I Give Thanks

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

I love Christmas. Without the first Christmas, we would have nothing to celebrate. Without the first Christmas, there would have been no Calvary, no perfect sacrifice for our sin. Without the first Christmas, most of us would be without God. I love Christmas for all that and more.

Having said that, I don’t want to rush into the Christmas season bypassing Thanksgiving. Since I was a child, Fall has been my favorite time of year. The colorful fall leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows and candy corn in October, cooler days, turkey and pumpkin pie, and then of course my birthday in November were all my favorite things.

Thanksgiving Day is primarily an American holiday (the Pilgrims and all that) but setting aside a special time to give God thanks for all He has given and done for us should be so much bigger than just a single feast day. A day that is being diminished more and more as we all seem to want to rush right into the Christmas season. I want this year to be more. I want to really stop and consider what I have to be thankful for, as an American and as a Christian.

This nation was born because men and women came in search of a place they could worship God as their hearts desired. My ancestors left Wales in the 1700’s to escape the tyranny of religious persecution. They were Separatists and Separatists were not approved of by the Church of England therefore not by the Crown. Even in the colonies, there was disagreement about religion, but the idea that all men had the right to choose how to worship won over have an authorized state church. A nation that had true religious freedom was born and people from all over the world and from every ethnicity have come to participate. I give thanks that today I have the right to choose how and where to worship God.

This nation has been under attack from the beginning, but God has protected it and held it together. The War of 1812 tested the United States ability to defend itself but the nation proved itself strong. In 1865 the nation was tested again when it was divided regarding slavery, but freedom won and the nation was restored. Through two world wars, in Korea, Viet Nam and the Middle East, with God’s help and protection, the United States has defended itself and its friends against common enemies. For this I give thanks to God.

It’s easy to look around and see moral decay all around us. Unborn babies are killed at the mother’s convenience and it is legal in all 50 states. Sexual depravity is rampant and in our faces every time we turn on the television or if we’re not careful every time we use the internet. Drug addiction and alcoholism continue to tear families apart and destroy lives. Students are not allowed to carry Bibles on school campuses. It appears that God is no longer a part of this nation and that the Christian voice and influence is being silenced. But that is not all there is.

I know students who are standing up for God and for what they believe and are telling their friends about Jesus. I see good men and women in government trying to right some of the wrongs that have been done. I know men and women of God who are preaching and teaching the gospel, working to bring lost people to Jesus. Every week at our church, and other churches, men and women, boys and girls are giving their hearts to the Lord. For this I give God thanks.

God has always had a remnant of people He could work through to bring about the things He desires. In the Old Testament we have the account of Elijah, God’s prophet in Israel. Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal, the false god the people had begun to worship. He was on the run for his life because Jezebel had vowed to kill him. This mighty prophet started feeling sorry for himself and decided he just wanted to die because things were so bad. He thought he was the only one left serving God and he just wanted to give up. But God spoke to him saying, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19)

I may not always be able to see what God is doing around me, in my nation, in community, or in my family. But I know that He is at work. God brought this nation into existence for a reason and a purpose and He’s not done yet. For that I give thanks!

Psalm 107:1-9, 17-22, 43 (NKJV)

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.”
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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