This week I want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Hi, I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard. Thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing to the Speak Life Church Podcast. This show is dedicated to you in hopes of encouraging your spirit, feeding your faith, and blessing your life. [Intro music plays]
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
You know, Thanksgiving is an annual tradition in the United States. It’s been that way since 1863 — celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, it’s the time of year when we get together with friends and eat a huge meal — eat more than we ever do any other time. It’s the weekend where everybody travels to be with people they care about. It’s when hotels are booked and flights are backed up, and folks are just trying to be in the right frame of mind.
It’s when they start thinking about Christmas and giving and being nice to each other. It’s the beginning of that season. Folks start taking four-day weekends, schools are off, colleges are out. There’s a Black Friday sale. That was a big thing back in the day before the age of corona and Covid-19, when you would go out after being stuffed all day, all night, and maybe even go out with the family to shop, and buy stuff to begin Christmas. People united and some people ate Chinese food. That might be because we traveled a long distance and they know the chefs were in the kitchen and nobody wanted to mess up their meals, so we ate pizza or Chinese food, or we ate something that was fast. Some people even fast it to put more room in their stomachs. It’s also the busiest night for bars and clubs because not everybody has somebody.
And, on that note, it’s also a time for folks to start getting depressed, and get the blues, and get really, really down. It’s a time of increased suicides. It’s a time of increased drinking and melancholy, and it can be really a dark time for some people who are remembering folks who are gone. In the midst of your week your week, in the midst of your celebration, in the midst of your planning, please pause to remember to call, to lift up, to be nice because everybody doesn’t have it as good as you do. As I prepared for this week, as I prepared for today and prepared for this message, my head was pounding and I wasn’t feeling too great. I know some of it was the Enemy. And some of it is just getting old. Stuff happens to us all, but you know what? I thank God for this opportunity to talk to you, to be with you for these few minutes. You have made a difference in my life, allowing me to do what thus saith the Lord. You’ve allowed me to pray with you, to talk to you, to hear from you — sometimes in an email and sometimes in just a quick note somewhere — to let me know that you’re there. Right now, I’m sitting alone in my studio, but I’m not alone, am I? Our Heavenly Father is here, and you are here. So, let us pray to begin this episode of Thanksgiving.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. [from Psalms 92 and 95]
Heavenly Father, I thank You. I thank You for this day. I thank You for this time. I thank You for this week. Father, I ask that You would lift up my weak voice, and make it strong for these, Your people. I pray, Lord God, for them. Sometimes we don’t know what to ask for. We don’t know what to say when we come into Your Presence, but You know what we need. I pray Your Will over our lives. I thank You for hearing our prayers over and over again. I thank You for being a God of graciousness, a God of love, a God of mercy. I thank You for the people You’ve put into our lives. I thank You for the time You’ve given to us in this time. I pray, Lord God, that You allow us to continue to learn and to grow, to appreciate You and all that You’ve given us. Help us to have a thankful heart. Help us, Lord God, to see You in everything that is happening — to have no fear because You are with us, to hear Your Voice in our dreams, to see Your Work in Your Handiwork everyday. Allow us to feel Your Presence and to share it with other people. Heavenly Father, Your daughter called me today and she asked me that despite what she’s done, do You still love her? Does God still allow me to pray? She was feeling alone. She was feeling no in the season that we’re going into. She was feeling outside. Father, I ask that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable. Allow me to remember the right things to say when somebody asks. You told us to let our conversation be without covetousness, and to be content with such things we have because You said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” You will never leave us, nor forsake us. Help us to remember that throughout this time. I truly thank You, Lord God, for the breath in my body, the blood running warm in my veins, for all that I have and all that I don’t have, all that I’m about to receive, for the beauty of the day, the quiet in the still of the night, the peace in the lonely times because it is and has to be. Thank You for all that my eyes can see, my ears can hear, my mouth can taste. Thank You for being truly my God, my life, and my strength, my soul and my shield. Thank You for allowing me to lie down and get back up. I thank You for the job. Thank You for the opportunity. Thank You for the connections. Thank You for the friends and the family. And if I fail to mention anything, please, forgive me because I am still very thankful for everything You’ve provided for me and my family. I ask a special blessing for all who are listening. Thank You, Lord God. I ask this all in the Name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen. [The Lord’s Prayer sung here]
You know, it’s easy to take things for granted. We live in a free country. Most of us have way too many pounds on us because we eat so well. We have shelter, and we have a little bit of money. We might not be as well off as some people, but compared to most of the world, we’re pretty rich. We’re not only blessed materially, but we have friends, family, and a future. In spite of all this, we are sometimes slow to acknowledge our blessings.
