Articles


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

What child has not heard that query and what young person has not pondered its implications?

Ein Hirtenknabe by Franz von Lenbach

To a child the options seem nearly limitless. We smile at the enthusiasm of the bright-eyed little boy who, clomping around in his favorite boots, dreams of becoming a cowboy one day, only to inform us the very next day that he is going to be an astronaut instead. We smile recalling our own childish dreams and fancies. But, as that little boy scampers off to try his hand at stargazing, we are reminded that life is big and complicated, not unlike the vast universe he is trying to glimpse through his tiny telescope.

Life’s path, which seemed straightforward as a child, now twists and turns. Hopes are dashed and cherished dreams lie shattered in the dust. How can we fulfill God’s purpose for our lives now as we stand bewildered at the dead end to which our lives seem to have come? We are in desperate need of a shepherd–the Shepherd–to guide us through the chaos and lead us in His perfect path.

The Lord is my Shepherd…He leadeth me.

Several years ago my own path took a sharp turn. The bright green meadow, the idyllic pastureland to which I had been heading, was suddenly barred before me. “No Trespassing!” glared the sign on the imposing barricade.

“How can this be?” I wondered in shocked disbelief. “The path has been arduous, but the hope of soon reaching this bright meadow had spurred me on. Now that I am here, entrance is denied me?” With reeling mind and aching heart I frantically examined the fence line, “Surely this is a mistake! There must be a way in.”

“Keep Out! Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Full Extent of the Law” was the stern rejoinder.

I lifted my tear-stained face and bleary eyes to the Shepherd. “Did I mistake the path? I thought this was the way You were leading me.”

With deep compassion His nailed scarred hand pointed to the dark, rugged track veering off to my right.

“No! Not that way!” the tears began to stream again. “It is too dark and lonely a path. The rocks are jagged, the cliffs sheer, and the wind fierce. Why am I denied entrance into this beautiful, peaceful meadow? Was it my disobedience and unbelief as I followed the path to this point?” I fell on my knees, confessing my sin, pleading for the Shepherd’s forgiveness.

Lovingly He assured me of His complete forgiveness—He Himself had paid the penalty for my sin. His deep scars bore eloquent testimony.

My eyes turned again to the bright meadow. Bird song drifted from beyond the fence. Tall, lush grass rippled in the gentle breeze. The happy gurgle of a brook echoed just out of sight. “Why may I not enter this joyful haven?”

Slowly He shook His head and again pointed to the treacherous path. “This is the way you must go. Do not fear. I will never leave you or forsake you. You must simply trust and obey.”

I wept and pleaded, but His answer did not change. Finally, with heavy heart and weary feet, I yielded to His will.

Time has lessened the sting of the initial blow. Distance has given clearer perspective. Although I do not fully understand the leading of my Shepherd—questions still haunt my mind on occasion—I know His way is best. In faithfulness He is leading me.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” Psalm 23.

What glorious hope is offered in that 23rd Psalm! The Lord Himself leads His sheep. He leads me, and, if you are a member of His fold (John 10:27-28), He leads you.

Recently I encountered another bright meadow, more beautiful than the first. Again the way was barred. I trust my Shepherd. By His grace He is teaching me to say:

“My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word.

Remove the false way from me, And graciously grant me Your law.

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!

I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart” Psalm 119:28-32.

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

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Little Ann Sucking Her Finger Embraced by Her Mother by Mary Cassatt

A dear family in my church is expecting their tenth child next month. Monday night we celebrated this joyous event with a baby shower. I was asked to give a devotional; below is what the Lord laid on my heart to share (with some minor editing for the sake of clarity and readability).

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What do the following people have in common?

  • Franz Schubert—the famous Austrian composer
  • Bedřich Smetana—the “Father of Czech Music” (He composed the opera The Bartered Bride, among others works.)
  • Modest Mussorgsky—a great Russian composer (Pictures at an Exhibition is one of his best known works)
  • Johann Christian Bach—the youngest surviving son of J.S. Bach and a great composer himself
  • Benjamin Franklin—one of America’s Founding Fathers
  • Benjamin West—famous painter (if you’ve ever been to BJU’s War Memorial Chapel, you have seen his work)
  • Sylvanus Crosby—grandfather of Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer
  • Jonathan Edwards—theologian who played a huge part in the First Great Awakening
  • Susanna Wesley—the godly mother of 19 children, including John and Charles Wesley
  • John and Charles Wesley—Founders of Methodism and hymn writers

All of these people made significant contributions to the world—through their music, art, inventions, writing, teaching, preaching—and they were all from large families (in fact they were child number 10 or beyond in their families). [1] The newest C— Baby is in good company, I think.

The Bible says children are a blessing

Ps. 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

We tend to agree that children are a blessing—as long as there are only two (especially one boy and one girl) or at the most three. However, the Bible doesn’t set a limit on how many children constitute a blessing. In fact many passages indicate that the more children you have, the more blessed you are.

Gen. 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:”

Gen. 24:60 “And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions…”

When the children of Israel were preparing to enter the promised land, Moses told them,

Deut. 1:10-11 “The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!)”

