Thoughts on Thanksgiving by Allen Davis

allenI’ve been cleaning up my email and found a treasure written by my father on Thanksgiving Day a little over a month before he unexpectedly passed away. I wish I could tell him today how thankful I am for the godly heritage he left us.


Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 10:56:05 -0500
Subject: Thanksgiving thoughts

Below are some thoughts on my study about Thanksgiving this morning in Psalm 116

Thoughts on this Thanksgiving Day.  Psalm 116

Being thankful is a Good Habit!

1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

We are creatures of habit.  We have some good habits and some bad habits.
We are largely what we are because of the habits that we have.

As parents how many times have we said to our children when they were little and now our grandchildren “Now what do you say?”
You remind them to say “Thank you” when someone gives them something.
We were trying to instill within them the habit of expressing thanks.

Our children are very polite to adults and have developed the habit well.  The only way we can teach them to be thankful to God is by example.
Am I guilty of being thankful to God for all the “things” He has given “ME”?

In everything give thanks.”
We need to develop the habit of giving thanks, and then continue the habit.  We should not need a national holiday to remind us to give thanks.
It should be our normal manner of living.

The giving of thanks is a habit to be learned rather than some spontaneous and accidental thing.  It is a habit that can be learned.
God wanted us to have the habit of thanksgiving.

If we focus on God’s gift of His Son then all the other things we are thankful for are put in perspective.  We have much and we should be thankful for them but
if we miss God’s perfect gift to us on this day we have spent this day in vain.

David, in a time when his heart sang in praise in an awareness of God’s gracious gifts,
asked himself the question, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?
(Psalm 116:12)

He answers with “I will take the cup of salvation” — Psalm 116: 13
This is the first step.

The greatest gift of God to mankind is the gift of His Son.
No one can sincerely say, “God, we thank You for sending your Son to die for our sins,
and not receive that Son as his own Saviour.

We can not really know what thankfulness is if we ignore God’s gift of His Son.

The first response of gratitude is to “Take God’s gift of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.”

I will pay my vows...” — Psalm 116:14
I will pay them,” the Psalm suggests, “in the presence of all His people.”

These are public vows.
They began with a public profession of faith.
We declare our allegiance to Christ and His church.

Like the public vows of marriage made by two excited people deeply in love, our public vows as Christians place us
on record and under obligation to be consistent and faithful to our vows and to Christ and His church.

Think back on all the vows you have made since that first one.


  • Remember the high, emotional experience when that baby was born, and you held in your arms a life of your own flesh.
  • Remember that revival meeting.
  • Remember that Vacation Bible School experience.
  • Remember that time of the great sorrow or great joy.
  • Remember that time of great depression or of great victory when God was so close and blessed you so much.
  • Remember that time when you promised to receive Jesus as your Saviour.
  • Remember that time when you experienced God’s forgiveness.
  • Remember that time when you promised God that you would love Him more each day.
  • Remember that time when you surrendered everything to God.


Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful time to pay our vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.

(Psalm 116:16) “;O, Lord, truly I am Thy servant,”
When we assume the role of the servant, we are most like our Lord.

Jesus said of His coming, “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”
Let us follow His example.  I read a sermon where the preacher said “Let us translate our Thanksgiving into thanksliving.”

Thanksgiving must not be mere words.

In Christ


5 Questions I’d Ask a Missionary Before I Supported Them

Here is some excellent advice for pastors, missionaries, and church members to consider when addressing the subject of missions. Is your mission philosophy more American than biblical?

Every Last One

I’ve rubbed my boney shoulders with lots of former and current missionaries, been through 2.5 years of cross-cultural training through New Tribes Mission, and have heard of some of the most beautiful examples of the Body of Christ in an indigenous context among people who, just a generation ago, were afraid of the spirits.

Unfortunately, in Papua New Guinea and even among the people group where I work, I’ve witnessed the destruction that untrained, undisciplined missionary-efforts cause on cultures and lives.

