ALMOST FORGOTTEN by the merchants who
have sold out their Halloween candy and costumes
and are just decorating for Christmas sales, is an
annual observance uniquely American: Thanksgiving
Day. Isn't it sad that we who have so much for which
to be grateful set aside only one day out of 365 to
say "Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings." This
year, along with the turkey and pumpkin pie, pause
briefly and do exactly that. Forget for just a few
minutes the depressed stock market, and thank God
for all the good things in life, not only today but every
day. Have a joyous Thanksgiving Day!
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ON NOVEMBER 5 OUR LOCAL PAPER
HEADLINED "CHANGE HAS COME."
BUT IS THAT TRUE -- HAS IT?
Good question . . . but first let's actually pause for
those few minutes as suggested above, and give
some thought to Thanksgiving Day, and what it
We could involve politics in such a consideration
and ask the politicians' frequently posed question:
"Are you better off than you were four years
ago?" Or even one year ago. That is really a way
of inviting a person to "count your blessings." And
such an exercise invariably results in an over-balance
on the plus side. (As a personal note, this writer finds
his final evaluation predominately positive.)
And this is what the Bible expects us to experience,
as expressed in Psalm 100:4-5: "Enter into his gates
with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise;
be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the
Lord is good..."
The thanksgiving element is a very frequent one in
the Bible's instructions to believers . . . and this one,
for example, is particularly applicable to the present
economic situation: "Do not be anxious about any
thing, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests unto
God." (Phil. 4:6, NIV)
John Newton's great hymn from 1779 offers some
memorable thoughts, "Come, my soul, thy suit
prepare: Jesus loves to answer prayer... Thou art
coming to a King, large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such, none can ever
ask too much."
A few years ago, in 2000, a little book became a best
seller, world-wide, The Prayer of Jabez. Without
debating its message, a utilization of the alphabetical
usage could result in another title, The Promises of
Jesus. His promises, and the fulfillment of them, are
very much at the heart of the meaning of Thanksgiving
Day for Christians.
And let us never forget that this day of remembrance
and thanksgiving is truly an American institution,
"There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day
is the one day that is purely American." ~ O. Henry
(William Sydney Porter), 1917. And in the present
century, author H.U. Westermayer reminds us, "The
Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
No Americans have been more impoverished than
these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of
On October 3, 1789, President George Washington
(as have other presidents since) proclaimed the first
Thanksgiving Day in these words, "Now therefore
I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th
day of November next to be devoted by the
People of these States to the service of that great
and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author
of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.
That we may then all unite in rendering unto him
our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care
and protection of the People of this Country..."
And now on the subject of "Change," we have
not forgotten that his constantly repeated use of the
word "Change" was a major factor in the election of
Barack Obama. The later and probably more effective
version was "Change you can believe in." This theme
has entered current day Americanese -- on sale on a
national basis are bumper stickers with this slogan:
I'll keep my guns, freedom and money - you can
keep the "Change."
But day by day the announcements of the selection
of members of the new administration seem to be
demonstrating that the president-elect is choosing his
people from the past. Starting with Vice President
Biden, a long time veteran of the Washington political
scene, and as one veteran politico after another is
announced (mostly from the Clinton administration),
the only "change" in the formation of a very typical
administration staff appears to be the inexperienced
national political novice -- the president-elect himself.
But it is still too early to judge. He hasn't done anything
yet -- right or wrong. We will get through the agony
of indecision as to what breed of dog he will buy . . .
or which private school his children will attend . . . or
what Michelle will do to redecorate the White House.
Until we have seen how those momentous decisions
are handled, and until he actually begins to be the
president, let's hold back the criticism. No president
-- not even FDR -- ever took office with as many
serious national and international problems staring
him in the face as will Barack Obama. But he is our
elected president, and he needs our prayers. The
time for criticism, reaction and restoring America to
the nation which we as Christians believe it should be
will come later.
Meantime, our friends just across the ocean
are already experiencing what may soon happen to
us here in America. Headlines from the British press
tell the story:
"Government plays down Christmas for fear of
"Active Muslims to outnumber Christian church
members by 2049"
"Planned London mega-mosque would be biggest
religious building in Britain"
"Archbishop calls incorporation of Muslim
shariah law in British legal system 'unavoidable'"
"Britain 'no longer Christian,' says influential
Real statistics backup the stories behind the headlines.
