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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Spirit of Comfort

28 October 2015
Opening Prayer/Worship                                                 Hymn: O God Our Help in Ages Past

Theme: Spirit of Life                                                                              Topic: Spirit of Comfort
Reading: Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Then Job answered the Lord: "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 'Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.' I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job's daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children's children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.

Comfort is a word that connotes well-being, satisfaction, contentment and peace.  As Christians we expect to be comforted as we walk with the Lord our God.  However, situations arise in our lives that could steal our peace, joy and gladness.  If we are not careful to put our whole trust in the Lord at such times, we can lose our faith in God.  There is a saying that unless water gets into a boat, it cannot sink.  The same goes for our spiritual journey in Christ- things will come against us- sickness, bereavement, loss of relationship, betrayal, financial crisis, and so on.  If we allow the circumstance to get into our head, mind and heart, such that we start to worry instead of committing it to the Lord in prayer, we will lose our peace, joy, confidence and hope in God.  However, if we remember that God sent His Holy Spirit to comfort us in our time of trouble, and allow Him to work in us, we will not be overcome by the storms of life.  God comforted Job in his time of trouble, and He will comfort us as well during our time of need!


1.    How does the Holy Spirit comfort us?
Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22
REFRAIN Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in him.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
I will glory in the Lord; let the humble hear and rejoice. R
Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord; let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me out of all my terror. R
Look upon him and be radiant, and let not your faces be ashamed.
I called in my affliction and the Lord heard me and saved me from all my troubles. R
The angel of the Lord encompasses those who fear him, and he will deliver them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in him! R
Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver him out of them all.
He will keep safe all his bones; not one of them shall be broken. R
Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. The Lord ransoms the life of his servants, and none will be punished who trust in him. R

Romans 8:18-39
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 7:23-28
Furthermore, the former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
2.    What are the lessons for us in Mark 10:46-52 regarding being comforted in our time of need?  
Mark 10:46-52
They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
3. What are the hindrances to being comforted by the Holy Spirit?  How do we overcome them?
James 4:1-3
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 9Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. 12Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. 1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Ephesians 4:25-32
25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


God sent His Holy Spirit to comfort us in our time of trouble; as we allow Him to work in us, we will not be overcome by the storms of life.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost)

Lord God our redeemer, who heard the cry of your people and sent your servant Moses to lead them out of slavery, free us from the tyranny of sin and death, and by the leading of your Spirit bring us to our promised land; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

True Humility

21 October 2015

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Now thank we all our God

Theme: Spirit of Life

Topic: True Humility

Reading: Job 38:1-7
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
2 ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up your loins like a man,
   I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 
4 ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
   Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
   Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
   or who laid its cornerstone
7 when the morning stars sang together
   and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? 

Humility is a word could mean different things to different people.  Humility denotes knowing oneself to the pint of not being afraid of taking any position in life, high or low.  Christ is the perfect example of humility; He whose Word created all things left Heaven, took on sinful flesh and dwelled among His creation.  Christ did not have to come and die for us, but He humbled Himself and did it anyway, setting for us an example of how to live for Him.  Humility is not the same as low self-esteem, but a rational and deliberate inclination to perform under circumstances that would ordinarily be viewed as below one’s status or place in life.  By our strength we cannot be humble; the flesh and our ego always get in the way. But through the presence of the Holy Spirit, we become confident that we are children of the Most High, humble ourselves, and do whatever the Lord wishes for us to do.  True humility comes through the willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit, and total obedience to the Lord. 

1) What is humility?
1 Corinthians 4:1-13
Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2Moreover, it is required of stewards that they should be found trustworthy. 3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God. 6 I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, ‘Nothing beyond what is written’, so that none of you will be puffed up in favour of one against another. 7For who sees anything different in you?What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift? 8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Quite apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we might be kings with you! 9For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. 10We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute. 11To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;13when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.

