Thanksgiving History

American PatriotI enjoy reading The American Patriot’s Daily Almanac by Bill Bennett and John T.E. Cribb. This entry reminds me to be thankful for the legacy of thankfulness we enjoy in the United States of America.

Our nation has inherited a long, rich tradition of thanking God for his blessings.

In 1541 Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his men conducted a service of thanksgiving for the abundant food and water they found along the Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle.

In 1564 French Huguenot colonists settled in the area of Jacksonville, Florida, and “sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God.”

In 1607, when the Jamestown colonists arrived in Virginia, they immediately erected a wooden cross and gave thanks for their safe passage across the ocean.

In 1619, English colonists at Berkeley Hundred in Virginia decreed that the day of their arrival, December 4, “shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

In the autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Massachusetts, held a feast to celebrate the harvest and thank the Lord for his goodness—the feast we now remember as the “First Thanksgiving.”

In 1777, during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress designated December 18 of that year a day “for solemn Thanksgiving and praise” for the Patriot army’s victory at Saratoga—the first national day of thanksgiving.

In 1789 President George Washington proclaimed November 26 to be a day of thanksgiving for God’s blessings and for the new United States Constitution.

It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that the country got a regular national Thanksgiving Day. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” Succeeding presidents followed Lincoln’s example. In 1941, Congress passed a law officially declaring the fourth Thursday in November as America’s Thanksgiving Day.

Let’s make sure Thanksgiving is not just a day on the calendar, but a year-round lifestyle!

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading and watching from today…

“I set you down as nearer akin to a devil than to a saint, if you can go your way and look into the face of your friend or child, and know him to be on the downward road, and yet never pray for him nor use any means for his conversion.” —Charles Spurgeon

Truth: 5 reasons why church is good for your marriage.

“Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.” —C.S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters

When doctors given expectant parents about a health issue for their baby, that information may be misleading.

…but there is no mistaking this abortionist’s vile confession: “we let babies born alive ‘expire.’

“A person morally incapable of doing evil would be, by the same token, morally incapable of doing good. A free human will is necessary to the concept of morality.” —A.W. Tozer

Yet again climatologists’ “models” of so-called global warming are destroyed.

I love Pastor Chilly’s list: 66 Expressions Of Love.

[VIDEO] John Piper on what it means to be Gospel-centered…

David Wilkerson (book review)

David WilkersonGary Wilkerson gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the life of his father in this very readable and heartwarming biography of David Wilkerson.

When I read the story of David Wilkerson taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the gangs of New York in the book The Cross And The Switchblade, I was absolutely mesmerized! Here was this country preacher from Pennsylvania confronting some of the toughest gang members all alone on the streets of New York City … wow!

I had visions of a man with a commanding physical presence, a man who was so confident in what God had called him to do, and a man who had an unshakable faith in God. So when I picked up this biography, I was prepared to meet this giant of a man. Instead I found someone who was, in a word, real. He wasn’t physically imposing, he struggled with God’s calling on his life at times, he worked himself almost to exhaustion, he made mistakes, and he sometimes doubted if what he was doing was making a lasting difference.

But in one facet my youthful impression was correct: David Wilkerson was a man of unshakable faith in God. Even in moments where he battled depression and his own shortcomings, he never wavered in his clinging to God.

Gary Wilkerson tells this life story of his Dad lovingly and honestly. He shows us so clearly how God can use a real man, with all of his faults and shortcomings, if that man will simply remain surrendered to God’s will.

This is a highly encouraging biography! I would especially recommend this to anyone who was as thrilled with The Cross And The Switchblade as I was, because I believe it will give you a whole new level of appreciation for the amazing work God did through David Wilkerson’s life.

I am a BookLook book reviewer.

This Day In Christian History (book review)

This DayFor history buffs, This Day In Christian History by William D. Blake is a great book to keep handy all throughout the year. Each day you will find two historical items which have had a lasting impact on church history.

The two calendar items each day will take less than 60 seconds to read, but I found that on many days it opened the door of curiosity for me to do some additional research on that event or person. You will also find:

  • A brief biographical sketch of notable people in church history
  • Memorable quotes
  • Some mind-blowing “did you knows” (that you can use to impress your friends)
  • The rich history that all Christians share in common

A very fun book to read each day of the year.

