Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Praying for the President

Why can’t more Christians be like Pastor Brunson and pray for the President?

How many times do folks like myself have to remind fellow believers that even if you dislike the man, Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and we are therefore instructed to petition God on his behalf, to pray for him when he might not even recognize his needs, and to thank God for him.

Don’t believe me?

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 CSB

Notice the “why’s” attached to the above commands:

  • So that we may lead a peaceful and quite life.
    Tell me, how in the world is throwing civility out the window helping things? Is our nation peaceful and tranquil? Heck, no! And why not? Could it be that many Christians are guilty of allowing Satan to use them as tools to stir up strife?
  • So that we lead a quite life of godliness and dignity.
    Oh, tell me, how much godliness is there in forcing people out of restaurants and threatening constant incivility? Where is the dignity in screaming at the sky and clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court?
  • It pleases the Lord.
    Newsflash: Rioting in the streets and burning police cars does not please the Lord. Sending hate mail does not please the Lord. Creating an atmosphere of chaos and incivility – even anarchy – does NOT please the Lord.
  • For the sake of the gospel!
    Yes, we are to pray for our leaders so that we might live peaceable, godly, and dignified lives in order that the good news of Christ might be shared with those for whom Jesus died, and that those for whom He died might be saved.

If that’s not enough, and you can’t think of anything good to say about President Trump, Jesus Himself leaves you with no excuse for the hatred and violence.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. – Matthew 5:44-45 KJV

Some of you can’t believe that any Christian would support Donald Trump. Frankly, I couldn’t believe that any Christian could support Barack Obama, the man more hostile to the Church than any other president in history.

But I can tell you this without blinking an eye: I prayed for President Obama.

We should be praying for President Trump, too.

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Filed under America, Christian Living, Christian Unity, community, current events, ministry, Prayer

Thankful to be Thankful

Blogging With a View

This morning I am getting the rare opportunity to sit down at a computer while it is still daylight outside! As a matter of fact, I am sitting in the living room of the parsonage, writing on my wife’s computer – because it’s the only one up and running, and – because of a temporary lack of space – the only one we can find a place for – looking out of the window to my right at the church sign by the street.

If you zoom in, no, I’m not Rev. Kaschimer. Still waiting for the name change 🙂

As you may be able to see by the condensation on the antique windows, it’s still a little cool outside – and I love it! It’s about time we get some bugless weather!

By the way, thanks to all of you who have helped us with this parsonage. There is still work to be done (I can detail that a little later), but at least we have a roof over our head and a place to sleep. And internet 😉

Other “Thankful” Blogs

Anyway, this morning I sat down at the computer (it feels so good to type on a real keyboard, not my phone!) with the intention of writing a “thankful” post in anticipation of Thanksgiving. However, before I began my own writing, I read a few other posts by fellow bloggers who had the same idea. Shoot, I bet they’d even appreciate me sharing a link, wouldn’t you think?

Now, believe me, especially after a sermon I preached this past Sunday, I’ could come up with a humdinger of a list of things for which I’m thankful. However, much of the things on my list would probably sound a lot like the things on other peoples’ lists.

For example, I am thankful for things such as… God’s grace, mercy, salvation, family, a loving wife, bacon, a place to sleep, running water, a church to pastor, Star Wars slippers, eyesight, a job, coffee, wifi, chocolate gravy and biscuits this morning, etc. Like I said, pretty much like everyone else.

But after I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be a little more interesting to write about something other than a list of things for which I’m thankful?

Thankful to be Thankful

Honestly, I am just thankful that I can sit here at this computer and tell you I am thankful – yes, thankful. You see, I could be like one of those people who feel entitled to everything, that God owes them something, but I’m not like that. I’m thankful I’m not in hell – that’s what I deserve.

I’m thankful that I’m not bitter, angry, resentful, jealous, or spiteful. No, I don’t live in a mansion or drive a new car, but I am happy to be thankful for what I have – I could be sleeping in a van down by the river.

I’m thankful I’m not wallowing in sorrow and self-pity, mourning the past and dreading the future. God has redeemed me and rescued me from more than I can speak of! I’m so thankful I want to say so (Psalm 107:2)! Life could be hopeless, but it’s NOT (1 Cor. 15:19-20)! I’m thankful there’s more to this life than this life, and I’m thankful I can be thankful for that!

Hallelujah! I will praise the LORD with all my heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation [and on my blog, too]. – Psalm 111:1 CSB

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Before the Fullness of Turkey Was Come

Galatians 4:4 (KJV) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law…

Remember that verse…

This morning, as I was driving in to work, I turned on the radio and tuned it to one of our local Christian stations, 103.1. It was 6 a.m., and I was anticipating something spiritual, something encouraging, to start off my day.

The time has not been changed. It was actually 6, not 7.

