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November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving clipart
Our local community paper placed this on the front page several years ago


Brooksyne reading podcast 11/28/13ListenListen to this message on your audio player. Note: Due to a continued weak voice that Stephen is dealing with, Brooksyne reads today's podcast. Stephen stepped outside and took this rare photo through the window since we normally read the podcast together!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations" (Psalm 100:4,5). "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).

Today is "Thanksgiving Day" here in America.  Although many will have turkey as is the custom I respectfully remind readers that it's not "Turkey Day" as many have come to call it. I know Canadians celebrate a Thanksgiving Day in October, but I'm not sure of the customs in other countries.

Steincross farm

It's a wonderful day in which many of us have a lot of great memories. Brooksyne and I especially remember gathering with our grandparents, aunts and uncles and many cousins on this day while growing up. At times there must have been nearly 50 people in that old farmhouse where my Uncle Gentry and Aunt Dora would host the entire family. However most of us kids found plenty to do outside, playing in the barn and fields. But the dinner bell signaled us back to the house for a huge meal. I am sure many of you have similar memories and for you this will be a special day of making more memories.

The specific day we call "Thanksgiving" may well have originated here in America at the time of the Pilgrims in 1621, but God's call for His people to be thankful goes back deep into the Bible period. In the various offerings ordained in the Law of Moses we find "thank offerings" commanded. Throughout Israel's long history recorded in the Bible we read of special periods of thanksgiving.

In the New Testament being thankful is commanded again and again such as this verse, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (
Colossians 3:17).  And in a heavenly glimpse found in Revelation we find the twenty-four elders, who are seated on their thrones before God, falling on their faces and worshipping God, saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign"  (Revelation 11:17)

But probably my favorite Scripture verse on the subject is the majestic call to worship in Psalm 100. This was written about three thousand years ago and yet absolutely remains the call for God's people today and every day.  "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."  Notice the repetition for emphasis: thanksgiving, praise, thanks, praise.  (This is known as Hebrew parallelism.)

Notice also the focal point of thankfulness is directed to the Lord.  In increasingly secular America there is a vague focus on being thankful without specifying to whom. The Scripture says, "Be thankful to Him and praise His name."

The basis for our praise and thanksgiving should bless us as much as it did the initial worshippers. The very next verse states, "For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."  Based on a 33 year generation cycle (easy math) that would be 90 generations since the time of David.  And there's no expiration date!  And this will be true all through eternity. His goodness, love and faithfulness endures and will do so forever and through all generations. We rejoice in that truth today and welcome you to join Brooksyne and me in thanks-living!

Be encouraged and thankful today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: In thanksgiving we lift our voices of praise from grateful hearts, Father, as we sing songs of praise and adoration to You, our blessed King.  Whether in seasons of prosperity or in seasons of want we find Your grace sufficient to meet each one of our needs.  You guide us, protect us, and You provide for us as we journey here below.  Every good and perfect gift comes from Your hand.  Thank You, faithful Father!  Amen.

We are aware as we prepare today's message that many regular readers are off schedule and will probably never see or read this devotional. As an email post it will be among the scores of email to sort through next week here in America when people return to work and college students return to school. Many are connected today with family and close friends and will share a big meal together. However we also know how many now use smart phones, tablets and other portable devices to stay connected!

However we do prepare and share today's message with a couple of people groups particularly on our hearts.

1) We consider many in other countries where this is just another day and you've come to expect a daily encouragement. Surely this a day where a call to thankfulness is always appropriate regardless of where we live and whether or not it's a "holiday". Some are in places where many of the material and temporal things that we will express thanks for here in America are unknown to them. Yet we share in common the infinitely more valuable spiritual blessings in Christ, which so many here in America have not experienced and will never even contemplate today.

2) We also consider hurting, lonely people that are on the email list or may read this message on the web. You may not feel connected today. You have faced loss and at times even feel despair. You wonder if you are loved and cared about, since God so often uses other humans as an expression of His own love and care. In the caring aspect of our face to face chaplain ministry Brooksyne and I consider those who just recently have expressed their hurts to us. And so many readers have written about the tremendous trials they face. We pray and sometimes weep as we read these emails. May any of you in this category truly find true encouragement and renewed hope as you read this perspective today.

Weber family 1991
Doing some reminiscing about extended family here's a photo from over twenty years ago of Stephen's family. Both his parents have departed this life to be with the Lord.

Tomorrow we will try to find an older photo of Brooksyne's family

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

Each year we can expect a touching program on Focus on The Family program. Listeners call in and share testimony of thanks.
They must select the most touching and compile them. As we complete today's message at 9:00AM here in Lancaster County we had this on in the background. What moving perspectives! Listen to the Thanksgiving program here.

"Be Magnified"  Video   Kim Hill

"In Everything Give Thanks"
 Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter

 Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

"I Want To Thank You"
 Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

"Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me"  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

"Thanksgiving Medley"  Video  Nice selection of grand old thanksgiving hymns.

"Now Thank We All Our God"  Video  Traditional version  Here's a bit more contemporary version with same lyrics.

"Come We Thankful People Come"  Video  
Traditional version  Here's a bit more contemporary version with same lyrics.

"I'm Forever Grateful"  Video  Willow Creek

"Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart"  Video  Don Moen

"When I Thank Him For What He Has Done"  Video  The Cathedrals

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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