“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17 (KJV)
Well if this isn’t confirmation that we’re in the right two series I don’t know what is. The second message of this series and the first message of our Thanksgiving Countdown Series comes from James 1:17 (KJV). There Is No Goodness Apart From God is the first of 5 messages in a teaching series titled “Believing God Is Good No Mater What”, and so now we’re talking about James 1:17 (KJV) in the context of a Thanksgiving message. I feel like this is one of those messages I’m going to have to write for a bit before I figure out what we’re going to title this message, but it’s just awesome when things work out like this to let me know we’re exactly where God wants us to be. So, let’s get out of this introduction, and get into this message.
As always, believe with me that the Lord will cause my fingers to be that as a pen of a ready writer writing only of the oracles of God, and that the Holy Ghost would supply me with that supernatural ability to write with boldness, power, and clarity. Of course, this prayer isn’t complete without believing and asking God for ears to hear and hearts that will be receptive and respond to what He is about to speak to us through this message by inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Amen!?!
Let’s get into the second of five messages in our Thanksgiving Countdown Series.
Gracious Gifts Of Our God
I wish I could take credit for giving us the name of this message of our Thanksgiving series, but the name of this message comes from a source that is also credited for establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday. The quote comes from someone who would probably be extremely disappointed with the state of our union today, but that’s another message for another time. The person that gets the credit for the title of this message…The 16th President of the United States Of America…President Abraham Lincoln.
“No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
“I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are sojourning in the foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
“It is announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord … It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.” – President Abraham Lincoln
Boy. How wonderful would it be to have leaders in the White House like President Lincoln that understood where the sovereignty of the United States of America comes from, and that also understand all those rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come from our Creator…not the US Government. That’s another message for another time, but it sure would be wonderful to have leaders in Washington DC who are more like President Lincoln. “Those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord” that’s a direct quote from the Bible…and it is used in the correct context.
The thing of it is we should always have that “attitude of gratitude”…especially Christians. Listen. I know it’s easy to look at everything going on in the world today, and have a bit of a helpless and hopeless feeling. However, the truth is that we whom have the Lord Jesus Christ as our God have that hope that this is not the best that life has to offer. For us, the best is truly yet to come, but it is possible to have a little bit of Heaven on earth.
However, in order for us to have that we have to get our eyes off of the situations and onto the Solution. We have to stop exalting the circumstances and start exalting Christ Jesus. We have to actually do what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, and not just post it on our Facebook or Twitter feeds…we have to do it. And if you don’t know what I mean by “do it” then you need to take the time to look it up, read it, and if you still don’t know email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help you…but don’t email me if you haven’t taken the time to look it up first.
Listen. I’ve spent a lot of time on 1 Corinthians 13:11 lately. For those of you who don’t know what that verse says I’ll include it here:
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11 (KJV)
Basically, God wants us in the Body of Christ to grow up because the rest of the world is looking at us acting like a bunch of bratty little children, and that’s part of the reason they don’t want to have anything to do with the church other than mock it and make jokes about it. The world doesn’t want to be a part of something that quite frankly acts worse than people in and of the world. I’ve said many times that it should never be easier for people to find something in the world then they should be able to find from the church. The thing of it is…that’s exactly what all this childish behavior the Body of Christ is modeling that the world is seeing…and when there are people in and of the world that act more mature than people in the church…why would anyone want to be a part of an immature bunch of babies that haven’t grown up passed the altar?
Oh. I get it. You thought I was going to ease up because this is a Thanksgiving message. Perhaps this is the meat and potatoes portion of the message. I mean if we as preachers only serve Pumpkin Pie…that’s how we wind up with so many Christians that are immature and spiritually malnourished. I have a two-year old that loves to eat cheese, crackers, cookies, ice cream, and so forth…but I always tell her that in order to eat the yummy stuff she has to eat the not always so yummy stuff first.
The problem with the Body of Christ is they’ve all been filling up on the junk food that’s been fed to them from the pulpits in America’s churches and when someone comes to give them meat and potatoes…they are too full of sugar and empty calories to be able to digest a real, solid meal of the Word of God. So…just because this is a Thanksgiving message don’t think that I’m only going to fill you up on jello and pies and cookies…I still have a job to do…and that job is to teach and preach the Word of God.
