Thanksgiving Thoughts

 (c) Can Stock Photo / marcelmooij
(c) Can Stock Photo / marcelmooij

“Enter[1] His gates[2] with thanksgiving[3] and His courts[4] with praise[5]. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)

The Psalms are filled exhortations (encouragement, urging) us to be thankful and to praise God. We can easily gloss over the many examples and frequent reminders that we should give thanks and praise to God. We can easily miss the essence and significance of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is coming up, a special day intended for Thanksgiving, declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Significantly, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in the middle of the Civil War, while it was still raging after one of the bloodiest battles our nation has ever seen.

The decades and generations that have passed may have dulled our memories of the brutal reality of the Civil War. More Americans died in the Civil War than any other war. Anyone who has seen a Civil War surgeon’s tolls can imagine the brutality of it. Beyond the physical toll, Americans experienced the collective anxiety of a nation coming apart at the seams. The Civil War divided a nation, divided families and threatened an uncertain future.

The Psalms were penned (many of them) by King David, who reigned at the height of the glory of the Jewish nation. But David’s life was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Continue reading

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Don’t Worry, Pray and Be Thankful

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“Be anxious[1] for nothing[2], but in everything by prayer[3] and supplication[4] with thanksgiving[5] let your requests be made known to God. And the peace[6] of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7

Verse 5 ends with the statement, “The Lord is near.” Then, it continues with, “Be anxious for nothing….” The Greek word translated “anxious” means to be literally drawn in opposite directions. It conveys the idea of being divided, pulled apart and distracted which is what worry does. Worry distracts us from faith and trust in God and His promises.

The word translated, “anxious,” is in the present imperative, meaning to stop (right now!) being anxious. Stop being divided in your affections. Stop being distracted and pulled in different directions. Stop it, right now! Stop, being distracted by worry and fear.

Because… the Lord is near! Continue reading

The Sacrifice of Praise

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“Through[i] Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice[ii] of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15)

Through Him! Through Jesus, we offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. Jesus is the instrument of our praise; He is the reason that we can praise God at all! Jesus who, stripped of all glory, came to us in humble estate as a child and lived among us as a man, showed us the image and exact representation of God in the form of one of us. Continue reading