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The Makings of a Real Thanksgiving

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The Makings of a Real Thanksgiving
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
18 November 2012
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Psalm 126:1-6
Joel 2:21-27
Philippians 4:4-9
1 Timothy 2:1-7

What is it that makes a real Thanksgiving?
 
Is it all the food that is prepared for us to eat?
 
A real Thanksgiving should be a lot more than food.
 
Let’s begin to answer this question by taking a look at Philippians 4:4-9.

4. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
 
5. Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
 
6. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
 
7. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

If we are truly thankful for everything we have and trust in God, then there is always something to be thankful about.
 
We heard several people who have been devastated by Sandy, the recent hurricane that hit the Northeast, testify of these very things.
 
They were thankful that they had their family and friends and still trusted in the Lord for everything else.
 
They weren’t anxious in the sense of these verses, even though they wanted everything restored; they just had a peace about themselves.
 
There is something special about such people, for this is what Paul was writing about.
 
Let’s go on.

8. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
 
9. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.
NASB

Think about our traditional Thanksgiving Day and the food that is served.
 
Everything may look lovely to most people, but to the turkey it is just the opposite, for they want to live just as we do.
 
And it really isn’t pure to willfully kill another living being for our pleasure, and to us, it’s even worse to praise God for it, for killing has never been a part of His heavenly will.
 
However, we’re not perfect, and our nation is far from being perfect, just as Israel was not perfect; but as we earnestly seek to live in the will of God, He offers us a blessing for which we should be thankful, just as He offered Israel in the days of Joel.
 
Note what we are told in Joel 2:21-27…

21. Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad,
For the LORD has done great things.
 
22. Do not fear, beasts of the field,
For the pastures of the wilderness have turned green,
For the tree has borne its fruit,
The fig tree and the vine have yielded in full.

Think about this for a moment.
 
If the animals are not to fear, it also has to mean that they will not be hunted or killed, and that all humans and other animals have returned to eating only plant foods.

23. So rejoice, O sons of Zion,
And be glad in the LORD your God;
For He has given you the early rain for your vindication.
And He has poured down for you the rain,
The early and latter rain as before.
 
24. And the threshing floors will be full of grain,
And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil.

There will be an abundance of plant foods, because there will be plenty of rain and no pestilence.

25. "Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
 
26. "And you shall have plenty to eat and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Then My people will never be put to shame.
 
27. "Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel,
And that I am the LORD your God
And there is no other;
And My people will never be put to shame.
NASB

Our thankfulness is to be for the peace God brings and the plant foods He provides.
 
This is what our Thanksgiving should be all about.
 
In our last Scripture passage we saw peace being brought to the land; now let’s take a look at Psalm 126, which is speaking of restoring Israel from their captivity in Babylon.

1. When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
 
2. Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
 
3. The LORD has done great things for us;
We are glad.
 
4. Restore our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
 
5. Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
 
6. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
NASB

Notice again that this restoration is being brought about with no mention of killing and eating animals.
 
The restoration of God includes only plant foods, for which we are to be truly thankful.
 
It is only human beings that seek to raise and kill animals for food against the heavenly will of God.
 
Our final Scripture verse for today is from 1 Timothy 2:1-7.

1. First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
 
2. for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

This certainly wasn’t the way in our last election process, and doesn’t seem to be what the majority seem to want to do.
 
We need to ask God’s forgiveness for the evil things that were said, and seek for the good of all people regardless of their political leanings or affiliations.

3. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
 
4. who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Note carefully that what God wants has nothing to do with politics; it only has to do with our universal welfare.

5. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
 
6. who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.
 
7. And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
NASB

Note also that God’s mediation has no limits; for He seeks to save absolutely everyone regardless of their national origin, their color, their religious affiliation, their sex, or any other differences we may have.
 
God is here for the whole of His creation, without exception, for which we should be truly thankful.
 
As I was preparing this sermon, I kept having this inner urging of the Holy Spirit to write some lines of poetry, which I’d now like to share with you.
 
The poem is called, How Can We Say We See the Light.

How can we say we see the light
Coming from our Lord Jesus Christ,
And not worldly evil revealed;
Has our hardness of heart been sealed?
 
How can we say we see the light,
And not see the animals’ plight,
As happens on all factory farms,
Being masked by industry’s charms?
 
How can we say we see the light,
And in a corpse take such delight;
Let us thank God for living breath,
Instead of someone’s tragic death.
 
How can we say we see the light,
Unless we put evil to flight;
For evil’s darkness flees from light,
And in the light is true delight.

Have a wonderful and compassionate Thanksgiving.
 
Amen.