Black Friday? Or Thanksgiving Still Going?

Today is called Black Friday.   You made it through having to be officially thankful, appreciative and giving, but now you can unleash your true nature into wholesale getting, lusting and outmaneuvering.   OK, some of it will be for gifts for loved ones, and overall it’s supposed to give businesses the money they need to be in the “black” financially.

I didn’t get up early and I’m not out fighting the crowds.  Each year I don’t spend any time looking at the Black Friday ads, and I don’t think I’ve ever bought any Black Friday deals.

I want today to be Thanksgiving

I just stepped on the scales, so I’m not talking about another day of cooking and devouring all the fattening tasty foods.  I’m not talking about trying to get all the extended family traveled to the same dinner table.

We had our family Thanksgiving Wednesday so that two of our daughters could join us.  Then we enjoyed a second Thanksgiving celebration yesterday with brethren who invited us to share with them.

Thanksgiving is not really a sacred 24-hour period

Some historians say the Thanksgiving of the Pilgrims was likely in early October and was rooted in the biblical Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

Leading Us to Our Glorious Destiny adPresident Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving for Thursday, Nov. 26 in 1863.  Succeeding presidents continued it on the last Thursday of the month.  Until in 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to boost the economy by extending the shopping season by moving Thanksgiving back a week to the third week.  Instead, he ended up setting the day to be the fourth Thursday of November, not necessarily the last Thursday.

But now, no need to move Thanksgiving this year.  The sellers just started their Black Friday deals a week early.  Some proclaimed Black Friday all month.  On the way home yesterday—Thursday afternoon—stores were opening  for Black  Friday at 4 p.m.

Today is a beautiful sunny Friday.  It’s not yesterday all over again, like with the “Groundhog Day” movie.

But for me it will never be Black  Friday.  Today is Thanksgiving.   Even the Pilgrims kept the first one apparently for three days.  I’m still feeling thankful, especially to God, and I want to continue it forever.

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We Have Way More Chiropractors!

“How could those Israelites have been so blind … so faithless … so stubborn!

ExodusAfter witnessing perhaps the greatest miracle in history—the parting of the Red Sea—with “I Am” who would become Jesus Christ in time, leading them by day as a cloud and by night as a pillar of fire, so soon they are complaining about being thirsty!  God had just shown them who controls water and who can drown somebody if He chooses!

At Mara God tells Moses to throw a tree into the bitter waters and He satisfies them with Temptation Adsweet drink!

Tsk … tsk … if the impatient gripers would have just waited, Elim was just ahead with 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees; “so they camped there by the waters”! (Exo. 15:22-27).

Well, we should cut them some slack in our judging:  they had gone three days of fasting with no water.  But not by choice!  In 50 years of fasting I have never gone past two days.

I don’t know what it feels like

to go three days without water.

It’s interesting that in the Bible the Israelites seemed to become complainers after three days.  See Num. 10:33.  Well, hey, when have I ever gone three days without anything, God has been so good to me!

Appraising myself this Thanksgiving, I dare say it takes me a lot less days to be motivated to gripe.

stiff neck oxMaybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge the Israelites as the most stiff-necked people God has ever worked with (Exo. 32:9).   They well understood the frustration of trying to plow a field or transport a cart when an ox was being stiff-necked.  Its refusal to be guided made it useless for any real work.

We have way more chiropractors.

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What?! Fast Before Feasting Thursday on Turkey & All the Trimmings?

Okay, some people plan ahead and drop a few pounds before they pig out on Thanksgiving and put them right back on.    Then they’re very thankful to weigh the same!

But I’m not talking about fasting before Thanksgiving for physical reasons.

If some historians are right that Thanksgiving is rooted in the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, then here’s something to consider:  God commands that His people fast on the Day of Atonement which is five days before the start of the Feast.

Why fast before feasting?

The two main reasons God gives for keeping His Feast of Tabernacles is to “fear Him” and “to rejoice” (Deut. 14:24-26)—and fasting is the best way to prepare for both of those objectives.   A gnawing stomach and dry mouth will convince you that you can’t live without Your Sustainer!  And food and drink never taste so good as after a fast!

The Feast is seven days of intense training for service in the Millennium and Kingdom of God which requires humble servant leadership—and fasting is the best way to lose the Big I.