Deut. 33:24 “And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children;

I Chron. 25:4-5 “Of Heman: the sons of Heman; Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth: All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn [exalt, honor him]. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.

I Chron. 26:4-5 “Moreover the sons of Obededom were, Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth, Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him.

If God says that children are a blessing from Him—a reward, a heritage, a way in which He honors people—why do we as Christians not see it this way today?

There are many arguments against having more than just a few children. For time sake, we are going to focus on what is probably the most popular “Christian” argument against having many children:

The Stewardship Argument

It runs something like this:

“God has given us resources of time, energy, money, possessions, etc. We must be wise stewards of all the resources God has given us. Having more children when the economy is bad, or when dad doesn’t have a job, or when money is scarce and we barely have enough to feed, clothe, and house the children we do have would be foolish and very poor stewardship. Also having more children would cause us to be a bad stewards of the ones we already have. How can we possibly train more when our hands are already full with two?!”

Let’s examine this argument.

Bob Acres and His Servant by Edwin Austin Abbey

First, what is a steward? A steward is someone who takes care of another’s resources—whatever the master gives him, he takes care of it, uses it wisely, makes a profit. The steward of an estate, for example, takes care of the house, property, belongings, etc. of the estate owner.

The steward does not have the authority to say, “Master, you already have such a big estate! I’m already overworked as it is. Adding on another room to your house means more for me to clean. Buying another car means more maintenance for me to do each month. Adding another horse to your stable means another animal to care for, groom, and ride. Taking care of all your stuff is taking too much of my time and energy and it costs you so much! I don’t want to be a bad steward, so I’m not going to let you add anything else to your estate.”

Whose estate is it? The master’s. It is the steward’s job to take care of it all, wisely manage it. It is not his job to tell the master what he can and cannot add to the estate.

It is the same with us. God has entrusted us with life, health, money, things—it all belongs to Him and we are to use it for His glory and the furthering of His kingdom.

If God says to us, “You have done such a good job with what I have given you. I’m now going to give you more money to take care of (steward) for me.” We say, “Wow! Thank you, God! Yes, I’ll gladly accept more money and use it for you.”

If God says, “You have done a good job with that beat up little car. You’ve been using it for My glory. I’m going to give you a nice, new car to use for Me.” We say, “Thank you, God! Yes, a nice, new car will be so much easier. I’ll take good care of it and use it for You.”

But if God says, “You’re doing such a good job with those little children I’ve given you. You are raising them for My glory. I’m going to give you more children to raise for Me.” We say, “Oh, no, God! That’s too much! I’m having a hard enough time with the ones you’ve already given me. I would be such a bad steward of Your money and car and house and even of the time You’ve given me if I let You give me one more child! How can I serve You if I’m tied down at home with another baby? I don’t want to be a bad steward, so I’m going to have to tell You, ‘No, I won’t take any more children.’”

Do you see the faulty reasoning? Who is the Master and who is the steward? We are to steward whatever God in His wisdom and kindness chooses to entrust to our care. We are not wiser than God. [2]

We would do well to remind ourselves who creates life. Do parents create life? Many think that they do, that it is completely up to the mom and dad as to whether or not they have a baby.

The Bible doesn’t teach that. The Bible tells us that it is God alone who gives children. Consider, for example, the account of Rachel and Leah. Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. He didn’t really love her, he loved Rachel.

Gen. 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

God blessed Leah and gave her four sons. After the birth of her fourth son, “she left bearing” (v. 35).

She didn’t want to stop having children (that is clear from what she did in the next chapter—giving her maid to her husband so she could have more children by her), but God had decided four children was enough for the time being. (Later, God gave her three more children.)

Rachel also wanted children. However, years went by, and still she had no child. The Bible records a conversation she had with her husband:

And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” (Gen. 30:1-2).

Clearly, it wasn’t up to Jacob whether or not they had a child. Nor was it up to Rachel. God had chosen not to give them a child.

Several more years went by,

And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son” (Gen. 30:22-24).

Just before she died, she gave birth to her second son, Benjamin.

Both women wanted children (and neither took measures to prevent them), but God was in control of how many they received. God gave Leah seven. After years of barrenness He gave Rachel two.

People say, “Well certainly people wanted children way back then, but nowadays children are expensive and times are hard. Surely God wants us to be careful and make sure we don’t add another mouth to feed when money is so tight.”

In the Bible, even when commodities were scarce and life was hard, God still blessed His people with children.

Consider the time before Moses was born. The Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt and life was incredibly hard for them. Yet God kept giving them children.

Ex. 1:12 “But the more they [the Egyptians] afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.”

In fact, they were having so many babies the king of Egypt was scared that in the case of war the Hebrews would side with the Egyptian’s enemies, fight against them and leave the land of Egypt. To keep this from happening he tried desperately to kill all the baby boys who were being born.

Yet, even in the face of their children being potentially murdered, God kept giving them babies. He wanted His people to have many children, even in this tremendously difficult time.

It was in the midst of all of this that Moses was born. If we had been there, we would have called Moses’ parents “bad stewards.”

“Don’t they know they are endangering the life of their child by bringing him into this awful world?! They should have prevented his birth. Now he’s going to be murdered!”

In our human reasoning we would have prevented God from sending the very one who was to deliver them from their bondage and lead them to the Promised Land.

Today there is a profusion of “Christian” advice to, “Be wise! Don’t have a baby unless you can afford one.” Or, “Don’t have any more children! You can barely afford the ones you have and, besides, you don’t have time to do anything else. God wants you to be a good steward.”

This is simply not Biblical. Nowhere does the Bible teach that parents have the authority or responsibility to decide whether or not God should give them another baby. Using our brains and the available technology to “play God” and try to control the timing and number of children is a very dangerous thing. It’s trying to be the master, not the steward.

Actually rejecting children, doing all we can to prevent ourselves from bearing children, is a sign that we are under the wrath and judgment of God. It is beyond the scope of this talk to fully study Romans 1:18-32, so I challenge you to take some time to prayerfully examine this passage on your own in the near future. In brief, this passage reveals a progression of rejecting God, turning to idols, and the judgment that follows.

One of the consequences listed here for turning away from God is that of God giving people up to “vile affections.”

Vile is defined as “wretchedly bad; repulsive, disgusting; morally debased, depraved, despicable; foul, filthy.” [3]

Two vile affections are then listed:

Rom. 1:26-27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

First, women change the natural use for that which is against nature. I always assumed, because of what follows in verse 27, that this was talking about females engaging in the sin of sodomy. That could be the case. Sodomy is definitely against nature—unnatural and contrary to God’s design. However, generally speaking, in various cultures throughout history men tend to embrace this sin before women do. [4]

Could this then be referring to something else? What is the natural use of the woman? What did God design a woman to do that a man cannot do? The answer is evident from the features of a woman’s body: God designed her to bear and nurture children. [5] The Greek word used here for “women” (thelus, as opposed to the more commonly used gune) underscores this point. “Thelus comes from the root word thele, which means, ‘nipple, to suck, to nurse, to mother”[6]. Bearing and nurturing children is the natural use of the woman.

When women take either permanent or temporary measures to prevent themselves from bearing children, they are going against nature and, according to this verse, engaging in vile affections—sin before God and, in fact, a sign of His judgment.

The next verse makes it clear that when men separate the act of marriage from God’s design of bearing children, God is giving them up to a second “vile affection,” that of sodomy and the practice of unspeakable perversion.

At this point some of you are probably thinking, “Vida, are you actually suggesting that birth control is sin?? I can understand your reasoning that it is a rejection of God’s blessing and that it is a lack of trusting God (like a steward telling the Master he knows better than him), but now you’re saying practicing birth control is a vile affection—SIN—and a sign of God’s judgment?!”

I know this flies in the face of everything our culture – and even the church at large – says. Actually though, up until about the early 1930s, the church as a whole preached against birth control. They taught that it was indeed sin. It was primarily through the indefatigable work of that wicked woman [7] Margaret Sanger (the founder of what is now known as Planned Parenthood, the organization that has been instrumental in the murder of 1000s of unborn babies) that birth control became widely accessible and finally completely legalized (in 1965,[8]). Only now—within the past 50 years or so—is birth control culturally acceptable, normative, and even the “Christian” thing to do.

Allegorie des Lebens by Karl Geiger

I challenge you to study what the Bible actually says about this subject. Ask God to give you a clear understanding that is not muddled by cultural expectations. (Some books that you might find helpful in your study: Be Fruitful and Multiply by Nancy Campbell; The Way Home by Mary Pride; A Full Quiver by Rick and Jan Hess; and The Bible and Birth Control by Charles D. Provan.) I submit to you that if you truly search out what the Scriptures say, you will see that we must repent—of our vile affections, of our rejection of God’s blessings—turn from our sin, and even take measures to get things reversed if possible and open ourselves back up to the blessings of God.

Ps. 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

There are people who look at the C— family and say they already have a full quiver.

“Wasn’t 9 enough?? We don’t believe in abortion, but surely they should stop after the 10th is born. Surely that’s a full quiver!”

Only God knows if the quiver is actually full. For Abraham and Sarah, their quiver was full with the one arrow He gave them—Isaac. The same was true for Zacharias and Elisabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. But what if Mrs. Mary Annesley (the mother of 25 children, the last of whom was Susanna Wesley) had said, “10 is enough for me!” or “I’ll stop now that I’ve given birth 20 times,” or “Surely 24 is enough!”? No one would have blamed her or thought she was limiting God if she had prevented further childbearing. In fact, today people would be encouraging her to stop, “Don’t you know what causes that?!” If she had used her human reasoning to take control of the number of children she had, Susanna would not have been born. Yet the world would have never known what it was missing.

I’m so glad this woman allowed God to decide when their quiver was full! Her final arrow—Susanna—would go on to be the mother of a very full quiver herself (19 children, in spite of marital difficulties, financial straits, bereavement, and even a house fire). Two of her youngest children—John (child #15) and Charles (child #17)—went on to make humanly incalculable impact for Christ. There are probably people in this room who came to Christ because of the impact of these men. God knows best and we must trust Him!

