25 Nov

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving was a celebration that came with a great cost. Of the 102 passengers who left Plymouth, England, on the Mayflower in September 1620, many died on the long journey for religious freedom. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 in Plymouth Colony in Virginia. Through the years, the Thanksgiving celebration continued.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving. In 1941, during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, Congress declared the fourth Thursday in November as the national day for celebrating Thanksgiving. The day is rich in family tradition and national pride. Not only do we have the opportunity to give thanks verbally, but also we have the occasion to honor Thanksgiving daily in action. “Thanksgiving is after all a word of action.” (W.J. Cameron)

Thanksgiving through Action

Thank God for His unspeakable gift.
Herald His greatness.
Abide in His care.
Noise abroad His love.
Keep His Word.
Serve Him with gladness.
Give Him your best.
Intercede in prayer.
Vanish temptation and doubt.
Invest your talents for Him.
Nourish the heart with hymns of praise.
Glory always in God’s promises.

19 Nov

“Off Key” in a Strange Land

Music is a means of expressing the thoughts of the heart. Every believer who has trusted Christ for salvation has a reason to have a song of thanksgiving and praise in the heart. The song writer calls it a song of deliverance of courage of strength. Since in this life, we still do battle with the sin nature of the old man, we sometimes allow our song to be muffled or silenced because spiritually we get “off key.”

In Psalm 137, the exiled Jews taken to Babylon found themselves to be “off key” in a strange land. Jerusalem had been destroyed along with the magnificent Temple of Solomon. In discouragement, they hanged their harps on the willow trees beside the river of Babylon. Their captors mocked them and asked them to sing one of the songs of Zion. The exiled Jews replied: “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:4)

What an opportunity here was lost. What a difference if the Jews has immediately reached for their harps and even through tears engaged their captors in song. Was God no longer their God? Was heaven no longer a hope? The words of spiritual songs planted in the heart give assurance, hope, strength, comfort, praise, faith, joy, and courage. How inspiring are these examples in song:

“Burdens are lifted at Calvary.”
“Just as I am, Thou wild receive.”
“My Lord’s a rock in Him I hide.”
“Great is Thy faithfulness.”
“To God be the glory.”
“Under His wings, I am safely abiding.”
“To the old rugged cross I will ever be true.”
“My hope is in the Lord.”
“Lord, I am coming home.”
“Tell me the old, old, story.”
“O to be like, Thee, blessed Redeemer.”
“It is no secret what God can do.”
“Lord, I need You.”
“He keeps me singing.”
“It is well with my soul.”

As we journey through this “strange land”, music can be a key that nourishes the soul until we reach Home. Keeping a melody of faith in the heart will keep us “on key” in praise to God.

16 Nov

Victory in Stillness

There is such a soothing stillness in autumn days. The poet Hood described it as being like “silence speaking to silence.” There is indeed much benefit in just being still and casting all concerns on God as He has invited us to do. It is difficult to hear God speaking when the soul is overwhelmed by the noise of doubt, anxiousness, and other distractions.

In Psalm 46:10, we are reminded: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth.” This verse comes near the end of the Psalm. In the verses before, we are given reasons as to why we may be still and rest in God’s promises. These promises give every born-again believer an overwhelming insurance policy.

In verse one, God promises to be a refuge(shelter) from the storms and to be our strength and help in trouble. This personal protection should calm our fears. Also, this protection is so secure that we need not fear losing it because the price has been paid in full at Calvary.

Verses four and five give assurance that heaven awaits at the end of the journey. Eternal security is there because God is there, and heaven “shall not be removed.” Finally, God’s mighty works in the past remain clear evidence of His faithfulness and that “He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Eph. 3:20)

Psalm 23 promises that we shall walk “beside still waters.” Consider also the words in Psalm 4:4: “Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still.” Surrender the battle to God who is the God of victory. “Be still and know. . .” (Psalm 46:10)

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