Forgetfulness at Thanksgiving

Does prayerful thanks season all your food and brighten all the atmosphere about you? It surely will if you are a Christian in deed and in truth, and not in name only. There are some people who are never content no matter with what blessings they are surrounded; while others are happy even in adverse circumstances. It is the condition of the heart, and not the outward circumstance, that causes people to be happily thankful or wretchedly ungrateful.

The thankful person is the exception rather than the rule. Let us be that exception! We can be the lone Samaritan who returned to Jesus and gave thanks. Jesus experienced this when He traveled the border between Galilee and Samaria. He encountered a group of men that were bound together by the common misfortune of leprosy. One of the men was a Samaritan, a man whose life had been scarred by racial prejudice and the stigma of being born into a mongrel race. Jesus healed all ten men, but the Samaritan was the only one who took the time to give thanks for being given another chance. The other nine never came back to give thanks or identify themselves with the One who was responsible for their healing. It appears the nine hurried off, clutching their blessings, never to cast back even a thought to the Giver. Jesus said, “…Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17). What a tragic example of ingratitude!

The spirit of unthankfulness, Paul told Timothy, would characterize men “…in the last days [when] perilous times shall come” (2 Tim 3:1). How noticeable is this mark today! If no rain appears for a time, or too much seems to come, how distressed and faultfinding some people are. But when rain is given them from heaven and they are blessed with fruitful seasons, how very seldom will they recognize these favors as a witness of God’s goodness. Paul speaks of God as “...filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). But all too often we are daily loaded with God’s benefits, yet our hearts are not filled with thankfulness.

In one of John Wesley’s sermons, he tells of the king of France who was lost while fox hunting in the dense forest. Intent on following the fox, the king out-rode his servants and became separated from the members of the royal hunting party. For many hours he wandered through the forest, weary and hungry, until he came to a little cottage. He asked for something to eat. He was hospitably treated by the poor family, and given the best they had to offer: a simple meal of bread and cheese.

Soon the other members of the hunting party, who had been seeking the king in vain, rode up and saw their sovereign at this humble home. When the king saw them at the door, he immediately cried out “Where have I been all my lifetime? I never before tasted such good food in my life.” One of the men in the hunting party replied, “Sire, you never had so good sauce before; for you were never hungry.”

John Wesley said after giving this illustration: “Now it is true; hunger is a good sauce. But there is one better still; that is thankfulness. Surely that is the most agreeable food which is seasoned with this. And why should not yours be such at every meal?”

Nothing is so rewarding to a loving heart as to pour itself out in thanks to Jesus. Thankfulness knits us to Jesus in such a way as to make us more like Him. So let us continue “Giving thanks always for all things…” (Eph 5:20).

By Lewis Brevard
Evangelical Advocate

Repost: Photos of Homecoming 2006

I recently updated our photos page with photos from Homecoming at TBC. You can even listen to some of the music from the Calvary Quartet. Be sure to stop by for a visit. In the days ahead we hope to update our photos. We are dependent on our church family to take pictures and then get them to the church office. If you have any photos that you would like to see on our website, please let us know. Thanks to Wayne Swindell for the these photos.

Ironside’s Rebuke on Not Giving Thanks

Just as Harry Ironside (the world-famous Bible teacher and former pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago)  was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited himto have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”

Source unknown

The Story of Squanto

Most of us know the story of the first Thanksgiving—at least, we know the Pilgrim version. But how many of us know the Indian viewpoint?

No, I’m not talking about some revisionist, p.c. version of history. I’m talking about the amazing story of the way God used an Indian named Squanto as a special instrument of His providence.

Historical accounts of Squanto’s life vary, but historians believe that around 1608—more than a decade before the Pilgrims landed in the New World—a group of English traders, led by a Captain Hunt, sailed to what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade, Hunt took them prisoner, transported them to Spain, and sold them into slavery.

