Thanksgiving Day 2019 – “Thanks Be to God!”

2Cor9-15The gift that believers truly give thanks for is an unspeakable gift.  It is a gift of priceless possession—a gift that once given we cannot lose!  It is a gift that, if we possess it, will have an effect on all those earthly gifts we receive from God.  What is the unspeakable gift I am talking about?  Salvation! It is a gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ Himself.  In fact, if we were to focus exactly on the unspeakable gift God has given us, it is Christ!  God sent forth His Son into this world.  That was a gift.  That Son suffered and died on the cross for us!  That is a gift!  That Son was raised again for our justification and life.  That is a gift!  That Son has sent forth His Spirit to live in our hearts.  A gift!  That Son preserves us in that salvation.  A gift!  And Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will usher us into the heavenly kingdom that awaits us.  A gift!  God gives us all of this in Christ Jesus our Lord!  Talk about a reason for giving thanks!

        Notice how our text emphasizes that all of this is a gift.  Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. We all know what a gift is, that is, if something is truly a gift.  It is something freely given to another—not because he has merited it or earned it.  Most of the time when we give gifts it is to those we love or like, and simply is an expression of our appreciation for them.  If this is true, then it is amazing when we look at what God does in bestowing gifts on His creatures.  These gifts of God are not only not earned, they are also not deserved in the least sense of the word.  They are not an expression of appreciation by God for something we have done.  They are given wholly, purely, out of God’s goodness!  He is good!

        The fount of all good!  Out of His goodness He provides the creatures of His hand with what they need.  Our earthly possessions are a gift given us by means of God’s providence—God provides for all His creatures.  Even the reprobate man receives earthly possessions and wealth from God’s almighty hand.  But the gift of our salvation that is given is even more so a gift!  It is ours by means of God’s grace!  Is this not the testimony of the gospel to you and me, beloved saints?  We receive our salvation not of works.  We receive it only by God’s sovereign and free grace.  In fact, we were not even worthy of receiving this gift!  We were doomed to perish in our sins.  There was no hope!  There was no way of escaping punishment for the sins we committed against God.  Then God, freely and sovereignly, saved us.  He in His grace sent His Son to die for us—the Son that He had loved from eternity.  God sent Christ to bear the full punishment of His wrath against our sins and delivered us.  This gift of God is unspeakable! We cannot express its beauty, its power, its wonder, its worth in human terms!  We do not even know how to put into words the joy and thanksgiving that we have for what God has done for us in Christ!

        How does one begin to describe what great things God has done for us who are saved in the blood of Christ?  He has saved us and by means of that salvation has adopted us as His children and heirs unto life eternal.  In His grace He has chosen to fellowship with us, to uphold us in our needs, to grant to us the knowledge that in every circumstance of life He, the great and mighty God of heaven and earth, is with us.  He will uphold us in the hour of our greatest temptation and trial.  He will lead us even through the valley of the shadow of death!  He is our God and we are His people.  The blessedness given us freely by the hand of God is indeed the greatest, most wonderful of all gifts!  It is unspeakable, indescribable, unutterable, beyond our finite comprehension what God has done for us!  Thanks be to God!

        This salvation—this gift of God’s grace to us—works in us overwhelming gratitude. And in that gratitude, we take a new look at the earthly gifts we have received from God’s hand.  Now, we see that these are means that we can use to seek a higher end—that of our final salvation.  No, they will not help us earn that end. But we can use them for the work of the Lord in this world.  Not only do we use our money and our possessions to support our family.  We certainly do not selfishly horde that money and say, “It’s mine!  I will use it for me, for what I want.”  But we use it also to support the church and help those in need!

        So we get the instruction we do in II Corinthians 9:6, 7:  “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:  for God loveth a cheerful giver.” That is the relationship between the earthly and the spiritual gifts we receive from the hands of our God.  But our thanks is given not simply because of the unspeakable gift.  Look, also, at who gives it.

Part of the Thanksgiving message of Rev. W. Bruinsma for the Reformed Witness Hour this past Sunday, November 24. You may listen to the message here; you may read it here.

May the Lord of abundant grace richly bless your Thanksgiving Day, and give you abundant joy in Him and and deep thanks to Him.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:1,2

Mindful to Be Grateful: November 2019 Tabletalk

Tis the season to be thankful. Or so we are told. And in this month of November it may seem that our thanksgiving is even scheduled, set for the fourth Thursday. Indeed, we will pause as a nation on that 28th day of this month and express thanks for God’s manifold gifts, for harvest and for home.

