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The Alex McFarland Show-85-Having a Heart of Gratitude

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
November 21, 2023 10:00 am

The Alex McFarland Show-85-Having a Heart of Gratitude

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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November 21, 2023 10:00 am

We have so much to be thankful for in the midst of this holiday season.  On today’s episode of the Alex McFarland Show, Alex talks about four points that are related to Thanksgiving and the good news that we have in Jesus Christ. Alex puts into perspective having a heart of gratitude with reference to 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Four Points:

  1. Live as a disciple.
  2. Bear the fruits of the spirit.
  3. Witness to others.
  4. Be expectant and believe God for good things by walking in faith.

Scriptures:  

1 Corinthians 15:57 & 58

Galatians 5

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The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture and current events analyzed through the lens of scripture. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. That's 1 Corinthians 15 57. And with that verse, I welcome you to the program.

Hi, Alex McFarland here. And, you know, as I record this program, Thanksgiving is past and the Christmas season is now upon us here in the fall of 2023. Black Friday has happened, and I always think it's ironic how the day after Thanksgiving, as America's retailers ostensibly are in the black, solidly in the black, with the sales and the commerce, very often it's in the news how people fight and they'll be, you know, getting gifts for Christmas, the birthday of the Prince of Peace. And yet in the malls and shopping centers, very often it's, you know, every man for himself and and, you know, look after your life at your own peril as people get into fisticuffs over, you know, timeless, valuable things like flat screen TVs and the latest gadgets.

But we've got so much to be thankful for. And I really think about the quote by Winston Churchill, one of my heroes. Churchill said, Christmas is a time to remember and Christmas is a time to reflect.

And I want to as we get into Christmas and will be in all of our broadcasts to radio shows, to television shows, messaging, social media emails. Over the next several weeks, we're going to be talking a lot about Christmas and the coming of of Jesus Christ, because as I've quoted so many times before, as G.K. Chesterton said, regarding the incarnation God took on a human body came from heaven to earth. Jesus, the gospel, the good news. Chesterton said, no other religion has any good news for the simple fact that no other religion really has any news.

In Christianity, you've got things that no other faith system can boast. You've got an actual verifiable revelation from God, not speculation, not the moralizing of man, but actually a supernatural message. The Bible fulfilled prophecy. Then you've got in time and space history, actual historical intervention of God on behalf of man in world history. Jesus was born. Jesus rose from the dead. Christ is coming again for two thousand years.

The church has existed and God's mouthpiece and ambassadors here in the world, the Christian church telling every generation of people how to be born again. In Christianity, you actually have proof that there is a God and he can be known. We've got so much for which to be grateful.

And we'll circle back to this. But I want to give several things related to Thanksgiving and our response to it. But here's the challenge way up at the front to show that we're thankful beyond words. Number one, live as a disciple. Number two, bear the fruits of the spirit. Number three, witness to others.

And number four, be expectant. Believe God for good things, great things. Walk in faith. And as First Corinthians 15 57 says, thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let me begin by just reminding ourselves of the precedent for Thanksgiving. You see, individuals, churches and entire nations really have the privilege and the responsibility of giving thanks to God. We should all be quick to acknowledge the many ways that God's goodness has been extended into our lives. And when we remember that God is in control of each day, we can maintain a consistent posture and attitude of praise and Thanksgiving.

And let that replace feelings of doubt, frustration, insecurity. We have from God's word and all of history, the precedent for Thanksgiving. Now, we also have the national precedent for Thanksgiving, as I'm sure that most people are aware. But from the pilgrims themselves to America's founders, to godly leaders throughout our history and to the present moment, America's heritage has included recognition of God's goodness and really declaration of our corporate dependence on God. And more than ever, we all know how we need God.

We need to return to God. But in late November, 1620, after having been at sea for over two months, the Mayflower's one hundred and two passengers arrived in Massachusetts on December 11, 1620. They signed the Mayflower Compact, America's first document of civil government. And the Mayflower Compact heavily influenced all subsequent founding documents. The pilgrims stated purpose in the Mayflower Compact was, quote, the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith. And they quickly built shelters. But by the spring, half of the pilgrims were dead.

I mean, think about that. Half of the group with whom they traveled and the summer's farming efforts yielded a crop. And the pilgrims good harvest was due in part to the help given to them by Indians. But on December 13, 1621, the pilgrims began a three day feast to thank the Lord and to celebrate with the friendly Indians.

