Summary: General thanksgiving message.
This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving! Do you ever wonder, when Thanksgiving Day is over if you ever remembered to be thankful?
Or is it more like this video?
(Forget Something? Video from Sermon Central)
Let’s read some of the “leaves” on the Thanksgiving Tree
(We have a Thanksgiving Tree where people write their Thanks on paper leaves and hang them on the branches of the tree)
Are there any praises of Thanksgiving today?
What are you thankful for? (Open to the congregation)
Psalm 100 (NASB)
“Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.
“Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.
Why would the people of Israel want to “shout joyfully to the LORD” or “come before Him with joyful singing” or “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise”?
In Deuteronomy 16:16 (NASB), God commanded the Israelites:
“Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths ...”
Three times each year all the men and usually at least part of their families would journey to Jerusalem for a feast. Try to imagine it! Those in the farthest outlying districts would be virtually alone as they started toward Jerusalem and the Temple. As they got closer to Jerusalem there would be more people on the road, groups would join up and conversations would start. Perhaps you would meet some folks you had traveled with on previous occasions.
And, the closer you got the more people there would be until just outside of the city you would be in a mass of celebrants headed to the feast with all of the offerings and sacrifices. You would be able to see the city and the temple from a distance because they are raised up on a mountain and the excitement would start to grow. Once the climb to the city of Jerusalem was accomplished there would be the final climb to the Temple mount.
Can you imagine the excitement? Going to the great festival in Jerusalem? It would be awesome! We can see an example of this in Luke chapter 2 where Jesus accompanies His mother and Joseph to Jerusalem for the Passover. And afterward when they headed home there was such a crowd that they did not even notice that Jesus was missing for a full day and were not able to locate Him in Jerusalem for three days! What excitement!
Going to the City of God, Jerusalem. Going to the great Temple where the Ark of the Covenant sets in the Holy of Holies! Making sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin. How awesome!
Or, would it be like this for you?
I can’t believe it! It’s already time for another trip to Jerusalem? When we went last time the lamb was undercooked and the unleavened bread was not gluten free! My feet hurt from all that walking and that priest didn’t even shake my hand after the sacrifice! Do we have to go again???
Thanksgiving or giving thanks is a choice! Is your focus on God or is your focus on you?
The Bible speaks constantly about choices! The book of Proverbs is full of choices, here are a few:
A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.
Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value,
but righteousness delivers from death.
Lazy hands make for poverty,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
Blessings crown the head of the righteous,
but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
The name of the righteous is used in blessings,
but the name of the wicked will rot.
“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Matthew 10:32-33 (NASB)
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
Life is filled with choices & Thanksgiving or giving thanks is a choice
If it weren't for the optimist, the pessimist would never know how happy he wasn't.