This post is not a week late. Most of our readers in the United States celebrated Thanksgiving last week and are perhaps all turkey-ed out and ready to move on to another holiday season. Which makes now the perfect time to remember that the giving of thanks isn’t something a follower of Jesus can relegate to one time of year. Rather, a quick tour through the Bible will show us that giving thanks is part of the very fabric of what it means and looks like to be a Christian.
Though Thanksgiving Day will be filled with joy and happy memories for many, for others the holidays can remind them of loss and tragedy. Such is the case for the family of Amanda Blackburn, the young pastor’s wife murdered in her home two weeks ago.
Below is her father, Phil Byars, being interviewed by Indianapolis reporter Scott Swain. Though you can see the grief, pain, and struggle on his face and hear it in his words and voice, you also see and hear the real ministry of Jesus to him at this time. Listen especially to how he answers the question about how his family will spend Thanksgiving. Then take a little time to pray, call, invite over, or visit someone who may be struggling with pain today.
Also, for those who may be wondering how someone can forgive such things, here is a prayer from Martin Luther on the petition regarding forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer. You can see in Mr. Byars that he is learning to pray just like this.
O dear Lord, God and Father, enter not into judgment against us because no man living is justified before thee. Do not count it against us as a sin that we are […]
On Veterans’ Day this year I had the unusual privilege of welcoming the Governor of the State of Indiana to Lighthouse Christian Academy in Bloomington, IN. Lighthouse is the small, Christian, K-12 school which my children attend. Governor Pence graciously offered to be the keynote speaker at our annual Veterans’ Day ceremony.
The smell of turkey roasting is wafting through the church building even as I write. Preparations are being made in the kitchen so students learning English as a second language can experience a traditional Thanksgiving meal in place of regular classes this evening. Many of us will gather with families next week to give thanks to God for the bounty of another harvest season.
How do we grow in gratitude? Last week, we considered Eight Themes in Thanksgiving in the Psalms. This week, we consider Seven Themes in Thanksgiving in the New Testament:
As our nation reflects more on the nature of gratitude at this November, here are eight themes in thankfulness from the Psalms that guide us to a more God-glorifying gratitude:
We give thanks for who the Lord is. We give thanks “due to his righteousness” (7:17), “to his holy name” (30:4), “for your name is near” (75:1), “for he is good” (118:1), and “to the God of gods” (136:2). Do we know God’s name and his attributes? Grateful hearts do.
This past Lord’s Day was a rich one in our congregation. In the morning we had a baptism of a covenant child, where our featured text was Isaiah 59:21, which reads:
“As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.”
This particular child had believing parents, grandparents, and even a great-grandmother in attendance, and we know her believing family line extends back beyond them. In addition, we had our first webcam broadcast at Sycamore, as family members serving the Lord on three separate continents of Africa, Asia, and Australia were able to observe! Seeing the Lord’s promises spoken long ago fulfilled in Christ and now being made known to us was thrilling.