The pilgrims knew that their survival ultimately was due to the sovereignty and the providence of Almighty God. Now, the words of pilgrim Edward Winslow give insight into the meaning of that event. He wrote, quote, Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling. In other words, go hunt some birds so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together.

Many of the Indians came amongst us and their greatest king, Massasoit, with some 90 men who for three days we entertained and feasted. Now, I love these words of Edward Winslow because really any of us could relate to this. He said, And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are far from want.

End of quote. We need to have that grateful attitude that God is is good to us. God gives us what we need.

And by the goodness of the Lord, we're far from want. Now, two years after that first Thanksgiving, Governor William Bradford proclaimed November 29th, 1623 to be an official day of thanks. Governor Bradford decreed, quote, I do proclaim that all ye pilgrims with your wives and little ones do gather at ye meeting house.

That's the church there to listen to ye pastor and render Thanksgiving to Almighty God for his blessings. Now, when we come back, we're going to talk more about the national precedent for Thanksgiving. And as we go from Thanksgiving to Christmas, that thing for which we are most grateful, the coming of King Jesus. We'll talk about how we personally can each maintain a heart of gratitude. Stay tuned. We're back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.

Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God morality and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism.

It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here, and I want to make you aware of my book, The Assault on America. How to defend our nation before it's too late. You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed and they've got a vested interest in power.

And many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, The Assault on America. We can stand up for our great nation and defend America before it's too late.

It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own Web site, which is Alex McFarland dot com. Read the book, The Assault on America.

How to defend our nation before it's too late. He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland show. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. Happy post-Thanksgiving, a very early but sincere Merry Christmas to you, one and all. And let me ask you about the following things. What do these things have in common? Running water, hot running water, electricity, grocery stores stocked with food, corner stores that are open 24-7, toilet paper and clean bathrooms, indoor plumbing.

What about this? Sidewalks and functioning paved roads. Now, what do these things have in common? Drug stores, hygiene products, three meals a day, freedom of choice.

Choices are everywhere from restaurants to clothing stores. Choice. How about this? A shower that works, a roof that hopefully doesn't leak over your head, a bed and not a clay or soil floor to sleep on. How about this?

A cell phone, a room or some space to call your own, a job, a backyard that isn't filled with safari animals or snakes, or hospitals to go to in an emergency. What about this? Garbage service, garbage trucks. What about this?

What do these things have in common? Televised sporting events, schools, the military, police, firefighters, infrastructure. How about gasoline? You can not only buy gas for an automobile. You can have transportation, readily available meat to eat. You can buy beef or chicken or fish. Even though it has gone up, some estimate inflation, groceries have gone up in some places 200%.

But food is generally affordable. What do all these things have in common? Two dozen things plus that I've listed here. Well, these are things that virtually all Americans have. We have access to these things. Not only the needs of life, but many of life's wants, many luxuries. I'll tell you what else these things have in common.

These are things that so much of the world would look at with awe and envy, because they don't have these things as we do in such bountiful supply. You know, I think about one of the quotes that Jonathan Edwards, he lived 1703 to 1758. He was a minister, a scholar, a very early president of Yale University, and really the leading clergyman associated with the Great Awakening of the mid 1700s. But Jonathan Edwards said, quote, when England grew corrupt, God brought over a number of pious persons and planted them in New England. And this land was planted with a noble vine.

That's true. Our nation was what so many talked about as this city on a hill that Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, would say we were that city on a hill. And that comes from Matthew 5, 14 and 15, in which Jesus taught of the church, quote, you are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.

Instead, they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. Now, John Winthrop, another early American leader who often called this nation the city on a hill. He believed that America was not simply another place that just accidentally emerged, but there was a divine plan, a unique destiny prepared by God himself.

I agree. I've written so much on American exceptionalism. I've traveled to libraries and literally dozens and dozens of historical sites up and down the eastern seaboard. And I believe, like so many others, that America was intentionally founded by God. In 1630, the Puritan Massachusetts Bay leader John Winthrop said, quote, we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.

Now, Noah Webster, he was the author of the first American speller and the first dictionary. He stated, quote, the moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. Now, Webster said this, and we should really take it to heart. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war.

All of these problems proceed from men despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. That's true. I mean, this that grocery list, misery, evil, vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, war.

I mean, it sounds like the current administration of the last three years. Now, Robert Winthrop, who was speaker of the U.S. House at one time, he said, quote, men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them. Men will be controlled either by, quote, the word of God or by the strong arm of man, either by the Bible or the bayonet.

That's really true. And our nation so desperately needs to get back to self-control by the moral law on every heart and the Holy Spirit within us. And how thankful we all would be if our nation would once again turn back to God.

We need it so desperately. That's why we do the events, publishing, broadcasting that we do. And we thank you for your help, your prayers and support. But in the first segment to the present moment, we talked about the precedent for Thanksgiving biblically, historically. We talked about those first couple of Thanksgivings among the pilgrims. But for a moment, let me point three, talk about American government on record thanking God. Yes, our national days of Thanksgiving to God were declared and passed into law as the years went by. Thomas Jefferson, while he was governor of Virginia, proclaimed November 11, 1779 as a day of, quote, public and solemn Thanksgiving to Almighty God. In 1785, the governor of New Hampshire, John Langdon, set aside November 24, 1785, quote, to testify our gratitude to the author of all our mercies and to confess our manifold transgressions. Could you imagine a governor nowadays or an elected official saying to the people of their region, we need to confess to God our manifold transgressions. We need to do that.

I doubt many would have the courage to say such. But Langdon's official decree also asked that God would, quote, bless our seminaries and spread the gospel over all the earth. End of quote. We've got to take a break, but we're going to come back and we're going to talk about being thankful, looking toward Christmas and New Year's and being all that we can be for God and for ourselves and for each other. Stay tuned.

We'll be right back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics, teaching in more than 2200 churches around the world, schools and college campuses. Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith, while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit alexmcfarland.com or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at alexmcfarland.com.

He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here before we resume our talk about Thanksgiving and Christmas coming. I want to say how much I appreciate everyone that prays for us as part of our conferences and many of you are partners with us. You not only pray, but you donate.

And I want to thank you sincerely. You know, even as we are wrapping up 2023, we're planning for the summer of 2024. Seven of our youth worldview apologetics camps will be happening. You can go to those camp sign up pages at equipretreat.org, equipretreat.org. And also, while we're speaking of summer camp, we have a matching challenge till the end of this year.

We have a donor that's put up fifty thousand dollars if we can raise fifty thousand dollars. And folks, every four hundred dollars will help a child have a week at summer camp. And, you know, I always say this, we do all the fun camp stuff, the rock climbing and the zip lines. I do it.

I zip line and drop into the lake whenever the camps we rent have a lake or something like that. But the best part of the camp, we teach biblical worldview and we teach kids how to not be woke. And we talk about God and country. And we have young people, middle school, high school, last year more than twelve hundred and fifty kids. And all they say is, oh, my goodness, Mr. McFarlane, when is next year? So if you could help us raise the fifty thousand dollars, it will enable us to bring about twelve hundred kids from all across America. We'll be in Montana, we'll be in New Jersey, we'll be in South Carolina, Georgia, Colorado. And we want these young people to know Jesus Christ, to be able to defend the faith and stand strong for truth.

And yes, we teach about America and why the United States of America is worth fighting for. You can give securely online at Alex McFarland dot com. Or if you mail a check, a donation, tax deductible, you can just mail that to TNG as in Truth for a New Generation. And the address is P.O.

Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina. We do have summer camp for grown ups, too, at the Cove. It's not camping by any means, though it's staying in some incredibly lovely accommodations. But July 12th through 14th, for my 18th summer, I'll be at the Cove.

The Billy Graham Training Center in western North Carolina will be teaching through First John and talking about the Believer's Authority in Christ. Your identity, the real you as a born again Christian and the food is wonderful. The accommodations and the scenery is wonderful. The fellowship and experience of the Cove is life changing. You can go to the Cove dot org, T H E C O V E, the Cove dot org. And I would love to see you there July 12th through 14th. So much more. You can find all that we're doing. We're doing a lot at Alex McFarland dot com.

And again, the camps equip retreat dot org. And God bless you. Let's stand together and see God work through our lives to impact our nation and beyond. You know, before the break, I was sharing some quotes and I want to resume and talk about several other states that passed Thanksgiving decrees that carried similar sentiments. Before the break, I had read from John Langdon's New Hampshire Thanksgiving proclamation, where he talked about God, the father of all mercies and the gospel spreading the gospel throughout the earth. Now, in 1789, with the unanimous approval of Congress, George Washington proclaimed that a national day of Thanksgiving would be observed on Thursday, November 26th, 1789.

