SERMONHUNT.COM

Here is a list of things housewives are most thankful for: 

"For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.

For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. Theyre such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents

For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.


For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkeys done."
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. There is also evidence for an earlier harvest celebration on the continent by Spanish explorers in Florida during 1565, as well as thanksgiving feasts in the Virginia Colony.

 

The initial thanksgiving observance at Virginia in 1619 was prompted by the colonists' leaders on the anniversary of the settlement. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. In later years, the tradition was continued by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623.  While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s

The first Thanksgiving celebrated on the same date by all states was in 1863 by presidential proclamation. The final Thursday in November had become the customary date of Thanksgiving in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 20th century. And so, in an effort by President Abraham Lincoln (influenced by the campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale) to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states, proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November.

It was not until December 26, 1941, that the unified date changed to the fourth Thursday (and not always final) in November -this time by federal legislation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after two years earlier offering his own proclamation to move the date earlier, with the reason of giving the country an economic boost, agreed to sign a bill into law with Congress, making Thanksgiving a national holiday on the fourth (not final) Thursday in November.

Long before the Pilgrims celebrated a day of Thanksgiving, God focused people have been taught to be thankful. It is part of who we are or should be.

 

Today is the first day of the week. It is the beginning of a week set aside not for turkey, family and football but for giving thanks. Given that fact I wanted to bring some focus to our week. This week is also the entry into Advent and so for the next five or six weeks our lives will be different.

 

 A Call to Thanksgiving:

 

In 1623, Governor William Bradford called the Pilgrims to gather together for a day of prayer and thanksgiving. Only three years earlier, they had left their jobs, their homes and their communities in order to escape religious persecution in England.

These brave men and women with their children had survived a treacherous ocean voyage, only to find themselves stranded in a strange new land, in a harsh winter climate, without sufficient food or shelter.

 

During the first winter, half of them died of sickness and starvation those who remained and persevered, and though they continued to face many challenges had many reasons to give thanks.

 

Governor Bradford issued A Thanksgiving Proclamation

To All Ye Pilgrims Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience.

 

Now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred

and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all his blessings.

 

In our text today we have a call from the Psalmist that says this:

 

1 Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.   Psalm 103:1-2 NLT

 

We are called to be thankful. We are called to cultivate a thankful heart and attitude. I am just going to give you this call from the scriptures.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each others faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.  Colossians 3:12-17 NLT

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is Gods will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

 

28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire. Hebrews 12:28 NLT

 

11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, 12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! 
Psalm 30:11-12 NLT

 

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.

4 Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. His faithful love endures forever.
5 Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully. His faithful love endures forever.
6 Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters. His faithful love endures forever.
7 Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lightsHis faithful love endures forever.
8 the sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever.
9 and the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever.

                                                                                                                Psalm 136:1-9 NLT

 

Not only are we called to give thanks but let us confess our thanksgiving.

 

 

A Confession at Thanksgiving

 

When we think of the word confession we often think about a criminal confessing to a crime or we may think of confessing our sins. It is interesting to read what the dictionary says about confession:

 confession   knfn   [kuhn-fesh-uhn]  noun

1. acknowledgment; avowal; admission: a confession of incompetence.

2. acknowledgment or disclosure of sin or sinfulness, especially to a priest to obtain absolution.

3. something that is confessed.

4. a formal, usually written, acknowledgment of guilt by a person accused of a crime.

5. Also called confession of faith. a formal profession of belief and acceptance of doctrines, as before being admitted to church membership.

 

Let me pray a prayer of confession used in many church setting at thanksgiving.

 

Loving God, we gather today rich in blessing, somehow believing that we merit the wealth and comforts that we enjoy.

Forgive us, our God, for comfortably closing our eyes to the faces of the poor that stare blankly in our direction.
Lord, have mercy on us.

With bellies full of grain and meat, we offer token gestures to the hungry in our world

and we feel we have done enough.

Forgive us, God, for keeping a distance between "us" and "them," for closing our ears to the cries of the hungry.
Christ, have mercy on us.

With hands tightly clasping our treasures on earth, we cannot reach out to our oppressed brothers and sisters around this world.

Forgive us for clinging to our own possessions rather than to you. Unite us with hearts of thanksgiving  that we may work to insure freedom and justice for all.
Lord, have mercy on us.

 

Let me give you three things based on our scripture in Psalm 103 that we need to confess in our giving of thanks this year.


