Sunday, November 18, 2018

Unthankfulness. Thanksgiving, Christmas—and Greed. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”, The Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Unthankfulness, a Sign of Perilous Times

maxresdefaultThanksgiving and its opposite don’t seem that important to most people. But God looks at things differently. Ingratitude is one of the symptoms of society on the brink.

The apostle Paul warned of terrible, stressful times to come before Christ’s return:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy” (2 Timothy 3:1-2, emphasis added throughout). His list of destructive end-time attitudes goes on, but let’s focus on “unthankful.”

Why is ingratitude a symptom of a sick and self-destructive society? Why is it growing, and how does it harm us, while gratitude helps us?

Predictably unthankful

Why is ingratitude increasing in this secular, humanistic society? Paul wrote an insightful analysis of people who ignore the evidence of our Creator:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:20-21).

People who do not acknowledge God are obviously not going to be thankful to Him. Thoughts that do not take into account the ultimate reality of the existence and plan of God are vain thoughts.

If you think you are just an animal, yet paradoxically think you are the master of your own destiny, your thoughts will reach no further than your life span (Psalm 146:4). They will be fleeting and futile, and you will be blind to the spiritual realities that last for eternity.

An ancient case study

We can see this in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar.

God had warned the king about the results of the prideful path he was on. “They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times [years] shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:25).

But Nebuchadnezzar did not heed the warning, and 12 months later he was again idolizing his own power and wealth. He said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (verse 30).

From that very hour the prophecy was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar became like a wild animal. He ate grass, and his nails grew like bird claws. This poetic justice eventually transformed his haughty pride to praise.

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (verse 37).

Being unthankful belies an underlying rejection of God. If we don’t recognize what He has done for us, we put something else in His place.

Problems with ingratitude

Being unthankful belies an underlying rejection of God. If we don’t recognize what He has done for us, we put something else in His place. Not only does this demonstrate that we are disconnected from reality, but it generally means we are making a god out of ourselves.

If we ignore the blessings of God and the contributions of others, we create blind spots that keep us from seeing the whole picture. These blind spots can prevent us from perceiving the pitfalls in our path. It’s a law of the universe that pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

Self-centeredness and ingratitude grate on the nerves of those around us, leading to lack of intimacy and to isolation. Unthankfulness can poison relationships and prevent new ones from forming.

Benefits of thanksgiving

On the other hand, gratitude has many benefits that are now being confirmed by science.

John Tierney summarized some of the recent research in an article in The New York Times:

“Cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others. … A new study shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked. …

“Why does gratitude do so much good? ‘More than other emotion, gratitude is the emotion of friendship,’ Dr. [Michael] McCullough says. ‘It is part of a psychological system that causes people to raise their estimates of how much value they hold in the eyes of another person. Gratitude is what happens when someone does something that causes you to realize that you matter more to that person than you thought you did.’”

It’s the Golden Rule in action (Matthew 7:12). We all like to be appreciated, and gratitude acts as a lubricant in human relationships. It helps us make friends and strengthen friendships and family bonds. Being thankful to others pays off in making our own lives more pleasant and happy.

And thankfulness can help build our relationship with God as well. He is a loving Father, and He wants what is best for us. That includes wanting us to have the benefits of a positive outlook on life (Philippians 4:8) and a proper perspective on our blessings and challenges.

Freed from the blind spots and pitfalls of pride and ingratitude, we can see our future clearly based on the ultimate reality. God made us and has given us everything we have. Beyond that, He has a purpose for us that transcends the troubles of this age. He wants us to think like He does—to appreciate what is good and to give.

God owns everything and has given us everything we have. He even gave the life of His Son so that we can be forgiven of our sins! So what can we really give to Him? Our thanks!

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).”  From:


Thanksgiving, Christmas—and Greed

kidsgiving“So, I can’t help but wonder, am I the only person struck by this? I’m talking about the paradox of this time of the year, the approximately one month from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I just find it amazing!

Here’s what I’m talking about: the fourth Thursday in November, the wonderful national holiday celebrated in the United States of America—Thanksgiving Day. What’s it all about? Gratitude, thankfulness, acknowledgement of divine blessing.

Here’s what President Abraham Lincoln, sometimes referred to as the father of the Thanksgiving holiday, proclaimed back in 1863:

“The year that is drawing toward 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 the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. … 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.”

He then went on 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.” He recommended “offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings.”

