A Thankful Heart

.

"I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart.

I will enter His courts with praise.

I will sing and shout and tell the world that God is in my heart.

I will rejoice for He hath made me glad."

.
. 
Devotional:
.
"Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,  and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms."  (Psalm 95:2).
,
,
,

Commentary:
.
Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as a special day to give thanks for the blessings we receive.  We remember the first Thanksgiving when the Pilgrim Fathers in Plymouth, Massachusetts celebrated the success of their Fall Harvest in 1621.  When we hear the Thanksgiving hymn, "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come," it reminds us of what the Pilgrims certainly knew, that it is God to whom we are to be thankful and that He is the source of all our blessings.  1 Thessalonians 5:18, says  "In every thing give thanks: for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you".  God led the Pilgrims to a land of religious freedom where they found opportunities to fish, grow crops and have a life for which they were sincerely thankful. They knew their good fortune came from God, and set aside this special day to thank Him for making possible their survival and their bountiful harvest celebration.  1 Chronicles 16:34 says:  "O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever".  Years after this first Thanksgiving celebration, Dean Alford of the Church of England was inspired to write the song "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come" in gratitude for the many blessings that had been bestowed not only on himself, but the church and his fellow countrymen.  This Thanksgiving hymn was published in 1844 and is a favorite of Christians everywhere. "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving" (Psalm 69:30).   As we sit down to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner in our own homes, may we, too, sing praises unto the Lord for His goodness and His blessings upon our lives.
.
.
.

Meditation:
 

Father, we thank you for this Thanksgiving season and for all the blessings that you have so lovingly bestowed upon us.  We have so much to be thankful for, yet so many times we take these things for granted and fail to remember from whom all our blessings flow.  We thank you Lord for our families, for the love that binds us together, and that we can come together on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate your goodness in our lives.  Thank you Lord for the food that nourishes our bodies and for the good health that keeps us strong.  We thank you for friends and neighbors who are willing to be there for us in time of need, and that we can be there for them, as well.  Father we thank you for this great country that we live in and for all the freedoms we enjoy.  And Lord, we thank you for the Servicemen and Women who lay their lives on the line each and every day to help preserve those freedoms. 


Father we ask you to be with all those who don’t share good fortunate, Lord.  To all those who are sick Lord, and in need of a loving touch, those Father who do not have enough to eat, and those who do not have family or friends to love and feel that special contentment that comes from knowing someone is near.  Lord give them a special portion of your love and let them know that they are never alone, but that you are right there with them.  But, Lord, with all the many blessings we have and everything that we have to be thankful for, Heavenly Father, the most precious blessing of all is the gift of your Son, Jesus.  Thank you Father for the sacrifice He made, and that You allowed your only Son to pay the ultimate price for our salvation.  There is no greater love and no greater blessing.


Thank you Lord for your presence in our lives, and for the love and peace that you bring to our hearts.  May we ever be mindful of your goodness and forever strive to be in your service.   In thy holy name we pray.  Amen  

.
. 
There are so many people and things we need to keep in our prayers that it is sometimes difficult to remember all of them.  I often use this Five Finger Prayer to help me keep my prayers focused and to help me remember all those for whom I need to ask God's guidance and protection.  I hope you will find this prayer helpful as well.
.
Five Finger Prayer
.
Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a 'sweet duty.' 

The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our Na
tion and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.

The fourth finger
is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

And lastly comes our little finger - the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, 'The least shall be the greatest among you.' Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

.
. 
Stories to Touch the Heart and Warm the Soul:

.

.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU THIS DAY...WITH A GOOD HEART!

It was the best of limes.  It was the worst of limes.

.

.

.

One day I strolled among the fruits and vegetables at my local grocery, everything neatly arranged in a bright array of colors.  Purple onions, red apples, yellow squash, cherry cherries, lemon lemons…well, you get the picture.  Near the green limes was a young man finishing a pyramid made entirely of bottles of spices.  The display stood 4 feet and took up much of the a isle.  Seeing my interest, he proudly told me it had taken over an hour to complete.

.

