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Pastoral 2013

Believers’ Thanksgiving

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As w e approach the end of year 2013, let us not forget to be a thankful people. “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High” (Psalm 92:1).

Let us take time to remember His goodness towards us and praise Him for all the mercies He has showered on us. To encourage all God’s people to engage in thanksgiving to God, I have written the following exhortation.

Every thanksgiving psalm in the Scriptures is a heartfelt response to God’s goodness to His servants. They are not the songs of the ungodly, but the praises of His saints. For example, Psalm 92 was written to be sung by His people in the worship of God. It urges believers to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is believers’ unique and indispensable duty.

The Lord takes no pleasure in the praises of the unbelieving. Even if the ungodly sings a song of praise, he does not genuinely give thanks to God. I have noticed that on Thanksgiving Day, many gather not to glorify the Lord but to glory in their wealth, pleasures and vain imaginations of their lustful hearts. They feast together and then rise up to dance. The feasting that does not glorify the Lord will only lead to greater wickedness.

Thanksgiving must begin with repentance and faith

If we give thanks with an impenitent heart, it will not please the Lord. Isaiah the prophet warned against praising or worshipping God without a repentant and cleansed heart. “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:13-16).

When we think of God’s mercy, we must humble ourselves and repent of our sins. Rather than engaging in merrymaking that is fleshly and sinful, we should go down on our knees and repent of the great evil of using Godgiven opportunities and talents for sinful activities.

Thoughts of Cheerful Givers
From the offering bags.

22nd December 2013

1 John 3:17

The LORD has mercifully provided a ceiled house for my family. It’s my turn to give in the building of His kingdom. Praises be unto Him.

 

Dear Pastor,

With the intention that it can be a good testimony to encourage other Christian friends in giving to the LORD’s work, I have decided to write this.

Thank God for the good weather and for my co-labourers whom God has provided in my year-end effort to make some sales for the shop. Without my co-labourers whom I believe were sent by the LORD, things would have been more difficult for me to bear. I have prayed before this day that whatever is earned through this effort, I will give half of the revenue to the church building fund. The reason is the LORD has first loved me; He did answer my prayer for a house for my family.

Pastor, please pray for my family’s salvation as well, since this is the greatest burden in my heart.

 

25th December 2013

Psalm 37:25 – “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Thank God for His daily provision for my family even during the 3 months when I was out of job. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger, but my gracious and loving heavenly Father has fed us all each day!

A love gift for the building fund in remembrance of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

 

“All glory to God”

My thankfulness to God for His blessings to me – my humble gift from part of my bonus.

 

The child of God gives thanks when he looks to the cross of Jesus Christ and finds forgiveness for his many sins. Our thanksgiving must therefore begin at the cross of Christ Jesus. It is only through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ that we find forgiveness of our sins and true happiness.

The greatest reason for thanksgiving of the child of God is the knowledge and experience of the salvation of God. The greatest gift of God to us is the gift of His Son Jesus Christ and the gift of the forgiveness of sin and righteousness in Him.

He took my sins away, He took my sins away,
And keeps me singing ev’ry day!
I’m so glad He took my sins away,
He took my sins away.

Thanksgiving is about acknowledging the Lord’s greatness and goodness

At the year end, we are thankful not only for our salvation and sanctification, but also for the many material blessings that the Lord has given to us. The Scriptures remind us, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

All the glory for all things belongs to Him alone. Without such acknowledgment, all of man’s thanksgiving is abominable unto God. The Lord is the One who blesses us and He is to be worshipped.

If we ever exalt our efforts above the mercies of the Lord, we will be robbing God of His glory. Let us therefore be quick to attribute glory to the Lord. He is the Creator of heaven and earth and all that they contain. He is the owner of the whole universe. He is the God of providence who rules over all. He is the source of all good things. He gives life and breath to all living creatures. In Him we live and move, and have our being. Man has nothing of himself; even every breath that man takes is a gift of God.

As we receive all things from this God, we are under a solemn obligation to give Him thanks and to worship Him as our God, and to serve Him with all that He has given us. Thanksgiving begins with a voluntary, joyful, zealous acknowledgment of this God. It is, first of all, recognising the greatness of this God. Secondly, it is living our lives in obedience to this God. Thanksgiving is a life of service unto this God. A man who pretends to give thanks, even to the one and only true God but does not acknowledge and serve this God in his daily life, is a hypocrite.

Our thanksgiving to God must never end with thanksgiving for material things. This would be an insult to God. God has given to His elect children a far greater blessing. In His sovereign grace and mercy, God has given us the blessings of salvation. These blessings are of far greater value than all the riches of this world. The Christian is one who understands this. For this reason, even the povertystricken child of God can and does give thanks to the Lord. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17, 18). Is this also our confession?

It is good to give thanks unto the Lord because thanksgiving causes the child of God to consider deeply the wonderful works of the LORD. The more we consider the greatness and goodness of the LORD, the more we learn to love Him, to rely upon Him, and to glorify Him.