Because we have grown so accustomed to what we have, we take things for granted, and every once in awhile, we need to be reminded of just what we have been taking for granted and what we should be grateful for. I think 2020 has been the time that many of us have asked for, unfortunately. And now, in special times like this week, like Thanksgiving, we focus our attention on the things that really count. This is an American holiday, like I said before, a special time of the year. It’s the beginning of the holiday season for many. It’s a time when we look back on the blessings that God has given us, and a time when we look forward to blessings that will come in the eternity.
We can focus now, though, on the present, and celebrate the greatest gift of all — the Gift of God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, but before I get all theological and sound like I’m all pious and holy, I gotta tell you that I haven’t always been who I am now, and that I’ve struggled and messed up over and over again. In many times, like this, I thank God for not taking me out. I thank God for allowing me to still call Him my Father in Heaven. It’s times like this when I look at the evil I have done in this life, the things that I have done that I am not proud of, the things that have allowed the Enemy to use me to do, the things that the Enemy has taken from me, destroyed.
I give thanks to God for His Mercy. And, like Job said, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” And I tell often, that other voice in my head, that other me, “I am still standing. I am still here.” And I thank God for that. See, I don’t know what you. You might’ve had a super life and you never made any mistakes, you never had any regrets, but for somebody to be truly thankful, he or she must be grateful for something and to someone. I thank God for everything. You see, the Greatest Gift that was ever given by the Greatest Person was God’s Son, Jesus the Christ. He’s the real basis for all Thanksgiving. Our principle text in 2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift” — the greatest gift that anyone has ever given to mankind is God’s Gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus because
He loved us, and so He could do the greatest work for us that anyone has ever done, and that work was dying on the Cross for our sins so that we could be set free, so that we could approach the Throne of Grace, so that we could cry out and be heard by our Holy God. Jesus paid the penalty for all of our sins. He died so that you would not have to, eternally. He suffered so that the bondage of sin could be broken. He took our place on the Cross. He died for you, and He did it because He loves you with a love that doesn’t even come close to what we can do here. God responded with the greatest sacrifice — His Death, so He could give us the Greatest Gift — eternal life. God gave Jesus. Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift.
Theologically, there are 550 references to this in The Bible. And, with a whole bunch of emphasis on Thanksgiving, there must be some great benefits as well, or it wouldn’t be in The Book. Consider the benefits of cultivating this attitude of gratitude. Perhaps the greatest is that Thanksgiving has a powerful effect on our lives. Thanksgiving makes us different. Look around you. Daily you will see people who are bitter. It’s been said that some people are bitter not because they do not have anything, but because they do not have everything. We live in a time when it’s good to be greedy and ungrateful. We are bombarded with commercials that remind us of what we don’t have.
Everything’s made to make us want more. Christmas has become a depressing time for many because they can’t get as much as they want — not how much they need but as much as they want. We’re led to believe that if we don’t have the things that we want then we will not experience happiness. We’ve been lied to, and it’s enforced, reinforced over and over again. Most unhappy people are unthankful people. Now, just look around. You may think them unthankful because they’re unhappy, but the opposite is true: They are unhappy because they are unthankful. The true spirit of Thanksgiving has the power to transform us into different people. We will not only be different from the people around us, but we will also be different from the way we used to be.
We will be what The Bible calls transformed. It’s a pretty good word actually because transformed changes our thinking and our temperament. As you seek to cultivate this attitude of gratitude, your thinking will be transformed. The way the world is concentrated on the negative, you want to flip it to where Christ emphasized the positive. Your mission if you choose to accept it is to look for the good in everything.
