Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Few Thanksgiving Quotes (Part 4)

(Previous posts on this theme are here: 1, 2, and 3.)

“Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.”
(George Herbert)

"From David learn to give thanks for everything. Every furrow in the Book of Psalms is sown with the seeds of thanksgiving." (Jeremy Taylor)

"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel."  (Unknown)

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all.” (Psalm 95:2-3)

"Giving thanks to God for both His temporal and spiritual blessings in our lives is not just a nice thing to do; it is the moral will of God. Failure to give Him the thanks due Him is sin." (Jerry Bridges)

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." (H. U. Westermayer)

Speaking of Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul writes, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)

"The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps constant communion with Him will see many reasons for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long." (Warren Wiersbe)

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” (Psalm 28:7)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Few Thanksgiving Quotes (Part 3)

(Previous posts on this theme are here and here.)

"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road." (John Henry Jowett)

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

"We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."  (Harry A. Ironside)

"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

"But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." (Ephesians 5: 3-4)

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” (G.K. Chesterton)

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Reports from the Culture Wars

* “Hillary Clinton: U.S. Should Fund Abortions Around the World as a Method of Family Planning” (Micaiah Bilger,

* “Producer of ABC’s Scandal, Showing Abortion During “Silent Night,” Sits on Planned Parenthood Board” (Steven Ertelt,

* “Obama is dangerously nonchalant about ISIS threats” (Michael Goodwin, New York Post)

* “Political Translations” (Thomas Sowell, Jewish World Review)

* “Ohio State law school under microsope for reaction to pro-life column”  (Valerie Richardson, Washington Times)

* “Antonin Scalia, Bogeyman of the Liberal Imagination: The justice stars in Hollywood revenge fantasies” (Christopher Scalia, Weekly Standard)

* “Annals of Inanity” (Scott Johnson, Power Line)

* “ObamaCare Endures the Death of a Thousand Facts” (David Catron, American Spectator)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today's Must Reads

* “America the Vulnerable” (Judith Miller, City Journal)

* “After Paris: A Christian View on Protecting the Innocent” (Mark Tooley, National Review)

* “Sweden has it all - except freedom of conscience: A court has ruled that abortion rights leave no room for a midwife to be exempted.” (Carolyn Moynihan, Mercator)

* “Clueless Hillary: ‘Muslims Have Nothing Whatsoever To Do With Terrorism’” (Editorial, Investor’s Business Daily)

* “U.S. ran out of ammo in attack on ISIS trucks” (Byron York, Washington Examiner)

* “Emails show DOD analysts told to 'cut it out' on ISIS warnings; IG probe expands” (Catherine Herridge, Fox News)

* “Can Opposing Same-Sex Marriage Get You Fired at Marquette University?” (M.D. Kittle, Daily Signal)

* “Millennials being ‘priced out of parenthood’” (Tamara El-Rahi, Mercator)

* “150 on flight from Mexico allowed to skip customs, leave JFK airport” (Brian Niemetz, Victoria Bekiempis, New York Daily News)

* “Democrats Unveil New Strategy: Take Unpopular Positions” (John Hinderaker, Power Line)

For Your Thanksgiving Meditations: The Mayflower Compact

Below is the Mayflower Compact, the providential covenant made by the Pilgrims at New Plymouth in 1620, signed while still aboard ship.

In the Name of God, Amen. 

We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; 

Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: 

And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. 

IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Few Thanksgiving Quotes (Part 2)

“I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” (Psalm 7:17)

"How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child’s personality. Thankful children want to give; they radiate happiness; they draw people." (Sir John Templeton)

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” (John Milton)

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let Israel say: ‘His love endures forever.’ Let the house of Aaron say: ‘His love endures forever.’ Let those who fear the Lord say: ‘His love endures forever.’…Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give You thanks, for You answered me; You have become my salvation.” (Psalm 118: 1-4, 19-21)

"Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count past mercies." (Charles E. Jefferson)

“How slow we are to thank and swift to grumble." (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

“In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.” (Isaiah 12:4)

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues." (Cicero)

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” (G.K. Chesterton)

Did You Miss This?

From last week's alternative media, here's a few exceptional articles you may have missed. They are all quite good. Don't have time to read them now? Fine. Why not save this post as a bookmark and then read them over the next couple of days.

