The True Meaning of Thanksgiving Psalm 92:1,2 (NKJV) Psalm 92:1,2 (NKJV)

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1 Message for THE LORD'S DAY MORNING, November 19, 2017 Christian Hope Church of Christ, Plymouth, North Carolina by Reggie A. Braziel, Minister THANKSGIVING MESSAGE TOPIC: Thanksgiving, Holiday Messages The True Meaning of Thanksgiving Psalm 92:1,2 (NKJV) This morning as we turn our thoughts towards this Thanksgiving season, I would like for you to open your Bibles to Psalm 92. And let's read verses 1, 2. Psalm 92:1,2 (NKJV) 1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name O Most High; 2 To declare Your loving-kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night. P R A Y E R ********************** Introduction In 1604 King James came to power in England. We recognize that name because the King James Version Bible was translated during his reign. King James was tolerant of other religious opinions, except those that openly criticized the Church of England. It was during his reign that secret congregations began to form desiring to separate from the legalistic and oppressive Church of England.

2 One such secret congregation was formed near Sherwood Forest in a small village of Nottinghamshire called Scrooby. When the English authorities found out about them, the majority of the congregation decided to move to Leiden, Holland while the rest remained in England. By 1620, the congregation meeting in Holland, and the smaller remnant of their Church back in England decided to leave Europe and set sail for the New World where they could practice their Christian faith in freedom. The congregation in Holland hired a ship called The Speedwell, while the congregation back in England hired a ship called The Mayflower. The plan was for the two ships to meet in Southampton, England and sail together to northern Virginia. The Speedwell had been leaking on the journey from Holland to Southampton, so they spent the better part of week patching her up to make her sea worthy. Finally on August 5, 1620 the two ships left Southampton for the New World. Once again the Speedwell began taking on water and they stopped in Dartmouth, England for repairs. Two weeks later after the repairs were completed, the two ships set sail once again. But about 300 miles out to sea the Speedwell began to take on water again and was deemed un-sea-worthy. The two ships turned around and went back to Plymouth, England where they abandoned the Speedwell. The cargo was transferred from the Speedwell onto the Mayflower. And while a number of the frustrated Pilgrims decided to go home, most of them crammed themselves onto the Mayflower. On September 6, 1620 the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England and headed for northern Virginia. Aboard the Mayflower were 102 passengers, including 3 pregnant women. One baby was born on the voyage, but another young boy died of pneumonia.

3 On November 9 th they sited Cape Cod ----after 66 days at sea. Because of the delays caused by the leaking Speedwell, many of the Pilgrims had spent the better part of four months on the boat. Arriving much later than expected, the pilgrims erected hasty shelters. But they were ill-prepared for the brutally harsh New England winter. By the next spring nearly one-half of those who came over on the Mayflower had died. Those who survived that brutal winter were aided greatly by friendly Indians, who assisted them in planting crops. By the following fall, they reaped a bountiful harvest. And the grateful pilgrims declared a three-day feast to celebrate with their Indian friends and to give thanks to GOD for their blessings. It was America's very first Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was celebrated sporadically for many years after that, mostly in New England. In time the tradition began to spread to some of the other colonies. And in 1789 President George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26, 1789 a National Day of Thanksgiving. Despite Washington's declaration, the thanksgiving celebration was still observed sporadically for many years. It was not until President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863 that Thanksgiving was officially set aside as a national observance. In his proclamation, President Lincoln wrote: We often forget the Source from which the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies come. No human wisdom hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God. I therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the the United States to observe the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

4 This coming Thursday we will celebrate our nation's 154 th National Day of Thanksgiving. While our thoughts are probably on our big Thanksgiving dinner...and family...and football...and the big Black Friday sales...i would like for us to take just a few minutes this morning to think about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. The dictionary defines thanksgiving as the act of giving thanks or the expression of thanks for one's benefits. But what does thanksgiving truly mean in a practical sense to those of us who are Christians? First of all... I. Thanksgiving Means I Am BLESSED Beyond MEASURE Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

5 1. I believe we in America sometimes forget just how blessed we truly are. In fact, we are more than just blessed, we are blessed beyond measure. When you compare the life we enjoy here in America there is no other nation on earth that even comes close. 2. That is why it angers me when I see filthy rich, pampered athletes taking a knee during the national anthem, and when I hear elitist Hollywood actors and actors spouting their anti-american rhetoric. 3. In much of the world today, people struggle just to stay alive. Many of the people in the world have no access to clean drinking water, or indoor plumbing, or medical or dental care, or electricity. About 50% of the world's population lives on less than $2.50 a day, and 80% lives on less than $10 a day. Even people on welfare in America live a more luxurious lifestyle than the greatest percentage of people in other parts of the world. In fact, do you realize if you make $7,000 a year, you are in the top 12% of the world's wealthiest people? 4. While millions of people starve to death each year, you and I have enough food in our cabinets and refrigerators to feed entire villages in other parts of the world. -In America, many of us fret over having nothing to wear when we have closets full of clothes, while millions in the world have only the clothes on their backs, if they have any clothes at all.

