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Summary: Thanksgiving Day sermon that focuses on the blessings of Christ as our only Savior from Sin.

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Thanksgiving Day, 2002

James 1:16-17

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Give Thanks to our Heavenly Father

1. For good and perfect gifts

2. For a good and perfect Savior

A couple hundred years ago, do you know what the first thing was that a farmer did when he went outside in the morning? He looked up at the sky.

He looked at the sky because he knew that the condition of the sky would tell him what he might expect the weather to be. Knowing what the weather was going to be was important because the weather, which was sent by God, determined the success of his crops.

He knew that he could plant all the crops he wanted, he knew that he could give them loving attention throughout the summer, he knew that he could use the best equipment and put in the most hours, but he knew that none of it mattered if the right things didn’t come down from above.

If rain and sunshine didn’t come down from the sky in the proper amounts, no amount of planning and hard work on his part could make a difference.

James reminds us of the same thing this morning. He reminds us that any successes we have, any thing that we might call perfect, any gifts we might have, they all came from God. SO on this Thanksgiving Day, Give Thanks to our Heavenly Father, For good and perfect gifts and for a good and perfect Savior.

Generally speaking, that’s the reminder that most people need today. For the most part, as Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving feasts this afternoon, they don’t need to be reminded that 2002 has been a good year--a year in which they had more than they needed--far more than they needed.

In a day and age when CNN beams a variety of different cultures into our homes, most of us are especially conscious of the fact that we have far and away the best and the most perfect material blessings of any nation on earth.

But we may need to be reminded of where they came from. If we’ve been getting up every morning and looking in the business section, we might be inclined to think that the source of such gifts was the success of our tech stocks. But that would be as foolish as the farmer crediting the rich crop to the fact that he hit some winners when it came to the seeds he planted in the spring. Or if we’ve been getting up every morning and looking at how hard we worked the day before and how hard we are going to work today, we might be inclined to look at the dedication and the long hours that we’ve put in on our job. But that would be as foolish as the farmer attributing his abundant harvest solely to the fact that he is very skilled in reaping and harvesting.

No, the farmer knows that it was the sun and the rain that produced such a harvest and James knows that it is God who has produced such a harvest this year for us. The apostle says, "Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights."

As I have been driving around recently I have been totally amazed at the mountains of corn I have seen at the local elevators. I mean literally mountains of corn – piled up next to the dryers. I heard that right here in Wood Lake the elevator had to refuse to take any more because they were so full. As I drove by the elevator in Clara City, the mountain of corn was at least as high as the dryer it was piled next to. The same was true in every town I went through. God has blessed every one with an abundant crop this year. If your crops were abundant this year, thank the Father who sent the rain and sun from above.

The same is true for people who are not farmers. If you were able to advance at your job this year, thank the Father who sent down the ability for you to excel, and the economy that’s not as bad as the doom and gloomers say it is.

If your stocks benefited you this year, thank the Father who controls all things, who sends all good and perfect gifts.

And what if they didn’t? That is, what your stocks didn’t benefit you this year, what if your company downsized you this year to nothing, what if your "crops" weren’t so abundant this year? What if it seems that, in addition to giving you some "good and perfect" gifts this year, God has also given you some "not so good and quite flawed" gifts this year? What if it seems that "gifts" is hardly the word to use for those things? What if it seems that in addition to occasionally sending productive sunshine and gentle rain, God also sent destructive hailstones and lightning bolts from above?

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