I saw a couple of plaques in stores recently. One said “What if you have today only what you thanked God for yesterday?” Hmmm, something to think about. The other said, “Thank God for what you have; trust God for what you need!” Very true.
This week is Thanksgiving Week, usually a time for family, food, football and then Black Friday Shopping. But in this era of COVID, I’m sure the week will be different.
But even with all the problems with COVID, flu, division and rancor in our nation, we still have much to be thankful for. And all of our thanks must first be to God who gives us life, health and everything we have, whether in abundance or poverty.
We read in the New Testament: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18) “Give thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)
God doesn’t expect us to be thankful for the bad things that happen like disease, financial disaster, natural disaster, death, but we can give thanks that God is with us through these things and that even bad things, in God, can have a positive outcome. (Romans 8:28)
All throughout the Psalms (the Hebrew Hymnbook) we are encouraged to give thanks to God.
“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30)
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
“O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; because His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 118:1, 136:1, 2, 3 and 26)
My wish for you and your family is that you can enjoy this week and Thanksgiving Day, remembering that everything we are or have comes from the goodness of God. I trust your “holiday” will be safe, filled with joy, and prayer for yourself and others. Here is my Thanksgiving gift to you:
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving. Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
“For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hands are the deep places of the earth, the heights also of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” (Psalm 95:1-7)
“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among all the nations, His wonders among all people.
“For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.” (Psalm 96:1-6)
Personal “Thank You”
This week is my 16th anniversary of writing Church Talk for the newspapers of Waccamaw Publishers. I want to thank Steve Robertson and Kathy Ropp for taking a chance on a “non-journalist” writer and for continuing to allow me to share the Good News found in the Bible and Jesus Christ with our readers.
Thanks to all of the different editors and staff members of the newspapers who help with Church Talk and to all the faithful readers. God bless all of you! Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
Pray Without Ceasing
The Bible encourages God’s people to “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17), “pray always with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:17), and the exhortation from Paul to Timothy (I Timothy 2:8) that “men (and women and children too) pray everywhere.”
I’m sure your church, like mine, has a long prayer list and I’m sure you have your own personal prayer list, too. Here are some things that we, as God’s church, can and should be praying about daily:
■ Pray for our leaders, at all levels and right now, our elected incumbents and newly-elected leaders, that they will lead wisely and seek God’s wisdom and will in their new positions of authority.
■ Pray for the church in America and the church around the world (especially the persecuted church). In the increasing darkness of sin, the church is the light and if we’re willing to be the light, then darkness cannot extinguish God’s truth!
■ Pray for our nation that we will return to a time of mutual respect for each other, of love, real toleration, and as the Bible tells us “accepting and bearing with” one another. Pray that the hate, the violence, the malice will end.
■ Pray that we’ll all respect life as a gift from God who alone has the right and power to begin and end it. Pray that we’ll realize that all life matters from conception until natural death.
■ Pray for our homes and families that love between parents and parents and children will be the “rule of the day” and that families will follow God’s pattern to be the solid basic building block of society.
■ Pray for our schools (all levels), students, teachers, administrators and service personnel. These are incredibly difficult days in education.
■ Pray for the sick, the infirm, the elderly, the needy and be willing to be God’s hands and feet to meet needs as you can.
■ Pray for each other. Each week as I share prayer requests at church, I ask our folks to look around and tell them everyone they see needs prayer. But we have a great God who can hear every prayer.
Operation Christmas Child
Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Project’s Collection Week was last week. Now the boxes will be inspected and shipped off to needy children across the world.
Along with the box, the children will be given the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for the children who get the boxes and their families, that God will touch their hearts and bring them to salvation!
Coastline Jingle Bell Drop Off!
In the past, Coastline Women’s Center hosted a “Jungle Bell Drop In” that allowed the community to come in and visit with the ministry and learn more about what Coastline does. This has become the “Jingle Bell Drop Off” that allows you, for Christmas, to “adopt” a child, whose mother is taking parenting classes at Abagail’s Place.
Send an email to email@example.com and provide your name, phone number and the number of children you would like to adopt (currently there are 38 children in the program). You will receive a reply email with the child’s gender, age and prayer request.
You then purchase an age appropriate toy (value about $20), wrap it and deliver it to Abagail’s Place, 1607 Ninth Ave. in Conway on Dec. 8, 10 or 11 between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Then you pray for the child and his/her family. Call Louane at (843) 488-9971 on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. What a great way to show the love of Christ along with your love!
What Can I Do To Help?
The ongoing COVID-19 “pandemic”; the upcoming “flu season”. Financial upheaval caused by the current situation. Storm devastation. Wildfire destruction. The list of difficulties and problems seems never-ending.
And all of these seem worse during the “holidays”. Inventory what you have. Do you have more than enough? (Be honest, God has given to most of us abundantly!) If you do, someone has said that God gives so you can share with others.
