by Seattle ALC
Thanksgiving is not just one day in the heart of a Christian. Even in this year 2020 we have much to be thankful for. The following “Thanksgiving 1994” article is taken from the archives of the late Pastor Alvin Holmgren. Psalm 106 is the focus the article. It takes us back in history well over two millenniums. The importance of history is not so much in the learning of the facts and figures of the specific time, but on how our God was involved with them. We often place a great value on the individuals without considering the source of all blessing and how the Lord has not only moved through time, but has directed all of history. The Psalmist gave the nation of Israel a glimpse of the Lord’s Providence. We also need to review what the Lord has done.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (I Timothy 6: 6-11)
These words written by the Apostle Paul to a Brother in Christ point us to what is important in our lives. May we be most concerned about “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” It is easy to focus on the material things around us. We have many material blessings to be thankful for, and we should be. We have a God that cares for us far beyond what we see and He alone knows the future, it will not surprise Him. We have been blessed to live in a nation where religious freedom is protected by law. I appreciated the encouragement Pastor Holmgren gave to pray for our leaders. Contentment is not complacency. It is resting of the mind, resting in the care and keeping of the God who loves you and provides. In Ephesians 6: 12 the same Apostle wrote: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Jesus died for every individual born, or who will be born into this world. He taught us ” Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5: 43-48)
May we be known as those that “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” – Pastor Stan
Today, Thursday. November 24, 1994, the citizens of our nation are called upon by Presidential proclamation to pause in thankfulness for the blessings God has given us as individual citizens and as a nation. As an anthem of praise, let us all join with the psalmist and say: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel. from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord.” (Psalm 106 :48)
In the 106th Psalm, which this verse concludes, the author recalls some of God’s dealings with His people in Old Testament times. This psalm contains many examples of disobedience, but it also shows that the Lord God did not leave His people to their own devices. When they realized the error of their ways, God regarded their affliction and responded to their cry for help.
History often repeats itself. We can see many parallels between God’s chosen nation Israel and our own beloved nation. Although our nation was not founded for the exalted purpose for which God called Abraham, we have had a fortunate beginning. The Lord blessed the courageous venture of God-fearing and freedom-loving colonists who came to these shores. Faith in Him and trust in His providence sustained them through a long and arduous sea voyage and the rigors of the first harsh winter in the new world.
Each of us is individually accountable to God for our actions. In a nation, we, as citizens, are collectively responsible for its rightful development and continued progress. May we view it as a privilege to guard our heritage. It is also the responsibility of Christians to pray to God for those to whom is given leadership in government, as we read in Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy. It is also important for us not only to work diligently in the ministry of the Word, but also do our part in retaining God’s laws and moral principles as the basis of civil law. We cannot hold one conviction in our spiritual lives and another in the secular. Both must be in keeping with the principles which are laid down in God’s Word. President John Quincy Adams said: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity”.· As a nation, we benefit from God’ s blessings or we endure the hardship of His withheld blessings .
When the Israelites voiced greater concern for their temporal needs than their spiritual. God granted their request. But it is written that He sent leanness into their souls. (Ps. 106: 15) The god of materialism is fast blinding the eyes of our people and the God of our fathers is being excluded more and more from our national life. The truth of God is being changed into a lie, and the creature is worshipped and served more than the Creator. Is God allowing a disobedient people to go their own way? Has He granted their request and sent leanness into their souls?
Yet, in the midst of this moral and spiritual decline, we see evidence that God is hearing the prayers of concerned citizens and blessing the efforts which are being made toward a return to the sound principles which are a proven foundation. Let this be an encouragement for us to maintain a vigil of watchfulness in prayer and thanksgiving. God is faithful and worthy to be praised, 0 Lord, our God, help us to give thanks, unto Thy holy Name and to triumph in Thy praise. ‘‘ Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: And let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord.” (Psalm I 06:48)
“Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands, and voices, Who wondrous things has done, in whom His world rejoices.”
(Martin Rinkart- 1636)
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