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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE FOR A FRIDAY

Rev Marie's thoughts are at the end:

OPENING PRAYER

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all you have done for us. We thank you for the splendour of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

...continue reading "GRATITUDE ATTITUDE FOR A FRIDAY"

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE FOR A THURSDAY

Rev Marie's thoughts are at the end of the post

OPENING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, in the busyness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop and thank You for all that is good in my life. My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness and gratitude for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels. I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath, and in the midst of life’s turbulence, I thank you for your unending faithfulness. In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love. I pray all of this in the sweet name of Jesus. Amen.

SCRIPTURE

‘So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!’ 2 Corinthians 5:17 

CLOSING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, open the eyes of my heart so that I may truly see all of the abounding love, faithfulness, mercy and favour that you have so freely bestowed upon me. Lord, help me walk with ever increasing gratitude in my heart. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Rev Marie's thoughts:

It is so easy to be thankful when things go my way. When I stand at the back of our yard at the end of a long and satisfying day, and I look out over the water reflecting a glorious sunset, words of thanksgiving just bubble up.  My heart is often filled with a profound sense of gratitude when those I love surround me and we are at peace. I have been given many graces and I am deeply aware of how much has been pure gift. ...continue reading "GRATITUDE ATTITUDE FOR A THURSDAY"

LUYH-logoGRATITUDE ATTITUDE - TUESDAY

The weekend is over and the turkey is turning into soup and we return to the sometimes unending ordinariness of our days. But for some of us that is not a reality but a poignant wish - we long for the "ordinary" days which we do not now have. In either case, it can be hard to hold onto the sense of gratitude that Thanksgiving engenders. Today's thoughts remind us of the love that is not dependent on anything but God's unchanging character.  Rev Marie's thoughts are at the end. ...continue reading "GRATITUDE ATTITUDE – TUESDAY"

A WEEK OF GRATITUDE - MONDAY.

Here is today's Devotion.  Rev Marie has added her thoughts at the bottom of the post.  She would love to hear your thoughts.

OPENING 
Psalm 136 (1-9) 
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
Who alone does great wonders,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
Who by understanding made the heavens, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Who spread out the earth on the waters, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Who made the great lights,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
The sun to rule over the day,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
The moon and stars to rule over the night, for His steadfast love ensures forever.

SCRIPTURE 
“He himself is before all things, and in him, all things hold together” Colossians 1:17 

CLOSING PRAYER 
Eternal God, you create us by your power and redeem us by your love. Guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves today in love and service to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rev Marie's response:

Grace is the root word for so many lovely words in English -- gracious, gratis, graceful - and our focus for this week, gratitude.

Somehow, the word gratitude seems deeper to me than thankfulness.  Perhaps it is because being very polite Canadians, we say "thank you" so often.  Someone gives us something, or even looks at us kindly and we respond, almost parrot like, as our parents taught us. "Now what do you say?" we ask as we hold the cookie in front of the child. The thank you becomes almost transactional - when we say the right thing, we get the thing we want.

This attitude can creep into our prayers and our thoughts about God.  We have seen, and perhaps even shared, the posts that promise that if we read the special prayer and send it to ten people, God will . . ..  If we tithe ( a good idea and a subject for another post!) then we will never be in want.  If you  ___________, then God will_____________. You get the idea.  Very subtly and without realizing it, we end up seeing God as some sort of Sacred Vending Machine.

How can we tell if we are heading that way?  The key is in the little words "if/then".  There are no "if's" in God's grace.  The psalmist today reminds us of God's great goodness, power, creativity and his many gifts.  Yet the refrain reminds us each time "for His steadfast love endures forever. " For God is not just One who loves, but the scriptures say "God IS love".  Love is the core of God's very being and the impetus of all he is and does. This love is not conditional on our actions, or our own goodness or our words.  It simply IS and, we are reminded, it is as dependable as the sun that rises each morning. This is grace. All the wondrous gifts we receive from God grow out of an overflow of that self-giving love.  This is grace.

On Sunday Rev Rod reminded us that we cannot do anything ever to earn our salvation, or to make ourselves acceptable to God. This is grace.  We can only respond. We can only open our hearts and lives to receive.  This is the root of gratitude - a heart, mind and soul that responds to the grace of a love unasked for, unearned and unceasing.

The verse for today reminds us that "He himself is before all things, and in him, all things hold together". As I kneel down at the altar when I give communion to the children, I often whisper something like this to them"Do you know that long before you were born, GOD decided to make you - because He wanted to love YOU, because His world just wouldn't be complete without YOU!  He even knew your name before your parents knew you were coming. He gives you this (the bread) to remind you that YOU are His special child"

For today, what would happen if we lived -spoke, moved, made decisions, did our work, sat quietly- in light of the knowledge that we are loved in that way and have been since before we were born? What if we decided to believe this unreservedly, just for today? What if we looked into an uncertain future, deciding to trust that "In him, all things hold together" - from the immensity of the universe that surrounds us to the smallest details of our life.

