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Tahlequah First United Methodist Church

10:00 a.m. Celebration Worship | 6:30 p.m. Open Door Worship

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November 22nd Devotional Title: Thankslivng for me   

Written By: Rev. Matt Franks

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe. (Hebrews 12:28 CEB)

Ever stumble across a verse in the Bible and go “Yes, this is it, this is what I needed!” This verse came to me as I was putting together the barebones of what this devotional book would look like. After reading it, I celebrated and thought to myself, “this is thanksliving!”  Thanksliving to me is sharing with the world what you have because you are thankful for what God has given to you. With 2018 around the corner, how will you express gratitude this year?

Here are some suggestions:

Praise God with gratitude. Read Psalms of gratitude and give God thanks for all your blessings each day.

Love with gratitude. Offer at least 365 acts of kindness, encouragement and witness this year.

Serve with gratitude. Check with myself or James Bon how you can serve in our Church and World.

Give with gratitude. Assess your financial goals and priorities and approach you prepare your 2018 annual giving commitment as an expression of your gratitude for the blessings you have received.

Share gratitude.

  • Recognize the people and blessings for which you are grateful.
  • Start a Gratitude Journal.
  • Send regular notes of gratitude.
  • On Thankful Thursdays Share your gratitude through social media if you have it.

With the hashtags #thankfulthursdays #quahfumc

November 21st  Devotional Title: Wesley’s Porter   

Written By: George Warren

In John Reynolds’ Anecdotes of the Rev. John Wesley (1828), he tells the story of Wesley’s student days at Lincoln College in Oxford. A porter knocked on Wesley’s door one evening and asked to speak with him. After some conversation Wesley noted the man’s thin coat, for it was a cold winter night. Wesley suggested that he had better get another coat. The porter replied: “This coat … is the only coat I have in the world and I thank God for it.”

Wesley asked the man if he had eaten and the porter replied: “I have had nothing today but a draught of spring water … and I thank God for that.”

Wesley, growing uneasy in the man’s presence, reminded him that he would have to get to his quarters soon or be locked out. “Then what shall you have to thank God for?” Wesley asked.  “I will thank Him,” replied the porter, “that I have dry stones to lie upon.”

Wesley was deeply moved by the man’s sincerity and he said to him, “You thank God when you have nothing to wear; … nothing to eat … [and] no bed to lie on. I cannot see what you have to thank God for.”

The man replied: “I thank God… that he has given me life and being, and a heart to love Him, and a desire to serve Him.” (8-9)

After the man had left with a coat from Wesley’s closet, some money for food and words of appreciation for the witness he had made, Wesley wrote in his Journal: “I shall never forget that porter. He convinced me there is something in religion to which I am a stranger.”

Are you a stranger to the strangeness of true discipleship?

November 20th Devotional Title: Our Attitudes Matter 

Written By: Rev. Matt Franks

“Unless we are thankful, we will suffer the leprosy of ingratitude. We will be depressed and full of self-pity and jealousy.” ― from “An African Prayer Book”

I say, “our attitudes matter,” a lot and they really do. When we are not living a life full of gratitude for all that God gives us we become self-centered. Psalm 43:5 reminds us to not be self-centered and to have our hope in God who is our saving presence.

When I was walking with my mother in the final months in her life we were not centered on the Cancer that was taking over in her body or the Early Onset Alzheimer’s that she was living with. Instead every meeting with her we focused on the hope that we knew this journey for her on earth was ending and that her time in heaven was coming. That hope did give us some comfort and we were so thankful we got the three months with her.

It was my mother who taught me that my attitude matters. We can take adversity head on with Hope that God is with us and we are not alone in this time. Or we can have a pity party that no one will attend. Living a life of thanksliving is sometimes taking a bad situation and finding the light in it. It is there, we just have to wade through the muck to find it and we go through the muck with God on our side.

This Sunday’s Thanksliving with Tate Schneider

Here is this Sunday’s Thanksliving Video with Tate Schneider

November 18th Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:14-30

 

14 “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. 15 To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability. Then he left on his journey.

16 “After the man left, the servant who had five valuable coins took them and went to work doing business with them. He gained five more. 17 In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. 18 But the servant who had received the one valuable coin dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

19 “Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received five valuable coins came forward with five additional coins. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

22 “The second servant also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

24 “Now the one who had received one valuable coin came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest grain where you haven’t sown. You gather crops where you haven’t spread seed. 25 So I was afraid. And I hid my valuable coin in the ground. Here, you have what’s yours.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You evil and lazy servant! You knew that I harvest grain where I haven’t sown and that I gather crops where I haven’t spread seed? 27 In that case, you should have turned my money over to the bankers so that when I returned, you could give me what belonged to me with interest. 28 Therefore, take from him the valuable coin and give it to the one who has ten coins. 29 Those who have much will receive more, and they will have more than they need. But as for those who don’t have much, even the little bit they have will be taken away from them. 30 Now take the worthless servant and throw him outside into the darkness.’ “People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.

