Who Do You Give Thanks To?

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In the process of writing my Thanksgiving day post last week I discovered something that caused me to scratch my head…..

I was perusing possible Thanksgiving-themed songs to include in my post and I must say, I found many good songs. However, some of my favorites never mentioned God at all. This made me wonder who they were giving thanks to!

How many times did you hear or read that people were giving thanks last week?  How many times did you hear people actually thank God?

I just don’t think it means anything that we have thankful hearts, give thanks at every meal, and display thankfulness to the world…..

if we don’t declare to whom we are giving our thanks.

I think God needs to get the credit each and every time we tell the world we are thankful – or whats the point?

Yes, it is wonderful to be thankful of friends – family – and having plenty of food to eat –  but who is it that actually blesses our lives with these things?

I’ll give you one clue – it’s not the ACLU!

What if you gave a review of a book you just finished on your blog; telling everyone just how wonderful the book is and how everyone should buy a copy…without telling anyone the name of the book?

Once again, there was the reminder from non-believers that “thanksgiving is not a religious holiday.”  As if we really need to have them assert this belief each year since the secular – (and non-secular) – celebration of Christmas has nearly pushed Thanksgiving into obscurity.

I agree, that Thanksgiving is not religious – nor is it a holiday – for that matter.

But that’s not really the point of Thanksgiving anyway – is it?

The history of Thanksgiving shows it had a very strong observance in our society – long before there was a reason for people to have a day off from work, children to stay home from school – or furniture stores to have sales.

And a close study of this history will reveal that God was very much the center of each Thanksgiving - not a reason to have monster sales.

I think the reason we are seeing so many assertions that Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday – is coming from retail stores who want to force their employees to leave their families and the celebration of Thanksgiving – to work in their stores at midnight on Thanksgiving. This way, they aren’t afraid to get sued for infringing on anyone’s religious beliefs.

The near absence of Thanksgiving in our society tells me how giving thanks has taken a back seat in our society and how materialism has taken the wheel.

My wife and I were saddened this year when we could find plenty of Christmas items to buy…..before we could find anything to do with Thanksgiving.

In fact, many stores had Christmas items next to the halloween costumes and candy – and in some stores – we couldn’t find any Thanksgiving items at all!

Paul dealt with this situation even in his day ~

Acts 17:23

“For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”

I like how Paul told these superstitious men that he could declare who God is to them.

When I give thanks – I want to do so in a way that declares God to the world!

Should we be prepared to see Christmas pushing out 4th of July flags and other patriotic items in the future – after all – 4th of July isn’t a religious holiday is it?

Giving Thanks

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 

 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Luke 17:15-16

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

Ephesians 5:20

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

1 Timothy 2:1

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;”

Hebrews 13:15

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

1 Chronicles 16:8-9

8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Hannah prayed   1 Samuel 2:1-2

“And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

2  There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”

Mark 8:6

“And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.”

The Power In Your New Clothes

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When I was growing up….we didn’t get to purchase “new” clothes very often.

Oh, but when I did get a new set of clothes – brand new off the rack – I felt like a new person. I even had the sense that the kids at school would see me differently because I had some new clothes.

(this led to other mental health issues that we won’t get into here.)

Remember Superman, Batman, Spiderman, The Greatest American Hero? These guys were all common enough….until they put on their super clothes.

When ever these super heroes saw a crime being committed…they had to find a phone booth, a dark alley, or an empty closet in which they could change clothes and save the day.  Apparently, becoming more powerful had to be a secret for some reason……

Even as kids, we instinctively knew that these guys had no power without their special clothes.

Looking back….I wonder where the writers of these TV shows – the creators of these super heroes that have become icons in our society – got the idea of being able to become something different by putting on a special set of clothes.

When we are saved by the Grace of God through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we become new, and the greatest thing about being redeemed and made new?  God doesn’t want us to keep it a secret!

When we are saved by the mercy and grace of God, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – you might say we put on a new set of clothes.

The difference between super heroes and a saved man?

A man saved in Christ, only has to change clothes once….

Can I Take Your Hand?

Planting Potatoes:

I was blessed by this post and would like to share with all my friends….

