My Cup Overflows :: Worldwide Prayer

Scripture Focus: 2 Peter 1.3
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

From John:
This week of Thanksgiving, we have focused on giving thanks, looking at ancient and modern poetry, writings, and prayers, offering praise and thankfulness to our God. May we continue in thankfulness, praying the prayer of joy below, as we approach the first Sunday of Advent this weekend. 

Reflection: My Cup Overflows :: Worldwide Prayer
A Prayer of Devotion from the USA 

My cup overflows! My cup overflows! Lord God you have blessed me so abundantly! You have lifted me up, and loved me, and forgiven me, and blessed me so richly. 

O loving Lord God, continue to bless me, that I might continue to bless others.

O compassionate Lord God, as my cup overflows with love and kindness and all kinds of riches, help me to see how I might share these blessings and your love with the rest of your children. 

O Gracious Lord God, help me to see how extravagantly my cup overflows, and to see how I can direct that overflow to do your work. 

Oh Mighty Lord God, give me the courage and strength to follow Christ’s example, and to share the abundance of my blessings, now and forever.

My cup overflows! Praise God! Praise the Son whose life shows us the true meaning of grace, servanthood and loving stewardship. 

Psalm 23.6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor. 

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Our sins are stronger than we are, but you will blot them out. — Psalm 65.3

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 26-27 (Listen -9:49)
2 Peter 1 (Listen -3:06)

This Weekend’s Readings
1 Chronicles 28 (Listen -4:45) 2 Peter 2 (Listen -3:52)
1 Chronicles 29 (Listen -5:50) 2 Peter 3 (Listen -3:21)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 emails with free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift.

Read more about How to Know When to Give
If we are so comfortable giving that we barely notice, we probably aren’t giving enough, but giving should not cause you trouble or suffering.

Read more about Work, Ministry, and Generosity
For those who are financial supporters of their churches and other ministries, giving can be a way of bringing greater meaning to the workplace.

A Thanksgiving

Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 4.12-14
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 

From John:
This week is Thanksgiving week in the United States. As we focus on giving thanks, we will look at ancient and modern poetry, writings, and prayers, offering praise and thankfulness to our God.

Reflection: A Thanksgiving
By John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Lord, in this dust Thy sovereign voice
First quicken’d love divine;
I am all Thine—Thy care and choice,
My very praise is Thine.

I praise Thee, while Thy providence
In childhood frail I trace,
For blessings given, ere dawning sense
Could seek of scan Thy grace;

Blessings in boyhood’s marvelling hour,
      Bright dreams, and fancyings strange;
Blessings, when reason’s awful power
      Gave thought a bolder range;
 
Blessings of friends, which to my door
      Unask’d, unhoped, have come;
And, choicer still, a countless store
      Of eager smiles at home.

Yet, Lord, in memory’s fondest place
I shrine those seasons sad
When, looking up, I saw Thy face
In kind austereness clad

I would not miss one sigh or tear,
      Heart-pang, or throbbing brow;
Sweet was the chastisement severe,
      And sweet its memory now.
 
Yes! let the fragrant scars abide,
      Love-tokens in Thy stead,
Faint shadows of the spear-pierced side
      And thorn-encompass’d head.

And such Thy tender force be still,
When self would swerve or stray,
Shaping to truth the froward will
Along Thy narrow way.

Deny me wealth, fear, far remove
The love of power or name;
Hope thrives in straits, in weakness love,
And faith in the world’s shame.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in him! — Psalm 34:8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 23 (Listen -4:20), 
1 Peter 4 (Listen -2:50)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 emails with free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift.

Read more about King of My Heart :: Worldwide Prayer
God of all gods
I tried, you died
King of them all
Stand by my side

Read more about Breath, Reconsidered
We are like a breath, we are a beginning
We are like a breath the first sign of life

How Must We In All Things Give Thanks?

Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 3.17-18
For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 

From John:
This week is Thanksgiving week in the United States. As we focus on giving thanks, we will look at ancient and modern poetry, writings, and prayers, offering praise and thankfulness to our God.

