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Thursday, November 22, 2007
Amish buggy from hot air balloon
Amish farm taken from a hot air balloon.
Photo by Debra Zimmerman (Used by permission)
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"Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise" (Psalm 79:13)

Today's message will be a bit different. It's Thanksgiving here in the USA, a national holiday and great day to especially give thanks to the Lord and gather with family and friends.  Today my sister, Genelle, and her husband, Cesar, are coming up from North Carolina and late this afternoon we will share our traditional Thanksgiving meal. Saturday my brother Pat and his family from Easton, PA will join us. (My brother Mike, who lives in California, will not be able to join us this year.)

Last night we attended our community thankgiving service with a mix of churches participating. We sang songs of praise and thanksgiving together and had Scripture readings, testimonies and special music.

Today we want to merely share Scripture reading from Psalm 136 that is very suitable for responsive reading, even for those with very young children who can simply respond, "His love endures forever."

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

To Him who alone does great wonders,
       His love endures forever.

Who by His understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.

Who spread out the earth upon the waters,
       His love endures forever.

Who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.

The sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.

The moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

To the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

And freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.

And who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Be encouraged today and be overflowing with thanksgiving!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

A Thanksgiving Prayer

In thanksgiving we lift our voices of praise from grateful hearts, Father, as we sing songs of praise and adoration to You, our blessed King.  Whether in seasons of prosperity or in seasons of want we find Your grace sufficient to meet each one of our needs.  You guide us, protect us, and You provide for us as we journey here below.  Every good and perfect gift comes from Your hand.  Thank You, faithful Father!  Amen.

Some more balloon photos

Lancaster County PA (Photo by Debra Zimmerman)
I'm quite sure I have been on this road.
It sure beckons for a country drive on a beautiful autumn afternoon!

Amish cart (Photo by Debra Zimmerman)
This is sure an interesting photo, especially the variegated surface.
See this photo for zoom-out context.

Today's photos (like those on yesterday's post) were take by Debra Zimmerman, daughter of our friends Cerwin and Doris High. More photos are on Doris High's photoblog site.  Here's another great photoblog with a country theme.  These photographs are outstanding!

Thanksgiving Resources

ThornsNew "Thankful For The Thorns" - A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thankgiving Table (webpage)

Most every year our Thanksgiving celebration is first and foremost the turkey and trimmings.  Lots of food with little meaningful conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! I realize that some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering.  But if it is possible I recommend sharing together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns" or the questionnaire we've provided in the link below.  Perhaps you could just use it as a discussion guide to provide stimulus for other's reflections.

CD label for "Stories of Great Hymns"New "Hymns of Hope" A project that has been in the works over several months is now completed.  Brooksyne has compiled eleven hymns that deal with the recurring theme of loss and ongoing trial and titled it "Hymns of Hope" based on Romans 12:12,  "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." Amber Martin plays the hymns on the keyboard and Lauren Gingrich accompanies her on six of the hymns with the viola. Tracks 12-22 play each hymn softly in the background while Brooksyne shares a personal devotional thought, the biographical setting of the hymn text, and an intercessory prayer. We recorded this in the very modest and limited computerized recording studio of Daily Encouragement so that we could make this ministry project available to all who are in need of such encouragement without huge overhead expense.  Thus we realize the audio quality is not what we've become accustomed to. You can go to this site to listen to the songs. You can download one song at a time if you find this to be of special blessing to you or know someone whose spirit might be lifted by listening to these meditative hymns. Here's a sample with a Thanksgiving theme: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (Audio reading)

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading -
A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Thanksgiving family exercise - We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.  (pdf)

A Day of Rest in Plimouth Colony - This is a summary of a chapter in the lives of the pilgrims that Brooksyne uses to teach about their Sunday worship.  (pdf)

Books used in Brooksyne's research on the Pilgrims:
Saints & Strangers  By Vision Video
Three Young Pilgrims  By Cheryl Harness / Simon & Schuster

Suggested Music

"I Am So Thankful" (Audio)

"Give Thanks" (Audio)

"Be Unto Your Name" (Audio)

"Godliness With Contentment"  (Audio) Original by our friend Mike Book

The offertory for the service last night was a song we hadn't heard for many years but was a favorite while we were in Bible College in the mid-seventies.  I am sure some of you will recognize it and it really has a great perspective on thankfulness with the title, "Thank You Lord For The Trials That Come My Way." Here are the lyrics although I could not locate an audio version.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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