3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.

 

There is nothing greater than having ones sins forgiven. In this Psalm it is thought that perhaps the writer in his exuberance and praise has recently been healed and as he worships and thanks God for his salvation he includes praise for his healing.

 

Have you thanked God lately for your salvation? Have you honestly even thought about it? I am not sure that today many people even know that they are saved from. I am not sure we process it all that someday this world as we know it will wrap up and we will be ushered into eternity. The bible clearly teaches that there are two destinations. One is heaven and the other is hell. One is tremendous in its description and glory and the other it tortuous and terrifying.

 

We should be thankful and confess the fact that He forgives all our sins. He heals our diseases.

 

4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

 

Some translations of this verse render it: He redeems my life from destruction.   We need to remember that this Psalm was written by a man that did so much right with his life that God said of David, He is a man after my own heart. However he is also a man that made a major mistake that had devastating results in his life, his familys life and the life of another.

 

This is a man that after taking someone elses wife, arranging for her husband to be killed on the battlefield and destroying some of his own family in the process could somehow climb on top of the guilt and the devastation and declare: He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

 

"Redemption is a word implying helplessness. The picture of redemption is of one held captive by forces that cannot be overcome. Only a third party can intervene to rescue. Redemption never comes by our own efforts. Spiritually, redemption cannot happen without a Redeemer. This word is precious because it reminds followers of Jesus that relationship with Him has been purchased at great cost."

 

London businessman Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash all over the place. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, he took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage. The buyer said, Forget about the repairs. When I buy this place, Im going to build something completely different. I dont want the building; I want the site.
Thats Gods message to us! Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we become Gods the old life is over. He makes all things new. All He wants is the site and the permission to build. There are still some trying to reform, but God offers redemption. All we have to do is give Him the property and he will do the necessary building.

 

 He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles!

Psalm 103:5 NLT

 

Last week we learned about Gods ability to make us soar with the Eagles. The Psalmist uses the eagle as an illustration but mostly we confession at Thanksgiving that God has filled our life with good things.

 

Some of us are pretty good at grumbling and complaining. We are really expert as seeing the glass half empty. Some us may be honestly at the bottom right now and it is hard to see or feel anything positive. I understand that but I also know that the majority of us in this room have lives filled with good things. Even with all of the economic struggles and high prices for gas and other necessities our lives are still full of good things.

 

Let me just give you one example of something we take as a right and not a privilege:

 

Water:


884 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in eight people.

3.575 million people die each year from water-related disease.  

The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.

An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.

Sanitation

Only 62% of the worlds population has access to improved sanitation defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact.

More people in the world have cell phones than access than to a toilet.

Lack of sanitation is the worlds biggest cause of infection.

2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, including 1.2 billion people who have no facilities at all.

Of the 60 million people added to the worlds towns and cities every year, most occupy impoverished slums and shanty-towns with no sanitation facilities.

 

Children

 

Diarrhea remains in the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths about 1.5 million each year is due to diarrhea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.  

 

Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.

Children in poor environments often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time.

In the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water.  

1.4 million children die as a result of diarrhea each year.  

Women

In just one day, more than 200 million hours of womens time is consumed for the most basic of human needs collecting water for domestic use.

This lost productivity is greater than the combined number of hours worked in a week by employees at Walmart, United Parcel Service, McDonalds, IBM, Target, and Kroger, according to Gary White, co-founder of Water.org.

Now that is just one thing that we take lightly in our world that all of us in this room have access to everyday twenty four hours a day.

 

I would like to pause and allow you to confess your thanksgiving to God for a moment or two.

 

A Challenge at Thanksgiving


The challenge for us today is to walk out of here in a few minutes and be determined to cultivate a heart of thankfulness. The best way for you to express your gratitude to God is to give thanks continually for what He has done for you and in you.

 

12 What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lords name for saving me.
14 I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

                                                                                                       Psalm 116:12-14 NLT

 

Keep your promise to the Lord. . .

 

Alex Haley, the author of "Roots," had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, "Why is that there?" Alex Haley answered, "Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words & think that they are wonderful, & begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post & remember that he didnt get there on his own. He had help." 

That is the basis of thankfulness - to remember that we got here with the help of God, and that He is the provider of every blessing we have.

 

Response: Bring your cards forward with something that you are genuinely thankful for.

 

Benediction:

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.


4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.  
Psalm 100 NLT