Good Coveting

Covet GodIf we simply state the last of the Ten Commandments like this—You shall not covet—we have missed the true intention of that commandment. You see, God created us to covet. The issue is not if we will covet, but what we will covet.

The word covet means (1) long for greatly, (2) take pleasure in, or (3) find desirable. Throughout the Old Testament this word is used twice as many times in the positive sense as in the negative. The Bible, in fact, encourages us to covet after a deeper relationship with God; to covet God’s ways; to covet our spouse … to covet all of the good and moral things God created for us.

The tenth commandment prohibits us from coveting immorally.

If we restate the first commandment like this—I am the Lord your God. You shall covet a relationship with Me alone—then we will immediately be able to obey all of the other commandments. But if we break the tenth commandment by coveting things other than God, we are liable to break every commandment.

Check this out:

  • Adam & Eve—their immoral coveting led to violating commandments 1, 5 and 8.
  • Achan—his immoral coveting led to violating commandments 2, 8 and 6.
  • David—his immoral coveting led to violating commandments 7, 8, 9 and 6.
  • Judas Iscariot—his immoral coveting led to violating commandments 1, 9, 3 and 6.

Augustine said, “I call the love to God the motion of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for His own sake, and the enjoyment of one’s self and of one’s neighbor for the sake of God.” Coveting God is good!

We were made to covet Him. satan wants us to covet our neighbor’s house, spouse, lifestyle, and possessions, but if we listen to him, we will end up miserable.

God coveting = good coveting!

The 10 Commandments In The New Testament

I have heard far too many people say, “The laws of the Old Testament were for ‘back then.’ We live in the New Testament era, so those laws don’t apply to us any longer.” This is a blatant disregard of facts.

Not only are every single one of the Ten Commandments reiterated in the New Testament, they are also amplified. Consider this example: Under the Old Testament law, as long as I hadn’t slept with someone other than my wife I hadn’t broken the 7th commandment (do not commit adultery). Jesus not only reiterated that 7th commandment, but He amplified it to say my lustful thoughts toward someone not my wife made me a violator of that commandment.

Here’s the list of the commandments reiterated and amplified—

10 Commandments In The New Testament

You may download a PDF version of this chart here → 10 Commandments In The New Testament

 

From The Cutting Room Floor: The Love In The Law

Love In The LawWhenever I am working on a series of messages, I always end up with way more material than I could possibly share. But it’s still really good stuff! I remember a movie director once remarking that some of his best and favorite scenes ended up on the cutting room floor during the movie’s editing process. So here are some of the quotes and thoughts I really liked, recovered from “the cutting room floor” as I prepared our Love In The Law series.

“True obedience to God (not just to lists of laws) means more than outward performances which can be tallied in percentages (like 80 percent obeyed). Rather, true obedience is to be so transformed that we delight to do God’s will at multiple levels. We delight in His will as the excellent expression of His wisdom and justice and love. We delight in personal, close communion with Him as our guide, which we would lose, at least for a season, if we acted against His counsel. We delight in His gift of a clean conscience. We delight in the smile of His approval. We delight in God Himself whom we see and know more clearly when we walk in unbroken fellowship and obedience. We delight in the prospect of ongoing assurance and hope, which is jeopardized and weakened if we gradually slip away from Him in callous disobedience.” —John Piper

I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is with in my heart. —Psalm 40:8

“To detect ourselves thus balancing a transgression here, against many observances there, ought at once to startle us into the conviction that the whole principle of our lives must be faulty. Our aim is, not to love God, or to obey Him, but to get to heaven, or at least escape hell, on the cheapest terms.” —Alfred Plummer

“Our will is morally and spiritually flawed. Nevertheless we are responsible to do the commandments of God. The moral corruption that cripples us does not relieve us of our responsibility to do what is right and good to do.” —John Piper

“I call the love to God the motion of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for His own sake, and the enjoyment of one’s self and of one’s neighbor for the sake of God.” —Augustine

“If thou neglect thy love to thy neighbor, in vain thou professest thy love to God; for by thy love to God, the love to thy neighbor is begotten, and by thy love to thy neighbor, thy love to God is nourished.” —Francis Quarles

“A pennyweight o’ love is worth a pound o’ law.” —Scottish Proverb

It pleased the Lord for the sake of His righteousness to make His law great and glorious. —Isaiah 42:21

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