Thursday, November 28, 2002


Thanksgiving Day
November 28, 2002
Psalm 116
"For what are you thankful?"

INTRODUCTION:  Once again we have been permitted to gather together for yet another national thanksgiving.  For what are you thankful?  How has the Lord blessed you?  How do we review the past year with respect to all that has happened to us?  Our Psalm for today, Psalm 116 helps us sort through all that we have experienced this past year in for significant areas of life; in our gratitude, in our grief, in our goals, and in our gladness. Let's review shall we?

1.                  The Psalmist's gratitude (Psalm 116:1-9)

A.     The dangers he experienced - Vv. 1-4

1.      his present assurance - Vv. 1-2 
1 I love the Lord , for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. 2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

2.      his previous anguish - Vv. 3 
3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

3.   his prayerful appeal - V. 4  
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, save me!"

B.     The deliverance he experienced - Vv. 5-9

1.      a word about his Savior - Vv. 5-6
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. 6 The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.

2.      a word about his soul - Vv. 7-9
7 Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. 8 For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, 9 that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.  

2.         The psalmist's grief (Psalm 116:10-11)

A.     What he had suffered - V. 10
10 I believed; therefore I said, "I am greatly afflicted."

B.     What he had said - V. 11
11 And in my dismay I said, "All men are liars."

3.         The Psalmist's goals (Psalm 116:12-15)

A.     His assessment of his duty - Vv. 12-14
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 fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

B.     His assurance about his death - Vv. 15
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

4.         The Psalmist's gladness (Psalm 116:16-19)

A.     His position - V. 16
16 O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains.

B.     His promise - Vv. 17-19

1.      to live a sacrificial life - V.17
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord .

2.      to live a sanctified live - Vv. 18-19
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the Lord - in your midst, O Jerusalem.

God of power and mercy, through the Passion and resurrection of Your Son You have freed us from the bonds of death and the anguish of separation from You. Be with us on our pilgrimage and help us offer You a sacrifice of praise, fulfill our vows, and glorify You in the presence of all Your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For All the Saints A Prayer book for and by the Church, Year 2: Advent - Pentecost American Lutheran Publicity Bureau Delhi, NY © 1995

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve
November 27, 2002
Psalm 65
"Sing Hallelujah at the Harvest"

Introduction:  The harvest is complete - the crops are now in. It is now time to evaluate the past planting, growing, and harvest season - and what a season it has been. When measuring yields from previous years, factoring in weather conditions, stress on crops, what the market will bear it's easy to loose track that God is involved in all that we do.  Our Psalm for this evening Psalm 65 gets us back on track as He urges us to sing Hallelujahs at the Harvest.

1.                  We sing our Hallelujahs as we approach God.

A.     We approach God a silent people 1)  "Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled."

B.     We approach God a seeking people 2) "O you who hear prayer, 
to you all men will come."

C.     We approach God a sinful people 3) "When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions."

D.     We approach God a satisfied people 4)  "Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple."

Transition: Not only do we approach our God this night we come seeking to know Him.

2.                  Apprehending God

A.     We apprehend God's power to convert

1.      First the Hebrew people 5a  "You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior

2.      But also the Heathen peoples  , 5b  the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,"

B.     We apprehend God's power to create 6 "who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength,"

C.     We apprehend God's power to control

1.      The restless waves - 7 "who stilled the roaring of the seas,"

2.      The restless world - 7b-8  " the roaring of their waves, 
and the turmoil of the nations. Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy."

Transition:  Having approached and apprehended God we appreciate all He has done for us. This is the secret to true thanksgiving.

3.          Appreciating God

A.     Appreciating the wealth of the heavens - 9 - 10   "You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops."

B.     Appreciating the wealth of the harvest - 11-13  "You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.

Lord God, joy marks Your presence, beauty, abundance, and peace are the tokens of Your work in creation. Work also in our lives, that by these signs we may see the splendor of Your love and may praise You through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For All the Saints A Prayer book for and by the Church, Year 2: Advent - Pentecost American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY © 1995