Thanksgiving week, November 24-29

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FAMILY DEVOTIONS - a week of giving thanks to the Giver of all good things!

MONDAY , November 24

I will exalt you, my God the King;
            I will praise your name forever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
            And extol your name forever and ever.
The eyes of all look to you,
         And you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
            And satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
            and loving toward all he has made.

Psalm 145:1-2, 15-17

With Thanksgiving coming on Thursday, this week is the perfect time to give focus on giving God thanks during Family Devotions.  Today, you may want to consider starting a list of things you’re thankful for and adding to it according to each day’s theme.  Our focus today is on thanking God for the daily sustenance that He gives to us.  As the Giver of Life, God not only created us, but enables us to live each day.  Without His hand holding our world, nothing – not us, nor any plant or animal – would be able to survive.  He gives us food and drink, providing these through rain and sun, farmers, gardeners, manufacturers, grocers – so many people and ways that it is hard to count.  The bottom line is, however, that He provides! 

God makes the clouds rain goodness,
The deserts bloom and spring,
The hills leap up in gladness,
The valleys laugh and sing.
God fills them with His fullness,
all things with large increase;
He crowns the year with blessing,
With plenty and with peace.                        

 (LSB #893 vs 2)

 

TUESDAY, November 25

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
            Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare
            And from the deadly pestilence…
If you make the Most High your dwelling –
            Even the Lord, who is my refuge –
Then no harm will befall you,
            No disaster will come near your tent.
For He will command His angels concerning you
            To guard you in all your ways.
Psalm 91:1-3, 9-11

Not only does our God sustain our lives, He gives us clothing and shelter, a roof over our head to protect us from the storms.  He protects us from things that would harm us.  We have nothing to fear.  Martin Luther says in his explanation of the 1st article of the Apostles’ Creed, “He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have.  He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.” (Luther’s Small Catechism, 1986)  Thank God for His protection and provision of your family this year!

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms Has blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love And still is our today.

(LSB #895 vs 1)

 

WEDNESDAY, November 26

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
            Let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before Him with thanksgiving
            And extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is a great God,
            The great King above all gods.
In His hand are the depths of the earth,
            And the mountain peaks below to Him.
The sea is His, for He made it,
            And His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
            Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.  Psalm 95:1-7

Monday we thanked God for giving us life; today we thank God for the magnificence of His creation.  When we look at all God created for us – the stars and galaxies, mountains, oceans, multitudes of flowers and trees and plants, amazing creatures, breathtaking scenery, flat plains filled with food, and so much more – it is easy to see just how much God loves us.  He loves beauty and expressed that to us in creation and within our own bodies.  He created everything on earth to be used and enjoyed.  It has been tainted by sin, but we can thank God for His CREATivity!

For the fruits of His creation,
Thanks be to God.
For His gifts to ev’ry nation,
Thanks be to God.
For the plowing, sowing, reaping,
Silent growth while we are sleeping,
Future needs in earth’s safe-keeping,
Thanks be to God! 
(LSB #894 vs 1)

 

THURSDAY, November 27

I will praise you as long as I live,
            And in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
            With singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
            I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
            I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
            Your right hand upholds me.   Psalm 63:3-8

On this Thanksgiving Day, we know God has cared for our bodies, given us protection, and graciously given us more than we need.  We can also rest assured in the promise that God cares not only for our bodies, but also for our souls.  He has done absolutely everything that is necessary to ensure that our souls are safe and protected from death.  Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have eternal life to be thankful for. Plus, He strengthens our faith through His Word, through our worship, through the storms of life you may have faced this last year.  As you gather with your family and feast until you can feast no more, sharing things you are thankful for, don’t forget to thank God for the most wonderful gift He has given us.  Our bodies are sustained, but more importantly, He has given life to our souls.

Oh, may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us
With ever joyful hearts And blessed peace to cheer us
And keep us in His grace
And guide us when perplexed
And free us from all ills In this world and the next.
 
(LSB #895 vs. 2)

 

FRIDAY, November 28

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
            It is fitting for the upright to praise Him.
For the word of the Lord is right and true;
            He is faithful in all He does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
            The earth is full of His unfailing love.
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,
            Their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
            Let all the people of the world revere Him.
For He spoke, and it came to be;
            He commanded, and it stood firm. 
Psalm 33:1,4-6, 8-9

God spoke, and the world came into being.  What power His word has!  God has given us a great gift by sharing that powerful Word with us.  Whenever we open the Bible, we are entering into the life-giving words of God.  They have the power to change our hearts, to awaken in us sorrow for sin or joy for redemption.  God’s Word is active!  It is not simply words on a page.  God has given us Himself in the words of the Bible.  This is something that we can be thankful for.  Each day, God invites us into His heart, to see His story, to watch His plan of salvation unfold, to see how it is that He wants us to live!

God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be our forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way,
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teaching pure
Throughout all generations.
 
(LSB #582)

 

SATURDAY, November 29

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
            All my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
            And forget not all his benefits –
Who forgives all your sins
            And heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit
            And crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things
            So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5

Today is the last day of the year – the church year, that is.  Tomorrow we begin again with Advent as we look forward to Christmas.  Today, however, we take a look back over the past year.  Where have you seen and experienced the protecting, preserving hand of God in your life?  God is also our healer.  He has healed many of our members over this past year, restoring them to health.  Others, He has called home, where they will never struggle with health problems again.  Still others are waiting on Him for relief.  While God may wait to bring healing to our bodies, we can rejoice and give thanks in the fact that God has healed us of our sin.  We are forgiven, and we can look back on the last year as another year of God’s grace.

Even so, Lord, quickly come
To Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In thy garner to abide:
Come with all Thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.
 
(LSB #892, vs 4)

 

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