But, for the Christian, thankfulness has no season; or perhaps we should better say, thanksgiving is never out of season. We are called to be thankful and to give thanks “always” and “for all things” (Eph.5:20). And the psalmist has to remind himself and exhort himself to thanks and praise in his daily life: “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Ps.103:1-2).

TT-Nov-2019With this in mind the November 2019 issue of Tabletalk addresses from multiple angles our calling to “gratefulness,” its theme. Burk Parsons has good words to introduce the theme in his editorial “Gratefulness and Entitlement.” Here is part of it:

…I have come to realize that regardless of the age of my friends, one of the characteristics they all have in common is that they are deeply grateful because of the hardships they have all experienced. In God’s providence, life’s hardships train us to be grateful. And while I am thankful to know many young people who are grateful because of the example of gratefulness in their homes and the work of God in their hearts, generally speaking, when I consider younger generations, I am concerned about what seems to be a general lack of gratefulness and a sense of entitlement. Entitlement is the enemy of gratefulness, but the closest friends of gratefulness are humility and contentment. The only way to have abiding gratefulness, through good times and hard times, is to humbly ask our Father to make us grateful and to ask Him daily to make us even more grateful. When we do that, we do well to remember that the road to abiding gratefulness is often paved with hardship that rids our hearts of any sense of entitlement. By the sovereign grace of God, hardship leads to humility, contentment, and gratefulness—not because of what we have, but because of who we have—the One who gives and who takes away to the end that we might forever proclaim, “Blessed be the name of the LORD(Job 1:21).

One of the first featured articles on the theme is William Barcley’s “Ungratefulness as the Root of Sin.” In that article he contrasts gratitude with ingratitude over and over, so that the point is driven home. This is part of what he says:

God created man—then re-created His people—to worship Him. In the classic work The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs writes, “Worship is not only doing what pleases God, but also being pleased with what God does.” Worship includes taking delight in and giving thanks for all that God brings into our lives—in all circumstances. The thankful heart is the worshipful heart. The thankless heart is incapable of worshiping God.

In Romans 1:18–3:20, Paul delivers a sweeping and comprehensive detailing of human sin and God’s condemnation. No person is excluded (“all have sinned”). No shade of sin is left out—from covetousness to malice, from envy to murder, from gossip to slander, from hating God to disobeying parents, from the rebellious to the self-righteous, from doing evil to inventing evil, and from committing sin to approving of those who commit sin. At the root of it all, however, is humanity’s failure to honor God as God and give Him thanks (1:21).

In its essence, ingratitude is a rejection of God. It is a rejection of Him as Creator and Ruler of all things. It is a rejection of God as the giver of life, the giver of every blessing, whether expected or unexpected, whether pleasant or painful. Even in prison, Paul rejoiced and exhorted the Philippians to rejoice with him. He exhorted others to give thanks always. Believers have thankful spirits because they recognize that whatever we have, wherever we are, and, indeed, all that we are comes from the hand of God—for His glory and for our good

In this season of the year, let us repent of our own ungratefulness and learn to walk in true gratefulness toward the God of boundless grace to us poor sinners.

For more reading in this issue of “TT,” visit the links provided.

Source: Ungratefulness as the Root of Sin | Tabletalk

The Question of True Thanksgiving

“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of

salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.”

Psalm 116:12, 13

It is the question concerning true thanksgiving!

What shall I render unto the Lord?

But what does the psalmist mean? Does he have in mind to somehow reimburse the Lord for His goodness? Is the psalmist reasoning thus: that whereas the Lord has been so gracious to him that now he would do something for the Lord in return? God forbid! Nay, rather, the question implies a negative answer. He realizes that he is wholly impotent to bring anything to the Lord. How could finite man ever reward the Infinite? Is He not the All-Sufficient One in Himself? What is there that could make Him richer or more glorious than He is? And what can the creatures bestow on the Creator which He does not already possess? Is there anything in the world that is not His? Reward the Lord? You? I? Are not all the cattle on a thousand hills, and all the gold and silver His? Nowhere is there anything that I could bring to Him that He does not already claim as His own. What then?

The answer to the question is: NOTHING!

God-glorifying answer!

