As I write this, I’m unable to be with my family today, have numerous personal struggles, and have friends who are struggling to eat – much less walk in the fullness of their calling and careers.
On the national front, we see not only record poverty and unemployment, but – perhaps far worse – a poverty of character and moral compass that we as a nation used to be able to fall back on in crisis’s of past. A majority in our nation are enslaved by ignorance through a lying media and they continue to empower mostly spineless, weak and/or corrupt narcissists to spend our money and enslave all of us even further in more ways than we can imagine. Communist owned Hong Kong is more economically free and former Soviet satellite Estonia may actually be a more free democracy than ours.
Seriously? You expect me to thankful for this?
To the atheist or agnostic, (or self-absorbed) all that I can offer is that thankfulness is a key ingredient to happiness. Researchers have proven that gratitude improves emotional and physical health, and it can strengthen relationships and communities. Of course this required the subjects to FOCUS on what they grateful for as opposed to bitching and moaning about every problem they faced. And if you believe that there is no purpose to your life other than a your carbon dioxide enrichment of our atmosphere – good luck with that.
However, the unfortunate thing is that without the acknowledgement of a Designer of your life you are akin to the kid who can only lick the cake batter spatula (after all your siblings and the family dog) as compared to feasting on the double fudge chocolate confection of REAL thankfulness to God that we Christians have. Or are supposed to have despite crap hurricane that seems to never stop.
And for those that don’t just suspect or mentally suppose the existence of a Higher Power, but truly LEAN ON and TRUST Him, there is a much richer understanding and power available to you.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
Interestingly enough, the Apostle Paul wrote this amidst similar political upheaval. Despite enormous paganism and the worship of thousands of Gods throughout the land, Christians were – at best – thought of as annoying cult of weirdo’s (not that much different from today, right?) and – at worst – were targeted for death by Jews who felt they were a threat to Judaism. Remember Paul himself had been a Christian killer not too long before this. And Rome’s new emperor, Claudius, had just succeeded Caligula who was assassinated by Senators and his own Praetorian Guard. You think Obama’s bad? Here is the Wikipedia short description of Caligula:
An insane emperor who was self-absorbed, angry, killed on a whim, and indulged in too much spending and sex. He is accused of sleeping with other men’s wives and bragging about it, killing for mere amusement, deliberately wasting money on his bridge, causing starvation, and wanting a statue of himself erected in the Temple of Jerusalem for his worship. Once, at some games at which he was presiding, he ordered his guards to throw an entire section of the crowd into the arena during intermission to be eaten by animals because there were no criminals to be prosecuted and he was bored.
The point is, the “will of God” of being thankful for those of us who believe in God isn’t subject to the success of our political freedom or prospects. Which is very hard sometimes for us to grasp.
When I first heard this scripture in my 20’s after becoming a Christian, I thought, “So should I be thankful if I get in a car accident and loose my arm?”
Many well intentioned Christian denominations have made it even harder by a false teaching that God inflicts us with these problems to make us stronger or to teach us “character.”
Funny, I can’t remember a single incident where a paralytic approached Jesus to be healed and Christ said, “You haven’t learned humility quite well enough yet. Come back in two years after you’re really grateful that you’re even alive.”
No! Instead Jesus healed everyone who came to Him. And He went further telling us to ask anything we wanted from Him. And He reasoned that God gives good things, not evil things when we ask:
…what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
It is difficult for even Christians to fathom (let alone non-believers), but God is “Love” as the Bible states, and He is also an uncompromising Judge for perfection in thought as well as actions. But as the reference from Matthew explains – we are to identify with God as “Daddy” first and foremost above His identity as the Supreme Ruler of the Universe who could snuff out our life with a mere thought.
This shouldn’t be so foreign to us. We all carry multiple labels and perceptions that differ from our family, our friends and those that work with us. The child of a special operations Army Ranger runs to his father, even if there was a rifle in his hand, because that child knows that their relationship is in the bounds of “Daddy” and not “Sniper.” That child doesn’t give a second thought to a misuse of his daddy’s power or intention against those who are enemies. And it doesn’t make his father any less of a badass to Islamic terrorists who desire to do unspeakable things to that soldier’s son. (Just like the devil by the way.)
