A Perpetual Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving , prayerThanksgiving as a holiday is a day traditionally set aside in America to reflect upon and “give thanks” for the multitude of blessings we enjoy as Americans. Most businesses are closed, at least for the morning and afternoon hours, before plunging us all into the mayhem of the Yuletide season.

For most, a large part of such reflection involves family, feasting, and football. For many, that often means enjoying our abundance of these items as a prelude to the Christmas holiday.

However, Thanksgiving can suffer from a familiar ailment of such days of celebration. It is the ailment of the holiday aftermath.

The Advent of Thanksgiving Day

Replica of the Mayflower in Plymouth Massachusetts

The Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower and landed at what they would call “New Plymouth” in 1620 suffered through a terrible winter with the result being that almost half of their number died. The reaction of these remarkable people was to bind closer to each other and together come closer to God. In order to assess the significance of Thanksgiving Day as a modern holiday, we should take a glance at generations past. The origin of this holiday is recorded and fairly well known.

Their diligence, faith, and trust in the LORD were rewarded the next spring when in March when one solitary Indian walked boldly into the Pilgrims camp and entered the “common house” before the startled men could react. What happened next would bring untold good fortune to the besieged settlement.

Welcome!” he suddenly boomed, in a deep, resonant voice. The Pilgrims were too startled to speak. At length, they replied …”Welcome.” Their visitor fixed them with a piercing stare. “Have you got any beer?” he asked them in flawless English. …The Pilgrims looked at one another, then turned back to him. “Our beer is gone. Would you like …some brandy?”

The mysterious visitor accepted the offer of brandy and the subsequent offer of food as well. While he ate and drank, the Pilgrims began to pepper him with questions particularly how he was able to speak their native tongue, but he refused to answer until he finished his meal.

When he did finish and answered their questions, they learned that he was a leader of the Algonquins in what is present-day Maine whose name was Samoset. He had learned English over many years of speaking with English fishing captains along the coast of Maine.

It was Samoset who would introduce the Pilgrims to another Indian that would prove the greatest human benefactor for the ultimate survival of the new settlement. That was a man named Squanto, who would literally teach these colonists everything they would need to do in order to survive, and pave the way for the first celebration of Thanksgiving.

Squanto taught them how to plant and fertilize corn with fish, as well as how to catch the fish in the best manner.

Squanto helped in a thousand similar ways, teaching them how to stalk deer, plant pumpkins among the corn, refine maple syrup from maple trees, discern which herbs were good to eat and good for medicine, and find the best berries.

3063466292_0c67673fc0_wWhen Governor William Bradford a day of public Thanksgiving to God, the tribe which was known as the Wampanoags, among whom Squanto and Samoset, though of different tribes, lived, was invited to participate, and the rest, as they say, is history.  The “day” stretched into a three-day celebration of mutual feasting and fun.

Between meals, the Pilgrims and Indians happily competed in shooting contests with gun and bow. The Indians were especially delighted that John Alden and some of the younger men… were eager to join them in foot races and wrestling. There were even military drills staged by Captain Standish.

The reason for the Thanksgiving celebration was the Pilgrim’s faith that God had brought all these unlikely circumstances together and blessed them beyond any expectations. Thus the moment which was most important for them was the start of the festivities with a prayer by their pastor William Brewster thanking God for their provisions.

Thanksgiving’s Aftermath

This first feast of Thanksgiving forms the backdrop to the day we designate in America as “Thanksgiving Day.” What happened in the aftermath should serve as a warning to the nation as we leave the orbit of Thanksgiving for another year.

Through a series of unfortunate events, the winter after the first festival of thanks proved to be exceedingly harsh for the Pilgrims of Plymouth.

Thus they did enter their own starving time that winter of 1621-22 (with… extra people to feed and shelter), and were ultimately reduced to a daily ration of five kernels of corn apiece. (Five kernels of corn – it is almost inconceivable how life could be supported on this.) But as always, they had a choice: either give in to bitterness and despair or go deeper into Christ. They chose Christ. And in contrast to what happened at Jamestown, not one of them died of starvation.

Thanksgiving prayerThat ordeal would linger on the hearts of the Pilgrims through further hardships such as a severe drought that threatened to wipe out their crops the next planting season. The reaction of these stalwarts was to declare a day of fasting and prayer to seek the LORD.

These and other considerations moved not only every good man privately to enter into examination with his own estates between God and his conscience, and so to humiliation before Him, but also to humble ourselves together before the Lord by fasting and prayer.

The result of this was two weeks of unseasonably gentle rain that revived their crops and insured a bountiful harvest that fall. The aftermath of their first Thanksgiving began with more adversity and it seemed God had abandoned them.

For these remarkable people of faith, all that meant was they needed to trust God even more and depend upon His provision. Which brings me to the larger point of recounting this history that great blessing is often followed by great testing and that both are meant to drive us closer to Christ.

I and my family have also experienced this. My stories are of little import beyond my environment for I know other pastors, missionaries and evangelists who have welcomed great favor from the LORD and endured far greater hardship than I.