Woe to us if we discourage, tease, or mock those who are obeying the Lord and trusting Him to decide when the quiver is full. Woe to us if we through our words—negative comments, snide remarks, or even reproachful sighs—encourage someone to prevent further blessings from God. And woe to us if we ourselves have cut off the blessings God wanted to send. Only God knows if we have been the cause of cutting off our generation’s equivalent of John and Charles Wesley.

Let us search our Bibles and our hearts, repent, and do all in our power to accept all the blessings God wants to give us and encourage others to do the same.

At Play by Dorothy Tennant

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1 This list comes, in part, from Rick and Jan Hess, A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ (Brentwood: Wolgemuth and Hyatt, 1990), chapter 4, “Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner.”

2 A 2nd Generation of Homeschooling has an excellent article on this subject here: http://www.a2ndgenerationofhomeschooling.com/2010/07/having-many-children-is-poor.html (accessed: March 27, 2012).

3 vile. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vile (accessed: March 27, 2012).

4 Mary Pride, The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality (Westchester: Crossway Books, 1985), 27.

5 Charles D. Provan, The Bible and Birth Control (Monongahela: Zimmer Printing, 1989), 27-28.

6 Nancy Campbell, Be Fruitful and Multiply: What the Bible Says About Having Children (San Antonio: Vision Forum Ministries, 2003), 106.

7 Campbell, pp. 151-152, states, “Margaret Sanger [was] a woman who ferociously believed in Malthusian Eugenics and who practiced and promoted blatant sexual promiscuity. Margaret Sanger championed the cause of the elimination of inferior races. Her plan was to ‘create a race of thoroughbreds.’ She coined names for all those who were not of the superior Aryan race–‘morons, misfits, and the maladjusted’ and ‘defectives, delinquents, and dependents.’ She believed that the physically unfit, the materially poor, the racially inferior–including the Jews and the African Americans–must be restricted or eliminated. Contraception, sterilization, and abortion were the perfect methods for getting rid of these ‘human weeds.’ This is the origin of today’s birth control movement which the Christian church has ignorantly embraced.”

8 In my talk I mistakenly gave the date 1916 as the year abortion was legalized in the US. Actually 1916 was the year Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the US. The police shut down this illegally operating clinic 9 days after its opening and Sanger spent 30 days in prison.

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Addendum:

It was not my intention in giving this talk (or in publishing this article) to leave anyone feeling hopelessly condemned under the wrath of God. No matter how grave the sin, the blood of Christ can completely cleanse us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9. Praise be to God!

Also, lest my words be misconstrued, let me give further clarification to a point I made above. Merely looking at the number of children a couple has (be it many or few or even none) is not an indicator of their obedience or disobedience in this matter. I gave as examples Abraham and Sarah and Zacharias and Elisabeth, two couples whom, if we had known them personally yet had not talked with them or heard their hearts, we could have easily judged as being disobedient to the Lord in this matter because of sustained barrenness. We would have been wrong. God, in His perfect timing, gave to each of those couples only one “arrow.” Their quivers were full in His sight.

On the other hand, we could look at a couple with 24 children (the Annesleys before the birth of Susanna) and judge them to be completely obedient to the Lord in this matter. Yet, if they had decided to take control and prevented any further children, their quiver would not have been full. Likely (because people did not openly talk about their personal practices then as they do today) only God would have known that they had cut off His opportunity to bless them (and the world).

My point is that we cannot–must not–judge one another on the basis of how many children we have.

However, because birth control is now culturally acceptable (and expected) people often openly talk about their practices. Because the church has been largely silent on the Scripture’s teaching about this subject for the past 50+ years, most Christians are not even aware that God has an opinion on the matter. They honestly think the Scriptures are silent. That is why talks (and articles) like this are necessary. I do not present this information judgmentally or as one who is wanting to stir up discord among the brethren. Instead I write and speak these words with the earnest prayer that God will open our eyes to truly see this matter as He sees it and that He in His goodness will lead us to repentance.

This evening, while struggling under the weight of spiritual attack, my heart was greatly encouraged through meditation on Scripture and beautiful, uplifting hymns. Fear finally fled away and peace filled my heart as I listened to the following two hymns which focus on Christ’s righteousness and His atoning work.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Stand therefore, …having on the breastplate of righteousness” Ephesians 6:11, 14.

His Robes for Mine by Chris Anderson, arr. Dan Forrest

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange!
Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage.
Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified.
In Christ I live, for in my place He died.

Chorus:

I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.

His robes for mine: what cause have I for dread?
God’s daunting Law Christ mastered in my stead.
Faultless I stand with righteous works not mine,
Saved by my Lord’s vicarious death and life.

His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased.
Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased.
Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried “‘Tis done!”
Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe.
He, as though I, accursed and left alone;
I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!

My Jesus, Fair

My Jesus, fair, was pierced by thorns,
By thorns grown from the fall.
Thus He who gave the curse was torn
To end that curse for all.

Chorus:
O love divine, O matchless grace-
That God should die for men!
With joyful grief I lift my praise,
Abhorring all my sin,
Adoring only Him.

My Jesus, meek, was scorned by men,
By men in blasphemy.
“Father, forgive their senseless sin!”
He prayed, for them, for me.

