Nothin’ Religious About Thanksgiving!

It was a week before Thanksgiving and a young homeschooling mother was having her teeth cleaned.

The dental hygienist was complaining. “I hate spending another holiday at my sister’s house. She HAS to make every holiday a religious holiday,  even Thanksgiving! Come on, it’s Turkey Day!  What’s religious about that?”

The homeschooling mom spoke up. “Actually, it IS a religious holiday.  In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln made a declaration. He proclaimed an annual ‘National Day of Thanksgiving’ as a day when the people of this country should give thanks to God for His many blessings.  That sounds sort of religious to me.”

The hygienist became quiet.  Then, “How did you know that?”

“Just this week my kids asked me how Thanksgiving began. I did some research.”

The hygienist responded. “Okay. Well, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

  • For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.    Romans 1:20-21

 

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Thanksgiving History

A brief history of Thanksgiving to share at your family gathering:

The first Thanksgiving Day began after the harvest of November 1621.  Governor William Bradford of the 1620 Pilgrim Colony, in Plymouth, Massachusetts proclaimed:

“All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”

U.S. Presidents continued through the years to proclaim a day of Thanksgiving to God.     In October 1863,  240 years after that first Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed an annual “National Day of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”  President Lincoln said,

[It is]  “…announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord… But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, by the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own… It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people…”

***

Do President Lincoln’s words ring true today?  Have we forgotten God?     Have we vainly imagined that our own superior wisdom has made us what we are today?  Or rather, what we used to be?   Is our nation not spiraling downward and away from the God who created us?

It is not too late to turn back to God now, this very day.                                           Go to:    www.godlife.com/gospel

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Profanity Not Tolerated!

We arrived with our family at a large theme park. Upon entering I noticed a sign that said, “Profanity and other inappropriate language will not be tolerated at this establishment.”  How refreshing!  I was impressed.

We walked to the water park section and a park official explained the safety rules.  When doing so he took the Lord’s name in vain twice.  When he finished I allowed our family to go ahead of me.  I wanted to talk with him.

“Excuse me. I noticed the sign that said profanity would not be tolerated at this establishment. I want  you to know I appreciate that.”

“Thank you.”

“Yet when you spoke to us just now, you used profanity twice.  Did you know that?”

“What do you mean? I’m usually pretty careful about that sort of thing.”

I smiled, “You said ‘Good Lord!’ and you also said ‘O my God!'”

“THAT is profanity?  Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.  Profanity is treating irreverent something that’s holy.  It’s very common these days.  Many people don’t realize they are breaking the Third Commandment which tells us not to misuse God’s name.  It’s so important to God that He put it high on his list, even above murder and stealing. Did you know it’s the only commandment that comes with a warning?

“What kind of warning?”

“It says that ‘anyone who misuses God’s name will not be held guiltless.’  In other words, you won’t be able to say to God someday, ‘I wasn’t thinking when I said it.’ Or, ‘Everyone else was saying it. I didn’t think it was that important.’ No. You will be guilty.”

“Well I just learned something new.  Thanks for telling me.”

  •  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.    Exodus 20:7
  • [Have you ever confronted someone for taking the Lord’s name in vain? Would you dare? If not, why not?  To leave a reply click on story title and scroll to bottom of page.]
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Incarcerated Teen Sharing Jesus

One evening at the facility for incarcerated teens,  a new boy walked into my Bible study. He was carrying papers and explained they were from a Bible study he’d been doing.

I recognized the papers as those I had written myself and had given out as homework to the teens in another unit.  Curious, I asked “Where did you get these?”

He explained,  “I just transferred from Oakwood 3.   A guy named Mario was giving them out.  He was teaching me about the Bible and asked the guard to make copies of his own Bible study.”

I smiled.  I know Mario. He came to Christ a few months ago and has made great strides in his new faith.  The Lord has given him such peace and joy that he’s been sharing the Good News with others ever since.  Now he’s using my materials to help the others grow.

How I praise God for Mario and the others like him!

  •  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:37-38
  •  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  Acts 1:8
  • SONG:  SEVEN TIMES A DAY – Click here to listen:
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Earthquake Prayer With Toddler

Her three-year-old was coloring nearby when the earthquake started. He looked over at her questioningly, “What’s that?”

“It’s an earthquake, Matthew. Come sit on Mommy’s lap. We’re going to sit under the archway and thank Jesus for the earthquake.”

While he was getting comfortable, she began praying, “Thank You, Lord, for this earthquake. Thank You for the gentle, rolling motion. Thank You for taking care of Baby Elizabeth sleeping in her crib. Thank You for taking care of Daddy at work. Thank You that many people are talking to You right now. Thank You that we can trust You. Thank You that You are in control. We love you.  We pray in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.”

The earthquake was over and Matt jumped off her lap and ran outside to play.

The phone rang. It was the neighbor with children the same age.  She was frantic. “The kids are hysterical! I’m shaking. I yelled at Robby to stand under the archway and ‘DON’T MOVE!’  Then I ran and grabbed Jenny out of her crib so we could sit together under the archway. The kids are sobbing. We’re all trembling.”

She glanced outside at Matt happily digging in the dirt. She thought to herself, “What a difference it makes to trust God and to thank Him.”

  • LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.       Psalm 84:12
  • …always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.        Ephesians 5:20

 

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Grocery Bagger: Need Help Out?

I was going through the checkout line when the young man bagging my groceries asked if I wanted help out.

I didn’t need help, but I looked at him and wondered if he knew the Lord.  So I said, “Thank you! That would be nice.”

I’ve discovered most of these young workers enjoy an opportunity to get out of the store and into some fresh air. While walking to the car I made some small talk:
“Have you worked here long?  Are you a student? Hey! I’m taking a survey! May I ask you one question?”

“Sure.”

“If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

“No, not really.  Maybe hell.”

“Oh dear!  You know Jesus came to earth just so He could save people, so they don’t have to go to hell. We’re all sinners and we all need a Savior.”

“I have a booklet with information right from the Bible. It’s called, “Would You Like to Know God Personally?” You might like it.  It will show you how you can make Jesus your Savior so you’ll know you are going to heaven.”

He said, “Hey, thanks! I take my break in 10 minutes—I’ll read it then!”

Just in case he wanted to learn more, I had written on the back of the booklet: https://www.godlife.com .

  • For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.     Luke 19:10
  • He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”                 Mark 16:15
  • SONG:  MY FRIEND – Click here to listen: 
  • What about you?  Have you ever considered sharing Christ in this way?

 

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Religion is for Brainless Drones

“I have a question. Why do you insist on spreading the cancer that is religion? It’s a dirty lie and all your followers are nothing but brainless drones. ~ James”

Wow!  NOT one of the usual questions I get as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach!  I prayed and then responded:

“Dear James,   I’m sorry you believe we are spreading a cancer of religion. Actually, we do not promote religion.  Jesus didn’t start a religion. The religious people of his day were hypocrites, as many are today.  Jesus came to set us free from religion. Religion is mostly man-made rules.  Trying to obey rules will not save anyone. 

“Jesus Christ came to free people. Many years ago I surrendered my life to Christ and I was set free!  My life changed dramatically both inside and out. 

“You may call us brainless drones, but many of us are well-educated, professional people. A good friend and his wife are both medical doctors who recognize that Jesus is alive and has set them free from guilt and fear. Our neighbor is a surgeon who has written books on the power of Jesus Christ to heal and bring peace. Another good friend is a six-sigma engineer who believes and teaches the science of Intelligent Design. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does creation. 

“I have received countless letters from people worldwide who have medical or psychological problems caused by guilt and fear.  Once they receive the good news, they too are set free.

“What’s the good news?  That there is nothing you have ever done that God doesn’t WANT to forgive. He loves you.  That is why Jesus came—to live a sinless life so that He could be the required sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world. He came to free us! 

“When people receive that free gift of salvation, then they also receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings all of His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness faithfulness and self-control. There are NINE fruit — as found in Galatians 5:22-23. This fruit is available to every follower of Jesus Christ. He/she only needs to exercise that fruit. When people begin acting on the Holy Spirit within them, they realize they now have the power to resist temptation. They WANT to do the right thing. They begin to experience a joy and a peace they have never known.

“This good news, James, brings permanent change, as it did for me. Marriages are healed, depression disappears, suicidal thoughts are forgotten.  This life is short and temporary. Blink your eyes one time and that is this life compared to eternity.  This life is a test. I want to pass the test. Don’t  you, James?

“Here are two helpful websites:  www.JesusFactOrFiction.com  and www.WhoIsJesus-Really.com     Please write back. I am here to help.”

James responded with a short note of apology.  

  • It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.     Galatians 5:1
  • Would you have responded to James’ letter differently?                                       Do you have “religion” or a relationship with Christ?  Do you see a difference?
  • For more information on Global Media Outreach: www.godlife.com 
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Pray for Your Child’s Future Spouse

When our children were six and four,  I began keeping a prayer journal.

In the beginning of the journal I had a page entitled: “My heart’s deepest desires for my husband.”  I had a similar page for both of our children.  There were even separate pages for the kids’ future spouses!  The requests I listed were similar but also different, because the kids are different.

When our daughter was 22 she told me she had met “the one.”  I brought out my old prayer journal and we looked at the list of prayer requests for her future husband. God had answered each one, over and above what I’d asked.  Indeed!  He was the one.  The same thing happened with our son.  How faithful is our God!

One thing on the list that I wanted for both our children and their mates, was that God would give them the gift of hospitality—that God would place in their hearts a desire to open their homes for God’s use.

Even though our daughter and her husband have a large family, they still host a weekly couple’s Bible study in their home. They host frequent dinners for friends and missionaries.

Likewise, our son and his wife do the same! Busy young people opening their homes for the Lord and modeling hospitality for their children.

Thank You, God, for what You are doing.  I am amazed that You continue to answer my prayers from that old prayer journal.  Thank You for Your faithfulness.

  •  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.   1 Thessalonians 5:24
  • If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.    Matthew 21:22
  • Song: Only One Life – Click here to listen:  
  • [Has God answered your specific prayers?  How did you feel?   To leave a comment, click on the TITLE  of this story. Then scroll to bottom of page to  “Leave a Reply.]  
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People Need Love

Most of the people who contact Global Media Outreach (GMO) are hurting.  It doesn’t matter where they live in the world; most are hurting because of love problems. “Pray for my marriage.”  “Pray that my husband will come home.”  “Pray that I can find a godly wife.”  “Nobody loves me.”  “Does God love me?”  “My wife doesn’t love me.”  “Nobody wants me.” Their stories are sad and endless.

Raj  from India had a love problem.  His girlfriend’s parents had suddenly arranged for her to marry someone else because Raj was not of the same caste.  He was devastated and said he wanted to kill himself.

I began encouraging him with Scripture and wrote out a prayer for him online.  He agreed to do our 30-day online Bible study.  He wrote almost daily to say the Bible study was helping him—making him more clear-headed.  But as the day of his former girlfriend’s wedding approached,  he again began to despair.

I suggested we pray for the soon-to-be newlyweds.  I wrote out my prayer and asked him to agree with it.  I prayed that God would bless their marriage with a deep love for one another.  I prayed that she would no longer think of Raj and that Raj would no longer think of her.  I prayed that Raj would begin to praise and thank God for his situation—showing God that Raj will trust Him, no matter what.  I prayed that God would fill Raj with His Holy Spirit so he could experience all the fruit of the Spirit, especially the peace, patience and joy.  I then suggested that Raj pray this way every time he begins to feel low.

It worked!  Soon Raj had accepted the marriage and moved on.  He is now involved in a Christian church, is going to Bible study and meeting new young people.

  • No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.     Romans 8:37-38.
  • Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.   1 Thessalonians 5:11
  • For more information on Global Media Outreach: www.godlife.com
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Pol Pot Kills – Tourist Rescues

It was 1975.  Little Bona was the youngest of five sons. One night the Communist forces of the Khmer Rouge came to his village in Cambodia and took his father away, never to be heard from again. Pol Pot’s vicious four-year dictatorship had begun.

Cities were evacuated, factories and schools closed.  Those believed to be intellectuals, such as teachers, medical doctors, those who spoke a foreign language, or in possession of eyeglasses or a wristwatch, were executed as enemies of the state.  Millions were herded into rural collective farms. Between 1975 and 1978, nearly two million Cambodians died by execution, forced labor and famine.

Bona’s mother used a bicycle to provide for her family. On the front end was a net to carry little Bona. On either side of the bike she carried fish sauce she made and sold.  Behind the bicycle she carried cultivation tools to sell: hoes, plows, machetes and sickles.

Thankfully, in 1979 Pol Pot was overthrown.  Food was scarce and Bona’s mother struggled to feed her sons.  After a few years two of the boys escaped to Thailand to live in a refugee camp where they learned English. They returned three years later and began teaching English to their younger siblings.

When Bona was 16 he began working in a restaurant in hopes of practicing his English.  A tourist entered and a conversation ensued. John, a schoolteacher from Brooklyn, told Bona he wanted to meet his mother.  Bona brought him home and when John saw their poverty, he said he wanted to help Bona get an education.

They went to the bank and John deposited $60 in an account and handed Bona his very own bank book.  Thus began five years of education for Bona.  Every month John would send $150.  This paid for Bona’s tuition, books, housing, clothes and food while he completed high school and four years at the university. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science and engineering.

Today Bona is married with children, has a successful career and still keeps in touch with his good friend John from Brooklyn.

  •  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.   Hebrews 13:16
  • What are your thoughts?   Do you think John from Brooklyn has any regrets?                   (To leave a reply, simply scroll to the bottom.)

 

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