Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Don’t Be Like Your Dog

Don’t Be Like Your Dog

“A little lad of six was invited out to lunch in a neighbor’s home. As soon as all were seated at the table the food was served. The little boy was puzzled, and, with a child’s frankness, asked, “Don’t you say a prayer before you eat?” The host was uncomfortable, and mumbled, “No, we don’t take time for that.” The lad thought silently for a while, and said, “You’re just like my dog! You start right in.””

Don’t be like your dog on Thanksgiving.  Remember to give thanks to the Lord.

One of my favorite things to do each holiday season is to watch Charlie Brown and his talented dog, Snoopy.  One of the best yearly reminders of God’s blessing to early America can be seen in Charles Schultz’ rendition of the Pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower, meeting Chief Massasoit and Squanto and sitting down to dinner and giving thanks to God for surviving the brutal and deadly winters they were unprepared for.  With little food, a majority of the settlers buried, and with great uncertainty facing the future, they stopped everything to praise and thank the Lord.

It has been said that being truly “thankful” involves “giving.”  After all, the word Thanksgiving is a compound word; and both “Thanks” and Giving” are words rich with meaning.  Grateful people are happy people.  Have you ever seen a complaining, grumbling person?  Sure.  Are they happy?  No.  We are most happy when we have thankful attitudes, grateful words, and gracious actions.  If you are consistently giving praise and thanks to the Lord, you will be less likely to be critical, self absorbed, and feeling negative about life.

We need to be like the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  The early Christians living in the city of Thessalonica were challenged and encouraged to give thanks in everything in life.  Every life stage.  Every circumstance.  Every weather event.  Every electoral cycle.  Every season of life.  Every start to the week.  In.  Everything.  Give.  Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Thank-you for reading these devotionals.  I am grateful for each reader and pray that these postings will be a help to you.

 

 

 

 

 

(Snoopy rendition by Charles Schulz, from internet search)

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How to Know You Are Not Thankful

How to Know You Are Not Thankful

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 106:1

For this posting, you may want to open your Bible to Psalm 106 to follow along in the text.

“A man writing at a post-office desk was approached by an elderly fellow who asked, “Sir, could I get you to address this postcard for me?”

The man did so gladly, and then agreed to another request, which was to write a message on the card, and to sign it. He then asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

The old fellow thought a moment, then said, “Yes. Add this at the end: ‘P.S. Please excuse the handwriting.”

All of us should be challenged with the idea of thankfulness. You can Become a thankful person today.  Early Israel is our example to learn from in Psalm 106.

Eight marks of thanklessness to the Lord include:

  • Forgetting the Mercy of God. 1-7
  • Lusting for More Stuff. 8-15
  • Envying Others’ Power. 16-23
  • Murmuring Behind Closed Doors. 25-26.
  • Making Idle Inventions. 28-29, 39

Please note that Inventions = deeds.  We can be very creative at evil action.  Our imagination can be dangerous. Imagination = “Framing of the Mind.” When we think of it – then our actions will follow:  See how these verses inform this truth:  Genesis 6:5, And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And in Psalm 81:12, So I gave them up unto their own hearts (“Imagination”) lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

Too Much Time on Our Hands could be the result of blessing or even the result of hard work.  When we abuse the time with evil, it is the product of an un-thankful heart.

“Idle Hands are the devils workshop.”  It is a true idea rooted in Bible truth. Voids of good activity are always filled with evil activity.  Fill your day with good actions.  Fill your heart with Bible Intention. Stage the platform of your life so that free time is used for good, not evil.

  1. It could be that being with other people prevents sin.
  2. It may be that reading the Bible prevents sin.
  3. It is possible that having routines and expectations could prevent sin.
  4. It is true that being thankful, daily, could prevent sin. “An Attitude of Gratitude” goes a long way.
  5. Idle inactivity often leads to idol activity!
  • Provoking Anger in Others. 29, 40, 32-33
  • Mixing Up Relationships. 34-36
  • Disregarding Human Life. 37-39

Check your life against this list of eight marks of thanklessness.  How did you do? You could get this right with God right now and have a fresh perspective on life.

 

WHAT should I DO about Un-thankfulness?  Good question.  Here are 3 helps:

  1. Stand for Right. 30-31
    1. Think Right. Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind (Imagination” in Hebrew) is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
    2. Do Right.  Phinehas was thinking right and therefore he did right.  As a result we know him even today as being a righteous man.  He was thankful to God so he was willing to stand for God and right.
  2. Seek Mercy. 44-46.  May the Lord not give us what we really deserve.  Remind yourself of His mercies each morning to help with your days perspectives.
  3. Say “Thank You.” 47-48.  In prayer – be purposefully thankful to God.

