There’s plenty to be thankful for this year
by Dennis Culbreth
Nov 23, 2013 | 760 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dennis Culbreth
Dennis Culbreth
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Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has been an official holiday since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” We also remember being taught in school about the “First Thanksgiving” that was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. It was somewhat different than what we do today. That first feast lasted three days and was attended by 143 individuals (90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims — Wikipedia)

We have come a long way when it comes to Thanksgiving. For many of us, this time of year is spent eating wonderful food, visiting with family and friends and watching great football games. We live in a wonderful country! We have been blessed with a strong, free country where if one works hard, they can have a successful life and provide for their family.

For those of us who have a relationship WITH Jesus Christ, we have so much for which to be thankful. We have been set free by the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We have been forgiven for our sins and can experience a freedom that money cannot buy and we can never earn by just doing good works.

This is best portrayed in Psalm 103. Here David reminds us to “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 forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).

These are truly words of thanksgiving. We are told here that we are to praise God with all our inmost being or with all our soul. We are also to praise God because of “all of His benefits.” These benefits are:

1. Forgiveness of sin (vs.3). This is the greatest benefit that we can ever receive from God, and we can only receive it because God gave His Son over to death on the cross to procure it for us.

2. Healing (Vs. 3) God is the healer of the body as well as of the soul. Health, as we have been given, is a sure gift from God and He should be praised for it.

3. Redemption from the pit (Vs. 4). David here is speaking of death. God has given him life and protected him.

4. Satisfaction with good things (Vs. 5). Can you praise God for the good things that He has brought into your life?

God has indeed been good to us! He has blessed us and has called us to be a blessing to others. Because of these blessings, we need to truly be thankful to God.

It is because of what Christ has done for the believer that many of the churches in the city of Jasper came together to help those who may have need of temporary financial assistance.

Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, commands us to be “light” to a dark world. We are commanded to show the compassion and love of Jesus to others. We are told to give a “cup of cold water” in His name to those who need it, and we are also told that we never know when we are helping “angels unawares.”

One way that we all can help it to be a part of The J.A.M.E.S Ministry.

This organization was founded in 2004 and is known as the Jasper Area Ministerial Emergency Service, or J.A.M.E.S., Inc.

According to its mission statement, “the goal of the Jasper Area Ministerial Emergency Service is to assist those who are in emergency situations and enable them to resume an independent financial lifestyle. It is not the intention of this organization to contribute to maintaining a lifestyle of dependence on assistance.”

The J.A.M.E.S. Ministry was organized to provide the participating area churches a central location to provide financial assistance to those in emergency situations.

J.A.M.E.S. is a nonprofit organization with 501C-3 status in compliance with the Internal Revenue Service.

It has been a tradition of the J.A.M.E.S. Ministry to provide a community Thanksgiving service each year where churches gather to worship together and where an offering will be taken for the ongoing financial needs of this ministry.

This year, we will be hosting a Special Music Service at Jasper’s First Baptist Church on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. There will be some wonderful music.

The following churches and ministries are participating:

•Zion United Methodist Church

•First Christian Church

•Hope House

•Glory Fellowship

•Macedonia Baptist Church

•Jasper’s First United Methodist Church

•Walker County Christian Chorus Vocals

•Maranatha Baptist Church

•First Presbyterian Church

•Jasper’s First Baptist Church

At the end of the service, we will be receiving a special offering to benefit the J.A.M.E.S. Ministry.

Jasper’s First Baptist Church is located at 1604 4th Ave. South in the city of Jasper.

Remember, that all contributions go to support this vital ministry. There is so much need! Can you help us “give a cup of cold water in Jesus name”?

Dr. Dennis R. Culbreth is the senior pastor of Jasper’s First Baptist Church www.jaspersfbc.org