Thanksgiving Thursday UKCB Group Blog

O GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS GOOD; FOR HIS LOVINGKINDNESS IS EVERLASTING.

1 Chronicles 16:34 (NASB)

Today brings you to a group post produced by UK Christian Bloggers on the subject of thanksgiving. When we think of thanksgiving we automatically think of the annual holiday celebrations that take place in the USA, which remembers the first Thanksgiving in 1621 by the early pilgrims. It was a harvest thanksgiving thanking God for His provisions for their community. The fact that Thanksgiving is originally men thanking the Almighty should be a universal theme, practiced by people of all countries and races. So here today are some British thoughts on thanking our God.

   Nicola Reeve

“Muchos Gracias” “Grazie Mille” “Obrigado” “Merci” “Danke”.

Wherever you travel in the world, learning to say “thank you” in the native language is one of the most important words to learn.  I’ve been to the Spanish Island of Lanzarote this week and my Spanish is very limited but I soon learnt that a “Gracias” goes a long way. People really appreciated it. In some languages I have discovered that there are in fact many different words to express thanks and also different types of thanks depending on the situation.   We may only learn one expression of thanks in a language but a grateful heart to God and others can and does express itself in many different ways. Some ways we don’t all understand or recognise but God does. It’s not just the words of thanks that we speak with our mouths but the language of our hearts. A grateful heart. Thanksgiving is a varied language of love which I believe is only fully awakened by a true revelation of who and how good God is. The eyes of our hearts are opened and we are taught a new language which expresses itself in us and through our actions. God is a good, good God and a good Father who has given us, in and through Jesus everything for true life.  The knowledge and truth of who God is transforms us by the power of the Holy Spirit. My words may sometimes be inadequate but I hope my heart sings thank you Lord. 

Andy Berry

I was working away on a video that needed editing, although this wasn’t one destined to be used by our own ministry, but another ministry that I regularly help out. And the computer I was using was a direct gift from an anonymous supporter of our ministry – the BerryBunch.family. God is good; that one gift blesses many!

‘Feeling’ thankful is a great feeling, but ‘being’ thankful is much more sustaining and requires action – because we should always be in a perpetual state of expecting to be thankful at the goodness of God!

It’s really easy to think of being thankful in relation to what we get from something/someone. Ultimately, though, our thankfulness is more than just being glad of something happening, or not. Because the sort of thankfulness we should be experiencing needs to be rooted in our actions, and our demeanour towards life and, more importantly, towards God.

Dean

Lord I’m grateful for your promises and all you’ve done for me. You’re the way the truth the life and through your son you’ve set us free. From my lips I utter praise and I will share my testimony; the name of Jesus shall be raised as I pray for rest for many. Lord I’m grateful for your kindness and the love that you’ve shown. I thank you for my family and a place I can call home, I thank you for your comfort in those times I feel alone. You gave a heart of flesh and removed my heart of stone, Lord I’m grateful for the cross and my future that’s secured. I pray that multitudes will come to know You precious Lord,  I give you all my praise and pray you open heavens door. Pour your Holy Spirit out upon the world and save us all, Amen.

Andy Brown

Gratitude is an attitude. This is something I tell my children often! It is one thing to say the words, but quite another to demonstrate thanksgiving with words and actions. For example, I give my daughter a gift and she says, “Thank you.” But then tosses it  aside without opening it, then I know for sure she is not grateful for it.

Colossians 3:17 says: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

It is easy to do things with a grumbling attitude. We do it, whatever it may be, making sure those around us know we aren’t joyful about it. That is not how we ought to conduct ourselves. Instead, we are to do all things as if God had asked us to do them Himself – and to do so “giving thanks.”

The command to “give thanks” is an ongoing one – not “give” but “giving…” We thank God, and keep on thanking Him. We give and keep on giving, heaping gratitude on gratitude. There is no shortage of things to thank the Lord for, and the well of thankfulness should never run dry.

Thanksgiving may be only a single day, but let the Christian live a life of thanksgiving.

Alan Kearns

When I reflect on the history of traditions I am saddened by how over time men have changed them; sadly Thanksgiving is no different in this respect. It primarily was God fearing men and women thanking the Almighty for His many provisions and blessings. Sadly nowadays such a celebration of our God is frowned upon and maybe even mocked in this woke world; it would be deemed offensive to many. As children of His Kingdom we are called to heed and live out His Word; we have a choice to either be mocked by men or be judged by God – I personally prefer the temporary discomfort in this world so I can praise God in Heaven! Thus each Thanksgiving my Father God is the only focus of all my thanks; be it in speech, song or in prayer. After all such festivals are great opportunities to share His Good News of Salvation!

Mandy

Lord God, we pause to give You thanks and praise this Thanksgiving. Lord God, even in the midst of the darkness and chaos that surrounds us, may Your people never cease to marvel at the blessings that You have given to us. Lord God, remind us that we are to bless others, because You have blessed us. Thank You and praise You Lord for our salvation that we have by grace, through faith, in Christ alone. Lord God, may we feast and crave Your Word more than our Thanksgiving meal and leftovers. Thank You Lord that in Christ filled, yet wired to long and desire You more. Thank You Holy Trinity for the gift of community. Praise You Lord for those whom You allow to journey with us. Lord God, thank You for this reader. May this reader grow closer to You this Thanksgiving. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Praying for others..

Recently, the Lord has encouraged me to pray this prayer, which is in Colossians chapter One verses 9-14. The Word of God is powerful and if you are interceding for others then this prayer could be a good starting point for you too.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Amen

May God make His face to shine upon you today and grant you His favour. Bless you.

Persecution..

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. Matthew 5 11-12

These bible verses are the verses for today on the Bible Gateway app. It was the first thing I read this morning. Persecution was something the Lord laid on my heart yesterday and I shared a post Persecuted….

Coincidence? I don’t believe so. It caught my attention. When I read these bible verses again today, I know the Holy Spirit is bringing this subject to my heart. Is the Lord preparing me personally or those I know or you dear reader to be ready for persecution because of faith in Christ Jesus.

These verses from the gospel of Matthew are Jesus’s words to his followers. Jesus knows that they will be persecuted because the world will hate their message but Jesus has prepared them for this time of persecution and has also prayed for them. Jesus does not leave them alone either when He returns to the Father but promises to always be with them and us to the end of time and also sends the Holy Spirit to empower, teach and comfort us.

Before Jesus died He prayed for His disciples but not only them, He said a prayer for us too. His disciples to come. That always amazes me that in a time of great suffering and knowing what lay ahead of Him, Jesus chose to pray for us. I know from Jesus’ teaching that His prayer will have been heard by God and answered. That gives me great comfort and hope. Not only that, but we know that even now Jesus intercedes for us before the Father’s throne.

Jesus prayed:

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
John.17.14-19

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
John.17.23-26

We are through faith in Christ at one with God. The love of God for us and in us. What or who can separate us from the love of God. Can persecution or suffering? No. The scriptures declare this truth.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:“For Your sake we are killed all day long;We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Rom.8.35-39

Persecuted…

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
John 15:18-27

My friend Dean at Gospel Road 66 is writing a series about prayer for the persecuted church. It is a reminder to us all that persecution is happening amongst the body of believers with some of our brothers and sisters in Christ facing incredible levels of hardship and physical sufferings and death for the sake of their faith. You can find his first post here Praying for the Persecuted Church

The Apostle Paul says in many of his letters that he never ceased thanking God and praying for the saints. Today can I encourage you to take 5 to thank God for our brothers and sisters around the world and to pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith.

Then…

A repost today dear friends on the power of a very small word. Since last Thursday and the death of our Queen Elizabeth II, we as a nation under God are in a “Then” moment. We are in times of huge change that require prayer before God that His will for our nation and our new King Charles III come into alignment. Let us join our prayers brothers and sisters in Christ with our nation at this key time of transition and change.

Then is such a little word but it is can be so powerful. It’s a word which speaks of change. There is a before and THEN something happens which changes the story.

In Genesis, we read the story of Noah. The flood has come upon the earth and Noah, his family and the animals are in the ark. They obeyed God’s instructions and went into the Ark and then God shut the door.

“So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.”
Genesis 7:16 NKJV

It was after obedience that the THEN came and God shut the door. Sometimes, we are waiting for God to act and the THEN to happen but we maybe haven’t done our part to enable the THEN. Something at our end needs to change.

