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Thanksgiving

GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE!  GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE!  The specialized doorbell rang throughout large house.  “COME IN!” a voice shouted from somewhere within the house.  As the door opened, two young children just missed being hit as they ran by the door and up the steps.  “Be careful!” a father called from an adjacent room, while grinning and shaking his head.  The final family to arrive came through the door, looking out for more children, and made their way into the kitchen, where they placed their dishes on an already crowded counter.  “Oh!  What do we have here?”  several women working in the kitchen wanted to know, along with various others crowded around, hoping to sneak a bite of food before dinner - preferable without getting their hand smacked for their troubles!  “Salad and dessert,” said the youngest member of the recently arrived family, pointing at each dish according.  The hostess directed the girl where to place the dessert until later, while making room for the salad on the counter that would serve as the buffet.

 

A short time later, with the aroma of baked turkey wafting through the air, all the food was ready to be served and had been set on the improvised buffet table.  The host raised his voice, asking everyone to gather round and join hands.  The youngest cousins were at the front of the group, so an eye could be kept on them, and because they wanted to be first in line for the food.  As he looked around at the rather large group that had gathered, he had to smile, remembering like it was yesterday, when the young parents were children themselves and he was the one yelling at them to be careful.  Now, here he was, a grandfather!

 

The young parents looked at their children, remembering when they were the ones running around the house.  They remembered playing N64 with their young cousins before dinner, with whom they now discussed work, politics, and world issues.  They had become the parents they once found boring!

 

As the host asked another family member, a new brother-in-law, to pray before the meal, the new brother-in-law looked around.  One year ago he had been here, although not officially yet part of the family.  His wedding to the host’s sister occurred just one month ago.  Tears of joy came to eyes at belonging to this loud, rambunctious, but loving family.  He cleared his throat and began to pray, thanking God for his new family, for everyone’s safe travel to be together, and for their continued safety on their trips home.

 

His prayer is one that is echoed in many houses on Thanksgiving.  It is a prayer that echoes back in time, back before Thanksgiving even became a national holiday, back to the time of Jesus, and beyond.

 

Jesus was sent to this earth to die, so that all may be afforded salvation.  Yet before His death, He was a teacher.  He taught how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  One of Jesus’ messages was teaching to give thanks, in all things.  It was a message that echoed back to the early celebrations of the Israelites: the Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks.  Both were celebrations of giving thanks for what the Israelites had received from the Lord.  

 

Similarly, Jesus gave thanks often throughout His ministry.  He gave thanks before feeding the five thousand (Matthew 14:19, Mark 6:41, Luke 9:16, John 6:11) and before feeding the four thousand (Matthew 15:36, Mark 8:6).  He gave thanks during Passover (Matthew 26:26-27, Mark 14:22-23, Luke 22:17-20) and gave thanks by praising His Father (Matthew 11:25-29, Luke 10: 21-22).  He gave thanks for answered prayers (John 11:39) and for the raising of Lazarus (John 12:41) Throughout His ministry, Jesus was constantly giving thanks!

 

Jesus’ example is one we all should follow.  And not just on Thanksgiving!   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  (Colossians 3:16-17, ESV)  Like Jesus, we are to have thanksgiving in our hearts at all times!  For what do you have to be thankful?

Happy Thanksgiving from The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries!  May God bless you and your family this holiday season!

Everyday, before she went to bed, Kara prayed to the Lord, but her prayer was not what you may expect.  She did not ask for help for her problems or for alleviation from her suffering - she did that in her morning devotions.  Instead Kara took this time to thank God and praise Him.  She thanked Him for the blessings she had received that day, for the situations in which she had seen His hand working, for the amazing beauty of His work.  Some days it was more difficult than others to find something for which to be thankful.  On the days she really struggled, she began by thanking God for sending His Son to earth to die, so that she could be saved.  And you know what?  That usually led to something else for which to be thankful.  For Kara, everyday was Thanksgiving Day.

