body and one holy people, a living sacrifice in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory is yours, almighty Father, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
And now, as our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread
Creator of all,
you gave us golden fields of wheat,
whose grains we have gathered
and made into this one bread.
So may your Church be gathered
from the end of the earth
into your kingdom.

The Communion
The gifts of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.

Prayer after Communion
God of peace, you have nourished us in this sacrament with the body and blood of Christ. May we who have taken holy things keep faith in our hearts and lives, in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

The Blessing
May love, joy and peace be yours in abundance; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Go forth in the name of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Remember the Lord Who Blessed You

15 October 2014

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Count Your Blessings

Theme: God Our Maker

Topic: Remember the Lord Who Blessed You

Reading: Deuteronomy 8:7-18
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. 11 Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 12When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 14then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery,15who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid waste-land with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 16and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 17Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’ 18But remember the Lordyour God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

The Lord our God delights in bestowing His blessings upon us; and this is not because we deserve His blessings, but for His immeasurable grace and love towards us.  Although there are times we feel the opposite; we neither feel the presence of God nor His blessings, if we take a careful look at our lives and the world around us, we will see that the Lord our maker is with us, and has blessed us.  Beginning with His most precious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ to provision of our needs and the beauty of all creation, our hearts will be filled with thanksgiving to God.  This does not mean that we have no challenges in our lives, but that amidst the trials, God our maker has blessed us beyond measure.  God knows that the cares and worries of this world can erroneously becloud His blessings in our lives, family, church and world, hence He reminds us in Scripture, to take stock once in a while and thank Him.

1. What does giving thanks to God entail?
1 Chronicles 16:8-36
8 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
   make known his deeds among the peoples.
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him,
   tell of all his wonderful works.
10 Glory in his holy name;
   let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength,
   seek his presence continually.
12 Remember the wonderful works he has done,
   his miracles, and the judgements he uttered,
13 O offspring of his servant Israel,
   children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 
14 He is the Lord our God;
   his judgements are in all the earth.
15 Remember his covenant for ever,
   the word that he commanded for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
   his sworn promise to Isaac,
17 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
   to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
18 saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan
   as your portion for an inheritance.’ 
19 When they were few in number,
   of little account, and strangers in the land,
20 wandering from nation to nation,
   from one kingdom to another people,
21 he allowed no one to oppress them;
   he rebuked kings on their account,
22 saying, ‘Do not touch my anointed ones;
   do my prophets no harm.’ 
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
   Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvellous works among all the peoples.
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
   he is to be revered above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
   but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Honour and majesty are before him;
   strength and joy are in his place. 
28 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
   ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
   bring an offering, and come before him.
Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
30   tremble before him, all the earth.
   The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
   and let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!’
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   let the field exult, and everything in it.
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
   before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures for ever. 
35Say also:
‘Save us, O God of our salvation,
   and gather and rescue us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
   and glory in your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
   from everlasting to everlasting.’
Then all the people said ‘Amen!’ and praised the Lord.

Psalm 65:1-13
1 Praise is due to you,
   O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed, 
2   O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come. 
3 When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
   you forgive our transgressions. 
4 Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
   to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
   your holy temple. 
5 By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
   O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
   and of the farthest seas. 
6 By your strength you established the mountains;
   you are girded with might. 
7 You silence the roaring of the seas,
   the roaring of their waves,
   the tumult of the peoples. 
8 Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy. 
9 You visit the earth and water it,
   you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
   you provide the people with grain,
   for so you have prepared it. 
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
   settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
   and blessing its growth. 
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
   your wagon tracks overflow with richness. 
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
   the hills gird themselves with joy, 
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
   the valleys deck themselves with grain,
   they shout and sing together for joy.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets, 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

2. What are the lessons for us in Luke 17:11-19 regarding remembering our God who blessed us?
Luke 17:11-19
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepersapproached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.17Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’

Psalm 100:1-5
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2   Worship the Lord with gladness;
   come into his presence with singing. 
3 Know that the Lord is God.
   It is he that made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
   and his courts with praise.
   Give thanks to him, bless his name. 
5 For the Lord is good;
   his steadfast love endures for ever,
   and his faithfulness to all generations.

3. How do we remember the Lord our God through thanksgiving?  What are the rewards?
Deuteronomy 16:9-17
You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10Then you shall keep the festival of weeks to the Lord your God, contributing a freewill-offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from the Lord your God. 11Rejoice before the Lord your God—you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, the Levites resident in your towns, as well as the strangers, the orphans, and the widows who are among you—at the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. 12Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and diligently observe these statutes. 13 You shall keep the festival of booths for seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing-floor and your wine press.14Rejoice during your festival, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, as well as the Levites, the strangers, the orphans, and the widows resident in your towns. 15For seven days you shall keep the festival to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose; for the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all your undertakings, and you shall surely celebrate. 16 Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the festival of unleavened bread, at the festival of weeks, and at the festival of booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed; 17all shall give as they are able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.

Psalm 95:1-11
1 O come, let us sing to the Lord;
   let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
   let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
   and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
   the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
   and the dry land, which his hands have formed. 
6 O come, let us worship and bow down,
   let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   and the sheep of his hand. 
O that today you would listen to his voice!
8   Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
   as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your ancestors tested me,
   and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
   and said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
   and they do not regard my ways.’
11 Therefore in my anger I swore,
   ‘They shall not enter my rest.’

2 Corinthians 9:6-15
The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9As it is written, ‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.’ 10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 


May we always be mindful of God’s numerous blessings upon our lives, family, church and world.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Harvest Thanksgiving)

Creator of the fruitful earth, you made us stewards of all things. Give us grateful hearts for all your goodness, and steadfast wills to use your bounty well, that the whole human family, today and in generations to come, may with us give thanks for the riches of your creation. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.