Although Thanksgiving is past, thanksgiving, praise, and worship of God are not limited to any particular season and remains the daily high duty and beautiful privilege of all men, particularly for those who lay claim to being His children. It’s with this thought in mind that I encourage you to read this email alert with readiness of mind to offer praise and thanksgiving to God, today and every day. It’s with such contemplation of our present state, as a nation, that I urge you to thoughtfully read Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation, recognizing that we, as a nation, still need the repentance, forgiveness, and right duties mentioned therein. As we read these following words, might we take to heart that such a sacred duty as praise, like holiness, must begin within our hearts before its reality can spill over into our public jubilations of praise and thanksgiving to God. May today’s email urge us on to daily praise and holiness of heart and life, such as our most holy God deserves and requires.
First let’s get an accurate picture of what praise is. Praising God has less to do with “the right candidate” winning, a bounty of food on the table, or many of the things for which we give thanks, and more to do with who God is and what He has done. When a person who is “down on their luck” cries out, “What do I have to praise God for?” they are asking the wrong question. It’s not about us; it’s ALL about our Creator and letting others know about His greatness. “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence. For thou hast maintained my right and my cause…” (Psalm 9:1-4) Even when the enemy surrounds or seems to be victorious rather than perishing, God is still worthy of praise. All enemies will be vanquished in God’s perfect timing. While those enemies are allowed to push on, allow God’s sanctifying power to work in you, increasing your faith and making you a faithful witness before a watching world. Yes, give God praise in the presence of your enemies.
Although, according to President George Washington’s proclamation, Thanksgiving is a special time set apart “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of pubic thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness,” it has dismally lost that place of fervor and gratitude in the hearts of most Americans, becoming primarily a day of turkey, football, and get togethers where at best God gets a “hat tip.” Nonetheless, let God’s people truly praise Him!
I would strongly encourage you to read this short Thanksgiving proclamation in its entirety. One might be surprised that the “separation between church and state” doesn’t actually exist according to those who put our government in place. It might also be a surprise that, according to this proclamation, our national Constitution was crafted “for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed.” Did you know that this proclamation calls Americans to “unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations….To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue…” All of this and more was done at the behest of “both Houses of Congress.” The government and the people of these United States need to be reminded of these things. Yet, let all God’s people praise ye the Lord!
As I said, we’ve dismally departed, as a nation, from what we were expected to be; BUT God is still worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, it is the duty of Christians not only to praise God but to bring others into a position of praise. We are ambassadors of Christ, the King of kinds and the Lord of lords.
During this holiday season as we meet with family, friends, and strangers, let’s take every opportunity to carry out such a sober, but joyous, responsibility to work for our Lord while there is still light. Oswald Chambers encouraged Christ’s workers thusly: “My trust is the glorious gospel for myself and through me to others, and it is realized in two ways: in the perfect certainty that God has redeemed the world, and in the imperative necessity of working on that basis with everyone with whom I come in contact with.” At which point he refers to Colossians 1:28-29, “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:2)
In closing, I would remind our readers that even in death praise should ring forth from our lips. Puritan John Janeway on his death-bed gave this cry: “Come, help me with praises, yet all is too little. Come, help me, all ye mighty and glorious angels, who are so well skilled in the heavenly work of praise! Praise him, all ye creatures upon earth; let everything that hath being help me to praise God. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise is now my work, and I shall be engaged in this sweet work now and for ever. Bring the Bible; turn to David’s Psalms, and let us sing a psalm of praise. Come, let us lift up our voices in the praises of the Most High. I will sing with you as long as my breath doth last, and when I have none, I shall do it better.”
Praise ye the LORD!
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