Give Thanks!

thanksgivingPSALM 107

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His loving-kindness lasts forever! Let the people who have been saved say so. He has bought them and set them free from the hand of those who hated them. He gathered them from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.

Some traveled through the desert wastes. They did not find a way to a city where they could live. They were hungry and thirsty. Their souls became weak within them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble. And He took them out of their suffering. He led them by a straight path to a city where they could live. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving-kindness and His great works to the children of men! For He fills the thirsty soul. And He fills the hungry soul with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. They suffered in prison in iron chains. 11 Because they had turned against the Words of God. They hated what the Most High told them to do. 12 So He loaded them down with hard work. They fell and there was no one to help. 13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble. And He saved them from their suffering. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death. And He broke their chains. 15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving-kindness and His great works to the children of men! 16 For He has broken gates of brass and cut through walls of iron.

17 Some were fools because of their wrong-doing. They had troubles because of their sins. 18 They hated all kinds of food. And they came near the gates of death. 19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble. And He saved them from their suffering. 20 He sent His Word and healed them. And He saved them from the grave. 21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving-kindness and His great works to the children of men! 22 Let them give Him gifts of thanks and tell of His works with songs of joy.

23 Some went out to sea in ships to buy and sell on the great waters. 24 They have seen what the Lord can do and His great works on the sea. 25 For He spoke and raised up a storm that lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They went up to the heavens and down to the deep. Their strength of heart left them in their danger. 27 They could not walk straight but went from side to side like a drunk man. They did not know what to do. 28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble. And He took them out of all their problems. 29 He stopped the storm, and the waves of the sea became quiet. 30 Then they were glad because the sea became quiet. And He led them to the safe place they wanted. 31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving-kindness and His great works to the children of men! 32 Let them honor Him in the meeting of the people and praise Him in the meeting of the leaders.

33 He changes rivers into a desert and wells of water into a thirsty ground. 34 He changes a land of much fruit into a salt waste because of the sin of those who live in it. 35 He changes a desert into a pool of water and makes water flow out of dry ground. 36 And He makes the hungry go there so they may build a city to live in. 37 They plant seeds in the fields and plant grape-vines and gather much fruit. 38 He lets good come to them and they become many in number. And He does not let the number of their cattle become less.

39 When the number of people becomes less and they are put to shame under a bad power and trouble and sorrow, 40 He pours anger on rulers. He makes them walk in the waste places where there is no path. 41 But He lifts those in need out of their troubles. He makes their families grow like flocks. 42 Those who are right see it and are glad. But all the sinful shut their mouths. 43 Let the wise man think about these things. And may he think about the loving-kindness of the Lord.

A Heart of Thankfulness

thankful heartBy Carey Helmink

I don’t know how you are feeling after the world events of the past few weeks, but I would be very happy if the King of Heaven (and earth) would come soon–in all of His glory–and make all things right. It takes a disciplined mind and heart to keep from becoming fearful and anxious.

One of the disciplines worth cultivating is a heart of thankfulness. A grateful heart in the midst of difficult circumstances can help to lighten the load, and since we are approaching Thanksgiving, I thought I would give you a short, random list of things I am deeply grateful for today.


It is staggering to me at times to think about the fact God could just as easily have created the world in black and white. Really. We would never have known the difference. In the spring when everything is coming to life, I am blown away by how many shades of green there are. At this time of the year, not only are there a myriad of colors in the leaves but also many shades of brown. There are endless color combinations that show up in a sunset or a sunrise. Even God’s version of black and white – the stars in the night sky – is beyond beautiful. Or how about the shades of skin color or eye color or hair color – even hair color that comes from a box? I am so thankful for color.


Creation is indescribable. From the majesty of the mountains and the crashing of the oceans to the vastness of the Nebraska plains and the very smallest creatures that live on our planet. I have been a country girl all of my life and the beauty of creation ministers to me in ways that few things can.


Think about the vast array of people you know. Think about the different personalities in your immediate family. Then think beyond that to your extended family. How about to your church family– your life group or the women at your table today? What about the people groups that are represented in Lincoln, the surrounding areas, our state, our country and beyond our borders? And then remember that EVERY person that has ever lived is created in the image of God.

C.S. Lewis says this: “each person is created to see a different facet of God’s beauty – something that no one else can see in quite the same way – and then to bless all worshipers through all eternity with an aspect of God they could not otherwise see.”

Such a great thing to remember when you are in the presence of someone that you are not particularly thankful for. The most annoying, dysfunctional person in your life carries within them the image of God. Amazing.


Some of you young moms feel like you will never get a full night’s rest again, and I have to say – you are probably correct. Those little ones turn into teenagers and then into adults with adult problems, and then you will be menopausal . . . just saying. Sleep may be a bit allusive, but God created rest. And he ministers to us even while we sleep. What a beautiful thought.

Psalm 127:2 says:  It is vain for you to rise up early, retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.


I am so thankful that every day is a clean slate, a new beginning. Hear with fresh ears these familiar words from Lamentations 3:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh every morning.


Romans 9:25-26 say:  Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before…they will be called children of the living God.”

 What would our lives be like if God had not offered salvation to us?


God is in control. Over all. In all. Through all. He has all of the matters of the world in hand as well as the matters of our lives. He has our children, our spouses, our aging parents, our jobs, our health, our finances, our past – He is over it all.

I am so thankful for God’s sovereignty at this moment, but I could walk out of this room and get a phone call that might change how I feel about a God who is in control but allows heartache and illness and tragedy and death.

That’s why I love the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When confronted with their decision not to bow a knee to the gods of Nebuchadnezzar, they don’t back down even though their punishment is imminent. In Daniel 3 they make a staggering statement that paints a picture of the paradox surrounding the sovereignty of God.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods. . . .”

Their unwavering belief in a God who is not only able to save but WILL save them is amazing. Coupled with that conviction is the seeming contradiction that even if God doesn’t save them, they will still remain faithful to him.

I am beyond thankful our God is sovereign. I pray we will be courageous enough to believe he is capable of handling our circumstances. But even when it seems like he’s not, that we will be courageous enough to trust him through it all.

“Your plans are still to prosper.

You have not forgotten us.

You’re with us in the fire and the flood.

You’re faithful forever, perfect in love,

You are sovereign over us.”


Make Yourself at Home in Prayer


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On Tuesday Morning our Prayer Team Coordinator, Katie Kafka, shared with us on prayer: I must say that for me personally, speaking about prayer is rather humbling. Somehow I don’t feel qualified to do this. I am not a theologian. … Continue reading