Now, think about this. The Christian context from which America was formed. Washington decreed that prayer be made to God, who would now listen, quote, promote the knowledge and practice of the true religion. What was that was Christianity, not paganism, certainly not secularism. That would have been unknown when President Washington talked about the the knowledge of and practice of the true religion. He was speaking of Christianity. Now, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln passed a Thanksgiving resolution that stated, quote, it is announced in the holy scriptures and proven by all of history that those nations are blessed, whose God is the Lord.

End of quote. Now, it is clear our forefathers were thankful and the object of their worship was the God of the Bible. And as we are in Thanksgiving, an advent of the 21st century, let's pray that God would give us more thankful hearts, obedient lives and godly leaders, not woke, progressive revisionist, delusional people promoting ungodly things, but principal leaders, whether they be teachers, pastors, parents, local officials from Main Street to the Oval Office. We need leaders that are godly and we must come before God with humility and gratitude. So what do we do?

What do we do at this point in our journey? Well, we understand that God can use each one of us and we have so much for which to be grateful. You know, I read First Corinthians 15, 57.

Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, one of my favorite verses comes after that. First Corinthians 15, 58. And as you've heard me say, I'm sure First Corinthians 15 is all about the resurrection. You know, just as First Corinthians 13 is well known as the chapter on love. First Corinthians 15 is all about the resurrection. And let's remember, because Christ rose, we know that he is the son of God.

He alone was able to beat death. And we have every reason to stand strong, be bold, stay consistent because Christ arose and be grateful. First Corinthians 15, 57.

Thanks be to God. But verse 58 says, therefore, in other words, in light of these things. Therefore, let us be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. For, you know, your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

So what do we do? We live as a disciple. We bear the fruits of the spirit. Go back and read Galatians 5. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness. And, you know, it says against such there is no law.

In other words, you can't argue with it. So let's bear the fruits of the spirit. And maybe if you haven't been, maybe now is a good time to pray and ask God and say, Lord, help me to be led by the spirit, not the flesh. And we witness to others very often to be a witness for Christ. You have to live so that your words would be taken seriously as a witness for Christ.

And let me challenge you beginning today. And certainly this should characterize us in the new year to be expectant. Believe God for big things. Believe God for great things. Attempt for God and with God great things. Because we have so much for which to be grateful. I listed so many of those things. But throughout our history, leaders, writers have referred to America as a place of God's blessing.

You know, it's interesting. You read in the earlier years of our nation. They would use terms like a new Garden of Eden or a new Jerusalem. Religious terminology was often applied to the early Americans views of this nation. The USA was a shining city on a hill, a light for all the world to see of what could happen when religious liberty reigned and true freedom with leaders chosen by the people and for the people were godly. And so we've been a blessed people. How deeply blessed as a nation.

Well, let's close by thinking about the things for which we can be grateful. We're blessed to be a born again Christian. I hope you're a born again Christian.

If you're not or you're not sure, Jesus is as close by as a prayer. We're blessed to have a faithful Savior. We're blessed to know a God who understands our hopes, dreams, fears, joys.

Here's our petitions. And we're blessed to know the Lord who hears the confession of our sins. And he is faithful and just to forgive us.

That's first John one nine. You know, I close with Psalm one hundred and forty nine verse eight. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I've put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go. For to you, I lift up my soul. May God bless you and may we be every day found grateful.

And when we see our Lord face to face. Alex McFarland ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at Alex McFarland dot com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland P.O. Box one oh two three one.

Greensboro, North Carolina. Two seven four zero four or by calling one eight seven seven. Yes, God and the number one.

That's one eight seven seven y e s g o d one. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of the Alex McFarland show.

Do you have a desire to deepen your faith, better understand Christian apologetics or to get a biblical perspective on current events? Well, I've tried to make it simple for you to do just that on my Web site, Alex McFarland dot com. There's a new section called Ask Alex online.

It's simple, it's clean, and you can read my answers to common questions about God, faith and the Bible. So visit the Web site, Alex McFarland dot com and look for the section that says Ask Alex online.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-28 00:26:07 / 2023-11-28 00:36:40 / 11

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