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November 2014

THANKSGIVING

For What Are You Thankful?

 
As we read the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah it seems as if we are reading today’s newspapers or listening to the TV news.  These two books describe how God’s people fell away from following the laws of their Creator. Both writers describe how judgment came to His people because of their disobedience.  God gave both men ‘hard’ messages to be preached to the ‘church,’ messages that told of their final destruction, if they did not repent and turn back to God.
 
I believe that we, the church of today, need to take heed of these messages.  As any honest person can see, we are in a Laodicean state.  Apart from what is happening in the world – wars, pestilences, epidemics such as Ebola, proliferation of violent crimes, degradation of the natural environment – we are also experiencing a falling away within the church, just as in the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah.   
 
Sadly many of us seem to refuse to admit that we have a problem, but just as in ancient times, God wants to ‘wash our eyes with salve that we might see.’ (Revelation 3:18)
 
Here in America, the last Thursday of November is a time of Thanksgiving.  It is a time when many Americans give thanks for all of God’s blessings.  I think it is the best holiday of the year, as it gives us a good opportunity to acknowledge and give thanks for every good gift that God has poured upon us.
 
This year I would like to take it further. It is good to remember our blessings of family, friends and home, but I believe it is also a time when we can acknowledge that all is not right with the world.  We need to repent and tell God that we are sorry for not always being faithful to His laws.  Although we may not have outwardly broken any moral or ethical laws, we are all sinners in desperate need of a Savior.  Perhaps we have missed witnessing opportunities or kept silent when we should have spoken up against the deliberate breaking of God’s laws.  Have we spoken up for Biblical truth when we have seen sin being covered up in our church?  Are we doing all we can to ensure the dissemination of The Three Angels’ message to the entire world, or are we amongst the many pew-warmers who prefer to stay in their comfort zones? A terrible apathy towards public and private evangelism has come upon us, especially in the western world.
 
As we consider all the above, we can be thankful that God’s Word still gives us hope.  Yes, I am thankful for family, friends, my home and all the other gifts that God bestows upon me daily.  Some of you reading this may have just lost a loved one, your job, your home, or you may have been overcome by another trial.  Some of you reading this may be living in war-torn countries where your life is in constant danger, and you may be thinking, ‘what have I to be thankful for this year?’
 
Dear friends, when we consider what is happening in the world and the church and the trials and difficulties that often beset us, there are still many things for which to be thankful.  Let me share some of them with you.
 
We can be thankful for the promises of hope that God gave through Isaiah to His people.
 
“For the LORD shall comfort Zion…” – Isaiah 51:3
 
Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. – Isaiah 51:11
 
Just as in the days of Israel, there is salvation for all who sincerely ask for forgiveness.
 
As we look a little closer at the word ‘thanksgiving,’ we notice that it has two parts: ‘thanks’ and ‘giving.’
 
We give ‘thanks’ to God for all His ‘giving’ to us.
We can be thankful for salvation, full and free through Jesus.  We can be thankful for all the other gifts that Christ has given us: the gift of His presence through the work of the Holy Spirit, the gift of Eternal life, the gift of the Bible (God’s Holy Word), the gift of all the great and precious promises in His word, including the promise of His soon return. 
 
Because He has given so much to us, we should now give back to Him: 
1. Our lives to be lived for Him
2. Our tithes and offerings
3. Our praise and honor
 
Dear friends, no matter our situation, we can be truly thankful because we know that God loves us and has a plan to take us home to His kingdom. God provides us with daily help through His Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. With this knowledge, let us not be amongst those unwilling to take action to reach people for Christ.
 
Colossians 2:6 – So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with THANKFULNESS!
 
Psalm 69:30 – I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with THANKSGIVING!
 
PSALM 100:4 – Enter into His gates with THANKSGIVING, and into His courts with praise: be THANKFUL unto Him, and bless His Name!
 
Because of the grace and peace God pours out upon us, let us be thankful at all times.  Blessings to all, Beverley Carter
 

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