James 1:17-18

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for such a warm and beautiful day. It's been a long year, but we're almost to the end of it and you've shown yourself faithful every step of the way, in every detail of my life.

Thank you for my family, and that my brother can be home with us over Thanksgiving. Please take care of my dad and step-mom who are up in Reno now, and thanks for letting them buy a house and find a place they really like. Thanks for my mom and step-dad here in Los Angeles, all my brothers, even though they're frustrating sometimes. Thank you for our health and happiness, and all the good circumstances you've blessed my family with. Please comfort my grandmother in this holiday times for the first year she's facing them without my grandfather. Work in the lives of my family to bring them to a saving knowledge of your son.

Thank you for my job and my ability to go to school, help me to work hard and honestly in everything I do, and to make the most of every opportunity you give me. Thank you for all the success you've given me, none of which would have been possible if I was working under my own power. Thank you for giving me tenacity and determination, and a modicum of wisdom. Help me to be wise and generous, caring, compassionate, gentle, kind, and humble in spirit. I have nothing to boast about, because every good thing I have is a gift from you. Use it all to glorify yourself.

Thank you for my amazing church family, who have always been there for me even when my real family hasn't. Thank you for my friends, my small group, my pastor, and all the people I serve with. There's nothing more enjoyable than serving you with people I love, and it's a great blessing to be a member of Venice Baptist Church. Give our leadership wisdom and humility, and keep us from making any decisions or pursuing any course of action other than according to your will. Thank you for all the wonderful kids and college students I get to work with. Thank you for all the wise advisors you've given me to keep me on the right path. Help our church to be a blessing to our community, to those in every kind of need, spiritual and material. Show your love for the world through us.

Thank you for my country, and all the tremendous blessings that come from being an American. Thank you for all the people who make the country possible, from the soldiers to the politicians, all working as ministers of your common grace to the world. Thank you for our President Bush, all our Senators and Representatives, the Governor and Legislature of California, the Mayor and Councilmen of Hawthorne, and everyone who labors to make the country run smoothly. Give them all wisdom and self-control, show yourself to them and make your will clear; give them to courage to do what's right. Protect our soldiers all over the world, and give them peace of mind and comfort even when they're in danger. Comfort their families as well, and give them courage. Use all these people to preserve the peace, and restore it, and to punish evildoers and protect the weak and the innocent.

Lord, I know that my innermost desires are evil and destructive, thank you for lifting me out of the pit of my own sin and depravity. Thank you for sending your son Jesus Christ to live and die as a sacrifice, to pay the penalty for my sins. Thank you for reconciling this sinner to you, for adopting me and making me your son. Thank you for loving me even when I hated you, and for calling me to be your own. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who lives within me and seals me, who sanctifies me and empowers me to do your will. Thank you for your word the Bible that teaches me, guides me, and corrects me. Thank you for the glorious hope you've given me that surpasses all earthly troubles, the knowledge and security that even when this world passes away, your love for me will never pass away. Thank you that nothing I do can ever make you love me less, and thank you that I don't have to work to earn your love, and that nothing I do can make you love me more. Give me the strength and humility to serve you all my days. Forgive my rebellion, my pride, my impatience and selfishness. Give me the power to overcome my base desires and to be an example of Christ's love to the world. Protect me and preserve me, use me however you will but never leave me. I am yours, bought with a price and redeemed from slavery to eternal freedom; no words of thanks will ever be enough to profess my love for you.

Psalm 30

1 I will exalt you, O LORD ,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
3 O LORD , you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.

4 Sing to the LORD , you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,
"I will never be shaken."
7 O LORD , when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD , I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 "What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD , and be merciful to me;
O LORD , be my help."

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.



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