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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Freed-Hardeman College

"When You Think About It ..."
As a student at Freed-Hardeman College (now a university), I struggled to please my professors. One in particular was quite demanding. At the time I looked forward to escaping his lectures and (especially) his exams. Years later I view those times differently as I realize I learned much under his tutelage. When I stop to think about it, I'm thankful to have been one of his students.
"Think" is, in fact, the basis of the word "thank", authorities on word origins tell us. And that makes perfect sense. A young child assumes it is the parents' responsibility to provide food, clothing and shelter. Later in life they understand the sacrifices their parents had to make. As they think more about what was involved, they're thankful (if they're honest and reasonable souls).
In 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation to a nation embroiled in a painful and impoverishing civil war. Few families on either side of the conflict could say they had not been affected. Yet Lincoln urged all to set aside a day - the last Thursday of November - to remember how richly they had all been blessed.
As Lincoln reviewed some of the blessings the nation had enjoyed, he added this: "No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God." He then called upon every citizen to take time to give thanksgiving and praise to God, and to also repent for sins committed against one another during the warfare.
147 years later we face far different situations as a nation. We are more abundantly blessed than then, generally speaking, but more seem to be forsaking and forgetting God. To turn away from the source of our blessings would be a major mistake for an individual or for a nation.
These words of Psalm 33:12 are universally true: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance." Other "gods" have been tried and found completely powerless throughout history. Only the one true and living God can provide what any people need.
Bad things happen when people choose not to think about God. Paul wrote about a dark downward spiral of values and behavior in Romans 1. What led to such a deterioration of these people? The answer is found in verse 21: "Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful ..." Is it such a big deal to give thanks to God? Paul clearly thought so!
In another place the apostle gave this admonition: "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Today, a national day of Thanksgiving, is an opportunity to revive within each of us what needs to be a daily practice.
Enjoy the feasting you'll likely see today. Spend time with loved ones and catch a football game or two. But please don't overlook the importance of the main focus - a day to give thanks.
"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!" (Psalm 68:19). Think about the load He has given you. And while you're thinking about it, take a few moments to give Him thanks.
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you'd like to discuss these ideas further.
Timothy D. Hall

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