Thanksgiving Prayer

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. ~ Psalm 69:30

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Merciful God, you have done great things for us, and we owe you endless gratitude and love. We thank you, Lord, for each moment we enjoy in your blessed care, for each act of healing, for each meal to satisfy our hunger, for each friend and companion, for each little thing that keeps us going day by day. We especially thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. Accept our thanksgiving and prayers, O God. Pardon our sins. Help our weaknesses, and receive us at last into eternal glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Thanksgiving Worship Service:  Wednesday, Nov. 21st at 6:30 p.m.

(no service will be held on Thanksgiving Day)

 

Posted in All Posts, Dates & Reminders, Family Devotions, FYI, Living Hope Church, Prayers

The birth of John the Baptist foretold

zacharias2A man named Zechariah was serving as priest before God in the Temple.  When the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.

When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.  Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

…When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.

~ excerpts and edited text taken from Luke 1:5-20,57

(the name John means “God is gracious”)

Posted in All Posts, Bible Stories for Kids, Christmas Stories for Kids, Family Devotions, New Testement Bible Stories

Solomon builds a Temple for the Lord

King Solomon sent a message to Hiram king of Tyre: “You know that because of the wars waged against my father David, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’ So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set.”

When Hiram heard Solomon’s message, he was greatly pleased and said, “Praise be to the Lord today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.”

King Solomon conscripted laborers from all Israel—thirty thousand men. He had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills. At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple. In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built. King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, who was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.

Solomon prepared the inner sanctuary within the temple to set the ark of the covenant of the Lord there. He overlaid the inner sanctuary with pure gold. For the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubim out of olive wood. He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. He overlaid the cherubim with gold.

The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple. Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.”

Solomon templeThen Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

“But will God really dwell on earth?   The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.   How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God.   May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays.  Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.”

excerpts and edited passages taken from 1 Kings 5-9

Posted in All Posts, Bible Stories for Kids, Old Testement Bible Stories

No Sunday School on Nov. 4th

heart-1776746_960_720The Wisconsin Lutheran Synod congregations in the Omaha area will be hosting a very special worship service on Nov. 4th.  It will be held at the Bennington High School in Bennington, NE at 10:00 a.m.  There will be children and adult choirs, special music featuring the piano and flute, Gethsemane Church’s Junior Tone Chimes group will play, and the Sudanese Choir from Good Shepherd Church will proclaim the Gospel in their own language.

Please join us for this very special event! (click here for more information and a map)

Please note: Living Hope’s worship service will be relocated to Bennington for that day only, and there will be no Sunday School.

Sunday School will resume on Nov. 11th at it’s usual time of 9:30 a.m.

Posted in All Posts, Dates & Reminders, FYI, Living Hope Church

Peter and the Angel

Peter jail

King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. After arresting Peter, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.

They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches.”

When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”  But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.

Edited verses and excerpts taken from Acts 12:1-17

Posted in All Posts, Bible Stories for Kids, New Testement Bible Stories

Jacob’s Dream

Jacob dreams of a ladder to heaven Genesis 28:12Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set.

Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.

He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.”

Read Genesis 28:10-22

Posted in All Posts, Bible Stories for Kids, Family Devotions, Old Testement Bible Stories

Philip and the Ethiopian

philipPhilip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.  When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said…

…Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met a man from Ethiopia, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

The man was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.  Who can speak of his descendants?  For his life was taken from the earth.”[Isaiah 53:7,8]

The man asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the man said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot.

Then both Philip and the man from Ethiopia went down into the water and Philip baptized him.

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the man did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Edited passages taken from Acts 8:5, 6 & 26-40

Posted in Bible Stories for Kids, Family Devotions, New Testement Bible Stories