Here’s a quick example:

Around our village years ago, 6-8 different denominational “churches” were planted at different times in hopes of saving the nationals from their sins. Without learning the heart language and culture, and hoping to work faster rather than building a solid foundation, they quickly marked national pastors, gave them some Bibles in a trade language, and claimed to get people “saved.” I’m sure there were wonderful…

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Missions Trip 2009 Travelog

In several conversations recently I have been reliving our missions trip to Hong Kong and China from 2009. It was eventful and exceptionally rewarding couple of weeks. It also was full of unexpected adventure. For those interested in reading my “Travelog” here it is from July 2009.

PastorJD's Weblog


July 16 – Joanna took Caleb and Stephen and me to RDU. We arrived just in front of Kyle and Christina. Her mom was going to keep their children. The little one was crying. This upset Joanna. We went inside the airport and proceeded to check in. We had no problems. I had two suitcases. One was mostly clothes. The other had booklets, fans, air mattresses and extra food. I also had a carry-on bag that contained some extra food, my laptop, the camp notebook, and extra clothes. The camera that I brought was disappointing. I’m not sure that I ever quite figured it out. Stephen had one suitcase and a little carry-on. Caleb had a suitcase and a back-pack carry-on. The others started to show up and I helped get the kids checked-in and their bags checked. We had a brief meeting with Dan Bowers and then headed through…

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Spurgeon’s Letter to an Unsaved Teenager

spurgeonWould you like to read a letter that the great prince of preachers, Charles H. Spurgeon, wrote to an unsaved boy? This is recorded in Spurgeon’s autobiography, by his wife, in Volume 1

“Knowing, in some humble measure, at least, the value of religion, let me also bring it before your attention. If you give yourself time to think, you will soon remember that you must die; and if you meditate one more moment, you will recollect that you have a soul, and that soul will never die, but will live for ever; and if you die in your present state, it must live in endless torment.

“You are an accountable being; God, who made you, demands perfect obedience. But you must own that you have sinned; say not, ‘I am not a great sinner,’ for one sin only would be sufficient to sink your soul for ever in the pit of perdition. The sentence of death stands against you, and mercy alone stays its execution. Seeing now that you are in such danger, how do you think to escape? Surely you will not be content to die as you are, for you will one day find it no light matter to endure the hot displeasure of an angry God. Do you imagine that, if you live better for the future, God will forgive your past offences? That is a mistake; see if you can find it in the Bible.

“Perhaps you intend to think about religion after you have enjoyed sin a little longer; or possibly you think that you are too young to die. But who knows whether that future time will be afforded, and who said that you can turn to Christ just when you please? Your heart is deceitful above all things, and your natural depravity so great that you will not turn to God. Trust not, then, to resolutions made in your own strength, they are but wind; nor I to yourself, who are but a broken reed; nor to your own heart, or you are a fool. There is no way of salvation but Christ; you cannot save yourself having no power even to think one good thought; neither can your parents’ love and prayers save you; none but Jesus can, He is the Saviour of the helpless, and I tell you that He died for all such as feel their vileness and come to Him for cleansing.

“You do not deserve salvation; well, there is not a jot of merit on the sinner’s part mentioned in the covenant. You have nothing; you are nothing; but Christ is all, and He must be everything to you, or you will never be saved. None reach Heaven but by free-grace, and through free-grace alone. Even a faint desire after any good thing came from God, from whom you must get more, for He giveth liberally, and no poor sinner, begging at His door, was ever yet sent empty away.

“Look at the blessedness of real religion, no one is truly happy but a child of God. The believer is safe, for God has promised to preserve him; and if once you have the pearl of great price, it cannot be taken from you. The way to Heaven is faith, ‘looking unto Jesus;’ this faith is the gift of God, and none but those who have it know its value. “Oh, may you possess it!” is the earnest prayer of −

Yours faithfully,


Sword Scrapbook I, p.124

What Do I Know About My God

For several years now my wife Joanna has been following the devotional plan outlined in her good friend Mardi Collier’s book, What Do I Know about My God? She has used this plan to start a devotional notebook for several of her friends to encourage them to get to know our God. She has even given out notebooks to the girls in her classes when she was teaching school. I highly recommend this book for both men and women. Below is an introduction from Mardi Collier.

What Do I Know About My God?