What did I hear when turned on the radio? What did I hear when I turned on the radio this morning on the 20th day of November? What did I hear when I turned on the radio three days before Thanksgiving?

I’m ready for some mistletoe and kissing…”

Uuuughh! Noooo! Not now! It was dadgum Christmas music, and the heathen kind at that!

Folks, why can’t we learn from Scripture? If Jesus Himself didn’t come to Earth until the appointed time, why on earth can’t we hold off on the mistletoe and kissing till after Thanksgiving?

For crying out loud, can’t we take a moment and show some respect for all the turkeys who gave their lives so that we could manage to be thankful?

Good grief! Can’t we just wait till the fullness of December has fully come? At least till the 25th of November?

Probably not. That’s why I’m not going to listen to anymore radio until I’ve prepared my first leftover turkey sandwich.

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Filed under Christmas, General Observations, Thanksgiving

God IS Good!

This morning at South Soddy Baptist I will be preaching a message on the goodness of God. In some ways it will be similar to one that I preached 2 years ago at my last pastorate, but in other ways it will be different.

Nevertheless, even though the sermon I’ll be preaching this morning will be different in several ways from the one I’m going to share with you right now, the truth of this sermon remains the same: God is good, and we should be thankful.

As Thanksgiving approaches, why not take a few minutes to consider what your life would be like if God was NOT good. If God wasn’t the definition of good, the judge of what is good, and the very standard of goodness – if God was not good by nature – all of His other characteristics could be called into question; any of His actions could be suspect. But God IS good, and we have plenty of reasons to praise Him.

http://RiversideSermons.sermon.net/main/main/20542053

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“Thankful” On My Mind

I woke up this morning

With “thankful” on my mind.

I opened my eyes to a dimly-lit room,

But I could see – I wasn’t blind.

The iPhone that awoke me

Cycled one or twice

Again I hit the snooze alarm

But I could hear it – that was nice.

Never enough sleep is common,

And getting out of bed is hard.

But I had a bed to get out of.

I slept in a bed, not the yard.

Pain in my foot as it hit the floor.

My aching body walked out the door.

But at least I was walking on my own two feet,

Out of a house – with a door – pretty sweet!

I woke up this morning

And I could be complaining

But even if I was only complaining

I should be thankful – I woke up this morning.

I just had “thankful” on my mind.

– A. Baker

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The Other Things I’m Thankful For

Now that the holiday is about over, I’m sure you’ve heard all the normal lists of things for which we all should be thankful.

Like many others, I led prayer before today’s over-the-top gastronomical celebration, directing all present to give thanks for grace, mercy, family, freedom, and a host of blessings we don’t deserve. I even led us to remember those less fortunate during this joyful time. 

Therefore, since you’ve already heard thanks for the usual blessings, let me close out this Thanksgiving holiday with a list of other things I’m thankful for. 

  1. Zip-lock baggies. 
  2. Cell phone service with no roaming fees. 
  3. Coffee. 
  4. Antibiotics. 
  5. DVR’s. 
  6. I’m not a vegetarian. 
  7. Modern dentistry. 
  8. Safe drinking water. 
  9. Bluetooth. 
  10. Inexpensive firing ranges. 
  11. Baby powder. 
  12. A wife that hasn’t give up on me. 
  13. New Star Wars movies. 
  14. Background noise apps on my phone. 
  15. Daughters who still believe in me. 

OK, so #12 and #15 are from the “normal” list, but I couldn’t help it. 

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. – Psalm 106:1

My daughter Katie’s first apple pie. A work of art!

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It’s Not Even Thanksgiving! 

As many of you already know, I am now actively seeking a new pastorate, should it be God’s will to open that door. Therefore, Wednesday night (the 2nd of November) I found myself preaching in a small church in the north part of our county. A preacher preaches, right?

So, on my way home, alone in my vehicle, I decided to turn on the radio. What do you think was the first thing I heard? 

“Rockin’ around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop…” 

Seriously??? 

Aren’t there any Thanksgiving songs? Can’t we just be thankful for a little while before we start getting all worked up and materialistic? 

Can we please hold off on Santa stuff for a little longer? I mean, really, it’s barely time for Thanksgiving! 

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Leftovers and Sermons

Sandwiches

What do you think of leftovers? Do you like them? Hate them? Some people never eat them, while others save every crumb to make meals for days to come. Personally, it really all depends on what is being saved, like turkey.

Believe it or not, I am planning to be enjoying Thanksgiving turkey well into the week before Christmas! I froze just enough of the leftover meat so that I could have leftover turkey sandwiches whenever I wanted for weeks to come! Brilliant!

Sermons

The Sunday morning after Thanksgiving I preached an unusual topical sermon about “Leftovers,” one even the most died-in-the-wool expositionalist should enjoy. I would love for you to listen to it, so I am including it in this post (and posting a link in the Sermon Archive page).

