Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mid-Week Message - A Time of Thanksgiving

"Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!  Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation."  Psalm 100 (NLT)

Another year has passed and it is once again time for this special day we refer to as "Thanksgiving." It is the day we remember the group of people who traveled here on a ship called the Mayflower.  It was an incredibly hard voyage with even harder times before them as they worked to make this land their new home.  Had it not been for the blessing of an alliance with a group of indigenous people they would likely have returned home, or died. However, the Lord had a plan for their protection and provision and they celebrated and gave thanks.

Too often this story is forgotten as we gather around our own tables on this one day each year designated for gratitude.  Football games, shopping and outdoing one another with our recipes has dwarfed the meaning of the day.  What used to be a time for everyone to share with their families has become a "Black Friday" prequel.  Meals are planned around what time the malls open so that shoppers can hurry to get a deal on certain electronics or get their hands on the "toy of the year." Rather than concentrating on how our lives have been blessed during the year, we watch the news to see how many fights have broken out in the shopping centers.  

When I was in the fifth grade we learned Psalm 100 by heart.  That was when scripture had not been banned from the public school classroom.  And while it wasn't taught as a spiritual lesson, it was still able to seep into our hearts and minds and remind us, even as children, that the Lord is good and worthy of our praise and that we need to tell Him "thank you."  The Message Bible puts it this way when speaking of entering into His presence, "Enter with the password: 'Thank you.'"  I wonder how different our relationship with our Father in Heaven would be if each time we spoke to Him, the first words from our lips would be "Thank you."  

It has been a difficult year for my family, as it has for many others.  But even though we have shed more than our fair share of tears, we are thankful that we are all still here to share together.  The trials we have gone through, and continue to endure, though hard, have reminded us that the Lord truly is Jehovah Jireh, our provider.  Without His presence and tender loving care, we would not have made it this far.  Someway, somehow, no matter how dark the days have gotten, His light has shown brightly and been our reassurance.  

On Thursday when we all meet around our respective tables, let's truly examine the blessings of the year and sincerely give thanks for all that we have.  James 1:17 reminds us that whatever is good and perfect is a gift from above.  The love we have around us, the smiles, food, the roof over our heads, the clothing on our backs, indeed our very existence comes from the One who loves us with an everlasting love.  We can never have enough gratitude for all He does for us, but we can start with a small, "Thank you, Father."  

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