This is a start to a list of the characteristics of God that will help you in your study of beginning to know Him. It is vitally important to study Who our God is and have a knowledge of Him because it is the very foundation of our Christian faith. Every decision we make in our “every-day lives” should be impacted by what we believe about our God. Satan is the father of lies, and he wants us to believe lies about God, while the Bible teaches us the truth about God. Unless we study God’s Word and learn the truth about God, we will easily believe the lies of Satan instead of the truth about God. (Ex: If a loved one is seriously ill, I can either believe that God doesn’t love me and isn’t in control, or I can believe that God always loves me, hears my prayers, is always in control and wants me to grow to be more like Christ through this trial.)

I want to share a project that has helped me to begin to know God and to change my thinking about life. Purchase a loose-leaf notebook (so you can add pages as needed). Using this suggested alphabetical list of some of the characteristics of God put one characteristic at the top of each page. Start reading through the book of Psalms, and every time you come across a verse about God, write it under the appropriate category. Do this with any of your Scripture reading or any verses you hear about God. You will soon have a notebook full of truth about your God.

Any time a trial comes about your way, you need assurance or encouragement in your daily life, or you want help for yourself or someone else, ask the question, “What do I know about my God?” and your notebook full of Bible truth will be at your disposal. We often act according to our feelings (which are often wrong), but as we meditate on Who God is, and how it affects me daily, it changes our thinking and helps us respond to life biblically. Knowing God can mean the difference between victory or defeat, right choices or wrong, rest or distress, joy or depression! It’s also special to use the categories during your prayer time to praise God for Who He is. I number them and think about one each day and how it should affect my life. The next step is to memorize some of the verses and meditate on them until they become a firm part of your faith.

This study can be a tremendous blessing and help to you if you will take a few minutes a day to work on it. It’s overwhelming to see how good and great our God is!! This absolutely changed my life, and I hope it will be a help to you too!

