Tuesday, October 29, 2019


The fourth Thursday of November is set aside as a day of Thanksgiving, a time marked by family gatherings, good food, and a time of reflection upon the rich bounty of our great God. 

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in1621, the year after the arrival of the Mayflower. It was attended by 53 pilgrims, the only colonists to survive the long journey across the ocean and the first winter in the New World. This was just over half of the original 102 who set sail for the new world in 1620. They were helped through the winter with supplies of food from the local Indians, but the ultimate supply came from the unseen hand of God's Providence. As they gathered together to celebrate the first harvest, they had much for which to be thankful. The first celebration wasn't called Thanksgiving. It was simply a harvest celebration, but it was full of gratitude to God for His provision. 

There are many different opinions surrounding this first Thanksgiving. There is one point that cannot be disputed. These early pilgrim colonists were Christians. They looked to God for their provision, even in the midst of their terrible ordeal. The Christian heart is full of gratitude. While the first Thanksgiving was most likely not called by this name, two years later they held a "Thanksgiving" that was primarily a religious day of prayer and fasting. In time these two events became intertwined. They regularly gathered for a season of Thanksgiving to God.

It is God's will for His people to live in a continual spirit of thanksgiving, gratitude that is directed to Him for all of His great blessings. The Psalmist writes, Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name" (Psalm 103:1 KJV). We praise and worship God with our whole heart, all that is within us. We praise God in all things and in every circumstance. Paul instructs us, "in everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thes. 5:18). This is all-inclusive--"in everything."

As you prepare your heart for the 2019 season of Thanksgiving ponder deeply the countless blessings God has poured out in your life. Even the things we consider trials are actually God's wondrous work in us preparing us for glory. And as Thanksgiving begins the Christmas season, begin to ponder anew the greatest blessing of God's gift of His Son.


Friday, October 4, 2019

Despising God's Word

“The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything good concerning me but always evil’” (2 Chronicles 18:7 NASB).       

            After the death of Asa Jehoshaphat his son became king over Judah. He reigned for 25 years and the Bible describes his reign favorably, doing right in the sight of God. His one flaw was in aligning himself with the kings of Israel who were consistently wicked. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1). He became united with Ahab, king of Israel, by marriage and went to visit him at Samaria. Ahab convinced Jehoshaphat to join him in going to war with the Arameans. Jehoshaphat being a righteous man agreed, but first wanted to hear from God. Ahab gathered together his prophets, 400 in all—not a one being a true prophet of God. Each of them assured Ahab of success. Jehoshaphat was not impressed by their credentials nor their words. He turned to Ahab and asked, “Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?” It turns out that in all Israel there was a single prophet of God, but Ahab wasted no time in expressing his opinion of this man of God, “I hate him.” Ahab hated Micaiah because he spoke the clear Word of God. The wicked man cannot endure sound preaching, while a righteous man cannot endure the false.

            Ahab’s words express plainly the heart of most men regarding the preaching of the Word of God. They despise it. Paul described them, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teacher in accordance to their own desires” (2Tim. 4:3). Ahab despised Micaiah, not because of his actions, but because of his words—“he never prophesies anything good.” Many people share the heart of Ahab. They despise preaching. They cannot imagine themselves sitting for an hour listing to some man rant about a portion of the Bible. And if they do attend, they will often take offense over what they hear.

            Sadly, some Christians are not far different from Ahab in their approach to the proclamation of God’s Word. They fail to comprehend the weightiness of the words. Some dismiss the words because they don’t care for the preacher—”I hate him.” In our generation many dismiss the words because they have been conditioned by their endless exposure to media. They watch TV or movies for entertainment, but don’t really expect any life-changing impact upon their lives. There is no authority contained in a movie. They are exposed to the many news sources but dismiss much of what they hear as “fake news.” They enter the worship service as a spectator and see the preaching as yet one more form of expression to be received or rejected at will. They are just words and ideas spoken by a man. If they don’t like the words they like they reject them, or perhaps even despise the one who spoke them. Few see preaching of the Word of God as a matter of life or death. This puts a weighty responsibility upon the preacher. Like Micaiah, he must be careful to preach only the Word of God.