The sinner who thinks he can repay the Lord, does not know Him! The sinner who is crushed, overwhelmed by Jehovah’s goodness, knows he can bring nothing. He knows that his God has given him all these benefits in such a way that he could never give anything in return, in order that God alone would receive all the glory.

Is there no way then in which the child of God can give expression to the thanksgiving which overwhelms his heart?

O, indeed, there is! Let the psalmist show you!

I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord!

The cup of salvation!

The cup is a figure of what is allotted to one, what one receives—whether good or bad. Scripture speaks of the cup in several different ways: cup of blessing, cup of iniquity, cup of wrath, etc. Here it is the cup of salvation, that is, the salvation allotted to me in God’s favor. Symbol of Jehovah’s great deeds in effecting our salvation.

That cup the psalmist resolves not only to take, but to lift up! He will hold it high, as before the face of His God, and in the sight of all men. He would have it to be known what has made him to rejoice and for which he is so thankful; namely, that all of Jehovah’s benefits which flowed to him in such abundance came to him from the God of his salvation. All of these benefits were with the divine intention to save him. He was lost in sin and misery, he was undone, and utterly unable to save himself. Jehovah delivered him from the sorrows of death. Jehovah dried up all his tears, and kept his feet from falling. In Christ Jesus he now is righteous before God, and counted worthy of eternal life and glory.

And lifting up the cup of salvation, he will call upon the name of the Lord!

You see, the name of Jehovah is upon each benefit which is in the cup of salvation. As the psalmist lifts up the cup and beholds all the benefits of salvation it contains, he sees also written upon each one the name of Jehovah his God. And seeing the name of Jehovah emblazoned on each benefit, he calls out that name.

He cannot keep this wonderful observation to himself. He must call out loudly, so that all may hear him.

This is true thanksgiving!

The only thanksgiving pleasing to God!

For you see, in that cup of salvation which the psalmist lifts up, and which each child of God should lift up, is revealed the God of his salvation in all the work of His saving grace, saving us unto the uttermost. In that cup of salvation he sees the God of his salvation coming down to him in the Person of His Son and uniting Himself to our nature, in order that in that nature He could assume our guilt and pollution, so as to remove it. In that cup he sees the Son of God in our nature and in our stead, hanging on the accursed tree, under the vials of divine wrath, satisfying God’s justice for our sins. In that cup he sees his Savior suffering, dying, and rising again from the dead as a testimony of our justification. In that cup he sees the Captain of his salvation lifted up into the highest heavens to God’s right hand, where He receives power over all things to overcome the devil and his hosts, and to apply His salvation to our hearts. In that cup he sees the God of his salvation through the Spirit of Christ sanctifying and delivering His own from sin’s corruption, renewing their hearts, and making them in principle new creatures, transforming them into the image of His Son. In that cup of salvation he sees also all the graces of Christ as they have been made to dwell in his own heart: love, joy, peace, and thanksgiving, etc. O, yes, also thanksgiving. That, too, has the name of Jehovah his God attached to it. So that when he thanks God for His great salvation and for all things, he is doing nothing more than reflecting the name of the God of his salvation. It is never so that God saves us, and we thank Him. But it is always so, that we must thank Him that we may thank Him; for also thanksgiving, true thanksgiving, is the fruit of His saving grace.

So, in the entire matter of our salvation, God, and God alone is the Author and the Finisher from beginning to end, in order that His also may be all the praise and thanksgiving.

What then shall the children of God render unto God for all His benefits toward them? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!

All they can do, yea, must do, and forever will do by His sovereign grace, is lift up the cup of salvation which contains all the benefits of salvation meted out to them, and on which is emblazoned the name of Jehovah their God—and then call out so that all may hear it—the Name of Jehovah, their God.

This is the thanksgiving that is pleasing to Him!

Source: The Question of True Thanksgiving

Living in the Grace-Gratitude Economy – M. Horton

Yet the good news is that God provides the sacrifice for guilt. …God wasn’t bound in any way to do this. It’s a sheer act of mercy on his part. The whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament pointed forward to the moment when God the Son, in our flesh, would bear the curse for our sin and bring an end to all sacrifices.

Now we live in a grace economy, not a debt economy. At last we are free to be thankful, to offer ourselves as ‘living sacrifices’ of praise rather than dead sacrifices of guilt. We’re on the receiving end of everything. We’re not building a kingdom, but receiving one. We’re not appeasing God, but receiving the gift of righteousness in his Son.

