Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Come Adore Him This Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2014 No comments

Adore Him

As a church family, we are spending this holiday season focusing on mastering the fine art of ENJOYING GOD. I call it an “art” because adoring Christ, like loving your spouse, is more of an art than a science. We are forced to move beyond instructions and rituals to a personal encounter our risen Lord. Relationships are highly resistant to rituals and formulas. Our relationship with Jesus demands we move beyond religious forms to the actual enjoyment of His Person.

This is what adoration is all about. To adore is to love in the highest degree; to regard with the utmost esteem, affection and respect.

The word adore comes from a Latin word meaning “to carry to one’s mouth in order to kiss one’s hand.” It conjures the medieval image of a servant kneeling before royalty while holding the hand of his king or queen as he reverently bow’s to kiss it.

We bow because we are approaching a sovereign. The one we honor possesses ultimate authority. The splendor and majesty of our surroundings evokes a breathtaking sense of awe and wonder. Your stomach is filled with butterflies as a strange mixture of fear and excitement swirl within.

As you bow to kiss His hand, a smile explodes across your grateful face! You love your King! You are grateful for His loving care. You are stunned and humbled by the unspeakable privilege of calling him your friend.

In adoration we see a glimpse of what true worship is all about; majesty combined with intimacy, awe mixed with humility, thankfulness joining hands with esteem, and reverential fear comingled with affectionate love.

As we gather with family and friends for another Thanksgiving holiday celebration, pause to offer God the only gift that we have to offer – our adoration! Let Him know how much joy He brings to your life!

Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
3 For the LORD is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
Psalm 95:2-3, NLT

The Power of Saying “Thanks!”

November 27th, 2013 2 comments

Giving-Thanks“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

Colossians 4:2, NLT

The Power of saying “Thanks!”

In the passage above we see that God intends for prayer to be wedded with thanksgiving. Our prayers should always arise from a thankful heart. So what is the foundation for this thankfulness? Let’s take a look at the passage below for a few ideas:

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever… Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.”

(Psalm 107:1, 15, 21-22, NKJV)

The psalmist gave thanks to the Lord for three unchanging realities:

1] He was thankful for God’s goodness.

2] He was thankful for God’s mercy.

3] He was thankful for God’s workings in his life in previous seasons.

How about you? Are you grateful for the goodness of God towards you? Are you grateful for His mercy extended to you at the cross? Are you thankful for God’s faithfulness to you over the years you have been alive? Spend some time discussing these foundation pillars of thankfulness.

The Birthplace of Thanksgiving is Gratitude

Gratitude arises from contemplating the goodness and mercy of the Lord.

What can you give to a person who has demonstrated great mercy and blessing towards you? The only proper response is sincere, heartfelt appreciation and thanks.

“What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.”

Psalm 116:12, NLT

Gratitude is an inner emotion arising from the heart of one who realizes they have been the object of God’s blessing. Gratitude is hidden, secret, and internal.

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, involves the expressing of our gratitude. When we praise the Lord we vocalize our love. Praise is the adoration of God, the celebration of who He is. Thanksgiving involves thanking God for what He has done. Thanksgiving is a public confession of the multitude of blessings we have received from Him!

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God… giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.”

Psalm 50:14, 23, NLT

The giving of thanks is foundational to prayer. We are not asking God for anything. We are simply enjoying Him and expressing our thanks to Him for Who He is and for all He has done on our behalf. Thanksgiving helps us focus on God’s faithfulness.

 Murmuring as Perverted Prayer      

Murmuring is simply a perverted, counterfeit for prayer. Instead of focusing on God’s goodness, it focuses on hurts, pains or disappointments. Instead of expressing thanksgiving for all God has done and will do, murmuring vomits out unbelief and ingratitude.

Instead of murmuring, God commands us to pray! Instead of worrying, God commands us to give thanks!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

Philippians 4:6, NLT

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

I Thessalonians 5:18, NLT

 Are there worries or concerns in your life which need prayer? Where can you turn your murmuring into thanksgiving? Identify these areas and offer them to the Lord in prayer.

Thank God for Fighting Fathers

November 22nd, 2011 4 comments

I love reading about the birth of our great nation. In the battle for our nation’s freedom, there were many moments when crushing defeats and seemingly insurmountable challenges gave rise to tidal waves of despair. Thank God for spiritual fathers who knew how to fight! In the heat of the battle, they stood strong. When others wilt, quit, or concede, spiritual fathers persevere and they inspire others to do the same.

In an article published on Thanksgiving Day 2008 in the Wall Street Journal, author Ira Stoll described the historical context for the first national celebration of Thanksgiving under the heroic leadership of Samuel Adams. He wrote:

In July 1776, the American colonists declared independence from Britain. The months that followed were so bleak that there was not much to give thanks for. The Journals of the Continental Congress record no Thanksgiving in that year, only two days of “solemn fasting” and prayer…

[The war effort was going poorly. Many Americans were wounded, captured or killed by the British]. Philadelphia, America’s largest city, fell on Sept. 26. Congress fled…to Lancaster then to York… John Adams wrote in his diary, “The prospect is chilling, on every Side: Gloomy, dark, melancholy, and dispiriting.”

On this pivotal day in late September, 1777, the fifty-five year old Adams stood before his colleagues and offered these words of encouragement:

“If we despond, public confidence is destroyed, the people will no longer yield their support to a hopeless contest, and American liberty is no more. Through the darkness which shrouds our prospects, the ark of safety is visible. Despondency becomes not the dignity of our cause, nor the character of those who are its supporters…”

He went on to challenge the delegates:

“Let us awaken then, and evince a different spirit, – a spirit that shall inspire the people with confidence in themselves and in us, – a spirit that will encourage them to persevere in this glorious struggle, until their rights and liberties shall be established on a rock. We have proclaimed to the world our determination “to die as freemen, rather than to live slaves.” We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust. Numerous have been the manifestations of God’s providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had “our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.” We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up. Let us still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save. Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection.”

He turned out to have been correct… On Oct. 31, a messenger arrived with news of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. The American general, Horatio Gates, had accepted the surrender of 5,800 British soldiers, and with them 27 pieces of artillery and thousands of pieces of small arms and ammunition.

Saratoga turned the tide of the war — news of the victory was decisive in bringing France into a full alliance with America. Congress responded to the event by appointing a committee of three that included Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia and Daniel Roberdeau of Pennsylvania, to draft a report and resolution. The report declared Thursday, Dec. 18, as “a day of Thanksgiving” to God, so that “with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor.”

Samuel Adams led as a spiritual father. He spoke with courage and resolve. He reminded the delegates of God’s faithfulness and encouraged them to set their eyes upon “Him who is mighty to save.” He spoke prophetically, “Good tidings will soon arrive,” when nothing but the stark reality of defeat was in sight. And he challenged them to “act worthy” of heaven’s aid and protection.

Each one of us has the opportunity to “father” or “mother” in our sphere of influence. What report is in your mouth? Are you constantly whining about the way things are? Do you complain about your present situation? Are you negative, cynical and jaded in your perspective?

If so, you have just devalued your worth as a spiritual father or mother. No one wants to follow someone who is prophesying gloom and despair. No one wants to follow a person with no vision for a better future and no faith in God’s power to bring breakthrough.

In the face of great obstacles or overwhelming circumstances can you stand before your family, friends or colleagues and declare, “Good tidings will soon arrive!” Never underestimate the power of a father’s words.