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Doulos Meditations During Thanksgiving Week (plz read)

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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Nov 2010, 8:34 am

5 of 5 on Thanksgiving. Scripture: Ephesians 1:15, 16—I have heard
of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and
for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you
in my prayers. Philippians 1:3-5—I thank my God every time I
remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for
all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day
until now. Colossians 1:3-4—In our prayers for you we always thank
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith
in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints…
Philemon 4—When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God
because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the
Lord Jesus.

Reflection: Okay, so Christians are thankful people. Then looms the
question: "Thankful for what?" We have talked about perceiving
God's goodness and responding in thanksgiving. Have you considered
that the people around you are part of God's blessing? Do you give
thanks for your husband or wife, children, grandchildren, friends,
co-workers and fellow Christians at church? Have you recently thanked
God for someone who irritates you—opposes you on the job—or
disagrees with you? This is tough. I find myself focusing mostly on
me—my needs, sins, and feelings.

In the four "Prison Epistles" of the apostle Paul, praying for
others has a front seat. It is so remarkable that it might be good for
my prayer life to read carefully these letters, marking each time prayer
is mentioned and then studying the content of those prayers. Want an
experience that is rare in Christian circles? The next time a friend
tells you about a problem—look him (or her) in the eye and ask
"Can we pray a moment about this?" Even rarer, if you are told
about something good that has come your friend's way, say "Can
we take a minute and give God thanks for this blessing?"

Prayer Starter: Father on this Thanksgiving Day we are grateful for food
and shelter, homes and clothing—but more than all else for the love
you have expressed toward us in Christ Jesus. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Thu 25 Nov 2010, 11:37 am

4 of 5 on Thanksgiving. Scripture: Psalm 92:1-4—It is good to give
thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to
declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by
night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your
hands I sing for joy.
Reflection: The Psalms are full of praises and expressions of
thanksgiving to God. The Psalms are songs that tradition has used to
codify the musical heart of the Jewish-Christian faith. Our deepest
wisdom and innermost thoughts are expressed in poetry and song—and
that is why such Psalms invariably spring up in the worship of God. As
the believer perceives and responds to God he expresses gratitude and
thanksgiving as in verse 4: "For you, O LORD, have made me glad by
your work, at the works of your hands I sing for joy." It is what we
perceive about God that forms the core of our praise—and the
Judaeo-Christian heritage is firmly embedded with gratitude to God for
his grace and blessings.
But how do I make thanksgiving more genuine in my daily life? It begins
with perceiving and results in declaring. Do you take the time to think
about God as giver and yourself as beneficiary? Do it—sit still five
minutes and think of nothing except what God has done for you. And then
instead of choking off your thoughts and getting back to
work—declare it! It can be simple—just tell the family at
mealtime "God has blessed us richly" and then enumerate a few
examples before having the prayer.
Prayer Starter: Father, help us perceive your goodness and declare to
others what you have done for us. Give us hearts of gratitude from which
we can sing your praises. Amen.

3 of 5 on Thanksgiving. Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26—For I
received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus
on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had
given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for
you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way he took the scup
also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my
blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For
as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the
Lord's death until he comes.
Reflection: This part of the 1 Corinthian letter is the oldest written
account of the beginning of the central rite of the church—the
Lord's Supper. Christians call this the Eucharist (Thanksgiving) ,
which is a noun form of the verb Paul used when he wrote that Jesus
"had given thanks." For 2000 years the church has had a
"Thanksgiving" begun by Jesus himself and celebrating the
greatest of gifts—the atonement that frees from enslavement to sin
and its consequences. Passover, during which the Eucharist was born was
also about remembering and release from slavery. Twelve centuries
earlier Hebrew slaves escaped from Egypt—but were reborn as a nation
when they left Egypt for the wilderness trek to the Promised Land.
Passover remembrances, celebrating political and spiritual release
became the central source of symbol and theme for the Jewish people ever
afterward. This observance connected all the people with their history,
their national identity and their hope for a future Messiah. Jesus, the
Messiah they were looking for (but did not uniformly receive) pointed to
deliverance as the core meaning of not only Passover but of the
Incarnation and Atonement which he was bringing. Building on that
ancient tradition, the Christian church celebrates the mountain peak of
deliverance—release from the clutches of Satan and sin so that
eternal life and fellowship in the Kingdom of God might be a reality.
Prayer Starter: Father, thank you for deliverance from sin and death.
Make our thanksgiving genuine, persistent and all inclusive as we
celebrate the blessings that come from you. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Wed 24 Nov 2010, 12:47 pm