Go look it up. Jesus always called God “Abba” (which means “Daddy”) except for the one instance where He took upon Himself all of our sin and condemnation and judgment on the cross.
Yes, there will be a day of judgment. But Jesus hasn’t come back to do that yet.
And when we truly know God as Jesus did, (as Daddy) not only do we gain the gift acceptance, love and approval (bought for us by the perfection and blood of His only truly “genetic” Son Jesus), we also now place ourselves in a position to receive from God what we ask and what we need. Talk about a reason for being thankful!
(Did you get that? Not only does the most powerful Being in the Universe see you like His perfect Son with no sin, you can ask him for stuff and He’ll hear you!)
Doesn’t the scripture tell us in one town, Jesus could not heal many because they simply couldn’t believe that He could or would? Didn’t the “good” son in the parable of the prodigal never get a pig roast and party from the father simply because he never asked – or thought he could?
Believing that God is good empowers you to receive from Him!
The first thing we should be grateful for is that God loves us each, individually as beloved children – regardless of how “good” we are since it is the blood of His Son that makes us righteous in the Father’s eyes.
And the second thing we should be grateful is that God is willing to change our economy, our political and tax enslavement for us and our children. He said to ask him for “good things.” Asking for a rebirth of financial and political freedom qualifies, just as it did for His people enslaved in Egypt.
But it requires faith. And here is the secret: thankfulness that God will grant us what we ask. (Because we know it is already granted to us by our Father – even before we ask for it!)
When talking about Wisdom, James says:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:5 NKJV
The disciples were shocked when Jesus merely spoke death to a fig tree and a day later it shriveled up. He explained:
And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly].
Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.
For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].
Mark 11:22-25 AMP
Notice Jesus said “granted” as in past tense. So our prayers for ourselves and our country should be in the expectantly that He is not done with us yet (as George Washington foresaw) and that He wants us to prosper as a Godly nation again.
If we ever needed anything lifted from the “dead” the state of our nation is it. How did Jesus raise Lazarus? He thanked God that he would do so.
And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [that You have made Me Your Messenger].
When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out!
And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go.
John 11:41-44 AMP
Do we really think that complaining to each other – or God – about how bad Obama, the abortionists, the big bank cronies or race baiters are will change a single one of them? We are fools if we think so because NO WHERE did Jesus or the disciples say, “If thou bitchest loud enough I will reenact the face melting scene of Raiders of the Lost of Ark upon those that violate the Constitution and blaspheme My Name.”
Even the Old Testament – which required “works” instead of faith (as is to those of us under the New Testament privilege of Jesus’ blood) said:
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
The word “seek” (baqash) carries with it a demand, to require something. In this case it is to get God’s attention. IF you know Your Daddy is predisposed to your wellbeing and requests, especially those that are His Will, we now pray (as we read earlier) expecting that we already have it. The Apostle John put it this way:
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)
So what we are thanking God for is not just the amazing grace and mercy He has shown us in not already allowing America to turn into Islamabad, but in expectation that He loves us, He has a covenant with us as a country, and that our belief in His Goodness and in His Promise will be seen to glorify Him.
It’s not in our control but His. But our faith that He will intervene essentially is “Thanksgiving in advance” for what we ask.
So yeah. Happy Thanksgiving.
Thank you Lord that You are merciful and gracious to us individually, and as a country.
Thank you that you do still have a mighty work for America in demonstrating true freedom with Your righteousness to the world, and positioning us again to be a force for good.
Thank you for exposing and removing the pernicious political playmakers who have been subversively undermining our Constitution, our banking system, our economy and our culture and please Lord release Your Holy Spirit across this nation and give us pride once again in a nation under God and indivisible for You.
Jesus gave thanks before He multiplied the loaves and fishes for the 5,000.
Second and third images added by Gulag Bound; sources unknown.