November 25, 2015

A Thanksgiving Pause

by Eric Davis
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It’s almost Thanksgiving. But, there is still today, which is considered the single busiest travel day in the US. AAA estimates that 47 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for the holiday. Airlines report that over 90% of their seats will be filled today.

With all the hustle and bustle, thankfulness may flee a bit. It doesn’t always come natural for various reasons. Some of us may be immersed neck-deep in immense trials. Perhaps giving thanks right now seems impossible. Others of us may be struggling to have a thankful heart towards God for no apparent reason at all. Whatever the case, Thanksgiving is an opportune, and, perhaps, a necessary time, to grow in the grace of God-ward thankfulness. In Christ, we are never without reasons for gratitude, even in the darkest of life’s valleys. But thankfulness is less of a pixie-dust emotion felt, and more of a grace cultivated through discipline.

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So, whether you are standing in the TSA line, running to catch a connecting flight, in between trains, or on your way to grandma’s, here are a few of my favorite quotes and meditations on thankfulness which I hope will prepare our hearts for tomorrow’s wonderful holiday; Thanksgiving Day.

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

A.W. Tozer:

Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.

Thomas Goodwin:

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.

C.S. Lewis:

Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’ Adoration says, ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’ One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.

G.K. Chesterton:

The worst moment for an atheist is when he feels a profound sense of gratitude and has no one to thank.

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

John MacArthur:

Impatience will just destroy thankfulness. Learn to thank God for the process. And learn, if you’re looking at your partner in life or your children or whatever it is, for the little signals of process for which you can thank God that He’s accomplishing His great purpose. Don’t be in a hurry to see the things happen that are happening perfectly on time in His economy.

Thomas Watson:

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You who are enriched with treasures of godliness, bless God for it. This flower does not grow in nature’s garden. You had enlisted yourselves under the devil and taken pay on his side, fighting against your own happiness, and then God came with converting grace and put for a loving and gentle violence, causing you to espouse his quarrel against Satan! You had lain many years soaking in wickedness, as if you had been parboiled for hell, and then God laid you steeping in Christ’s blood and breathed holiness into your heart! Oh, what cause you have to write yourselves as eternal debtors to free grace!

Charles Spurgeon (can’t have just one from Spurgeon):

If we will only think, we shall begin to thank.

When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank him because he never held his peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon his hands, and carried our names upon his breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone…Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!..when a man…has nowhere else to turn, he flies into his Father’s arms, and is blessedly clasped therein! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them; for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time. Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble that drives thee to thy Father!

We bless God…for our afflictions; we thank him for our changes; we extol his name for losses of property; for we feel that had he not chastened us thus, we might have become too secure. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery trial. ‘Afflictions, though they seem severe, in mercy oft are sent.’

The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life’s song, “He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.”

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Cripplegate. May the Spirit of God warm our hearts in Christ-ward thankfulness today.

Eric Davis

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Eric is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Jackson Hole, WY. He and his team planted the church in 2008. Leslie is his wife of 14 years and mother of their 3 children.
  • Jane Hildebrand

    Happy Thanksgiving to all at the C-gate! One more blessing to thank God for.

    • Eric Davis

      Thank you, Jane. We are grateful for the encouragement you are to C-gate.

  • Great quotes. Thanks for putting these together. I’m curious though why you quoted Chesterton who was a well known defender of Catholicism. I ask this because you’ve written some excellent articles in the past showing the dangerous errors of Catholicism.

    • Eric Davis

      B/c Doug Wilson does, too! Just kidding.. Ah, yes, the conundrum of Gilbert and his Romanism.. Good question, Jason. I sometimes wonder if he was regenerate; a closet evangelical and didn’t know it…But… So, my personal policy is to not quote people from religions which hold to an unsavable gospel, especially those in the name of Christ. Chesterton is the only person with whom I break this policy now and then. I do so b/c sometimes his insight into truth and life is profound; so much so that I think he can be a help to steer people towards and in the truth. Thanks Jason.

  • Jason

    Looking into how mature men express thankfulness is extremely rewarding. Thank you for this article!

  • Brian Morgan

    I’m heading to a large family gathering today and might just pull these out to aid in spiritual discussion. I am thankful to have been shown C-gate. These articles have been of spiritual benefit to me. In the somewhat lonely world of pastoral ministry, they oft serve as a balm to my soul and practical help to my mind. Eric, my first exposure to your writing was Chasing Away the Legalism Boogyman. I’ve enjoyed the virtual partnerships since then, and feel like you guys are my “friends” in ministry though we haven’t met. May God bless all of you this special time of the year. We certainly have much to be thankful for!!! Thank you!

    • Eric Davis

      Thank you, Brian. Appreciate that and the like-mindedness we have.

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