My Jesus, kind, was torn by nails,
By nails of cruel men.
And to His cross, as grace prevailed,
God pinned my wretched sin.

My Jesus, pure, was crushed by God,
By God, in judgment just.
The Father grieved, yet turned His rod
On Christ, made sin for us.

My Jesus, strong, shall come to reign,
To reign in majesty.
The Lamb arose, and death is slain.
Lord, come in victory!

(Both hymn texts were written by Chris Anderson. More information is available here.)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” Psalm 103:1-2.

God’s blessings are incalculable; yet how prone we are to forget His benefits and instead dwell on our own petty grievances and wallow in self-pity. This day of Thanksgiving should be one of recalling His blessings, remembering and blessing Him for all His benefits.

He pardons all our iniquities–all of them.

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins” Isaiah 43:25.

“The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” I John 1:7b.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9 (KJV).

All of our wickedness, unbelief, pride, self-righteousness, unkindness, bitterness, anger, evil-speaking — all of our sin — is freely pardoned through the blood of Christ. What a glorious truth! What a benefit for which to give thanks!

He heals all our diseases.

This is sometimes a difficult truth to grasp. How can it be true that God heals all our diseases when so many of His people, even the most godly, get sick and die? We must remember that sickness and death are consequences of sin. “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). However, God offers eternal life to all who put their faith in Christ Jesus. Ultimately, all believers, no matter what their infirmities in this life, will have complete and perfect healing in the next.

Oftentimes, however, God does choose to physically heal His children, for a time, during this life. Eleven years ago my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Having just watched a dear friend suffer tremendously and die while undergoing the conventional cancer treatments, my parents prayed and sought the Lord for direction concerning her own treatment. The Lord graciously directed us, through research and the helpful advice of friends and relatives, to change our diets to a mostly raw, vegan diet (no meat or dairy products). The diet helped rebuild my mom’s immune system which in turn battled the cancer. What at first seemed a terrible trial, turned out to be a great blessing from the Lord. This diet has been His means of healing us from all our physical diseases.

He redeems our life from the pit.

“The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned” Psalm 34:22.

“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” Revelation 5:9.

We deserve hell because of our sin. Yet Christ has redeemed us — bought us back — not with silver and gold, but with His own precious blood (I Peter 1:18-19).

He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion.

“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23.

Every day He offers fresh lovingkindness — mercy — and compassion to crown His children. No matter how wretched and ill we behave, even when we are unfaithful to Him, in His goodness He draws us to repentance and shows mercy and compassion. How much we must praise Him!

He satisfies our years with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagles.

This is certainly true in my life. My years have indeed been satisfied with good things! God has blessed me with a godly family and friends, a lovely home, a good church, a wonderful education, and many rich resources and opportunities.

Bless the LORD, O my soul!

This simple meditation on God’s benefits just begins to scratch the surface of all that God so freely bestows upon His children. May the Lord help us to remember and give thanks for our many blessings!

“When all thy mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys,

transported with the view, I’m lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts my daily thanks employ,

nor is the least a cheerful heart that tastes those gifts with joy”

(Joseph Addison, When All Thy Mercies, O my God).

The Blind Beggar by Jules Bastien-Lepage

The Blind Beggar by Jules Bastien Lepage

What would you do if your doctor told you that you were going blind? It would probably take a while, but he assured you that, within ten years time, you would not be able to see at all. What is of such importance to you that you would want its image pressed indelibly upon your mind when your sight was gone?  What would you want to be able to carry with you through the coming dark years?

Or, suppose you knew that, because of your stand for the Lord Jesus, it was simply a matter of time before you would be torn from your loved ones and thrown into a cold, dark prison cell.  What would you do if you knew you would soon be facing intense persecution, even torture, for your faith?  How would you prepare for such a prospect? What would you do to ensure that you could withstand the pressure?

It is a fact of life that hard times will come. Even if you are spared a major crisis, all of us face daily struggles, temptations, and failures.  What are we doing to prepare for them?   Sadly, Christians often spend their time on many things other than equipping for future hardships.  They spend their time watching television and playing computer and video games.  Their energy is spent pursuing the things of this world, money, possessions, and success.  While these things may not necessarily be wrong, what good will such pursuits offer when the hard times come?  We never know when, like Job, all of these things could be swept away.  It is imperative therefore that we prepare for the future in a more concrete way.  I would like to suggest that we prepare to face future difficulties by memorizing Scripture.

Memorize Scripture?!  Yes!  Although we know that we should memorize God’s Word, we come up with a host of excuses for not doing so.  We say things like, “Me, memorize Scripture?  I can’t memorize anything! I have such a terrible memory!”  Or, “Memorize Scripture?  You should see my schedule! I don’t have time for one more thing.  How could I possibly add Scripture memory to my already packed life?” Or, “I don’t want to memorize.  I have worked hard on so many things for so long.  I’m tired and just don’t want to do it.”

No matter what our excuses may be, we must realize that God actually commands us to memorize His Word.

Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Deuteronomy 6:6 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:”

Proverbs 3:1 “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:”

Proverbs 7:1-3 “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.”

