Tuesday, 24 November 2020
Title: Celebrating Thanksgiving Every Day
By: Dorothy Teoh
On Thursday 26th November, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. For many families, it is an important holiday, even if the original reason for the celebration has been lost over time. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the fall of 1621 by the Pilgrims who had survived the journey to the New World in search of a new life and religious freedom. It was to give thanks for a successful harvest and the fact that the remaining colonists had survived their first year in a strange land. In the first winter, disease had killed almost half of the original group of 100 English men, women and children who had set sail on the Mayflower.
Today, Thanksgiving in the US is very different from that first celebration. While still traditionally a time of family get-togethers; food (turkey and pumpkin in particular) and American football figure prominently. I smiled when I read what Elizabeth Elliott had to say about Thanksgiving in her book Keep A Quiet Heart. “Some people are substituting ‘Turkey Day’ for ‘Thanksgiving,” she wrote. “I guess it must be because they are not aware that there’s anybody to thank, and they think that the most important thing about the holiday is food. Christians know that there is somebody to thank…”
In Psalm 103 verses 1 to 5, King David praises God and names the blessings that he had received.
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
What “benefits” have you received from God? Make a list, and it may surprise you. We can be quick to forget how richly God has blessed us in the past, or how He has answered our prayers. Or, like King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32:25, we may become proud after enjoying God’s “benefits” and achieving success. By continuing to praise God for His past blessings and answered prayer, we make sure we do not forget.
In the 19th November devotion on verses 9-12 from this very same Psalm, our brother Arnold Lim had said that if we repent and ask God’s forgiveness for our sins, He will forgive us because He loves us. God forgives all our iniquity. Sometimes, even when we think we have forgiven someone, we may still hold onto remnants of a grudge. But God does not do that. When He forgives, He wipes the slate clean – all our sin is forgiven, both omissions and commissions, past and present.
I confess that I struggled with the second part of verse 3 because not all diseases are healed, at least, not in this world. What I found helpful was John Piper’s answer in https://www.desiringgod.org/.
He says, first, that all promises will be fulfilled – in Jesus and in all those who are in Jesus in the new earth.
Secondly, Piper says that some healing will come now, all will come soon. In this world, God does heal, he says. “And so, we should look for it, ask for it, and thank him when he gives it. But the final promise of no more death and no more disease will come in the future.”
Third, we are more than conquerors, even our diseases and our calamities are not defeats, says Piper. He quotes Romans 8:37 and then he says that these “work good for us now in all the ways that count” and that they prepare “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Jesus went down into the pit so that we don’t have to; He gave His life as a ransom to redeem us from eternal death. As if that were not enough, God continues to show us His mercy, love and compassion and satisfies our desires with good things so that we can soar on wings like eagles, just as He promised in Isaiah 40: 29-31.
How wonderful is that? With all these things to thank God for, every day for us as believers should be Thanksgiving Day.
Lord, Thank You for all Your benefits to us. Forgive us, Lord, that we sometimes forget. Help us to remember all that You have done and continue to do for us, and the love and compassion that You show to us daily. And as we remember, fill our hearts with thanksgiving so that we may bless Your holy name. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.
今天，美国的感恩节与第一次的庆祝截然不同。虽然传统上仍然是家庭相聚的时间，但食物(尤其是火鸡和南瓜)和美式足球占据了突出的位置。当读到伊丽莎白•艾略特(Elizabeth Elliott)在她的书 “保持一颗安静的心” (Keep a Quiet Heart) 里写到有关感恩节时，我笑了。 “有些人让 ‘火鸡节’ 代替 ‘感恩节’ 了。” 她写道。“我猜那一定是因为他们没有意识到要向谁感恩，他们认为节日最重要的是食物。基督徒知道要感谢的对象…”
您从上帝领受了什么 “好处” 呢？列一张清单，它可能会让您吃惊。我们可能很快就会忘记上帝在过去曾多么丰盛地祝福了我们，或者祂曾如何应允了我们的祷告。或者，如历代志下32:25中的希西家王一样，我们在享受了上帝的 “好处” 并取得成功后就变得骄傲。通过继续赞美上帝以往的祝福和应允的祷告，我们确保我们不会忘记。
在11月19号每日灵粮里，同一篇诗篇的第9-12节里，林文礼弟兄说如果我们悔改并祈求上帝赦免我们的罪，祂会赦免我们，因为祂爱我们。上帝赦免我们一切的罪孽。有些时候，即使我们以为我们已经原谅了某人，我们可能仍然保留了一丝的怨恨。但是，上帝不会这么做。当祂赦免我们时，祂一笔勾销 — 赦免我们一切的罪，疏忽与明知故犯的，以前的和现在的。
第三，派博说，即便疾病和灾难未被征服，我们已经得胜有余了。他引述罗马书8:37，然后他说这些 “在所有重要的方面对我们现时都有好处”，并且它们是准备“无与伦比且极重无比的荣耀” (哥林多后书4:17)。
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