And we must “sigh and cry over all the abominations” in this world (Ezek. 9:4) so we will have opportunity to change them working with Jesus Christ and the saints.  Fasting is the best way for us to experience “afflicting the comfortable so we can comfort the afflicted.”

toolboxI’m giving a sermon this Sabbath and feel inspired to give it on fasting—our most powerful tool in our Christian toolbox.  The timing might be inspired since Saturday is five days before Thanksgiving!

Building the Family of God adThe Psalms often speak of giving thanks to God.   The Psalms make a clear case for conducting a fast so you can be more thankful:

♦   “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God” (Psalm 50:14)

♦   “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit … and repentant heart” (Psalm 51:17).

Just today a Bible subhead jumped out at me and snagged my eyes:  “Jesus’ Prayer of Thanksgiving.”  I never noticed that before!  “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike” (Matt. 11:25 New Living Translation).   Oh oh!  God keeps reminding us whom He’s willing to work with (1 Cor. 1:26-31, Isa. 66:2)!

Nothing could prepare us for a meaningful Thanksgiving better than a day of spiritual fasting before then.

Plus the turkey and pumpkin pie will never taste so good!  You’ll probably eat more and be thankful when you nevertheless end up at the same weight as a bonus for fasting!

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Is Thanksgiving Rooted in the Feast of Tabernacles?

We’re still recalling how wonderful the Feast of Tabernacles was in mid-October.   And now here we are eagerly looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving in our home with family in about a week.

Are both related?

Some believe Thanksgiving has its roots in the biblical Feast of Tabernacles (Hebrew Sukkot).

“The pilgrims based their customs on the Bible,” said Gloria Kaufer Greene, author of the “New Jewish Holiday Cookbook” (Times Books, 1999). “They knew that Sukkot was an autumn harvest festival, and there is evidence that they fashioned the first Thanksgiving after the Jewish custom of celebrating the success of the year’s crops.”

Linda Burghardt, author of “Jewish Holiday Traditions” (Citadel Press, 2001), said, “Sukkot is considered a model for Thanksgiving. Both holidays revolve around showing gratitude for a bountiful harvest.”

Some historians say Sephardic Jews fleeing persecution in Spain in A.D. 1492 joined up in A.D. 1607 with the Pilgrims in Holland who had fled Britain and came with them to America.

They speculate that the first Thanksgiving

occurred during the fall of A.D. 1621 between Sept. 21 and Nov. 9, most likely in early October, around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles.

The first celebration lasted three days, more similar to the seven days of the Feast than to what we do today.  Most of us can’t stand football and stuffing ourselves silly for that long!

God commands the observance of His Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23).   The Bible doesn’t command that we observe Thanksgiving.   But of course the Bible does promote giving thanks, especially to God, and commands “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Click on this link to see a more complete discussion showing Thanksgiving’s connection to the Feast of Tabernacles …

synapsesNeuroscience says giving thanks actually changes the neurons in our brains, making beneficial physical changes in them that makes it more likely we will choose to be thankful when a similar situation presents itself.  How about that!  Making the right spiritual choice to be thankful changes our physical body to bias us to make the right spiritual choice next time!   Give thanks to our amazing Creator that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psa. 139:14).

Delaying the Feast One Month

When the 12 Tribes of Israel split, and Jeroboam took charge of the northern 10 Tribes, to keep the people from wanting to go back to Jerusalem, he “ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah” (1 Kings 12:32).

Could this have anything to do with modern Manassah, one of the leading Tribes of those 10 Tribes, ending up with Thanksgiving following the Feast of Tabernacles by about a month?

turkeySo many interesting what-ifs about Thanksgiving.   Happy Thanksgiving!  Not just thanks-thinking.  Not just thanks-feeling.  God’s people in countries that observe Thanksgiving are glad to take advantage of a holiday to rejoice with family and thank our Great God!

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You’d Think We’d Want to Keep the Day God Specifies as His Sabbath—I Do

A few days ago I was watching an old Andy of Mayberry rerun, and Andy, Bea, Opie and Barney were greeting the pastor as they filed out of the Sunday morning service.  “Good Sabbath, pastor,” Barney says cheerily.

