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Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving clipart
Our local community paper places a Thanksgiving proclamation
on their 
front page each year.

ListenListen to us share this message on your audio player.

"Giving Thanks To The God Of Heaven"

"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever."
(Psalm 136:26).

Today's message will be a bit different. It's Thanksgiving Day here in the USA, a national holiday and a great day to especially give thanks to the Lord and gather with family and friends.  Today we will be spending the day here in Mount Joy enjoying a bountiful meal.

Ester's boyfriend, Brian, will be joining us along with our friends, Ken and Nila Pierce and their two young sons David and Seth.  Later this afternoon following our meal we'll be going over to Longwood Manor, a local assisted living center, to provide a Thanksgiving hymn service for the residents. A number of their families will be there as well.  We know the young children will be of special blessing.

Brooksyne and I give thanks for all our readers (and podcast listeners) and hope our American readers will have a blessed Thanksgiving Day, especially focusing on thanks to God, which was the original intent for the day when it was a solemn day for the Pilgrims along with Indians in 1621.

Today we want to share a 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 to God!

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.

Pond Scene
This photo was taken several weeks ago and is one our favorite views on the way to church.  Here's a photo of the same view taken last winter with ice on the pond.

I met Tommy Carpenter several years ago. He began receiving our messages at that time and periodically shares an interesting insight. He wrote concerning yesterday's message: "I have been thinking about the Samaritan who came back to give thanks to JESUS! Let me explain... The other nine could go to the Temple and find a priest to examine, administer the purification laws and affirm them. The Samaritan did not have right to the Levitical priesthood nor the temple area. He turned back and humbled himself before our Great High Priest, who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities! He came under the examination, administration and the affirmation of JESUS CHRIST."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

Highly Recommended! On searching for music related to today's message I found this very interesting video that really puts things in perspective. It's a little early for the Christmas song background but it also has a very powerful Thanksgiving message.

"Thanksgiving Medley"  Video
"Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart"  Video
  Don Moen

"Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me"  Video  Jeff and Sheri Easter

"Now Thank We All Our God"  Video  Best Loved Hymns

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Jars Of Clay

"He's Been Faithful"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Celebrating Thanksgiving in America: Here's an excellent article by historian David Barton regarding the history of Thanksgiving Day here in the US.  It absolutely dispels the current politically correct notion that our country did not have a strong Christian basis.

The most detailed primary source description of the "First Thanksgiving" comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

Special Thanksgiving Resources
We want to offer these ideas to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday.
(We'll be posting these resources through Thanksgiving.)

"Thankful For The Thorns":
A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table (printable webpage) The Thanksgiving celebration includes family coming together along with the turkey and trimmings. Often there's a lot 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! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns" or the questionnaire we've provided in the link below.  
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) Perhaps you could just use it as a discussion guide to provide stimulus for other's reflections.

A Thanksgiving prayer: (written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago.)  Webpage  For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

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 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)

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

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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