I’m sure I’ve managed to give a lot of people some sugar rush jitters, but that’s okay. I don’t want to fill you up with a bunch of candy and sweets only to find that it’s rotting your teeth, making you fat, and really doesn’t have any nutritional value to your souls. I don’t want to be held accountable for filling you up with junk food and sending you home to Daddy. No…I get made fun of for saying it this way…but you won’t find any cotton candy preaching from this ministry or this pastor.
Now…that I’m finished meddling a bit…let’s get back to this message…shall we!?!
When President Abraham Lincoln declared the first Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, he wanted all Americans to remember the source of their blessings and gifts. Even in the middle of a horrible war (the Civil War), Lincoln knew that the people had a lot to be thankful for. God was still present and working – and blessing his people – during the war. In his proclamation making Thanksgiving a holiday in in 1863, he said that the year was full of “the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies,” and that “They are gracious gifts of the Most High God.”
Even in the middle of the Civil War (which is still on of the bloodiest wars on American soil) Lincoln wanted all Americans no matter which side of the war they were on to remember that God was the source of their blessings and gifts. In the midst of war, Lincoln wanted Americans to be thankful and bless God. What a stark contrast to today…isn’t it? This president has compared himself to men like Lincoln and Reagan…but there’s no comparison. This president wants all Americans to believe that their blessing come from the government rather than the God that created us. This administration is working as hard as it can to remove God from as much of the fabric of society as possible…because quite frankly he’s an enemy of God.
Listen. The man that’s in the White House is clearly not for God, and it doesn’t take much discernment to know that this fight we’re in today goes all the way back to the fight between Isaac and Ishmael. For those of you that don’t know what that means. Isaac was later remained Israel (the Jews), and Ishmael is where Islam and Muhammad began…and so this fight has gone on literally for thousands of years…and will continue until the Second Coming of Christ.
So, there really isn’t hope for peace here, but Christ came to give us the peace and hope of knowing that some day soon we will be taken from this world…and the rest of the battle will go on without the Body of Christ…but until that happens we have to grow up…Christians. It’s time that we put away all this childish bickering and become the men and women and ambassadors for Christ that God has called, destined, ordained, and anointed us to be.
We can certainly find something to be thankful even in the midst of all the chaos that is surrounding us it seems on every side right now. One of those things is the fact that if you are in Christ Jesus time is short and that trumpet is getting closer and closer to sounding by the hour. One of the main things we can all be thankful for is that we are the children of the Most High God…and I don’t know about you…but He’s certainly given me some of His many riches and gracious gifts to enjoy here on earth.
Look, I’m cash poor, but I’m rich in the things of God. I may not have all the worldly possessions the world says you need to be living the abundant life, but I am living the abundant life every day I wake up. The real abundant life isn’t about accumulating the most stuff…the real abundant life is finding that place of contentment that Paul found while writing from prison to say how he learned to be content no matter where he was or what he had because nothing in this world was his source…Jesus was Paul’s source and that’s why Paul was always content because he understood that if you have Jesus you have everything…and if there’s something you have need of Jesus is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all he could ask…and Jesus is still ready, willing, and able to do that for all of us today.
What is your source of contentment? Are you even content with where you are or are you coveting more? What if everything you own was stripped away…could you be like Paul and be content with whatever God allowed to remain…even if all that remained was Him?
Thank you, generous Father, for giving your many lavish gifts to me. Open my eyes to see how I can pass on those blessings to those around me who need them. As I share the blessings you have so richly given me, may others find their greatest blessing of all — your loving grace — and give thanks to you! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Final Word From Pastor B:
I want to close this message with something for us to think about as we prepare to gather around our tables tomorrow with our families, friends, and loved ones. I want us to take some time to really think about the final points and questions from this message. I’m not going to be long in closing because I really want us to think and meditate upon these things…and I also want us to have time to allow the Lord to search our hearts for things that we’ve turned into idols so that we can work to remove them from the rightful place that only belongs to our God.
Can you think of some of the biggest blessings in your life this year?
What is something good that has happened?
Did you see God show His beauty and love in the middle of something hard?
Let’s share those things together, and praise God for his good gifts to us.
Have a blessed evening in the Lord, and enjoy your time with your families! I’m sorry that we didn’t get all the way through this Thanksgiving series, but we will finish this series as well as the “Believing God Is Good No Matter What” Series…and perhaps we’ll get into some Christmas stuff too.
Thank you all for your patience, prayers, and support.
Blessings & Grace;
Bryan Kizer – Pastor
Christlike Ministries NWA
“My love be with you ALL in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 16:24 (NASB)