The Day of Thanksgiving should be remembered not for what bargains we obtained, but rather thanking the Lord God Almighty who has prospered our hands over the course of the year. Abraham Lincoln, as sitting President of the United States, proclaimed these words below that still live on and are brought forward today for our consideration. Let us thank the Lord God Almighty for all of His Blessings.
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.
Proclamation of Thanksgiving
The document below is the 1863 proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln setting apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State
Taken from the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
So, with all of these references to God’s laws in the New Testament and that we are required to be in obedience to our heavenly Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, how did Christians ever arrive at the false conclusion that we are no longer required to keep God’s laws? It can be stated with one word….namely, ‘Rebellion!’
How does this relate to rebellion? Again, what did the Lord Jesus Christ command? Did not the Lord Jesus say, “If ye love me, KEEP my COMMANDMENTS?” Yes, He did. With this in mind, when we choose to not keep the Lord’s commandments, we place ourselves into a state of rebellion.
So as this series has progressed through the various Scriptures that have been used incorrectly in an attempt to establish the idea that Christians do not have to obey the laws of God, we now will look at some of the Scriptures in the book of Galatians. The book of Galatians has been used more than the other Scriptures to establish this very point.
And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus that they might bring us into bondage.
So what is this ‘bondage’ that Paul speaks about? Again, let’s not just assign our own meanings to God’s Word; rather let us look in the wider context to gain our equilibrium. In verse 3 we read that Paul is referring to circumcision and that Titus was not required to submit himself to circumcision. However, there were some Jewish people who apparently were pretending to be Christian, whom Paul labels as ‘false brethren’ who were asserting that before unbelievers could become Christian, they had to be circumcised according to Mosaic Law. Paul sets them straight on this issue and states emphatically that they went along with this idea….NO! They did not give place to this idea…not even for one hour.
As Chapter 2 progresses, we read that the Apostle Peter had been sent to those who were of the circumcision i.e., the Jews; but that the Apostle Paul had been sent to those who were of the Gentiles. The next scene we read is when Peter came to Antioch; Paul had to withstand him face to face because Peter was living as the Gentiles did. However, when certain notable, high-ranking Jews came to Antioch, then Peter withdrew himself and returned to Jewish ideals regarding the following of Mosaic Laws. Thus, Paul called him on the carpet for this and called Peter a hypocrite. Why? Because apparently, Peter was compelling the Gentiles to live as the Jews lived even while he was living as the Gentiles lived. In verse 16 we read
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The ‘works of the law’ should not be equated with the Ten Commandments of God. The works of the law pertains to keeping the Mosaic laws. Keeping these laws eventually produced a works-righteousness mentality which feeds pride and caused the ‘doer’ to think that s/he could stand in the presence of the Lord God Almighty and say: “Oh, what a good boy/girl am I!” This is what the Apostle Paul is renouncing, preferring to say that believing in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, and HIS WORKS, is what brings about our salvation. Attempting to keep the Mosaic Laws…Paul stated in verse 16b ff
…that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
There is not anyone who can through their own power, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and make themselves appear to be righteous before God. Please keep in mind that these works of the law have nothing to do with the works of righteousness that we are required to do AFTER we are born again. More to come…so stay tuned!