  • My God answers prayer. – Ps 55:16, 17; Ps 86:6, 7; James 5:16
  • My God comforts me. – Ps 23:4; Ps 94:19; 2 Cor 1:3, 4
  • My God is compassionate (cares, kind). – Ps 86:15; Ps 103: 11-14; Lam 3:22, 23
  • My God is in control (rules, sovereign). – Ps 18:30, 32; Ps 115:3; 1 Chron 29:11, 12
  • My God corrects me (punishes, chastens). – Ps 32:3-5; Ps.38; Heb 12:5-7
  • My God is the Creator (creature, creation). – Gen 1; Isa 45:7, 9, 18; Ps 100:3
  • My God delivers (trouble, distress). – Ps 34:4, 6, 7, 18, 19; Ps 50:15
  • My God is faithful (doesn’t forsake). – Heb 13:5; Deut 31:6, 8; 1 Jn 1:9
  • My God is my Father. 1 Jn 3:1; Matt 6:26, 32; Prov 3:11, 12; Eph 2: 18, 19
  • My God wants me to fear Him (reverence, not to be afraid). – Psalm 111:10; Ps 6:3, 4
  • My God forgives (cleanses). – 1 Jn 1:9; Ps 86:5; Ps 103:3, 12
  • My God’s glory (majesty, exalted, King). – Ps 24:7-10; 1 Chron 29:11-13
  • My God is good. – Ps 31:19; Ps 100:5; Ps 107:1; Rom 2:4
  • My God is gracious (grace to me). – Ps 86:15; Eph 2:8, 9; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Heb 4:16
  • My God is great (mighty, His wonderful works). – Deut 3:24; Jer 32:17; Ps 96:4
  • My God guides me (leads, knows my way). – Ps 18:30, 32; Ps 37:5, 23; Prov 3:5, 6
  • My God wants me to be happy (blessed). – Ps 128:1, 2; Prov 3:13, 18; Ps 16:11
  • My God hates _________. – Prov 6:16-19; Ps 45:7; Prov 8:13; Num 11:1
  • My God hears me. – Ps 34:4, 6, 15, 17; Matt 6:6; 1 Jn 5:14; Ps 66:18-20
  • My God helps me. – Ps 46:1; Heb 13:6; Ps 40:17; Ps 121: 1, 2
  • My God is holy (worship and exalt Him). – Ex 15:11; Ps 46:10; Isa 6:3
  • My God is hope (gives hope). – Ps 42:5, 11; Ps 31:24; Col 1:27
  • My God gives joy (gladness). – Ps 16:11; Jn 15:9-11; Ps 35:9; Ps 100:2
  • My God is judge (just, convicts me). – Ps 9:4, 8; Deut 32:4; Jam 4:13
  • My God knows all (my thoughts). – Job 42:2; Ps 139:1, 3, 4, 23, 24; Heb 4:13
  • My God wants me to know Him. – Jam 4:8; Jer 9:23, 24; 1 Chron 28:9
  • My God is my life (gives life). – Deut 30:20; Acts 17:25, 28; Lk 20:38
  • My God is light. – Ps 27:1; Jn 1:7-9; 1 Jn 1:5-7; Ps 119:105
  • My God loves ________ (delights in). Prov 15:8, 9; 11:20; Jer 9:24; 2 Chron 9:7
  • My God loves me. Rom 5:8; 8:35, 37-39; 1 Jn 4:8, 10, 19; Jer 31:3
  • My God wants me to love others. – Matt 22:39; Phil 2:3, 4; Prov 3:27; Jn 13:34, 35
  • My God is merciful. – Ps 86:13, 15; Ps 100:5; Ps 103:8-17; Lk 6:36
  • My God wants me to be obedient. – Deut 10:12, 13; Lk 6:46; Jn 14:15, 21, 24
  • My God is powerful (omnipotent). – 1 Chron 29:11, 12; Eph 1:19, 20; Jer 32: 17, 27
  • My God wants me to praise Him. – Ps 34:1-3; Ps 100; 1 Chron 16:8-10, 23-29
  • My God preserves (generations). – Ps 31:23; Ps 37:28; Ps 33:11
  • My God hates pride. – Prov 6:16, 17; Prov 16: 5, 18, 19; 1 Pet 5:5, 6; Jam 4:6-12
  • My God protects (refuge, safety, keeps me, hides me). – Ps 4:8; Ps 91:2-15
  • My God provides. – Ps 23:1; Phil 4:19; 2 Pet 1:3; Ps 34:9, 10
  • My God is righteous. – Ps 92:15; Ps 71:16, 19; Jer 9:24; 1 Jn 3:7
  • My God wants me to be righteous (godly, rewards, blesses me). – Ps 37; Ps 11:7
  • My God is my rock (defends, foundation, fortress). – Ps 31:2, 3; Ps 71:3
  • My God is salvation (redeemer, saves). – Matt 1:21; Ps 27:1; Ps 98:2, 3
  • My God speaks (His voice). – Ps 29:3-9; Gen 1; Job 37:2-6
  • My God is strength (gives strength). – Ps 28:7; Ps 93:1 Phil 4:3
  • My God teaches. – Ps 25:4, 5, 8, 9, 12; Jn 14:26; Ps 27:11; Ps 94:10
  • My God wants me to be thankful. Ps 100:4, 5; 1 Thess 5:18; Eph 5:20
  • My God wants me to trust Him. – Psalm 34:8; Ps 56:3, 4, 9-13; Isa 26:3, 4
  • My God is truth. – Ps 100:5; Deut 32:4; Ps 117:2; Jn 14:6
  • My God is unchanging (everlasting, endures). – Heb 13:8; Mal 3:6; Ps 100:5
  • My God uplifts me (hold me sustains). – Ps 3:3; Ps 17:5; Deut 33:27
  • My God is wisdom (give wisdom). – Prov 2:1-6; Prov 8; Isa 55:8, 9; Rom 11:33, 34
  • My God is with me (present, omnipresent). – Matt 28:20; Deut 31:6, 8; Isa 41:10
  • My God gave me His Word. Ps 19:7-11; Heb 4:12; Ps 119:1, 2, 9, 11, 105
  • My God is a God of wrath (anger). Ps 76:7-10; Ps 90:7, 11; Rev 6:17

Mardi Collier ministers alongside her husband,
Dr. Ken Collier, who serves as director of
THE WILDS Christian Camp in North Carolina,
This resource sheet used by permission from THE WILDS

Click on this link to view the Emergency Pack which will help you (or your friends) when you are going through a difficult time. They can also be a great encouragement for daily life. (Thanks Mardi Collier for compiling these and making them available).

What Do I Know about My God?
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