As recipient of this covenantal exchange between the Father and the incarnate Son, the church lives in an economy of gratitude rather than either sacrifice or an as extension of Christ’s atoning work. We are passive receivers of the gift of salvation, but we are thereby rendered active worshipers in a life of thanksgiving that is exhibited chiefly in loving service to our neighbor.

Especially when we gather for corporate worship, we are reminded again that beneath all of the contracts we have conducted throughout the week, reality is fundamentally ordered by God’s covenantal faithfulness. God speaks and we respond with thanksgiving. Here the logic of the market (debt) is disrupted by the doxological logic of grace (gift).

ordinary-MHorton-2014Taken from chapter ten, “Stop Dreaming and Love Your Neighbor,” of Michael Horton’s Or-di-nar-y: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014), pp.195-96.

A Prayer of Blessings – Chester A. Arthur

Prayers-presidents-2004The following Thanksgiving prayer is that of Chester A. Arthur, the twenty-first President of the U.S. It is part of his Thanksgiving proclamation made on November 4, 1881. You will notice that it reflects the post-Civil War era, which was still fresh on our national conscience.

The prayer is taken from a collection of presidential prayers published by Baker Books in 2004 as Prayers of Our Presidents, edited by Jerry MacGregor and Marie Prys.

It has long been the pious custom of our people, with the closing of the year, to look back upon the blessings brought to them in the changing course of the seasons and to return solemn thanks to the all-giving source from whom they flow.

And although at this period, when the falling leaf admonishes us that the time of our sacred duty is at hand, our nation still lies in the shadow of a great bereavement, and the mourning which has filled our hearts still finds its sorrowful expression toward that God before whom we but lately bowed in grief and supplication, yet the countless benefits which have showered upon us during the past twelve-month call for our fervent gratitude and make it fitting that we should rejoice with thankfulness that the Lord in His infinite mercy has most signally favored our country and our people.

Peace without and prosperity within have been vouchsafed to us, no pestilence has visited our shores, the abundant privileges of freedom which our fathers left us in their wisdom are still increasing our heritage; and if in parts of our vast domain sore affliction has visited our brethren in their forest homes, yet even this calamity has been tempered and in a manner sanctified by the generous compassion for the sufferers which has been called forth throughout our land. For all these things it is meet that the voice of the nation should go up to God in devout homage.

Wherefore, I, Chester A. Arthur, President of the United States, do recommend that all the people observe Thursday, the 24th day of November instant, as a day of national thanksgiving and prayer, by ceasing, so far as may be, from their secular labors and meeting in their several places of worship, there to join in ascribing honor and praise to Almighty God, Whose goodness has been so manifest in our history and in our lives, and offering earnest prayers that His bounties may continue to us and to our children.

Thanksgiving – Thelma Westra

Thanksgiving

I thank the Lord for countless blessings daily sent;
For circumstances notwithstanding, making me content;
For gifts of health, but also gifts of death and pain,
For pleasant sunny days, but also icy wind and rain,
For warmth and shelter, clothing, and for food in vast supply;
For mountain lake, the flow’ring tree, the butterfly.
For loving family, with joyful celebrations,
Who also share my griefs with me, and tribulations.
For scores of friends, who in my need are glad to give;
For opportunities to serve when others too need help to live.
Yet most of all, I thank my heavenly Father for His love
In sending One, His own begotten Son, from heaven above
To suffer and to die to make me free from every sin,
And give me peace and joy, and knowledge that within
The trials sent, His love for me is ever shining through.
His everlasting arms around me strengthen and renew.
And when I give Him thanks, He shows to me by divine grace
That He has placed thanksgiving in my heart – ’tis His, not mine!

PoemsofPraise-TWestra“Thanksgiving” is the opening poem in Mrs. Thelma Westra’s collection of poems, Poems of Praise (self-published). Mrs. Westra is a godly widow and fellow church member at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI. She has been writing beautiful poems of faith and hope for many years, including for our monthly church newsletter.

Published in: on November 22, 2017 at 10:43 PM  Leave a Comment  

Thanksgiving Day 2016

PilgrimThanksgivingFrom my wife and myself we extend to all of our readers a blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day greeting!

May we together give deep thanks to our God for every blessing in Christ our Lord, resting in contentment and joy in all of God’s goodness to us this day and throughout the year, and trusting Him for every need for every day.

