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Partaking of the Fruit

Romans 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”

I Corinthians 1:25 “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

I Corinthians 3:19-21a “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.  Therefore let no man glory in men.”

Looking back at World War II, Charles Lindbergh made the following comment:  “Nazism was scientific truth, unbalanced by the truths of religion.  The German scientists had partaken of the fruit from which death had surely followed.” He went on to say that an overemphasis on science “weakens the human character and upsets life’s balance.” Those are strong words coming from this aviation hero who fought valiantly in the skies over the Pacific as a civilian “observer” of the war.  

Lindbergh’s thoughts say a lot about the urge for self-sufficiency in the human race. Man’s search for knowledge is a fundamental component of our existence, and science is essential to our understanding of the world around us.  Yet, it is not sufficient by itself because knowledge and truth come from heavenly as well as earthly sources.  Indeed, without the context of Biblically revealed truth, our nature uplifts the self over everything else.  The ultimate extension of such thinking is imbalance and a weakening of the human character. That is what Lindbergh observed first-hand during the lead-up to conflict in Europe as he witnessed the German aggressive build up.  

PLEASE PRAY FOR AN AMERICAN SOCIETY THAT PROPERLY BALANCES SCIENTIFIC TRUTH BY THE TRUTHS OF RELIGION. Otherwise, we become fools as we profess ourselves wise.  May we not partake of the fruit from which death surely follows.

ADMIN NOTE:  The Lindbergh quotes came from The Aviators

Modern People

I Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Jonah 2:9 “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed.  Salvation is of the LORD.”

I Corinthians 4:7 “For who maketh thee to differ from another?  and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?  now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”

In this weekend after Thanksgiving, our sense of gratitude should be burning bright.  As we reflect upon our amazing blessings and the richness of God’s love that is manifested in the upcoming Christmas season, we should be filled with a desire to praise God and serve others around us.  It should all stem from a profound sense of gratitude to a Lord and Savior who have given us far more than we deserve or could ever earn. We are magnificently blessed.  Yet sadly, so many of those around us are not living in an uplifted and encouraged state.  Their spirits are dull, dim, and dour.

Os Guinness, the son of a missionary and a social critic, stated that a society with “no sense of God produces modern people with no sense of gratitude.”  In far too many cases, this describes the situation perfectly.  Our societal self-sufficiency has sapped our ability to see the source of our blessings. We don’t recognize our dependency and moral debt to the One who richly provides all things.

PLEASE PRAY FOR A SOCIETAL SENSE OF GOD THAT YIELDS A PROPER SENSE OF GRATITUDE.  Modern people need Him just as much as anyone ever has.

The Right Basis

I Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

In the midst of the Revolutionary War, the Second Continental Congress issued the following Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1779:

“The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states, for setting apart the second Thursday in December next, as a day of general thanksgiving, brought in a draught, which was agreed to as follows:

Whereas it becomes us humbly to approach the throne of Almighty God, with gratitude and praise for the wonders which his goodness has wrought in conducting our forefathers to this western world; for his protection to them and to their posterity amid difficulties and dangers; for raising us, their children, from deep distress to be numbered among the nations of the earth; and for arming the hands of just and mighty princes in our deliverance; and especially for that he hath been pleased to grant us the enjoyment of health, and so to order the revolving seasons, that the earth hath produced her increase in abundance, blessing the labors of the husbandmen, and spreading plenty through the land; that he hath prospered our arms and those of our ally; been a shield to our troops in the hour of danger, pointed their swords to victory and led them in triumph over the bulwarks of the foe; that he hath gone with those who went out into the wilderness against the savage tribes; that he hath stayed the hand of the spoiler, and turned back his meditated destruction; that he hath prospered our commerce, and given success to those who sought the enemy on the face of the deep; and above all, that he hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory: therefore,

Resolved, That it be recommended to the several states, to appoint Thursday, the 9th of December next, to be a day of public and solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for his mercies, and of prayer for the continuance of his favor and protection to these United States; to beseech him that he would be graciously pleased to influence our public councils, and bless them with wisdom from on high, with unanimity, firmness, and success; that he would go forth with our hosts and crown our arms with victory; that he would grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel; that he would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; that he would smile upon the labors of his people and cause the earth to bring forth her fruits in abundance; that we may with gratitude and gladness enjoy them; that he would take into his holy protection our illustrious ally, give him victory over his enemies, and render him signally great, as the father of his people and the protector of the rights of mankind; that he would graciously be pleased to turn the hearts of our enemies, and to dispense the blessings of peace to contending nations; that he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon our sins and receive us into his favor, and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue, and support and protect them in the enjoyment of peace, liberty and safety as long as the sun and moon shall endure, until time shall be no more.

Done in Congress, the 20th day of October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, and in the 4th year of the independence of the United States of America.”

This amazing Thanksgiving Proclamation is a textbook example of prayer and praise.  The colonists were to humbly and solemnly express gratitude and praise for God’s goodness, protection, nurturing, nourishment, deliverance, sustaining and prospering.  Above all, they were to ask God to diffuse the glorious light of the gospel, spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth, and establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue.

PLEASE OFFER THANKSGIVING WITH THE FAITH AND FERVANCY OF OUR FOREFATHERS.  Thanks to their focus on God, this nation was established on the basis of religion and virtue.

Furnishing Us

II Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Job 23:12 “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”

I recently had the opportunity to spend a Sunday morning worshiping in a church in Seoul, South Korea. The church was run by an American missionary, but was unique in one important way – it was fully bilingual. The entire service was performed in both Korean and English.  The preaching and announcements were fully translated.  The singing included verses in both English and Korean.  It was a blessing to worship with the English speakers in the English language and the Korean speakers in the Korean language. Each derived great blessing and encouragement by being part of a service that they could understand, and to see others blessed and encouraged by being part of a service that they could understand. 

John Wycliffe, the 14thCentury English theologian, stated the following:  “Englishmen learn Christ’s law best in English. Moses heard God’s law in his own tongue; so did Christ’s apostles.”  He recognized the importance of every single person having the opportunity to own God’s word, read God’s word, and study God’s word – in his own language.  In that way, it was most accessible to all! Such accessibility had not been the norm throughout our history and around the world.

PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WOULD VALUE GOD’S WORD APPROPRIATELY IN OUR LAND.  After all, it should be esteemed more than our necessary food. It furnishes us for all good works, and it is profitable!

Decisive Factor

Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.”

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:  that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”

On this Veteran’s Day weekend, it is important to go back to the origins of this important day of remembrance.  One hundred years ago, on November 11th, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson spoke the following on the one year anniversary of the end of World War I:

“A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.

With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.

Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.

To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”

President Wilson made an important point about the earthly source of strength and victory that applies to nations today.  It also applies to churches today and to Christians today.  There is power when we are “acting together for high purposes.”  No nation is an island, nor is any Christian an island.  When we work together “in furtherance of the common interests of men” and set aside our “personal concerns,” then we can make great strides in statesmanship, fellowship, and discipleship.  

PLEASE PRAY FOR CHRISTIANS TO ACT TOGETHER FOR HIGH PURPOSES.  Partnership with other Christians can be “a decisive factor” as we serve Christ in this land today.

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