Dear Brethren

Today is Thanksgiving Sunday

Our Church has a good tradition to set aside the 4th Sunday of November to commemorate thanksgiving. Countries such as United States and Canada do designate Thanksgiving Day as a holiday. It is commonly believe that the first Thanksgiving happened in 1621, at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts USA. In the United States, Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of November. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships.

Thanksgiving Day remembers the Pilgrims who left Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620. Their destination was the New World. Although filled with uncertainty and peril, it offered both civil and religious liberty. For over two months, the 102 passengers braved the harsh elements of a vast storm-tossed sea. Finally, with firm purpose and a reliance on God’s divine providence, the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts in late November.

Why Give Thanks?

The Bible instructs us to give thanks. God knows our sinful heart that we can easily be ungrateful people and also quickly forget the goodness we receive from Him and fellow men. I would like to share 2 verses from the Bible to challenge us to rekindle the flame of gratefulness in our hearts.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God  in Christ Jesus concerning you” 1 Thessalonians 5: 18.

1. Give Thanks in Every Thing

Our lives are filled with both good times as well as bad times. It is in the good counsel of God that He has ordained that we should need to go through joy and sorrow; laughter and weeping; togetherness and parting. We are exhorted to give thanks in every thing. Not just the moment of joy, laughter and togetherness but also in those moments of sorrow, tears and parting. The reason why we can give thanks in every thing and through every season of life is because we know God has ordained all these events in our lives for the good and profit of our soul.

Let us also give thanks to our parents who have brought us up with much love and care. We honour our parents by saying words of thanks to them instead of complaint and murmuring. We should also remember those who have taught us God’s Word so that we can grow spiritually. Be thankful to them and say a word of thanks to encourage their hearts. Give thanks to your church and fellowship leaders who have laboured for the Lord. Finally, give thanks to your fellow brethren who have shown you care and concern and prayed much for you.

2. Giving Thanks is God’s Will

Many Christians like to ask the question “What is God’s will for my life?” The answer is found here in this verse in 1 Thess. 5:18. God’s will is very clearly stated that when we give thanks in every thing, we have done and fulfilled the will of God. When we have done God’s will, we will receive the commendation and approval from the Lord. This is the most wonderful thing for a Christian to experience. If you are seeking God’s will for your life, begin by praising Him in every thing. Acknowledge Him as the Sovereign God who controls all things. Praise Him for His power and His love and care for you. As you do God’s will in giving thanks, you will surely receive God’s guidance in the next step to take whether it is in your career or study life.

“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me…” Psalm 50:23a.

Every Christian desires to glorify God in our lives. In fact, we are commanded whether in eating or drinking, we should do all to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). In Psalm 50:23a, we know that praising God is one sure way that God will be glorified. When we praise God, we let others know that God is real in our lives and He is always our strength and help. This is a good testimony to unbelievers and also an encouragement to fellow believers who may be struggling in their difficulties.  We can offer praise to God through our sharing among brethren especially in the Church prayer meeting; testimony writing in the weekly and even via sms or email to others. Let us not keep silent when we have received so many blessings from the Lord. Let the Lord be glorified in our lives of thanksgiving.

May the Doxology “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” that we sing in every worship service come sincerely from our hearts!

Elder John Leong