Great Plains Daily Devotional for 11/19/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Overbrook UMC
Five Rivers District
Paola UMC
Five Rivers District
Beagle UMC
Fontana UMC
Parker UMC
Five Rivers District
Pleasanton, KS UMC
Prescott UMC
Five Rivers District

Today's Lectionary Text

Psalm 100: 1-5

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he that made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Today's Devotional

When I read this Psalm my mind instantly springs back to my college years and my brothers and sisters in the faith there. We were part of a campus ministry that included a weekly time of song, Word and fellowship. But more than that, we met almost daily to share time together. It is an example of koinonia, fellowship, I will always treasure. This Psalm was one we sang regularly from the King James Version. For me, this time was a joyful time for which I am truly thankful. That makes this Psalm of joy and thanksgiving a very appropriate Psalm for me at this time of year.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and Advent is right around the corner. Both present an opportunity for joy and thanksgiving in their own way. Thanksgiving by its very nature is a chance for us to express our thanks to God for all God has provided us. It also allows us to consider how thankful we are for those in our lives. Taking this time to consider all the good things in our lives can engender joy. In difficult times, I find these opportunities to focus on God’s faithful provision for me for which I’m truly thankful to be especially energizing and renewing. These include not only pleasant memories from my past, but the good things in my here and now as well. I have much for which I am thankful!

Advent offers another perspective. While Thanksgiving often looks to the past and present, Advent looks equally to the future. In part, it is preparation for our celebration of the first time Christ physically came to Earth at his birth. But it is equally a source of hope and expectation as we look forward to the physical return of Christ to Earth and our preparation for that return.

This promise and hope of Christ’s return has consistently been a source of joy for me. Knowing that no matter what my present circumstances or the state of the world around me, one day Jesus will return to Earth and set all things right. There will be no more injustice or suffering. As we recall in the Great Thanksgiving, we look “for that day when justice shall roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” We will experience the potential God created within us and share God’s quality of love at a level we have never even imagined possible. What a wondrous hope!

Yes, I am thankful, and hopeful, and expectant amidst challenging circumstances, service, and a life to be lived for God. I do not seek to shirk my duty, avoid the difficulty, or deny the real pain in my life and in the world around me. But I do joyfully embrace and am incredibly thankful for that hope of our Lord’s return. Yes indeed, return quickly Lord Jesus!
--Rev. A.G. Turner
Valentine UMC, Valentine, Nebraska

Prayer for Reflection

Faithful God, thank you for the life, the grace, the love you have shown me and show me anew each day. I joyfully and thankfully await the return of your Son together with the goodness and wholeness he will bring. Empower me to remain thankful, joyful, loving, and hopeful as I share my life here on Earth. Bless each of us and renew us once again during this season of thanksgiving and hope-filled expectation, through Christ who dwelt among us and who shall return. Amen.


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