A Time for giving Thanks

 

 

Greetings precious people, I hope that you are doing well today and recovering from the past weeks events. We are soon to experience another Thanksgiving season. With all that has occurred over the past weeks, I believe that most would conclude that we have much to be thankful to God. Regardless of how each of us has been affected we have the opportunity to know the Lord God Almighty and be recipients of His love and mercy.

I know that Thanksgiving is not for another week but my hope is that in looking at Thanksgiving a week early, it will help us to once again realize what the real meaning of Thanksgiving is and that we would become a more thankful people. A statement that I have heard repeated over and over since the fires is, “This has reminded us of what is really important.” 

            Over 300 years ago, there were certain mandates placed upon the people of England that everyone had to worship God in a particular church that had been “certified” by the state. There were a group of God fearing and God loving Christians that did not believe the “certified” church was teaching the Word of God nor worshipping Him in Spirit and truth. These Christians started their own churches and many were arrested and imprisoned. These Christians refused to be intimidated and continued to worship God in the way the Bible told them to.

            Finally some of these people, who would become known as Pilgrims, decided to travel from the “Old World” (Europe) and go to the new world (America). The trip was long and difficult on the ship called the Mayflower. If travel on the Mayflower seemed to be difficult, it paled compared to trying to survive the first year in the new country. They had to clear the land, build homes to live in, and find food to eat. Many died from the cold climate and sickness. They would have all died had it not been for the help of some friendly Native American Indians. These newly found friends helped them to learn how to survive in this New World

            A man by the name of William Bradford was a leader for the Pilgrims and later became the Governor. Bradford had come to know and love the Word of God at an early age and had even spent time in prison for his faith. After becoming governor, he thought it was important to set a time aside to give thanks to God for what He had enabled them to do. Contrary to what many of our children are being told in the public schools today, Thanksgiving was not a time of giving thanks to the Indians, rather it was a time of giving thanks to Almighty God. Yes they were no doubt thankful to the Indians for their help, but they recognized that it was God’s Hand that helped them through the Indians.

            They thanked God for the good crops, their new friends, and freedom to worship, good homes, families, and how God had helped them through the difficult times. They had much to be thankful to God for. Just as we do even though like the Pilgrims we too have gone through some difficult times of our own. We have been blessed very much with an abundance of help and relief, good friends and neighbors. 

            What are you thankful for today? No doubt each of us could give a number of things for which we are thankful. A mark that distinguishes one as a child of God is that of thankfulness, being thankful. A mark that distinguishes one as not being a child of God is unthankful, not being thankful. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul describes not only the attitude of people in the last days, (I think we are in them now) but people in general. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

            It is so easy to focus one’s attention on what one doesn’t have rather than what one does have especially in light of the recent events. Something I heard years ago about this has helped me. It goes like this; “I whined and complained that I had no shoes, until I met a man that had no feet.” It seems to be a rarity these days to hear someone say thank you upon receiving something, to have a thankful attitude. It seems that most people “Expect” things today and yet think little to nothing should be expected of them.

            I have found this mentality to be present in our society in regards to our attitude toward God. Whenever something bad happens in our lives and the lives of those around us we quickly blame God and ask, “Why did God allow this to happen? Why didn’t He do something?” but when good things happen (and they do all the time, we just don’t recognize them) we attribute them to “good-luck” or some other foolishness.

If you are a child of God today, regardless of what you have or don’t have, you have much to be thankful for today, for you have God and all of His promises. We are told in God’s Word the Bible, concerning the promises of God that, 2 Corinthians 1:20,  “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” And in Romans 8:37-39, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.”

            To know Jesus Christ personally, to know by experience the great love that God has for us and to realize that He has forgiven all my sins because of what Jesus Christ has done upon the cross of Calvary, is cause enough to be full of thanksgiving. A man by the name of Habakkuk realized this when he wrote the following, Habakkuk 3:17-19, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls-- Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”

            If all God did was give us the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, (I say this with tongue and cheek) we would have more than enough reason to be full of thanks toward God. But He has done so much more. He has blessed us greatly beyond all that we are able to recognize and desires to bless us throughout all eternity.

            For the person who does not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you too have much to be thankful for. Be thankful that you are still alive and have the opportunity to repent of your sin and turn to Jesus Christ in faith for the salvation of your soul. Be thankful that God has not dealt with you according as your sin deserves, rather He has been merciful to you and desires to give you His grace. The Bible says in Matt 5:45, “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  And in Romans 2:4, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

            We all, bar none have a great deal to be thankful for not just this Thanksgiving season but always. God is good always and greatly to be praised. May you recognize this today and give God thanks for all that He has done for you.

            Next time we will continue to our study in the Book of Philippians, until then may the Lord richly bless you my beloved.

            If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail ccalpine@juno.com

Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine