Wednesday, November 26, 2014
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)
Last night we held our Thanksgiving service. It’s a small change in schedule to help make it easier for families to get together for Thanksgiving Day.
It was a time for personal testimonies as well as biblical studies. A time to share our gratitude to God. Let me assure you, there were some testimonies given under circumstances which would make you wonder why a person could be grateful.
No, I will not go into specifics, but I will state that those people who spoke their gratitude in public are living proof that first verse can be done under the most adverse of circumstances. Which bring us to today’s graphic – taken in France in 1917. Can you imagine this widow and fatherless child considering thanks?
Perhaps James had similar in mind when he wrote:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 KJV)
That’s not the first mention of widows and fatherless, though:
Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. (Exodus 22:22 KJV)
God defined the punishment for such affliction:
If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. (Exodus 22:23-24 KJV)
The New Testament gives the scenario covered with mercy, but consequences remain. There is good reason for us to consider consequences, for Peter told us:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Peter 4:17-18 KJV)
Too many people have relied upon another verse:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1 KJV)
In the next sentence, Jesus tells us He knows we will be judging:
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2 KJV)
How we treat others openly displays our judgment of them. Are we prepared for that same judgment to be applied to us? Are we prepared for God’s perfect judgment as described by Moses:
Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deuteronomy 32:3-4 KJV)
Thanks be to God that our righteousness is determined by our response to His gift:
For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (Romans 5:17 KJV)
I believe that is the reason that so many could publicly give thanks last night, in spite of physical and personal difficulties, and we all could pray:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)