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

For our reflection today we post this prayer/meditation from The Valley of Vision titled “Blessings.” I believe you will find it fitting for this Thanksgiving Day.

Thou great Three-One,
Author of all blessings I enjoy, of all I hope for,

Thou hast taught me
that neither the experience of present evils,
nor the remembrances of former sins,
nor the remonstrances of friends,
will or can affect a sinner’s heart,
except thou vouchsafe to reveal thy grace
and quicken the dead in sin
by the effectual working of thy Spirit’s power.

Thou hast shown me
that the sensible effusions of divine love
in the soul are superior to and distinct from bodily health,
and that oft-times spiritual comforts are  at their highest
when physical well-being is at its lowest.

Thou hast given me the ordinance of song as a means of grace;
Fit me to bear my part in that music ever new,
which elect angels and saints made perfect
now sing before thy throne and before the Lamb.

I bless thee for tempering every distress with joy;
too much of the former might weigh me down,
too much of the latter might puff me up;
Thou art wise to give me a taste of both.

I love thee
for giving me clusters of grapes in the wilderness,
and drops of heavenly wine
that set me longing to have my fill.

Apart from thee I quickly die,
bereft of thee I starve,
far from thee I thirst and droop;

But thou art all I need.
Let me continually grasp the promise,
‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’

And this music video from the PR Psalm Choir is also an appropriate song of thanks for our reflection.

Note to Self: Give Thanks

Klamer-spring-break-2016

After a wonderful week in the deep South celebrating my wife’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary (celebrated this past Tuesday, April 5) with over eighty of her family and some of our own, we were constantly filled with gratitude to God for His covenant mercies and blessings – as well as for the beautiful place in His creation where we could celebrate these mercies and blessings.

Klamer-group-pic-GS-2016

And we gave thanks to God often throughout the week – in set times (devotions) and in special times of public fellowship and private conversation. We sang and prayed and read His Word (favorite passages and songs abounded!), and with tears thanked our faithful Father for His amazing grace to sinners such as ourselves. It was a good week together. It was a better than good week together. It was a God-centered, grace-filled, gratitude-displaying time.

Note-to-self-ThornTonight in wondering what to post in light of this, I decided to share these thoughts – and then too, these thoughts from  chapter 5 of Joe Thorn’s book Note to Self. That chapter is simply titled “Give Thanks.” You will see why it fits with this post.

     The psalmist calls us to ‘enter his gates with thanksgiving and praise,’ which is a call to approach God in gratitude. Why is that? He points to three realities: because God is good, because God is loving, and because God is faithful. A good theologian is thankful, and until you know these truths you are likely to feel entitled and deserving.

How do you know God to be good, loving, and faithful? These attributes were put on display most beautifully in the gospel. God is good, loving, and faithful by not giving you what you deserve (judgment) and by lavishing on you grace unmeasured. He is good and loving in saving us from sin and judgment, giving us hope and life, and adopting us as his own. He is faithful to his Word and his promise to us, that he will not count our sins against us and will continue the work he began in us to completion. On top of this, every good thing you have in this life is a gift from your heavenly Father, and as one who has been justified by the grace of Christ you should see everything in your life as grace that accompanies your salvation [to which we give a hearty AMEN!].

…Does gratitude characterize your thoughts of God? Thankfulness is a good test of your faith. ….Your days, whether easy or difficult, should be filled with thanksgiving because while life changes drastically, your God remains the same forever. He is constant – constantly good, loving, and faithful (pp.43-44).

Now, shall we give this thanks to our great and gracious God tomorrow in our times of public and private worship?

Battling Affluenza and Discontent -Tim Challies

TT-Dec-2015We are now a week into the December issue of Tabletalk, which means it is time to introduce it. Following the season of Thanksgiving here in the U.S., the current issue is fittingly  devoted to the theme of “Contentment.” And a fine issue it is, with many profitable articles on this subject, as well as under the other usual rubrics.

