Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Habit of Thanksgiving

Once a year, the people of the United States observe Thanksgiving day. The purpose of this day is to give thanks to God for the blessings He has given us. Some people in the United States observe this day sincerely, giving thanks to God, and some only celebrate it as a secular holiday, eating and drinking but giving little or no thanks to God. Even atheists will sometimes sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner with their families.

In the Church of God, we may observe Thanksgiving day, and if we do, we should make the actual giving of thanks to God an important part of the day.

But to have a close relationship with God, we should build the habit of continuously giving thanks to God all through the year and all through each day.

In other words, as we go through each day, we should give thanks to God in short, silent prayers, as we walk, as we drive, and wherever we are, for the small blessings that come to us in the day.

If we can do this and make it a habit, it will help us to have a right attitude towards God, and that will help us in our relationship with God.

The epistles of Paul show that he regularly gave thanks for many things, and he instructed the brethren to make the giving of thanks a part of their lives.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Colossians 3:15).

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God" (Ephesians 5:18-21).

"But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:3-4).

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence" (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

At this particular time, I think it would be very appropriate to give thanks to God for the open door and freedom the Church of God has to preach the gospel and the Ezekiel warning to the world. We do not know how long that door will remain open, but we should appreciate it and go through it with all our might while we can. There are forces in this country, political forces no doubt led by evil forces in the spirit world, that would like to implement policies that would have the effect of shutting down the preaching of the gospel and the Ezekiel warning. Those forces have suffered a setback, and I am grateful for that.

Jesus said, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4).

Let us follow His example and admonition and work while we have the opportunity, and let us give thanks for that opportunity.

Here are links to other posts in this blog on the subject of thanksgiving:

"Thanksgiving", dated November 25, 2011, link:

"The Greatest Gift", dated November 21, 2012, link:

"Give God Thanks", dated November 27, 2013, link:

"Should We Attend Thanksgiving Dinner with our Unconverted Families?", dated November 11, 2014, link:

"Giving Praise and Thanks to God", dated November 25, 2015, link:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election of Donald Trump

As I write this, it appears that Donald Trump has won the election for president of the United States. Republicans will have majority control of the House of Representatives and will probably also control the Senate. I think this will be the first time in a long time that Republicans will control the presidency and both houses of Congress.

The current president and the liberal Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, have been in favor of and have been pushing a liberal agenda for years, an agenda that includes diminishing of freedoms of religion, speech, and the press. They are in favor of allowing women to have abortions and they have been pushing to force acceptance of homosexuality. They have been putting judges into the courts who care little or nothing for the Constitution but who advance the liberal agenda regardless of the will of the people or the limits the Constitution places on their authority.

These things can have the effect of making the preaching of the gospel more difficult. Some liberals no doubt would like to criminalize the Bible, and that could be the direction some liberals would take this country if they had the power.

This liberal agenda has been advancing in this country.

But with the election of Donald Trump and the Republicans, that agenda is slowed down.

One effect of this election is to give the Church of God more time with open doors for preaching the gospel than it might otherwise have.

We should be grateful to God for open doors, and we should go through the open doors we have with all the zeal and power we can muster, while there is still time, to preach the gospel to the world and the Ezekiel warning to Israel.

For a time is coming when those doors may be closed.

Both candidates have been unpopular even with many in their own parties, Trump because of his provocative statements and Clinton because of charges of corruption. Both have had the potential to be very unpopular in office.

Donald Trump will be the next president, and though his statements have received a lot of publicity, he is really an unknown in many ways. Yet, he has the potential to be unpopular in the next four years.

If he is unpopular, he may provoke a reaction against himself in congressional elections in two years that will give Democrats control of the Congress, and a reaction in four years that will bring a liberal Democrat into the White House. That seems to be a trend in politics.

So the nation may see a pause in the advance of liberalism in this country, but that advance may be resumed with even greater speed and momentum starting in four years with the 2020 election. After that, things can get very bad in this country very fast.

Donald Trump may surprise a lot of people and be a wise, effective, and even popular president. But if he is not, if he becomes highly unpopular as a president, he may only last one term. And the liberal Democrats can come back in 2020 with a vengeance and advance their liberal agenda where they left off. If that happens, if Christ allows it, some doors for preaching the gospel on TV and the Internet may start to close.

There is another factor to consider.

The conditions for several types of crises have been built up. The economy is precarious because of massive government debt. Terrorists may commit more terrorist acts when Obama is out of office, or even now since the election is over and they do not have to fear that their terrorist acts will bring into office those who will fight strongly against them. The liberal Democrats have weakened the country in many ways over the last eight years, but the results of what they have done may come to fruition while Donald Trump is president, and the news media and Democrats will be quick to blame Donald Trump and the Republicans.

The liberals have set the stage for a collapse, but that collapse may come on Trump's watch, and he may get much of the blame.

The point of all this is that the Church of God needs to go all out with a sense of urgency to preach the gospel and the Ezekiel warning during the next four years, especially on TV and the Internet, because those doors may start to close if Democrats come back into power.

God has given us more time. We have a window of opportunity. That window may be as short as four years for certain doors. We need to go through them while we can.

Another effect of the election of Donald Trump can be in the area of foreign policy. Trump is unpopular in Europe, and his election can help move events in the direction indicated by Bible prophecy. This can result in Europe becoming more independent of the United States, more united, and militarily more strong.

So the election of Donald Trump may help to bring about the fulfillment of Bible prophecy by helping to bring about the rise in power of a united Europe at the same time that it helps keep the door open for preaching the gospel and a warning message about what that rising Europe will do to us if we do not repent of our sins.