Thanksgiving message

Introduction:

Someone gave me the following:

If Jesus showed up for dinner on Thanksgiving:

There wouldn’t be any fighting over the drumsticks,

He’d just multiply them.

He could turn water into cranberry sauce if you ran out.

The last to arrive would be the first to get served.

He’d let the little children come to Him at the big people table.

He’d make sure all the food was ready at the same time and dished up piping hot.

He’d grant everyone wishbone wishes.

There’d be enough leftovers to feed a whole multitude.

May Jesus be with you on Thanksgiving always!

Let me read a part of the list that several housewives compiled. They wrote that they were especially thankful:

“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.

“For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

“For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents

“For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.

“For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.

APPL. Now our list might not be the same as theirs, but I’m convinced that if we began to make a list, we would find that we have much more for which to be thankful than just our material possessions.

What are you thankful for?

Maybe you can better determine what you are thankful for by considering what causes you to be anxious.

I remember being in a counseling class and they talked about the rise of anxiety amongst teenagers. But we are a very anxious culture. We can get worried about anything and everything. We can be so very tense and we know we are just about ready to explode. I know of people who have been anxious over a football game. In one of those two years when the Browns went to the AFC championship I know of someone who was so nervous during the game that he went on a walk.

I must admit that I can get very anxious. It has been several years now but I have had anxiety attacks in the past. There can be a sudden fear that is hard to place that just would come over me.

Today, I wish to talk about the cure for anxiety and Jesus’ instructions on anxiety. So, let’s read Matthew 6:25-33. My big idea is to be content, trust God for your needs because He cares for you.

Let’s read Matthew 6:25-33:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you―you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

  1. Let’s talk for a moment about Jesus’ instructions in this passage.
    1. In context we must know that at this point in this passage Jesus is giving instructions concerning money. In the previous verse Jesus says “you cannot serve God and wealth.” Or, “money.”
    2. Materialism always gets in the way. I find an unfortunate contradiction in my life. The “thing” that should satisfied me actually causes more anxiety. That is backwards. When I get something new I am stressed about what to do with the old, or I am stressed with learning how to use the new thing or take care of it or store it or put it together. Materialism ruins our life of simplicity. Materials easily become our God. Listen to the commercials about what we “need.” I heard recently of a young adult saying, “I love this.” [talking about an iPhone] We do not own possession, possessions own us. The more we have the more we must keep up. The saying goes the more money we make, the more money we spend. Possession are fleeting satisfactions. They satisfy us one one moment but they will come to ruin. The funny thing is long before they break, wear out, or are out of date the satisfaction the material item gives us is worn off.
    3. Know that I am in the battle to fight against materialism just like you. I am in the battle to seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness just like you. I fight temptations just like you.
    4. Last August I called Timewarner Cable in order to cut cable. As is usual they asked why and I said we did not get much for our money. We had a very basic package which they called the “starter package.” It included the locals and three cable stations. But I got off the phone with Timewarner having adding some sixty channels and faster internet for only ten dollars more a month. They got me. But I was excited. I could not wait to have those cable stations. I looked forward to Discovery Channel and Food Network and ESPN and cable news. A few days later Meagan and I were talking and we decided this was not necessary, we could save the ten dollars more a month. So, I took the girls to the park and Meagan stayed back and called Timewarner. I said, “Be careful they will get you.” It was funny. She got off the phone and I said something like, “Do we have home phone and a security system now?” She said something like, “No, but I didn’t cancel it. They gave us ten dollars off for a year.” So, we were now paying the same as we were before I ever called, yet we had 50 or so more channels and faster internet. But you know what? There was no contentment. That night I channel surfed all the channels and found nothing good on. I thought I would rather read, yet I cannot read when I am paying for all these channels. I looked forward to the channels, I wanted satisfaction in a materialism thing. But there was none. The following Monday I called Timewarner again to cancel everything but Internet. This time they did not let me cancel everything, but we did get back to where we started but twenty dollars cheaper a month than we were paying.
    5. So, things will not satisfy.
    6. We cannot serve God and money, things, stuff. Things cause anxiety.
    7. In the next few verses Jesus says that even the things we need will cause anxiety. So, we must not be anxious about even the things we need. Interesting that we are usually anxious about things we do not even need.
    8. So, three times in verses 25-34 Jesus uses the verb “anxious.” It is sometimes translated “worry” but this means “excessive worry.” Verses 25, 31 and 34 say not to be anxious.
    9. Jesus uses a “greater to the lesser” argument or “how much more” argument for why not to worry.
    10. We are not going to walk through it, but He says that
      1. Life is more than food,
      2. We are worth more than the birds,
      3. We are more important than the lilies and the grass.
      4. I want to park here and tell you to be encouraged. Jesus is telling us that God cares for us more than other things of creation. God cares for us more than birds, lilies and grass. I hope that encourages you as it does me.
    11. In verse 32, Jesus says that God knows we need these things. By the way, there is nothing wrong with asking God for things we need and planning. The birds do build nest, etc. but they are not anxious.
    12. What does Jesus tell us to? He tells us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto us.
      1. What are we seeking after? Remember verse 24 about serving God and money. Am I seeking the monetary things or am I seeking God’s Kingdom and God’s righteousness?
      2. Am I satisfied in Christ? I have had to think about that more and more lately. Psalm 42 says, As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
      3. I am increasingly convicted that I must pray that I search for God and that I am satisfied in Him and in Him alone.
      4. The missionary William Carey sought God.

I read about William Carey. And William Carey went to India with his wife and his children. And he found himself in a very remote part of India outside of Calcutta with no food, no shelter, no nothing, and really no money to buy anything. And never wavering in his faith, he just watched God supply and supply and supply. And first it was a little lean-to shack to live in. It was very uncomfortable and very difficult for his beloved wife and their children, one a relatively young one just born before they left. And it was about a five-month journey on a ship to get there from England.

And then things began to turn, and they began to cultivate the ground. They found a new place. And they began to grow food, and it flourished. In fact, he was so good, a botanist…he was so good at farming that villages began to arise all around his little farm on both sides of the river where he was. And then, in God’s wonderful mercy, he was offered a position of significance with a salary that was quite large, and he accepted that as the providence of God. He had lived through the testing of the lean times, and now God provided enough for his family, and enough for his ministry, and enough for translating the Word of God, which he eventually did into 11 languages.

      1. Seeking God is the cure for materialism and that drastically takes down anxiety.

But let me mentioned a few other thoughts.

  1. Let’s talk about a few other cures for anxiety.
    1. Phil. 4:4-9, let’s turn to this passage. Paul writes it in jail.
    2. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable―if anything is excellent or praiseworthy―think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me―put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
    3. From that passage we see the cure for anxiety is to pray and pray with Thanksgiving. We must also rejoice.
    4. 2 Cor. 10:5 says: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
    5. The cure for anxiety is our thought patterns.
    6. Lastly, seek help from prayer, journaling, counseling, friends. Don’t be afraid to seek help.

Fear, by the way, is a liar…fear is a liar. Fear tells you tomorrow is something to be afraid of. Fear tells you you’re not going to have what you need tomorrow. Fear tells you you’re not going to be up to it. Fear tells you if certain things happen, you’re never going to be able to survive it. Fear tells you that there’s terrible pain out there. Fear is a liar for the Christian because there is no thing that you’re ever going to go through, no trial, no temptation, that God will not provide sufficient grace to sustain you in.

So just shoulder the burden of today. Enjoy the grace that God gives you today. And leave the future to God. What happens happens. Don’t cripple the present by worrying about the future. You just destroy your joy, and then you lose the present. God will be there in the future. He’ll be there when it all comes crashing down. And he says, when it does, count it all…what? Joy, because God is doing a perfecting work.1

Close:

Proverbs 30:8-9:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’

Or I may become poor and steal,

and so dishonor the name of my God.

What are you thankful for? What do you worry about? What causes anxiety?

We know for a fact that anxiety is on the rise. Remember what I started out with? We are thankful for things, but yet things make us anxious don’t they. Teenagers are on anxiety medicine in record numbers, and if you are on anxiety medicine I am not saying to stop them. I am saying to help them by seeking first God’s Kingdom and God’s righteousness and being content “in Christ.”