Philippians 4:8 tells us: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good rapport, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.”
As I wrap up this message today, I want you to remember that thanksgiving is something unique that we can give to God. When you think of it, all the material things we give to God were given to us by Him, but our thanksgiving is ours — a personal gift and an offering of praise to God. We should learn how to express our thanksgiving well, not only to God, but to one another. We’re sometimes too much like that little boy I hear about on his return from his birthday party. His mother asked,
“Little Bobby, did you thank the lady for the party?” And Bobby said, “Well, I was going to, but the little girl ahead of me in the line on our way out said, ‘ahhh, thank you so much!’ and the lady said, ‘aw, don’t mention it,’ so when it was my turn, I didn’t say anything! I wasn’t going to mention it either!”
But, think for a minute about the last time you gave a gift to somebody and they didn’t appreciate it. They didn’t say thank you. They didn’t light up when you gave it to them. You really didn’t want to give them anything else because they were kind of ungrateful. Think about your Heavenly Father who has given you so much. When was the last time your eyes lit up? When was the last time you were enthusiastic about saying thank you? It matters, friends, brothers and sisters. It matters. Be grateful. And like Paul said, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift.”
Amen. [church music plays]
Amen. And one of the things I want to say: I want to thank Sister Sarah for doing the transcriptions. If you go to speaklifechurch.net, you will see our website and all the last four or five messages have been transcribed by Sister Sarah. I try to make it look presentable on the Web in case you are hearing impaired or you want to see where my texts came from, or what I was talking about. We’ve been studying the Book of Revelation for the last few weeks, and you can see the notes there. She also surprised me the other day with a bumper sticker…two different types, one color like a tan and the other is blue. They say, “He who has an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.” That comes right out of Revelation 2:7, and if anyone wants one of those, just shoot me a note with your address, and I will mail you one!
Something else that happened this week which was a surprise — I don’t know why it was — but somebody who had been following us on Facebook asked me a question: What is the Rapture? I realized that they probably hadn’t been listening to our series studying in the Book of Revelation which we shall continue next week, hopefully. I plan to go away the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I’ll let you know what I did while I was out, but since the beginning of Christianity, believers in Jesus have been waiting for His Return. Just in case you’re wondering and you haven’t been following, if this is your first time, the Rapture is an event that comes before the end of the world as we know it where, according to 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17, the dead in Christ will rise, along with those living who believe, into the air and we will just vanish. It won’t be like the movies, but it won’t make sense to anybody who’s left either. This absence of multitudes of people will, of course, be evident here on Earth. After that, there will be a period of seven years of tribulation on the earth. The real anti-Christ will pop up and folks will be required to worship him, and some more weird things will be happening which we’ll be learning about in the Book of Revelation. Christ will return to the earth with His Church — the saints who were raptured, and that’s all coming from Matthew 24:30, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, and 1 Peter 1:13, and Revelation 1:7. In the end, He will be victorious over His enemies, and will reign on the earth for a millennium with his saints and the church.
So, that’s what the Rapture is, just in case you’re joining us late or it’s your first time ever hearing about it. But, you’re not too late — no, no, not at all — to still be in that number. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please call me, please contact me, please reach out to me, and let’s talk about it. Let’s get you where you need to be.
My number is (202)579-9435. Call me anytime, 24/7, leave a message and I’ll get back to you: (202)579-9435, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, either way. I will get it and be glad to holler back at you and give you the deal. I’ll pray with you. We will talk about salvation.
We’ll talk about Jesus the Christ. We’ll talk about what He did for us to allow that to happen, and it won’t cost you anything but some time, and time is one thing we don’t control, but you can decide where you’re going to spend your eternity pretty quickly. I’m hoping that you don’t eat too much, but you get everything that you ask for.
Until next time, may the Lord continue to bless you and keep you. May Heaven’s Face continue to smile upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day when there is no dawning and there is no sunset, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus. Thank you for being a part of Speak Life Church online. If you’d like to contribute, there are links on the show notes. God bless you.