Remember: Thanksgiving is Giving of Thanks

I hope you are following the continuing saga of Israel's political scene.  We have now entered into Act 3.  You might remember that in Act 1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited by President Rivlin to form a coalition government following the September elections.  The Prime Minister was unable to put together such a coalition.  That brought us to Act 2 where Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White Party, was invited to form a coalition government.  After four week, he, too, was unable to assemble such a government.  That has brought us to Act 3 where President Rivlin went to the Knesset and invited anyone there to form some type of coalition government that had a minimum of controlling 61 seats within the Knesset.  This act will last for three weeks.  As I write this blog, it appears that Act 3 will be a failure as well.  That would bring us to Act 4 which would be national elections to be held in March of 2020.  In the meanwhile, Israel is under what is called a "caretaker" government.  Yet as I read editorials from several Israeli papers, the people really do not want another election; it would their third within the space of twelve months.  It would seem that the election would only result in another political impasse. 


Now what has increased the difficulty of this problem is that Israel's Attorney General has handed down indictments against Prime Minister Netanyahu for bribery and corruption.  This is the first time that a sitting Prime Minister has been indicted.  What should the Prime Minister do?  There have been calls for him to step down now that formal charges have been filed.  That means he would surrender his leadership position within the Likud Party as well until either he has been convicted of those charges or acquitted.  But, it appears that Israeli law is not clear as to what the Prime Minister should do.  And so the Prime Minister continues in his role even as he awaits his trial.  And so the drama continues.


Thursday is Thanksgiving Day.  It is a time when we gather with family and friends to celebrate God's faithfulness and goodness to us this past year.  Sadly, Thanksgiving has become a day hidden within the shadows of the commercialization of Christmas.  There was a time, and not that long ago, when the commercial rush toward Christmas did not begin until early on Black Friday morning - I know because I often stood within those early morning lines after Marlys and I had plotted our shopping strategy for the day.  Then those openings moved to one stroke past midnight and the crowds came.  Now the Thanksgiving dinner has hardly been finished, the dishes often still piled in the sink, when the "beep" of the code-readers can be heard in many of America's stores. 


I have often thought that Thanksgiving Day is a misnomer for many.  Little time is spent giving thanks.  You know there is the busyness of getting the turkey and trimmings ready.  Then there are the football games , not just one, not just two, but three games to satisfy that "football craving."  Maybe we should call it "Turkey Day" or "Football Thursday." 


It is time that we pause to be thankful.  There are two passages of Scripture that really help me to focus upon a season of thanksgiving.  Those passages are: Ephesians 1:1-14 and Psalm 103.  Let's just glance into Psalm 103 for a few moments, just to get the thanksgiving juices flowing.  David's desire with this Psalm is to "Praise the Lord" and to remember what God has done for him.  He compiles quite a listing.  Below are just a few:
     a.  Topping his list is the forgiveness of sins.  Perhaps that should top my list this year.  God has taken our sin and buried it as far as the east is from the west.  And, as one old pastor said, he has posted a "no fishing" sign there.  David goes on to state that "God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities."  I don't know about you, but that is certainly worthy of a great, big "thank you!"
     b.  Next David gives thanks that God has healed his diseases.  Now I don't think David is thinking about physical ailments, but that greatest disease of all - separation from God.  Later in this same Psalm he describes the amazing love of God which is given to those who follow Him. 
     c.  Redemption is also worth a note of thanksgiving.  We were destined for hell, but God reached down and bought us out of the marketplace of sin.  He paid the price for our freedom.  Thank you, Jesus, for your death upon that cross for it is only through your death I can be freed from sin.
     d.  I have been crowned with God's love and compassion.  Did I deserve this?  Absolutely not!  Instead of judgment and death, I have received love and compassion. 


Friends, I would urge you sometime this week to read Psalm 103 and Ephesians 1.  Take a sheet of paper and begin to compile your list of things for which to be thankful.  And then celebrate with praise before the Lord.  Your heart will be blessed, but more importantly, the Father's heart will be blessed. 


Wishing you a most blessed Thanksgiving.     

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