Monday, November 30, 2020

 

THANKSGIVING IS NOT A DRUMSTICK

   Psalm 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

   1Thessalonians [GW] 5:16-22  Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God's will in Christ Jesus that you do this. Don't put out the Spirit's fire. Don't despise what God has revealed. Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil.

  Today’s title is a silly one, for Christian or not understands that thanksgiving is not about what is in hand . . . it’s from what is in our heart. A thankful attitude producing considerate words and actions is more than at any other time evidenced during times of difficulty, diminishment, or loss. These events are experienced small, mildly, moderately, or intensely by one and all. Experiencing such events tests us presenting option to shrink or grow.

  For the followers of the John 1:1 Word, Lord Jesus Christ, Logos living and written is our guide; for we as His people and sheep of His pasture are to give thanks for ever: showing forth praise to all generations. (Ps.79:13) For thoughtful consideration I share a personal review.

  Using eSword concordance we find 35 OT verses and 36 NT verses containing “thanks”. Reviewing them prayerfully is an edifying exercise. For me the most provocative being 1Chronicles 16:41 showing that people were chosen to give thanks, and in the NT reminding me that it is this “thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” (1Pet.2:19-20)

  Then, Jesus’ teaching: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Mt.6:9-13)

  Jesus later declaring: "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (ESV Mt.11:25-26; Lk.10:21)

  And Paul penned an important reminder: “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (ESV Heb.13-16)

  And one of my all time favorites pertaining to our being God’s 2Corinthians 5:14-21 agents of reconciliation: “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” (2Cor.2:14)

  So, whether delicious drumstick in hand or drumbeat painfully aural or silent, let us give thanks.

EBB4

Sunday, November 29, 2020

THANKSGIVING FOCUS

 

THANKSGIVING FOCUS

Gotquestions.org : "What should be the focus of Christians on Thanksgiving?"

 
The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for grain, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.
  These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Indians in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Indians in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 friendly Indians (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.
  From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.
  Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh's army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times [Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36)] involved remembering God’s provision and grace. Harvest and Tabernacles took place specifically in relation to God’s provision in the harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.
  In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:
  "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
  "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).
  Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our sin debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin in simple but sincere faith (John 3:16; Romans 3:19-26; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 2:8-10). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
  We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children.

Friday, November 27, 2020

THANKS BE TO GOD

 

THANKS BE TO GOD

 

  1Chronicles [ESV] 16:7-14 Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the LORD by Asaph and his brothers. Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Israel his servant, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. (Ps.105)

  1Thessalonians 5:16-19 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

  “Thanks be to God!” is another old colloquialism oft heard an era ago in my younger ears; It typically voiced when fortunate thing, unuttered when annoyance and hardship.

  David and Paul have it right in that thanksgiving is to include all the Lord’s judgments and life events whether pleasing to Happiness Assessment, or not.

  Giving thanks in various circumstances is a common mark of the Christian trusting God; selective thanksgiving is not. This joy being a fruit of the Spirit; limiting or lacking said joy resulting in the suppression of God’s Holy Spirit within the believer. (Gal.5:19-26)

  Unthankfulness in and for all circumstances being (most?) common practice of hindering the work of His Holy Spirit within, especially as compared to that mentioned by Paul in 1Cor.6:15-20. This restraining practice frequently unrecognized because of lack of studiousness (or worse yet, known about, but not acknowledged or denied) resulting in Christians wondering and wandering oxen-like, shamefully murmuring about life as we stumble. (2Tim.2:15-16)

  I know that the above paragraph is harsh on my part, but, having stumbled, speak it I must for I care very much about Christian brethren unnecessarily stressed and bumbling about because of ungodly attitude and practice. “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” ESV 1Cor.10:9-13; also note 1Cor.11:26-32.

  While gathering for Thanksgiving, I encourage you to truly make it a blessed time of godly thanksgiving, expressing gratitude without the narrowness of this world’s happiness standard. 

  Sincerely yours, continuing endeavor to practice Christ’ way.

EBB4

Thursday, November 26, 2020

A WONDERFUL PROBLEM

 

A WONDERFUL PROBLEM

  As others have been doing, lately I’ve been thinking what to share this day. As the mental list grew I thought I don’t want to leave anything out! But how not to?!!

  Then it struck me a few minutes ago: What a wonderful problem to have!

  Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God's will in Christ Jesus that you do this. Don't put out the Spirit's fire. Don't despise what God has revealed. Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good. (GW 1Thes.5:16-21)

EBB4

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

PRIDE

 

PRIDE

  Egocentric pride is a major stumbling block in life.  This I know.

  Recently I’ve observed racial pride, an attitude sinful regardless of skin tone.

  Ever wary of slip sliding in reverse, today I reexamined where my pride is parked. The following essay being a helpful review.

EBB4

 

GotQuestions.org: "What does the Bible say about pride?"