We in America are living through a time of great blessing mixed with great opposition to the blessings He has granted us through the presidency of Donald J. Trump. The challenge presented to us by the Pilgrims of the past is that we must live as they did, in a state of perpetual thanksgiving to God, repentance, and prayer for His guidance and aid to face the trials and testings yet to come. 

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:23 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

The Light and The Glory, Peter Marshall and David Manuel, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Harley Pebley’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of denisbin’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Mike Licht’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Hope Media Stock Photo’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

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The Carols Heralding

Many enjoy our words of faith and enduring inspiration; however, not all of my life is colorful as the fall. But, this is not about those I’ve turned over to God in prayer, but the joyful ending of God’s faithfulness. The holiday season is fast approaching, and I won’t focus on the ugly parts of life, but the joy of Thanksgiving.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Living in a state of humility and reverence, I find myself so thankful for answered prayers. The summer winds turned to the north, and the foliage of forests turned harvest colors. It’s time to lie down arms, repent, and comfort those we might forget this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Yes, it’s time to rejoice! Give praise to our almighty Father for our many Thanksgiving blessings. Join hands to commemorate the peace and love we’ve found in each other. It’s not just the pilgrims landing anymore. Our sovereignty, through God, our Father, blessed the table we partake this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

I so often return to the words my wise dad spoke, “count your blessings, not your problems.” I welcome you to share this thought on Thanksgiving. Lay aside the differences, if only for one day, and thank God for your life. Count your many blessings and be thankful. We fill every day with memorable moments.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

As for my family and I, this year’s Thanksgiving Day holds a significant meaning. It falls on the twenty-eighth, which was my Dad’s birthday, and I commemorate him in heaven. It was also my parent’s wedding anniversary. Married in 1958, I bet they picked this day so my dad would never forget their anniversary. Only one person knows their story for sure, and he’ll never tell… or will you, Uncle Bill?

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!


Be sure to join us again on Sunday, December 1 for the ongoing “Everything Christmas Blogs”

Thank you for this day!

God, our heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of today;
Many have not received this gift;
Many did not sleep soundly
In the night;
Many were in pains;
Many were on the run for their lives;
Many went to bed without food;
Many feared the unknown;
You kindly took care of me,
And my close ones;
May you comfort all those who
Had a bad night!
God our Father,
You alone know your plan for me
And my people for today;
You always have the best for us;
Kindly grant us the grace
To know how to keep the devil
Away from us;
That he may not derail us
With his evil and deceitful plans;
Shatter all the plans of our enemies;
And keep us safe;
May all that we do today
Bring glory to your Holy name!
We make our prayer
Through Christ our Lord,
Amen!

Thank Him always!

I will spend all of my days
In thanksgiving to God;
I will thank him today;
I will thank Him tomorrow;
I will thank Him all the times;
Eileen just reminded me
It’s what we all must do;
So much the Lord has done;
From giving life
To giving basic needs;
And giving me all I need;
Hard to thank Him ever enough;
His goodness knows no bounds;
Looking forward to more delights;
As dear Eileen has so well said,
“…the light of his
presence is still
shining…”;
It is shining on me
And shining on you;
And will ever shine and shine;
I will thank him now;
I will thank Him tomorrow;
I will thank Him always,
As long as I live, even when the going seems not to favor me; For everything, good or bad, I will give him Thanks.

Inspired by the poem “Thankfulness“, written by Eileen and published on Quiet Moments with God (eguyvadeen3).

A Personal Thanksgiving Message…

My sanctuary is barren on this tranquil day for the winter cold has taken its toll on our summer blooms. But even so, it feels good to sit outside and reflect on another year almost gone.

It’s Thanksgiving, and I can’t think of a better time than right this minute to thank God for his many blessings. My eyes water; perhaps it’s the sunlight, or is it because I’m so humbled? This is not boastful, but reverently I will admit how great my life is since I gave it to the Lord.

My wife and I fought hard last year. No one would guess how far fifteen dollars an hour stretched when two people, so in love, pulled together. But, God knew, and that’s all that mattered.

This past year has had some difficulties too. First on the agenda was finding a new home – not here in the Midwest but on the East Coast instead. It could not be just any house but the one God intended for us. Then, we needed a new car. I’m afraid both our vehicles saw better days. Once again, God stepped in and arranged a deal of a lifetime.

If that were not enough miracles, my wife and love of my life, finished nine years of my writings. She developed them into my recent book, “There In God’s Grace” and made my narratives come alive, bless her heart. How do you ever thank God for this miracle?

So, I sit in the bright sunlight this morning and count my many blessings one by one. Another year of miracles is far beyond my expectations. Rest assuredly, I will say a “Thank you” grace at dinner tonight; thanking God foremost for the gifts, he bestowed us. Oh, we so appreciate our friends and family – some new, some gone, but it’s made us stronger every day.

In the new year, I’ll count the days until I do not have to work a job anymore. I’d much rather retire and enjoy my life with my sweetheart. Thanks so much to all of our acquaintances and followers for you, too, are part of what formed my miracle. I hope, in some little way, I will continue to help you build your own bond with our Father in heaven. God bless you this holiday and keep God first! Blessings will follow, I promise!

