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I Will Give Thanks

Meet Prisca. She just turned eight on November 14. Though she lives in faraway Malawi, she is close to my heart. Though she is not my grandchild, she is my God child.

The moment I laid eyes on her, I knew the Lord chose her for me (and me for her). I mean, look at that smile. She also likes the color red and loves to pray. Me too.

And the Bible study I’m currently writing? It includes the story of Priscilla, whose proper name is — you got it — Prisca. So, obviously, I jumped at the chance to sponsor her.

More in a moment about my new God daughter and the other beautiful children shown here, including this shampoo brigade in Cambodia. Right now, let’s give thanks to the One who is in all ways wonderful.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1 

I will give thanks to… Psalm 9:1 

Not I might. I will. It’s a commitment to go public with our gratitude. “I shall acknowledge” (WYC) and “confess” (YLT) and sing His praises in unexpected places, willingly and joyfully giving Him credit for everything.

Instead of simply feeling grateful, or thinking thankful thoughts, I will praise” (KJ21) the One I love. Not just once, but all the time “I’m thanking” (MSG) Him. It’s an ongoing practice, a habit worth developing to honor the One who is more than worthy.

…you, Lord,… Psalm 9:1

So personal. “Thee, O Lord” (KJ21). David, the psalmist, wasn’t talking about God, he was talking to God, just as we’re invited to do when we pray and when we praise “Yahweh” (HCSB).

Today I am thanking You, Lord, for the ministry of Prison Fellowship International, which rescues children of prisoners from poverty and neglect and hunger and need. You are a generous God who cares about “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40), and You call us to do the same.

…with all my heart;… Psalm 9:1

Nobody wants to do things in a half-hearted way, lacking spirit or enthusiasm or interest. If it matters to God, I’m going for it “with my whole heart” (ASV). I’m all in.

I’m guessing you feel the same way, eager to pour out “from a full heart” (MSG) all God has done for you. I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments below. Meanwhile, I’ll go first.

… I will tell of… Psalm 9:1

 Yes, I’ll gladly “declare” (CBB) and “recount” (ESV) and “tell aloud” (AMP) the story of how God brought Prison Fellowship International to my doorstep with an idea for a series of events for women (Arkansas sisters, we’re headed your way December 3 for our final event).

We called our tour Endless Hope, because who doesn’t need that? For two full years, worship leaders Austin and Lindsey Adamec and I have carried hope-filled messages and music to thirty-two cities. You can be sure God went before us, preparing hearts and planting seeds.

When we offered the opportunity to sponsor children of prisoners in impoverished countries like Rwanda, Zambia, Togo, and Colombia, providing safe living conditions, healthy food, education, and spiritual nurturing for a dollar a day, many, many women said yes.

How many? Keep reading.

…all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

Nothing is more thrilling than seeing God perform “marvelous works” (KJ21) and “wonderful acts” (CEB) right before your eyes. Through the hearts of the women in our audiences, we watched Him rescue children who were living in the street, digging through trash for food, hiding from predators and traffickers, or working for strangers who forced them into dangerous hard labor.

For a clearer picture of what these little ones are facing, meet Seu Eye from Cambodia. To understand what sponsoring a child of a prisoner could mean to you, meet sponsor KiAnna.

It’s amazing what $35 a month can do. Thank You, Lord, for “all the miracles you have done” (EXB) and “the wonders you have worked” (CEV) in the hearts and lives of almost 900 children as we’ve traveled around the country offering Endless Hope.

Beloved, you knew this was coming. Would you pray about sponsoring a child? There are lots of great child sponsorship ministries, but PFI has a different mission. They seek out children of prisoners who bear the stigma of their parents’ crimes. Ostracized by neighbors and relatives alike, ignored by their governments, these little ones need hope and help from those of us whom God has blessed.

It really isn’t about how much we have. It’s about how much we love.

Everything you need to know is here. If you want to see their sweet faces, look here.

Meanwhile, my Prisca in Malawi wants to become a doctor someday — a far-reaching dream. Isn’t it wonderful we serve a far-reaching God?

Heavenly Father, everything we have is Yours. Do with it what You will. Fill our mouths with gratitude and our lips with praise. Open our hearts to You and our hands to others. May everything we do bring glory to You. In the sweet name of Jesus, Amen.

Want to share something our good God has done for you? Scroll down to post a comment.

Your grateful sister, Liz

P.S. People sometimes ask me if Prison Fellowship International is a trustworthy organization, if the money really goes to the kids, that kind of thing. I can assure you they are the Real Deal, because I checked them out thoroughly before I ever considered partnering with them. That’s why I am honored, through God’s provision, to sponsor nine girls — Esther in Rwanda, Shalom in Zambia, Lida in Cambodia, Samiksha in India, Ani in Nepal, Shalem in Colombia, Akossiwa Davi in Togo, Resha in Nepal, and now Prisca in Malawi — oh, how I love each one!

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