If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing (it is unedited and includes all my misspoken words, flubs, etc.), then at least fast forward till you get to the “Personal Context” part – that’s my favorite 🙂

Click on the photo to listen :-)

Click on the photo to listen 🙂

If you’d like, you can follow along while looking at the actual outline I used as I preached (it’s not much, but it was a guide – I don’t normally use outlines).


 

III. Personal Context – For those who feel like leftovers.

For those who may feel they’ve already given away the best & freshest, good news! God loves you! And if we’ve learned anything from the feeding of the thousands, the Lord hates letting things go to waste. As a matter of fact:

  • God loves to SAVE!
    • He will save YOU! 2 Peter 3:9 “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” In Luke 19:10 Jesus said the reason He came was to seek and to save the lost. I personally believe that if you were created, you’re not meant to be wasted.
    • He even saves your SORROWS! Psalm 56:8 NLT – “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
  • What God SAVES, He SEALS! 1:13; 4:30
  • God is a SPECIALIST in making new recipes out of leftovers!
    • God can’t use me… Really? “There are no leftovers with God. Adam plunged the human race into sin. Moses was a murderer. Jacob was a liar. Samson lusted after heathen women. Rahab was a harlot. Peter denied the Saviour. God used them all.” If He used these people, even Paul, then he can use us.
    • 21:5 “…I make all things new…”
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV – “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Remember, our God wastes nothing, including our tears! 

 

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Filed under Depression, Food, God, Love of God, Preaching, self-worth, Thanksgiving

Serving Up Thanksgiving, Family-of-Faith Style

A Combined Service

Anthony Import 11 30 14 194Last week we welcomed the congregation of Tiftonia Church of God to our Riverside Baptist. It was the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, the night many churches set aside a time for a community fellowship.

Being that it was a Tuesday night, there wasn’t a big crowd. However, enough showed up from both of our churches to, well, “have church.” And that we did.

Brother Michael Fugatt, the new pastor of Tiftonia Church of God, brought a great message from Psalm 100, blessing us all. And, for the record, he didn’t speak in tongues (just in case some of my Baptist brethren were wondering).

All in all, we had a wonderful, intimate time of godly fellowship. At the end of the sermon, Bro. Fugatt requested that all of us gather around the altar, hold hands, and pray. But when Pastor Fugatt prayed, he prayed that God would bless and encourage us (the Baptist church!!) and cause us to grow in number! It was truly a Kingdom prayer from a fellow believer and brother in Christ.

The Challenges

Now the sad part is that so many would have never allowed another denomination to worship with them. That’s very sad.

For the record, I am a Baptist, and for that I make no apology. But just because I am Baptist, that does not mean I may only worship with other Baptists. No, Baptists aren’t the only ones going to heaven, I can assure you; only those who have been born into the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Many of my fellow Baptists would never come together in worship, even once a year, with those in the Church of God denomination because of our different takes on several ecclesiastical issues and certain doctrines, especially those regarding the gifts of the Spirit. However, as it is with Baptists, not every Church of God congregation is exactly like the next, nor is their pastor. It really pays to be more gracious than writing off every congregation just because of the name above the door.

Believe it or not, there is room withing the family of God to disagree on the interpretation of certain passages in First Corinthians. There is room withing the family of God to disagree on how to handle church finances, ordain and hire ministers, etc. There’s room for differences, just as long as what it takes to make us “family” is agreed upon.

The Family Table

On Thanksgiving most of you probably sat at a big table, surrounded by family, and had a meal. Some of you, if not most of you, sat across from other family units, like brothers and sisters-in-law, or a crazy aunt and uncle. Maybe you shared a meal with some cousins you see only once a year – for good reason. But here’s the thing: you did it because they were family.

My wife and I lead a family unit, and our unit does things a little differently than the rest. So, when we come together with other family units for Thanksgiving or Christmas, we rarely discuss the different ways we run our households; we just enjoy the fellowship and the food. Why can’t we do that more often as Christians?

Many in the world make excuses for their atheism by pointing at Christians and their denominations. They say things like, “See, your beliefs can’t be true; you can’t even agree!” What community services provide is the chance to show that real Christians, true believers in Christ, can have their different ways of doing things when at home, but still come together for a family reunion, a meal around a common table of faith.

Of course, there are times when fellowship with other churches must be avoided; heresy cannot be tolerated. But the fact is that there are more times than not when genuine believers should come together once in a while to break bread, if for no other reason than to show the world that we are children of the same Father, co-heirs with Jesus our brother, regardless how we run our individual homes.

Now, will someone pass the manna?

