Week Forty-Seven, 2021

Sing, people of Zion! Celebrate the greatness of the holy Lord of Israel. God is here to help you. Isaiah 12:6

It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year, celebrated by the pilgrims for their first harvest in 1621. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

We will celebrate it this coming Thursday. What will we be thankful for, if anything, or will it be just another day off work to gorge ourselves and watch football. Will we really stop to give true thanksgiving?

I remember when I was in school and had to diagram sentences. Ugh! But in the end, it helped me understand what a sentence really meant. We can gain a lot by diagramming the Bible to better understand its meaning.

The twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah gives a good diagram on what true thanksgiving is, as the prophet gives us the five points of thanksgiving. I encourage you to stop and read the entire chapter, only six verses long.

Here are Isaiah’s five points:

1. You will say “I give thanks to you. Lord.” V. 1

2. Call on His name. V. 4

3. Make known His deeds among the people. V 4.

4. Praise the Lord in song, for He has done glorious things. V 5.

5. Rejoice and shout for Joy. V. 6

As we celebrate Thanksgiving 2021, can we use this model as we give thanks? Even as we might consider some not so good things and events in 2021, can we still thank Him? No matter what is with us, behind us or in front of us, can we still proclaim Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose?”

Can we remind others, and as well ourselves, of His good deeds in our family, our community and in our personal lives? Can we praise Him for all the deeds He has done, as we rejoice and shout for joy?

May this be a model for all of us this week as we truly celebrate Thanksgiving. No duty is more important than giving thanks.

At that time you will say, “I thank you, Lord! You were angry with me, but you stopped being angry and gave me comfort.” Isaiah 12:1




• The “positive world” (pre-1994): Christianity was viewed positively by society and Christian morality was still normative. To be seen as a religious person and one who exemplifies traditional Christian norms was a social positive. Christianity was a status enhancer. In some cases, failure to embrace Christian norms hurt you. Some people joined, by their own admission, for the social approval and business contacts they believed would ensue. The Church was seen as the defender and promoter of morality. Its critics sometimes complained that we were too moralistic and influential, in fact.

• The “neutral world” (1994–2014): Christianity is seen as a socially neutral attribute. It no longer had dominant status in society, but to be seen as a religious person was not a knock either. It was more like a personal affectation or hobby. Christian moral norms retained residual force. This “world” is familiar to most of us. God is not our king, as the Bible proclaims him to be, but more a hobby we choose to embrace in our spare time. We ought not force our “hobby” on others, but we’re otherwise free to follow it if we wish, or so we’re told.

• The “negative world” (2014–): “In this world, being a Christian is now a social negative, especially in high-status positions. Christianity in many ways is seen as undermining the social good. Christian morality is expressly repudiated. This is new territory for Christians in America. Our sisters and brothers in communist and Muslim countries would readily recognize this “world,” but its challenges are unprecedented for us.

In a culture which insists on self-reliant secularism and personal authenticity as the only path to social and personal flourishing, followers of Jesus are under greater pressure than ever to succumb and conform.

— o —

In California parents have sued to stop chants to Aztec gods in their children’s ethnic studies curriculum. What is next in our post-Christian, even anti-Christian, culture?

— o —

Let us remember these facts: the world can change in a moment, we are all mortal, what we don’t know can change everything, and this fallen world is not our home. As a result, let us wear Jesus’ yoke today, trusting his leadership, redemption, and care until the day he leads us home. Jim Denison



It is only God’s power that we look to for complete healing. Jim Denison

Forgiveness is what we want and expect from others, but when we don’t get it, we will never forgive them! Dwight Short

There is a big difference between remembering the past and living in the past. Ken Whitten

When we refuse to pay attention, God has ways of getting our attention.

Why is it that if you give your life for the service of your country you are called a hero, but if you give your life for the service of Christ, you are called a fool? Dan Shock

I think the greatest tragedy in life is looking back and saying, “I was successful in things that didn’t matter. If all your dreams came true, whose life would be different?” Tim Tebow

Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not. NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest. JOSIAH GILBERT HOLLAND

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist or accept the responsibility for changing them. DENIS WAITLEY