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Thursday, November 20, 2014

THANKS - GIVING

THANKS – GIVING
By Pastor Mark Taylor

“By Him, then, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
On December 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia had been established on May 14, 1607.  The group's charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a "day of thanksgiving" to God. On that first day, Captain John Woodleaf held the service of thanksgiving. As quoted from the section of the Charter of Berkeley Hundred specifying the thanksgiving service: "We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.". (original spelling).  In 1941, the U.S. Congress  passed a bill requiring that Thanksgiving be observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November.
In the Bible, Thanksgiving has always been apart of God’s plan for those who love Him.  There are 138 passages of Scripture that deal with the subject of thanksgiving!  “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Your name, O most High” (Psalms 92:1).

There are two parts to that compound word – Thanks, and Giving.  Today, I want us to look at them as two separate actions that go together.

First of all “Thanks” is an action word, not just a feeling or emotion.  God wants to hear our voices and receive our words of thanks.  It reminds us of the nearness of God and all He has done in the past.  “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.” (Psalms 75:1).  When we give “thanks” it reminds us of His mercy and love for us.  “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalms 107:1).  Jesus demonstrated how important “thanks” is by constantly giving His Father thanks.  “Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” (John 11:41).  
It is God’s will that you be thankful.  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
The opposite of “Thanks” is not being thankful.  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go your way: your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:17-19).
“Giving” is the second part of “Thanksgiving”.  As our Lord “gave thanks”, He also gave to others.  “And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.” (Matthew 15:36).  “Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.” (Mark 14:23).
The opposite of giving is simply not giving.  There is a Biblical principle and truth you can count on.  “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”                     (2 Corinthians 9:6).  The Lord wants to give you a lot, but it really is determined by your generosity to others.  "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38) 
How are you going to celebrate your “Thanksgiving”?  Is it going to be just about food and time off work?  Or will you make it a day of “giving thanks” to God about how much you really love Him and appreciate all He has done for you?  Is it going to be “all about you”?  Or is it going to be about making this “Holy Day” special for someone else?

Take some time in the next few days to find things to be thankful for, and write notes of thanks to others or call them up and give them some words of thanks.  This is not a season to enter into with complaining and talking about what you don’t have.  It is a season of being “Thankful”.  Remember the song


When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

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