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SermonThanksliving Produces Real Thanksgiving
An all-creatures Bible Message

Thanksliving Produces Real Thanksgiving
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church

19 November 2017

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Deuteronomy 8:6-18
2 Corinthians 9:1-15

Thanksliving produces real thanksgiving, for if we are not fully living in the heavenly will of God and doing everything we can to free creation from its present corruption, we cannot be fully thankful for all that God has given us, which includes the way He created this earth.
 
In other words, we need to be thanksliving.
 
God created this earth and the Garden of Eden in His heavenly will so that it contained no pain or suffering or death, like the world became after Eve and Adam disobeyed the Lord, because they ate from the tree of knowledge.
 
So even if the present world is corrupted, we are not to contribute to it, but instead we should be trying to restore it to Godís creation intent; thus our thanksliving produces real thanksgiving, which is something that we really should be thinking about this coming Thanksgiving Day.
 
In Deuteronomy 8:6-18 we are told about why we should be thankfulÖ

6. Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him.

Walking in His way is really the same as living in the heavenly will of God, and revering Him is all part of living in His heavenly will and being thankful.

7. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land ó a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills;
 
8. a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey;
 
9. a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

What God was offering the Hebrews was very close to His heavenly intent that created Eden, and the people were supposed to be truly thankful for what He was giving them, but unfortunately most of them werenít, as it is to this very day.
 
They may pretend to be thankful, but their lifestyle really says that they are not, for only thanksliving produces real thanksgiving.

10. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

Remember that praising the Lord is the same as being truly thankful for what He has given us, and really desiring to live in His heavenly will, for thanksliving produces real thanksgiving.

11. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.

When we are truly thankful for what God has done for us, we donít forget anything about the Lord our God, and we just naturally live in His heavenly will, for we are filled with His Holy Spirit and His unconditional love, compassion, and empathy for the whole of His creation, all humans, all animals, and the environment in which we all live.

12. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,
 
13. and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,

In reality, having captive animals in herds and flocks is really an example of a worldly way of living.

14. then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

This only happens to people who love the corrupt ways of this world and want to live in the ways and have the things that it offers, as most of the people seem to do to this very day.
 
We are not to be like them; we are to be peacemaking children of God.

15. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.

Unless the people recognize this as a miracle from God, they cannot be truly thankful.

16. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.

Manna was also a vegan food, for it contained no animal products, and we believe that God gave this heavenly bread to the people to help them turn away from their destructive nature.

17. You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me."
 
18. But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
NIV

And it continues to be this way to the present day.
 
If we fail to recognize this fact, we can never be truly thankful.
 
In 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 can we recognize that true thanksliving produces real thanksgiving?

1. There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints.

Paul knows that the people he is writing to are doing their best to live in the heavenly will of God.

2. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.

On the surface, this sounds very good, but we need to look a little deeper.
 
Some people give from the depths of their heart, while others give because of peer pressure, and some just donít want to help, which seems to be the case here, because not all had been stirred to action.

3. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be.

Paul seems to have concerns, also, because he is sending others to help and keep their enthusiasm going.
 
This is no different than a church or any other group of people: some are leaders, some are helpers, and others just donít seem to want to be involved for one reason or another, and we cannot draw any conclusions from this alone, for we need to observe their lifestyles over a period of time to see if their thanksliving produces real thanksgiving.

4. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we-not to say anything about you-would be ashamed of having been so confident.

Even if everyoneís thanksliving produces real thanksgiving, it doesnít mean that they are always prepared, for they just may be burned out or have another reason.
 
We need to look at the body of believers as a whole and what they are producing; if it is good, be thankful, and if not everyone participated, still be thankful for what was accomplished by the group, and that in itself just might encourage others to be more active.

5. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

Some things may still be given grudgingly, if people are pushed or embarrassed into action.
 
We are to be encouragers, and let God and the Holy Spirit do whatever inner prodding is necessary, for only true thanksliving produces real thanksgiving.

6. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
 
7. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

This concept applies to more than just giving money; it applies to giving of ourselves with our time, and our love, compassion, and empathy towards our fellow human beings, all the animals, and the environment in which we all live.
 
An example of doing this is by becoming vegan and lovingly helping others to do the same; for this helps us all to improve our health, which also saves us money; it also saves many animals from suffering and dying, and we help the environment by reducing greenhouse gasses and pollution, which is our thanksliving.
 
This is also an example of why thanksliving produces true thanksgiving.

8. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

This blessing is the bonus we receive for living and working in Godís heavenly will; not that we asked for it or think we deserve it; itís just the loving way that God bestows His grace upon us.

9. As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever."

And remember that virtually all of the so-called food animals, including Thanksgiving turkeys, are poor in heart for they have no hope of living free as God created them to live.
 
We are to work with God and not against Him to bestow His gifts of love and freedom to all the suffering humans and animals in the world. 

10. Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

We all should be the suppliers of heavenly love, compassion, and empathy to every other living being in the world, particularly to those in our own proximity.

11. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

This is another example of why thanksliving produces real thanksgiving.

12. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

When we help other humans and animals who are suffering, we are also expressing our love and thanks to God.

13. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

And we believe that the animals we help also praise God, even if we cannot understand them.

14. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.
 
15. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
NIV

And true heavenly love requires us to share these indescribable gifts with others, whether they are humans or other animals.
 
We cannot say that we truly love one or even several animals and eat another animal, for this is hypocritical.
 
So on Thanksgiving Day are we going to be thankful for things, or for God Himself?
 
And finally, what are we going to eat this Thanksgiving Day?
 
Remember that only thanksliving produces real thanksgiving.
 
Amen.

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