Tag Archives: blessings

Thanksgiving Words of Wisdom

Stopping for a few moments to consider the blessings of the year, I cannot escape that no year is free of problems. Nor is there any individual who escapes some form of pain and is in need of some form of healing.

For myself, I read a daily devotion as I complete my day. I use the annual devotional book provided by Guideposts. This year, after my husband’s truck accident, the challenges for healing are real. Therefore, I am taking the liberty of sharing from a reading from November 26:

Words of Wisdom

(Excerpted from Guideposts 2019:  Walking in Grace, for November 26)

“The Best Six Doctors are . . . 







I read the list again.  It was all there.  Simple gift from God.  Everything I needed to feel better.  The six best doctors.  And, of course, time to heal.

. . . Sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise, and diet.  I decided I needed to add ‘patience’ to that list.  But the fact remains, nearly everything we need to be healthy is simple, easy, free, and available.”

Closing prayer:  

Lord, remind me when I get discouraged to step back, take a deep breath, and remember that all I need has already been given to me.

[This excerpt was written by Patricia Lorenz and if framed through her own need for healing after knee surgery. Thankfully she shared this so we, too, may remember to trust God.] 

Thank you for sharing, Patricia Lorenz, because your words have reached us and I am confident reaches so many others.

This Thanksgiving we count our blessings that not only are we whole, we are healing. Nothing can protect us from the accidents in our daily lives, but what we do to maintain our mental health–and for me, my Christian health–is essential.

Always remember that God does provide, and the six best doctors are his gift to us each and every day, every year. Thanksgiving reminds us to celebrate our blessings, and for the words of those who share their faith.

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Thanking God for God’s Giving

Sermon for Sunday, November 20, 2016.  (No sermon was published for last week as it was a vacation Sunday.)

Opening scripture: Philippians 4:1, NLT

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters,[a] stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.

Scripture connection: Philippians 4:2-7, NLT

     2 Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner,[b] to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

     4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.[c]

     6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

*Closing scripture: Philippians 4:8-9, NLT

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.


Reflection: Thanking God for God’s Giving


“Thanks for giving” is the commercial’s message. Young children sharing that simple thank you has captured my heart yet I cannot even tell you what the business is that runs the commercial. “Thanks for giving” is part of the Christian lifestyle.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is filled with guidelines for living the God-centered lifestyle. He challenged the members to put aside their differences and to work on maintaining Christ-like relationships in order to remain thankful for all the blessings God provides.

These reminders are as appropriate today as they were when the Philippian church struggled to establish itself and to maintain the very values that Jesus Christ modeled and Paul taught. We must ask ourselves to consider the very same problem: Are we allowing problems with personal relationships to interfere with the work Jesus commissioned us?

This week is filled with traditions, and filled with thanks for all the blessings we have received. The holiday traditions bring families together, provide opportunities to renew memories, and of course, fill our tummies with all those carefully prepared meals that families have cooked for generations. Thanksgiving is designed to thank God for all that has been given to us.

Yet in the midst of all the holiday business, do we offer thanks for the giving? Do we follow Paul’s advice to put aside disagreements, to resolve relationship issues, and to refocus on the joy of God’s giving to us? Are we thanking God for all we have been given?

Paul had heard of the problems between two women who were devoted workers for the church, and he admonished them and the others in the church to resolve the problems in order to keep the church centered on its responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Paul’s words are as applicable today as it was 2,000 years ago. The internal relationships within the church can interfere with the work of the church. Thanksgiving in our church should be a time to thank each other for the blessings that they provide through service to our community—locally and globally. Thanksgiving is part of our Christian lifestyle:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.


Right now, right here, we must ask ourselves if we are maintaining the very Christ-like relationships that Paul tells the Philippians to do in order to be the Christians God asks us to be. Are we serving as God’s agents? Are we willing to accept one another with grace as God accepts us? Are we able to do whatever we can to serve one another in love? Are we sharing the good news with others?

Part of the Thanksgiving tradition is acknowledging the blessings that we experience. For some, the meal begins with a blessing that thanks God for all that he has provided. The families do give thanks for giving. In some homes, the thanks for God’s blessing are silent.

The commercial’s message, “Thanks for giving,” is a reminder that we are called to share God’s grace with others. Paul even goes on to remind the Philippian church to pray:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.


This Thanksgiving we are called to thank God for the blessings given us. This Thanksgiving we need to pray that the unity of our own church is healed and the work God asks of us is renewed.

Tuesday will mark the 53rd anniversary since the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Every Thanksgiving reminds us of how this country handles challenges, and JFK’s words are ones to guide us as Americans, but also as Christians:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.


Paul’s words continue to teach us how to live lives that model Jesus Christ. The words “Love one another” is how we give thanks for all the blessings we receive. There is no reason to close minds or doors to one another. Closing minds and doors results in hardening hearts.

Return to Paul’s words to remember how to experience the joy of giving blessings to others. Pray. Pray for the church. Pray for the community, the country, and the world. Pray that we can do all we can in our community to see that God’s love blesses all, not just a select few. Pray that Advent will bring a sense of joy and renewal as we share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to review our blessings, and it is the perfect time to review just what each one of us does:   sharing the story of how God blessed us with the birth of Jesus Christ so that we may do all that we can do to bless others with God’s grace.

Closing prayer:

Dear loving and giving God,

Thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus Christ

who showed us how to love one another

who had to suffer ridicule, harassment, and death

so we may might receive the ultimate gift of life everlasting.


Thank you for your grace granted without expectations.

Thank you for the gift of forgiveness when we ask.

Thank you for the freedom that comes with loving one another.


This holiday weekend, open our hearts and minds

to how we can provide blessings of your love

to others so they can experience the joy of Christian living.


