What Are You Most Thankful For?

happy_thanksgivingToday starts Thanksgiving week. I’ve talked to so many people who tell me that Thanksgiving is one of their favorite holidays. For Christians, it ushers in the season of thanking God for His provision, but most importantly thanking Him for sending His One and Only Son to die on a cross to offer each of us eternal life.

I wonder how many think about our Salvation at Thanksgiving?

We typically thank God for our family, our home, our jobs, our health, our friends… answers to prayers . . . all of which are so worthy of our praise. But I would like to challenge you this year, when it comes your time around the dinner table to answer the question: “What are you most thankful for?”

Your answer will be, “Jesus Christ in my life.”

Thank God for your salvation . . . even if there are nonbelievers present . . . especially if there are! Then do everything you do to the glory of God whether it’s cooking, playing games, fellowshipping, even watching football!

If we say that Jesus is at the center of our life and we put Him above all else, doesn’t it only make sense that He would receive our greatest praise and Thanksgiving?

If we say we are blessed, it’s important that we remember the source of all our blessings is God and we direct our attention to Him. In my upcoming February release, Forsaken God?, I talk about celebrating Thanksgiving as a way to remember God’s goodness and I ask the question:

Thanksgiving is a day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate God’s acts of kindness and provision to America. What could you do to put the focus more on God at Thanksgiving and less on feast and football?

I would love to hear how you answer that question. Leave a comment below and let me know.

NO-shopping-on-thanksgiving

I also hope that you are not treating Thanksgiving as another shopping day, whether at the stores or online. That might seem like a harsh challenge, but you can read my thoughts on that in a post I wrote Thanksgiving 2013 “Acquiring Overshadows Thanksgiving.” I would encourage you to read that post before you break out your credit card or grab your car keys.

A Thanksgiving Prayer from David

This Thanksgiving I bless you with a psalm of Thanksgiving. May this become your Thanksgiving praise also!

That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord in this manner:

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
10 Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

12 Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
13 you his servants, the descendants of Israel,
    his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
14 He is the Lord our God;
    his judgments are in all the earth.—1 Chronicles 6:7-14

A Reminder of the Purpose of Thanksgiving from President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Thanksgiving Was to Be An Annual Day of Thanking God:

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. …Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”

I pray a blessing over each of you this Thanksgiving Day as you give praise where praise is due!

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What Does Jesus’ Birthday Have To Do With Presidents’ Day?

 

february 22 1732, westmoreland county, virginia, the first president of the united states, george washington

Today is “Presidents’ Day,” but how many of you know which presidents’ birthdays we’re celebrating? If you’re under 50, there’s a good chance you’re stumped because their birthdays are no longer mentioned on today’s calendars.

Ok, if you know the two president’s we’re celebrating today, or the pictures above gave it away, without looking it up do you know the dates of their birthdays? Those days are imprinted in my mind because growing up they were always celebrated separately and we had the day off of school.

On February 12, we talked about Lincoln emancipating the slaves and the tragic loss of a great president when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

On February 22, we ate cherry pie and talked about George Washington, the first president of the United States, who as a kid couldn’t tell a lie about chopping down the family cherry tree.

I remember the construction paper silhouettes we made in school, and the honor given to each president. Sadly, those two important dates, their birthdays, are now ancient forgotten history.

Combined for Convenience

Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the actual birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Then President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday, the Presidents’ Day, to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February, and everyone rejoiced at having a three-day holiday.

It’s not unusual to celebrate a birthday on a different day than it actually falls, especially for children’s birthdays so they can have a Saturday party with their friends, but we never forget their actual birth date. I know parents who celebrate several siblings birthday together for convenience, or maybe even combine it with a distant relative. Maybe that happened to you . . . and I wonder how you felt about it.

The fall out of “Presidents’ Day” is that there are now generations who enjoy a three-day weekend in February, but have absolutely no idea why they have the day off.

It Only Takes One Generation to Forget

As has happened with honoring the birthdays of the first president of the United States and the president who emancipated the slaves, if we don’t pass down the Christian faith to the next generation, Jesus’ birthday  could also become obsolete . . . forgotten. Maybe not even on the calendar . . . December 25th could become just another “Winter Holiday.”

Easter could become a “Spring Holiday”.

We see this trend every Christmas and Easter when the secular world tries to take Jesus out of the celebration, and it will happen in our Christian world too…families…children…generations to come. . . if we don’t continue to tell the Gospel story of Jesus and His love from one generation to the next.

 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
    let them proclaim your power.
 I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
    and your wonderful miracles.
Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
    I will proclaim your greatness.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
    they will sing with joy about your righteousness.

Psalm 145:4-7  (NLT)

 

 

Springfield, Illinois at the Abraham Lincoln Museum

Whose Birthday Is It?

 

Who are these men?

I asked my Facebook friends if they knew which president’s birthdays we were celebrating today and when their real birthdays were. As it turned out, the only ones who knew the answer were probably 50 or older. Do you know?

I was prompted to ask “Whose birthday are we celebrating on President’s Day” when I mentioned to a 28-year old friend that my husband and I were going to see the movie Lincoln. I said I thought it was appropriate since his birthday was the previous day, February 12. She said, “Oh, really?” I knew that fact had escaped her.

Then I spoke at a MOPS group and one of the young mothers at my table admitted that she only knew whose birthday we celebrated on “President’s Day” because her young son came home from school and told her.

When I was growing up, we had two president’s birthday holidays in February, and we knew why we were out of school. Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the actual birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22). In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday, the Presidents’ Day, to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February.

So President Nixon gave America a three day weekend, instead of the two separate holidays of Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays. It’s not unusual to celebrate a birthday on a different day than it actually falls, especially for children’s birthdays so they can have a Saturday party with their friends, but we never forget their actual birth date. And how would you feel if for convenience, your parents made you celebrate your birthday every year with another sibling, or maybe a distant relative, so the family would only have to come to one party? Maybe that did happen to you . . . and I wonder how you felt about it.

The fall out of “President’s Day” is that there are now generations who enjoy a three day weekend in February, but have absolutely no idea why they have the day off.

How many generations does it take to make something obsolete? The answer: One.

As has happened with honoring the birthdays of the first president of the United States and the president who emancipated the slaves, if we don’t pass down the Christian faith to the next generation, Jesus’ birthday and ministry could also become obsolete.

We see this every Christmas and Easter when the secular world tries to take Jesus out of the celebration, and it will happen in our Christian world too…families…children…generations to come. . . if we don’t continue to tell the Gospel story of Jesus and His love.

As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
     But the word of the Lord remains forever.
—1 Peter 1:24

 

 

PS: Take advantage of a preorder special on Dear God, He’s Home! until its release date 3/5!