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A REPENTANCE THANKSGIVING

God’s Holy Word tells us that we enter into His gates with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.  Let this serve as a reminder to us that we do not even get past the front gates of God’s Kingdom unless we have a thankful heart. 

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  (Psalm 95:2)

Ever since President George Washington’s proclamation in 1789 and President Lincoln’s in 1863, Thanksgiving has been a national holiday in America:  Food, family, football, fanatical shopping —-these spell Thanksgiving in today’s secular culture.  Where is God?

But there is a deeper, spiritual side to Thanksgiving that I encourage you to share with the Lord this Thanksgiving week whether you are an American or not.

Take time to be alone with the Lord and remember the experience of the Pilgrims almost 400 year ago.   At the first Thanksgiving they gave thanks to God for survival, for the privilege to worship Him freely, and for the friendship of the Native Americans who helped them.

Additionally, when God later allowed a drought (2 Chronicles 7:13) they followed 2 Chronicles 7:14, calling upon Him with prayer, fasting and repentance.

When God saw them turning from their wicked ways a soft rain fell that very afternoon. The drought was broken by their humble repentance.  It’s a model for us today in any nation.

At a deeper level Thanksgiving is also a day to give thanks that God created repentance as an eternal gift to each of us.

He planted a conscience in every human soul that can respond to repentance.  Thanks to our Creator, our conscience can be moved, pricked, convicted by His Good News:  the flesh and the world lead to death; they are far inferior to God’s abundant life.  By Christ Jesus’ atoning Blood sacrifice for our sins, we can have new eternal life to advance His Kingdom.

Repentance is the door to that Kingdom.  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” were Jesus’ first words as He began His preaching.

What a gift from God!  Repentance from our self-centeredness precedes belief and confession.  Our walk with Him starts with repentance first:   Repent, Believe in Christ, Confess, Walk—- demonstrating fruits of the indwelling Holy Spirit and showing neighbors real repentance as a witness of Christ’s salvation from our old sinful lives.

Thanksgiving is also a day to give thanks that repentance is the key spiritual discipline which purifies us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  The Lord calls us as members of His Royal Priesthood–to be zealous to repent, to become overcomers, to remove old sin patterns, and to prepare as His Bride for Him, our soon-coming Bridegroom.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”    Ephesians 5: 25-27

Thus Thanksgiving is a day for dining—–not just with family or friends as is traditional in our culture—-but with our Friend, the Risen Christ.  This Friend today is knocking on the door of our hearts: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20).

Dine with Him, have communion with Him, this Thanksgiving.  Seek His encouragement to be zealous to repent from old sin patterns. Repent.  He’s coming soon as our Bridegroom.

As we spend that time with Him some more spots or wrinkles may come out.   Thanksgiving will never be the same.

You and I will be all the more ready to stand as His Bride! (Reprinted with permission of Pastor Jeff Daly, Founder/Director of National Day of Repentance.)

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