In an interview last week on a Christian radio talk show, the final question the host asked me was: “What are you thankful for?” The first thing out of my mouth was “Freedom in America.” I have to admit, my own response caught me off guard. In the past, I would have listed a dozen things I’m thankful for, starting with God, family, and friends; but many of us understand that things are changing in the country we love, and we better stop taking our God-given freedoms for granted.
This week, Franklin Graham boldly stated America is in the quagmire we’re in because we have turned our backs on God. I agree with his assessment; though the Democratic Party as a whole has removed God from their platform, Republican leaders and candidates have not been mentioning our need as a nation to ask the Most High God for help. Graham stated, “The more we turn our backs on God, the bigger our problems become.”
About a hundred and fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln recognized what he believed was God’s hand of judgment on America “for our national perverseness and disobedience.” People were falling away from God, and Lincoln declared the first national “Day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” In his 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation, he stated:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. …We have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
In 2012, America seems even less grateful. We need to remember God never changes, and He is not surprised that we’ve chosen culture over Christ. We have conformed to the world instead of influencing our godless culture.
We have steadily abandoned the morals and principles that once made us great. Those who oppose God have assaulted the American family, attacked Christians, rewritten our history, and have eroded the foundations of our liberty. Because of our own apathy combined with this anti-Christian agenda, we are reaping the consequences.
Many of us were shocked four years ago when Americans elected the most liberal, secular-progressive president in our history. We could hardly imagine surviving four years of policies that threaten our religious and economic freedoms, support anti-biblical causes, disrespect Israel, and irresponsibly increase federal spending; but here we go again. America has not yet been brought to her knees.
Four years is a vapor. To the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day (2 Peter 3:8). Up to now, God has been patient. We must cultivate hearts of gratitude and understand how good He has been to us. We still have so much to be thankful for in America. Look around the world, and it won’t take long to recognize despite our flaws and apathy, we live in an exceptional country.
Because of the faith of our founders and their vision for this country, America has done more for the world, including needy countries, than any nation on earth. We are a compassionate people. American churches and charities have reached out to countless souls world-wide; and in our short history, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has reached millions because of the United States.
Let’s remember the God we have forgotten.
Battling the elements and the challenges of living in a new land, the Pilgrims made many more graves than huts; and yet these brave pioneers thanked Almighty God by setting aside a day of Thanksgiving! This is the American spirit. The Bible teaches us to give thanks in every circumstance as the testing of our faith produces endurance.
It’s easier to thank God when times are good; but trusting His sovereignty, we are to find joy and be grateful at all times. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Thanksgiving isn’t a time to be busy and distracted with planning, shopping, or feeling obligated to buy presents; it’s a time to humbly lift our hands to the One who is always faithful and promises to provide all our needs. It is a time to analyze and evaluate our priorities and get right with God if we have personally strayed from Him. It is a time to encourage others to cry out to God for mercy and to save America from self-destruction.
John Adams once stated that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Let’s get back to the basics of faith, family, and freedom; back to loving King [Jesus] and Country. We still live in a beautiful land, and we have much to be thankful for: “O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life! America! America! God shed his grace on Thee …”
Trust the Lord that you and I are here for such a time as this. We can be thankful His love for us and His purposes haven’t changed.
Giving a presentation to a battle-weary Tea Party audience in Wisconsin a few days ago, I reminded them how we have strayed from our faith and conservative principles. I concluded by saying if our hope is in people, politics, or possessions, we will always be disappointed. If however, our hope is in Jesus Christ, if He is our Lord and Savior, then our perspective can be one of gratitude no matter what is happening around us. Happy Thanksgiving!
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever; …But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Psalm 106:1, 1 Cor. 15:57)
Photo credit: simple pleasure (Creative Commons)