Below is another thought:

Are you thankful for salvation?

Look at Psalm 51:12:

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Maybe that verse and its application is a first step in getting rid of anxiety. Seek First God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. Allow yourself to be satisfied in Christ.

So, as you go to your Thanksgiving dinner, seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness, be content in His provisions, trust that He will provide, give God the thanks.

On Sept 16, 1620 2 ships set sail from Plymouth Englnad, The Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell encountered much difficulty as they began their journey springing many leaks in the ship. So when the 2 ships went to Port in Plymouth England, the Speedwell decided to go no further and 42 passengers from the Speedwell joined the 60 passengers and 30 crew members aboard the Mayflower..

Of the 102 passengers on board the Mayflower the majority were devout Christians. They were coming to America to shake lose from the bonds of the church of England so they could worship God as they believed scriptures taught.

And with great excitement and expectations that set sail for a new land… It wasn’t long before the trip became difficult for several reasons, as noted by William Bradford an historian on the Mayflower, who would later became Governor of the colony for 33 years.. Many of the passengers became sea sick as huge waves would crash over the deck of the ship… The nights were cold, damp and dark… Remember there was no indoor plumbing or electricity. And to make matters worse one of the crew, a very large man would constantly curse and abuse those who were sick… saying he was going to throw them overboard and steal all of their possessions… Bradford records, “BUT IT PLEASED GOD BEFORE THEY CAME HALF SEAS OVER, TO SMITE THE YOUNG MAN WITH A GRIEVOUS DISEASE OF WHICH HE DIED IN A DESPERATE MANNER.. AND SO HE HIMSELF WAS THE FIRST THROWN OVERBOARD. THUS HIS CURSES LIGHT OWN HIS WON HEAD, AND IT WAS AN ASTONISHMENT TO ALL HIS FELLOWS FOR THEY NOTED IT TO BE THE JUST HAND OF GOD UPON HIM..”

But their problems were far from over yet, they encountered many fierce storms which shook the ship with tremendous force. So fierce that many times they could not even keep the sail out and the force of the wind — eventually cracked and bowed the main beams when they had just went over the half way point across the Atlantic. And although the passengers and crew wanted to turn back, Christopher Jones, the ships Master, assured all the vessel was “strong and firm under water.” He ordered the beam to be secured. It was hoisted into place by a great iron screw that, fortunately, the Pilgrims brought out of Holland. AND Upon raising the beam, they “committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed.” These 100 people; cold, wet — on wooden ship in the middle of the ocean — put their hope, trust and lives into the hands of God. The battered ship finally came within sight of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620. Two had died at sea and two had given birth. The Pilgrims scanned the shoreline just to the west of them and described it as, “a goodly land wooded to the brink of the sea,” William Bradford writes, “AFTER LONG BEATINGS AT SEA THEY FELL WITH THAT LAND WHICH IS CALLED CAPE COD; AND THEY WERE NOT A LITTLE JOYFUL…”

Before going ashore they decided to write a document know as the Mayflower Compact.

At the heart of the compact lay an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and the law without a moral base is really no law at all.

The day the Pilgrims signed the May Flower Compact, according to William Bradford, “they came to anchor in the Bay, which was a good harbor…and they blessed the God of Heaven, who brought them over the fast and furious ocean… and a sea of trouble. And they read the following from the Geneva Bible (the Bible the Pilgrims used) “LET THEM, THEREFORE PRAISE THE LORD, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AND HIS MERCIES ENDURE FOREVER.”

This coming thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day… Many will be busy cooking turkeys, making stuffing, baking pumpkin pies…. and watching football games. And that is fun stuff — it is important to get together with loved ones… But that is not what thanksgiving is really about — it’s not about food and fun… it is about giving thanks to the Lord God Almighty.

We usually picture the first thanksgiving in America, as the time when the Pilgrims and the Indians got together for a great feast (though I really don’t know how they could of eaten pumpkin pie without cool whip). But I tend to look at that time when on the sea battered Mayflower anchored in the bay at Cape Cod, a group of weary and worn men and women were on their knees praising their God in heaven for bringing them safely through the treacherous sea to this new land, as the real first thanksgiving.

First do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

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