Pastor David Teis from Liberty Baptist Church of Las Vegas explains the Christian history of Thanksgiving in America
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13
Mother to teen: “I’ll be back in an hour and then we’ll go shopping for your shoes. While I’m gone I’d like you to clean your room, put your dirty clothes in the wash, and take Ruff outside for his walk. Okay?” Between the lines of those instructions is this: “Don’t sit around and watch T.V. while you’re waiting for me.” There is a difference between passive and active waiting.
And that applies to the Christian life as well. We are a people in waiting—waiting for “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior.” But Titus didn’t just write about the return of Christ (Titus 2:13), he also wrote about what we are to do while we wait: “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:12). In other words, we are to wait actively, not passively. Instead of being passive about loving Christ’s return and active about loving the world, we are to be passive about loving the world and active about loving Christ’s return.
What does active look like? Love, service, witness, worship, good works, and obedience. Be an active “waiter” today.
I am daily waiting for the coming of the Son of God. George Whitefield
After reading the last two devotions, you might be saying, “I want to be born again, so what do I do?” Or perhaps you want to explain the new birth to someone else, but you aren’t sure how to express it. For answers, today’s reading is a good place to start.
So, what is our responsibility in the new birth experience? There’s nothing in John 3 about behavior. Nothing about actions we must take. Instead, we find Jesus affirming that whoever trusts in Him will be saved and will have eternal life. Essentially, what Jesus says is, You want to be born again? You must place your faith in Me. This means believing He is exactly who He says He is—the Son of God. It means believing that when Jesus went to the cross, He died for your sins. It means believing He is the Lord and Master of life. And it means yielding yourself completely to Him.
The new birth describes something that takes place in our inner person—a radical change whereby our spirit is altered. As soon as we place faith in Jesus, we’re indwelt by the Holy Spirit. From that moment on, as we cooperate with the Spirit of God living within us, our conduct will begin to change because a new person is in charge.
If you’re willing to pray and ask Jesus to bring about the new birth experience in your life, you can depend on His promise that He will never turn away anyone who comes to Him. (See John 6:37.) He has never said no to anyone who desires to be born again. That’s His gift to everyone who is willing to believe.
“Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” (Jeremiah 12:1)
One of the perennial theological problems is the apparent prosperity of the ungodly along with the suffering of the righteous. Why would God seem to endorse such a system?
It has been this way for ages. Some 2,000 or more years before Christ, Job asked essentially the same question as did the prophet Jeremiah in our text above. “Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? . . . They spend their days in wealth, and . . . say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways” (Job 21:7, 13-14). Likewise, the psalmist Asaph complained, “I was envious . . . when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3).
The real solution to this paradox is not in this present world, but in the world to come, where hell awaits the ungodly, and heaven awaits those whom God has redeemed through faith in Christ. The fact that a man may prosper materially is not necessarily a measure of God’s approval. The previous economic boom in this country made many men very wealthy, and most of them seem either indifferent or hostile to God, but their wealth is very ephemeral. As David said in another psalm, “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not” (Psalm 37:35-36).
If God does give a few believers material wealth, it is so that they may use it for the Lord and for others, not to pamper themselves. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but . . . that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to [share]” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). HMM
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. —Ephesians 5:8
Something wonderful and miraculous and life-changing takes place within the human soul when Jesus Christ is invited in to take His rightful place. That is exactly what God anticipated when He wrought the plan of salvation. He intended to make worshipers out of rebels; He intended to restore to men and women the place of worship which our first parents knew when they were created.
If we know this result as a blessed reality in our own lives and experience, then it is evident that we are not just waiting for Sunday to come so we can “go to church and worship.”
True worship of God must be a constant and consistent attitude or state of mind within the believer. It will always be a sustained and blessed acknowledgement of love and adoration, subject in this life to degrees of perfection and intensity.
Forgive me, Father, when I fall into the old patterns of darkness. May I remember that I have been made a child of light and consequently have every reason to worship You, not just when I go to church but throughout every week. Amen.
Singing and making melody… giving thanks always for all things. (Ephesians 5:19-20)
The thankful Christian will turn with true delight to the expression of Joseph Addison in his Thanksgiving hymn, “When All Thy Mercies, O My God,” found in many of the better hymnals. Addison gives a mental image that requires music for its expression:
Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the least a cheerful heart
That tastes these gifts with joy!
Here is the spirit of thanksgiving. Here is the understanding of what pleases God in our acceptance and use of His gifts. “A cheerful heart that tastes these gifts with joy” is the only kind of heart that can taste them safely.
While Addison had in mind chiefly the gifts God showers upon us here below, he was too much
of a Christian to think that God’s gifts would cease at death. So he sang:
Through every period of my life
Thy goodness I’ll pursue;
And after death in distant worlds,
The glorious theme renew!
Most of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart. Disappointments and heartbreaks will do this when billow after billow rolls over us, and we are like a broken shell hurled to and fro by the surf. Blessed be God, at such seasons we are not without an all-sufficient solace; our God is the harbor of weather-beaten sails, the hospice of forlorn pilgrims. Higher than we are is he, his mercy higher than our sins, his love higher than our thoughts. A rock he is since he changes not, and a high rock, because the tempests which overwhelm us roll far beneath at his feet. O Lord, our God, by thy Holy Spirit, teach us thy way of faith, lead us unto thy rest.