Thank you for the community that we call home.

Thank you for the families that join us at the table.

Thank you for the blessings we experience daily.


We pray for the healing of relationships.

We pray for the healing of bodies broken with illness.

We pray for the healing of communities worldwide.


Thank you, God, for giving

us your Son, Jesus Christ,

and the Holy Spirit.

May we serve one another in love

as thanks for your gifts. –Amen

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Lord, Be Present at Our Table

given on Sunday, August 2, 2015

Growing up, Dad always said grace before every meal we ate at home. He did not offer grace when we were eating at a restaurant. At the time, the routine was just that—routine. I never really thought about what he said or did not say.

If it was a three-generation meal, my grandfathers always included a blessing, too. But each grandpa had a different manner of handling the blessing. Pop, my paternal grandpa, used almost the very same words as Dad did. Obviously Dad learned his from Pop.

But with my maternal grandpa, the routine was a bit different. Grandpa Worsham gave the blessing when Dad was not there, but when Dad was at the table, Grandpa always had Dad offer the grace. Grandpa was Presbyterian, not Methodist, and his heritage was Scotch-Irish and Welch while Pop was pure German. I never thought ancestry would affect these two American men at the dinner table.

Since Dad’s death, I have tried and tried to remember the words used in that blessing. I could get a few words and remember some of the particulars, but I could not reconstruct the entire grace. I even took the question to my two family reunions. None of us could get any further than the first few words.

Table graces, blessings or prayer—whichever word you use—is a common practice around Christian tables. Looking for the historical origin is challenging because the practice of blessing one’s food before eating seems to be practiced by almost every faith system.

The Christian tradition of offering prayers before eating may trace its origin directly backs to Jesus. One website listed references to Jesus blessing the food before meals in a variety of New Testament verses. The Jewish faithful offered a prayer before meals, so historians believe that Jesus followed that tradition, too.

Naturally the use of a blessing at mealtime can be connected to the Last Supper and consequently to the Christian practice of communion. Jesus blessed the bread and the wine before giving it to the disciples sitting around the table.

The term grace can be easily confused in Methodist conversations because John Wesley’s theology is built on the concept of grace, the four levels of grace. The table grace is not part of that theology but a prayer offered to God in thanks for the meal and more. There is no required set of words or format, but some table graces have been preserved and some groups have established set prayers that are used in specific settings.

The words bring me back to my search for those of my dad’s. The only words I could remember were the opening and that was with the help of my cousin: Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. . . When I googled that phrase, I discovered it was almost identical to the opening of the Moravian blessing:

Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care

Still there was something unfamiliar with that opening and I kept searching. Another phrase came to mind: Bless this food, O Lord, we pray. . .  and that matches another traditional prayer from the Irish heritage:

Bless, O Lord, this food we are about to eat; and we pray You, O God, that it may be good for our body and soul; and if there be any poor creature hungry or thirsty walking along the road, send them into us that we can share the food with them, just as You share your gifts with all of us.

Neither prayer is what Dad used, but his words did connect back to these yet reflected the family’s beliefs and their own traditions. Dad’s words may be lost, but the memory and the importance of using grace remains.

Most of us raised in the Christian tradition are familiar with the mealtime prayers, but many do not practice them. If they begin practicing table grace, they may struggle to find the words that fit them.

The website listed on the cover provides many options from which to choose, but sometimes the most heartfelt blessings or prayers are simple and even childlike. When my kids were young, a simple table grace was part of the Grace Lutheran preschool:

Thank you, God, for this food,

for life, and health

and all that is good.—Amen.

Today, we come to the Lord’s table through the practice of communion. We do not use a table grace like we do around the daily kitchen or dining room table; instead we use the liturgy. The liturgy for today was written hundreds of years ago, but it reconnects us to the night Jesus shared the cup and the bread with his disciples before he was arrested, tried, and crucified.

The liturgy blesses the elements, retells the story, confesses our sins, and asks if we believe in Jesus who was sent to teach us how to love one another, and then died to take away our sins. Communion is a sacrament and in the Methodist denomination, it is an open table to anybody who accepts Christ as savior.

As part of a sacrament, there are a few things to understand about the process. The elements are not blessed until the “institution” is read. This is the section of the liturgy that never changes and tells that Jesus took the bread, tore it, and gave it to the disciples saying, “Take, eat, this is my body. . .” and when he took the cup saying, “Take, drink, this is the blood . . “

Once the elements are blessed, the leftovers are still blessed and are to be consumed while at the church or are disposed by returning it to the earth. This is the Methodist tradition and other denominations do things differently.

For instance, Methodists typically use grape juice rather than wine, but other denominations may use wine. One communion I recently participated in did not explain first that the outer cups were wine while the inner rings of cups were juice. It was a surprise when the ‘juice’ had a warming sensation as it went down.

The liturgy creates a continuity of the communion practice much like a table grace does when family or friends sit down to a meal together. The prayers reconnect us to God. We give thanks for the nourishment, thanks for the blessings God has provided, but we also thank God for those who prepared the meal, for the gifts that God provides Sometimes we include prayers of supplication and/or for forgiveness. These same elements are included in the practice of communion.

As God’s children, we are blessed. We are granted grace for our human mistakes. And when we talk with God, we are forgiven. The Christian practices we use in our daily lives keep us connected to God. When we pray together at our tables or during communion, we strengthen our relationship with God.

Table Grace for Communion

Be present at our table, Lord.

Bless the bread and the cup

We are about to share.

May the body and blood of Christ

Sustain our Christian faith

And strengthen our relationship with you.

Thank you for the blessings

You have granted us,

May we lovingly serve one another

So they may experience your grace

And be In Christian fellowship

Now and forever. —Amen


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