We celebrate November 23rd as a special day of “thanksgiving,” especially remembering our forefathers who first settled this great nation. Our Thanksgiving Day has been set aside as a special day for the giving of thanks for all that God has given us. Perhaps we need to be reminded of just a few things for which we should be thankful!!!
We should be thankful that we live in America! God has truly blessed this country beyond measure. We enjoy not only the necessities of life such as food, clothing and houses (usually heated and air-conditioned); but we also enjoy many luxuries such as one or more automobiles, microwaves, televisions, computers, i-pads, i-phones, travel, etc. Many people who live in other countries only dream of such! We should be thankful for the peace that exists in America and that no major wars have been fought on American soil in over one hundred years. We should be thankful for the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press and the right to free speech. Only in America do we enjoy such abundant blessings.
We should also be thankful for our families. God has blessed us by providing the family structure that we read about in the Bible. Parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews make life enjoyable. We should be thankful that our children are not taken away from their homes at an early age and sent away to learn to fight or to work as slave laborers. Thanks for our parents and grand-parents! Thanks for our brothers and sisters. We should also be thankful for our spiritual family at Lay Lake. What a tremendous blessing!
We should also be thankful for life! We all have our aches and pains from time to time, but these ought to make us appreciate being healthy and feeling good. We ought to live each day to its fullest and make the most out of life. We should enjoy life and live each day realizing that it may be our last (James 4:13-15).
We ought to especially be thankful for the Love of God! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Salvation from sin and the hope of heaven which is found “in Christ” (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 5:9) were provided because of God’s love for man. Because of God’s great love He has given us the Bible which contains His will for us. We should also be thankful that God provides eternal life in heaven after death (Matthew 25:46) for those who are prepared.
We should be thankful for the church at Lay Lake. We are a group of diverse people who are brothers and sisters in Christ. We laugh and cry together (Romans 12:15); we encourage and build one another up (1 Thess. 5:11;Hebrews 10:24,25) and we pray for one another (James 5:17).
On Thanksgiving Day let’s not get carried away with food and football and forget to take time to count our blessings! We should do this everyday! The psalmist declared, “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalms 100:3,4).
“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ephesians 5:20). Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may God richly bless each and every one!
IF God promised to give faith when asked for it, without conditions, why did Paul tell us that faith comes by hearing the word of God? (Romans 10:17)
IF faith alone is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort, why did James say faith without works is dead? (James 2:20)
IF God has promised to save man regardless of the kind of faith he has, why did Paul make it so plain that there is ONE faith? (Ephesians 4:5) IF one becomes a Christian when he believes, why was King Agrippa not aChristian (Acts 26:27-28)
IF one can be saved without wholehearted obedience to the Lord, why did Paul say, “...obeyed from the heart?” (Romans 6:17-18) IF sprinkling and pouring are scriptural baptism, why did Paul say there is ONE baptism? (Ephesians 4:5) IF the Lord has promised salvation without baptism, why did Peter say it saves? (1 Peter 3:21)
IF we can receive remission of sins without baptism, why did Peter say that baptism is for the remission of sins? (Acts 2:38)
IF we can get into Christ without baptism, why did Paul say that we are baptized into Christ? (Galatians 3:27)
IF we are born again of the Spirit only, why did Christ say be born of the water and the Spirit? (John 3:5)
IF infant baptism is scriptural, why did Christ command to baptize those who believe? (Mark 16:16)
An infant cannot believe! IF infants are sinners, why did Christ teach that we must become like them to be saved? (Matthew 18:3)
IF God has promised salvation out of the church, why did Christ die for it? (Acts 20:28)
IF the church has nothing to do with our salvation, why does the Lord add the saved to the church? (Acts 2:47)
IF the kingdom of Christ is yet to be built, why did Paul say he was in the kingdom? (Colossians 1:13)
IF Christ is coming to earth to set up a kingdom, why did Paul make it so plain that Christ is coming for it and deliver it to the Father? (1 Corinthians 15:24)
IF the word of God is able to save man, what need have we for another saving power? (John 8:32)
IF musical instruments are to be used in connection with the worship in songs, why did Paul omit the and teach us to sing? (Colossians 3:16)
IF there is nothing in a name, why did the writer of the book of Acts say that salvation is in the name of Christ? (Acts 4:12)
IF a child of God cannot be lost eternally, why did Paul, when writing to the church at Corinth, tell them that no fornicator or adulterer shall inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
IF God has promised to save man without a condition on man's part, why did Jesus say, "I tell you, nay, but except you repent, you shall all likewise perish?” (Luke 13:3)
In these modern times preachers and elders are often asked, “What programs do you have for my family and me?” One is sometimes tempted to give the answer that these folks desire by saying, “For the wife we have a ‘hop till you drop’ weight loss program, and for the children we provide a youth minister that is programmed by the kids, and for the man of the house we have a 12-minute special class on how to be successful without spending too much time with the Bible.”
It is tragic that many are motivated only by their “felt needs,” and it is downright deplorable that so- called elders and preachers do all within their power to provide these folks satisfaction. The “what do you have to offer me” disease has eaten away at the Lord’s church like a dreaded cancer. Instead of treating this spiritual malady with a strong Biblical injection, many leaders have allowed the “tares” (Matthew 13:35) to be fertilized!
Peter reminds us that we should seek to follow in the steps of Christ (1 Peter 2:21). It is recorded that Christ “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 28:20). The Lord possessed a servant spirit. He came into this world asking not what could be done for Him but seeking what He could do for others.
