Monthly Archives: November 2021

Give Thanks

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Beginning around the middle of September, stores started putting out displays for Halloween – candy, costumes, and yard decorations. Not long after that Christmas displays started appearing right alongside the Halloween displays.

My wife likes watching cooking and baking shows on TV. All during this time, the baking competitions were about making Halloween cakes and cookies with “scary” themes. Once Halloween passed, the same shows switched over to Christmas baking competitions.

During all of this time, Thanksgiving Day got little or no attention. It seems to me that the two most self-indulgent holidays received all the glory and the one day dedicated to the idea of giving thanks to God for all His blessings to us went largely ignored.

However, that is to be expected considering the self-centered nature of fallen man. From the beginning,[1] man succumbed to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.[2]

God’s Word teaches that we should redirect our inward focus and turn it to God “from whom all blessings flow” in an attitude of thanksgiving. Indeed, our beginning verse teaches “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

“Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name” (2 Samuel 22:50, Psalm 18:49). This is the first appearance of the phrase “give thanks” in the Bible. King David had just won victory over all of Israel’s enemies, including his own son Absalom. This passages is found in 2 Samuel 22, which is one entire psalm. In it, David focuses on his dependance on God. Never is his focus inward or in his own accomplishments, but rather, he gives all the glory to God because of all that God had done, “Therefore” David gives thanks to the Lord. Not only does he give thanks to God personally, but he will give his thanks “among the heathen.” He does not keep his gratitude to God as a “private” matter, but he will let the world know the greatness God.

“Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 30:4). God’s greatest attribute is His holiness. “Holiness” means to be “set apart.” God is far above and beyond us. In theological terms, God is wholly “other.” In other words, God is unlike anything we can know or understand. Yet, we are created in His image.[3] And He has made Himself known to us through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, we can know God. When we remember this, we can give thanks that Holy God cares enough about us to send His Son to save us from our sins

“Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare” (Psalm 75:1). The psalmist twice repeats the phrase “we give thanks” to emphasis the importance of giving thanks. Why? Because His name is near, i.e., He is near to us. “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:8) How can we know? His “wonderous works declare” it. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). We live in a cursed world, and even so, it is a beautiful creation. When we consider all that God has created, we can be thankful for all that He has made.

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Note the obligation: “We are bound … always.” We should give thanks to God for our brothers and sisters in Christ, “beloved of God.” We share a common bond. We are “beloved of the Lord, chosen to salvation, sanctified by the Holy Spirit,” and we share the “belief of “the truth.”[4]

It is God’s desire that we have a heart of gratitude and be thankful for the blessings He bestows on us, but He does not “demand” it of us. “And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will. (Leviticus 22:29). The psalmist says, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works” (Psalm 26:7). “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High” (Psalm 50:14). “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:2). “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4). And the Apostle Paul writes, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).

Christmas is coming. The TV and internet commercials, store displays, and all forms of attention getters have been reminding us since before Halloween. Maybe we should take time and offer Thanksgiving to God for His gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His free gift of salvation “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Entering the Christmas season with a heart of thanksgiving will give us the right perspective.

Notes:


[1]  Genesis 3:6

[2]  1 John 2:16

[3]  Genesis 1:26-27

[4]   John 14:6

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Holidays, Thanksgiving, Theology

It’s Not Even Thanksgiving!

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

This time of year gives rise to one of my pet peeves, and that is the commercialization of Christmas. Often you can find in stores Christmas displays right alongside Halloween displays. The anticipated celebration of Jesus’ birth coexisting with what is arguably a celebration of demonic activity.

By now, all the Halloween decorations are down and you can get great deals on leftover Halloween candy. Christmas decorations dominate the scene now. Television commercials remind us that Christmas is just around the corner. The news media are raising public anxiety over the fear that all our Christmas presents will not arrive on time because they are all on container ships anchored off the California coast. That could very well happen, but so what?

In all the concern over Christmas it appears that everyone has forgotten all about Thanksgiving. What does this say about us as a society? It seems that we focus more on frivolity and materialism than we do on gratitude for the things we already have.

The Bible says much about giving thanks to God for the blessings we have. It also speaks much about frivolity and materialism. It calls these things idolatry. God takes a very dim view of idolatry. Of course, some may say, “Well Christmas is about Jesus.” Is it? Is Jesus the focal point of Christmas or is it more giving and receiving gifts? All the while, we forget to thank God for all the blessings He has already lavished on us.

Why not start celebrating the true gift of Christmas, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by first being thankful to God for all He has already given us and for His special gift of the Baby Jesus. So what if all the Christmas presents remain on container ships anchored off the California coast! The Bible says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, emphasis mine).