Overall Sunday church attendance in Britain declined
from 3..7 million in 1998 to 3.2 million in 2005 --
slightly less than 6% of the population. At these rates
church attendance will drop to below 5% by 2015.
Sinclair Lewis' old familiar novel "It Can't Happen
Here" comes to mind, and as much as we would like
for it to be true, given the prevailing trends in America,
that negative can be changed to the positive: "It Can
Happen Here." The Church can no longer stand idly
by and watch the increasing acceptance of abortion
killing innocent babies and homosexual "marriage"
destroying the Bible-ordained concept of marriage.
Make no mistake about it: what is happening in
Britain, not only can but very probably will happen
here. A reactivated Church of Jesus Christ, obedient
to the Great Commission, can restore this nation to
what the founders intended it to be.
We have followed with great interest the moves
within the American Episcopal Church toward the
rejection by Bible believers of the liberal, unorthodox
positions as exemplified by the ordination of an
openly homosexual bishop, Vicki Gene Robinson of
New Hampshire. Now four dioceses have dropped
any association with the American church, and a
convocation in Wheaton, Il. has been scheduled for
December 2-3 at which time the constitution will be
presented for a new province within the Anglican
Communion -- the North American Anglican Province.
The Archbishop of the new province will be the
deposed Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev.
The Archbishop said concerning the December 2-3
convocation "One conclusion of the Global
Anglican Future Conference held in Jerusalem
last June was that the time for the recognition
of a new Anglican body in North America had
arrived. The public release of our constitution is
an important concrete step toward the goal of a
biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church
in North America. We want to claim our place as
members of Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans...."
At least one bishop of the Anglican Communion has
reacted unfavorably to establishing of a new and
orthodox province. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate
of the Anglican church in Canada, objected with
typical liberal reasoning, "What's quite disturbing,
in my opinion, about this proposal is the
determination to create a province based on
theological grounds, rather than based on mission
and geographic location." That objection says a
lot about the position of the liberals within the
Anglican Communion -- that theology is not as
important as geographical location
And a quote from the ultimate Founding Father:
"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be
expected on a nation that disregards the eternal
rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has
ordained." -- George Washington, 1789
Some Random Afterthoughts . . .
Makes you wonder about the First Amendment:
At Yuba Community College in California, student
Ryan Dozier was stopped from handing out Christian
literature on campus, charged with a criminal act, and
threatened with expulsion. The college allows "free
speech"on campus two days a week, between 12:00
and 1:00 Pm, with permission required two weeks in
advance. Attorneys from Alliance Defense Fund are
representing Dozier. As Doug Giles, wrote in his
column on Nov.23: "Christians can’t even say
'Merry Christmas,' cheer on traditional marriage,
or champion the life of an unborn baby without
being called Hitlers, haters of humanity and
intolerant bigots of other people’s values." That
weird "separation of church and state" concept
fostered by the US Supreme Court is still with us --
never forget that -- as if the ACLU will let you!
Just by way of interest, at least 3 examples
of "turn-arounds," or something like that, were in
the news this week. (1) Bob Jones University, a well
known fundamentalist school in South Carolina made
public apology for its long term racist attitude, which
forbid inter-racial student dating, and refused to admit
blacks to the student body. The dating rule ended in
1971, and the admission rule in 2000. The apology
read, "We failed to accurately represent the Lord
and to fulfill the commandment to love others as
ourselves ... we are profoundly sorry."
(2) A Vatican publication says the late British rocker
John Lennon is forgiven for once saying the Beatles
beat Jesus Christ in popularity. The London Sunday
Times of London reported an editorial in the Vatican
newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, absolved
Lennon for his 1996 comment, in which he said,
"We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know
which will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity."
(3) And former NAE president and mega-church
pastor Ted Haggard, disgraced two years ago in a
sex-and-drugs scandal, returned to a church pulpit
in Illinois, this time as a Christian businessman who
didn't confess to being a sinful human being, but
blamed his fall on being molested in second grade
and apologized again.
And from another of our Founding Fathers:
" Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and
patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the
age by impressing the minds of men with the
importance of educating their little boys and
girls, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear
and love of the Deity… and leading them in the
study and practice of the exalted virtues of the
Christian system.” -- Samuel Adams, 1790