How unlike the spirit of Christ is the spirit that is manifested today by so many who profess to be Christians! Instead of seeking to glorify God for all He has done in their behalf, these seekers of “self” demand to be served and catered to at every turn. The honor that belongs to Christ is given to men.
What if Christ could visit in every home today and ask each of us, “What will you do for me?” It is a simple question that Christians may ignore now but not in the hereafter. Some aren’t doing much of anything for the Lord! They want the blessings that come from the Lord, but they are content to let others work in the vineyard. They want to go to Heaven while serving the devil. They want the care and concern of others while they remain unconcerned and carefree.
What if Christ Were to Ask, “Why Did You Learn everything Important to You and Fail to Learn From My Word?” Could it be that the Lord and His church are not as important to some as they would have you to believe? We find time to do those things we desire to do. Don’t kid yourself into believing that you are putting the Lord first (Matthew 6:33) when you open your Bible during the week only if you attend a Bible class. But then some do not open their Bible in Bible class because they have no Bible to open!
What if Christ Were to Ask, “Why Did You Never Invite Others to Bible Study and Worship?” You have invited folks over for lunch, to social gatherings, and to recreational outings. Are you more interested in the pleasures of this life than Heaven? Have the “cares of the world” choked out spiritual matters? (Luke 8:14). Is the Lord’s church really important to you? If someone you invited were to attend regularly for several weeks would he see you at each of the services? Do we really care about lost souls?
What if Christ Were to Ask, “Why Did You Sit For Years and Let Others do all the Teaching?” Some people will not prepare themselves to teach. The Hebrews writer admonishes, “For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food” (5:12). There are grade levels from toddlers to adults that need to be taught. Someone must teach!
It has always amazed me that so many are competent and capable in the secular world but absolutely void of talent in the spiritual realm. Such a double standard will not bode well for one in the Day of Judgment.
What if Christ Were to Ask, “Why Were You Not Willing to be Faithful in Assembling With the Saints?” We live in a society where many are willing to work long, hard hours to be a success in secular endeavors. Some pay “lip service” to the soul being more important than anything else, but then they are too busy being successful to be regular in attendance. For these folks, neither Hebrews 10:25 nor Matthew 6:33 take priority over laying up earthly treasures! Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).
Our actions demonstrate our faith and trust in Christ and His church. James cuts to the heart of the matter in saying, “Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith” (2:18). What will you do for Christ? It will matter - one day!
“Actions speak louder than words.” This statement may seem trite, but it is definitely true. Actions are filled with meaning. Actions are the confirmation of deeply held beliefs. Actions prove that one means exactly what he/she says. Actions are things that cannot be denied.
The actions of those Christian who consistently attend the Sunday evening worship services speak volumes with regard to the type of people they are.
1. They are sacrificial. The Sunday crowd is willing to give up (sacrifice) their time to travel to the building and spend time in the presence of a powerful and loving God. (See Hebrews 13:15).
2. They are diligent. Webster defines diligent as “characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic application and effort.” Energetic and steady definitely apply to the Sunday night crowd. Comfort and ease are forsaken to appear before the great I AM. Paul exhorted the saints in Rome, saying: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).
3. They are seekers. They Sunday evening crowd are seekers of God and seekers of truth. They long for their God and for the blessings described in His Word. Their desires do not go unquenched. Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6).
4. They are concerned. The Sunday night crowd realizes that three things are vitally important: God, their brothers and sisters in Christ, and their own souls. They realize that their attendance on Sunday evenings shows their concern toward all three of these things. They would never have anyone believe that these things are unimportant to them. (Please read Hebrews 10:24-25).
5. They are true worshippers. In Psalm 42:2, David wrote, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” The true worshipper longs to be with God. He yearns to bring his sacrifices of love and thanksgiving to his Lord. When an opportunity arises to appear before God, he will not miss it.
6. They are lovers of God. When one truly loves another, he wants to be in his lover’s presence. He longs for the time and fellowship that is shared with the one he loves. The Sunday night crowd has these feelings for God. They are grateful that they can express their love for the One who loved them. (See Mark 12:30).
7. They are workers. There is usually a correlation between the diligent workers in the church and the ones who attend on Sunday night. They abound in the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). These are the teachers, the ones who visit, and make telephone calls to the weak and shut-in. They are the ones who come to gospel meetings, seminars, and special events. They are the ones who volunteer to assist in whatever capacity they can. They know that gratitude is not just shown in praise to God, but also in laboring for His cause.
8. They are examples. The Sunday night crowd is mature in Christ. They know how important it is to live a faithful life before others. Most of them are usually worthy examples for others to follow (See 1 Timothy 4:12).
9. They are people of priorities. God has told us how we are to order our priorities in several verses. The most common is Matthew 6:33. “But see ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Those who attend on Sunday nights have their priorities correctly in line. If Jesus were here, He would commend them for their wise choice (See Luke 10:41-42).
10. They are the faithful. Faithful is simply defined as “full of faith.” James tells us that true faith produces works. It is not merely a mindset. “Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). One of the works of the faithful is steady, consistent worship of the heavenly Father. (Please Read 1 Cor. 4:2).
We give thanks for the Sunday night crowd. We want you to know that your actions are seen and mean so much to us. May you continue in your faithful service. May your example inspire others. May your tribe increase.