“Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God.” ~ Hebrews 12:27 (Msg)
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.” ~ Psalm 95:2 (KJV)
This week, as we approach Thanksgiving, I want to give special thanks for our church. It was the first place that gave me sense of ‘home’ after moving here from Indiana. It’s the church where our faith has grown during our eight years as members , and it’s where we’re raising our sons.
Each week during services, I look around and see people I love, people I’m proud to know as my church family. There are those who are always faithful and joyful – no matter what, and others whose faith has grown through difficult times. I see beautiful children who were ‘miracle babies’, born with little chances for survival, but praise God they are still here and doing well! I see people who have overcome tragedies, personal set-backs, financial hardhips, and broken relationships. Other people come with continued hope that their spouse or other loved ones will come to know the Lord. Some have overcome cancer and other serious illnesses. Sadly, others are the survivors of those who did not receive physical healing here on earth, but received eternal spiritual healing instead. Lord, thank You for these people.
I see people who work hard to support and sustain the church; those who are respected leaders in the church, and people who have served as mentors for myself and my family, helping us grow stronger in our faith. I see people who are tireless in their efforts to serve in ministries, on missions, and in their own private ways to the needs of others. I see people who helped our church during tough times, and new people just venturing into our church family, wanting to be a part of it, bringing hope and new promises for the future of our church. Lord, thank You for these people.
Last, but certainly not least, I see Pastors who genuinely love others and love the Lord through their service to the church. Pastors who work hard and take on a lot because of their love for the Lord and their love for the church. Our Pastors seek God above all else and live their lives accordingly. They are quick to offer grace and admit they need grace in their own lives. Aside from those wonderful qualities, they’re all simply great people who bless our lives in many ways. Lord, thank You for our Pastors.
In all of this, I see God. Everyone I described is a living witness of God’s love and faithfulness to us as His children. Collectively, the body of the church is a testament to God’s loving faithfulness to the church itself! Praise and thanks be to God!
Living in the city, where we’re not involved with the growing of crops, we don’t think about how this is a time to celebrate the harvest, give thanks to God for the things He has done, and offer the ‘first fruits’ of our labors in thanks to Him. That’s too bad because God is growing things in all of our lives, and all of His children reap harvests of His blessings. One of my greatest blessings is the church, its people, and the important place it holds in my heart. For that I send my prayers to the Lord and give thanks.
Oh, Heavenly Father, thank You for the life You have breathed into the church. Thank You for all the people it represents and the people who mean so much to me. Please continue to bless and guide the church, steering it to be the church You want it to be; and please continue to bless all who are a part of it. I pray for those who have not found their way to You, and hope ours will be a church that will reach out to them and welcome them, and lead them closer to You. I give thanks for our Pastors and their families, and ask for your contintued guidance for them, and special blessings upon them. And Lord, thank You for the many ways the church has served and helped us. I hope you’ll continue to lead us in our relationships and involvements at the church, helping us to find ways to give back to You by giving to the church. Yes, Lord, thank You for all the church is and does, and for the many ways it serves as a blessing to so many others. I hope we’ll continue to be the church you want us to be, and that your blessings will continue. Most importantly, I pray that our church will always strive to bring glory and honor to You. To You our Heavenly Father, I pray, claiming Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in the love of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Renee Myers, member of Weddington United Methodist Church