Isn’t that wonderful? Gratitude. Humility. Recognition of God’s merciful blessings and favor. Never mind that for far too many Americans in the 150 years since that proclamation, Thanksgiving Day has devolved into little more than “turkey day,” or a day to watch football. At least it started out right, as a day of thanksgiving.

But then the paradox. This year it didn’t even wait till “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving. For many retail establishments, it began before Thanksgiving Day itself: “Buy, buy, buy!” “Grab, grab, grab!” “Get, get, get!” Okay, so maybe it’s just because I’m a little older and bothered more by these things. Or maybe it actually is even more crass, even more aggressive this year. But this annual orgy of greed and grab seems to be more offensive and unpleasant this year than usual.

An example: At a Wal-Mart store in Elkin, North Carolina, fights broke out as one crazed shopper violently grabbed and shoved in a frantic consumerist push. For what? A TV set! And it didn’t even wait till the day after Thanksgiving. It was Thanksgiving night! (). And this is about gratitude?

And so it goes on, just as it does every year, for one whole unpleasant month. Spend, spend and more spend. Stuff, stuff and more stuff. Grab and grab and grab—even with a little violence, if necessary. And for what? A day that supposedly commemorates the birth of the Savior of humanity, the

One who gave His life for all humankind.

Leave aside for the moment the fact that Christmas isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. Leave aside the fact that it has pre-Christian origins. Leave aside the fact that it’s really a pagan festivity, baptized under the banner of Christ.

Leave all that aside, and you’re still left with that grotesque contradiction, a month ending in a holiday that supposedly epitomizes the Christian way of life, but that really seems to culminate four weeks of greed and coveting. How sad!

Am I the only one? No, I’m really glad that I’m not. Most of my friends are aware of the non-biblical roots of Christmas, and they do their best to avoid all the commercialism and ugliness of a celebration that has become little more than one giant retail binge.”       From:



Two doctor’s appointments this week cut into our work schedule. One for Zack, my helper and neighbor, and one at the eye clinic for pre-op measuring my eye for my cataract surgery on the 29th.

Jay wanted to work one day too, so he and Zack put three of my heavy tube-type TV’s in my van.  I was going to take them to Spring to the recycling center, at $10 disposal fee each.  Then the night before my eye appointment I thought I would list them as FREE on Craigslist.  The next morning the internet was out, so after my eye appointment I went to the library to answer the emails there. Several people were after the TVs, but only one came through, so he got them from me while I was still in Conroe.  So finally, I have my big flat screen TV working in the living room.

Then I bought a metal barrel for burning the pine straw, so we drilled holes in the bottom, put it on cement blocks and now have it set up in an inconspicuous place at the back of my house.  We are having to go slow with it as we have to burn the paint off the barrel little by little so to not make a bad smell.

For the church potluck I made some Grass-fed Beef into a Tomato-free Sauce for Spaghetti with Italian Seasonings.  I took some whole wheat pasta with me and cooked it there before church, and kept it hot in a colander over some hot water.  Also, I had some very spicy dip and didn’t know what to do with it, because I can’t eat spicy.  Then I came up with the idea of making into Spicy Broccoli Slaw.  Of course, the people who like spicy, liked it.  Several winter squashes had been washed, not dried, and cooked in crockpots, so I took them, too.  For me, it is easier to cook them in a crockpot rather than risk getting hurt trying to peel their hard skins off. There weren’t so many people at church this time, so we froze a lot of the left-overs for another time.

The Bible readings were Psa. 100 and 92, Gen. 12:1-17:27, Isa. 40:27-41-16, Rom. 4:1-25, and the Teaching was “Not A Nice day In Israel” about how the Israelites are being bombarded with 400+ rockets, and the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are still fighting.

We cleaned my keyboard and now my “d” doesn’t work.  Each time you see one I have had to copy and paste the “d”, and there are lots of them.

We were going to have a freeze, so Zach and I moved all my potted aloe plants into the greenhouse just in time.  Then it warmed up to mid seventies again after a couple of days.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Another great post, even if you had to copy and paste the "d's". God bless you for your faithfulness and for doing His work.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you. Hi to y'all.

Dizzy-Dick said...

BTW, I had cataract surgery a few years ago and couldn't believe how much I was missing. The color blue was beautiful after the surgery. I guess looking through yellowish lenses, blue came out more drab with a hint of green.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi DD. Yes, we fixed my "D".
I keep on hearing about the good outcomes of cataract surgery, but I am still afraid. It would be awful if it went wrong and I lost my sight as I am on my own.
I suppose everyone has those fears.
Happy Trails and Tails, Penny.