A Prayer of St. Basil the Great

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We bless Thee, O most high God and Lord of mercy,
Who art ever doing numberless great and inscrutable things with us,
glorious and wonderful;
Who grantest to us sleep for rest from our infirmities,
and repose from the burdens of our much toiling flesh.
We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us with our sins,
but hast loved us as ever,
and though we are sunk in despair,
Thou hast raised us up to glorify Thy power.
Therefore we implore Thy incomparable goodness,
enlighten the eyes of our understanding
and raise up our mind from the heavy sleep of indolence;
open our mouth and fill it with Thy praise,
that we may be able undistracted to sing and confess Thee,
Who art God glorified in all and by all,
the eternal Father, with Thy only-begotten Son,
and Thy all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit,
now and ever, and to the ages of ages.
Amen.

By St. Basil the Great, 4th century Bishop of Caesarea and defender of the faith.

Live Thankful

thankfulEvery year in the US, we mark out a day to reflect gratitude for life and what we have. Thanksgiving Day, in my opinion, is actually one of the few culturally meaningful moments that still exist in our country. In this time, as a nation we actually take time out from work and normal routines to simply celebrate and enjoy the goodness of life. Of course, like all things, Thanksgiving Day can be trivialized by commercialism, but it is still a powerful moment in our country’s experience.

As Christians, Thanksgiving Day takes on even greater significance because of our relationship with the Living God through Christ Jesus. The wonder of the life with God is that each day spent following Jesus propels us into thanksgiving. The abundance we have received from God through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is beyond words. Today, we want to come alive with thankfulness.

Throughout the Scripture, we encounter many sacrifices offered in worship of God. In Psalm 50, however, we encounter a different kind of sacrifice:

I have no complaint about your sacrifices
or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
But I do not need the bulls from your barns
or the goats from your pens.
For all the animals of the forest are Mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:8-10, NLT)

God is familiar with all the burnt offerings and sacrifices of the Israelites, but He is looking for something else. And here is what it is:

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God. (50:14, NLT)

Thankfulness brings life to us. When we make our lives an altar where gratitude rises up to God like a sacrifice, He is pleased. At the same time, offering thanks back to God for who He is and all He has done brings life to us. Thanksgiving brings life to our souls because when we voice our thanks we are forced to reflect on all His goodness toward us. Thankfulness draw us closer to God.

At that same time, we may soon realize in life that thankfulness is not – or at least should not be – limited by our circumstances. Circumstances change with seasons and times of our lives, sometimes for good and sometimes for ill. Yet God, in all His unchanging faithfulness, never alters in His work in us and goodness toward us. So as Paul urged one early group of believers that they – and we – can learn the way to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Today, why not come to life with God by offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving? You might even want to stop for ten or fifteen minutes right now to thank God for all He has done, for all He has given, and for all the things You may not even know that He is doing right now in Your life.

Thanksgiving 2018 at Eastbrook Church

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“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4)
Thanksgiving is a day for family to gather and give thanks for what God has done (and is doing). Join us Thanksgiving Day at 10 AM as the Eastbrook Church family gathers before the family dinners and other activities to praise God for His goodness, mercy, grace, and blessings in our lives.

Give Thanks to the Lord

Thanksgiving.pngOne of my favorite portions of Scripture is Psalm 136. The call and response of the musical poetry of this psalm is both refreshingly focused and hypnotically reflective. On this Thanksgiving Day, when we focus as a nation on things we are grateful for, join me in giving thanks to the Lord, for He is good. Also, if you have things you want to share about how you are thankful to God and praising Him today, take a moment to write something in the comments below.

Psalm 136 (ESV)

1Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him 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 endures forever;

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