Many Christians frown upon celebrating holidays due to their pagan roots. But that’s not true with Thanksgiving. With the original day of December 13, 1621, the colonists started the tradition of giving thanks. A day set aside for feasting, prayer, and gratitude to God for all of His provisions. The Biblical definition of thanksgiving is “the act of acknowledging what is right about God in prayer and thanks.” And having gratitude to God comes up around 125 times throughout the Bible. That makes it pretty clear how important hearts of thanksgiving are to the Lord. The first thing the Israelites did when safely crossing the Red Sea was to sing a song of praise to God. For they knew that all good things in life only come from the Lord, especially their deliverance. And no matter the circumstance we face, there is always something to be thankful for. So this holiday and all days in between, from hearts overflowing with thanks, let our lips constantly be singing God’s praises!
Many are the wonderful characteristics of God. And one that we count on the most is His faithfulness, because we ourselves cannot be. In our human frailty, we disappoint, let down, and hurt the ones we love. But not God. He is always faithful, all of the time. Faithful to His promises, His love, and His justice. I once read God’s faithfulness described as the gold standard of everything great and good. I love that! We can rejoice because God forever remains faithful when His people are anything but. And it was out of that loving faithfulness that He sent His Son as a sin payment for the world. Once we receive Christ as our Savior, we are sealed in Him forever. And how thankful are we that because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, our Father cannot deny His name, His Word, or His truth. The truth that because of His faithfulness, “nothing will ever separate us the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” This hymn by Joseph M. Scriven, is one of my absolute favorites. It always brings up wonderful memories of my Grandmother and her sisters gathered around the organ singing with glee. And it’s also the first thing that enters my mind when I read Matthew chapter 26. …
I once saw a sign which read, “No swearing or bad language allowed. As a bird is known by its note, so is a man known by his conversation.” As Christians the unbelieving world isn’t just watching our actions, its listening to the words we speak. And Paul tells us that our words should be anything but foul, offensive, and obscene. This includes swearing, sharing crude jokes, or speaking without self control. For merely by the words it utters, the tongue wields great power, either for good or evil. And we should seek to keep our thoughts and speech pure before the Lord. How? Paul tells us that if we have attitudes of gratitude, and hearts of thankfulness, “foolish talk” will have no place in our lives. The world is filled with enough vulgarity, and we as followers of Jesus need to be different. We need to, “let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. “ (Colossians 4:6)
I suffer with psoriatic arthritis. And as a result, not a single day goes by when I am not in pain. The number of times I’ve prayed for healing is beyond counting. Yet God’s answer is always the same. “My grace is sufficient for you.” Hardships, pain, and trials are a part of life. And our suffering is no way a measurement of our faith. Look at the apostle Paul. A great man of profound faith who suffered with an unknown, “thorn in the flesh.” He cried out repeatedly for healing, yet God’s answer was always no. God told Paul, like He tells us, that His grace gives us all we need to endure any and all suffering. For His power is made perfect in our weakness. And when we trust and depend on Him, there is nothing we cannot endure. So rejoice and give thanks. For even in our pain, the power of Christ rests upon us.
Magic Johnson Thanks God For Living 30 Years With HIV
Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson recently recognized the 30th anniversary of his retirement from the NBA following his HIV diagnosis. On Sunday, Johnson, now 62, took to social media to reflect on how God has used the past three decades of his life. He wrote, “God has really blessed me! Today marks 30 years living with HIV, so the message resonated with me in such a tremendous way. I thank the Lord for keeping me, giving me strength, and guiding me for 62 years but especially the last 30.” Johnson is a member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in LA. Read more of his testimony here.
Pastor John MacArthur Says Zoom Church Is Not Church
For those who who worship at their church through zoom, pastor John MacArthur has a message. Zoom church cannot fulfill the New Testament’s commands for Christians. “Zoom church is not church. It’s not church. It’s watching TV,” MacArthur told members of his congregation, Grace Community Church in California. “There’s nothing about that that fulfills the biblical definition of coming together, stimulating one another in love and good works … sitting under the Word of God, praying together, being led by those who preach the Word and open the Scripture.” Read more about his views on zoom church here.
U.S. Supreme Court To Discuss If Death Row Inmates Are Entitled To A Pastor
A Texas inmate’s request that his pastor be able to touch him and pray aloud with him in the death chamber met a mixed reception on Tuesday at the Supreme Court. Some justices said the request was a modest one that respected the inmate’s right to exercise his faith in his final moments while others disagreed. Lawyers for the inmate have argued that the state’s actions violate the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of the free exercise of religion as well as federal law. For the past four years, the inmate in question has been a member of the Second Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, though he cannot attend services in person. Read more about the lawsuit here.
