DATE: 28 November 2013
TO: Manantial de Gracia
TITLE: Giving Thanks to GOD

Hebrew Scripture: Psalm 105:1-9 MSG
Hallelujah! Thank God ! Pray to him by name! Tell everyone you meet what he has done! Sing him songs, belt out hymns, translate his wonders into music! Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek God. Live a happy life! Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence. Remember the world of wonders he has made, his miracles, and the verdicts he’s rendered— O seed of Abraham, his servant, O child of Jacob, his chosen. He’s God, our God, in charge of the whole earth. And he remembers, remembers his Covenant— for a thousand generations he’s been as good as his word. It’s the Covenant he made with Abraham, the same oath he swore to Isaac

Gospel Reading: Philippians 4:5-7 NIV
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Giving Thanks to GOD

Iglesia mia…! Diariamente le doy gracias a el Seńor por ustedes, individual y como congregación. Yo se que DIOS esta con ustedes al igual que con migo. Cuando yo regrese a los Estados Unidos tengo tanto que contarles, pero hoy les quiero contar una historia.

Pastora Mami asked me weeks ago to think about the notion of giving thanks in prayer. And, those of you that know me know that I believe in prayer!

As I thought about it, my mind became cluttered with all the crazy things that I have prayed for in my life. I mean, I have been a praying person since before I understood that God really hears all. As a child I prayed for the puppies in the yard, the pigs in their pens, the people without shoes en El Viejo San Juan. I prayed that Abuelo Victor would give me a bigger mango than he gave to Luis, that my father would act right, and that Abuela Yeco would take us to the beach. When Abuela died I prayed that my father would stay… I am sure that you also have a dossier full of prayers.

God’s covenant with Abraham
As I grappled with BOTH the consequential and inconsequential prayers of my life I realize that God’s covenant with Abraham includes me. And every prayer that I pray is being fulfilled, because my covenant is not with an imaginary god, but rather with The GOD of covenant.

God made a pact. And in that covenant we, you and me, we are included. The Psalmist in Psalm 105:6 talks about Abraham, he speaks of the Abraham from the children’s song many of us remember from Sunday School (invite the church to stand and sing):

SONG: Father Abraham

Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them and so are you
So let’s all praise the Lord.

CHORUS- Right arm!
CHORUS- Right arm, left arm!
CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot!
CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot!
CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot, chin up!
CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot, chin up, turn around!
CHORUS- Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot, chin up, turn around, sit down!

Let us pray…

I know todays sermon started with a song, I want you to prepare yourself, because its going to continue in song and end in praise!

This weeks sermon is titled: Giving Thanks to GOD.

God’s covenant includes you
So thank GOD for your prayers answered and unanswered, because the God that we believe in has already included us in all that his promise entails.

Sometimes when we pray we forget to thank God for what we have prayed. For those of you who are like me and need a reminder…, There is a gospel song called “God has not forgot” by Tonex. In this song Tonex reminds us that sometimes when we pray, even those inconsequential prayers God remembers and we need to thank Him. Not for granting what we’ve asked for but for listening to us.

See, those prayers that we think have not been answered, God heard us when we spoke them. Those prayers in our hearts that we’ve put out there into the atmosphere that we have prayed in our hearts but never mentioned out loud… GOD heard those as well.

SONG: God has not forgot by Tonex

God has not forgot, God has not forgot, God has not forgot, God has not forgot
If He said that He would do it, it will come to pass
God has not forgot, God has not forgot

Can you help me saying

Just keep on believing, God has not forgot 2x
‘Cause if He said that He would do it, it will come to pass

Don’t get discouraged, God has not forgot 2x
‘Cause if He said that He would do it, I know it will come to pass
God has not forgot, God has not forgot

Dont get discouraged, God has not forgot 2x
If He said that He would do it, it will come to pass
God has not forgot, God has not forgot

Today I thank God because the prayers of my heart that I did not think were heard, that I thought were left unanswered God answered. When I graduated high school I wanted to travel and see the world but I wanted God to open a place for me and have it ready!
I forgot those prayers, but GOD remembered. A few weeks ago my church here in Indonesia celebrated their Anniversary. During their anniversary they read their church history out-loud…the good and the bad. And I was asked to give a prayer of thanksgiving, and I can honestly say I cried the entire time!

I realized that every part of that churches history God was using to remind me that S/He and I have a covenant. And that covenant is a promise that GOD continues to fulfill. See, I asked God to open a place for me back in the fall of 1995, and that is when the church opened. The board of leaders that thought to open an English language, interdenominational church in Yogyakarta, Indonesia when they themselves were students trying to learn English…they had no idea that God was making ready a place for an AfroRican chica from a small Spanish speaking church in New Britain, Connecticut. And when the government did not allow them to open an interdenominational church…God opened the church using a pastor who knew GOD had given them a vision.

God answers our prayers. We only need to say THANK YOU LORD!

SONG: I Am Not Forgotten by Israel and New Breed

Prayer: Lord, We thank you. We thank you for giving us breath. We thank you for giving us rest. We thank you for giving us struggle. Creator, we thank you for our prayers. Those we have seen answered, those we are still praying. But God, we thank you much more so for those prayers you have not answered…you know best. Lord, we want what we want, but you know our real needs. Thank you. We are YOUR people who YOU freed, remember us. Amen.