November 2019 – Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

November 2019 – Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
Introduction

Service is not always a popular concept. In John 13, Jesus demonstrated the importance of serving others. “Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him” (verses 3 – 5). This act of service was usually reserved for low–class servants. It was a job no one else wanted to perform; but Jesus showed us the importance of service by undertaking it.

Ice Breaker

Invite the women to take turns answering the following questions:

  1. What has brought you joy in the last day, week, month or year?
  2. Name three things that make you thankful.
  3. For what are you currently trusting God?
  4. What are your fears at this moment?
Opening Song and Prayer

Sing song #364, The Salvation Army Song Book, “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart” and open in prayer.

Service Ideas

Do we need to go on a mission trip to see God at work? Absolutely not! My mom used to say: “Charity begins at home.” If we can’t talk to our neighbor, why do we think it necessary to cross the ocean to serve Him? God has created us to live in community. We must get outside of our comfort zones and talk with our neighbor. If we don’t, we won’t know what they are going through or have the opportunity to introduce them to God.

The following could be done as a group or individually.
  1. Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and to give to the homeless.
  2. Buy socks and give to the homeless.
  3. Invite a corps member who is alone to your house for dinner.
  4. Take an ARC beneficiary to lunch after the morning service.
  5. Volunteer in the corps social service office.
  6. Collect gently used shoes and donate to the social services office.
  7. Support missionaries.
  8. If money permits, plan to go on a mission trip.
Give Thanks to Him and Praise His Name

Growing up in Zimbabwe, Africa was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Although life was tough due to abject poverty, my experience worshiping there was always a great blessing. Though facing untold suffering, Zimbabweans have seen God provide for their basic needs and are grateful to Him for His provisions.

Over recent years, my husband and I have been privileged to organize and lead numerous mission trips back to our homeland. Some of the goals were to provide clothing, brass instruments and on one trip 80 goats for the home league at the Mungate Corps. On another trip, the main project was to renovate the Highfield Temple Corps. Their building now accommodates over 3000 Salvationists.

Mission trips have helped me truly understand the importance of service. Webster’s dictionary defines service as “the action of helping or doing work for someone.” That “someone” is God’s child. We should not serve to feel good about ourselves, but to help our brothers and sisters who face daily hardships. The world teaches that to be someone you have to be served. However, Jesus taught the exact opposite. He became a human, humbled Himself and died a horrible death on the cross so that we might be saved. Jesus is an amazing teacher who taught us about humility.

When I think about our mission trips, I must give thanks to God every day for what I have, because there are many people who are struggling just to exist. We take for granted clean water, food, access to medical assistance, clean hospitals and good schools.

At the end of November, we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is my favorite time of the year. I love the fall colors, the reds, oranges, yellows and purples. Most importantly, it is time to reflect on what the Lord has done for me. At our Thanksgiving meal, my husband asks us to name three things for which we are thankful. Yet giving thanks should not happen only at the Thanksgiving holiday. This should be our daily practice.

Sometimes it is easy to thank God when everything is going well, but not in tough situations. The Bible says: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” One of my favorite songs is: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” What a powerful message, that even in sickness, happy times or tough, God is still in charge. We are to enter His courts with thanksgiving and praise, for He alone deserves all the honor, glory and power.

Prayer

Lord give us a heart full of thanksgiving. Give us a heart for service and help us not to complain or only expect good things from You. We pray for the missionaries, the homeless and those who are broken. Lord give us the strength to reach out to our neighbors. Help us to reflect the love of Jesus with our words, actions and attitudes. We pray all this in Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

 

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