Giving Thanks|Patriotism [v33]

NOVEMBER 2001

GIVING THANKS — I know this may not be an ‘easy’ Thanksgiving for you—and I am certain this will be a very different Thanksgiving for all Americans.

For thousands, there will be an empty place at the table—those who didn’t return home after September 11th. I pray that our country will remember these men and women and their loved ones left behind.

Our country has experienced terrible losses throughout our history—yet, even in the midst of these great tragedies, we have been blessed with provision and freedoms not seen in any other country now or even in the past. The “way of life” we enjoy in America today is a rare and fragile gift. Our country’s ideals of individual freedom, voluntary action, human dignity, and personal accountability sharply contrast with many other nations who have had a long history of tyranny.

Our own Founding Fathers saw the tyranny of their time and set out to create another way of life—one built upon Judeo-Christian tradition. As they formed this new country, they believed that we are all made in God’s image with a God-given conscience and the ability to make moral choices.

At the same time, our Founding Fathers recognized that we are all also sinners, so they put some “healthy distrust” into the Constitution—protections such as limited government delegated by the people, separation of powers, and the Bill of Rights.

It was before the formal signing of the Declaration of Independence that Samuel Adams marked said, “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom alone all men ought to be obedient; He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious Eye beholds His subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self direction, which He bestowed upon them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His Kingdom come.”

Years before this historic moment, the Pilgrims gave us the basis of our foundational beliefs with the Mayflower Compact, in which they stated their interest was “for the glory of God and the Advancement of the Christian faith.” The Compact, based on Biblical covenants, is recognized by scholars as the founding document that led to a whole series of covenants, compacts, and constitutions culminating in the U.S. Constitution framed in 1787. Their great desire was to live for God, to follow His commandments and to apply them to every aspect of their lives—not only to worship, but to personal conduct, church and civil governments, even the economy.

The “First Thanksgiving” was an almost weeklong celebration of about 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians. The first dreadful winter in Massachusetts had killed about half the members of the colony. But new hope arose in the summer of 1621. The settlers expected a good corn harvest, despite poor crops of peas, wheat, and barley. Thus, in early autumn, governor William Bradford arranged a harvest festival to give thanks to God for the progress the colony had made, and for “health and strength and all things in good plenty.”

There is still much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. You and I are privileged to live in this “land of the free.” But more than anything else, we should be thankful for HOPE—the eternal hope only Jesus Christ can offer—“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.” We can be assured that out eternal destiny is not in the hands of terrorists, foreign powers, or the enemy of our souls, Satan. We are in God’s hands and I, for one, am most thankful for that.

I fervently hope that this will be the beginning of a great spiritual revival—that God may once again have His place in our land. Singing “God Bless America” or displaying the American flag is great, but not enough. The only solution for us, as a nation, is to individually pray and repent of our sin and disobedience to God. Christ’s death and resurrection make it possible for you to have victory over sin and have a vital relationship with God. Only then can He hear and answer your personal prayers and your prayers for this nation. Then, after you have a ‘right’ relationship with the Father, can you claim His promise: “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will hear their land.”

Alexis de Toqueville said it well when he realized even at the very beginning of our national life: “America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Nations only become truly great and remain great to the degree that they are moral and upright, that they retain integrity at every level of society, and that they put and keep their trust in God and abide by his rules as found in his Word which says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” [Psalm 33:12], and “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” [Proverbs 14:34]

Now, I’m sure we all wish that September 11th had never happened—but God is able to bring good even out of the these horrid circumstances—that millions will come to receive life everlasting as a result of this and that America once more will, in truth, be one nation under God.