Dear brother Alan posted the other day about prayer warriors still being required. You can read that post here which I recommend if you have not yet read it. https://devotionaltreasure.wordpress.com/2021/12/31/2022-prayer-warriors-still-required.

There is an often quoted portion of scripture which contains one of the most powerful THENs in the bible.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

Prayer changes things and brings about the THEN. If we want to see change then let us seek God’s Will and act on it. Let us be Prayer Warriors for change.

Bless you my friends.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Financial Storm

We are living in a time when people are worried and anxious about rising inflation, energy costs and the economy, not just in the U.K, but in other nations. The Lord has brought to my remembrance this morning a post from November 2020 and so I am re-posting today for weighing, testing and prayer. Our God is faithful and He is a good, good God in all times and at all times. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

At the beginning of November I had a picture whilst praying to the Lord.

I was seated with the Lord in a quiet place when suddenly a great wind blew up which started howling all around us and the walls and the ground started shaking. I was terrified as the wind was so strong and the walls around us started to collapse, but the Lord drew me close and put me in the crook of his arm. Even though I could still hear the wind roaring I felt safe and secure.

After that picture, as I prayed I felt the Lord say that we are going into days ahead of great darkness. There is a storm coming – a financial storm.

I believe the Lord is warning us that there is going to be a shaking again of the financial institutions of the world.

They have been shaken before but this time there is to be a mighty shaking which will cause many of them to collapse.

Great fear and panic will seize people as they realise that their assets and funds have been exploited by these institutions.

I felt the Lord was also warning us to be watchful to see who will come to the aid of people when all seems lost.

Beware of those who are the vultures just intent on picking over the carcasses of what has happened.

Those who intend to prey on the vulnerable and exploit their misery even more.

At this time the Lord says that He will arise amongst His people to bring ships to the rescue of those who are suffering.

This is the time for those nations to come forward and do good. This will be their opportunity to feed and look after and help those in need.

These ships will arise out of countries who will come to the aid of those from whom they have received aid in the past.

Woe to those nations who choose to turn a blind eye at this time. For they will have to answer to the Lord.

The Lord says that these days will be dark but He will provide for His people.

Turn to Him and call on His name for He will miraculously provide what is needed. He will care for His children.

Let our light shine before men who will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

The Lord will not let His faithful be put to shame. He will crown them with glory at this time.

This will be a time of great suffering and perseverance and endurance will be needed within the body of Christ. Let faith and hope arise.

Clothe ourselves with love and grace and put on mercy and tender kindness.

The King is coming. He is not slow in His coming as some would think but He will arrive at the appointed time with great glory and triumph over all His enemies.

Arise and keep your eyes fixed on Him for He is the author and finisher of our faith.

He will sustain us through these times ahead and will not let us stumble or fall. Call on Him and you will be saved. Amen 🙏

Overwhelmed….

I woke in the early hours with thoughts racing through my mind of all the tasks I had not done and were overdue. As I went through them one by one I started to feel overwhelmed and stressed. The more I thought about them all, the more overwhelmed I felt. Stress was building and I wanted and needed some more sleep.

I told myself “Stay calm”. You need to stay calm. I kept repeating those words to myself “Stay calm”. “Stay calm”.

As I repeated that word “calm” I thought, I can stay calm because Christ Always Loves Me.. yes, Christ Always Loves Me. That is never in doubt. His unfailing love never changes or diminishes. He always loves me.

I then thought of dear brother Alan’s post from the other day of how God rescues us in His Firm Hold. I encourage you to read it. It blessed me and I know it will bless you too. As I thought of Alan’s words, I thought, yes I can stay calm because Christ Always Lifts Me. Christ Always Lifts Me. Jesus always draws me closer to Him. I could focus on all the things I haven’t done or I could fix my eyes on Him.

I prayed a simple prayer. Lord take these burdens from me. I give them to you. I know you love me and care for me in all things. Thank you Lord. You are my help.

So those are my two reminders to myself for today. Perhaps you are also in a similar situation and it would help you to say….Christ Always Loves Me and Christ Always Lifts Me.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Letting Go…Testimony Tuesday (Update)

The wanderer has returned! You may recall my post about my youngest daughter (who set off for over 5 months on a solo back pack to the Far East) and my thoughts in Letting go…#TestimonyTuesday. Now she is back……but not for long. She heads off on her next adventure to university in Newcastle Upon Tyne, a city in the North of England about 4/5 hours away from us.