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”

If we fail to memorize Scripture, we are disobeying our Lord.

One practical help in obeying God’s command in this area is to follow a Scripture memory plan.  There are a number of plans available.  One that I am finding helpful is Evangelist Ron Hood’s Memory Plan (as given in his book, How to Successfully Memorize and Review Scripture). The basic steps are as follows:

  1. Compile a list of verses that you would like to memorize.  (These can be verses you need to memorize for a Bible class or Sunday School or simply some of your favorites.  You can even use this plan to commit whole chapters to memory.  I’m currently working on the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7.)
  2. Choose a verse from your list and write it on one side of a 3×5 card (or whatever size card you prefer).  Write the date on the back side of the card.
  3. Memorize your verse.  On day one, go over your verse 25 times (tally marks on scrap paper help you keep track) and then write 25 on the back of your card.  On day two, write out a new verse card, saying it 25 times, and then review the previous day’s verse 20 times, writing the number 20 on the back when you are finished.  Follow this procedure for five days, adding a new verse each day while reviewing the previous day’s verse 5 times less each day.
  4. Review your verses.  Once you have gone all the way through this procedure with a particular verse card, you will then move it to a daily review stack, saying the verse only once each day for 45 days.  After that, you move the card to a weekly review stack and go over it once a week for 7 weeks.  Finally, place it in a monthly review stack and review it once a month thereafter.  Of course, in the event that you find you can no longer say a verse word-perfectly, move it back to your daily review stack until it is mastered.
Mother's Lessons by Robert Walter Weir

Mother's Lessons by Robert Walter Weir

This procedure may sound complicated, but the main idea is to constantly review the verses that you memorize.  Instead of just memorizing a verse temporarily (to pass an exam or win a contest, for example), through constant, systematic review you will be permanently ingraining God’s Word into your heart and mind.

Whatever memory plan you choose to follow, be aware that there are numerous methods you can use while memorizing.  Repeating the verse multiple times is not the only method available to you.  In his book What was that verse again?, Ben E. Johnson outlines a number of memory systems.  Two that I thought were particularly helpful are “The Imagination and Exaggeration System” and “The Stacking and Yoking System.”

  • The Imagination and Exaggeration System Following this system, you use your imagination to visualize an exaggerated picture of the verse you are attempting to memorize.  For example, in Matthew 7:15 I would do the following:

“Beware of false prophets” — I imagine a gnarly, old prophet with an evil face.  A big WARNING sign is flashing over his head.  “Which come to you in sheep’s clothing” — now I imagine that same prophet dressed up in a huge sheep costume.  “But inwardly they are ravening wolves” — I imagine that I can see through the costume into the prophet’s heart to a snapping, snarling wolf.

It may seem a little silly, but imagining an exaggerated picture like this will give you something upon which to hang the words of the verse.

  • The Stacking and Yoking System In this system, you visualize how each part of the verse is yoked to (touching, connected to) or stacked on top of the next element of the verse.  This works especially well for lists.

Take the Beatitudes for example.  It can be difficult to keep all eight characteristics of blessed people in the right order!  Using this system you would visualize an exaggerated picture of eight people acting out these characteristics. (eg. Imagine someone dressed in the tattered garments of a poor, destitute beggar [“Blessed are the poor in spirit”].  Next to him is a weeping man attempting to dry his eyes with the beggar’s rags [“Blessed are they that mourn”].  And so on.)

Visualizing  how each element in a list could connect with the next helps you to keep things in order.

These are just a few of a vast array of Scripture memory ideas and resources available to help us store God’s Word in our hearts for future use.  With so many helps offered to us, we really have no excuse for not memorizing God’s Word!

God has promised us many blessings, for both the present and for the future, if we will obey His command to memorize and meditate on His Word.  One such blessing is success.

Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Psalm 1:3 [to the man who delights in God’s law and meditates on it day and night] “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Ten Ps in a Pod by Arnold Pent IIIThe success that comes as a result of memorizing and meditating upon God’s Word is evidenced in the life of the Arnold Pent family.  You can read their story, related by Arnold Pent III, in the book Ten P’s in a Pod. This remarkable family traveled all over the US and Canada, preaching, singing, playing music, and quoting Scripture. One of the most wonderful things about this family was their knowledge of the Word of God. The oldest son, David, had the entire NT and much of the OT memorized.  In fact, the whole family had large portions of Scripture committed to memory.  How did they do it?  Their secret was to spend thousands of hours in the Word of God.  This is how it worked in their family.  Everyday the children who were between the ages of 6 and 11 spent half an hour in private Bible reading.  From ages 11-21 this time was increased to 1 hour each day.   In addition to their private reading, after each meal the whole family spent 30 minutes together in family devotions.  If you add to this the time they spent in church and outside Bible Studies, each child spent 22,060 hours with the Bible from birth to age 21!  As one son said, “We would all have to be mighty dumb not to know a little something from this book” (Pent, 81).  As a result of their memorization and meditation on God’s Word, this family has enjoyed good success.  They had a fruitful ministry as the children were growing up and they are still enjoying prosperous businesses and ministries to this day.

