I was thinking this morning about the designation ‘Black Friday’. It seems that since the 1950’s the day after Thanksgiving has been called ‘Black Friday’. It began as a term to describe the crowds, like the street was black with pedestrians. It then became a day to retailers signifying when they began to turn a profit and moved from the ‘red’ into the ‘black’ as the volume of their sales increased. In the Bible the blackest Friday would be the day of the crucifixion. It was the day when the skies turned black and darkness covered the land. “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46 The blackness of that Friday is a picture of the sin that Jesus bore on the cross for you and me. His death was the darkest day that brought the greatest profit for us. John 12:46 puts it in perspective for us as to why that blackest of Friday’s had to happen. “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”
Even on that blackest of Fridays, the people were rushing around preparing for their Sabbath. Since they could do no work on the Sabbath, they rushed to get Jesus down from the cross, hastily buried and settled in a borrowed tomb. Mark 15:42-47 describes these events done in haste. After the Sabbath was over, several women came back to the tomb to anoint Jesus with spices as his burial had been done in such a hurry they felt they had not been able to treat his body properly on that Friday. “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.” Mark 16:1 Their walk to the grave site was done in sadness but their return was joyous as the learned of Jesus’ resurrection and defeat of sin and death. An angel spoke to them when they got there, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” What joyous news they had to share!
That blackest of Friday bringing death to Jesus and a hasty burial brought the greatest profit to you and me. Colossians 1:21-22 explains where we were on the black Friday and where we are now because of it. “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,” That was the the biggest gain or profit for mankind ever in history. Christ reconciled us to God so that we can be in communion with Him and have our sin’s forgiven. We are free to live a life in Christ that is pleasing to God that is free from the penalty of death brought on by sin. That Black Friday was the best one in history for you and me.
As you venture out today to do some shopping, think about that blackest of Friday’s and how much you gained through Christ. Praise Him as you do.
“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8
This is a great way to view the opportunities we have a Thanksgiving time to share with our family and friends the many things God has done for us during the year. Going around the table and naming our thanks, putting words to what our hearts know gives glory to God as we praise Him.
Here is another verse to stimulate your thankfulness- Hebrews 12:28 “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” Spend time thinking about the unshakable kingdom we have access to through Jesus. His kingdom is without end, holy and pure, a place of hope and security, a place of worship and love, unchanging and permanently held in place by God, ordered and governed by righteousness and presided over by Jesus. Having head and heart knowledge of God’s glorious kingdom leads us to praise and worship that is filled with reverence and amazement. I am always brought to my knees when I consider the power and greatness of my Savior. His sacrifice was great so that I may know and experience His kingdom during my life now and into the future.
As we approach this wonderful holiday time, take time to put words and thoughts to your thanks both to your family and to God. Thank Him for all He has done, is doing and will do for you. He is an awesome God worthy of all our praises!
In Colossians Paul talks about specific areas in our lives that should create thankfulness within us. “15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:15-17 NLT
Paul teaches that we are to be thankful always for the peaceful living that is possible for us as brothers and sisters in Christ as we work together for the cause of Christ. Next, he reminds us that our worship should reflect our thankfulness to God. Lastly, Paul explains that we need to be thankful to God as we are able to speak as a representative of Christ because of His sacrifice for us.
One of the key elements in our thankfulness is the peaceful living in Christ we experience towards one another causing us to be thankful always. Singing praises to God creates in us a state of worshipful living in the presence of God causing us to have grateful hearts and because of Christ we can be His representatives living in and with Him causing us to give thanks through Him.
May the peace you experience this season of Thanksgiving with your brothers and sisters in Christ make you always thankful. May your times of worship be rich and fill your heart with gratefulness and may your times of sharing about Christ remind you that you speak for Him to others and cause you to give thanks though Him.
Thankful always for you -my brothers and sisters in Christ,
This week as we draw nearer to Thanksgiving, I wanted to focus my thoughts on being thankful. It is a state of mind and being that pours out of us because of who we are in Christ and what He did for us on the cross. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he wrote, “ And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NLT
Look at the key steps Paul gives in these verses that result in thankfulness. 1- You accepted Jesus as your Savior, 2-You are committed to following Him, 3- You are growing in the knowledge of who He is and what purposes He has for your life 4- You are striving to live for Him and build your life on Him, 5- Your faith is growing and you are learning more and more about His truth. All of these steps lead to *** overflowing thankfulness in your life! The result of having Jesus in our lives will be thankfulness. If you are not experiencing thankfulness- at which step above are you faltering? Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Are you committed to Him or is your faith just a Sunday thing? Are you taking time to get to know Him-through Bible Study, prayer and fellowship with other Christians? Are you trying to apply God’s truths to your life by letting the power of the Holy Spirit work in and through you? Jesus knew commitment was hard and spoke of our need to be single minded and focused on His kingdom in Matthew 6:20-21. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.” AMP
What does your heart reveal? When you look inside yourself, do you see thankfulness? If not, turn to Jesus today and get back on the thankfulness track. It is never to late to step back into the steps Paul outlines and head towards overflowing thankfulness!
