Archive for November, 2015
The Thanksgiving holiday is a great time for Christians to think about the deeply theological significance of giving thanks. Thanksgiving is one of the main things that human beings were made to offer God. In fact, we could say that it is the main thing we were made to offer God.
As creatures, everything about us—our life, our breath, every happy thing—is from God. That’s why, according to Romans 1:21, as soon as sin entered the word, unthankfulness followed: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God.” It’s also why thanksgiving is commanded for all of life: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).
The way to be thankful is not to focus on thankfulness, but to focus on the one who gives us all things. With that in mind, praying to God a prayer of thanksgiving is always a good idea. Here’s an ancient thanksgiving prayer:.
We give you thanks, Holy Father,
for your holy name, which you have caused to dwell in our hearts,
and for the knowledge and faith and immortality that you have made known to us through Jesus your servant;
to you be the glory forever.
You, almighty Master, created all things for your name’s sake,
and gave food and drink to humans to enjoy, so that they might give you thanks;
but to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink,
and eternal life through your servant.
Above all we give thanks to you because you are mighty;
to you be the glory forever.
Remember your church, Lord,
to deliver is from all evil and to make it perfect in your love;
and from the four winds gather the church that has been sanctified into your kingdom,
which you have prepared for it;
for yours is the power and the glory forever.
May grace come, and may this world pass away.
Hosanna to the God of David.
If anyone is holy, let him come;
if anyone is not, let him repent.
For more on the importance of thanksgiving to the Christian life, listen to Albert Mohler’s Briefing from November 25.
Yesterday, France was brutalized by Islamic terrorists.
This is a time for praying against what God is against, and for what God is for. God is against murder, and he is against the false gods that demand the slaughter of the innocent. He is for the putting down of injustice, and he is for the knowledge of his glory filling the earth, even through the salvation of former worshipers of Allah.
There are many things to pray on a weekend like this. Denny Burke recommends we pray the words of Psalm 10, and that’s a good suggestion:
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.
Here are some helpful reflections, suggestions, and articles from around the web on this and related tragedies.
- John Piper helps us with his article, “France: A Fabric Torn.”
- Scotty Smith offers “A Prayer of Lament in Response to the Terror Attack in Paris.”
- If you’re up for some sermon listening, this might be a weekend for reviewing Ryan’s sermon on several imprecatory psalms, “Praying against what is against God.”
- Joe Carter offers his always timely, “9 Things You Should Know About Islamic State.”
- A year ago, Joe Carter published “Three Ways to Pray for our Enemies.”
- Back in February, Tom Schreiner offered “A Biblical Meditation on the Execution of 21 Christians.”
- Also in February, Caleb Greggsen answers the question, “Does Islam Inevitably Lead to Violence?“
- Finally, from the Atlantic March, here’s a careful and important piece on the origin and aims and ISIS: “What ISIS Really Wants.”