Sunday, December 2, 2007

a message about giving thanks, by John A. Broadus

Colossians 1: 9 - 16 ... it is my blessing for you. The Lord bless you and fill you with the Knowledge of His Will in all Wisdom and spiritual Understanding; that ye might walk worthy of The Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the Knowledge of God; strengthened with all Might, according to His glorious Power, unto all Patience and Longsuffering with Joyfulness; giving Thanks unto The Father, which hath made us meet (appropriately fitted or prepared) to be (live as) partakers of the inheritance of the saints in Light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son: in Whom we have redemption through His Blood, even the Forgiveness of sins: Who is The Image of The Invisible God, The Firstborn of every creature (man): For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.

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I Thessalonians 5: 14 - 24 Now, we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not The Spirit (of God Almighty). Despise not prophesyings. Prove all thngs; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of Peace (Jehovah Shalom) sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah). Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it.

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I Thessalonians 5: 18 In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) concerning you.

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[ an article taken from "Sermons and Addresses" by John A. Broadus. Published by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville, Tennessee. -- I copied this from Baptist Bible Tribune, November 2007, Vol. 59, No. 3, pages 13-14 ]

We hear a great deal said about habits. But it nearly always means bad habits. Why should we not think and speak much about
good habits? They are as real, and almost as great, a power for good as bad habits are for evil. We do our work largely by the aid of habit.

How much this helps one in playing on an instrument, or writing on a typewriter. Through many a familiar conjunction of notes or of letters the fingers fly with the very smallest amount of attention and exertion. Many a man who is growing old will every day get through an amount of work that surprises his friends, and it is possible becaue he works in the lines of lifelong habit. Besides, the only possible way to keep out bad habits is to form good habits. By a necessity of our nature, whatever is frequently and at all regularly done becomes habitual. If a man has been the slave of evil habits, and wishes to be permanently free, he must proceed by systematic and persevering effort to establish corresponding good habits.

The education of our children, both at school* (* at home or with parents' permission with a hired teacher -- blog owner's note) and at home, the self-education of our own early life, consists mainly in the formation of intellectual and moral habits. I think we ought to talk more upon this subject, in public and in private -- upon the power and blessing of good habits.

CONSIDER THE VALUE of the habit of thankfulness. It tends to quell repining. We are all prone, especially in certain moods, to complain of our lot. Every one of us has at some time or other imagined, and perhaps declared, that he has a particularly hard time in this world. It is to be hoped that in other moods we are heartily ashamed of ourselves for such repining.

But how to prevent its recurrence? A most valuable help will be the habit of thankfulness to God. Then if a fretful, repining spirit begins to arise (in us -- blog owner's note), just in the middle, perhaps, of some complaining sentence, we shall suddenly change to an expression of thankfulness -- and perhaps end with laughing at ourselves for the folly of such repining.

It tends to enhance enjoyment. We all know that when we receive a gift, with any true sentiment and any suitable expression of thankfulness, the reaction of gratitude augments our gratification.

It serves to soothe distress. Persons who are greatly afflicted, and not wont to be thankful, sometimes find the memory of past joys only an aggravation of present sorrow. Far otherwise with one who has learned to be habitually thankful. For him the recollection of happier hours is still a comfort.

It helps to allay anxiety. Did you ever notice what the apostle says to the Philippians? "In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made unto God. And the Peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Messiah Yeshua) Notice carefully that we are to prevent anxiety by prayer as to the future with thanksgiving for the past.

IT CANNOT FAIL to deepen penitence. "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." When we are fully in the habit of thankfully observing and recalling the loving kindnesses and tender mercies of our Heavenly Father, this will make us perceive more clearly, and lament more earnestly, the evil of sin against Him; and what is more, this will strengthen us to turn from our sins to His blessed service.

It has as one necessary effect to brighten hope. "I love to think on mercies past, And future good implore," is a very natural conjunction of ideas. If we have been wont to set up Ebenezers* (* stones of help, from Eben-ezer) upon our path of life, then every glance backwards along these milestones of God's mercy will help us to look forward with more humble hope.

It serves to strengthen for endurance and exertion. We all know how much more easily and effectively theyh work who work cheerfullly; and the very nutriment of cheerfulness is found in thankfulness as to the past and hope as to the future.

BUT REMEMBER THAT good habits cannot be maintained without attention. They require a certain self-control, a studious self-constraint. Is not the habit of thankfulness worth taking pains to maintain? The older persons remember Ole Bull, the celebrated violinist. I once dined in company with him, and in an hour's conversation across the table found him a man of generous soul, full of joble impulses and beautiful enthusiasms, and rich with the experience of wide travel.

And I was greatly interested in a remark of his which is recorded in the recent biography: "When I stop practicing one day, I see the difference; when I stop two days, my friends see the difference; when I stop a week, everybody sees the difference."

Here was a man who had cultivated a wonderful natural gift, by lifelong labor, until, as a performer upon the finest of instruments, he was probably the foremost man of his time; and yet he could not afford to stop practicing for a single week, or even for a single day. "They do it for an earthly crown; but we for a Heavenly."

Christian brethren, shall we shrink from incessant vigilance and perpetual effort to keep up the habit of thankfulness to God?

I SEE MANY YOUNG PERSONS present this evening. Will not some of you at once begin the thoughtful exercise of continual thankfulness? Will you not think over it, pray over it, labor to establish and maintain so beautiful and blessed a habit? Ah, what a help it will be to you amid all the struggles of youth and all the sorrows of age!

And in far-coming years, when you are gray, when the preacher of this house has long been forgotten, let us hope that you will still be gladly recommending to the young around you the habit of thankfulness.

John A. broadus was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, on June 24, 1827, and died in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 16, 1895. As a man, scholar, teacher, and preacher, he was genuinely distinguished. He received the M.A. degree from the University of Virginia. He became a member of the first faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminar when it opened at Greenville, South Carolina, in 1859. for the next 36 years, he was professor of New Testament interpretation and homiletics. His commentary on Matthew and his _Preparation and Delivery of Sermons_ are still standard works. His pleasant personality, his accurate knowledge and clarity of expression, made him one of the superior teachers and preachers of his time.

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Give thanks to God continually! And do it every day! -- no matter what .....