Matthew 25:14-30 Common English Bible

November 17th Read: Devotional Title: THANKS FOR FLEAS?

Written By: George Warren

In her now classic book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom tells about an incident that taught her the principle of giving thanks in all things.  It was during World War II. Corrie and her sister, Betsie, had been harboring Jewish people in their home, so they were arrested and finally imprisoned at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp by the Nazis.

Their barrack was extremely crowded and infested with fleas. One morning they read in their tattered Bible from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the reminder to give thanks in all things. Betsie said to Corrie, “Corrie, we’ve got to give thanks for these barracks and even for these fleas.”  Corrie replied, “No way am I going to thank God for fleas.”

But Betsie was persuasive, and they did thank God even for the fleas. During the months that followed, they found that their barrack was left relatively free, and they could do Bible study, talk openly, and even pray there. It was their only place of refuge. Several months later they learned that the guards never entered their barrack because of those blasted fleas.  (Les Parrott III, “Thank God for fleas,” Rev., January-February 2001, 42.)

What would it mean for you to give thanks to God “in all things”?

November 16th Devotion Title: What Thanksliving Means to Me

Written by Cody Robinson

Thanksliving means honoring the Ancestors for their sacrifices so we may live unashamed of our heritage.

Thanksliving means giving God the glory for sweet Grace in our shortcomings and jubilation in our triumphs.

So that we too may share God’s love with one and all.

November 15th Devotional Title: GRATITUDE

Written By: Janet M. Stucky

When my husband, Don, was diagnosed with renal cancer in August of 2008, I made a choice to live my life in gratitude.  I decided to take every breath in gratitude and looked at every moment, every day, and every person, as an opportunity to express my gratitude.

 

Every breath brought me closer to God.

Every exhale assured me God was closer to me.

So many kind, helpful individuals are in my path guiding me and directing my endeavors. There continue to be so many opportunities to exchange love, compassion, and joy.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Inhale.

And exhale.

I am so very grateful

God has called my name.

I am so very grateful for my family.

God demonstrates unconditional love.

I am so very grateful for my church.

God’s sweet spirit embraces us.

I am so very grateful for my commitment to Feed My Sheep.

God has given me an opportunity to serve.

I am so very grateful for all our Feed My Sheep volunteers and guests.

God is always with us.

I am so very grateful for this beautiful day.

God is continuously creating and it is Good.

I am so very grateful to be alive.

God dwells within every fiber of my being.

November 14th Devotional Title: BARNABUS

Written By: George Warren

One of my favorite Bible characters is a man named Barnabus.  Actually that wasn’t his real name; it was more of a nickname, as “Barnabus” in Hebrew means “Son of Encouragement.”

Barnabus was an encouraging person. He was the one who vouched for Saul to the Christians in Jerusalem.  You’ll remember that Saul had earlier presided over the stoning of Stephen and was en route to imprison Christians in Damascus when he had a dramatic conversion experience that turned his life around.  He began preaching for Christ in Damascus and was so persuasive that he had to sneak out of town because he was now being persecuted for his zeal.  However, how is he to go back to Jerusalem?  They don’t know how he’s changed!

Enter Barnabus.  The “Son of Encouragement” introduced Saul and vouched for his sincerity.  The Christians received him and accepted him, warily at first but then joyfully.  Later, Saul, renamed Paul, became the first great traveling missionary and the church’s first great theologian.  We focus a lot on Paul’s work; but without Barnabus, he may never have had that positive a start in the church.  Oh, he probably still would be a Christian, but he might have gotten disgruntled over their reluctance or discouraged over their fear or even despairing over his guilt.  If there had been no Barnabus, there may have never been a Paul!

We need some more “Sons (and daughters) of Encouragement”!!

November 13th   Devotional Title: Oh, Yea, Thanks Mom!

Written By: Rev. Shana Dry

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!” When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? No one retuned to praise God except this foreigner?” then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”  Luke 17:11-19

For those of us who think thanksgiving is optional, this gospel story shows how very important it is to take time to give thanks.

One of our problems is that we are blessed in so many ways that we can begin to take them for granted. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that if the stars came out only once a year, everybody would stay up all night to look at them. He observed that we have seen the stars so often that we don’t bother to look at them anymore. It’s easy for us to be like that. We can become so accustomed to our blessings that we can lose our sense of gratitude.

The other day I was folding laundry and I told my daughter to come get her laundry and put it away. She walked into the laundry room and picked up the basket and turned to walk out without saying a word. I said “Did you forget to say something?” She looked at me with such a black stare she had no clue she should say thank you for the clean clothes. I explained to her she should thank you for the clean clothes and she said, “OH YEA! Thanks Mom!”

When we are thankful for the many blessings we have received we become candidates for the greatest blessing anyone can obtain. Forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation are God’s gifts to those who are willing to fall at Jesus feet and say, “Thank You.” We have been blessed. A right attitude about what we have already received can produce unimaginable benefits in the future.

Prayer: Thank you God for the life that you have blessed me with. I asked this day that you lead me God to a more grateful life of being aware of my many blessings each and every day.

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