I re-read my post from that time she set out and I thank God for His faithfulness in being with her during her travels as her protector and guide. She has told me stories of things that happened to her and her friends and I know that the Lord was at work during those times. She calls it “luck” but I recognise the hand of God and am grateful for His answer to my prayers.

She travelled (even with the difficulties of Covid still) into Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bali. She learnt about man’s inhumanity to man in the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the realities and horror of war from her time in Vietnam. I don’t want to repeat the things she told me about the genocide in Cambodia here as they are too distressing. She spoke of the impact of those atrocities still hanging over the country and people in a tangible way. These experiences will stay with her. God will use them in the future.

I was prompted by the Lord to fast and pray before she went away. It was only the Lord who knew what the months ahead held and I believe in times of our uncertainty that it’s so important to pray and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We don’t fully comprehend or see how God looks after us and the outworking of His providence, but I believe one day we will see and understand fully. Whilst I can thank God now for His faithfulness and goodness, I believe that one day when I will truly understand what God has done then my thanks and praise will seem so inadequate in comparison to His grace. Even in situations when I believed my prayers went unanswered or did not go “my” plan, I will understand that God in His inestimable wisdom and goodness was working things out for good in the long term. God is a good, good God.

They say travel broadens the mind and I can definitely see that this experience has helped my daughter mature. She has challenged herself in many ways and these experiences have helped her grow and develop. She is more ready for university life now. We were concerned that after 2 years of life during Covid and missing out on so many life experiences at college, that she would go a bit wild with her new found freedom. Have you seen cows when they are let out to pasture after being in the winter stables. They run, frolic and jump with excitement. We didn’t want her jumping recklessly into danger looking for “fun” after all those months cooped up in isolation.

The Lord has been laying on my heart that it is a season of change. I can see how this relates to certain things in my family and my life but I believe this change is going to be more widely felt. My husband and I enter into a new season of change for sure as both daughters will have left home. I look at the empty rooms and wonder what we will do with them? There will be a way I am sure and I believe the Lord will show us.

Have a blessed day my friends.

One of the beautiful places visited

#Testimony Tuesday-Pam’s story

It’s my mum Pam’s birthday this week and so I wanted to re-post this testimony of her healing. She will be 84 and still loves sharing her faith in Jesus with others. She is doing well physically although her mobility is not as good as it was but she is coming to church using her wheelchair and loves it. I hope her story blesses you today.

So yesterday I posted about my belief in a God that heals in God’s Healing Power and promised to share my Mum, Pam’s testimony of her recovery from Meningitis.

My mum married my Dad, Bill when she was young. He was a reservist in the army and was posted to Somerset in England for his basic training. Dad was Scottish and a long way from home. He decided to visit the local Pentecostal church which my Mum attended. It was love at first sight according to Mum and I don’t think she wanted to let him out of her sight from that time onwards. They married but then my Dad was posted overseas because of the Suez crisis. Mum stayed behind with my brother, Ian who was just a young baby.

Mum was still young herself, only 18 years old, a young mother when she was taken ill suddenly with Meningitis. She had been out for the day on a Church outing. On the way home on the coach she got a bad headache which she put down to tiredness . It got worse and worse though and eventually she became so ill that they took her to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with suspected Meningitis and put into the isolation hospital. All she can really remember of that time is having the lumber-punctures to drain the fluid from her spine which she said were terribly painful. She dreaded them. The Doctors told her family that it was not looking good and that my Dad needed to be sent for immediately from abroad as she was not likely to pull through.

My grandad contacted the army and Dad was brought home as quickly as they could from Cyprus. It still took him some time to get home though. It was the 1950s so communication wasn’t easy. Even travel on army planes took some time. The army wouldn’t tell him either what was wrong with his wife and he was naturally extremely worried and expecting the worst. Dad kept the newspaper cuttings from the time which we still have. They are a bit brown but you can still read them.

