Missionary Skit

Summary

The basic premise of this drama is that the person is sharing with the group how the Lord led him to go into missions. This prompts the action of the two demons in trying to do everything possible to discourage the person from going.

It is important that the drama is set-up properly. It is good if it is possible not to let the audience know that this is a drama. Rather, try in every way to convince the audience that it is just a person who desires to share with them.

Characters

  • Person (normal guy or girl)
  • Demon 1 (wearing red and/or black with appropriate make-up)
  • Demon 2 (wearing red and/or black with appropriate make-up)

Script

Person:
I feel very privileged to be able to share with all of you this evening. Like many people, I grew up thinking that I was a Christian because I grew up in a Christian family and went to church every Sunday. Then, just a few months ago, a team from the Doulos came and stayed at my house for a week. I could really see that they knew God in a personal way, and talked about him as if they were talking about a friend. I also knew that I didn’t know God like they knew him. On the last night of their visit, I prayed to accept Christ into my heart. Ever since I asked Jesus to be my Saviour, I could sense that he has been leading me into MISSIONS… (Person freezes momentarily)
(In an immediate, violent reaction, Demon 1 and Demon 2 run out onto the stage screaming.)
Demon 1 & Demon 2:
MISSIONS?!! NOT MISSIONS!!!
Demon 2:
We must do something to stop him!
Demon 1:
We need a plan!
(Demons huddle together and scheme. As they do so, Person comes back to life and continues his testimony. As he begins to speak, the demons come up with a strategy and quickly move from the place where they were huddling in front of P to a place just behind him, from which they can whisper in his ear.)
Person:
I started preparations by looking into several missions sending agencies.
Demon 1:
But wait! What about your job? You need to build up a nest egg for your retirement. After all, if you don’t take care of your future, nobody else will.
Person:
(Nodding his head in agreement) Yeah, I never thought about retirement. If I go to the mission field, who is going to support me when I get old?
Demon 2:
And what about your training and your education? All of that time would have been wasted!
Person:
(Getting discouraged) That’s true! All those years of working my way up the ladder would have been a waste of time, and all that time and money that I spent at the university would be of no value at all!
(He stops to think for a minute. As he does, the demons look at each other with very satisfied expressions.)
Person:
Wait a minute. Jesus said… (As soon as Person says Jesus the demons react violently.)
Demon 1 & Demon 2:
JESUS!!! (As they say this, they move away and shield their faces in a frozen position.)
Person:
(Continuing on) …Jesus said in Matthew 6, “Do not worry, saying `what shall we eat,’ or `what shall we drink,’ but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself.”
(The demons come out of their frozen position and make new plans, again huddled in front of Person. As Person continues speaking, they move behind him again for another try.)
Person:
I will be joining Operation Mobilisation. This is a group that has work in over 35 different countries throughout the world.
Demon 1:
Well, I guess this means you don’t intend to marry, hmmm?
Person:
(With a puzzled expression) No, I’ve always planned on having a wife, and I’ve got some great names picked out for the children.
Demon 1:
Well, everybody knows that you’ll never find a decent wife on the mission field!
Person:
(Eyes get very big as he realises the implications of this) I never thought about that! If I leave home how will I ever find the right person to marry?
Demon 2:
Yes, and what would your brother and your sister think? Your friends and relatives would think you were crazy!
Person:
Oh no! They wouldn’t understand at all. They would think that I was joining a…a…(stutter) cult or something! (Again Person pauses to think. Again demons look pleased.)
Person:
Wait! I remember that in the Bible, Jesus said… (Again demons give immediate, violent reaction and shy away)
Demon 1 & Demon 2:
JESUS! Not JESUS again!!
Person:
Jesus said in Luke 14, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.” (Demons act very agitated as they again huddle Person continues)
Person:
So I will be joining Operation Mobilisation. In particular the Lord has been putting a real burden on my heart for the country of India.
Demon 1:
You? In India? You could never do that. You haven’t had enough training and what about the language?
Demon 2:
You can’t even communicate effectively in your own language, and you know what a terrible speaker you are.
Person:
(Acts very nervous as he begins to remember a bad speaking experience.) I remember that time in school when I had to give a speech I got so nervous that I couldn’t remember the first line, and then I froze and everybody started to laugh at me. (Demons give a very demonic laugh in the background) I never want that to happen again!
(Pause. Demons look wary.)
Person:
But, then again, Jesus said… (Demons react as before.)
Demon 1 & Demon 2:
JESUS!! I wish he would stop quoting JESUS!!!
Person:
Jesus said in Luke 21, “Make up your mind not to worry before hand about how you will defend yourselves, for I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”
(Demons huddle together for one more try.)
Person:
I will be working in the northern states of India where there are literally millions of Muslim and Hindus who have never even heard the Gospel for the first time.
Demon 1:
But wait! Look at yourself. (Person looks down at self.) You’re young. You have your whole life ahead of you. (Demon 1 and Demon 2 both make a sweeping gesture forward showing Person how much he has in his future.) You don’t have to go to the mission field NOW, do you, hmmm??
Person:
(Rather flattered at these thoughts) No, I suppose not. Hey, you know, that makes sense. I’ve got my whole life to serve the Lord. If I just wait a few years, I can build up a little money just in case any emergencies come up. And, I could take care of the wife situation in the meantime. Then, I would be really ready to go. Why didn’t I think of that before? (Resumes testimony.)
Person:
So, as I was saying, I will be leaving for the mission field in just a few short years … maybe. Thank you.
(Person turns and walks of the stage With Demon 1 and Demon 2 following close behind, rubbing their hands and smiling with delight.)

