Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

by Chuck Missler

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This month, with our celebration of Thanksgiving, we initiate our holiday season: a time for families and a time of reflection. This unique day reflects - perhaps more than any other - our national religious character.

History

There are, actually, numerous claims to the "first" Thanksgiving. One of the earliest recorded celebrations occurred a half-century before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1621. A small colony of French Huguenots established a settlement near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. On June 30, 1564, their leader, René de Laudonnière, recorded that "We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us."1

In 1610, after a hard winter called "the starving time," the colonists at Jamestown called for a time of thanksgiving. This was after the original company of 409 colonists had been reduced to 60 survivors. The colonists prayed for help that finally arrived by a ship filled with food and supplies from England. They held a prayer service to give thanks.

This Thanksgiving celebration was not originally commemorated yearly. An annual commemoration of thanks came nine years later in another part of Virginia. "On December 4, 1619, 38 colonists landed at a place they called Berkeley Hundred [in Virginia]. 'We ordain,' read an instruction in their charter, 'that the day of our ship's arrival...in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.'"2

While none of these Thanksgiving celebrations was an official national pronouncement (since no nation existed at the time), they do support the claim that the celebrations were religious. "Thanksgiving began as a holy day, created by a community of God-fearing Puritans sincere in their desire to set aside one day each year especially to thank the Lord for His many blessings. The day they chose, coming after the harvest at a time of year when farm work was light, fit the natural rhythm of rural life."3

By the end of the 19th century, Thanksgiving Day had become an institution throughout New England. It was officially proclaimed as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863:

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy... I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday in November next as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in heaven .4

Traditionally celebrated on the last Thursday in November, Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the celebration to the third Thursday in November "to give more shopping time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At this point Congress enacted the 'fourth Thursday' compromise."5 Ever since this pragmatic and commercial approach to Thanksgiving was promoted, its original meaning has steadily been lost.

Canada first adopted Thanksgiving as a national holiday in November 1879, and it is now celebrated there annually on the second Monday in October.

Our Unique Blessings

It is particularly appropriate for us to examine our most unique blessing: our sacred heritage. I believe that you and I are beneficiaries of a legacy, the stewardship of which we will be held accountable before the Throne of God.

To all those who would take over the world, our Anglo-American principles, attitudes, and traditions have been the object of hate and regarded as their arch enemy. In Soviet occupation, which followed Nazi occupation, the same henchmen jailed the same people for the same crime - listening to an English-language broadcast, whether it was 1944 or 1952. The loss of two world wars and the cold war made it clear that neither German technological genius nor Soviet numerical advantage was sufficient to carry the day against American resolve. Their solution: deprive American consciousness of its solid foundations and remove forever the intractable impediments standing in the way of those who dream of a closed, regimented, controlled world. By divorcing the fruits of Western civilization and American pragmatism from their roots, from the personalities and events which brought them forth, there will be no more need for battlefield victories (for a reminder of the contributions of our military, see this poem).

Ours is a unique heritage. Some receive it through birth. Others transcend hardship to claim it, but all of us are stewards of great ideas and traditions. Knowledge of them and respect for them have served us like protective armor, yet we are to countenance the creation of generations who will be naked and defenseless. We are in a war - one that began long ago and has now honed in on its ultimate objective: America's soul.

Schoolchildren in other lands grow up imbued with legends handed down before the emergence of written history. American teachers have a real story to tell: that of America's founding, which - in the absence of common ethnic roots - is the central binding agent in the fabric of this country. Our country, as opposed to others which evolved over a long time, was deliberately created in a specific way. People prayerfully sat down and figured out what it ought to be.

In the Third Reich or the Soviet Union, education was always the first target. The organized dismantling of our educational system is not just a "dumbing down," but something even more sinister than that. It is the un-teaching of history; the concerted effort by our historians to strip America and the West of its accomplishments, and the genius of its traditions. History is the national memory.

Our American youth have thus been disenfranchised from our Christian heritage. How will one find truth if he is convinced it doesn't exist? Our commentators, our politicians, and our media cannot discern the significance of maintaining a rule of law.

Our Media

The most disturbing aspect of these contraventions of our traditional heritage is the duplicity of the mass media. The very ones with the mandate to be the guardians of truth are manifestly part of the problem. The media's pursuit of its own self-serving agenda has denied the public their access to today's realities and have prostituted one of democracy's most sacred institutions.