 

Thanksgiving - to give thanks, to gratefully acknowledge what has been given to you, especially by God.  

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.  (Colossians 2:6-7, ESV)

Kara understood that Thanksgiving should not be a single day a year, but a way of life!  Thanksgiving did not begin with the pilgrims celebrating a successful harvest, but long before. 

 

Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, the Israelites had their own celebrations of thanksgiving.  The Passover Feast was a celebration of thanks, thanks that they had been passed over by the angel of death and delivered from the land of Egypt (Leviticus 23:4-8).  The Firstfruits and Feast of Weeks were celebrations of thanks for the harvest (Leviticus 23:9-22).  When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.  (Deuteronomy 8:10, NIV)  

 

Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, Jesus was giving thanks.  Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.  He did the same with the fish.  (John 6:11, NIV)  After taking the cup, [Jesus] gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.” (Luke 22:17, NIV)  And [Jesus] took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19, NIV) Jesus, many times over, demonstrated by example, that we are to earnestly give thanks to God our Father before every meal.

 

Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, the apostles were teaching thanksgiving as a way of life.   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16-17, ESV)  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV) … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  (Philippians 4:6, ESV)  Following the example of Christ, the apostles taught that for Christians, everyday was to be a day of thanksgiving.

How have you been blessed by the Lord this past year?  For those who have received Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, everyday should be a day of thanksgiving.  You can, however, make the fourth Thursday of November a special day of Thanksgiving.  It is a time in which your family can abound in thanksgiving together.  So turn off the television!  Ignore the lure of great bargains which will be there in the days that follow.  Focus on your family.  How have they been blessed by the Lord this past year?  How have you been blessed by the Lord?  Have you thanked the Lord?

 

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2013

 

When you think of the thanksgiving, what do you imagine?  Turkey?  Pilgrims?  That is what we are taught in school, but that’s not what thanksgiving is.  The pilgrims were not even the first to celebrate thanksgiving!

 

Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, Israelites had their own celebrations of thanksgiving.  The Passover Feast was a celebration in thanks that they had been passed over by the angel of death and delivered from the land of Egypt (Leviticus 23:4-8).  The Firstfruits and Feast of Weeks were celebrations of the harvest (Leviticus 23:9-22).  When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.  (Deuteronomy 8:10, NIV)

 

Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, Jesus was giving thanks.  Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.  He did the same with the fish.  (John 6:11, NIV)  After taking the cup, [Jesus] gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you(Luke 22:17, NIVAnd [Jesus] took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  Luke 22:19, NIV) Jesus demonstrated by example, that we are to earnestly give thanks to God our Father before every meal.  

 

Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, the apostles were teaching thanksgiving as a way of life.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.   And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  (Colossians 3:16-17, ESV)  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.   (1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  (Philippians 4:6, ESV)  Following the example of Christ, the apostles taught that for Christians, everyday was to be a day of thanksgiving.  

 

In 1798, George Washington made a Thanksgiving proclamation, which echoed the teachings in the New Testament.  He said, “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”  Sadly, most Thanksgiving celebrations no longer look as George Washington envisioned.  Like many celebrations Thanksgiving has become perverted and secularized.  It has become a day of gluttony and self indulgence.  The thanksgiving is being left out of Thanksgiving Day.  

 

Thanksgiving means to give thanks, to gratefully acknowledge what has been given to you, especially by God.  

 

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.  (Colossians 2:6-7, ESV)

 

How have you been blessed by the Lord this past year?  For those who have received Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, everyday should be a day of thanksgiving.  You can, however, make the fourth Thursday of November a special day of Thanksgiving.  It is a time in which your family can abound in thanksgiving together.  So turn off the television!Ignore the lure of great bargains which will be there in the days that follow.  Focus on your family.  How have they been blessed by the Lord this past year?  How have you been blessed by the Lord?  Have you thanked the Lord?

 

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

 

 

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