This document copyright (c) 1995 by Mathew Pole. Reproduction and/or distribution for non-commercial purposes is permissible providing that the drama is left fully intact. Permission is given to modify the drama for personal use, under the condition that the changes are not redistributed. Please send additions or corrections to Mathew and Paulyn Pole (mathew.paulyn@iname.com)
Last changed: Saturday 12 August 1995
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First, remember he is not trying, but trusting.

• He is trusting God to use your church to meet his needs.
• The local church is the place where God will meet his needs both financially and spiritually.
• He is a missionary (a world traveling evangelist), sent by a local church.
• Traveling expenses and a generous love offering should be given to him in consideration of his labor for the Lord.

Second, remember he is not running, but resting. He and his family have probably traveled thousands of miles.

• You must allow him to have time to rest and recover for the next journey.
• You must not ask him to rest where you yourselves could not rest.
• He is a missionary, not a Moochinary. He has a high calling of God.
• He is or will be somebody’s hero. You should treat him as one.

Third, remember he is not wondering, but praying. You need to take his prayer card and pray about the following things.

• The health of him and his family
• Problems he may have with the language.
• Relationships he will encounter with the nationals
• His children (MK)
• The mental and emotional health of him and his family
• The missionary’s family who is left at home
• The missionary’s material needs
• The doctrinal purity of the missionary and his stand on the Bible
• Problems of demonic opposition
• Pray for prepared hearts of those he will be ministering.

Mother, What Kind of Temple Are You Building?

Two Temples

A Builder builded a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill
Pillars and groins and arches.
All fashioned to work his will.

Men said as they saw its beauty,
“It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye”

A Mother builded a temple,
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.

None praise her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan
For the temple the Mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder’s temple,
Crumbled into the dust
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.

But the temple the Mother builded,
Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child’s immortal soul.

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the pastor stood up, walked over to the pulpit and briefly introduced a guest minister. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was his dearest childhood friends, and he wanted his friend to share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service. The elderly man stepped to the pulpit and began to speak.

A Father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific coast one day, when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high that, even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued with his story,

Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life—which boy would he throw the life line?  He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, but He also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the Father yelled out, I love you, son! He threw out the life line to his son’s friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swell into the black of the night. His body was never covered.

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth.

The Father knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore he sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take a hold of the life line He is throwing out to you in this service.

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit, delivered a brief sermon, and gave an invitation at the end. When no one responded to the invitation, the pastor closed the service with prayer.

After the service, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side, That was a nice story, politely stated one of the boys, but I don’t think it was very realistic for a Father to give up his only son’s life hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.

