Christ Thanksgiving seems to be an appropriate title for todayís message, since today is also the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and it is the Churchís Christ the King Sunday.
But setting aside the holidays and considering only a Christ Thanksgiving, we should see that every day should be a celebration and thanksgiving for having Jesus Christ in our hearts and souls.
Itís being thankful that we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us; itís being thankful that we have the insight to avoid the traps of the devil and the corrupt ways of this world so that we can take a positive and peaceful stand against the violence and warring madness that seems to constantly rock this world and the horrible exploitation and killing of animals.
And most of all, we should be having a Christ Thanksgiving every day because we have become the peacemaking children of God that the Lord calls us to be.
Even though Psalm 46:1-11 was written hundreds of years before Jesus walked this earth in human form, the psalmist presents a type of the Christ Thanksgiving we are talking about.
1. God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
We seem to be almost constantly facing the troubles of this corrupt world, and we always need the spiritual help to get though our days and even nights.
2. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
We believe that a little bit of healthy fear and discernment is necessary to recognize and avoid the ungodly things of this world, but as the psalmist wrote, we will not fear the rebellion of the earth because of the corrupt ways our environment has been treated.
3. Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
This is having the peace of God within us.
4. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
If God, the Holy Spirit indwells us, then the blood coursing through our bodies is a type of this river and those streams, and this understanding should bring us contentment, for each of us should be like a city of God and the temple of the Holy Spirit.
5. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The psalmist is referring to the City of Jerusalem, and as we all should know that city was destroyed by invading armies.
This happened because the Lord was not in the hearts and souls of the people who turned away from God to follow the corrupt ways of the world, so for God to protect a city or a country, the people need to be following the heavenly will of God.
People may say that they believe in God, but the vast majority of them seem to follow the corrupt ways of the devil.
We cannot have it both ways, either we are children of God or children of the devil.
6. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
This may have happened when the people truly followed the ways of God, but as we look around the world today, it should be quite obvious that most people are living worldly lives.
7. The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
This is the way that God wants to be with us, but most people still want the things they believe that the world can give them, and the Lord is no longer with them nor is He their stronghold.
All we have to do is look around the world at all the violence and corruption and we can see the truth in what I am saying.
Then the psalmist seems to point the people in the way that they should be living.
8. Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
9. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
Again, by looking at the world around us, we know that this is not happening; all we are seeing is people blowing up each other, and killing billions of animals every year.
This is not living in the peace of God, which is needed to have a true Christ Thanksgiving.
10. "Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
This is what we all need to do for us to haveÖ
11. The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Letís move on to Jeremiah 23:1-6 and see his message for it is just as true now as it was when he wrote itÖ
1. "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!" declares the LORD.
The shepherds are the religious leaders of the day who are leading people away from the Lord into living in the corrupt ways of the world, which is continuing to this very day, and we believe itís because the members of the clergy are living in the ways of the world themselves.
These are the hard of heart people who seem to have no empathy for the suffering going on in Godís creation, and they encourage their parishioners to follow them in their lifestyle.
2. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: "You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds," declares the LORD.
And we believe that this is also going to happen to the clergy of today who are not following the peaceful heavenly will of God, because they only honor God with their words and not their lifestyle deeds.
3. "Then I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and shall bring them back to their pasture; and they will be fruitful and multiply.
We see a lot of signs that the Lord has continued to offer this through the ages, but relatively few people have followed the Lord.
4. "I shall also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD.
We have been trying to do this, but we keep running into roadblocks set up by other clergypersons.
Then the Lord through Jeremiah spoke about the coming of Jesus Christ.
5. "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD,
"When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
6. "In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
'The LORD our righteousness.'
The Lord has tried several times to do this, but most of the people have even rejected Jesus Christ in their lives.
We cannot live in the corrupt and violent ways of this world and also live in the peaceful realm of God.
The vast majority donít seem to even comprehend what a Christ Thanksgiving entails, because they celebrate around the murdered remains of a once living being who has become a centerpiece on their dining room tables.
The description of the death scene in Luke 23:33-43 also shows us that one of the criminals who was crucified with Christ understood the meaning of a Christ Thanksgiving.
33. And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
34. But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
Even in the agony of being crucified, Jesus never wanted to take revenge; He only prayed that they would be forgiven.
Would we do that?
This is a hard question to answer, because it goes against the ways of this world which is all around us.
35. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One."
The very fact that Jesus saved others should have been enough to convince those leaders that He was the Christ, but their hardness of heart blinded them from seeing the truth, just as it is doing today.
36. And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine,
37. and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!"
38. Now there was also an inscription above Him, "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
And people are still mocking the Lord with their worldly lifestyles to this very day.
39. And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"
This man is an example of the people who are living in the corrupt ways of the world.
40. But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41. "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."
Even though this man is a confessed criminal, he is still trying to live in the heavenly will of God, as we all should.
42. And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"
43. And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me
This man knew the true meaning of a Christ Thanksgiving, and because of that He welcomed him into the kingdom of heaven.
Colossians 1:11-20 answers why we should celebrate a Christ ThanksgivingÖ
11. strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
12. giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
If we accept all this in our lives, which means that we both believe this and act upon it in our every day lives then we are indeed living a Christ Thanksgiving.
13. For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
14. in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Again, this is another reason to celebrate a Christ Thanksgiving.
15. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.
16. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities ó all things have been created by Him and for Him.
Those of us who live in the heavenly will of God know these things in our hearts and souls and it leads them into living according to the heavenly will of God, thereby doing no harm to any part of His creation.
17. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
To us this is obvious, for no one can do anything before they exist, and since only God has the power to create the heavens and the earth, it only stands to reason that He has the power to hold everything together.
18. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.
This is true, but unfortunately most people donít live this way, because they donít let go of the things of the world; in fact, most seem to revel in the pain and suffering that is going on, particularly when it comes to the animals.
This can never be in the heavenly will of God where there is no pain or suffering or death.
19. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him,
20. and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace
through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth
or things in heaven.
Since Jesus taught us that there is both a heaven and a hell, this can only apply to those living in the heavenly will of God for the others will perish along with the old heavens and earth.
But we who live in the heavenly will of God can and should celebrate a Christ Thanksgiving.
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