Breaking Bread

Breaking Bread cover

It was early morning, and I smelled the aroma of pumpkin and turkey as I walked into the kitchen. Loaves of bread were cooling on the counter. The beginning of the holy season was here. It was a time to give thanks to all those who made the year a little easier for us; dear friends and family, and most of all, for the multitude of blessings from our Lord.

Enjoy this beautiful Thanksgiving rendition of “What I’m Thankful For”:

Shorts and T-shirts changed to football and wrapping gifts. Trees lost their summer foliage, and the wet, black bark stood somberly, against shades of gray. Embers in the fireplace were still aglow from the prior night. The house shifted into a winter wonderland.

We started the day off right – sipping coffee in bed along with the morning news, and then the Thanksgiving parades. Later, my wife scurried about the kitchen donning an old-fashioned apron. The family will be here soon – my favorite time of the year!
The bread rose, moist and golden brown; perfect for a holiday tradition. I lovingly watched her focus on perfection. Cradling the loaves onto an empty shelf, she closed the refrigerator door and spun to her right. A smile flashed across her face. “Jesus is in our kitchen!”

Gasping in His glory, my wife turned to the counter and reached for the last loaf. She handed it to Him gently and then pulled out a chair. He smiled and reclined, gesturing me to do the same. Breaking bread and sipping the wine from our crystal goblets, we spoke of our blessings for this communion of three!

Breaking Bread verse

Jesus appeared on this holiday with never a word. He was the brightest of bright shining at our table – the sacrament of life. And as He arrived, so He left; only a broken twig laid upon the dinner table where we broke bread. Tears streamed down my wife’s face as she took His napkin and wiped her cheek. I’m sure He is in heaven smiling and preparing a special place for her.

Breaking Bread pic 2

We set the table in silver and gold and plugged in the charger plates. A centerpiece of memories – holly, and pinecones adorned the table. I lit the candles as the doorbell rang; the holidays were in full swing! My wife, smiling ear to ear, carried out an extra chair for us from the bedroom. She greeted the kids with a great big smile and a huge hug as well! We celebrated that joyous Thanksgiving with love in hearts for each other and our wondrous Father, Jesus Christ.

Will you invite Him to your Thanksgiving meal this year? May you and your family have a blessed holiday and spread the cheer!

Please join us again on Sunday, November 25th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


Give a gift which keeps on giving!

Christmas ad for book FB

Give generously to the one who gives generously to you

Where does everything that you have come from? I mean your life, your children, your health, your money, and your property such as your home, your car, your furniture etc. Who is the author of these blessings?
The answer is clear: God. God is the source of your life, your family, and all your possessions.

God is the source of all your intelligence, wisdom, and talents.
God has blessed you wonderfully in so many ways. You may be having worries, and difficulties, and and be tempted to jump to the conclusion that you are not blessed.

You are blessed. You have more blessings than you know; more than difficulties or misfortunes. If you make an inventory of your blessings, you will be happily surprised by what you have. Your blessings outweigh your troubles.

A good question would be: do we appreciate our wonderful blessings? How much gratitude do we show God for our many blessings?

There is no doubt that many of us thank God in our prayers for all the good things he does to and for us. But as we know, action speaks louder than words. What do we do for God beyond words?

An excellent way to thank God is to give him back some of what he has blessed us with. God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a generous giver; and shows the example of generous giving by blessing us with all that we have. Of course, he does not drop manna from heaven into our hands as he did in biblical times. But he gives us wisdom, good health, a job, or a business to enable us acquire the things which he wants to bless us with.

In thanksgiving therefore, we are expected to give back to him some of our blessings. As God is kind and generous to those he loves, and as we are usually kind and generous to those we love, we must be kind and generous to God whom we love and who so generously gives us.

Many people do not know anything about thanksgiving. Many people are not warm about thanksgiving. Such people need to give it a second thought.

In many Churches, thanksgiving is organized at the end of the year to offer the faithful an opportunity to say “Thank you” in action to the one who has blessed them so abundantly.

Thanksgiving is not for us to celebrate at home by dining and wining with family and friends, but more to thank God.

Make sure you use this moment to show gratitude to God. God loves a cheerful giver.

You can also give to God by giving generously to a needy fellow human being. There are many people who need. They cannot afford anything. They lack food to eat, clothes to wear, medication when they are ill. They live in misery. To reach out to them is to reach out to God.

And God blesses the generous giver. Give generously to God who generously gives to you and you will receive generously from a generous God who generously gives.

You are a child of God

You are a child of God,
So dearly loved by God,
So much favoured, indeed;
Many blessings you aleady
Have received;
And many more still to come;
What are you giving to Him
In return?
I ask you,
Dear child of God;
Do something in gratitude;
For this great love
Of God!
Your father, who art
In heaven.
Sing praises to him;
Praise his holy name;
For he is so good to you.
Give him thanks.