2 of 5 on Thanksgiving. Scripture: Philippians 4:6—Do not worry
about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Reflection: What is your prayer life like? Is it one long chain of
requests—like a list for Santa Claus—or a list of groceries?
Petition or asking God for something is perfectly normal and was done by
Jesus and the Apostles—so it's okay to ask God for your needs.
But notice that right in the middle of Paul's statement about
requesting stuff from God is the phrase "with thanksgiving. "
Those two words make a tremendous difference in the stuff of our
prayers.
Prayer is much more than presenting a grocery list to the heavenly
grocer—it is a matter of expressing acknowledgement of the blessings
we receive on a daily basis—some recognized but many below the
threshold of awareness. Prayer like Paul describes might be the missing
secret in your prayer life—here's how to start; 1. Be thankful
for everything—don' t limit your gratitude to big things or vague
generalities. Be specific—thank God for each good thought, each
uplifting experience, and each contact with a friend. I was sitting in a
restaurant with a man long ago who mentioned that he was praying for the
waitress who had a physical handicap—I hadn't even noticed the
lady let alone included her in my prayers. 2. Quit worrying and start
praying, the latter being a part of the complete cure for the former. My
motivation must never be an attempt to capture God's peace, but to
serve others through my prayers—the peace comes automatically and
without announcement. 3. Even though I know God knows everything I need
before I ask there is something of great benefit to my Christian growth
in asking—provided it's done "with thanksgiving. "
Prayer Starter: Lord, at this Thanksgiving season we are more convinced
than ever that you are the source of all good things and the giver of
blessing to those who trust in you. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Tue 23 Nov 2010, 11:27 pm

#1 of 5 on Thanksgiving. Scripture: Luke 17:16-19—He prostrated
himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then
Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are
they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except
this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go one your
way; your faith has made you well."

Reflection: This is the classic story about gratitude. It's a rare
phenomenon—and it seems that 1 out of 10 may still be overstating
the percentage of people who express gratitude to God and to the people
around them. The key point in the story may be verse 16: "And he was
a Samaritan." These were distant relatives of the Jews, but a very
despised and ignored minority in Israel. They were thought of as impure
and rejects—Jews would have no dealings with them or their religion.
Samaritans accepted only the Pentateuch as scripture and were refused at
the Jerusalem temple. Two important lessons: 1. Jesus heals and saves
those who are the outcasts of society and who are ignored and belittled
by others. 2. It is often through such outcasts that God is glorified
and gratitude for God's grace is pronounced.

What about your Christian service or that of your church fellowship? Are
you friends with the friendless?—helper to those who are not
deserving of your time and attention?—a person who sits with
foreigners and strangers? If you are, you have similarities to the
savior who healed Samaritans and aroused in some of them a desire to
give thanks to God.

Prayer Starter: Father, continue to bring us close to the Savior in our
attitudes and behavior. Destroy in us all prejudice, superiority,
self-serving, and bigotry. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Sat 20 Nov 2010, 2:27 pm

Doulos Meditations During Thanksgiving Week


We probably will be a little slow and irregular with the Doulos
Meditations during this next week. I expect to travel to Tennessee for
Thanksgiving week with our children.
We will try to have the Meditations posted as nearly on time as
possible, but please know that the schedule will be somewhat
unpredictable.

In Christ, Robert Barkley, Doulos International
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