A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Message summary: 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".
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"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).
Note: In the first part of today’s message we each share some memories of Thanksgiving Day. Scroll down to the dinner bell for the Bible exposition and teaching.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son
Today is “Thanksgiving Day” here in America. Canadians celebrate a Thanksgiving Day in October, but I’m not sure of the customs in other countries. It’s a great time of the year to especially be thankful and count our blessings. However we should, of course, always be thankful! Turkey is the traditional meat for the day. Although most will eat turkey according to custom I respectfully remind readers that it’s not “Turkey Day” as many have come to call it.
For some this year will be very different with many cancelling or limiting gatherings so customary in your family. Many of us have a lot of great childhood memories of Thanksgiving Day gatherings with extended family. Let us each share ours as a prompt for you to do the same:
I (Stephen) remember gathering with our immediate family, grandparents, aunts and uncles and many cousins on a farm in southwestern Missouri near Harwood. Counting up now from memory at times there must have been around 30-40 people gathered in that old farmhouse where my Uncle Gentry and Aunt Dora would host the entire family. My grandparents had a small house that was not suitable for large gatherings. I recall the wonderful aromas coming out of that country kitchen and all the ladies working together to prepare our Thanksgiving feast. I can still see in my mind's eye the aunts and my grandma in aprons! The men would often go across the road for some high powered rifle shooting practice or they would gather around the tiny (by today’s standards) black and white TV to watch a football game.
Since that was in an age before we had handheld devices to stare at and tinker with most of us kids found plenty to do outside, playing in the barn and fields. Uncle Gentry would often take us on a wagon ride behind his Allis-Chalmers tractor. But the dinner bell signaled us back to the house for a huge meal.
Brooksyne remembers often gathering with her Aunt Ruby and Uncle Billy and their family in Harrison, Arkansas. Not only turkey but ham would be offered since her dad, Brooklyn, refused to eat poultry. Having worked on poultry farms in his younger years he had his fill of cleaning up after the birds and never partook of the delicious meat that others of us enjoy. Not only did Brooklyn refuse to eat the poultry but he didn’t even permit the family to say "chicken" at the dinner table. It’s a good thing for our poultry farmers, including a number of Brooksyne’s relatives, that most people serve chicken and turkey on their dinner table on a regular basis!
The specific day we call “Thanksgiving” 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 our favorite Scripture verse on the subject of thanksgiving 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 that 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 mean we are 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 us today in thanks-living!
Be encouraged and thankful today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, in thanksgiving we lift our voices of praise from grateful hearts, 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.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Give Thanks" Video Maranatha! Music
"We Gather Together" Video Grace Community Church
"Thank You Jesus For the Cross" Video Vertical Worship
"Great Are You Lord" Video All Sons & Daughters
Yesterday afternoon was warm enough for a ride along Northwest Lancaster County River Trail along the Susquehanna River beginning in Columbia through Marietta and to Riverfront Park.
Brooksyne's note: Stephen is riding solo these days as I continue to recuperate from my surgery. I am experiencing a very nice recovery, no setbacks, and pain is gone (of course the exception being the episodes of sneezing or coughing that racks your entire body). My biggest challenge is not bending for six weeks or lifting 10# or more for three months (admittedly I've broken the bending rule more than I like to admit cause I just forget). Stephen and Ester have been picking up after me since I drop a lot of things during a day's time. I got out for the first time in two weeks yesterday and picked up a few items in the grocery store. I dropped a small item on the floor and had to leave it since no one was around to help me out (that was embarrassing). Perhaps my experience will help me be less judgmental if I see an item lying on the floor in a store. (I can just say to myself, "Maybe the customer was restricted from bending over" rather than "What a slob!") Thank you, dear folks, for your many prayers and well wishes - it has blessed me and aided in my speedy recovery.
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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