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Filed under baptist, Christian Unity, Christmas, legalism, Relationships and Family, Thanksgiving, worship

The Undeniable Religious Underpinnings of an American Holiday

No Arguments

I don’t want to get into any arguments this Thanksgiving, believe me. I only look forward to meeting with family, eating turkey, along with every imaginable kind of casserole, then later flopping prostrate onto some flat surface to nap through the mythical effects of tryptophan and marshmallows. But just as with so many other things in this modern life, there are those who want to make a case against Thanksgiving, at least the religious underpinnings it brings to the dinner table.  Like as with Christmas, there will inevitably be those who want to keep God out of Thanksgiving.

There has been so much debate over the level of influence religion (specifically Christianity) had in the founding of our great nation, the United States of America. Many have argued that our forefathers wanted nothing more than a completely secular society void of anything sacred. Others have argued that our Founders, if anything, might have been tolerant of religion, but never had any propensity toward the public expression of Christianity, especially in governmental affairs.

Just Facts

Look, I know that some of you would like to argue with me about the Christian heritage of this country. I know that there are some atheists out there who would like nothing better than to remove every vestige of faith from public view, right Mr. Weinstein? But I’m not going to argue; I’m just going to present the facts.

The following excerpts are taken from early Thanksgiving proclamations made by our Continental Congress.

From the First National Thanksgiving Proclamation made by the Continental Congress, November 1, 1777

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to
set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and
PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings
of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that,
together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession
of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest
Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive
and blot them out of Remembrance…

That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education,
so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing
Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom,
which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”

May I ask a stupid question or two? What about the above quote sounds totally secular? What about the above quote gives the idea that the majority of Congressmen were nothing more than deists?

You see, we can argue all day long about the current state of our nation, but at its founding there were men in government who were not afraid to encourage our people to pray, praise, give thanks, and repent for our sins. I read nothing about thanking the Indians for corn.

As a matter of fact, what I read in these early documents was a call to be thankful, even in the midst of hard and difficult times. These early congressmen all agreed that even though we were at war, God was merciful and the gospel needed to be proclaimed throughout the world! Can you imagine that kind of thinking coming from Washington today?

United States Congress, October 20, 1779

Resolved, That it be recommended to the several states, to appoint Thursday, the 9th of
December next, to be a day of public and solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for his mercies,
and of prayer for the continuance of his favor and protection to these United States; to beseech
him that he would be graciously pleased to influence our public councils, and bless them with
wisdom from on high, with unanimity, firmness, and success; that he would go forth with our hosts
and crown our arms with victory; that he would grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine
grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel; that he would bless and prosper
the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners
of the earth; that he would smile upon the labors of his people and cause the earth to bring forth
her fruits in abundance; that we may with gratitude and gladness enjoy them; that he would take
into his holy protection our illustrious ally, give him victory over his enemies, and render him
signally great, as the father of his people and the protector of the rights of mankind; that he would
graciously be pleased to turn the hearts of our enemies, and to dispense the blessings of peace to
contending nations; that he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon our sins and receive us into
his favor, and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the
basis of religion and virtue, and support and protect them in the enjoyment of peace, liberty and
safety. as long as the sun and moon shall endure, until time shall be no more.

Notice the prayer that God would “graciously be pleased to turn the hearts of our enemies, and to dispense the blessings of peace to contending nations?” Therein lies the big difference between a Christian nation at war and a Muslim jihad.

United States Congress, October 31, 1780

Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, amidst the vicissitudes and
calamities of war, to bestow blessings on the people of these states, which call for their devout and
thankful acknowledgments… and, above all, in continuing to us the enjoyment of the gospel of peace…

…to cherish all schools and seminaries of education, build up his churches in their most holy faith and to cause
the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.

United States Congress, 1781

It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart the 13th day of December next, to be
religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer; that all the people may assemble on
that day, with grateful hearts, to celebrate the praises of our gracious Benefactor; to confess our
manifold sins; to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace, that it may please
Him to pardon our offenses, and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and
relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity; to prosper our husbandmen, and give
success to all engaged in lawful commerce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counselors,
judgment and fortitude to our officers and soldiers; to protect and prosper our illustrious ally, and
favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable and lasting peace; to
bless all seminaries of learning; and cause the knowledge of God to cover the earth, as the waters
cover the seas.

And just one more, 1784

[May the Supreme Ruler of the universe]  bless all mankind, and inspire the
princes and nations of the earth with the love of peace, that the sound of war may be heard of no
more; that he may be pleased to smile upon us, and bless our husbandry, fishery, our commerce,
and especially our schools and seminaries of learning; and to raise up from among our youth, men
eminent for virtue, learning and piety, to his service in church and state; to cause virtue and true
religion to flourish, to give to all nations amity, peace and concord, and to fill the world with his
glory.

Argue all you want, but I consider Thanksgiving to be a religious holiday, one that should be encouraged by our government. At least that’s what it seems our Founding Fathers would have wanted.

 

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