Friday, November 26, 2010

A Thanksgiving story:

Below is a “devotional” – some Thanksgiving thoughts that were passed on to me by someone who is very special to me.  It is a very thought provoking and convicting devotional.

John bellows out in his strong, masculine, in control voice and gathers everyone in the house for a quick devotional and time of praise before the food is served:

Alright!  Everyone gather in here please!  Kids, get in here right now!  We are going to spend some time being thankful today.

(thinking: I wasn't thankful last year when my pay was cut.  I wasn't thankful last year when all of my children were sick at once.  I wasn't thankful last year when someone doublecrossed me in business.  I wasn't thankful last year when we couldn't afford to go on vacation.
I wasn't thankful last week when I tripped on a toy and yelled at my kids.  I wasn't thankful last week when the toilet overflowed.  I wasn't thankful last week when the guy in front of me made me late.  I wasn't thankful last week when I received an unexpected bill.  I wasn't thankful last week when my neighbor kid threw trash in my yard.  I wasn't thankful yesterday when I realized that the kids ate the last of my favorite cereal.  I wasn't thankful yesterday when my car wouldn't start, when I couldn't find the jumper cables and blamed my wife for moving it.  I wasn't thankful yesterday when I found out that I don't get my paycheck until Monday because of Thanksgiving holiday.  I wasn't thankful  yesterday when I found out we had to cook for all those people on Thanksgiving.  I wasn't thankful yesterday when I found out that THEY were coming to Thanksgiving dinner.  But....today suddenly I find that I'm thankful!  Oh sure, today is Thanksgiving.  I HAVE to be thankful.  Besides, I get to watch my wife cook all day, I get to hunt, eat all day, watch football all day, and so yes I'll be thankful).

Today, I think it is appropriate that we spend some time thanking the Lord since it is Thanksgiving!  Right?  (thinking:  can't wait to get this over with, but got to do it since there are church people here).

Such blessings the Lord has given.  Like what you ask?  Well, let's see... uh, oh yes I'm thankful for food!  Yes, food.  Boy I don't even like to think about all those people without enough food - so glad we have so much.  (thinking: boy, maybe I should have stopped and talked with that homeless guy yesterday to find out if I could help, oh well).

Yeah and I'm thankful for uhhh.. my wife!  She is the best! (thinking: I mean I know I yelled at her and all yesterday for not thawing the turkey out in time, and for spending all the grocery money on Thanksgiving, and for asking me to help with the kids, but man I'm thankful for her)!

And lets see.... I'm thankful for my church family!  (thinking: isn't that spiritual - especially when so many church members are here at my thanksgiving party, I mean praise service, while there are poor and needy people sitting in misery and hopelessness all throughout this wicked city).

Ok, what else am I thankful for?  I mean there's a lot but it is hard to think of on the spot like this... uhh.... oh yeah!  I'm thankful for money!  I mean my job!  I mean the Lord providing all our needs!  There,  that's what I meant you know.  I mean I don't trust in money or my job but I'm thankful that the Lord provides for us.  (thinking: I know I don't really have to ask Him for much because I know exactly how much I have coming in each week, minus my 10% of course, and we should be able to replace that old car as soon as I get my pay raise, and ...)  oh sorry I'm getting a little off track here but yes - thankful for the Lord's provision.

Hey, you kids!  Be quiet!  Get in here and sit down!  We are having a praise service!  Aren't you all thankful?  Listen, we should be grateful for all God has giving us!  Now sit down and don't get up again till we are done!  Do you understand?  Say "yes sir!" when I'm speaking to you!

There, sorry about that, got to be consistent you know...

Alright where was I?  Ok, I'm thankful for uhm... the Bible!  Yes, the Bible!  How could I forget.  It means so much to me.  I'm thankful that my good old Kings James Bible is my guide!  (thinking:  am I studying it regularly?  Well, I read it... once and a while.  I've got plans.  I'm going to start this study next week you see... I mean yes, I read it daily - well almost daily.  What do I read?  Well, I read different things you know... like uh well the Psalm for the day and uh.... the Proverb for the day sometimes yes, uh well I'm thankful for the Bible).  Ok moving on...