May the Lord help us to be a thankful people.  Not only in November – but in each day that He gives to us.  Be encouraged and challenged to live thankfully each day.

You can Become a thankful person today.

The Change Thanksgiving Makes in Us

The Change Thanksgiving Makes in Us

Do you enjoy the thanksgiving time of year?  Football games, awesome food, Christmas shopping season kickoff, and the great change in weather are terrific!  I always look forward to seeing Snoopy and the Charlie Brown characters make their way across the ocean on the Mayflower.  Does anyone have any plans for popcorn to replace the turkey dinner? Snoopy knows what I am talking about.

There is much more to the “attitude of gratitude” than all of the mostly superficial things we see.  It has been accurately stated that “The foundation of gratitude is the expectation of nothing.” This is an important proposition that each person must come to terms with if they are going to be a thankful person.  Today we will examine all of the “Thanksgiving Psalms” as found in the Book of Psalms.

“Perhaps you have heard of the man who wished to dispose of his home. He went to see a friend who was in the real estate business and, describing his house and grounds to the man, asked him to write an advertisement which he could put in the newspapers. His friend did as he was requested and then read what he had written to the home-owner.

“Read that again,” said the man who wanted to sell his house. His friend obliged, to hear this astonishing remark:  “The house is not for sale. All my life I’ve wanted a place just like the one you have described. But I never knew I had it until I heard what you have written about it.”

Once he gave an account for his blessings, he was able to be thankful.  It is true that the more we focus on the blessings of God, the greater a change that grows in us.

Being thankful produces great change in us.  Notice the many ways that giving thanks changes us…

Thanksgiving Changes Our Conversations. Psalm 26:7 says, That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.  What we speak about publicly and personally is affected by a thankful heart.  in what ways have you declared the blessings of God to others this week?

Thanksgiving Changes Our Commitments. Psalm 50:14 declares, Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:  The priorities of our life are all affected by the purpose for service we find in our hearts.  When we pay our vows to God, we are purposing to honor Him above all else.  Vows in the Bible were voluntary.  When we are thankful, we have no problem making a vow and then following through with that vow to the Lord.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Songs.  Psalm 69:30 teaches, I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. The word Magnify means increase the apparent or actual size of something. It has to do with increasing the importance of something.  The songs we sing should minimize us and maximize our estimation of God.  Jesus should be magnified and increased in value as we sing.

Psalms 147:7 also indicates praise in our singing:  Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:  Praise includes words of approval and admiration or worship. The song of our heart is affected when we are thankful to the Lord.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Awareness.  There are 3 areas that we can be aware of in connection with our God.

  • Be Aware He is Here. Psalm 95:2, Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
  • Be Aware He is There. Psalm 100:1, Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  In this Song of praise or thanksgiving, we find the Lord is in other places besides where we are.  Missionaries in other parts of the world realize His presence too!
  • Be Aware He is Near. Psalm 100:4, Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  The court of God is not too far from where you are today.  James 4:8 informs, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  

Have you noticed the Lord is these areas of your life this week?  Do you see Him at work in your life and in the lives of others.  Be aware of His presence and be thankful for his being here, there, and near.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Attitude. Psalm 107:22 challenges, And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. Sacrifices of thanksgiving are the result of the affection of the heart and the direction of the mind. Declaring the word of God with rejoicing indicates that the heart of the thankful person is joyful.  Our attitude is changed to reflect gratitude as we say “thank you to God.”  We are undeserving of anything good.  Everything good comes from God and our attitude must reflect this truth.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Prayer.  Meditate on Psalm 116:17 which states, I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.  How have you been praying lately?  Have you been asking God for more things?  It is good to ask!  Be sure to stop and say thank you before you ask for more.

“One morning there was a little puddle by the roadside. Some small brown birds gathered around it and took turns hopping in for a great time of splashing. Then they flew up in the bushes near by and sang gaily, as though pouring out their thanks for the nice bath they had found on a hot, dusty day.

Birds and animals seem to enjoy and appreciate every little blessing that comes their way—a cool drink, a bit of food, a little shade on a hot day, some shelter from a storm.  Don’t they rather shame us humans who take so much for granted in our lives? Suppose we try looking about us today to find the little things we should be thankful for.”

Being thankful produces great change in us.  As you consider Thanksgiving, be sure to give thanks to God for the ways in which He is changing you. 