But God had an amazing plan for one of the captured Indians—a boy named Squanto.

Squanto was bought by a well-meaning Spanish monk, who treated him well and taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stable of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto’s desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.

It wasn’t until 1619—ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped—that a ship was found. Finally, after a decade of exile and heartbreak, Squanto was on his way home.

But when he arrived in Massachusetts, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out Squanto’s entire village.

We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto’s mind. Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?

A year later, the answer came. A shipload of English families arrived and settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto’s people. Squanto went to meet them, greeting the startled Pilgrims in English.

According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died.”

When Squanto lay dying of a fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend “desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.” Squanto bequeathed his possessions to his English friends “as remembrances of his love.”

Who but God could so miraculously weave together the lives of a lonely Indian and a struggling band of Englishmen? It’s hard not to make comparisons with the biblical story of Joseph, who was also sold into slavery—and whom God likewise used as a special instrument for good.

Squanto’s life story is remarkable, and we ought to make sure our children and grandchildren learn about it. While you’re enjoying turkey and pumpkin pie tomorrow, share with your kids the Indian side of the Thanksgiving story.

Tell them about Squanto, the “special instrument sent of God”—who changed the course of American history.

Charles Colson
BreakPoint Commentary
November 25, 1998, (c) 1998 Prison Fellowship Ministries

Now Thank We All Our God

It was the worst of times. In the first half of the 17th century, Germany was in the midst of wars and famine and pestilence. In the city of Eilenburg lived a pastor by the name of Martin Rinkart.

During one especially oppressive period, Rinkart conducted up to 50 funerals a day as a plague swept through the town and as the Thirty Years’ War wreaked its own terror on the people. Among those whom Rinkart buried were members of his own family.

Yet during those years of darkness and despair, when death and destruction greeted each new day, Pastor Rinkart wrote 66 sacred songs and hymns. Among them was the song “Now Thank We All Our God.” As sorrow crouched all around him, Rinkart wrote:

Now thank we all our God

With hearts and hands and voice,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mothers’ arms,
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

 

Rinkart demonstrated a valuable lesson for us all: Thankfulness does not have to wait for prosperity and peace. It’s always a good time to praise God for the “wondrous things” He has done.

JDB, Our Daily Bread, October 12, 1998

Danger of Taking Your Blessings for Granted

I have felt for a long time that one of the particular temptations of the maturing Christian is the danger of getting accustomed to his blessings. Like the world traveler who has been everywhere and seen everything, the maturing Christian is in danger of taking his blessings for granted and getting so accustomed to them that they fail to excite him as they once did.

Emerson said that if the stars came out only once a year, everybody would stay up all night to behold them. We have seen the stars so often that we don’t bother to look at them anymore. We have grown accustomed to our blessings.

The Israelites in the wilderness got accustomed to their blessings, and God had to chasten the people (see Num. 11). God had fed the nation with heavenly manna each morning, and yet the people were getting tired of it. “But now our whole being is dried up,” they said, “there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (v. 6).

Nothing but manna! They were experiencing a miracle of God’s provision every morning; yet they were no longer excited about it. Nothing but manna!

One of the evidences that we have grown accustomed to our blessings is this spirit of criticism and complaining. Instead of thanking God for what we have, we complain about it and tell him we wish we had something else. You can be sure that if God did give us what we asked for, we would eventually complain about that. The person who has gotten accustomed to his blessing can never be satisfied.

Another evidence of this malady is the idea that others have a better situation than we do. The Israelites remembered their diet in Egypt and longed to return to the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. They were saying, “The people in Egypt are so much better off than we are!” Obviously, they had forgotten the slavery they had endured in Egypt and the terrible bondage from which God had delivered them. Slavery is a high price to pay for a change in diet.

Warren Wiersbe, God Isn’t In a Hurry,
(Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI, 1994), pp. 77-78

We Can Always Be Grateful for Something

Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.” Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.”

Our Daily Bread, August 26, 1989