I suspect that if we were to try this - even just for today - we would move way beyond a perfunctory "Thank you God" into a day of soul-deep gratitude.  We might even want to make it a habit!

Just now, take two or three minutes.  Sit somewhere quiet, comfortable and private.  Begin to breathe deeply and listen to that breathing as you let your mind settle into the quiet. As you begin to settle, repeat to yourself "I am loved" or "God loves me"  or just the name of Jesus.  Let the peace flow into your hurried soul.  Just sit. Open your heart to receive whatever God will give you. You will know when it is time to say a quiet "Thank you - oh Lord, thank you" and rise to go about the more busy aspects of your day.  And as you rise and go - hold the thought of God's love as the base from which  everything else flows. Make a determination to take those two or three minutes three times today. You are loved.

SATURDAY OPENING
Canticle 3 Song of Thanksgiving Isaiah 12:2-6
Surely it is God who saves me;
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my defence and he will be my Saviour.
Therefore, you shall draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation.
And in that day you shall say,
give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name;
make his seeds known among the peoples;
see that they remember that his name is exalted.
Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known in all the world.
Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy,
for the great one in the midst of you is the holy one of Israel.
SCRIPTURE
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
CLOSING PRAYER
Almighty God, we lift up our hearts in gratitude for all your loving kindness to us your children. For life and health, for love and friendship, and for the goodness and mercy that have followed us all the days of our life. For the wonder of beauty of the world, and for all the things true and honest, just and pure, lovely and of good report. For the gift of Jesus Christ your Son; for the grace and truth which came by him; and for his obedience unto death, even death on the cross. For his glorious resurrection, his ascension to your right hand, and for his everlasting kingdom and glory. For the holy spirit, the comforter, the Lord and life giver, the author and perfector of our faith; for your holy church throughout the world; for your Word and Sacraments and all the means of grace; and for the fellowship of the redeemed Heaven and earth. Glory, thanksgiving and praise be yours, O Father Almighty; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Daily Devotions – For Adults 8 Diocese of Algoma ‘Lift Up Your Hearts’

 

THANKFUL THOUGHTS FOR A FRIDAY

Our prayer today has a line that struck me as important:
We thank you for setting us tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

How thankful I am for work that matters, for relationships that stretch me and challenge me, and for the "God-nudges" that move me out of my comfort zone into the places where I get to be witness to God at work. What "God-nudges" are you thankful for today?Friday Devotions:

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all you have done for us. We thank you for the splendour of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love. We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

SCRIPTURE

‘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? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into the barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?’ Matthew 6:26-27 

CLOSING PRAYER

We thank you Father, for all our joy and all our longing. You have given us in this world of beauty and love; you have also given us the ordinary, of provision of the necessary things of daily life. We thank you Father, not only for these things but for the gift of hope, and for all that reminds us of your promise of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

...continue reading "THANKFUL THOUGHTS FOR A FRIDAY"

 

THANKFUL THOUGHTS FOR A THURSDAY

It is easier, I think, to be a thankful person when our life is rich and full, our health is good and the bills are paid.  It is usually more a matter of remembering first, that all this comes from God, and secondly, just remembering to notice and say thank you.  But what about in the "not so much" times? how can we be thankful people in times of trouble, illness and darkness.  One of our Christ Church family who is living in another town now recounts this story:
Tina Golding 
I had not read this as I entered the Peterborough Hospital this afternoon for yet another appointment to check the drainage tubes in my abdomen. The same ones that failed three weeks ago and put me back in hospital in septic shock.

I was feeling very sorry for myself as this has been a very long journey back from near death.
As I complained about the pain in my side from the weary entrance of the drainage tube and the stitches which hold it in place, I was reminded of an experience that I had at a conference several years ago while I was fussing and fretting over being asked to speak on television regarding the conference and the expected results. As clear as a voice breaking through a sound barrier I heard, "Be still and know that I am God".  The tone of authority in that voice and the command that was given shocked me into the reality that I was not being asked to do anything that God and I together could not accomplish and I felt a calm reassurance that made it possible for me to walk forward to that podium and respond with certainty to the interview questions that were asked.

Today, I was ashamed for complaining about discomfort when God has given me back my life for which I am so very thankful.

