Give Thanks to the Lord—His Mercy Endures Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. For his mercy endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 —EHV)

You know the words above—many of you have said them for a prayer before or after your meals perhaps as long as you can remember. This phrase is used in multiple psalms (106, 107, 111, 118, and 136). In this psalm the second phrase, “his mercy endures forever,” is repeated after each line.

In this Psalm the Psalmist gives a number of reasons why we ought to give thanks to the Lord. In the verses 4-9, he talks about creation The Lord God created the world with just his Word for us to have, to use, and to take care of. This world and everything in it was given to us by the Lord as a gift of his love. What a great reason to give him thanks!

In verses 10-15 the Psalmist mentions the exodus from Egypt. The Lord saved his people from slavery through the 10th plague, the killing of the firstborn, and the Passover. And when the world's most powerful army came chasing after them, the Lord drowned Pharaoh’s army in the depths of the Red Sea. We too have been saved from slavery—slavery to sin. We were born as sinners, as enemies of God. And even now as Christians, try as we might, we still fall into temptation. Time and time again we succumb to our sinful nature and fail to obey God’s commands. So Christ came and gave himself up as our perfect sacrifice and through the shedding of his blood our sins have been removed, and our offenses covered. Paul once wrote in 1 Corinthians 5, For our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, namely, Christ! What a great reason to give him thanks!

In verses 16-22 the Psalmist mentions how the Lord led his children through the wilderness, defeated kings, and gave them the gift of the Promised Land of Canaan. The Lord not only defeated sin by his sacrifice on the cross, but he also defeated our enemies of death and the devil by rising from the dead. By his resurrection the Lord turns death into the beginning of eternal life. Since Christ removed our sin and gives us eternal life, he has destroyed the works of the devil and has crushed his head. And we know that when he returns, he will take us to the Promised Land of Heaven. A perfect and glorious life with him awaits. What a great reason to give him thanks!

In the final section of this Psalm, verses 23-26, the Psalmist talks about continuous reasons why the Lord’s mercy endures forever. He continues to remember us, to provide for us, and protect us against our enemies. What great reasons to give him thanks!

Because the Lord’s mercy endures forever, so does our thanks and praise. Yes, we take some time this week to give the Lord thanks, but let it not be simply one day a year, or one day a week; but continuously thank and praise him each and every day. And, just as his mercy endures forever, so does our thanks and praise. For when he takes us to heaven, we’ll join in his praises forever and ever.

Pastor Andrew Frey

 Church News

Thanksgiving Worship

Join us this evening, Wednesday, November 27th at 6:30pm or tomorrow, Thursday, November 28th at 9:00am as we join together to give thanks to our Lord for all the gracious gifts he has given us throughout this year. Also, plan on joining us for our pie fellowship after the worship service on Wednesday—bring a pie for all to share—enjoy some Christian fellowship and taste some delicious pies!

Advent Devotions

Click the link below for the 2019 edition of the Martin Luther College Advent Devotions. These devotions, written by MLC professors, make a great addition to your daily meditation on God’s Word. You can either download a PDF document, or sign up to have them sent straight to your email’s inbox.

Christmas for Kids (God’s Greatest Gift) 

After the children’s Christmas practice on Saturday, Dec. 14, children, prek-6th grade are invited to this event from 9:30 am-11:00 am. The true meaning of Christmas will be taught, snacks will be served, and cookies will be decorated. There is a sign-up sheet in the entry for you to sign up or to help (we can use some helpers!). Look for an online sign-up shortly.

Christmas Caroling

All members — both young and old — are invited to join us as we go caroling to some of our Shut In members on Saturday December 14. This will follow the Christmas for Kids and Church Decorating. You are invited to join us for a potluck lunch at 12:00 pm. Following lunch, we will leave to begin caroling at 1:00 pm. Please sign up on the sheet in back of Church if you plan to attend. If you have any questions, please talk to Pastor Gartner.

Christmas Decorating 

We will be decorating the church for Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 9:30 am. All are welcome.

Advent and Christmas Services and Practices

As we approach December please keep the following worship services and events along with their times in your mind that you can join us in worshiping our coming Savior!

Midweek Advent Services

December 4, 11, 17 at 10:30am and 6:30pm

Children’s Christmas Practices

December 7, 14, 21 at 8:00 am

Christmas For Kids

December 14 from 9:30-11:00am

Christmas Caroling

December 14 at 1:00pm

Children’s Christmas Service

December 22 at 9:30am and 11:00am. Advent 4 at 8:00 and Monday at 6:30

Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship

December 24 at 3:00pm, 5:00pm, and 7:00pm

Christmas Day Worship with Holy Communion

December 25 at 9:00am

New Year’s Eve Worship with Holy Communion

December 31 at 6:30pm

Bible Classes

On Sunday mornings, Pastor Gartner has begun a short study on the practice of Stewardship—how God wants us to use all the gifts that he has graciously given to us—whether it’s the use of our time, our talents, our treasures, our bodies, his great creation, etc. Plan on joining us for this study on Sunday mornings at 9:15am. On Monday mornings and Tuesday evenings Pastor Frey has begun a study on the letters of John the Apostle. In his first letter John expertly weaves doctrine with practice—a practical letter filled with passages on the love and mercy of Christ. Please plan on joining us as we study these interesting letters to God’s people.

NOTE: We do have audio recordings and the Lesson Sheets of these Bible Classes. If you have been unable to attend and would like these sent to you, please email Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner.