This is what the world has done to our Christian Holy-days
Written by: Skip Barland
November 23, 2012
Well here we are, another Thanksgiving Day has passed, and we are now officially entering into the former “holy-day” season.
Today is what is called “Black Friday,” a traditional day of shopping for bargains, as the stores gear up for what they hope will be another prosperous Christmas season.
How sad it is that what began in our country as a “Holy-day” of thanksgiving unto God, leading up to another “Holy-day” season of what used to be a in honor of the birth of our Saviour, that today all of this has been reduced, by the world, in the absence of any faith in God, into an annual pagan ritual of materialism.
It has gotten so bad that in many places today, and I dare say that in most places, when it comes to the public buildings and in public settings, you are not even allowed to have any kind of Christian display at all, that even hints that this was a day that was set aside to honor Jesus Christ.
How sad is that, because the one thing that the world needs and is looking for is being denied them.
For so many, it would seem, in this frantic hustle and bustle of today’s fast paced society, and in the face of mounting fears and concerns over the disintegration of a collapsing economy and a world on the brink of war, that this once cherished holy-day season that used to be a time of joy and of giving thanks to God, has today been reduced to people having this desperate need to grasp for some semblance of normalcy and escape, in order to take their minds off their problems and fears, and at least for a season to get caught up and lost in the holiday rush; but it’s all about material things, and not about God anymore!
Like so many other things in life, once you take God out of the equation, in the vacuum that’s left behind, the world comes in, and Satan with it, in order to turn what started out as a blessing, into a curse.
It’s past time, I think, for Christians to stop following the world and stop imitating the world.
What started out as a country built on Christian principals, that was founded by men and women of faith, who literally sacrificed their ALL in order to leave to their children and to all future generations a legacy of faith, liberty and opportunity to their children, has today become a nation that is ruled over by unbelieving pagans, who have in fact made being Christian synonymous with second class citizenship.
Who do we blame for this, but ourselves?
It seems that Christians in America have been in a continual state of retreat for the last 200 years, as we have acquiesced and have given ground over to the world in almost every single challenge that they have presented to our faith.
Our response as Christians has typically been to just draw another line in the sand and back up.
Well it seems we have gotten to the point that we have backed ourselves into a wall, and that we have no place further to retreat to.
What ever happen to that “onward Christian soldier” attitude, that was backed by the knowledge that Christ is building His church and the gates of hell will NOT prevail against Him?
It sounds to me like this is a church that has the enemy in retreat, and not the other way around. So what happened?
Obviously somewhere along the way we lost our way and we lost our courage.
The fact is, there’s already too much tensile and fluff in the world, and people today are just desperate to find something that’s real!
It’s very clear in the Bible, from all the examples given there, that the power to change a society and turn a nation around does not rest with the unbelievers in that society, but it rests with the believers.
Jesus, before He left, clearly told His disciples that “ALL power in both heaven and earth has been made available to Me, and that you (the church) are to go out into the world in His name and preach the Kingdom of God to a lost and dying world.” Whatever happened to that plan?
So the question is, how do we change this downward spiral that our country is in, and also this worldly paradigm of a nation that has turned away from God, into one that is repenting and turning back to God?
I think it starts with our attitude and our relationship with God, as individuals.
After all, doesn’t the Bible say that judgment starts at the household of God?
With that in mind, in this season of thanksgiving, I think it is a good idea for those of us who are Christians, to begin by remembering what it means to be grateful and to give thanks to God.
What is it that the Bible says that God expects from us, as Christians?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Everyday should be a day of giving thanks to God, first for all of His wonderful gifts; not the least of which is the gift of His Son, who gave His all on Calvary’s cross, in order to insure our position in heaven for eternity.
We are to give thanks also for those whom God has brought into our life, among our family and friends; and our brothers and sisters at church, all of which are also a wonderful blessing.
No man or woman is an island unto themselves on this Christian pilgrimage; and God himself has designed it that way; so He has sent people to surround us and to help us, primarily in the church, so that we would not be alone; so that we can learn to operate as a team and to complement one another, in order that we might better accomplish our heavenly mandate, which is to bring this Gospel of the Kingdom of God to a lost and dying world. Selah
Have You Said ‘Thank You’ Today?
By Rick Renner
Take a moment today to acknowledge and be grateful for the little things — the small gestures of kindness and favor that God has expressed though familiar and even unknown people who’ve touched your life.
It’s amazing how meaningful and rich life becomes when we practice an attitude of gratitude for every good gift God has given.
I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:15)
When is the last time you gave thanks from your heart for the loved ones God has placed in your life?
The phrase “give thanks” in Ephesians 1:15 comes from the Greek word eucharisteo, a compound of the words eu and charis.
The word eu means good or well. It denotes a general good disposition or an overwhelmingly good feeling about something.
The word charisteo is from charis, which is the Greek word for grace or freely granted favor.
When these two words are compounded into one, they form the word eucharisteo. This compound word describes an outpouring of grace and of wonderful feelings that freely flow from the heart in response to someone or something.
This is the word Paul used when he “gave thanks” for the Ephesians church. In fact, in nearly all his epistles, Paul used eucharisteo when he “gave thanks” for people he loved.
For instance, Paul used this word in Ephesians 1:15 when he said, “I cease not to give thanks for you….” This means that when Paul thought of the Ephesians church, wonderful feelings of thankfulness would well up in his heart for them.
The Greek carries this idea in Ephesians 1:15:
Thanking God for you is so easy— it just flows out of my heart every time I think of you. In fact, I never take a break from letting God know how I feel about you.
In Colossians 1:3, Paul uses the same Greek word when he says, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.”
In First Thessalonians 1:2, he again uses the same Greek word when he prays similarly for the Thessalonian believers: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.”
In Second Thessalonians 1:3, he uses this word again when he writes, “We are bound to thank God always for you….”
The fact that Paul used the word eucharistia when he prayed for his dearest friends reminds us that we must be thankful for the relationships God has put in our lives.
Whenever we think of our closest circle of friends, a deep sense of gratefulness, thankfulness, and appreciation should well up within us!
So when you’re praying for others, I encourage you to stop for a moment and reflect on all God has done in your life through those who are closest to you.
When you realize how valuable those relationships have been to you, you’ll be able to freely, joyfully, and unreservedly thank God for such precious friends!
Rick Renner Ministries