God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
the melody, click on
In this stormy time of social
transformation, no change impacts America more profoundly than her
shifting views of God. And those views -- Christian or not --shape our
beliefs, our doubts, our assumptions, our prayers, our relationships and
our giving of thanks. So to understand the meaning of Thanksgiving
2002, we might begin with two questions: Who is God? Why is He worthy
of our thanks?
The Pilgrims knew the answers well.
They saw God as the sovereign Creator and Master of the universe. Food,
clothing, health or sickness, prosperity or poverty, life and death...
everything came from Him and through Him. Nothing happened apart from
His will and purpose.
But such beliefs are no longer welcome
in public places. The faith of our Pilgrim fathers cannot be taught
in social studies. God's hand in American history has been censored.
The vacuum has been filled with a diversity of multicultural deities
and mystical forces complete with timeless myths and enticing magic.
And the transformation didn't happen overnight.
Back in the eighties, government
schools were already trading truths for myths. Popular history texts
told children that the Pilgrims gave their thanks to the Indians, not to
God, at that first Thanksgiving feast.
Then, in 1990 -- when the
movement suddenly swept into the American consciousness -- educational
change agents changed their tune. Scholastic (Harry Potter's
U.S. publisher) News circulated the following Thanksgiving
message to about half of all our nation’s elementary schools:
TO THE EARTH
Thanksgiving feasts were harvest festivals. People gathered to
celebrate successful harvests and to thank the Earth for its
fruits." (emphasis added)
Now, twelve years later, the
distortions and deceptions have multiplied, permeating our culture. Try
asking a stranger, Who is God? Chances are, the answer will fit
the all-pervasive global theme: "unity in diversity." For example,
God is an impersonal
pantheistic force flowing through all forms of life and making all
He is a permissive Santa
Claus-like deity who answers our prayers when we "are good" or pray
the "right" way.
She is a non-judgmental
feminine force or personified angelic presence which can be activated
through mind-altering rituals and pagan worship.
God is a feel-good blend
of all the various religious paths: the universalism of Baha'i, the
mysticism of Hinduism, the chakras and five-fold path of Buddhism,
along with some pleasing promises from the Bible and a non-judgmental
image of a loving Jesus.
The last option best illustrates
our changing world. It epitomizes synthesis, solidarity and
consensus. It grinds away at the edges of separatism, non-conformity and
Christianity. And its dedicated disciples are far more acceptable to our
global managers than those who walk the "narrow way" that God calls His
people to follow. Small wonder today's postmodern crowds are trading
the God of the Bible for the "feel-good" gods of the
To speed this paradigm
shift, educational change agents are pressing institutions into line. For example, Harvard
University has created a Committee
on Healthy Diversity. It will
guide political correctness and propose new restrictions on speech
and religious freedom.
 Meanwhile, the USA, like Canada comes ever closer
to legislating what Biblical truths pastors may or may not teach
To the world around us, God's Word
is simply too offensive. So are some of His most basic and wonderful
attributes -- even as they fill our own hearts with thanks:
1. He is the
sovereign King of the universe, the almighty
Creator and Sustainer of all things. Therefore we
give Him thanks for life, health, daily provisions, rain, beautiful
fall leaves.... everything He has given us for our daily walk with
Him and our participation in His purposes.
2. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Righteousness
and our Fountain of Life. Therefore, I thank Him for opening my eyes
to my own sinful nature and my need for His mercy and forgiveness.
And we thank Him together for His resurrection life and for His
promised victory over evil, temptation, sin and death by the power
of His Spirit -- now and forever.
3. He is our
Strength, our Keeper, our Shepherd and our Peace.
We thank Him for reconciling us to Himself, bringing
us into the shelter of His presence, filling us with a "peace that
passeth understanding" [Phil.
4:7] and leading us in His triumph
wherever He sends us.
4. He is
Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider, our Friend and our Confidence.
We thank Him for meeting all our needs, satisfying our
deepest longings and giving us the
faith to count on His promises and believe what He has shown us about
Himself and His wonderful ways.
5. He is
the living Word, the triumphant Truth -- our Shepherd and Guide along
the narrow way He has mapped out for us. We thank Him for the
truths He has planted in our hearts, for they enable us to discern
deceptions and walk in His victory no matter how fierce the
"Yes, he is
altogether lovely. This is my beloved,
and this is my friend!" Song of Solomon 5:16.
Those who would re-invent
God and imagine Him to be something other than what He has shown
us, would be wise to consider these warnings.
"...although they knew God, they did not glorify
Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their
thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." Romans 1:21
"...when you have eaten and are full, and have
built beautiful houses and dwell in them... your heart is lifted up
and you forget the Lord your God.... you say in your heart, ‘My
power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ ... If you
by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods... you
shall surely perish." Deuteronomy 8:10-20
In Old Testament days, God would
withdraw His loving care and protection from Israel when the people
rejected His truths and "walked in the counsels and in the imagination
of their evil heart." (Jeremiah 7:24) Left to their
own meager resources, they often faced drought, famine, wars and
disease -- all of which will increase in end times. And we, as a nation,
will face the same consequences if and when we turn away from Him.
But the Shepherd is our shelter in
the storm. He is our fortress and deliverer; our strength, in whom we
can trust! "In the world you will have tribulation;" He tells us,
"but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Therefore,
"...in everything give thanks; for this is the will of
God in Christ Jesus for you." (