[Excepts from D. James Kennedy]

Blessings….
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v33) for NOVEMBER 2001
(NOTE: Please send your ‘thoughts’ to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net)

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PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
[Francis Bellamy or James B. Upham]

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THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight’
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen, thro’ the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream;
‘Tis the star-spangled banner: oh, long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand,
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Power that has made and preserved us as a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Tune: Anacreon in Heaven
[Francis Scott Key]

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THANKS-LIVING!
Thanksgiving USA–the fun of Macy’s Parade and football games; family get-togethers and friends; and who can forget the wonderful food–turkey, stuffing, mom’s favorite cranberry salad, grandma’s pumpkin pie! By the end of that wonderful day, we’re ALL stuffed turkeys!

I LOVE Thanksgiving–it’s one of my favorite days of the year. Bitter-sweet memories of a mom and dad at our dinner table, now banqueting with the King; funny memories of my first turkey, complete with photo to prove it; praiseful memories of all-church choirs in a festival of praise on Thanksgiving Eve.

And then it’s over–for another year. I’d really like to sustain it for a life full of thanksgiving year-round. Wouldn’t you? Especially on days when I’m stressed and tired- weary and upset. Not a thankful bone in my body. Can I celebrate then? Hardly, unless His Word abides deep within my heart, and I can pull from its resources into my hurting, unthankful world.

Now THAT gives me an idea! Thanks-LIVING verses to warm my life, to lift my spirit, to encourage and enrich–long after Thanksgiving is over. And so, since like me, you’ll probably be turkey-stuffed big-time, I’ll not stuff you with any more words. Instead, I’d like to share with you God’s Word for your life–on Thanksgiving Day–and every day of the year!

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In December, 1775, an American colonist (believed by many scholars to be Benjamin Franklin), noticed the increasing use of a symbol throughout the colonies, stamped onto barrels and other items, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with the words, “Don’t tread on me” written below the snake.

And he wondered how the symbol of a rattlesnake could be a symbol of the American desire for freedom?  He wrote the following words, after giving it some thought. Words which are just as relevant now, in light of the attack, as they were back in 1775.

“… The Rattlesnake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America.  She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: she is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. …She never wounds ’till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.”  However, once aroused and provoked to attack, she is lethal!

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We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.  [Winston Churchill]

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When told to write a paper with the title: ‘What I Am Grateful for on Thanksgiving Day’, a little boy wrote, “I am thankful I am not the turkey.”

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‘STUFFED’ TURKEY
The turkey shot out of the oven and rocketed into the air;
It knocked every plate off the table and partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner and burst with a deafening boom,
Then splattered all over the kitchen, completely obscuring the room.

It stuck to the walls and the windows, it totally coated the floor;
There was turkey attached to the ceiling, where there’d never been turkey before.
It blanketed every appliance; it smeared every saucer and bowl;
There wasn’t a way I could stop it; that turkey was out of control.

I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure, and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
That I’d never again stuff a turkey with popcorn that hadn’t been popped!
[Author unknown]

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EVERYDAY THANKSGIVING
Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank You, Lord, I can hear.  There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank You, Lord, I can see.  Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank You Lord, I have the strength to rise.  There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast
is burned, tempers are short and my children are so loud, thank You, Lord, for my family.  There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank You, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank You, Lord, for the opportunity to work.  There are many that have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank You, Lord, for life.
[Author unknown]

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The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.

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I AM THANKFUL….
I am grateful that God works in His time, not mine. I am thankful that He is with all of us even when we think we can do it without Him, He puts people in my path to remind me where my thoughts need to be centered. And in turn  perhaps He uses me in others paths. Make this holiday season a blessing, slow down and enjoy what God has created. Thanks be to God.  [Shannon]

I am Thankful for my Husband, and Son, and that God has given me a complete body to praise him with!   [Jennifer]

I am thankful that no matter what happens to me, I will never be facing it alone, because Christ is always with me. [Sandra]

I am thankful that I am loved and serve a Sovereign God who has this entire country in His hands!  We are so blessed in America and we take it all for granted. May God grant mercy on this country.  [Shari]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock—but that’s what happens to cheese (and turkey) when you leave it out too long!

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!

Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  [Philippians 4:6-7]

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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Could have also sent:
– God Bless America
– America the Beautiful

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