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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving: Focus on God; Not News

“To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:17 (NASB95)

   I am a news “junkie”—I have followed news closely for many years. I read newspapers (online) and listen to news radio when I am driving. My kids suffer through news radio when they ride in the car. Their only hope of deliverance is when Ramona is in the car too. Their predictable pleas are, “Mom, please make Dad put music on or turn the radio off.” Being a man who wishes to avoid intense family fellowship while driving, the music plays and leaves me wondering things such as “What if there is a traffic alert…What if bad weather is approaching…What if animals escape from the zoo…What if zombies are on the loose…What if our political leaders suddenly decide to put the interests of the country ahead of their own interests?” (I know the zombie thing is more likely to happen than the politicians getting their acts together.)

   Having confessed to being a news-aholic, I have noticed that I’m not paying as much attention to news lately as I used to. You know the reason. As with most people, giving heed to the news leaves me depressed and despondent. I don’t dare ask if things can get worse because I know they most certainly can get worse—much worse. Here’s a radical thought: instead of griping about what we think is wrong, focus on Who is right. That is the key to truly being thankful at Thanksgiving. God has blessed us. We have lost sight of those blessings because we have lost sight of the Blesser.

   The first official observance of Thanksgiving for the United States of America was issued by George Washington in 1779:

   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; Whereas, both the 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 next, to be devoted by the people of the 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.

   If you noticed the date, you realized that in 1779, we had not yet won our independence and war filled our land. Yet, Washington reminded us to focus on God and not the news of the day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pastor Larry

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