Another blessing that memorizing Scripture will bring is the ability to resist temptation.  As the Psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).  Having specific statements from God’s Word ready at our disposal equips us to stand firm in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:17).

Memorizing God’s Word also gives us power in prayer.  If we have His Words memorized, we will be able to pray them back to Him.  God promises in John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Finally, memorizing Scripture will ensure that God’s Word is always with us, even if a Bible is not available.  The hypothetical situations at the beginning of this article actually happened in two individual’s lives.  The first, according to Evangelist Ron Hood, occured in the life of a young man named August Van Reign.  At age 24, this young man found out that he was going blind.  In the face of this trial, he purposed to use every free moment to memorize God’s Word. By age 35, he had memorized the entire NT (Hood, 11).

If I Perish by Esther Ahn KimThe second situation was true for a young Korean believer named Esther Ahn Kim.  In her book, If I Perish, Esther tells how she prepared for imprisonment and possible torture for her faith.  A large part of her preparation included memorizing hundreds of Bible verses.

We never know when we might be placed in a similar situation.  What are we doing right now to prepare for the hard times that will come in the future?  We must hide God’s Word in our hearts!  No matter what memory plan or systems you use, let me encourage you to start memorizing Scripture today.  If you memorize just one verse each day, you could have 365 verses hidden in your heart by this time next year.  If you really work at it, you, like August Van Reign, could have entire NT (or equivalent number of verses) memorized 10 years from now!  May we, with God’s help, be diligent to memorize and meditate on His Word.

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© Copyright 2008 by Vida Earnshaw

 by Vida Earnshaw

May Prinsep by George Frederick WattsIt has become my custom to choose a verse, theme, or spiritual goal at the beginning of a new year.  This year, January 1 dawned with the phrase “Set your heart to seek the Lord” ringing in my mind.  After a bit of searching, I found that the phrase was from I Chronicles 22:19, “set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God.”  I took this as the theme the Lord has for me this year–to be seeking Him with all my heart and soul. 

Now, these words sound very good, but what does it really mean to set my heart and soul to seek the Lord?  What will such a goal entail?  As I searched the Scriptures to discover more about this phrase, it became apparent that those who set their hearts to seek the Lord are determined to obey and please God, despite the cost. 

 Psalm 119:2, 10 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

When King Asa decided to seek the Lord, he tore down idols, destroying the places that were dedicated to their worship, and commanded his people to obey God’s law and commandments.

 2 Chronicles 14:2-5 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.

By contrast, King Rehoboam “did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14).

Ezra 6:21 tells us that those who were seeking the LORD separated themselves “from the filthiness of the heathen of the land.”  This is commanded to God’s people today as well:

2 Cor. 6:16-7:1 …for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

 

Setting my heart to seek the Lord then is far more than a half-hearted desire to be in right relationship with the Lord.  It involves an all out eradication of sin and determination to obey God. 

 

This desire to seek the Lord does not occur naturally in the human heart.  Romans 3:10-18 says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”  Instead, we are by nature God’s enemies–born in sin and at war with God.  That is why Jesus died on the cross, to reconcile us to God! 

2 Corinthians 5:21  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NASB)

Colossians 1:20-21 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.

 

If you, dear reader, have not yet sought the Lord for Evening Prayers by Eugene Ernest Hillemachersalvation, He invites you to turn to Him for salvation and cleansing today.  

Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 

Receiving salvation is the first step in seeking the Lord.  Oh, that after salvation the heart would continue on following hard after the Lord!  Sadly, many things tend to enter life that hinder the believer from wholeheartedly seeking God.  Idols of the heart are one such hindrance.  While we may not bow down before statues of wood or stone, posessions, activities, and people vie for the place of God in our hearts.  All such idols must be torn down and we must worship and serve God alone.  

Worldliness is another hindrance to seeking the Lord.  

I John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Loving the world and being like it is such an easy trap into which to fall!  The pleasures of the world beckon us on every side—through television, radio, advertisements, catalogs, at the mall, even the grocery store.  Loving and seeking the things of this world keeps us from wholeheartedly seeking God. 

There are also many lawful things which can hinder us from seeking the Lord.  A lawful thing is something that is not expressly forbidden by Scripture, something that is not evil or sinful in and of itself.  This category could include entertainment choices, hobbies, food, clothing, etc.  While we have the liberty to enjoy lawful things, if a lawful thing keeps us from seeking the Lord it needs to be either cut back or completely expelled from our lives.  Dr. Mark Minnick brought to my attention a very helpful test by which to try such things.  The “Lawful Things Test” can be found in I Corinthians 6, 10. 

I Cor. 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient [profitable]: 

(Is this lawful thing profitable, or is it a waste of time? Does it profit me spiritually or cause me to lose ground?)

all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

(Is it mastering me?  Does it dictate my schedule?  Does it control my thoughts/responses?)

I Cor. 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

(Does it edify others, build them up in the faith? Make them more like Christ? Or is my choice to participate in this lawful thing hindering others from seeking the Lord?)

