As you know, I normally publish my newsletter on Friday, but being this is Thanksgiving, it seemed appropriate to do it today, seeing the title is “BE THANKFUL”.

Well, once again, it’s Thanksgiving season. The weather is getting cold, the frost is on the pumpkin for a while, that is until it ends up in the oven for pumpkin pie. I’m thankful for pumpkin pie. And not just at Thanksgiving, but anytime. In fact, I’m thankful for most any kind of pie. You could say I’m just a thankful person.
I thank God that I woke up this morning. And with everything working, at that. I’m most thankful of all for the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, that I might be saved. Thank you, Jesus, more than I could ever say. I thank God for my lovely wife, who is such a blessing to me. And she said I could say so, too. Thank you, Lord. I thank God we live in a free country, with the knowledge that when morning comes, freedom will still be here because brave people died for this country to make us free.
Their sacrifice for our freedom did not come cheap to them, or their families, nor does it go unnoticed by me. I’m thankful to those who died and wish there was a way I could tell them so to their face. And to the ones who are still alive who served, I say, Thank you! Their sacrifice was made because they believed in what our country stands for. And just what is that? It’s freedom to be able to live next to your neighbor and not be oppressed, and to serve God without fear of someone killing you because are a Christian. Because God was invited to America, we are blessed as a country, more than any other nation on the face of the earth. I’m thankful, Lord God.
Our country was founded on the relationships our forefathers had with God. They knew our country would be strong as long as it served God. I’m thankful for their walk with God and for the wisdom they had because of it. They had the insight to set our government up around the Bible. And they were strong Christians because they had Pastors who loved them and trained them up in the ways of God. Good Pastors, at that.
Which brings me to something else I am very, very thankful for today; and that is for MY Pastor.

Have you considered how many things you have to be thankful for? Just the fact that you woke up today should do for starters. Have you thanked the Lord today for His love and provision for your needs? If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are much better off than many in the world, for it is the gift of God to you. There’s a parable in Matthew 22 that I would like us to consider, lest we take this gift lightly:

Mat 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Mat 22:2 The Kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
Mat 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
Mat 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
Mat 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
Mat 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
Mat 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Mat 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Mat 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

It isn’t that the Lord would not have us all to be with Him, but rather, the majority continue to make excuses why they will not have the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Maybe they think they’re having too much fun the way they are, I don’t know. But the bottom line is, they want to do things their way, what I call the Burger King mentality. You see, you can go to Burger King and get a hamburger any way you want it. There is no “wrong way” so your way is always right. People extend that attitude into their thinking about God. The Bible says there is but one way to the heavenly Father, and that is through Christ Jesus.

People say there are many ways to the Father: you can light a candle, or bow down and worship some statue, or you can hug a tree, or you can stand on your head and ring a bell while facing East, or you can beat yourself on the back with a chain until you bleed, or you can pray to your ancestors, just to mention a few. But there is only one way to be “chosen”, and that is to submit your life unto God on His terms, not yours.

On a personal basis, I’m thankful His terms are so very beneficial to me. Because God is Good, I can safely place my life in His hands, giving no thought for what today or tomorrow will bring, for He always has my best interests at heart. If I make a mistake, God knows how to turn my errors to my eternal good. And as I earnestly try to please Him daily, He is doing a work in my heart to bring me closer into alignment with His ways. Some days I think it’s going very slowly, but God is very patient, not willing that any should perish, but all come to repentance.

That’s His will, yet He has our will to contend with, and it is often at odds with His. That’s why many are called, but few are chosen. Face it, He is not going to choose those who live in defiance to Him, because there is no room in God’s Kingdom for rebels. He clearly demonstrated that by kicking Lucifer and a third of the Angels out of heaven because of their disobedience. It’s sad how the devil has deceived so many into thinking they can live any way they want, and God will wink and say, That’s OK, you can steal, cheat, commit all kinds of abominations and adultery all you want, there is no penalty for it. It’s amazing how gullible people really are, to let the devil talk them into worshipping false gods, when the truth is so readily available. But God allows us to choose as we will. And yes, we will be responsible for our choices.

I marvel at how generous the Lord is with me because I have chosen Him. It has been over twenty five years since I’ve had a sick day, because I have constantly been mindful of Psalm 103:1-5, which says,
Psa 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Psa 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Psa 103:3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Psa 103:4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Psa 103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Truly the Lord has showered me with “benefits”, for which I am eternally thankful. In spite of the errors I have made along my journey with Him, He has not once turned His back on me, nor even repossessed the benefits. There is not a one of us who can truthfully boast living a perfect life before God, yet, when we need correction, He does so lovingly and gently, not striking us dead for a failure. And no, He doesn’t make us sick to teach us a lesson. And if you think so, then someone taught you wrong. That’s part the world’s way of thinking, because if a worldly person doesn’t get their way, they would just as soon put the hoo-doo on you as look at you. If you accidently cut off someone in traffic, they will raise a finger in greeting and wish you an early transmission failure on the expressway at 5 P.M., if you know what I mean.

I’m so thankful God isn’t like that, especially with the power He has at His disposal. Can you imagine what it would be like if God treated us like we often treat each other? You might get an attitude and get mad at something, and God would point his finger at you, and suddenly there would be a bolt of lightning and you’d be a little smoking crispy critter. He could, mind you, but He doesn’t. Are you thankful for that? You should be….I know I am.

Getting back to “many are called but few are chosen”, are you thankful God called you? He didn’t have to, you know. He could have looked upon our pitiful condition and said, Well, I’m all for them being saved if they can find a way to do it, but I’m not going to bother getting involved. They want to do it their way? Fine with me. He could have left us to stumble about on our own, then told us on the Day of Judgment, “You chose (BUZZZZZ!!) WRONG !!!” And we would be off to the Lake of Fire, never knowing why. But He didn’t.

He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to be the door through which we may pass to eternal life, and thank God, that door is not locked. Furthermore, He invites us COME ON IN! Are you thankful yet? If so, then why not tell Him? Whatever problems you are facing right now, God has your cure, and He isn’t a bit stingy with it, either.

So use today to love on the LORD, love on those you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with, and BE THANKFUL!  And not just today, but every day!