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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.

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