Reflection: How Must We In All Things Give Thanks?
By William Cooper (fl. 1653)

St. Augustine inaugurated that ancient custom among Christians, in whose mouths you should always hear these words: Deo gratias, “Thanks be to God!” When they met and saluted one another, Deo gratias, “God be thanked.” When they heard any tidings of persecution or protection, favor or frown, gain or loss, cross or comfort — still Deo gratias.

“What,” said Augustine, “shall brothers in Christ not give God thanks when they see one another? What better thing can we speak, or think, or write, than this? God be thanked! Nothing can be more compendiously spoken, nor more gladly heard, nor more solemnly understood, nor more profitably acted, than this; God be thanked!”

Such a frame of heart had holy Job: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

And such a one was in the sweet singer of Israel: “I will bless the Lord at all times.” Notable is that of Chrysostom: “There is nothing, nothing we can study, more pleasing to God than to be thankful — not only in good days, but also when things fall cross. This is the best sacrifice and oblation we offer God.”

This made Jerome say, “It is peculiar to Christians to give thanks in adversity. To praise God for benefits, this [anyone] can do. To give God thanks in dangers according to the apostle’s sense, and in miseries — to always to say, ‘Blessed be God’ — this is the highest pitch of virtue. Here is your Christian; such a one takes up his cross, and follows his Savior: no loss or cross can dishearten him.”

To give God thanks for crosses and afflictions is to be numbered among those singular things which Christians are bound to excel in. We ought excel beyond [those who do not believe] in loving our enemies and blessing those that curse — which our Savior exhorts and commands.

We must thank the Lord for afflicting us, and for laying the cross upon us, because it is so far below what we deserve at his hands. To drink as He drank it we cannot — we need not. Thank God, then, that you have such a little share of it — when all was your portion by right and justice. This is worthy of our thanks.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory. —Psalm 50:2

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 22 (Listen -5:21), 
1 Peter 3 (Listen -3:30)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 emails with free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift.

Read more about Collective Thanksgiving
May we use this week to engage our communities—church, work, and home—in thanksgiving for what God is doing in and through us.

Read more about Seeing Beyond Suffering
To be conformists to Christ, is to be nonconformists to the world. But what conforms us more to Christ than the cross? Therefore give thanks for it

Te Deum Laudamus

Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 2.24-25
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

From John:
This week is Thanksgiving week in the United States. As we focus on giving thanks, we will look at ancient and modern poetry, writings, and prayers, offering praise and thankfulness to our God.

Reflection: Te Deum Laudamus
By Nicetas of Remesiana (5th Century)
Translated by John Dryden (1631–1700)

Thee, Sovereign God, our grateful accents praise;
We own Thee Lord, and bless Thy wondrous ways;
To Thee, eternal Father, earth’s whole frame,
With loudest trumpets sounds immortal fame.

Lord God of Hosts! For Thee the heavenly powers
With sounding anthems fill the vaulted towers.
Thy Cherubim thrice, Holy, Holy, Holy, cry;
Thrice, Holy, all the Seraphim reply,

And thrice returning echoes endless songs supply.
Both heaven and earth Thy majesty display;
They owe their beauty to Thy glorious ray.
Thy praises fill the loud Apostles’ choir;
The train of prophets in the song conspire.

Legions of martyrs in the chorus shine,
And vocal blood with vocal music join.
By these Thy church, inspired by heavenly art,
Around the world maintains a second part;
And turns her sweetest notes, O God, to Thee,
The Father of unbounded majesty;
The Son adored co-partner of thy seat,
And equal everlasting Paraclete.

Thou King of Glory, Christ of the More-High,
Thou co-eternal filial Deity;
Thou who to save the world’s impending doom
Vouchsaf’st to dwell within a Virgin’s womb.