Originally posted on Fashioned With Purpose:

I believe that God placed something deep within your belly…deep within your spirit that only you have the ability to grab hold of! It’s those moments of transition where you are confused…hurt…or alone that you must seek Him in order for your assignment to be revealed! Don’t give up on the promise He has for you! Out of all His creations, only you can fulfill the unique purpose that He placed over your life! Despite the transition, pain, and obstacle you face, you must realize that He has already triumphed in your situation. Sometimes, you have to face a crossroads and you must choose. Will you choose the path of fear, anger, guilt, or self-righteousness? It’s important for you to know that He will not give up on you.

Trust Him.

He wants to take you by the hand.

Follow Him.

He already knows the steps to take you down the…

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I Shall Be Satisfied ~ God is enough for me

Psalms 17::15As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”

We all have “things” we like in this world…and that’s okay.

It’s when the things in this world become so important we actually don’t want to leave it, that things get out of sorts – our priorities get skewed – and we forget that God is all we need.

I don’t know about you, but in my life, I have allowed things in the past to block my view of God and during those times when I was angry with him because I thought we went away from me…..he was actually the same, in the same place…..I know now that it was me that changed; I had allowed the world to distract me so much I couldn’t even see him.

Have you ever had one of those days, when you looked everywhere for your glasses, only to find they were on your head all along…..?

Look at the world around you ~ the more “things” that the world invents, the more that a technological world can offer, the more God seems to disappear from the scene.  Inventions are great – medicine, transportation, etc. The problem arises when these things are made available, we are immediately told that we cannot possibly live without them..yet, weren’t we living before they came along?

Seems to me, back when the world had less, much less even, our world had more of God.

So what has changed?  NOTHING – well, at least God hasn’t!

I don’t think it’s wrong to have comforts in this world – I thank God each day for all my comforts. But there is a difference between what brings us comfort and what we actually need to live. I believe God does distinguish between the two.

I feel particularly qualified to speak to this subject since I have been both blessed abundantly by God for my needs and comforts, and I have also been totally without anything but the shirt on my back.

And yet……

God’s grace proved to be sufficient for me during the darkest times of my life. Turns out, I really didn’t need a house, a car, a change of clothes for every day of the week, a computer, a cell phone, a job, an Ipod…..nope, I didn’t really need anything! So why did I feel so needy?

2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It’s not God that makes us feel so needy……it’s the world that constantly pushes us to have things; to acquire more and more and more and more…..isn’t it interesting how it seems the world has so much to offer, and yet actually has nothing to offer us that matters once we leave this world?

In the end ~ you will take nothing with you – not even your family. Is there anything that you “own” right now that you think would make a difference for you when you pass from this world? Anything that could possibly keep you from leaving this world?

Try this excercise….

Divide a piece of paper in half…..title one side God, the other World.

Now, think of everything you “own” right now….

What you think you need for God…list on that side of the paper, and likewise, what you need for the World, list on that side of the paper.

This little exercise may take some time – but actually – it shouldn’t take any time at all if you think about it….

Psalms 62:5  “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

 

 

Exaltation in Everything

Planting Potatoes:

I was blessed by this post and would like to share!

Originally posted on The Christian Gazette:

Acts 16 unearths yet another story of perseverance in the face of adversity. Paul and Silas had just had an encounter with a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. Through their time with her, Paul commanded the spirit leave her, and thus ended her ability to make money for her owner. The slave owner was so enraged at the two disciples, that he had them dragged to the marketplace to face authorities, then brought them before the magistrates, which resulted in the public stripping and beating of the faithful followers of Christ. After they had been flogged, Paul and Silas were thrown in maximum security prison, despite being peaceful men. Considering the agony they had likely endured, most would have been whimpering in a corner of the cell. However, not the case with these two. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing…

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Our ministry

Planting Potatoes:

good message I would like to share with my friends!

Originally posted on In My Father's House:

ReconciledAs far as I can tell, our ministry in Christ is two-fold. It’s about identity and reconciliation.  And we cannot do the latter with the right heart without seeing the former.

Both have everything to do with connection–a life embraced, to embrace.

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