* “Obama Rests Comfortably after Paris Attacks” (Deroy Murdock, National Review)

* “Millennials, Starbucks, and Identity” (Joseph Rossell, Juicy Ecumenism)

* “Reagan biographer Craig Shirley: O'Reilly's Killing Reagan is a 'pile of garbage’” (Myra Adams, Washington Examiner)

* “Did Bill O'Reilly Jump The Shark?” (Victor Davis Hanson, Investor’s Business Daily)

* “A Pattern of Executive Overreach” (David Berstein, National Review)

* “Planned Parenthood Charged Me $25 for a $2 Pregnancy Test and Knew of No Free Alternatives” (Micaiah Bilger,

* “Univ. of Vermont holds privilege retreat for students who ‘self-identify as white’” (Peter Hasson, Campus Reform)

* “Obama’s inaction plants doubt he can keep America safe” (Michael Goodwin, New York Post)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Just Why Is Thankfulness So Important?

“In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

The Bible is not subtle in its calls for thanksgiving. Repeatedly, urgently, and throughout its many books the reader is urged to “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,” and “in all things give thanks.” In both Old and New Testaments, both Gospels and Epistles, we are urged to consider our blessings, and the character of the One from whom they flow, and to offer praise and thanks in response.

Centuries later, Martin Luther described gratitude as “the basic Christian attitude” and the Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards asserted that a spirit of thankfulness to God was an indicator of one's spiritual state.

Why, one might wonder, is thankfulness so important?

The act of thanksgiving requires both memory and humility -- both reflection on the causes and sources of gratitude, and the recognition of the blessing as a grace, rather than an entitlement. As such, a spirit of thanksgiving is incompatible with pride and distracted self-absorption, two of the greatest threats to spiritual life. It is virtually impossible to be thankful when one is distracted or indignant; thankfulness requires a laying aside of slights and irritations to focus on one's unearned blessings and their source…

(From “Thinking About Thanksgiving,” a 2013 column by Cherie Harder, President of Trinity Forum.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Few Thanksgiving Quotes (Part 1)

For your Thanksgiving preparations, prayers, meditations, conversation starters…whatever.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4)

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” (Ambrose of Milan)

"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15)

“The lack of gratitude is the foundation of all sin.” (G.K. Chesterton)

"True thanksgiving means that we need to thank God for what He has done for us, and not to tell Him what we have done for Him." (George R. Hendrick)

"Ingratitude is the worst of vices." (Thomas Fuller)

"Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns." (Anonymous)

Seeing the World (and Heaven) in a New Light

Background — A couple of months ago I invited a few friends from across the country (and beyond) to join me in reading Randy Alcorn’s masterful study, HEAVEN and then engage in some dialogue about what we read and think about it. Even though I've re-read the book a few times, I'm again taking notes and praying through key points...and there are a gang of those!

Previous posts can be found by scrolling down through the blog.

Here is the latest in that conversation, some very stirring thoughts from Dr. Greg Gardner in England, a physician, pro-life activist, and family man for whom Claire and I feel a great deal of admiration and gratitude.

Dear Denny,

Thanks so much for recommending this book. I’ve enjoyed reading every page and have learned a lot. The concept of heaven being ‘heaven on earth’ was not new to me but Randy’s knowledge of and application of scripture was really impressive. What confirmed to me that this is a remarkable piece of research and scholarship is the number of scriptural references – nearly 800 from a rough calculation. And from 51 out of 66 books in the Bible.

Frank Viola has a list of the ‘100 best Christian books ever written’ but HEAVEN is not on the list. I think that’s a serious omission. I think Randy Alcorn has shown that his knowledge of scripture is considerable. I would put it in my top 10 Christian books, possibly in the top five.

After reading the book it feels like you have put on a new pair of glasses and see the world in a different light. The chapters on animals were brilliant but there were other highlights too. I’m going to look at language learning in a different light. Also the whole concept of continuity between now and then. Even simple comments like his observation about sweat has great potential for understanding. Randy points out that our resurrection bodies will contain sweat glands so sweat as part of exercise or hard work will still be something that we will experience on the new earth.

You can let your imagination run wild. I regret not being a better tennis player but that won’t be an obstacle any more. Hiking, or what the New Zealanders call ‘tramping’ will be on another level. Humour will be even better and jokes will get funnier. Continually. Music will develop in as yet unknown ways.

Peter Kreeft points out that just as numbers have no limit, there is no such thing as ‘the best of all possible worlds’ because there is no limitation to goodness. Our knowledge of and love of God will literally have no end and will keep growing. So will our love of each other. What will politics be like without politicians?

The irony is that all this is basic Bible teaching. How can we have been so blind for so long? The Christoplatonists have a lot to answer for. The question is, in what other ways have they messed up the church? For an answer to that question, read PAGAN CHRISTIANITY by Viola and Barna. It’s very good in a different way but challenges a lot of deeply ingrained assumptions.