Soon after that I was reading the religious section of the Pueblo Chieftain where a woman pastor’s column mentions “Sunday morning Sabbath.”   To aptly characterize that, the fancy word is an oxymoron.   Two thoughts that don’t jive.  The simple plain comment is that Barney and the woman, though well-meaning, don’t know the Bible.

When God created the first seven days, on the first day He divided the light from the darkness.  Oh, the joyous day when it dawned on me

Which day God specified as His day of rest!  (Genesis 2:2)

Whoa!  For your sake please open your Bible and see which day He specified!  And which day of the seven-day week God specified in His 4th Commandment that we need to remember (Exodus 20:10).  The same day, of course!  People agree that the other nine are pretty good laws, but don’t tell me about that 4th one!

And which day of the seven-day week God specified for His “perpetual” Sabbath covenant (Exodus 31:15-17) that would forever be “a sign” of who was the Creator and who were His people.  The same day!  Here’s our sign from God!  Jeff Foxworthy couldn’t come up with a more meaningful one.

Barney’s pastor should have responded

“Thanks, Barn, but that was yesterday, you’re a day late!”  As for the woman pastor, well, I can’t expect much from someone who pays no attention to what God inspired Paul to write in His Bible:  (1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:12, Titus 1:5).

To say the least, a lot is at stake—through the centuries Sabbath keepers have been martyred over it.  The end-time Mark of the Beast could well be an actual mark of some kind, considering all the ways already developed for embedding chips into human skin and spying on people, but for sure it’s really about the “mark” of keeping God’s Sabbath and Holy Days that will keep a true Christian from buying or selling.   When one can only buy groceries if they keep Sunday, well then an obedient Christian might find himself a day late and a dollar short.

But I’d rather worry about what God thinks.  I’d rather enjoy His blessings for keeping His Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13-14).  And I’d rather not go into captivity for Sabbath-breaking and idolatry (Ezekiel 20:24), which prophecy says is surely coming for God’s rebellious people.

Here is a clinching quote:  “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of SundayThe Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify” [James Cardinal Gibbons, Catholic educator and archbishop of Baltimore in the late 1800s and early 1900s, emphasis mine].

You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.   Please!  Read the scriptures above to see for yourself which day of the week God sanctifies as His Sabbath.

In about 10 minutes, the Sabbath begins for me in Canon City, Colorado.  At sunset, not midnight, and it will end at sunset tomorrow night—Saturday night—as Sunday, the first day of the week begins.  God’s joyous Sabbath is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.  I for sure want to keep the day God specifies as His Sabbath.  Surely you do too!

Below is an eye-opening FREE booklet you can read online, download, or request a printed copy!
Sabbath booklet

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“Who Cares About Doctrine! I Want to Know: Heaven or Hell?”

Heaven?  Hell?  Ohhhhhhhhh! [like Andy of Mayberry was fond of exclaiming] …

You can’t get more doctrine than that!

Who doesn’t care about the doctrine of where we will spend eternity, since God has “set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

In this blog, now going on five years, I have explained several times what the Bible teaches about what’s going to happen to us after we die.  The truth involves three resurrections.  You might say the truth is eye-opening.  If you like a good pun.   OK, if you like a good pun, you probably wouldn’t say that!

Yet when I read what some great blog writers write who are listed as followers of this blog, and yet obviously didn’t understand a key doctrinal point I made, it makes me wonder if such important doctrines can be adequately explained in a blog post that people expect to be no more than 500 words, and they’ll give it four minutes or less of their busy schedule.  Does anybody besides me take notes from a blog and look up scriptures?  It’s not the nature of the beast.

Should I just give up trying?   No way,

Doctrine is too important

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).   Our ultimate authority for doctrine must come from Scripture.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

“We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15).  If you’ve got true doctrine, all you need is love!  For God first and then for fellow man.

How I learned the doctrines

Not in a blog.  Of course they didn’t exist back then.  Way back then!  In the late ’60s.

I studied a correspondence course lesson that led me through a detailed analysis of every scripture on a subject, such as heaven or hell.  I looked up each scripture and wrote them out!

Later I studied a booklet that made this exciting subject really plain.

Just click anywhere on the ad below and you can read online, download your FREE copy, or send off for your FREE printed copy!

heaven & hell booklet
Yes, I was surprised at what the Bible really says!

Other FREE booklets are available on all major subjects and doctrines.  Help yourself!

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