Blessings of thanks,
Psalm 145: 1-10 gives a beautiful word picture of our Thanks to God.
A psalm of praise of David.
1 I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
2 I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever.
3 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.
4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
5 I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
and your wonderful miracles.
6 Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
7 Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.
8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 The Lord is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, Lord,
and your faithful followers will praise you. (NLT)
This will be my last post in this Thanksgiving Series. It has brought me greater appreciation for Jesus and what He did and does for me and leads me towards greater thankfulness. This poster sums up our continual need to be thankful regardless of our circumstances. I hope this sentiment is now a part of you after spending these weeks talking about thankfulness. Our hearts need to be set on thankfulness.
Advent begins December 1 and I will be blogging about the people involved in the Christmas Story of our Lord Jesus’ arrival on earth and how they each exhibited godly character that God would like to see in each of us. I believe it will be an uplifting perspective on Christ’s arrival. See you Friday December 1.
What causes you to be thankful? There are lots of sites, things and people that bring a smile to my face but what gives you the most gratitude in your heart? God’s Word gives us the ultimate reason to give thanks in Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Paul was teaching the Colossians that the freedom they have in Christ will cause them to be grounded and not easily swayed by the world. They will be able to live full lives because God lives within them and empowers them to live for Him. By faith in Jesus they can walk with Him daily. Paul reminded them and us that the result of an empowered and indwelt life would be thankfulness. Having Christ with you 24/7, guiding, protecting, building you up, and loving you would result in great thanksgiving.
Is that true of you? Do you live with thankfulness in your heart because of what Jesus did and continues to do in and through your life? Ask yourself-am I abounding in thankfulness? Abounding means having thanks in great quantity, being rich in thankfulness, being filled, teeming with thanks. If you are struggling to abound in thanks think on a few of the things Christ did and is doing for you: He provided the way for my salvation from God’s wrath through His death on the cross, calls me a member of His family, gave me eternal life, is accessible to me 24/7, will never leave me nor forsake me, gave me citizenship in heaven, intercedes for me before the Father, gave me His Holy Spirit to indwell me, and He promises a life that is full, abundant and rich in love. Take a minute today to thank Him for being the reason for your abundant and abounding thankfulness. He is worthy.
A lesson and truth I received from the scripture we studies this month on cultivating a habit of thankfulness in our lives was this: Thankfulness has a powerful affect on me and all those around me.
How have you seen this to be true this season of thanksgiving? Is your mindset towards thanks contagious? “How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9 Paul felt that the thanks he had for his fellow believers, for their faith and love for God, caused him to rejoice. He saw God working in their lives and this brought joy and thankfulness to his own worship. I would call that contagious thanks. Have you ever been thankful for someone or something and it caused you to give thanks to God? As we live our lives, we need to look for those things that God gives us that create ‘contagious thanks’ within our hearts. As we give thanks to Him in these situations, God will faithfully create in us a thanks that will be contagious and will result in our being in a constant state of thankfulness and joy. Paul left the Thessalonians with these words in 5:16-18 “ Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Develop that attitude of gratitude and watch it grow in your own life and then watch it rub off into the lives of those around you.
Blessings on this Thanksgiving Day to you and yours! We have much to be thankful for personally, as a family and as a nation. Thanks be to God for His provision and love as we gather around our tables. May we offer Him praise and honor from our lips.
Psalm 7:17 “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.”
Psalm 100:4-5 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
David was thankful for the very character of God. He praised Him for his righteousness, sovereignty, goodness, love, eternity, and faithfulness.
I am thankful that God is good and that He intends good for me. In all situations I can depend upon His goodness and know that He alone can work all things for His good and mine. Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” and Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
What about you? What attribute of God’s character do you hold most dear? Are you thankful that He never changes and is not whimsical or fickle about who He loves and when? Are you thankful that He is accessible 24/7 in prayer and He can and does always hear you? Spend a few minutes today thinking about God’s character and how your life would be different if God was not who He is.
Thanks be to our immutable, accessible, holy, redeeming, protecting, all-knowing, loving, faithful and righteous God. Praise and thank Him today!