My mum’s parents were not churchgoers but her Aunt Mabel was and it was my Aunt who had taken my mum to church. Mum had become a Christian and been baptised. The church committed to praying for mum and they decided to have an all-night prayer vigil for her when they heard the news that she was not expected to survive the night. They sent prayer cloths in for her to the hospital and were faithful in praying for her recovery and healing. She made it through the night and the worst was over. There was a breakthrough. There is power in prayer and in corporate prayer when believers come together.

From that time on, Mum started to get better and better and the Doctors were amazed at her recovery. They told her though that in their opinion she would still not be able to walk again. Mum was convinced though that she had been healed and was determined to show the Doctors that she would walk. She recovered her strength and was soon up and about. The Doctors were so pleased that she was able to walk that they agreed that she could leave the hospital and continue her recovery at home. Mum is convinced that God healed her in answer to prayer. Without prayer she is sure that she would not have survived that night. I’m grateful for those faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who committed to pray through the night for her. I’m especially grateful that God answered prayer and she made it because otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. Thank the Lord for His mercies. If you need God to move in your situation then I hope this encourages you to pray to God and trust and believe that He will hear and answer your prayers.

She’s doing well for 82 😀

The encouraging thing is that because Mum had experienced God’s healing touch, she had faith in God to heal. She always encouraged us to pray in all situations. I remember one occasion when Mum had broken her ankle. She had been playing on my daughters scooter (she’d forgotten her age) and fallen. She was in plaster but still insisted on going to church. That night there was a visiting preacher, Martin Scott who had a prophetic ministry. He picked Mum out of the crowd and said that he could tell she was a woman of strong faith. He believed God was going to heal her ankle. It was incredible because Mum felt a heat in her leg and her ankle soon recovered.

It’s good to share testimonies of God’s grace to us and the good things He does. God is with us in all times of life, the good but also the trials and times of difficulty. As a family we have also had those times too. I’ll share more about those times and how God has sustained us in times of sickness and tragedy in other posts. Have a blessed day.

Let the Games begin…

Morning all, for those who read my recent blog Look the Part…Play your Part you will know that the Commonwealth Games are taking part in Birmingham England (my home city) this week. Sports people from many different parts of the world (72 nations) have come together to take part in about 19 different sporting events from cricket, athletics, rugby, swimming, gymnastics, netball, racket sports…a huge range over 10 days.

It’s a massive thing for the city of Birmingham because although Birmingham is the second largest city in the United Kingdom, it is generally still regarded as a poor place. It’s reputation has not been great. Birmingham has together with the region where I live (called the Black Country) a long industrial past so a lot of the city centre was made up of factories around the Jewellery Quarter and then there were the coal/tin mines in the Black Country with the glass, chain, steel and other industries. In the other areas of Longbridge and Solihull were the large car manufacturing plants and not forgetting the famous Cadbury Chocolate factories and village for the workers in Bournville.

When the industries, manufacturing and mining declined, and some disappeared altogether, those buildings and areas fell into disrepair and neglect and there was a lot of poverty but over the years the city and its areas have started to be regenerated. One of the beautiful things of the games is that people get to see the “new” and “regenerated” Birmingham. The regeneration is not complete by any means but these games have brought with them the ability to push that regeneration along. The past images of Birmingham are being renewed and people can see what a great city Birmingham is.

God is a God of restoration and these beautiful verses in Isaiah remind us of this:

You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.“ Isaiah 62:3-5

The opening ceremony showed the story of Birmingham and its pioneering achievements but didn’t shy away from some of its difficult history…especially the cruel story of the women who were the “chain makers” of the area. These women worked day and night making chains for industry in terrible conditions and essentially being exploited in their labour. These brave women eventually stood up and said enough. They fought to have better pay and treatment.

There was a powerful scene in the opening ceremony when this huge (and I mean huge) mechanical bull was brought into the arena by these women in their chains. The women then were set free from their chains and released. This representation reminded me so much of Jesus who by His death and resurrection has set us, the captives free, and we are no longer enslaved to sin. We are free in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Hallelujah

There are many people praying for us whilst these Games are on that the light of Jesus will break over our city. Please pray that Jesus will be exalted in these days and the love of God made known. Join with us as we pray.

I started my first volunteer shift yesterday and for the next week will be carrying out various duties in my role and meeting lots of different people. I’ll post some (hopefully) fun stories of my experiences and what happens at the Games. Let the Games begin..