Editor Burk Parsons introduces this subject with an excellent editorial titled “Desiring Contentment.” This is part of what he has to say:

But now we look through a glass darkly as we eagerly await the glorious dwelling places Christ is preparing for us in the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). Although we will always long for heaven, God calls us to be content in whatever situation we find ourselves by His sovereign providence (Phil.4:11). He calls us to keep our lives free from the love of money and to be content with what we have. God not only tells us to be content but also graciously gives us the reason to be content by reminding us of His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). This is the foundation for true and lasting contentment. It is precisely because the Lord is our Shepherd that we shall not want. But if He is not your Shepherd, expect no contentment. True contentment is not circumstantial, it is relational. It is not based on what happens to us; rather, it is based on who has taken hold of us—the One who dwells within us. If our contentment is based merely on what we have, we will always desire more, but when it is based on who we are in Christ, we will first and foremost desire to know Him more. For if we are to find contentment in all things, we must seek contentment in the only One who can fulfill all our desires—Jesus Christ.

The first main article on this theme is by pastor Tim Challies, and is the one linked below. In it he addresses a very common “flu” found in our affluent American culture – “affluenza.” You may have heard of it, and probably have been afflicted with it, if with me you share a fallen nature. I believe you will find his thoughts on this perceptive and penetrating (to the soul!).

Here are a few of those thoughts; find the complete article at the Ligonier link below:

Affluenza is a spiritual disease that is ravaging the modern world. It is similar to every other disease in that we can accurately diagnose it by its telltale symptoms.

Ironically, the most common symptom of affluenza is discontentment. Many of us have discovered that as our wealth and our possessions multiply, so too does our discontentment. There is an inverse relationship between how much we have and how much we are convinced we need to be content. Just think about Adam and Eve. They had the whole world before them. The whole world, that is, but for one little tree that God had decreed would be off limits. And somehow they determined that they could not possibly be content unless they had the fruit from that tree. And like Adam and Eve, we can have great abundance and still feel empty. We can have great abundance while still feeling the gnawing discontent that we do not have more. Just one more dollar, just one more gadget, just one more vacation, just one more upgrade—joy is always that close, but that far away. If you suffer from affluenza, you will know it when you look at all you have and still believe that just a little bit more will nally bring the joy you crave.

Source: Affluence and Discontentment by Tim Challies | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org

Thanksgiving Day 2015 Thoughts

PilgrimThanksgivingOn this national day of Thanksgiving 2015 in the U.S, I share a few thanksgiving thoughts – first, from our first President, George Washington, and then from two “Grace Gems” devotionals of this week.

The Heritage Foundation referenced this Thanksgiving Proclamation of Washington in a post on its “Daily Signal’ this week. It includes a link to the text of this proclamation, which I post here.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

And from Grace Gems came this devotional a few days ago (Nov.23) – from James Smith (1802-1862) [Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:18]:

Everything we enjoy, should be viewed as coming from the gracious and liberal hand of our sovereign God.

All was forfeited by our sin.

All that we receive is by His grace.

The providence that supplies us–is the wisdom, benevolence, and power of God in operation for us–as expressive of His infinite love and unmerited grace!

Our talents to provide supplies,
our opportunities to obtain them,
and our abilities to enjoy them,
–are alike from the Lord.

Every mercy increases our obligation–and deepens our debt to free grace!

Thanksgiving is never out of season, for we have always much to be grateful for.

We must view all things as . . .
arranged by His wisdom,
dependent on His will,
sanctified by His blessing,
according with His promises,
and flowing from His love!

“In everything give thanks!” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The Grace Gems devotional for today is also very fitting, from the Puritan Thomas Watson:

(Thomas Watson, “All Things for Good”) – [Based on Romans 8:28]

See what cause the saints have to be frequent in the work of thanksgiving! In this, Christians are defective; though they are much in supplication–yet they are little in thanksgiving. The apostle says, “In everything give thanks!” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Why so? Because God makes everything work together for our good. We thank the physician, though he gives us a bitter medicine which makes us nauseated–because it is to make us well. We thank any man who does us a good turn; and shall we not be thankful to God–who makes everything work for good to us?

God loves a thankful Christian! Job thanked God when He took all away: “The Lord has taken away–blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21). Many will thank God when He gives; Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew that God would work good out of it.

We read of saints with harps in their hands–an emblem of praise (Revelation 14:2). Yet we meet many Christians who have tears in their eyes, and complaints in their mouths! But there are few with their harps in their hands–who praise God in affliction.

To be thankful in affliction–is a work peculiar to a saint.
Every bird can sing in spring–but few birds will sing in the dead of winter!
Everyone, almost, can be thankful in prosperity–but a true saint can be thankful in adversity!

Well may we, in the worst that befalls us–have a psalm of thankfulness, because God works all things for our good. Oh, be much in giving thanks to God!