 
There is a difference between the kind of pride that God hates (Proverbs 8:13) and the kind of pride we can feel about a job well done (Galatians 6:4) or the kind of pride we express over the accomplishment of loved ones (2 Corinthians 7:4). The kind of pride that stems from self-righteousness or conceit is sin, however, and God hates it because it is a hindrance to seeking Him.
  Psalm 10:4 explains that the proud are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts are far from God: “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” This kind of haughty pride is the opposite of the spirit of humility that God seeks: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize their utter spiritual bankruptcy and their inability to come to God aside from His divine grace. The proud, on the other hand, are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God or, worse, that God should accept them as they are because they deserve His acceptance.
  Throughout Scripture we are told about the consequences of pride. Proverbs 16:18-19 tells us that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” Satan was cast out of heaven because of pride (Isaiah 14:12-15). He had the selfish audacity to attempt to replace God Himself as the rightful ruler of the universe. But Satan will be cast down to hell in the final judgment of God. For those who rise up in defiance against God, there is nothing ahead but disaster (Isaiah 14:22).
  Pride has kept many people from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. Admitting sin and acknowledging that in our own strength we can do nothing to inherit eternal life is a constant stumbling block for prideful people. We are not to boast about ourselves; if we want to boast, then we are to proclaim the glories of God. What we say about ourselves means nothing in God’s work. It is what God says about us that makes the difference (2 Corinthians 10:18).
  Why is pride so sinful? Pride is giving ourselves the credit for something that God has accomplished. Pride is taking the glory that belongs to God alone and keeping it for ourselves. Pride is essentially self-worship. Anything we accomplish in this world would not have been possible were it not for God enabling and sustaining us. “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). That is why we give God the glory—He alone deserves it.

 

Recommended Resource: Landmines in the Path of the Believer: Avoiding the Hidden Dangers by Charles F. Stanley

Monday, November 23, 2020

THE NEVER ENDING EARTHLY STORY

 

THE NEVER ENDING EARTHLY STORY 

Romans [ISV] 12:1-2 I therefore urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God, for this is the reasonable way for you to worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect. 

  From birth to death people live at various maturity levels. There is however no ultimate completely mature level for anyone . . . Jesus, God Incarnate, excepting. For all others, myself included, maturation is a journey; with progress determined by compliant effort, lack thereof, or deviation. This being something I discovered in primarily studying God’s Word, by the nudging by His Holy Spirit, dear Ann’s example and teaching, wise mentors, and John Bunyan’s PILGRIMS PROGRESS. And my stumbling immaturities.

  Lately, with my ongoing primary goal being mature development pleasing to the Lord and thereby helpful to others, I’ve been thoughtfully reading Biblical counselor June Hunt’s HOPE For The HEART series. At $1.99 each plus S&H I acquire the books from Christian Book Distributors, christianbook.com, is a good inexpensive source for Bibles, devotionals, etc.  1-800-247-4726 or POBox 7000 Peabody MA 01961-7000

  Thus far I’ve benefitted from prayerfully reading the topics highlighted in blue. Hopefully doing so will be manifested in exemplifying God’s first and second commandments.

EBB4

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

HOPE For The HEART, Biblical Christ-centered counseling by June Hunt.  4x7 inches, 96 pages each. Easy to read & understand. Each topical book is divided in four sections:  1. Definitions. 2. Characteristics. 3. Causes. 4. Solutions.

I’ve read the ones in blue and am going to read them all.


Adultery

Aging Well   

Alcohol & Drug Abuse     

Anger            

Anorexia & Bulimia

Boundaries

Bullying                                  

Caregiving   

Chronic Illness & Disability

Codependency                   

Conflict Resolution

Confrontation                                              

Considering Marriage

Critical Spirit                                                                          

Decision Making                

Depression 

Domestic Violence            

Dysfunctional Family

Envy & Jealousy

Fear               

Financial Freedom

Forgiveness

Friendship

 

 

 

 

 

Gambling

Grief              

Guilt               

Hope             

Loneliness   

Manipulation                      

Marriage      

Overeating  

Parenting

Perfectionism

Procrastination

Reconciliation                     

Rejection     

Self-Worth

Sexual Integrity                  

Singleness   

Spiritual Abuse                   

Stress            

Success Through Failure

Suicide Prevention

Trials

Verbal & Emotional Abuse

Victimization                                                 


====================================================================================

Sunday, November 22, 2020

THANKGIVING FOCUS

 

THANKSGIVING FOCUS

Gotquestions.org : "What should be the focus of Christians on Thanksgiving?"

 
The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for grain, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.
  These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Indians in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Indians in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 friendly Indians (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.
  From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.
  Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh's army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times [Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36)] involved remembering God’s provision and grace. Harvest and Tabernacles took place specifically in relation to God’s provision in the harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.
  In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:
  "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
  "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).
  Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our sin debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin in simple but sincere faith (John 3:16; Romans 3:19-26; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 2:8-10). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
  We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children.

+++

"Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow."
- Ronald Reagan, October 13, 1986

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WHERE TO FIND IT IN THE BIBLE, The Ultimate A to Z Resource, by Ken Anderson, indicates 17 “Thanksgiving” passages in God’s Word.