Nearby a lady was instructing her son in the fine art of lime selection.  "This one is OK.  We don't want ones that are too mushy or too firm.  We'll keep this one," she decided.  "Roger,  are you listening?"  Roger wasn't but nodded anyway. She placed her lime in a metal pan suspended from scales that hung from the ceiling.  "Now you pick one," she said, "and don't forget to squeeze it."  Roger sighed.

.

He grabbed the nearest lime, a rather firm one, and squeezed… hard.  I don't recall ever seeing a citrus rocket before. The lime shot from his hand as though fired from a cannon.  With amazing accuracy, it hit the lady square in the middle of her forehead, bounced away, struck the scales and, having lost its momentum, fell straight down into the awaiting  pan where the first lime had been placed.

.

I believe the lady yelled but I can't be certain because when the lime hit the pan, it made a clanging racket heard throughout the grocery.  But the show wasn't quite over.  When the lime landed, the pan acted like a child's seesaw and flung the other ime into the air.  Obviously having received its orders from the first, the lime made a beautiful arch, tumbling its way toward… the perfectly arranged pyramid.

.

It was a direct hit.  Instantly a great avalanche of clattering bottles cascaded across the floor.  Greatly embarrassed, the lady grabbed Roger, who was laughing hysterically, and off they went.  The young man, shocked at seeing his masterpiece so quickly and utterly destroyed, stood a moment in stunned silence.  Then I and a few other customers helped him clean up the mess.

.

Bizarre, huh?  Yet even here are lessons to be learned if we'll just pay attention to what's going on around us.  Take that lime for example.  It's like a person's heart.  The Bible speaks of the heart as being who a person truly is.  It holds desires, feelings, and attitudes.  It is the place for integrity, honor, and courage.   And it is where faith can begin and understanding grow.  But when a heart is hard…

.

In speaking of those with a hardened heart, Jesus said, In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes." (Matthew 13:14-15a)  Paul wrote that they have a stubborn and unrepentant heart. (Romans 2:5)

.

When we fail to listen to God, choosing instead to follow our own course, our hearts become hard.  We no longer see the see the plight of others, nor the joy in their lives.  We no longer hear the cries of our neighbors, nor the praise from their lips.  And we no longer see God with us nor recognize His voice.  Our lives become our lives, and like that lime, have nothing to show but a lot of noise and a great big mess.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  Each day we outwardly grow older, but God can take the hardest of hearts and have it ripen into something truly new and useful.  The first step is to choose to become like Jesus in a very important way.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

(Matthew 11:29)

.

Learn from me…I am gentle…I am humble.  This is where we begin.  We must decide to be gentle and humble…toward our family who may not believe us…toward our friends who may not understand us…toward our neighbors who may not like us.  Do you want to know God better?  Be gentle.  Do you want to follow Him?  Be humble.  Or like the lady with her son, we could just simply walk away.

.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

.

Take care and be God's,

Chuck Ciloa ...  

Encouraging one another as long as it is called Today!

Ciloa is a registered trademark of Ciloa, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.  A Note of Encouragement is a copyright interest held by Ciloa, Inc.  Visit Ciloa at www.ciloa.org if you wish to subscribe

.

.

MyFrontYard.JPG

          AUTUMN WIND

        (author unknown)

.

.

When autumn wind goes running

It does some magic things.

It gives the shadows dancing shoes

It gives the bright leaves wings.

When autumn wind goes running

It curls the bonfire's tail of smoke

And shares a little whispered joke

With cornstalks who delight to prattle

It turns a seed pod into a rattle

When autumn wind goes running.

.

.

.

.

..

What's It Like To Be A Christian?

. 

A woman was asked by a coworker, 'What is it like to be a Christian?'

.

The coworker replied, 'It is like being a pumpkin.' God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.

..

He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.'

.

.

.

.The Thanksgiving Hymn: "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come" 
       Written By: Dr. Henry Alford (1844)

"Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

"All the world is God's own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

"For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

"Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home."
.
.
.

thanksgiving_banner.gif

Enter His gates with Thanksgiving.