Share your resources (food, clothing), your time, your monetary resources with others. And you don’t have to look far to find the needy or good faithful organizations that are ministering to them. Don’t be a Grinch or a Scrooge. Open your hands and your heart to others! You’ll be blessed as you bless.
Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry
■ First United Methodist Church of Conway invites you to celebrate Advent and enjoy its Candlelight Advent Concerts virtually on Facebook and FUMC Youtube channel. These will be aired at 4 p.m. on Dec. 6, 13 and 20.
■ The Catholic Church of St. James, 1071 Academy Drive, collects nonperishable food items for Catholic Charities and CAP Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the church.
Please help as you are able. Call 843-347-5168 or go online to www.stjamesconway.org.
■ Catholic Charities Pee Dee Thanksgiving and Christmas distributions are available for those in need. Christmas assistance is available to families with children under the age of 18.
Registration is required for this assistance and has just started. Registration is first-come, first-serve until all slots are filled. Call Catholic Charities Pee Dee at (843) 438-3108.
For the Christmas project the needs are: new, unwrapped toys and books for children through age 12; for teens 13-18, makeup kits, nail kits, bath sets, curling irons, blow dryers, purses, teenage board games, tabletop games, dart boards, sports gear, headphones, watches, wallets, tool kits, $10 fast food or movie theater gift cards. Also new winter coats (newborn to adult XL), hats, gloves, earmuffs and scarves. Please drop off by Dec. 14.
Catholic Charities is located at 2294 Technology Blvd. in Conway.
■ Bethany Bible Chapel, 1668 Four Mile Road, has AWANA each Monday. Cubbies meet from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sparks, T & T, Trek and Journey meet from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. (Yes, we have clubs for all youth age 3 through grade 12!) Distancing and face masks are encouraged for leaders and clubbers. Phone (843) 369-7729.
■ Langston Baptist Church, 763 S.C. 905, has Good News Club for boys and girls on Wednesdays (until Dec. 16) from 7 p.m.-8 p.m.
■ Tilly Swamp Survivors of Suicide, a new faith-based support group for those having lost someone to suicide, meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the church: 4619 S.C. 90. Phone (803) 566-0702.
■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will distribute food on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.
■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St. has a Blessing Box in the church and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.
■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.
■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its Food Bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”
Please help as you are able. Call (843) 347-5168 or go online to www.stjamesconway.org.
Myrtle Beach/The Coast
■ North Myrtle Beach Christian School will host a Pancake Supper fundraiser on Dec. 9 from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at Eggs Up Grill on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach.
Tickets are $10 per plate and will be on sale from Nov. 30 through Dec. 7 at the school (from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily). Or you can purchase tickets by phone at (843) 399-7181. There will also be special Christmas “guests” outside Eggs Up from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. for dine-in or take-out customers who want photo ops with Santa, a reindeer, the Grinch, and others!
North Myrtle Beach Christian School is located at 9535 S.C. 90, across from Wampee Baptist Church.
■ Low Country Food Bank and Faith Outreach Ministries will sponsor another Drive-Thru Food Distribution at 4223 Socastee Blvd. on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. Phone (843) 215-4500.
■ Help 4 Kids and Backpack Buddies continue to provide food for 400-500 families per week and they need your help. Suggested food donations include: peanut butter, jelly, pasta and sauce, rice, beans, cereal, macaroni & cheese, canisters of Kool-Aid, canned meats, snacks and chips.
You may also donate grocery gift cards used for produce, meats, dairy and bread, and monetary donations are always appreciated.
And let’s not forget need for new clothing, sizes 4 and up (especially teens); shoes and sneakers (any size), socks and underwear. And send gift cards that Help4Kids can use to purchase necessary goods.
The office is located at 2523 Forestbrook Road, Myrtle Beach SC 29588 (gifts may be mailed to that address also). Go online to www.help4kidssc.org.
■ The New Beginnings drive-thru food distribution will be held Dec. 19 from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 16 Bypass in Surfside Beach. Cars can begin lining up at 7 a.m. Future dates include Jan. 16. Phone (843) 215-4500.
■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea; 406-65th Ave. North: Services (Virtual and Temple) Friday 6 p.m., Shabbat 10 a.m. Hebrew School Wednesdays, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.; Adult Education Classes, Wednesdays 2 p.m.-3 p.m.; Advanced Hebrew Classes, Wednesdays 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
“Light a Chanukiah” Project, through Dec. 18; light a virtual Chanukiah and dedicate it to whomever you wish, $18. Don’t miss the Hannukah Lighting at Market Common on Dec. 10 (masks required). Phone (843) 449-5552; website www.mbsynagogue.org.
■ Together in Christ has a Wednesday ZOOM prayer meeting from noon-12:30 p.m. each week. Prayer changes everything and you are invited to pray with the mid-week group. Email hgprayer @sccoast.net.
■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave. in Murrells Inlet has a Life Chain every first Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 17 business near the church driveway. You are invited to participate in this event. (Bring a chair if not able to stand for the hour.) Contact Joanne Bennett at (614) 313-8425 or email Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.
■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.
■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.