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Thanksgiving2015

Giving Thanks for Six Significant Developments Easily Overlooked

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With the avalanche of anxiety-producing stories in the news, aren’t you glad we can pause this week and express gratitude to God for our manifold blessings? Let’s consider seven that might easily be overlooked.

First, let’s remind ourselves and our families of the origin of this Thanksgiving holiday.

In 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Pilgrims who immigrated to America “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” paused to give Him thanks. Surviving terrible adversity that claimed the lives of all but 52 of the original 102 Pilgrims, Christian Governor William Bradford led the colony’s thanksgiving celebration.

Christian church leaders throughout New England later issued Thanksgiving proclamations to express gratitude to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Reading their statements, there was no concern for political correctness or attempts to portray a narrative that Muslims were a part of the fabric and foundation of America as our president suggests.

George Washington, a devout follower of Jesus Christ, eventually proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration making November 26, 1789 “as a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”

Amidst the blessings for which we usually give thanks this Thursday, let’s note some additional items worthy of recognition.

   6 Significant Developments

1. Pro-life Progress

In what is one of the most important sanctity of life cases before the Supreme Court in almost 25 years, the Justices agreed to consider whether tough new restrictions on abortion clinics should be upheld. These restrictions are eliminating clinic after clinic – Mississippi now has only one clinic left!

In addition, Planned Parenthood has been exposed by multiple videos revealing their atrocities against pre-born and newborn babies. May we give thanks and intercede for their defunding and Americans awakening to their butchery.

2. Christian Candidates

Although we are not electing a Pastor-in-Chief, millions of concerned Americans believe our prayers are being answered for God to “raise up the righteous and remove the ungodly” from political offices, especially the presidency.

Without naming names, a number of the presidential candidates are devout Christians who boldly proclaim their allegiance to Jesus Christ, sacred Scripture and our Judeo-Christian (not multicultural) heritage as a nation. Thanks be to God!

3. Obama’s Exposure

As we continue praying for Mr. Obama, we are witnessing the revelation of his misguided, timid approach to radical Islamic terrorism. After the Paris bombings, Americans and Europeans admit his approach to ISIS as “junior varsity” and  “contained” is serious deception and denial.

Even Liberal Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California dared to contradict his containment view recently, which stunned observers.

Additionally, Obama’s  belief that “climate change is the greatest threat of our time” is increasingly being ridiculed as absurd!

Peggy Noonan’s commentary in the Wall Street Journal, “Uncertain Leadership in Perilous Times” (11/21) tells of her interviewing people and many referring  to Reagan’s “optimism” as his power when in reality “it was his confidence…that whatever the problem – the economy, Soviets, the million others – he could meet it, the American people could meet it, and our system could meet it. The people saw his confidence, and it allowed them to feel optimistic. And get the job done.”

She asks, “Isn’t it part of what we need in the next president?”
Give thanks, people’s eyes are opening.

4. Islamic Clarity

In the early days after 9/11, multitudes naïvely believed along with President Bush that “Islam is a religion of peace.” Upon further study and observing radical Islam’s advancement globally (32,658 deaths from Islamic terrorism – up 80% in one year!) folks are starting to wise up.

While Christianity declares and demonstrates love, servanthood, gospel proclamation and forgiveness, Islam is a counterfeit belief system that at its core teaches global domination with 35 “sword” verses in the Koran directing Muslims to kill infidels.

Jesus was a servant to the downtrodden, healer of the sick and called the “Prince of Peace.” Mohammed was a polygamist and violent warrior who taught execution and amputation. He killed thousands, once slaughtering over 600 Jews refusing to convert.

While there are scores of Muslims who don’t embrace or understand foundational Islamic tenets, hundreds of millions do. Give thanks that people are discarding misconceptions to recognize this menacing and growing cancer!

May we agree that if we don’t confront and conquer radical Islam, they will confront and conquer whoever and whatever stands in their way. Did you notice John Kerry boasted that Al-Qaeda was “neutralized” one day before they launched their attack in Mali, killing 27 and holding 100 captive?

5. Patriotic Pushback

Prior to the infamous gay marriage ruling, many pastors were reluctant to speak out on LGBTQ issues for fear of losing members and givers. My own involvement with a megachurch ended when I released an educational video “Is Gay OK?” I was told it was a “dealbreaker.”

Since the nuclear bomb exploded making America the first nation in history to institutionalize homosexual marriage, thanks be to God that many sobered pastors began teaching series on homosexuality; instituted policy changes to protect their congregations; and, recognized the importance of engagement in civic affairs.

H.E.R.O. (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) is just one example where pastors became patriotic rather than remain passive.

When Annise Parker, the lesbian mayor subpoenaed sermons and tried to give equal access in bathrooms to transgenders, pastors came together with their churches to pray, educate and battle through the ballot box plus a lawsuit to soundly defeat this diabolical initiative where men could walk in on young girls in public restrooms and showers. Thank God that this initiative may be a spark that ignites leaders everywhere to bold Christian activism!

6. Inspirational Movies

While there has been Christian filmmaking, never before has there been such quality as we are seeing today.  Instead of cheesy, embarrassing, poorly made and weakly supported movies, numerous wholesome films have been in the theaters recently that really are “off the charts.” My own mother-in-law, who at 90 hasn’t gone to a theater in many years, went with her daughter to one of these flicks.

“Selma” starring committed Christian David Oyelowo was magnificent. “War Room” brought rave reviews as well as big bucks. I saw the magnificent movie “Woodlawn” two times, one of which resulted in over 30 people getting saved! Finally, how about “Captive” and now “33” the compelling story of the Chilean miners trapped 69 days underground then miraculously rescued leaving “God was with us!”  inscribed on the wall of what should’ve been their tomb.

To God be the glory for His artistic creativity expressed so profoundly today!

May we also give thanks for the security, safety and stability that comes from honoring God’s standards on sexuality.

Consider the experience of former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie upon the recent death of his parents, Dick and Joan, who honored God in 56 years of covenant marriage. They died from heart attacks within one hour of each other!

The love and commitment they shared was so strong that Doug offered this poignant tribute: “They say you can die of a broken heart and I believe it.”

As we all prepare to give thanks to Almighty God on this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, may we count our blessings as we express our gratitude to the One who makes it all possible. Lest anyone think I’m starry-eyed, believing we are turning the corner in America and overstating some positives, I assure you I’m not. At the same time, let’s be encouraged by progress as some Americans are starting to awaken. “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10).

Here’s the deal: Thanksgiving affords us the chance to see beyond the temporal to the eternal and fan the flames of hope. Deepening our intercession and Spirit-led involvement, may we persevere to advance His Kingdom and reclaim the godly heritage our forefathers established.

Happy Thanksgiving!



 

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