Thanksgiving … a gratitude celebration. What are you grateful for?

Vegetables

 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

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. Psalm 100

That first Thanksgiving celebration in America was a celebration of survival, a celebration of freedom, a celebration of worshipping God, and a celebration of new friends, the Native Americans who taught the Pilgrims and Puritans how to survive.

After a year of sickness and fleeting food, the Pilgrims and Puritans reaped a bountiful harvest. In 1621, an American tradition was born, a gratitude celebration.

Our God is a God of celebrations. He established the Passover and commanded the Israelites to celebrate the Passover to remember the time of their departure from Egypt and to point them to the future Messiah.

Another celebration God established was the Feast of Tabernacles:

13 Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. Deuteronomy 16:13-15

A time of departure.

A time of harvest.

A time of work.

A time of joy.

All to be celebrated.

What are you celebrating today?

My prayer for you:

Father, we thank You for Your bountiful provision, for Your protection, for Your guidance, and for Your works. Thank You for establishing times to reflect upon the milestones in our lives and the life of America. May we live in gratitude and remember that it is You who bless us and provide for us. Thank You, Lord, that You love us. In Jesus’ holy name, we pray. Amen

Champions for the cause of freedom … America’s veterans and their families

Change Guard 2Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C.

Paul writes, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Titus 2:3

The word Paul uses is stratiōtēs, a champion for Christ.

America’s soldiers are champions for freedom. They are also champions for doing what is right.

Paul paid a great price as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.                        2 Corinthians 11:25-27

Many of our veterans have paid a great price to champion the cause of what is right and the cause of freedom.

Our veterans and their families have packed their belongings and traveled to unknown parts of America and the world to serve for a few years, make friends, and then move to another city to do it all over again.

Our veterans have left their families to go to unfriendly lands and returned to broken families, returned without limbs, with illness, or emotional scars. They have missed birthdays, graduations, and family milestones.

Some never returned.

All for the cause of freedom.

I salute all veterans and their families.

Won’t you thank a veteran and the family today for being a good soldier, a champion for freedom?

My prayer for you:

Almighty God, thank You for Paul and all the good soldiers who paid a great price to champion the cause of Christ and the cause of freedom. May America return to You, champion the cause of Christ, and honor those who champion the cause of freedom. May America recognize the great cause our veterans and their families have paid to champion the cause of freedom. God bless our veterans and their families.

Freedom rings this Independence Day

Oak Glen

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

For freedom to worship their God, they came to America.

For freedom to speak their mind, they came to America.

For freedom to travel unhindered, they came to America.

For freedom to earn a living, they came to America.

For freedom, they fought in wars.

For freedom, they guard our country and our allies.

For freedom, they sacrifice their limbs, their futures, their lives.

For freedom, they pray, they serve, they sacrifice.

O beautiful America, O beautiful Americans who love freedom!

God bless America’s men and women who have served it well and are serving it heroically.

My prayer for America:

Lord of Hosts, bless America’s men and women who serve in the military, those who have served, and their families. Pour out Your peace that passes understanding upon them. Fill them to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Heal their wounds and bless them all the days of their lives. O Lord, turn America’s heart toward You, and bless our nation.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Honor our fallen heroes … Glory in their sacrifice for freedom

Unknown SoldierHere Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known But to God
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington DC

The American soldier who rests in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier paid the ultimate price for America’s freedom.

From the American Revolutionary War to Operation Enduring Freedom over 1.3 million American soldiers gave their lives for freedom. Freedom to worship openly. Freedom to pursue dreams. Freedom to travel this great land unhindered. Freedom to live among diverse cultures and learn from them. Freedom from oppression.

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
will find life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21

America’s fallen heroes pursued righteous values. They showed kindness to their fellow Americans, and the lives that they gave preserved the lives of generations to come.

We honor these fallen heroes and glory in their sacrifice for our freedom.

My prayer for you:

Almighty God, thank You for these fallen heroes and their families. They paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Bless the families of these patriots and honor the memory of their sacrifices. We glory in their service, and we thank You for the true freedom that Jesus bought with His life, wiping our sins away forever … if we only receive. God, bless America. God, bless the families of our fallen heroes.

America’s veterans and soldiers … Thank you for freedom!

Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous.  Joshua 1:5b-6a

After the Israelites had mourned the death of Moses, God commanded Joshua to lead the people from the desert through the Jordan River into the Promised Land that the Lord had given to the Israelites as a possession.

The Israelites faced giants; fought battles, and some died, but God gave them the land. The battle was the Lord’s. The Israelites fought for land, for freedom to worship their God, and for their nation.

America’s soldiers, past and present, fought for a land to live in freely, for freedom to worship Almighty God, and for their nation.

Although America has slipped from its Christian foundation, there are still many Christian soldiers serving our nation.

Thank you veterans, soldiers, and your families for the sacrifices you have made to preserve our freedom. Sacrifices of life, limbs, sight, mind, and families. You have given the ultimate for freedom.

My prayer for veterans and their families

Almighty God,

The battle is Yours. We know that You use even the difficult circumstances for good to those who love You. Bless America’s veterans and soldiers with the saving knowledge of You and Your ways. Wrap Your love and protection around them. Go before them and prepare their ways. Bless their families and give them Your peace.

Thank you, veterans, soldiers, and your families!

Let FREEDOM Ring!