Thanksgiving Prayer November 26, 2020

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Rev. Tom Joyce, pastor

 

Gracious God, our Creator and author of our salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. You are the source of our being, our hope, and our joy, especially in times such as these. Our world has been profoundly impacted by COVID19 in so many ways, yet in all ways we need to give thanks to you as you lead us through these uncertain times. Though our lives have been impacted this year in so many ways, our lives have also been blessed by you, for this reason we gather to give you thanks; we thank you for your forgiving grace when we have strayed from your Word. We thank you for our families, our friends, our neighbor, our nation, and the privilege of serving you through your church. We thank you for the bounty we have received, the grace you offer, and the promise of your abiding presence through our years, now and even to the end of the age. Lord, we do pray for those who are struggling mightily through this time, mourning the loss of loved ones, debilitating illness, uncertain futures, fear of a virus that just seems to hang on… We pray for those who feel lonely and isolated; those whose table is empty; those who have family challenges, relationship and financial challenges. We pray for those in our military who are far away from home and in harm’s way. Lord, our challenges seem so big, but you are a big God, and your arms are mighty and your love for us eternal. Thank you, Jesus for walking with us and carrying us through these days. Enliven our souls that even in the midst of a pandemic, political uncertainty, and personal challenges, we by faith know you will never let us go, that we are never alone, and because of you there is hope, even when all appears hopeless; peace even when peace seems a distant memory; love, knowing that no matter what life may bring absolutely nothing will separate us from your love. Lord, you have called each of us by name; thank you Jesus for loving us so completely, offering us grace upon grace, upon grace. We do pray for our national and local leaders that they lead with your Word implanted upon their souls. We pray for our nation. We pray for our medical community and first responders.  We pray for your church. We pray that each of us may rise to the calling you have placed upon us to be a witness of a far more excellent way to live; empower us to be your hands, your feet, and your presence to all those who need you so much. Thank you Jesus for the blessings we have each received and may our lives be an eternal symphony of praise to you. May we be a blessing to others as we have been blessed by you.  In the Name of Jesus. Amen



Daily Devotional November 25, 2020

Side by Side with Jesus.                                                  Pastor Tom Joyce

November 25,2020

“Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all the people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  Isaiah 40:4-5

 

The season of Advent will be like none other in our history; COVID19 restricting much of our gatherings, people getting sick not only with COVID19 but with other maladies that ravage our human bodies. Access to so much has been limited in this season. Yet God has other plans; through the birth of Jesus, there is unlimited access to the love of God; no restrictions, no barriers. All that could possibly hinder our relationship with God through Jesus Christ has been removed, as long as we turn away from all that stuff that keeps us apart from God like sin.  Sins are like valleys with no easy path out, mountains that are impossible to climb, uneven ground that makes every step a challenge, and uneven places that make navigating through life impossible. But there is hope; God has offered us the gift of Jesus who removed all barriers that we have created between us and God; Jesus came to give us life in abundance, making straight the path that leads to eternal life. The only obstacle we have to living a new life in Christ is sin, and the only cure for sin is Jesus; all we need to do is repent, confess, and accept the grace that is being offered to us. Advent is a time of preparation and acceptance of salvation through Jesus Christ. We journey through the season of Advent in the shadow of the cross led by the One who neither “slumbers nor sleeps” and who has gone to extreme measures, even death on a cross, for you, especially you. It may be a challenging time in life today, but God through Jesus Christ has cleared a path for you to celebrate the gift of an eternal relationship with our Savior and Redeemer, and no pandemic, no disease, no quarantine, no restrictions, no nothing will ever “separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39) That is a promise to you, especially in times such as these. 

Rev. Tom Joyce



Daily Devotional November 20, 2020

Side by Side with Jesus.                                                          Pastor Tom Joyce

November 20, 2020

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice.”  Luke 17:15

 

Jesus encountered ten people along the way who were struggling with an insidious disease and asked Jesus to heal them, which he did. Nine out of ten went about their way living disease-free. Yet there was one that could not join them and instead turned back to give thanks to Jesus. This person not only was cleansed of the disease that had been devastating his body, he was healed from all that kept him from fully experiencing a new beginning in body and in soul. Living a life of thanksgiving, gratitude, takes effort; there are times we take the gifts we have received for granted without thinking of those offering the gifts. Our gratitude is the purest form of our spiritual health; it is humbling because by expressing our thanks we acknowledge that we needed something more than we could offer ourselves. Giving praise and thanksgiving to God is our confession that we are not God and that we do not live in a vacuum apart from God. Just as our thanksgiving to God deepens our relationship and love for God, when we thank someone else for a gift we have received we draw closer to them. In other words, we show our love for God and neighbor in our attitude of gratitude.  Perhaps one of the most self-less acts we can do is to thank someone else for the gift of their time and show of support for us, especially when we think we do not need their support.  As we enter into the time our nation celebrates thanksgiving, give thanks to those we encounter along the way, and especially thank Jesus for offering a second chance at life; filled with praise for the One who created you, called you by name, and redeemed you for no other reason than in the eyes of Jesus you, especially you, are loved so profoundly, so completely that Jesus has promised to be with you always, even to the end of the age. Thank you Jesus!

Rev. Tom Joyce