This Thanksgiving season, there’s good news and there’s bad news and it may depend on your perspective. As you know, most of our founders came to this bountiful land to live in freedom from religious persecution, and their standards were based on the principles in the Holy Bible. And yet, here we are in 2018 – hanging on by a thread to the religious freedoms this nation has enjoyed – and has taken for granted.
Though we’re seeing a toxic increase of hatred, we can be still thankful for our history – and especially for hope.
The very first Thanksgiving took place almost 400 years ago—long before the nation was even born. But prior to arriving on these shores, William Bradford, the founder of Plymouth colony settlement wrote:
“…Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony.”
God is a big part of our history and always has been. The United States Congress once issued an official Proclamation of Thanksgiving and Prayer on October 18, 1780, calling on Americans “to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread all over the Earth.”
Sadly, true American history has been edited or even deleted from public school text books. We have forgotten that the good news of Jesus Christ was once foundational to our liberties as well as our lives and as a result of our forgetting, the nation has gone from spiritual to secular. Proverbs 14:34 states:
“Righteousness exalts a nation; But sin is a disgrace to any people.”
President Abraham Lincoln gave a Thanksgiving proclamation in 1863 in which he encouraged citizens to acknowledge the Lord. Earlier that year in March, with full support of the U.S. Senate, he declared a national day of fasting and prayer to God due in part to the Civil War. Only 87 years after celebrating America’s independence and freedom as a nation, this prospering country was showing signs of comfort and spiritual compromise.
Here is a partial text from Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation:
“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 forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, 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!
Lincoln was right. He implored the people to confess their sins, and to pray for forgiveness and God’s mercy on America.
Today, we are plagued by political correctness and moral relativism, lawlessness, people calling good evil and evil good, a loss of values, and the breakdown of social order. Moreover, Hollywood and the culture have a far greater influence on the church than the church has in and on our culture.
Signs of the times indicate this nation is in rapid decline, but how long do we really have? This is up for debate and speculation. But let’s consider some of the cultural, social, and spiritual symptoms common to nations that have fallen or have been destroyed:
- Increasing rebellion against God
- A loss of economic discipline
- Greed; increased materialism
- Rising government bureaucracy and taxes
- Declining education in quality, morality, and in measurable results
- Lack of respect for authority
- Policies based on feelings over facts
- The acceptance of foreign gods and empty religious practices
- The promotion of sin and perversion
- A decline in value of human life leading to abortion and euthanasia
Perhaps instead of asking God to bless America we should be asking Him to save us! Repentance must come first, and Christians must lead by example. If your heart is heavy reading some of this, know there is a God who loves you and wants you to either cultivate an eternal perspective or turn back to Him.
If you tend to be on social media or look at the news a little too much, at government, public schools, the corporate world, the entertainment industry or culture in general, it can be quite discouraging. But if we look at what Jesus did to secure our salvation and at all the things we each have personally as well the country in which we’re blessed to live, we can be thankful and we can take heart.
First, there’s always hope in the promises of God which the Bible describes as an anchor to our souls during storms in life. Second, if Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of your faith, your foundation won’t be shaken as it is built upon the Rock and you know all this is temporary.
Third, as imperfect as it is, we still live in one of the most amazing countries on earth. We have countless blessings, conveniences, and advantages as citizens of this beacon of freedom. Why do you think millions of less fortunate people dream about living in America? Many still risk their lives to come here.
And fourth, if you woke up today, opened your eyes and got out of bed; if you generally have your health, family in Christ, food on the table or in a refrigerator; if you have clean, running water, electricity, a house to live in, a car to drive, a job to go to and even some bills that are paid, you are abundantly blessed more than 75% of people in countries around the world.
I am particularly grateful for each day because by the grace of God, I had a successful heart operation in April of this year.
Every day we have so much to be thankful for, so let’s –
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:1
O God, restore us and cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. Psalm 80:3
*Originally published by Freedom Project Media
Featured photo source: Wall Street Journal