I’m on page 416 so nearly finished but I think the book deserves a slower re-read at some point.



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving: The Whole Story

The following is an informative, stimulating article written by the late Barbara Curtis, author, blogger, pro-life activist, and mother of nine. I frequently linked to her essays in past years and this one, posted on Vital Signs Blog 5 years ago, is certainly appropriate.

Thanksgiving: The Whole Story

Ever hear the story about the young bride who caused a stir when her new husband found her preparing their first Thanksgiving turkey by cutting it in half?

"That's how Mama always did it," she said.

"That's how Grandma always did it," Mama said.

So they called Grandma. Grandma couldn't remember why they cut the turkey in half. She thought back over all the past Thanksgivings. She remembered the turkeys her mother had heaved out of the wide old-fashioned oven in their cozy kitchen. Her mother had never cut the turkey in half. But for at least 40 years, she and her children--and now grandchildren--had been cutting their turkeys in half. When had they decided it was better that way? Her mind kept going back to her mother's kitchen . . . it was the oven! The first years of her marriage her own oven was too small to accommodate a whole turkey.

Sometimes I wonder if our Thanksgiving turkey has been cut in half. In the oven of multiculturalism, there has been less room for the complete story of our nation's heritage. It's just not acceptable to emphasize the role of faith in the first Thanksgiving. Yet that's what it was all about. The faith of the first Thanksgiving celebrants was as real as the bowls and baskets of food they prepared, as up close and personal as the events that had led them to this moment, as compelling as their pursuit of religious freedom.

Thanksgiving in a Nutshell

The story of the first Thanksgiving begins in 1608, when a group of people called the Separatists, persecuted for forming a church apart from the Church of England, left their homeland to settle in Leyden, Holland. There they found religious freedom but also poverty, grueling work and a secular culture that threatened to undo the values they had carefully instilled in their children. After seeking God's guidance, under the leadership of William Bradford they sold everything and, to finance their journey, indentured themselves to an English company for their first seven years in America. On the Mayflower, the Separatists joined others seeking the new land for other reasons; these they called the Strangers. These two groups, a passenger list of 102, together were the Pilgrims.

The journey lasted nine weeks, with the ship finally losing its course. Instead of reaching Virginia, they landed at Cape Cod, Mass. Now outside the territory covered by the King's Charter, the Pilgrims were responsible for their own government. After much prayer, the Pilgrims wrote a set of laws - called The Mayflower Compact. Only after it was signed, on Nov. 11, 1620, did they leave the ship to begin their new life at the place they named Plymouth.

Half the Pilgrims died that first winter. Yet the survivors clung to their faith in God, and when the Mayflower returned to England the next spring, pilgrims.gifnot one Pilgrim chose to return. That spring the little colony literally put down roots with the help of Squanto, an Indian who years before had been kidnapped and taken to England, where he had learned English and become a Christian. Squanto taught them how to grow corn, use fertilizer, stalk deer and catch fish. William Bradford, the governor, wrote of Squanto that he was "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectations."

The first harvest brought plenty. In October, Gov. Bradford set aside a day for everyone to thank God for meeting their needs through that arduous year. Squanto, his chief, Massasoit, and other members of his tribe were their invited guests. The Indians brought deer and turkeys, while the Pilgrim women cooked vegetables and fruit pies.

Faith Above All

Which one of us in these far too comfortable times could imagine freezing and starving through a harsh winter, losing half of our community, then lifting such joyous celebration to God? What an inspiring picture of our Christian faith.

Unfortunately, this picture is lost in the watered-down versions of Thanksgiving that pass the tests of political correctness, including those offered in recently published books and encyclopedias. In some public school classrooms, children are taught that the Pilgrims offered the first Thanksgiving to thank the Indians, or worse yet, Mother Earth.

In many ways, our situation as Christians is drawing closer each year to that of the English Separatists. As the Church of England at the time disregarded biblical truths, our nation is no longer acknowledging its spiritual history. We can't ignore our personal responsibility to transmit our cultural heritage to the next generation. It's a responsibility with many rewards.

Sharing our country's heritage will inspire and give meaning to your children's lives, enriching the legacy of your own family as well as that of our nation. But you need to know that heritage well to pass it on. Check your library for books and encyclopedias published before 1970 to find the authentic history of our nation, as well as the inseparable role of faith in our history.

As Woodrow Wilson said in 1913, "A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.

"America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture." 

In short, America has always been a nation of faithful people. Now we need faith that the current reign of revisionist history will be followed by a remembrance of our authentic past. Until then it is our responsibility to see that our legacy is not forgotten.