Thanksgiving

Special Thanksgiving to the Father

Preached January 15th, 1860 by C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) 

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. (KJV, Colossians 1:12-13)

This passage is a mine of riches. I can anticipate the difficulty in preaching and the regret in concluding we shall experience this evening because we are not able to dig out all the gold which lies in this precious vein. We lack the power to grasp and the time to expatiate upon that volume of truths which is here condensed into a few short sentences.

We are exhorted to “give thanks unto the Father.” This counsel is at once needful and salutary. I think, my brethren, we scarcely need to be told to give thanks unto the Son. The remembrance of that bleeding body hanging upon the cross is ever present to our faith. The nails and the spear, his griefs, the anguish of his soul, and his sweat of agony, make ouch tender touching appeals to our gratitude—these will prevent us always from ceasing our songs, and sometimes fire our hearts with rekindling rapture in praise of the man Christ Jesus. Yes we will bless thee, dearest Lord; our souls are all on fire. As we survey the, wondrous cross, we cannot but shout—

O for this love let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break,
And all harmonious human tongues
The Savior’s praises speak.

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A Month of Giving Thanks

The month of Thanksgiving is upon us! Let us take some time today to reflect upon its meaning, beginning with this great passage of Scripture from Psalm 116 (NKJV):

For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord
In the land of the living.
I believed, therefore I spoke,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
I said in my haste,
“All men are liars.”
What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?
I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people (Ps. 116:8-14).

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Always for All Things

By Rev. C. H. Spurgeon

Sermon No. 1094, delivered on Lord’s-Day morning, February 2, 1873, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20.

THE position of our text in the Epistle is worthy of observation. It follows the precept with regard to sacred song in which Believers are bid to speak to themselves and one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord. If they cannot be always singing they are always to maintain the spirit of song. If they must, of necessity, desist at intervals from outward expressions of praise, they ought never to refrain from inwardly giving thanks. The Apostle, having touched upon the act of singing in public worship, here points out the essential part of it which lies not in classic music and thrilling harmonies, but in the melody of the heart. Thanksgiving is the soul of all acceptable singing.

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Prayer Perfumed with Praise

A sermon (No. 1469) delivered on Lord’s-Day morning, April 20th, 1879, by C. H. Spurgeon
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

“In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”—Philippians 4:6.

ACCORDING TO THE TEXT, we are both by prayer and supplication to make known our requests unto God. If any distinction be intended here, I suppose that by prayer is meant the general act of devotion and the mention of our usual needs; and by supplication I think would be intended our distinct entreaties and special petitions. We are to offer the general prayer common to all the saints, and we are to add thereto the special and definite petitions which are peculiar to ourselves. We are to worship in prayer, for God is to be adored by all his saints, and then we are to beseech his favours for ourselves, according to the words of the text, letting our requests be made known unto God. Do not forget this second form of worship. There is a good deal of generalizing in prayer, and God forbid that we should say a word against it, so far as it is sincere worship, but we want to have more of specific, definite pleading with God, asking him for such-and-such things, with a clear knowledge of what we ask.

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Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving . . . but Not to God

(From The Center for Vision & Values, Grove City College. Used by permission.)

By Dr. Paul Kengor

In 1789, America’s first president proclaimed a “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” George Washington implored the heavens to “pardon our national and other transgressions” and urged the citizenry to practice “true religion and virtue.”

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln urged his countrymen to set aside the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Subsequent presidents continued this civic-religious tradition. “More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God,” said John F. Kennedy in his first Thanksgiving proclamation. “They paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.” Quoting the Bible, President Kennedy affirmed: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”

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Books of Note - The First Thanksgiving and A Better December

The First Thanksgiving by Robert Tracy McKenzie

Every year around Thanksgiving, I enjoy reflecting on the Pilgrims, their Mayflower voyage and that firstThanksgiving back in 1621. Being a descendant of no less a figure than John Alden (the one who stole Miles Standish’s girl, Priscilla Mullins) only encourages my Thanksgiving reverie. This year, I enjoyed finishing a first-rate historical survey of that special Pilgrim holiday. The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History by Robert Tracy McKenzie (IVP, 2013), is a book I thoroughly enjoyed but one that challenged me to reexamine the historical record and the reasons why I love to reflect on my Puritanical roots.

McKenzie takes the occasion of writing a book on the first thanksgiving, to remind his Christian audience about the role history should play in our faith. He covers the nuts and bolts of historical research while he’s at it. Now, he does tip some sacred cows. He points out how we have scant records of the actual first thanksgiving, and demurs that it wasn’t the first thanksgiving in any true sense—at least four other public occasions of thanksgiving in America (the French Huguenots on Florida’s shores in 1565 being the earliest) have greater claim to that honor. Intriguingly “Plymouth Rock” was born from second-hand recollections of an original Pilgrim some 100 years or more after their landing. And more importantly, American history didn’t instill the Pilgrims’ autumnal feast with national importance for several hundred years. It was left for Franklin D. Roosevelt to be the first American President to directly connect the national observance of Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims of Plymouth and their historic feast.

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Gratitude for God's Holy Angels

Where can we begin as we thank God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for telling us what we need to know about the true identity of the Triune God and what each Person of the Godhead has done and will do in the created universe?

First, the Father, through Christ the Son, as revealed by the Spirit in the Bible, created millions of wonderful spirit-beings called angels. The Lord asked Job:

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (NKJV, Job 38:4, 7; Job 1:6 informs us that “the sons of God” were angels).

How many angels did God create? Approximately 600 million—because one-third of all angels, led by Satan, rebelled against their Creator (Rev. 12:4), and their number was 200 million (Rev. 9:16). That is a large number—but praise God, twice that many remained faithful to Him, in contrast to mankind, where:

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way. (Isa. 53:6)

Now, this is the focus of our Thanksgiving meditation this year: We, being limited human beings, need the help of God’s holy angels. “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14).

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