Tag Archives: Thanksgiving Day

Pilgrim

Signing of the Mayflower Compact, November 11, 1620

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. (Psalm 39:12)

On Thanksgiving Day[1] we remember the Pilgrims and the first celebration of Thanksgiving. Sadly, most Americans, including many Christians, cannot explain the significance of the day. For most, the day is a time for gathering together with family and friends to feast on turkey with all the fixings and pass out from tryptophan over a football game. On the following day, everyone swarms the malls and outlet stores to stock up on Black Friday bargains for the next big holiday. For these people, Pilgrims are people with funny clothes, stovepipe hats, big buckles on their shoes and guns with bell-shaped muzzles. Pilgrims look cute on greeting cards or as seasonal decorations, but what is a pilgrim?

Without rehashing what can easily be found with a quick Google search or repeat what I have written in the past, allow me give a different perspective on the word “pilgrim.” Dictionary.com defines a pilgrim as (1) a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion, (2) a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place, (3) an original settler in a region, (4) one of the band of Puritans who founded the colony of Plymouth, Mass., in 1620, or (5) a newcomer to a region or place, especially to the western U.S.

Those fitting the fourth definition of the word celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day in 1621 after surviving a harsh winter with inadequate shelter where almost half of their company died from exposure to the elements. The Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution. These Pilgrims traveled to a foreign place (Definition 2) and were newcomers to the place where they landed (Definition 5). However, it cannot be said that they were the original settlers in the region (Definition 3) because the Patuxet tribe lived on the land before the Pilgrims arrived. Nor can it be said that they came to a sacred place (America) as an act of religious devotion, albeit they desired “the advancement of the Christian faith.”

About a month ago, my wife and I visited the Holy Land as pilgrims (Definition 1). We traveled a very long distance from Dallas, Texas to Israel and visited many sacred places there because of our devotion to the Word of God and our desire to visit the places we read about in the Bible. Our pilgrimage served to bring God’s Word to life in our minds and to form a stronger bond and love for the land of Israel and especially for the city where God has placed His name. June and I were pilgrims!

As Christians, we are all pilgrims. Regardless of where on earth we dwell, we are strangers and sojourners in this world – pilgrims; “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). The Greek word translated “conversation” is politeuma and it means “community” or “citizenship.” Our true citizenship and our allegiance are in heaven; therefore, it is right for us to feel out of place in this world. If not, we might need to take a second look at our passport! “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. … And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15, 17).  Knowing that this world is passing away, I am “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:12-13).

As a pilgrim, I yearn with an aching heart for the Lord to return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and make this world right again. Then I will be home, no longer a pilgrim. In the meantime, fellow pilgrim, we can thank Him for all His care and provision as we travel this alien land and for the assurance that our real home is with Him.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Notes:


[1]  “A Day to Give Thanks” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2015/11/26/a-day-to-give-thanks/

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Thankful to Whom?

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Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:13)

It is that time of year again where almost everyone says they are thankful for something. At least, we are expected to be thankful. I enjoy browsing through my Facebook newsfeed and reading all the things for which my “friends” are thankful. I read comments like:

  • I am thankful for my husband/wife.
  • I am thankful for my family.
  • I am thankful for my kids.
  • I am thankful for my home.
  • I am thankful for my friends.
  • I am thankful for my health.
  • I am thankful for my job.

Of course, there is always the spiritual one that will remember to be thankful for Jesus, or for their salvation.

Whenever I receive something from someone, whether a gift or simply a kind gesture, I say “thank you” to that individual – the giver. I don’t say, “I am thankful for the gift” or “I am thankful that the door was held open for me.” No, I thank the person.

To be thankful for something one must recognize the originator of the benefit. Who gave you that husband or wife? Who gave you that family, children, home, friends, health or job? After giving that some thought, some may conclude that all those things came about through their own effort. After all one has to attract and win the affections of a good mate. Or they may surmise that their children are the “product” of their marital union. Home, job, friends, are all products of one’s own effort. Good health? Well maybe that is just the luck of the draw or the result of good genes. So, for what does one have to be grateful? To whom must one give thanks? To self or to dumb luck? To thank yourself or dumb luck would be silly!

If we are to be thankful, we must recognize the originator of the gifts or “blessings.” Ultimately that is God. Without God, there is really nothing for which to be thankful. For starters, without God to give you life, you are nothing more than a leech on the planet sucking out of it all that you can get in order to survive. Who is there to thank? The Doxology exhorts:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
 

If you are truly thankful for what you have, the thanks must go to the Giver. I thank God for giving me life, and for the blessing of good health. I thank God for giving me a loving wife. I thank God for giving me sons and grandchildren. I thank God for my extended family, especially those who are “twice” family. I thank God for giving me the ability to work and earn a living and for providing a job where I can exercise those abilities. I thank God for my home and all the material blessings that fill it. I thank God for surrounding me with good friends and for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank God for Jesus, my Savior, and for the sure promise of an eternal home in Glory. I thank God.

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Thank You, Lord

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Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  (James 1:17)

Name one thing – anything – that you have that does not come from God. How much time do you need to think about it? In the meantime, think about this:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28)

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:14-16)

Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee. (Job 10:11-13)

The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. (Job 33:4)

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. (Psalm 36:7-9)

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (Isaiah 42:5)

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (Acts 17:24:25)

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Genesis 2:22)

Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. (Psalm 128:3)

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. (Proverbs 18:22)

House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD. (Proverbs 19:14)

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: (Genesis 16:2)

And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. (Genesis 17:15-16)

So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. (Genesis 20:17)

And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. (Genesis 48:9)

Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORDFor this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him (1 Samuel 1:19-20 )

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 113:9)

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (Psalm 127:3-4)

Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. (Proverbs 17:6)

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. (Exodus 16:15)

For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. (Deuteronomy 10:17-18)

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. (Psalm 104:14-15)

Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 136:25-26)

The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:14-16)

I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: (Job 5:8-10)

Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. (Psalm 147:7-9)

Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. (Jeremiah 5:24)

Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:16-17)

He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45)

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (Matthew 6:26)

And I commanded you at that time, saying, The LORD your God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war. (Deuteronomy 3:18)

And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. (Deuteronomy 26:9)

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) (2 Corinthians 9:8-10)

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (1 Timothy 6:17)

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)

Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I [God] will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like. (2 Chronicles 1:12)

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Psalm 104:24)

Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. (Psalm 112:3)

Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 5:19)

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:21)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5)

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3)

And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation. (Psalm 35:9)

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)

I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.  (Isaiah 43:11)

Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me. (Hosea 13:4)

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18)

[Jesus says] Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11)

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (John 6:32-33)

[Jesus said] I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:10-11)

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. (Ephesians 5:2)

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (Titus 2:11)

Were you able to think of anything that does not come from God? Everything comes from God and He pours out His riches on believers and non-believers alike. Even His free gift of salvation is available to all, but unlike the sun and rain that fall on all alike, the gift of salvation must be accepted as a matter of choice. Thank God from Whom ALL blessings flow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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