[Editor's Note: Last month I printed the sermon titled "antichrist". I stated that there was not a Thanksgiving sermon in the collection of my grandfather's sermons. While looking for one appropriate for Christmas, I found this one! Apparently I had inadvertently passed over its folder several times! Anyway, here it is! Late for Thanksgiving? Depends!]
From the Pulpit of a Holiness Preacher
An email newsletter ministry of Richard D. Swift, publishing the sermons of Rev Reed A Swift (1899-1973), a holiness preacher
The following sermon was preached in the Free Methodist Church of Pomona, California; Mira Loma, California (twice); Riverside, California (First Free Methodist, Rev. Delbert McLaughlin, pastor), November 15, 1953; Hale, Michigan, 1954; and the Bible Missionary Church in Cucamonga, California; Santa Cruz, California, 1959; and Pomona, California, November 21, 1965. A church program for the 1st Free Methodist Church, Riverside, California dated Sunday November 15, 1953 is enclosed. There is a pretty picture of a shepherd and a sheep that was found on the front of the program. Under the picture, there is a caption that reads, "The Church of the Light and Life Hour". Rev Swift preached this sermon in the evening. Also enclosed with the program, is the Thanksgiving Proclamation ("President Calls on Nation For Prayers of Gratitude") of President Dwight D. Eisenhower with the entire text of the proclamation. It closes with these words in part, "Done at the
City of Washington this seventh day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-three..." Rev. Swift was not much for programmed worship. Beside, " The Invocation", he notes, "a small nice prayer. I never tried to hold in them." Beside "The Postlude", he notes, "That is the after-lude, if you know what lude is."
Introductory words before the sermon preached:
Not many are taking the Calvary route to Heaven and not many are going in at the strait gate. I guess we need some of the John the Baptist type of preaching until we get startled from our ease and luxury to seek God. If we were made to see the suffering and death of Christ upon the cross bleeding and dying for you and me. "For it was for me that Jesus died on the cross of Calvary." there the mob wagged their heads and mocked Him and they are today. But will we raise the blood stained banner and die rather than lower His standard for Christians? God give us the courage of the young shepherd boy, David who went forth to meet the enemy. not in our strength, but God's strength and our weakness. "God has chosen the weak and base things of the world to confound the mighty." Are we standing and fighting in His strength this morning? If so, Thank God for we shall conquer though we die. Now for the Thanks side of life:
Psalm 65:11-13 Text-Psalm 100:4 "Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: give thanks unto Him and bless His name."
["I Give Thanks" by Gretchen L. Burnham is read here. It is rather lengthy. I could not find it anywhere so as to copy and paste. The library computers are not equipped to scan and print.]
Thank God we can have;
Thanks Thinking, "As a man thinketh in his heart..."
Thanks Living, "That never murmurs nor complains beneath the chastening rod" and
Thanksgiving Day is a "legal holiday to be set apart for thanksgiving and praise to God for the mercies of the past year." How gladly we share in this praise to Him. Does any other nation?
"The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing." Psalm 65:13
"For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12
"When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee." Deuteronomy 8:10
"And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing." Psalm 107:22
"And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. Revelation 7:11,12
"Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned." Revelation 11:17
1. We thank God for forgiving us and making us free from the penalty and power of sin if we are Christians.
2. We thank Him for the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
3. We thank Him for supplying all of our needs.
Paul said, "In every thing give thanks!" Contentment!
Thanksgiving should express itself in Thanks living, not just one day in the year, but 365 days in the year.
Gratitude is a good stimulant for soul and body. Its cultivation brings enrichment to soul and character. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands." If we do this there is no time left to murmur and complain.
"IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD, AND TO SING PRAISES UNTO THY NAME, O MOST HIGH:
2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night," Psalm 92:1,2
Do we hear anybody whistling anymore? Seldom!
Thanksgiving is the atmosphere in which the child of God should live. Ephesians 5:19- "singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord."
"Awake, my soul in thankful lays,
And sing thy great Creator's praise;
He justly claims a song from thee;
His lovingkindness, O how free."
I am afraid that with many people, Thanksgiving Day has become a time of sports and feasting rather than rejoicing in the Lord from Whom All Blessings flow.
True Thanksgiving comes from the heart and not from our surroundings. Prompted by love. David said, "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." Constancy of praise, like prayer, will keep the gates of Heaven to joyful refreshings.
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you." While we are murmuring and complaining, we are magnifying our troubles; so giving of thanks magnifies our blessings.
Some things for which I am Thankful: Count your blessings!
1. I am thankful I was born into a Christian home where Mother and Father loved God. Bible, Prayer, Family Altar, and Love.
2. I am thankful for the Church (the saints that were in it). Their love, reverence, and devotion that were manifest. Are ours?
3. I am thankful for the wonderful freedom and prosperity of my country, because "Righteousness exalteth a nation." Thank God for peace today in heart and life.
Do you have anything for which to be thankful for?
"O Thou whose bounty fills my cup,
With every blessing meet!
I give Thee thanks for every drop—
The bitter and the sweet.
I praise Thee for the desert road,
And for the riverside;
For all Thy goodness hath bestowed,
And all Thy grace denied.
I thank Thee for both smile and frown,
And for the gain and loss;"- Jane Crewdson