I give thanks heavenly Father for the trials and tribulations of life which make me stronger and aware of Your love for me. I was so frightened as I slipped closer to coma and watched my husband and daughter struggling with their fear. It was in that moment that I knew that I only needed to hand it all over to You and let go. I am thankful for all that I have endured in this time Lord and for the reminder that Your love is unconditional and no matter what I've done, or said, or thought and no matter what sin there may
be on my person, You wash it all away and I am clean in Your sight. Amen

Adele Williams says this:
 I am thankful that every day is a gift from God. His unconditional love, guidance and support strengthens me and is a reminder that life is precious and to make each day a good day. I strive to be the best person that I can be and treat others as I would like to be treated. Thank you my God for another day to share your unconditional love, guidance and support with others

Rev Marie's thoughts

Yesterday we were reminded that God's greatest gift to us is not our stuff, our our circumstances, or even those relationships that make our lives rich. All these are good, but the greatest gift we receive is God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ!  And today we are reminded that when we truly internalize that, when we decide that our lives and hearts will be oriented around that relationship, we become new people.  Everything changes! In the dark places in our lives find the light of Christ shining. We can experience his presence and the gift of his Body carrying us along and we find we are not alone. Thanks be to God, for when we cannot (and perhaps could not healthily) be thankful for a dark patch, we can look for that light to guide, strengthen and encourage us!

Now here is today's devotion:

THURSDAY OPENING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, in the busyness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop and thank You for all that is good in my life. My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness and gratitude for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels. I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath, and in the midst of life’s turbulence, I thank you for your unending faithfulness. In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love. I pray all of this in the sweet name of Jesus. Amen.

SCRIPTURE

‘So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!’ 2 Corinthians 5:17 

CLOSING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, open the eyes of my heart so that I may truly see all of the abounding love, faithfulness, mercy and favour that you have so freely bestowed upon me. Lord, help me walk with ever increasing gratitude in my heart. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

TO DO TODAY

Think of a dark time when God's presence and help has carried you through - and find a way to share that with someone else

 

 

THANKFUL THOUGHTS FOR A WEDNESDAY

I spent some time yesterday thinking about the things that CAN'T separate me from the love of God - weariness can't, nor my own failures, nor how others think of me, nor getting older nor even my own sin, nor  . . .
While all these things can impact my sense of God's presence - and my sin can impair my interaction with God - it does not change his love for me.  That is a constant and that is why his grace is even greater than my sin - and as St. Paul says "even greater than our worried hearts".  I am so thankful that God's love for me is not rooted in my own performance or the value others put on me or the value I think I have.  None of these can carry the weight of a life lived by anyone in our broken world.  Rather, God's love for me - and you - is rooted in his character as the One who loves.  His love cannot be contained even in the immensity of our universe.  It pours out continually in a flood of creativity and grace.  and it reaches me!

Rev Rod responds to yesterday's thoughts as he writes this:

I turned eighty this year. Actuaries say I'll die when I'm eighty-seven.
I'm thankful for longevity, the years God has filled with meaning. And
I'm certain death will not separate me from God's love. For what could
one want more than this?
Rev Rod

Do you have thoughts you want to share?  Just reply to this email.  If you are on Facebook here is your challenge - write a praise to God or a thankfulness message and put it in your status today  - then copy it to our FB page!

Here are the devotions for today:

WEDNESDAY 

OPENING

Psalm 100 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing. 

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of His pasture. 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise,
give thanks to him, bless his name. 

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. 

SCRIPTURE

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16 

CLOSING PRAYER

Christ Jesus, by nature divine, did not grasp for himself a rank as equal with God. He chose to empty himself becoming a humble slave, and living the life of a man. And human in every way, He abased himself still more, obedient to death on a cross. So God has exalted him on high and given to him the name the greatest of all the names; So that at Jesus’ name every knee should bend low in Heaven, on earth, in the depths. And every tongue proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. Amen. 

Here's to a day filled with praise
Rev Marie.

...continue reading "THANKFUL THOUGHTS FOR A WEDNESDAY"

LUYH-logo

Rev Rod ( who will be with us Sunday!) observes " I am thankful to be thankful. So many live miserably simply because they aren't filled with gratitude for God's grace and mercy. A thankful heart is, for me, a most excellent blessing!"

At 10 am this morning, I will be tuning in to the online study about thankfulness in the psalms. I would love to have some company as I participate in this. Grab and coffee and join me!
Rev Marie

Now here is the devotion for today:

TUESDAY OPENING PRAYER

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving kindness to us and all who you have made. We bless you for your creation, preservation, and the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to who with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

SCRIPTURE

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38-39

CLOSING PRAYER

Creator of the universe, the light of our glory shines in the darkness of our lives. Make us attentive to your presence, prompt to serve you and ever eager to follow in the steps of the one who is our true light, Jesus Christ your son our Lord. Amen