Veterans Untied Home Loans Launches National Campaign To Highlight Vets
Veterans United Home Loans, a Missouri-based mortgage lender and the nation’s largest Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans provider, announced its donation of 11 homes to 11 deserving U.S. veterans. Veterans United teamed up with Marine veteran and comedian Rob Riggle to select 10 veterans making a difference in their communities for 10 home giveaways and is donating one more to any veteran who enters for a chance to win at ThanksToVeterans.com. Veterans play a pivotal role in strengthening civic health, from volunteerism and voting to charitable giving and community involvement. Read more about the giveaway here.
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone you helped bring to Christ, declare Him as their Savior. That is the same joy Paul felt when writing to the Romans. The apostle gave thanks that they had they received Jesus, and their faith was being proclaimed in all the world. The greatest calling God gives to us is the same He gave to Paul. To boldly share the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world. God calls us to lead lives that shine brightly with His glory. So brightly, others are attracted to Him like moths to a flame. “Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15) The sand in the hourglass is running out. Jesus will soon return. And out of hearts of thankfulness for His saving grace, we need to proclaim the Gospel while there is still time!
I love the quote that says, “With the power of God within us, we need never fear the powers around us.” We live in a world that thrives on fear. Because the Enemy knows how powerless, hopeless, and divided it keeps us. But as Christians, we need not fear the power that rules this corrupt world. For we have a great rock, fortress, and deliverer in the Lord. When we are afraid, lost, and alone, we want a pair of strong and comforting arms to run into. And we have those arms in Jesus. In Him we can find the refuge we so desperately crave. For He is our shield of protection, horn of salvation, and our stronghold. (Ps. 18:2) The Lord is as a strong tower, impenetrable to the evil one and his forces. And nothing can break down His walls or harm the ones inside. When this world gets to be too much, we can rejoice and give thanks knowing there is someone we can always cling to. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As Nashville pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana was praying with parishioners, a man at the front of his church pulled a gun out and pointed it at the congregation. The pastor, who has been called a hero, said God told him what to do. He leapt into action, as video shows Ndikumana on camera tackling the gun-wielding man into the aisle. He held him down until police arrived at the scene. The incident led to the arrest of Dezire Baganda, 26, who police said faces more than a dozen felony aggravated assault charges. Read more about this heroic pastor here.
Broadway Star Says He Was Fired For Being A Christian
A Tony-nominated Broadway star is suing the hit show “Come From Away,” alleging that he was fired for his Christian beliefs. Chad Kimball claims in a new lawsuit that the popular musical’s production company “unlawfully terminated [him] wholly or partly because [his] religious beliefs simply made them uncomfortable.” Kimball describes himself in the court documents as “a devout and practicing Christian. He says it all happened after Kimball tweeted his opposition to the ban on singing in churches saying in part, “Respectfully, I will never allow a Governor, or anyone, to stop me from SINGING, let alone sing in worship to my God. Read more about the firing here.
Seminaries Sue Biden Over Vaccine Mandate
Two prominent evangelical seminaries are challenging the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate in federal court. Attorneys for the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit alleging the rules violate the religious freedom of the seminaries. Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, said the two schools had “no choice but to push back against this intrusion of the government into matters of conscience and religious conviction.” Read more about the lawsuit here.
Students Sing To Teacher With Stage 4 Cancer
A Big Bend teacher battling stage 4 cancer received a heartwarming surprise from her young students. Carol Mack has taught first and second grade at Christ Lutheran School in Big Bend for 45 years. According to a news release from Aurora Health Care, Mack’s cancer has advanced and instead of returning to her classroom, she needs hospice care. 1st through 4th graders lined up outside the hospital entrance where Mack was there to greet her current and former students, including some of their parents whom she also taught, and hear the kids sing worship songs to her before saying goodbye. Read more of this touching serenade here.
Members of the church at Ephesus struggled with outside influences trying to mislead them away from sound biblical doctrine. And sadly, these same influences are still alive in today’s culture. Our society is filled with immorality, false religions, and an “everything goes” attitude. Today’s churches are trading God’s truth for “feel good religion”, and believers are being led astray. But thankfully, as Christian’s we know there is truth to be found in the Word of God. For as Psalm 119:160 tells us, “The sum of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” The Bible is our God given guide to life, and every word written on its pages true. And not just true, but eternally true. So rejoice and give thanks, knowing that when we cling to its contents, we stand on an foundation of truth no lie can shake.