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Thursday, November 24, 2022
"Giving Thanks To The Lord!"
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" (Psalm 100). "We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds" (Psalm 75:1).
Podcast not prepared today (Brooksyne stressed at getting meal ready!)
"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). "To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise" (Daniel 2:23) "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).
This morning we went to a Thanksgiving service at our church. Since early 2017 we have attended a very large church, though most of our lives we attended and pastored smaller churches. One of the more personalized settings we miss in our services due to the large size are the personal testimonies, prayer requests and spontaneity. However we find this need met in our smaller Sunday School class of about 40 and through many other venues within the church.
In the Thanksgiving service there is a smaller crowd and opportunities are given for spontaneous testimonies of thankfulness from those in attendance. This morning we were touched by each testimony and in many of them there were stories of healings, stories of salvation some as recent as six years ago and others as long as nearly 80 years ago. Each one so very special to our hearts.
Thanksgiving is a great day of the year to especially be thankful and count our blessings. In fact we sang the classic Thanksgiving hymn, "Count Your Blessings" which really is a song that could be based on Psalm 75:1 "...We recount Your wondrous deeds". We should, of course, always be thankful but this days set aside gives opportunity to do so in a formal and festive way. 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!
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.
When Daniel was given the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, "To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise". Our God is always worthy of our thanks and praise!
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.
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).
We rejoice in these truths today and welcome you to join us today in thanks-living!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
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
"Psalm 100" Video Chris Tomlin
"Psalm 100" Video Joshua Sherman, Charity Gayle, Steven Musso
"Living In The Overflow" Video Charity Gayle & Joshua Sherman (This song based on yesterday's message was suggested by one of our readers)
Reader's Mail: We were greatly encouraged last night when an email came from a reader with specificity of the way our writings have been of blessing to him. In regard to yesterday's message he wrote:
Your message today, as is regularly the case, was very impactful. I, like so many others I suppose, have allowed the history of life’s challenges to hold me at ransom, particularly in younger years, robbing both God and myself of the many blessings we have in Him. It is through the grace of God however, that most of that for me has changed over the last two decades.
You should know that some of this was directly attributable to your steady and impactful diet of Daily Encouragements. It was at least 20 years ago that I needed some vital words of inspiration to pull me out of the mire. That is when I found the Daily Encouragement on line. This occasion in my life came with what seemed to be the harshest of pain which attempted to purge me of all of the significant pride that had steadily grown in my life.
And as painful as that period was with what seemed to be no shortage of treasonous thoughts, God, over time, continued to do a work in this son of his and restore him and this family in a way I never imaged possible. For that I am so very grateful. I have seen firsthand the mercy of a God that wanted so much more for me. I am so grateful that he did not give up on me, that he insisted on being with me even when I was intolerable. God not only tolerated me, he redeemed me over and over again through the many ways that only our great God can do.
While I so relate to the inability to stay focused and regularly drift from my praise of God at any given moment (even in church at times), I count it a blessing for these reminders to try and continue, in spite of the frailty that seems to creep in further with time. Psalm 103:2 reminded me of a song I like called “Living in the Overflow” by People & Songs. I hope that if you don’t know it, you give it a listen if you have a moment. In it, I am reminded to “Bless the Lord”, as I am truly living in the overflow. And aren’t we all?
"All People That On Earth Do Dwell" Video Keith Getty and the Sing! Conference Choir
"Psalm 100" Video The Corner Room
"Shout For Joy (Psalm 100)" Video North Central University
Today it's just the three of us home for our Thanksgiving meal. We had an invitation from my brother Pat to join his family in the Lehigh Valley but felt with our two new dogs we should not be gone long as they are still adjusting, especially in regard to "potty issues"!
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. 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!
Special Thanksgiving Resources
As we have for many years we want to offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will leave these resources up through Thanksgiving Day.
"Thankful For The Thorns": A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns" (printable webpage).
"A Thanksgiving family exercise" (pdf). We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.
A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (printable webpage) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.
A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)
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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 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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