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Christmas, Current Events, Holidays, Random Musings, Thanksgiving, Theology

Take No Thought

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25)

Last week the Wuhan Bug arrived at our house. I felt it first. It came on me Saturday evening in the form of a low-grade fever. I felt my ears “burn” as I worked on a sermon that I was supposed to deliver the following day at an assisted living facility. I called Linda, the lady in charge of the services, to let her know the situation. At that time, I was not aware that I had been “bitten” by the bug, but knowing the precautions taken at the facility to keep the residents safe, I felt obligated to report my condition. Linda, our leader, was a little distraught because she did not have a substitute on such short notice. So, I promised that if my fever left, I would show up and fulfill my obligation. The next morning, I was ready to preach.

I battle allergies constantly, especially this time of the year. So, for me, what I experienced was “normal.” My wife June, on the other hand started feeling bad Monday. That evening, she took her temperature and it was over 100º. The next day she called in sick to work and made an appointment to see a doctor. She was tested and diagnosed with COVID-19. Naturally, when she tested positive, they called me in and I tested positive as well. Keep in mind that I was not “feeling” sick during all of this time, except for the low-grade fever on Saturday night. The doctor prescribed an infusion of monoclonal antibodies and a medical team came to our house on Wednesday to administer the infusion to us. Following the infusion, I experienced chills and high fever the next two days. June had a similar experience, but after that, we both felt much better.

Our experience with the Wuhan Bug was a mild one compared to some. God made each one of us unique. Each one of us has a one-of-a-kind genetic makeup so that viruses affect us differently. One of the reasons I oppose the COVID injection being pushed by our government is that it is designed to manipulate your DNA. In simple terms, the mRNA injected into your body is supposed to “train” your God-created DNA into fighting of the spike protein of the coronavirus. The scientists that developed this “gene therapy” are ignorant (compared to the Designer and Creator of DNA), fallen, humans who are trying to manipulate what God has created. We must remember that these scientists, for the most part, believe that humans evolved from some common ancestor with ape, therefore they have a low regard for the notion that we were created in the image of God. I could go on, but that is not the purpose of this article.

From the beginning of the “plandemic” June and I have rejected the fearmongering propaganda surrounding it. We decided from the onset that we would trust God rather than men. Some will argue that God gave men intelligence to develop medicines and vaccines to help improve the health of mankind. To a large extent, I agree. In the past, medicines and vaccines have been developed from substances God created in nature. Past remedies stemmed from men “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” These new so-called mRNA vaccines are none of that. They are all developed from manmade substances which attempt to alter or manipulate what God designed and created. You are welcome to disagree, and you have every right to be wrong, but I digress.

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He stressed, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” The Greek word translated “thought” is merimnaō and it means “to be anxious about” something. The word “anxious” carries the connotation of “sickening worry.” This Wuhan Bug has many people I know and love living in fear, too afraid to come out of their homes for fear of being infected. June and I refuse to live like that without presuming upon God for our safety. We understood that we could be infected, but we also trusted that God would see us through – and He did!

Jesus says to “take no thought for your life.” The Greek word translated “life” here is not the common Greek words translated as “life.” Rather, it is the Greek word, psuchē, which means “breath” or “spirit.” It carries the connotation of the “soul,” which is the very essence of one’s being and existence. A Christian, of all people, should not be worried or anxious about his life knowing that, as Paul said, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8, emphasis mine). If you claim to be a Christian and lack that confidence, then you may need to reassess your position before God.

Jesus goes on to list material things over which we should not worry, but He tied all these back to what He stated earlier. Note that He begins the verse with “Therefore I say unto you.” Anytime we see “therefore” in the Bible, we need to see what it’s “there for.” In this case, Jesus had spoken of storing up treasures in heaven.[1] He stressed the folly of accumulating treasures here on earth, because it decays or can be stolen. “Treasures” can be anything that we value – our home, material possessions, family, time, work, life, etc. These are all temporal in nature. Jesus instructed that we should “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20).

I really long for the day when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis mine). I am shocked when I run into Christians that do not share my enthusiasm for the Lord’s return, and in fact, they hope that He does not return anytime soon because they have so many treasures here on earth that they are unwilling to turn loose. Jesus reminds us, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). Where is your treasure?

Divided loyalties weaken the Christian and make him susceptible to fear and worry. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). You can either put your trust in and serve the things of this world (“mammon”) or you can place your trust in God for His provision knowing that your life, your psuchē, is in His strong and loving hands. If your trust is in Him, the Wuhan Bug should not scare you.

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 6:19-24

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Creation, Current Events, Eschatology, Gospel, Origins, Random Musings, Rapture, Salvation, Science, Second Coming of Christ, Theology