Well, you’ve got a point there, the old man replied. Glancing down at his worn Bible, a big smile broadened his narrow fact—he once again looked up at the boys and said, It sure isn’t realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see—I was that Father and your pastor is my son’s friend.

This was said to be a true story.

What are your goals for 2015?

Unless you attempt to do more than you are now doing, you will never achieve all that you can do. Aim at nothing, and you are sure to reach it. Setting goals helps you keep your eyes focused on something bigger than your problems and adversity. Remember, being average is just as near the bottom as it is to the top!

Here is sample of some simplified goals:

Physical goals: Lose _____lbs by December 2015. Consciously drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables; exercise at least 3 days a week.

Mental goals: Memorize 5 verses every month, take an on-line class, begin to learn another language.

Spiritual goals: Read/listen through the Bible, keep a prayer journal, fast one day a week, pour yourself into a new convert.

Family goals: Pray diligently for family members, have consistent family devotions, Say “I love you” more.

Financial goals: Consistently give tithes and mission offerings, cut down on frivolous spending, don’t charge anything this year, save $____by the end of the year.

Church goals: Pray more diligently for your pastor, your church leaders, and your church families. Send cards to the discouraged, shut-ins, and children; Look for opportunities to give alms (benevolence causes) Pass out more tracts and don’t pass up any soul-winning opportunities.

Twas the Night Before Jesus Came

‘Twas the night before Jesus came
And all through the house
Not a creature was praying,
Not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain
On the shelf without care…
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus!! Returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said, “It’s not here,” my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late’
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if I only had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!

An Open Letter to the Dad Looking at Porn

Dear Dad,

I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this effects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well. I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman.

First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing. Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.

As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.

As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face. When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life. I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.

If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us. Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.

Love, Your Daughter

Follow the Disciple Who Has Been Through Suffering

Someone has said, “If you are looking for a disciple to follow, find someone who has gone through trials and suffering and has learned some difficult lessons through his experiences.

Are trials and suffering painful? Sure! At times, does it seem that that you just don’t have the strength to bear the suffering? Of course. Then you might be thinking, “If the  Lord really loves me, why would He make me go through suffering and trials?” Because He is a loving Father who loves you too much to leave you the same. He wants you to be conformed His image. When we begin to learn the lesson that God sends trials for our good and His glory, then we are ready to help and encourage others when they go through their suffering.

2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

If you are going through a trial right now, focus on your Savior and His purpose for your life and not your pain. Here is a devotion I gave a few years ago that shows why God allows trials and suffering in our lives.

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

God tells us not to think it strange when we experience trials. He will allow these trials in our lives to conform us to His image. I Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

To prepare us so that we may be able to comfort others
I remember one time I was going through a deep trial. Crying out to the Lord with thoughts of hopelessness, I prayed, “Lord, does anyone understand what I am going through?” Years later when visiting with a friend who was going through a similar trial, I began to understand this principle. “God, You allowed that trial in my life a few years ago so that I could help her today.” Leaving that visit, I offered the Lord a few silent words of gratitude. “Thank You, Father. I now see the reason that You had for me. It was for my good and for Your glory.”

II Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted.

To prepare us for future service
I love the story of Joseph. One time my husband did a series of lessons on the life of Joseph. I will never forget those lessons. My husband repeated over and over. God was with Joseph in the pit, in Potipher’s house, in prison, and then in the Palace, but Joseph never got angry or bitter. Why would God allow him to be put in prison? Think about it. He was put in Potipher’s house to learn the ways of the upper class of Egypt; He was put in the prison to learn the ways of the common men of Egypt. In the end, he was over all men in Egypt.

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

To give us a bigger view of God
Through the process of our Christian lives, we attend services and listen to many lessons and sermons. We read books. We go to special conferences and listen to various speakers. Many times we are not changed until we go through times of suffering, and we really begin to see the Lord and His purpose for our lives.

Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
To build our faith

My faith continues to grow as I look back at the ways God has answered my prayers and how He has worked in the life of our family. I will never forget the time when we started the church in Rhode Island. We were from Oklahoma, and we didn’t have to buy oil in Oklahoma to heat our home because the home were heated with natural gas. You just called the gas company and they turned on the gas.  It was not that way in Rhode Island. You had to pay for the oil when the company delivered it.

That first winter in New England was very difficult. We had to pay rent for a church building, pay rent on an apartment, buy oil for the church building, and buy oil for our apartment. We met one Sunday night in the church building, and it was so cold that you could see your breath. After services, my husband and I got on our knees and prayed, “Lord, we don’t want to leave, but people won’t come to a cold building. We need $1,000 to buy oil, or we won’t be able to stay. The next morning my husband came home from the post office singing and carrying a white envelope in his hand. In the envelope there was a white piece of folded paper with ten one hundred dollar bills in it. There was no return name or address on the envelope. Time after time, God has shown Himself mighty. God continues to build our faith with answered prayers.

Ex. 14: 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. 31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

To purify our walk
There have been many times that I felt have been so burdened down with daily duties that I served the Lord out of routine and not a true love for Him. It is usually during those times that God has to send something into my life to help purify my walk with Him. He helps me to refocus on Him and His purpose for my life.

Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

To remove any pride or boasting
I think there is a tendency in all of us at times to think too highly of ourselves. Human nature sometimes causes us to assume the worst in others and the best in ourselves. God has to send things into our lives to help remove pride or boasting so that we may be more useful to Him.

II Corin. 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

To prove our real love for the Lord to Satan
I don’t really understand it, but Satan has access to heaven and the very throne of God. (Job 1:7) Satan reminds God about all of our failures. He says, “Look at Your saints; see what hypocrites they are. Judge them!” But Praise the Lord, Jesus stands at the Father’s right hand to intercede for us.”

Ps. 17:3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Ways Pastors’ Wives Can Show Their Churches Love

I just came across  Sandra Peoples’ blog, Living and Loving My Plan B Life. I would encourage you to check out her site! She has some great articles. The following is an article she wrote on October 16, 2012.

A pastor’s wife can often be her husband’s best asset or his biggest hindrance in ministry. She might see the church as her enemy–the job takes him away from her, their children, and their home. All plans are tentative, depending on what needs arise in the congregation. When pastors’ wives stop seeing themselves in a battle for his attention, they can begin partner with their husbands in ministry. Like Priscilla and Aquila, they work together to disciple and minister to others.

Here are 30 practical ways pastors’ wives can show their churches some love:
1. Pray for members specifically and often.
2. Smile, a lot.
3. Serve the church with your gifts and talents.
4. Be a willing hostess.
5. Show and tell your children’s Sunday school teachers and youth leaders how much you appreciate them.
6. Don’t always be the last one to pick up your kids from their classes or child care.
7. Don’t take the best parking spot.
8. Don’t expect youth to baby-sit for free.
9. Write cards, letters, and/or emails to members.
10. Keep confidential matters confidential.
11. You can’t do all things for all people, but be careful not to just do some things for some people.
12. Do not participate in gossip.
13. Respect your husband as the head of your family and the leader of your church.
14. Spare your friends in the church the details of your marriage, find other women to share with who are not in your church.
15. Be real about your life, family, and weaknesses.
16. Keep your home tidy (I’m not saying immaculate) for visitors.
17. Give generously of your time, money, and possessions.
18. Be visible and approachable around church.
19. Realize that some of the pressure you put on yourself is just that- self-inflicted, and not from the church.
20. Take time to feed yourself spiritually- grow in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, bible study, and worship.
21. Don’t take a job or position just because if you don’t no one else will, allow others to step up and use their gifts.
22. Get to know women in different life stages from your own and learn from them.
23. Be willing to accompany your husband on visits and in meetings so he is not alone with a woman.
24. Know your weakness and try to strengthen them. For example, read a book on counseling (like Women Helping Women by Fitzpatrick and Cornish) or hospitality.
25. Make your husband a better preacher by giving constructive suggestions at the appropriate time.
26. Keep yourself healthy.
27. Forgive and forget.
28. Keep frozen cookie dough in the freezer to bake when some one stops by the house.
29. Take care of your appearance.
30. Serve more than you expect to be served.