Originally observed to acknowledge the provision of God, let us also make this national holiday a very special time to thank Him for our own provision - our families, our sustenance, and, above all, our redemption in His Son!

Let's also pray that He might restore the religious freedom that those early Pilgrims cherished so dearly - and that the current enforced paganism that has invaded our land be curtailed. This country is now becoming what the Pilgrims risked their very lives to flee from.

* * *


**NOTES**

Notes:

  1. Diana Karter Appelbaum, Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, An American History, Facts on File Publications, New York, 1984, pp.14-15.
  2. Jim Dwyer, ed., Strange Stories, Amazing Facts of America's Past, The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1989, Pleasantville, NY, 1989, p.198.
  3. Appelbaum, Thanksgiving, p.186.
  4. >Gary DeMarr, America's Christian History: The Untold Story, American Vision Inc., Atlanta GA, 1995, p.205.
  5. Edmund H. Harvey, Jr., ed., Readers Digest Book of Facts, Reader's Digest Association, Pleasantville NY, 1985, p.125.

1 comment:

Brother Mark said...

Luke 21:36
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."


1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Revelation 3:10
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

titanicwithlifeboat.jpg

THE TITANIC

The story of the Titanic has incredibly close parallels to the biblical plan of salvation. Just as the great pleasure ship struck an iceberg and sank, this great world—with all its inhabitants—is slowly sinking into the cold grip of death. As with the Titanic, where only those passengers who believed that they were in impending danger looked to the lifeboats, so only those who believe that they are in mortal danger will look to the Lifeboat of the Savior, Jesus Christ. The great “iceberg” that will take the world to an icy grave is the Moral Law—the Ten Commandments.

Here is the evidence that we are sinking: Jesus said that if we look with lust, we commit adultery in our heart. No one who has had sex outside of marriage, or any liar, or any thief will enter heaven. The Bible says that if we hate someone, we are guilty of murder. We fail to put God first. We make a god in our image. We break all the Commandments. If we stay with the “ship,” we will perish on the Day of Judgment, when all of our sins come out as evidence of our guilt. God, however, is rich in mercy and doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. He made a way for us to be saved. Jesus Christ, the One whom the Bible calls the “Captain of our salvation,” gave His life so that we could have a place in the lifeboat. He took our punishment upon Himself, suffering on the cross for us. We broke God’s Law, but He paid our fine. Then He rose from the dead, defeating death. The moment we repent and trust in Him alone for our eternal salvation, God will forgive us and grant us the gift of eternal life.

Don’t hesitate. You may wait until it’s too late! It was reported that some of the lifeboats that left the Titanic early were only half full. Many more on board could have been saved, but they refused to believe that the great “unsinkable” ship was sinking. They perished because their faith was misguided. Don’t be like them. Believe the gospel. Repent and trust Jesus Christ today ...and God will never let you down.
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Get right…or be left!


Being right with God guarantees you will not be left behind when the trumpet call of Christ calls all believers home at the coming event known as the Rapture. Being right with God means you believe that Jesus is the One and Only Son of God, that He died for the sins of the world, that He was buried and rose again, that He conquered death, hell and the grave, that He is alive and sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and that He is returning soon to judge the world and establish His eternal Kingdom. Being right with God means you know you are a sinner and you know that good works will never pay your sin debt. Being right with God means you believe and trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary as payment for your sins. Being right with God means the blood of Christ covers you and that all your sins are completely forgiven and forgotten. Being right with God means the best is yet to come!


When the trumpet call of the rapture sounds - all those trusting in their good works, all those believing that many roads lead to heaven, all those who loved their sin and the wickedness of this world, all those who denied and rejected Jesus Christ as Lord – will be left behind. The Tribulation will come after the rapture and will be the greatest period of suffering the world has ever known. For those left behind – the worst is yet to come!


If you’re not right with God – get right today! The trumpet could sound at any moment, and in the twinkling of an eye Christ could call all believers home. The only way to miss the Tribulation is to hear that trumpet call. The only way to hear that trumpet call is to be right with God.



Should we study Bible Prophecy?

Absolutely, the answer is Yes! Bible Prophecy (also known as Eschatology) is the branch of theology that is concerned with the Time of the End, the Second coming of Jesus Christ and the Final Judgment of God. The Bible tells us in Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near”. By studying Bible Prophecy, we can better understand the future and God’s ultimate plan for us all. Additionally, we can see the need to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.

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