James 4:4-10
Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, ‘God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? 6But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

1 Peter 5:1-7
Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you 2to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it—not for sordid gain but eagerly. 3Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. 4And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away. 5In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders.And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
2) What are the lessons for us in Mark 10:35-45 regarding being humble?
Mark 10:35-45
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’36And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ 37And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ 38But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ 39They replied, ‘We are able.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’ 41 When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’ 
3) Discuss some of the different misconceptions about humility.  How does the Holy Spirit help us to truly be humble?
Psalm 104:1-9, 25, 37b
Refrain: Lord, how manifold are your works! in wisdom you have made them all.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; O Lord my God, how excellent is your greatness! you are clothed with majesty and splendour. You wrap yourself with light as with a cloak and spread out the heavens like a curtain. R You lay the beams of your chambers in the waters above; you make the clouds your chariot; you ride on the wings of the wind. You make the winds your messengers and flames of fire your servants. You have set the earth upon its foundations, so that it never shall move at any time. You covered it with the deep as with a mantle; the waters stood higher than the mountains. R At your rebuke they fled; at the voice of your thunder they hastened away. They went up into the hills and down to the valleys beneath, to the places you had appointed for them. You set the limits that they should not pass; they shall not again cover the earth. R O Lord, how manifold are your works! in wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Hallelujah! R

Philippians 2:1-11
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8   he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Hebrews 5:1-10
Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; 3and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4And one does not presume to take this honour, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’; 6as he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’ 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.


True humility comes through the willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit, and total obedience to the Lord. 

Closing Prayer (Collect for Twenty-first 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. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thankful Heart

14 October 2015

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed

Theme: Spirit of Life

Topic: Thankful Heart

Reading: Joel 2:21-27
21 Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! 22 Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 23 O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. 24 The threshing-floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you. 26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 

We are blessed, and live in a blessed world among blessed people.  However, terrible things that happen around us some times could weigh us down and discourage us.  But if we really take a stock of our lives and the community we live in, I believe we will see that we have so much to be thankful to God for.  There was the story of an individual that was complaining that he did not have any shoes; then he saw another person that had no feet rejoicing and thanking God!  He stopped complaining and started thanking God that he has feet.  It is a tough world, and challenging times come our way sometimes; if we allow the troubles, they will keep us sad, unhappy and steal our joy.   However, with the help of the Holy Spirit, God will open our eyes to see His innumerable blessings upon our lives.  He will also see us through the tough times.  When we have a thankful heart despite tough times, we position ourselves to receive more blessings from the Lord.

1) What is thanksgiving, and what does it mean to have a thankful heart towards God? 
Psalm 136:1-26 (responsively)
1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever.
2 O give thanks to the God of gods,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever.
3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever; 
4 who alone does great wonders,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
5 who by understanding made the heavens,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
6 who spread out the earth on the waters,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
7 who made the great lights,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever; 
10 who struck Egypt through their firstborn,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
13 who divided the Red Sea in two,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
16 who led his people through the wilderness,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
17 who struck down great kings,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
18 and killed famous kings,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
22 a heritage to his servant Israel,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever. 
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever;
25 who gives food to all flesh,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever. 
26 O give thanks to the God of heaven,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever.

1 Timothy 2:1-7
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all—this was attested at the right time. 7For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

1 Peter 1:3-13
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Although you have not seenhim, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated, when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look! 13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.

2) What are the lessons for us in Matthew 6:25-33 regarding having a thankful heart?  
Matthew 6:25-33
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look 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? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Psalm 105:1-15
1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works.
3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.
5 Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he has uttered,
6 O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 
7 He is the Lord our God; his judgements are in all the earth.
8 He is mindful of his covenant for ever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,
10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
11 saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.’ 
12 When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it,
13 wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,
14 he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,
15 saying, ‘Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.’ 
3. In what practical ways can we be thankful to God, especially in tough times? 
    What are the benefits? 
Psalm 126:1-6
Refrain: The Lord has done great things for us.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy. R Then they said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed. R Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses of the Negev. R Those who sowed with tears will reap with songs of joy.  Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves. R

Romans 5:1-11
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.9Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.11But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Philippians 4:1-7
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 


When we have a thankful heart despite tough times, we position ourselves to receive more blessings from the Lord.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Thanksgiving Sunday)

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.