6 - In America, we fret over which pair of shoes go best with our outfit, while millions in the world don't own a pair of shoes to their name. - In America, we fret when we have to take a cold shower because someone used up all the hot water, while millions of people bathe in urine and feces polluted rivers and lakes they share with livestock and the other people from their villages. -In America, we complain when a storm knocks out our power and we have no electricity for several hours, while millions upon millions in this world still haven't heard of electricity. - In America, we complain about our beds being too hard or too soft, while millions will sleep on a dirt floor tonight. We truly have been blessed beyond measure. ILLUSTRATION The true story is told of a young man who had just graduated from college who took the C.P.A. exams and passed with flying colors. Now he was a full-fledged Certified Public Accountant. The young man's father had been an immigrant to the United States, who established his own family operated business. Filled with his own sense of self-importance the young college graduate started criticizing his father's way of keeping books.

7 He said, Dad, you don't even know how much profit you've made. Over here in this drawer are your accounts receivable. And over there in a card board box are all your receipts. And you keep all your money in the cash register. Dad, you don't have any idea how much money you have made. The father said, Son, when I came to this country the only thing I owned was a pair of pants. Now, your brother is a doctor, your sister is an art teacher, and you are a C.P.A. Your mother and I own our own home. We have a reliable car and we own this little business. Now son, when you add all of that up, and subtract that pair of pants I came here with, all the rest is profit wouldn't you say? 5. When you and I came into this world we had nothing but the skin on our bones. The apostle Paul tells us in I Timothy 6:7 (NKJV)... For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. That means everything we have now and everything we have ever accumulated in this life is profit. 6. And so at this time of Thanksgiving remember, Thanksgiving Means I Am Truly Blessed.

8 Secondly... II. Thanksgiving Means I OWE ALL MY BLESSINGS to GOD James 1:17 (NKJV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Philippians 4:19 (NKJV) And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 1. In our human pride we like to attribute our blessings to our own hard work, our education, and human efforts. But the truth is we owe ALL that we are, and ALL that we have, and ALL that we have achieved in this life to GOD. Or another way of putting it: Without GOD we are nothing, have nothing, and can do nothing of any eternal value. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 11:36... For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. 2. We owe a debt of gratitude to GOD for every blessing in our life. We cannot create or produce our own blessings. Every blessing you and I have has come directly from the hands of GOD Himself. 3. This is why it is so critically important that we be a thankful people. In fact, every single day should be Thanksgiving Day for the Christian.

9 4. Being thankful teaches us HUMILITY. Being thankful teaches us we are INDEBTED to God for everything! And that we are DEPENDENT upon God for everything. Being thankful teaches us to be APPRECIATIVE of every blessing GOD gives us. Being thankful teaches us to be CONTENT with what we have instead of whining and complaining about what we don't have. Being thankful SWEETENS our DISPOSITION and keeps us from being soured by life's circumstances. And most importantly, being thankful affords GOD the HONOR,, and the PRAISE,, and the GLORY that is rightfully due Him. 5. Have you thanked GOD lately for HIS GRACE? Without His grace you could not be saved. Have you thanked GOD lately for HIS MERCY? Without His mercy God would give you what you deserve. Have you thanked GOD lately for HIS FORGIVENESS? Without His forgiveness you and I would still be held guilty for all our sins. Have you thanked GOD lately for HIS FAITHFULNESS? Without His faithfulness GOD would have given up on you a long time ago.

10 Have you thanked GOD lately for HIS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE? Without His unconditional love you and I have given God every reason not to love us. Have you thanked GOD lately for HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST? Without Christ we would have no hope... no salvation...and no future. What Is The True Meaning of Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving Means I Am BLESSED Beyond MEASURE Thanksgiving Means I OWE ALL MY BLESSINGS To GOD And thirdly... III. Thanksgiving Means I am BLESSED in Order to BE A BLESSING to Others 1. The word of GOD makes it crystal clear that GOD doesn't shower us with His blessings so we can hoard or stockpile those blessings all to ourselves. GOD BLESSES US IN ORDER THAT WE MAY BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS. II Corinthians 9:8 (New Living Translation) And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. Luke 6:38 (New Living Translation) Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back

11 Luke 12:48 b (New Living Translation) When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. 2. I don't know who is credited with this quote, but its really good. Listen carefully... God didn't add another day to your life because you needed it. He did it because someone out there needs you. 3. Mark Batterson says, When God blesses you financially, don't raise your standard of living, raise your standard of giving. 4. The greatest way you and I can express our thanksgiving to GOD is by sharing the blessings He has given to us with others who are less fortunate. 5. Remember Jesus teaches us Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV) 6. Thanksgiving means WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED IN ORDER TO BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS.

12 C O N C L U S I O N In the 2000 hit movie Pay It Forward Haley Joel Osment played the role of young Trevor McKinney, the son of an alcoholic mother and abusive, but absent father. One day in school, Trevor's new Social Studies teacher, Mr. Simonet, gave his class a very challenging assignment to think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor thought and thought about what he could do and finally came up with a completely novel idea. Rather than paying a favor back pay it forward by doing good deeds for three new people. And instead of receiving something in return for his good deeds, Trevor challenged each of the three people he helped to pay it forward to three new people. Before long Trevor's simple act of kindness and generosity spread like wildfire and the Pay It Forward revolution spread all across America and into other parts of the world. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I pray that each of us will remind ourselves of The True Meaning of Thanksgiving, and that is: I am BLESSED beyond MEASURE I owe ALL MY BLESSINGS to GOD I have BEEN BLESSED in Order To BE A BLESSING to Others

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