Summary: With all my heart I believe we are a people & a nation that have truly been blessed by God. And of all those who "give thanks to Him and praise His name" our name should be at the top of the list! (PowerPoints Available - #283)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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TEXT: Psalm 100
A. One of the most beautiful Psalms of thanksgiving is the 100th Psalm. Please follow along as I read: "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God.
"It is He who made us, & we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving & His courts with praise; give thanks to Him & praise His name.
"For the Lord is good & His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."
I believe we are a people & a nation that has truly been blessed by God.
B. It is not uncommon to compile wish lists at Christmas, & draw up a list of resolutions for New Years. But there is another list often overlooked - a Thanksgiving list of all for which we are thankful.
(I used the following illustration in my original version of this sermon:
ILL. Let me read a part of the list that several housewives compiled. They wrote that they were especially thankful:
"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. They’re 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 turkey’s done. )
(I replaced that illustration with the following in my 2015 revision:
ILL. Someone wrote this list of things for which he was Thankful.
"I am thankful for: The taxes I pay - because it means I’m employed;
The clothes that fit a little too snug - because it means I have enough to eat;
A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need washing, & gutters that need cleaning - because it means I have a home;
My huge heating bill - because it means I am warm;
The piles of laundry - because it means I have loved ones nearby.
APPL. Now our lists might not all be the same, but I'm convinced that if we began to make a list, we would find that we have much more for which to be thankful than just our material possessions.
Like you, I'm sure, my list would include the major things life, health, family, friends, & the nation we live in, despite all its flaws.
But most of all, I'm thankful for my salvation & the mercy that God showers upon us. Because of Jesus we have so much for which to celebrate on Thanksgiving!
C. But have you ever considered that no Americans were more underprivileged than that small handful from the Mayflower who started the custom of setting aside a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God?
They had no permanent homes & no government agency to help them build their homes. They had no means of transportation but their legs. Their only food came from the sea & the forest, & they had to get it for themselves.
They had no money & no place to spend it if they'd had any. They had no amusements except what they made for themselves, no means of communication with their relatives in England, no social security or medicare.
But anyone who dared to call them underprivileged would probably have ended up in the stocks, for they did have 4 of the greatest human assets: initiative, courage, a willingness to work, & a boundless faith in God.
Our forefathers had "a boundless faith in God." That almost sounds strange today when powerful forces are at work in our nation to strip us of every reminder that the foundation of our nation is the conviction that we are "one nation, under God."
ILL. Our "Declaration of Independence" proclaims, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . ."
And it ends with these words, ". . .with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes & our sacred Honor."
D. Thanksgiving Day is a distinctive holiday. It doesn't commemorate a battle or anyone's birthday or anniversary. It is simply a day set aside to express our nation's thanks to our nation's God.