Category Archives: Thanksgiving

-Happy Thanksgiving 2013

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth"...

              ("The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth": Wikipedia)

Happy Thanksgiving 2013 to you and yours. Our traditional Thanksgiving message follows:

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the first Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon God as it was on that very first occasion.

For me and my family, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation in the year to come.           *Top

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-The Importance of Giving Thanks

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  -Colossians 3:15-20 (ESV)

20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, –Ephesians 5:20 (ESV)

With Thanksgiving coming this week in America I believe this is a good time to remember just how important giving thanks to God really is in the life of believers and the church. There are literally hundreds of verses in the Bible teaching us to live our lives in thankfulness to God no matter what and no matter what we are doing.

These are still hard times for many in the USA regardless of all the propaganda to the contrary. Many Christians are out of work or working for far less than ever before. I believe that one of the ways to help believers in America is to cultivate an environment of the thankfulness in our churches. Also it is important that there is an opportunity given in our churches to pray for one another. Especially for those with particular needs- for healing, jobs, or business. And finally a time to hear testimonies of those who have been blessed and received answers to their prayers.

We had our official Thanksgiving service Sunday at VCC Laguna Niguel and there were very few unused seats available since we had a combined service rather than the usual two. This has been an exceptional year at VCC that saw more healings and more people come to Christ than all of the previous 15 years combined. Particularly in the Mercy food warehouse ministry where there were 788 folks that have come to Christ since last March and nearly 600 healings some of which were rather incredible. We don’t have revival yet at the church but it is approaching it in the food ministry. For sure it is a time to be thankful.

Pastor Mike asked for raised hands of those who had gotten new jobs or received promotions after prayer this year and hands were up all over the auditorium. Then he asked for testimonies from those who had received healing and over thirty lined up in the front and testified to the edification of everyone there.

While I was sitting in the service drinking in all of the testimonies of blessings and thankfulness coming from the congregation a word came to me unexpected since I really wasn’t thinking about revival at the time:

Some revivals were cut short for the lack of thankfulness.

After that I started thinking about all of the revivals and renewals that I knew about or had experienced. They always seem to dissipate when the personalities or the gifts themselves become the objects of attention rather than the Lord and along with it forgetfulness to be truly thankful to God through it all.

Point is, I believe that our churches need to become places of hope, faith, and thankfulness in order to provide an environment where God can continually bless us as never before. Especially thankfulness.             *Top

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-Happy Thanksgiving

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

             ("The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth": Wikipedia)

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the first Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon God as it was at the very first.

For me and my family, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation in the year to come.           *Top

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-Letter of Thanks From Iranian Pastor

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Here’s a letter of thanks from Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to God for the blessings and provision provided to him during his time in prison and thanks to fellow Christians for their prayers and support. A tremendous testimony from one who has suffered greatly for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:

Salaam! Peace be upon you!

I glorify and give grace to the Lord with all my heart. I am grateful for all the blessings that He gave me during my whole life. I am especially grateful for His goodness and divine protection that characterized the time of my detention.

I also want to express my gratitude towards those who, all around the world, have worked for my cause, or should I say the cause that I defend. I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. You are all very dear to my heart. May the Lord bless you and give you His perfect and sovereign Grace.

Indeed I have been put to the test, the test of faith which is, according to the Scriptures ‘more precious than perishable gold.’ But I have never felt loneliness, I was all the time aware of the fact that it wasn’t a solitary battle, for I have felt all the energy and support of those who obeyed their conscience and fought for the promotion of the justice and the rights of all human beings. Thanks to these efforts, I have now the enormous joy to be by my wonderful wife and my children. I am grateful for these people through whom God has been working. All of this is very encouraging.

During that period, I had the opportunity to experience in a marvelous way the Scripture that says: ‘Indeed, as the sufferings of Christ abound for us, our encouragement abound through Christ.’ He has comforted my family and has given them the means to face that difficult situation. In His Grace, He provided for their spiritual and material needs, taking away from me a heavy weight.

The Lord has wonderfully provided through the trial, allowing me to face the challenges that were in front of me. As the Scriptures says, ‘He will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength….’

Despite the fact that I have been found guilty of apostasy according to a certain reading of the Shar’ia, I am grateful that He gave the leaders of the country, the wisdom to break that judgment taking into account other facts of that same Shar’ia. It is obvious that the defenders of the Iranian right and the legal experts have made an important effort to enforce the law and the right. I want to thank those who have defended the right until the end.

I am happy to live in a time where we can take a critical and constructive look to the past. This has allowed the writing of universal texts aiming at the promotion of the rights of man. Today, we are debtors of these efforts provided by dear people who have worked for the respect of human dignity and have passed on to us these universal significant texts.

I am also debtor of those who have faithfully passed on the Word of God, that very Word who makes us heirs of God.

Before ending, I want to express a prayer for the establishment of an unending and universal peace, so that the will of the Father be done on earth as it is in heaven. Indeed, everything passes, but the Word of God, source of all peace, will last eternally.

“May the grace and mercy of God be multiplied to you. Amen!”

*Top

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-The Call of Thankfulness

Praise Dance

            (Image by bdec via Flickr)

This is a good time to look at the call of thankfulness in the life of the believer.

Throughout the scriptures in both the old and the new, believers are instructed to express praise and thankfulness to God as a part of their daily worship and devotion.

Here’s a few good ones to remember:

Ps 100:1-5

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
ESV

Col 3:15-17
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
ESV

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
ESV

 

In fact, thankfulness is the fruit and proof of one’s faith. According to Romans 1:21 the opposite is true for the ungodly who do not “honor him as God or give thanks to him.”

All believers are called to be thankful no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in (See: I Thess. 5:18 below). In fact the very act of rejoicing, thanking, and praising God changes our very lives for the better. It also can open the door to miracles.

I am reminded of the occasion when Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison. Most of us including myself would have probably complained about the situation and questioned God about why he allowed it to happen. But Paul and Silas gave thanks and sang praises and it changed everything (Acts 16:-40). I also know of one pastor who went through similar circumstances who sang praises and converted more than a few in prison in the process.

Even if our praises and thankfulness do not change the circumstances we find ourselves in, it does change us and open us up to greater intimacy with God. This is God’s will for our lives and real blessings follow.

1 Thess 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
ESV

*Top

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