I'm thankful for (thinking:  hmmm I better really get spiritual here after that last one or people might catch on) uhhh.... Jesus!  Yes, Jesus!  Ohhh He means so much to me.  I'm thankful He died on the cross for my sins, and uhh (thinking: haven't really talked to Him much lately, don't really know all that much about Him, but He did die for my sin after all) well... He is the (thinking: oh come on...!  think of just one verse to impress these people!) ............"fairest of ten thousand to my soul"!................. (thinking: aww man, is that a verse or a song?  Oh well...).  Yes, He means so much to me doesn't he to you kids?  (kids thinking:  when can we go play?).

Well the list could go on and on and on.... (thinking: actually I'm running kind of low but it's just because I'm hungry and the game is about to start!) but the food is getting cold so we'd better pray and thank God from whom all blessings flow (thinking: boy that was great!  They'll really be impressed with that one).

Kids bow your heads and close your eyes!  We are praying! (kids thinking:  here he goes again...for the third time this year).

Lord, our most gracious heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the great blessings which Thou hast provided (thinking: I wonder if the football game has started yet), and we come into your Holy presence with singing and hearts full of joy for the friends and family gathered here (thinking:  that homeless guy.....oh well....) and how much they mean to us ("For if ye love them which love you..................... do not even the publicans the same?") and we ask your blessing on the food now and help us to continue to be thankful throughout the rest of this day.  In Jesus most holy and precious name, Amen!

Where's the remote?!!!!!

Does this remind you of you in any way at all?  You might not be John but you might be just as ungrateful if the truth be told.  If we hang our joy and happiness and true thanksgiving on the temporal, physical blessings which are so abundant in this country, we will not be truly thankful!

While we are thankful for our physical blessings which will pass away, we must not be joyful for them so much as the fact that we have been "blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" - Eph 1:3.

While we are thankful for our homes which will melt with a fervent heat, we should be much more thankful for the spiritual house He is building - "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" - Eph. 2:22.

While we are thankful for food which will soon go out into the draught,  we should more thankful for that fact that He is the bread of life - "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever..." - John 6:51

While we are thankful for clothing which moth will corrupt, we should really be thankful that he was clothed - "And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head" - Mark 15:17  so that we might be clothed - "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." - Rev. 3:5

We may be thankful for family who are appointed once to die, we should be thankful that we will meet again in the air - "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." -  I Thess 4:16-17

We may be thankful for a paycheck and riches that will as pass away as the flower of the grass, but we should really be thankful for the Word of God which will stand forever: "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." - Isa 40:8

I challenge you today to go through the pages of scripture (pick a place - the Psalms, Ephesians, Phillipians, anywhere!) and begin listing the spiritual blessings that are yours.  These are eternal, they will never pass away, they bring joy in the midst of trial, they bring peace in the midst of storms, they bring songs of thanksgiving to the lips of the poor, and words of praise to the tongue of those who do not have the physical riches we now enjoy.  Will you have a hard time doing this?  Perhaps it is because you need to repent of sin.  Oh maybe not gross, immoral sin at which everyone would gasp, but maybe those presumptuous sins which are pervasive in the church today.  Maybe you have forgotten the poor and needy and should read Isaiah 58-61 and see what kind of repentance God requires.  Maybe you have become as the children of Israel and have forgotten the goodness of God and have become a complainer.  Repent of all your sin and cast it upon Him who makes whiter than snow and then seek His face.  Dig in the pages of scripture and begin to list those spiritual blessings.  You'll be able to go all day but.... you'll have to stop for that football game - that second piece of chocolate pie - that political conversation which without you will result in the destruction of America .  God help us!  Save us here in America from our prosperity and our trust in money, pleasure, and self!  No man can serve two masters...

~anonymous, but someone very special to me

1 comment:

Toyin O. said...

Awesome post, we are to give thanks in all circumstances.

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