    Thanksgiving Delights

On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.
For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.
We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.
The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!

By Joanna Fuchs

William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony
To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, 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 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 ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and 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.

First National Thanksgiving Proclamation, George Washington in 1779
Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; Whereas, both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness!” Now therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863
After George Washington authorized the first Thanksgiving Day in 1789, 74 years passed without another such day of thanks. Then, Abraham Lincoln authorized our annual Thanksgiving Day in 1863. He did this in the midst of the Civil War.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Forgive Me When I Whine
Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her — she seemed so gay, and how, I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet — the world is mine.

And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, “It’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find”; he turned and said, “Oh, thank you sir.” And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.

Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?” He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine.                                                                                        Source Unknown

True Gratitude, Melody Beattie
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. 

The Blessing Jar by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

My normally quiet house is bustling with activity as I’ve got lots of company spending the week here, with more expected this weekend. It looks like we’ll have fifteen to twenty people of all ages together for Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year, after a wonderful meal around candlelit tables, we gathered in the living room on sofas, chairs, and the floor. I printed out the following questions on slips of paper and put them in a “Blessing Jar.”

We passed the Blessing Jar around, and one at a time, different people (including children) picked a question out of the jar. Then, a few shared their response to that question. It was a sweet time of reflecting on God’s goodness and blessings in our lives over the past year.

Here are the questions I included in the Blessing Jar:

Name a song that has been a blessing to you this year.
Name one friend who has been a blessing to you this year.
What is one book that has been a blessing to you this year?
Share a Bible verse that has been a blessing to you this year.
Share one special memory from the past year for which you are grateful.
What is something about your church that has been a blessing to you this year?
How have you seen the heart of Jesus in a member of your family?
What is one financial or material blessing from the past year for which you are grateful?
How have you seen God at work in the life of an unbeliever this year?
What is one area of your life where you have seen God at work this year?
What is one answer to prayer you have experienced this year?
Share something from the past year that has been “hard,” for which you are grateful.

Blessing Box by Glenda Embree
We’re freshly moved and almost completely unpacked. As I sit here this morning, it occurs to me that we don’t have a Blessing Box this year. When our grown daughters were small we started this tradition. Over the years, we have had times when we were so caught up in life and just getting through it, that we didn’t really stop to enjoy everything in a day that is a blessing, a gift. There are so many, no matter what your present circumstances. A Blessing Box is a way, even for just a moment, to take a deep breath and be thankful, to stand still in the middle of your day and say, “Thank you, Lord. I know you’re in this and I am so blessed to ______________ . You fill in the blank.

Ideally, you will make this box, as a family, on Thanksgiving; and then have the whole year to get it ready for next Thanksgiving. You could hurry and whip one up for this year, but this is my personal experience when we have done that in “off” years. People tend to try to “fill the box” and so something is lost in the heartfelt thanks of the moment. It’s more about the box than being thankful. My suggestion is to work together on Thanksgiving Day and make it beautiful. Then take a year to “count your blessings”.  Next Thanksgiving, when you open that box and pour your “mountain of blessings” in the center of the table to read, you and your family will be reminded of just how much you have been blessed and cared for and as you read through what others have written, you will share and relive those awesome memories.

Decorating Tips

  • Place a tea light inside a carved out mini gourd to put at each place setting.
  • Place mini white or orange-stripe pumpkins on various height candlesticks. Add a vase filled with fall branches and a few gourds scattered around the area.
  • Place various size pillar candles on a mirror.  Scatter evergreen branches, pine cones and clementines around the candles.
  • Place a hollowed out white pumpkin in the center of your table. Fill it with a fall flower arrangement.
  • Place water-soaked florists’ foam on each tier of a 3-tiered cake stand. Place pomegranates, grapes, figs, and fresh fall flowers on each tier.
  • Place a water-soaked florist foam into a soup tureen. Place a combination of gourds and fall flowers in it.
  • Place cranberries in a clear vase. Add a painted white branch. Using yarn or string, fasten pictures of family members and friends to the branch. Call this your Thankful Tree.
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