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In times of difficulty and suffering we might find it hard to be thankful to God. In fact, God encourages us to pour out our complaints and questions and grief to Him. Presenting ‘following Jesus’ as something always upbeat and positive is a fake version of what a relationship with God will be like. 

 

Yet having said this God reminds us that no matter how grim and depressing our life might be there will always be things to be thankful to God for. 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

We might think some ‘psychological double take’ is needed for a person to be thankful to God in the midst of extreme sadness and suffering. But the truth is God’s goodness never ceases and the incredible life changing realities that God offers us through Jesus remain true and on offer no matter what. 

 

In fact, God’s command that we be thankful to him in all the circumstances of our life is a mark of his love for us. The old saying ‘learn to count your blessings one by one’ is wonderful wise advice. Thankfulness like nothing else brings everything in our lives into proper perspective and the bible says it ‘guards or keeps us in our relationship with Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

It is a sin against God to be ungrateful. So, let us hear God’s call to be thankful and be glad to obey it. 

 

Psalm 100:4-5

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

 

Gracious and generous God,

thank you for providing all our needs.

For families and friends,

for enjoyment of all that is good,

for the love of Jesus our Saviour,

for his life poured out in sacrifice for us.

Make us truly grateful.

Lord, keep us mindful of those in need

that, we may be generous to them, as you are to us.

We ask this in the name of Jesus,

who alone gives us eternal life. Amen.

 

One thing we can always be thankful for no matter what else might be going on in our lives. God has provided us with a Saviour – his name is Jesus. There is nothing or nobody else we can turn to or rely upon who can bring us as forgiven people into God’s family. 

 

Acts 4:12 

'Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’

SONGS

PRAYERS FOR CHILDREN

Dear God, you know me and you love me.

Thank you that you care for me when I am feeling happy or sad.

Teach me to always trust in you. Amen.

(Psalm 86:5-7) 

 

Dear Father, you are always listening when I talk to you in prayer.

Help me to never fear talking to you about anything.

All because of Jesus. Amen.

(Psalm 116:1-2)

 

Father God, you are so strong and loving.

Thank you that you care for me and protect me. 

In Jesus name. Amen

(Psalm 23)

BIBLE READING

Psalm 91

 

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.’

3 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling

    – even the LORD, who is my refuge -
10 no harm will befall you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 ‘Because he  loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honour him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.’

SONG

A great hymn based on Psalm 91 (8am church love singing this)

TALK

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1. What different kinds of threats/fears came to mind for you as you think over your life?  

2. Are there any particular promises of God in the bible that have been special for you, that you have banked on in your life again and again. 

(Who might you share a precious promise of God with this week)

3. What kind of fears keep you back from living more boldly for Jesus? And what verses in Psalm 91 can you take hold of to fight these fears? 

CLOSING PRAYER

Father, take us and use us 

to love and serve you and all people, 

in the power of your Spirit 

and in the name of your Son, 

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

FINAL ENCOURAGEMENT

Hebrews 13:5-6

Keep your lives free from the love of money 

and be content with what you have, because God has said,

 

‘Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.’

 

So we say with confidence,

 

‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?’

OTHER RESOURCES FOR TODAY

1. A short poem written by one of our church family members:

This poem came to me one night when I couldn’t sleep. So I got out of bed and typed it out. 

 

Is he still waiting?

Closer to thee, Lord, Closer to Thee –

I feel Your hand upon my shoulder,

Supporting me as I grow older.

 

Knowing You are waiting for me – 

This is how I wish it to be. 

 

I think of the many times I have failed,

Fallen from the heights I’ve scaled.

Fallen behind, fallen from Grace,

Hidden my face and wanted to hide – 

Caught in the turmoil of Life’s angry tide.

 

Are you still waiting, hoping I’ll come – 

With outstretched hand, waiting to welcome me Home??

 

Jo Pattison 

2. A short video giving an overview of the BOOK OF PSALMS :

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Minto, 2566

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