Wednesday, November 23, 2022

What Happened to Thanksgiving?

 Temple Baptist Church - 11-23-2022

Psalm 103:1-5




A.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day so I thought it good to one more time reflect upon the goodness of God to His children. 


1.  Psalm 103 is one of the more notable Psalms dealing with thanksgiving.  It begins with the blessed blessing God. 


Acts 20:35  … remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 


2.  Verse 1 is a reflection upon what the Lord has done for those who know Him and the “blessing” returned to the Creator and Saviour!


B.  We live in an ever-changing world. 


1.  As Barbara and I were walking into Walmart Monday, the door greeter looked at me and said, “Have a ‘Happy Turkey Day’”!   I was not out of the way with her, but I replied, “Happy Thanksgiving”.  People do not want Thanksgiving Day to a God that they neither know nor are thankful to. 


2.  The last time that I thought about it, Thanksgiving Day was next.  On Walmart’s agenda this year the change was evident.  Halloween turned into Christmas!


3.  Christmas decorations have been for for weeks at Walmart as they emptied the shelves in the outdoor section and filled it with them.


4.  Christmas, the commercial one, was next. Thanksgiving Day is now just a family day with little profit for Walmart.


5.  “Black Friday” is set up and ready to go on Thanksgiving Day which will begin in many stores right after Thanksgiving Dinner.  Somewhere, Thanksgiving got lost in the shuffle as stores and people prepare for the normal commercialism of the Christmas Season.


6.  I understand that Walmart is a commercial store, not a spiritual one and their main goal is profit generated by the wants of their customers.  So I am not being hard on the Walmart stores because they are just being Walmart.


7.  Stores in general will now be saying “Happy Holidays” instead of the traditional “Merry Christmas,” because so many people do not want the worship of the Lord to interfere with their Santa Clause! 


8.  Driving around, we see Halloween lights up along with Christmas lights in front of homes along with other decorations.


C.  I know that this may seem trivial to many, but Thanksgiving Day, in the traditional sense, had its beginning as a day of thanksgiving to our wonderful Creator for His many blessing upon us.


D.  But the world in general no longer wants God!  Well I do and so do you.


E.  Across our country there is a spirit of ingratitude. 


1.  Today, we hear the word “entitlement” instead of the words “Thank you.”  We are becoming a nation of “free loaders” instead of personal integrity and pride in both our willingness to work and our pride in the work that we do.


2.  So many people believe that the government, society, or someone else owes them a living and what they receive is never enough.  Their only concern is for self!  Socialism has replaced work.  Greed has replaced contentment.  Atheism has replaced God.


3.  This general attitude breeds a lack of thankfulness. 


Romans 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.


2 Timothy 3:1-5  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (2)  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  (3)  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  (4)  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  (5)  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.


F.  As we approach everyday (not just Thanksgiving Day), as the children of God, let each of us remember to give thanks to the One who has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness.  The Bible says much about thanksgiving:


Ephesians 5:20  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 


1 Thessalonians 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  


Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.


Psalms 100:4  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Psalms 95:1-3  O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to           the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.  For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.


Hebrews 13:15  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.


G.  We need to thank God publicly.  We are here to do so this tonight.  Psalms 35:18  I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.


H.   But, more importantly, we need to thank god privately.  Our personal devotion is who and what we are!  Psalms 119:62  At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.


J.  David is the author of the Psalm through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost as all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. 


1.  Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  David’s life was characterized by ups and downs.  His life was full to good times and bad times. 


2.  David’s life was noted for its successes and failures but also for his worship in thankfulness.


K.  Here, we find the “blessed” blessing the One who blesses!  Through all of the trials and tribulations that David experienced in his life, he knew that he was blessed and thanked the Lord for it.  Several things stick out to me in the first two verses.


1.  The Resolve of Thanksgiving.  “Bless the LORD” is a command given to self.  Gratitude is not a natural thing in the flesh. 


a.  Sometimes we take the blessings of the LORD for granted. 


b.  Sometimes we believe that we deserve the blessings of the LORD. 


c.  Sometimes we credit fate or luck for the things that the LORD has provided for us.


2.  The Desire of Thanksgiving.  “O my soul” 


a.  When in the hard times of life, it is easy to fail to see the good things of life because we are shrouded with the evil things.  All of us have had or are having hard times and, though it is in the valleys that we grow, it is easy allow our disappointments, discouragements, etc. to take our eyes off of the LORD. 


b.  God was good to David in his youth.  David spent his youth in obscurity watching over his father’s sheep. 


b.  God was good to David in his manhood.  In his young manhood, he was anointed King of Israel but never got to sit on a throne.  In the meantime, he spent most of his time hiding from King Saul.  His life was one of battles and, yet, he knew that he was blessed of God. 


c.  God was good to David in his failures as well as his victories.


3.  The Depth of Thanksgiving.  “all that is within me” 


a.  What a blessing it is to praise the LORD with all our hearts for His goodness and mercy.  So many times we say thanks without actually being thankful.  A good example of this is blessing our food.  We go through the right ritual and say the right words but often pay little attention to the wonderful food that God has provided for us while multitudes are starving. 


b.  We mention being blessed of God but move through life in a thankless manner without taking time to look around and “smell the roses.”  In the midst of problems, we have so much to be thankful for.


4.  The Reminder of Thanksgiving.  “bless his holy name” 


a.  Our thanksgiving is to the Giver of life.  The Bible says that He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness.  He is our Creator who loves us and thinks upon us. 


b.  We live in the greatest nation on earth; we eat more than we need; we share the comforts of good homes, the conveniences of transportation, and the ease of royalty.  I love to hear the song “God bless America!”


5.  The Possibility of Thanksgiving.  “forget not all his benefits” 


a.  Being saved is so much more than just going to heaven.  It is a blessing filled life here on earth and then heaven.  It is easy in this rat-race world to get caught up in the busyness of things and not taking time to simply say, “Thank you, LORD, for your blessings upon one as underserving as me.” 


b.  We have good health in the midst of so much sickness and suffering around us.


c.  We have our church family!  What a blessing and privilege it is to come and just see our brothers and sisters in Christ.  To come out of the world for a few minutes and experience the peace that only God can give.


d.  We have the Holy Spirit living within; we have the Word of God in our hand; we have the church when we are down and out.  We are blessed!  Let us bless the LORD for He has certainly blessed us.

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