I Cor. 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

(Does this lawful thing glorify God?  Does it make Him big in my eyes and the eyes of others? )

Determining what is hindering us from seeking God requires personal examination before the Lord.  Over the years, the Lord has been gracious to point out a number of such hindrances in my life.  One example comes from my high school days.  I have always enjoyed reading and used to have a particular fondness for novels (Christian fiction or classic works).  Every spare moment (as well as many that were not) was spent engrossed in a book.  Even when not reading, I was pondering the plot.  The stories were mastering my thoughts.  The Lord convicted me that novel reading needed to be pruned back in my life because I was meditating on these stories instead of His Word.  As a start, the Lord laid it on my heart to give up novel reading on Sundays, not because it was sinful or evil, but because reading the novel snatched the freshly planted Word of God out of my heart.  My reading choices, although lawful, needed to be pruned in order to leave my heart free to seek the Lord. 

The New Novel by Winslow Homer

Not only are there things we may need to lay aside in order to set our hearts to seek the Lord, there are also certain disciplines we must add.  Because our hearts do not naturally desire God, we must discipline ourselves to seek Him. 

I Timothy 4:7 discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.  (NASB) 

These disciplines include Bible reading and study, prayer, fasting, even journaling

Please understand that by speaking of giving up things and adding certain disciplines to our lives, I am not talking about legalism–this will not earn you merit with God–or having a “holier than thou” attitude.  Consider an athlete training for the Olympics.  This athlete will give up many things (junk food, free time, anything that does not help him reach his goal) and follow a grueling regimen, all for a chance to make it to the games.  No one looks at that Olympic hopeful and thinks that he is too strict or legalistic.  He is going for the gold!  How much more should we as Christians do all that is necessary to seek the Lord?

I Cor. 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.  (NASB)

This new year, may we, by God’s grace, set our hearts to seek the Lord!

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© Copyright 2008 by Vida Earnshaw

O Give Thanks Unto the Lord!During this Thanksgiving season, it is sad that so many in our society are not truly thankful, either to God or others.  I came across some interesting answers to the question “To whom are you thankful?”

“To who will I be thankful? To everyone I know and love, as well as to myself. Just ‘thankful.'”

Myself, I’ll be doing the cooking.”

The Great Turkey”

(The above three quotes taken from Yahoo! Answers  http://sg.answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AvUOO2_rntqpL9Zyg2FFTEQh4wt.;_ylv=3?qid=20071109145542AApIJQY)

“Well, that’s a tough one. It usually involves a higher power, but which higher power? There are just so many to choose from. The Christian God’s pretty popular here in North America. He might not be a bad place to start….” (From Be Thankful for What You Didn’t Get by Mike Jones – the Daily Texan on-line)

Thankful for our prosperity? Well, yes. … But this is a thanks given to oneself—appropriately—for having been an industrious worker of usually moderate appetite.

… Thankful for our freedom? Thankful to whom? … Ought we to be thankful for something that’s ours by right—that requires nothing of others except that they not impose their wills upon us by force?

… Thankful for the love of our families and friends? I suppose so. Love is a thing given, to be sure. But love is also a thing earned. …

I give thanks for natural law….” (from An Unappreciated Marvel by Francis W. Porretto, http://www.eternityroad.info/index.php/weblog/screeds/an_unappreciated_marvel/)

Statements like these are hard to fathom!  Absolutely everything we have–health, strength, daily sustenance, prosperity, liberty, love–comes from God.   

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

John 3:27 (John the Baptist speaking) John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

The Bible is replete with blessings for which we must give thanks to God. The following are just a few examples:

Salvation

2 Cor. 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable [indescribable] gift.

Col. 1:12-14 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Life, Breath

Job 12:10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

Col. 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;

Daily provision

Matt. 5:45 … He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Psalm 136:26 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 145:9, 15-16 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. … The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

His mercy

Psalm 107:1-2, 6, 8-9 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

 

[When the people would rebel against God and turn from His way, God would bring trials and troubles on them.]

 

Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

Psalm 118:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

 

With all of these blessings, no matter what our situation, we cannot say we have nothing for which to be thankful.  Even trials and difficult situations are used by God for our good.  They serve to make us more like Christ.

Rom. 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

I Thes. 5:16-18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

 

In addition to being thankful to God, we must also be thankful to others: to our parents, siblings, relatives, friends, pastors, teachers, even strangers.  Too often we are consumed with self and forget all that others invest in us.  Selfishness and pride hinder us from being thankful.

 

motheranddaughter.jpg

It is important to remember that simply being thankful is not sufficient.  We must also express our thankfulness.  If we do not say “Thank you!” people cannot be sure that we are thankful.  Think of the ten lepers in Luke 17.  After Jesus healed them, only one returned to express his thankfulness.  The other nine probably were thankful in their hearts, but because they did not return to say “Thank you,” we view them as ungrateful. 

 

There are many ways to express our thankfulness: saying thank you, writing thank you notes, verbally recognizing others’ investment in our lives, speaking of “all [God’s] wondrous works.”  This Thanksgiving, may we each have hearts that are brimming over with thankfulness to God and others, for we will speak out of that which fills our hearts (Luke 6:45).        

Psalm 105:1-5 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.

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© Copyright 2007 by Vida Earnshaw

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