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Reason to Give Thanks

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Psalm 30:11-12, NKJ

In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

The writer of Ecclesiastes, in the third chapter, begins by writing, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  In the same chapter, speaking of the times, he says that there is, “A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

The Psalmist spoke of such a time.  He had mourned.  He had grieved in sackcloth.  Yet his grief was turned to gladness.  His mourning was turned into dancing.

These things did not become so because of or on account of the Psalmist.  He doesn’t say, “I have turned” or “I have put off.”  No!  He says, “You,” meaning the Lord his God.   The Lord his God had turned for him his mourning into dancing.  The Lord his God had put off his sackcloth and had clothed him with gladness.

This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes (Psalm 118:23).

The Lord had heard the prayers and petitions of His servant for mercy and help (Psalm 30:10).  And the Lord answered him.

The Psalmist David implored of the Lord with confidence, not doubting (see James 1:5-8).  He didn’t pray by saying, “Lord, if you’re there, hear.”  He didn’t say, “Lord, if you can help, please do.”  Rather, David prayed with a confidence that trusted in the God who is faithful to His promises and steadfast to His Word.

God had given David such confidence.  And God gives such confidence to you, for in Jesus, you have nothing but the certainty of God’s mercy towards you.  Now you have peace with God (Romans 5:1).  And having this peace with God through Jesus Christ means that you also have reason for continually Him giving thanks and praise and for singing in your heart to the Lord.

Though your circumstances remain the same or not, the Lord is ever faithful to His Word.  The change from having bitterness in the heart to giving endless thanks to the Lord is not dependent on circumstances, but a changed heart, a heart changed by God, by means of His Holy Word.  And by means of God’s Word, even the Word made flesh (John 1:14), you always have reason to rejoice and give thanks, even through times of grieving and mourning.  Times of joy and dancing will come, but not at your time—in the Lord’s.  Amen.

Prayer: Lord God, keep me confident of your promises and nothing but sure of Your faithfulness to Your Holy Word.  Help me to bear my crosses while waiting only on you and trusting solely in Your Word, praying, “Thy will be done.”  Amen.

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“Reason For Thanksgiving”

The Psalmist writes, Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever (Psalm 106:1). These words might be familiar to you, and in general, to many Lutherans, for we are accustomed to saying such words before or after meals. How true they are! The Lord is good—the Lord is good to us, each day of our lives.

Thus does the Psalmist in another place write, What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD (Psalm 116:12-13).

According to God’s mercy do we have what we have, possess what we possess, and enjoy what we enjoy. The gifts of life’s necessities like food, water, clothing, shelter, family, and the like God gives according to His grace, without any merit or worthiness in us. This goes for not just the material and physical gifts that we so enjoy. This goes for the gifts of life and salvation which God gives freely in Christ.

Lk17.11-19, Thanksgiving, 2010.pdf

A Belated Thanksgiving Devotion

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever.  Amen.”

Revelation 7:12

So do God’s servants praise God in heaven.  “Salvation belongs to our God” cry out the great multitudes (Revelation 7:9-10).  The saints in heaven sing this glorious song.  But also do we, as saints on this side of heaven, have reason to sing such a hymn.

Salvation does belong to our God, who sits upon the throne!

We have reason to give thanks, not only for the Lord’s bountiful goodness for the needful things of body and life.  God also gives salvation through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

In His Word, God declares it.  In Christ’s Supper, God gives it.  In Baptism, God calls us His own special people.

Yes!  We do have reason to give thanks, knowing that God loves us.  We know this because of Jesus Christ!  To God be all the glory!  Amen.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, receive our thanks to you, not for our sake, but only for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ.  Forgive us for our selfishness and for taken for granted all which you freely give us.  Help us to use your gifts for the benefit of others.  Amen.

Let each one remain in their calling…

Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.

1 Corinthians 7:20

Discontentment and dissatisfaction are rampant among us.  We are not happy with the way things are.  Things are not as we want them to be.  We don’t have ‘enough’ money, time, or resources to do what we think we should.  Even our ‘jobs’ sometimes (and for some, more than others) have the taste of mundaneness and even displeasure.

The Christian, too, struggles with such things.  They are not immune to the desires of the flesh.  And at times, they can be overwhelming, so overwhelming, in fact, that just doing anything becomes a challenge.  It is a blessing of God that one be joyful in his work, whether that work be inside or outside the home.  It is also a blessing of God that one delights serving Him according to His Word wherever he is and however God would have him serve within his calling.

Discontentment and dissatisfaction breeds contempt and does not come from God.  Rather does contentment and satisfaction come from Him who gives everything—freely and without a contribution from us (Ecclesiastes 3:12; 5:18-20).

Only the Christian knows such contentment and joy with the things of God.  Life is hard.  Being a Christian does not mean that things will get ‘easier.’  It may be just the opposite.  But the Christian has Christ, his “all in all” (Ephesians 1:23).  And it is because of Christ that the Christian has a confidence and zeal “for the Lord,” even as things don’t appear as he would like or as he thinks they should be.  It is because of Christ that the Christian has such confidence before God that God will not judge him a sinner because of his sin.  And it is because of Christ, who has done everything already, that the Christian joyfully goes about his work, fulfilling his calling as God has called him, whatever that calling may be, and however thankless that calling might seem.  One who has confidence in the Lord in His calling because of Christ will strive to serve to the best of his ability, and thanks the Lord for such work which pleases God and serves neighbor.

Lord, grant us such confidence.  Amen.

Luther

If I am a minister of the Word, I preach, I comfort the saddened, I administer the sacraments. If I am a father, I rule my household and family, I train my children in piety and honesty. If I am a magistrate, I perform the office which I have received by divine command. If I am a servant, I faithfully tend to my master’s affairs. In short, whoever knows for sure that Christ is his righteousness not only cheerfully and gladly works in his calling but also submits himself for the sake of love to magistrates, also to their wicked laws, and to everything else in this present life—even, if need be, to burden and danger. For he knows that God wants this and that this obedience pleases Him. (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p12)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Giver of all good gifts, forgive us for taking for granted all that you freely give to us, even the very callings to which you have called us as parent, spouse, child, citizen, worker, Your baptized child and member of Your Church.  Forgive us for resenting you for placing us where we are, for being frustrated with our circumstances, and for neglecting the responsibilities of our calling.  Help us to trust in You, and to do better, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

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