Worshipping Together – Sunday March 22nd

Since we will not be able to meet in person, I suggest we do the following either alone or in our families wherever we are, either at 11 am, or at another time during the day if that is more convenient to you, in any order you like.

  1. Set aside some time for prayer and reflection. Start that time by praying the Lord’s Prayer.
  2. Pray for each other in the church, for your family and neighbours and for the world at this time.
  3. Pray the Day By Day Prayer and the Prayer of Saint Francis.
  4. You might like to sing a song or hymn.
  5. Read and reflect on the sermon below on the importance of giving thanks, which I had already prepared for this week before the announcement on Monday.
  6. Phone a friend in the church and pray with them.

For future Sundays we will be looking for ways to “livestream” worship, prayer and teaching through Facebook and also a website for PCs, laptops and tablets called Zoom. I hope to have this sorted before next Sunday and I will send full details in plenty of time beforehand.

 

WHERE ARE THE OTHER NINE?   Reading Luke 17:11-19

A little boy was asked by his father to say grace at the table.  While the rest of the family waited, the little guy eyed every dish of food his mother had prepared.  After the examination, he bowed his head and honestly prayed, “Lord, I don’t like the looks of it, but I thank you for it, and I’ll eat it anyway.  Amen.

We’re not very good at saying “Thank you,” are we?  We’re like a little boy I heard about.  On his return from a birthday party, his mother queried, “Bobby, did you thank the lady for the party?”

“Well, I was going to.  But a girl ahead of me said, ‘Thank you,’ and the lady said “Don’t mention it.”  So I didn’t.”

We aren’t always very good at saying thank you. We need ways to help us give thanks. We can so often be like those 10 lepers who Jesus healed of leprosy.

Lu 17:15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him- and  he was a  Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no-one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

 

10 were healed but only one came back to say thank you! Where are the other nine? Every year on the fourth Thursday in November Americans have their Thanksgiving Day. Ever since the Pilgrim Fathers, America celebrates this as their Harvest Festival. After a drought and bad harvests, tradition has it that Governor Bradford of Massachusetts made this first Thanksgiving Proclamation three years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth:

“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”

That is why even today every year Americans make a point of celebrating God’s goodness with a Day of Thanksgiving – and that is probably a very good thing!

Ten were healed. Only one came back. Where were the other nine? The Bible urges us to give thanks continually to God for all His goodness to us.

Psalm 116:12  How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?  13  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.  14  I will fulfil my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

 

Psalm 136:1 ¶ Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures for ever.

 2  Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures for ever.

 3  Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures for ever.

 4  to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures for ever.

 

Ephesians 5:19  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,  20  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 103 1 Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits –

The trouble is that we so easily DO forget all his benefits. We take for granted all the blessings God pours out on us! Hear this solemn warning Moses gave to Israel.

Deuteronomy 8:10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.  11  Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.

 12  Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,  13  and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,  14  then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 

Ten were healed. Only one came back. Where were the other nine? What can we do to make sure we don’t take God for granted, but instead receive his gifts with gratitude? Let me remind you of a wonderful old hymn!

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Refrain

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Refrain

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS! It is so simple really! Name them one by one and SEE what God has done!”

 

Especially in these anxious times, too often people today would rather sing “Count your troubles”

 

If there be clear sunshine, think how soon ’til rain;
Should it be midsummer, winter comes again;

Every glorious sunset ends in dark, dark night;
Youth gives way to cheerless age; there’s nothing right.

 

If you see a promise fits you to a “T”,

Though you hunger for it, cry, “This not for me!”

You must bear your burdens, sink beneath the load,
For your way to Heaven is a dreary road.

 

Count your many problems, name them one by one;
Think that victory never, never will be won;

Cite your many troubles, count them o’er and o’er,
All your disappointments and vexations soar.”

 

“When you are discouraged, feel that all is lost;
Say the prize you’re seeking is not worth the cost;

Think about your troubles, count them o’er and o’er;
Every time you count them, there will be one more.

 

Ten were healed. Only one came back. Where were the other nine? Too often we count our troubles and our sorrows. Instead we should always count our blessings!

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16 ¶ Be joyful always;  17  pray continually;  18  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

We can start with THANKSGIVING for all God’s blessings to us.

 

Psalm 100:4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name

 

We should give thanks for God’s blessings given to everyone, and we also should give thanks for God’s blessings to ME individually

Psalm 103 1 Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 

We can relive the encounters we have had with God in the past. Remember them. Reflect on them. Use them as a way to enter into God’s presence afresh. We can thank God for food and drink and family and friends. for answered prayers. for the hope of heaven. for the Bible and the fellowship of the church. for His peace and protection. for the wonderful joy He gives us. for His guidance and strengthening.

 

We give thanks. Then we can move on to PRAISE for God’s mighty acts of salvation. Looking to what God has done. The Psalms speak of praise 233 times – the rest of the Bible as many times again! Since we are going to spend eternity praising God we may as well start practising now! Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise! (Psalm 48:1)

 

We should give God our praise and thanksgiving for all he Has done for us

 

Praise God for the BIRTH of Jesus; for the TEACHING of Jesus; for the MIRACLES of Jesus; for Jesus’s SUFFERING and TRIALS; for Jesus’s DEATH on the  CROSS; for Jesus’s glorious RESURRECTION ; for the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT;

 

Praise God because He is our CREATOR Praise God our LIBERATOR Praise God our LORD Praise God our REDEEMER Praise God the JUDGE Praise God our FATHER! Praise God for His LOVE; for His FAITHFULNESS; for His ALMIGHTY POWER; for His COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE; for His HOLINESS; for His GRACE and FORGIVENESS; for His PRESENCE everywhere. We have SO MUCH to praise and to thank God for!

Ten were healed. Only one came back to say thank you. Where were the other nine?

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Take some time right now to count your blessings Praise and thank God for all his blessings to you! You don’t need me to tell you to thank God. You don’t need me to tell you WHAT to thank God for! We just need to get on and DO IT! To thank God! And to praise God!

 

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