Old tyrant death disarmed, before Thee flew
The bolts of heaven, and back the foldings drew,
To give access, and make Thy faithful way,
From God’s right hand Thy filial beams display.
Thou art to judge the living and the dead;
Then spare those souls for whom Thy veins have bled.
O take us up among Thy blessed above,
To share with them Thy everlasting love.

Preserve, O Lord, Thy people and enhance
Thy blessing on Thine own inheritance.
Forever raise their hearts, and rule their ways
Each day we bless Thee and proclaim Thy praise;
No age shall fail to celebrate thy name,
No hour neglect Thy everlasting fame.

Preserve our souls, O Lord, this day from ill;
Have mercy, Lord, have mercy still;
As we have hoped, do Thou reward our pain;
We’ve hoped in Thee—let not our hope be vain.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your name, lead me and guide me. —- Psalm 31.3

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 21 (Listen -5:03) 
1 Peter 2 (Listen -3:48)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 emails with free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift.

Read more about Thanksgiving and Prayer
With one voice we offer you praise and thanksgiving; full-hearted, full-throated we sing you the hymn you have right to at this hour.

Read more about Thanksgiving in Times of Trial
The first Christians were thankful in suffering because their focus rested not on the storm around them, but on the solid rock of Christ.

Mind Your Manners

Scripture Focus: James 4:1-2a
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.

Reflection: Mind Your Manners
By Jon Polk

Outraged by people who keep cutting in front of him to use the pay phone at a Chinese restaurant, TV’s Seinfeld character George Costanza loudly proclaims to no one in particular, “You know, we’re living in a society! We’re supposed to act in a civilized way.”

Even neurotic, self-absorbed, slacker George gets it.

James focuses his attention on the conflicts and quarrels that apparently plagued the early church in Jerusalem, where he was the leader. He pointedly announces the source of the discord: selfishness and greed.

James proclaims this is the root problem behind all of our disagreements, “You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”

We live in a culture driven by marketing and promotion. Children want the trendiest clothing. Teens desire the newest tech devices. Adults fight for the best job in order to drive the ultimate car and live in the biggest house.

We live in a culture driven by outrage and offense. A word misspoken can set us off. The tiniest misstep can result in a cavalcade of online abuse. We want our rights protected regardless of the impact it may have on others.

We want to be right and we want others to know we are right. We want to get what we desire and we want others to provide it for us. We want our world to work on our terms and provide for our needs.

We’re selfish creatures. James is right in stating that the conflicts that arise between us start from the sinful conflicts that exist deep within us.

One of the most famous presidential quotes in US history is from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in 1961, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Regardless of political preference, we understand the selfless sentiment that Kennedy expressed during an anxious time in US history.

Too often in life, business, politics, and society, selfishness and it’s cousin greed reign supreme rather than the Christ-like virtues of selflessness and generosity.

According to James, the antidote for our selfish desires is found in humility and submitting ourselves to God. (4:6-10) Living together in a civil society requires that we exorcise the demons of selfishness and greed that often motivate our behaviors. We cannot live as double-minded people, attempting to both serve God and satisfy our own cravings.

Instead… ask not what your God can do for you. Ask what you can do for your God.

From John:
I offer a deep, heartfelt thank you to Jon for this series on James. It was not only insightful but came at a time at which a significant break from writing was needed. Thanks for taking on the challenge! May we prepare our hearts to give thanks this next week of Thanksgiving in the US, and may we all look forward to the soon-coming first week of Advent. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.—Psalm 85:10

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chr 17 (Listen -4:14)
James 4  (Listen -2:25)

This Weekend’s Readings
1 Chr 18 (Listen -2:36), James 5  (Listen -3:01)
1 Chr 19-20 (Listen -5:02), 1 Peter 1 (Listen -3:53)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 emails with free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift.

Read more about Greed and Envy
It is in Christ that we will find the compassion to overcome our cynicism and the generosity of spirit to overcome our jealousy and greed.

Read more about A Christian Response to Offense
Our culture is unable to bear offense and simultaneously unable to bear forgiveness.

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