Giving A Testimony

Giving a Testimony

I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day… Acts 26:2

A man named Don was faithful in every testimony service to stand up and say “I thank Jesus for my salvation.”  I do not remember a time when Don would not say something good about Jesus when given the opportunity.  His testimony encouraged several preachers I know to serve the Lord in ministry.  Perhaps you enjoy hearing people give their salvation story.  Sometimes church services are blessed when people rise and vocalize what God is doing in their lives.

A Testimony is evidence given in court from an eyewitness accounting details of a case.  It is proof that supports a claim or a fact.

A Christian Testimony is when we are telling others what God has done for and in our lives.  It is giving evidence that God is working in our life.  What can you say about God in your personal testimony?

Concerning testimonies John Stott wrote: “So much so-called “testimony” today is really autobiography and even sometimes thinly disguised self-advertisement, that we need to regain a proper biblical perspective. All true testimony is testimony to Jesus Christ, as he stands on trial before the world.”

What does your testimony say about Jesus?  Testimony is more than reputation.  Reputation has to do with how you are known to other people.  Testimony has to do with how you live and what you say about God to other people.

Here are 4 ideas to help you share your Christian testimony.

Talk about Jesus with Appropriate Answers.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Perhaps an entire life story is needed to be told to let others see Jesus in you, but generally, the most meaningful parts of what God has done in your life is all that is needed.

Essentially what you are saying with a salvation testimony is: “This is what God did for me.  Jesus saved me.”  In a service testimony, you are conveying: “This is how the Lord answered prayer. He can help you too.” Or “The Lord helped and enabled me.”

Give Insight with Considerate Conversation.  Colossians 4:6 teaches, Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Be careful not to pour salt on somebodies wounds.  Others who hear your testimony may be grief stricken about sin or a circumstance.  Be careful to consider their thoughts.

Others are in the middle of a similar lifestyle you used to live.  As you speak, they may be battling the same depression, drunkenness, or abuse that you endured.  Great details of sin need not be given.  When the apostle Paul gave his testimony, he did not include the gruesome details of Stephens death, or of the families that he tore apart.  Paul spoke in general terms.  We must avoid magnifying the depth of sin.  Exalt the forgiveness of God.

Show Thoughtfulness With Godly Preparation.  Proverbs 16:1 instructs: The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

You may have witnessed a similar story: “It was testimony night in the church. A lady got up and said, “We are living in a wicked land where sin is on every hand. I have had a terrible fight with the old devil all week.”  Where upon her husband, who was sitting glumly by her side said, “It’s not all my fault either; she’s tough to get along with.””

It is a good idea to ask the Lord to help you prepare your testimony beforehand.  Not every occasion for verbalizing a testimony will be formal, but for those formal settings, you should be prepared with what you will say.  Let God help you prepare ahead of time.  Of course, He can give you the words before and even during the testimony.

Think about your story of God working in your life.  Know how to tell His story in your life.  Rehearse the story.  The more you tell it– the easier it is for you to recognize you are blessed and it is easier to tell others.

Many Christians who battle depression are simply not “practiced up” at telling others about God working in their lives.  Be rehearsing what God has done.  It will help you in many ways.

Be Happy Using Joyful Expression.  Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!  Giving a testimony, the right way and the right time is a wonderful thing.  Recalling forgiveness of sin, victory in Jesus, and the power of the Gospel is terrific.  Remembering our future with Jesus is inspirational!

Smile, have your eyes open; speak confidently and joyfully about the Lord Jesus Christ.  Ask the Lord to help you have the joy of the Lord evident in your testimony.

With these testimony ideas in mind, I encourage you to rehearse your salvation testimony this week, and then relate the testimony to someone soon.

13 Thankfulness Thoughts for 2013

13 Thankfulness Thoughts for 2013

On this beautiful Thanksgiving morning, I am writing to say to you: “I thank the Lord for you.”  We are blessed at the Wilton Baptist Church.  The Apostle Paul, led of God, wrote something similar in Ephesians 1:15-19, which says: “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power…”

13 Thanksgiving Thoughts for 2013.  May the Lord help us to have a thankful heart every day.   

  1. The Lord and His Salvation.
  2. The Word and His Promises.
  3. Family and Friends.
  4. Church and Sunday School.
  5. Joyful Music and Faithful Fellowship.
  6. A free country and those who protect those freedoms.
  7. Food and harvested blessings.
  8. Warm homes and warm clothing.
  9. The Lord’s guidance and provision for ministry.
  10. The Lord’s servants in US and missionaries abroad.
  11. Safety in traveling and ability to travel.
  12. The resurrection for believers and those who have gone on before us.
  13. The rapture and fact that Christ is coming again!