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Five Kernels of Thanksgiving

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Title:        Five Kernels.

Text:        Psalm 103:1-5.

CIT: God deserves our praise for all He has and is doing for us.

Theme:    Praising God for all He has done and is doing in our lives.   

Purpose:  Salvation/Discipleship.

Introduction

The Pilgrim fathers who landed at Plymouth Rock over 300 years ago knew nothing of the affluent times which you and I enjoy today.  The next time you and I are tempted to complain about inflation and the state of our economy, remember the following:

•     During that first long winter at Plymouth, seven times as many graves were dug for the dead as homes built for the living.

•     The ship which was to bring food and relief brought 35 more mouths to feed, but not an ounce of provisions.

•     Touching indeed is the picture of William Brewster, rising from a scanty Plymouth dinner, consisting of a plate of clams and a glass of cold water, to thank God “for the abundance of the sea and the treasures hid in the sand.”

      The Pilgrims didn’t have much, but they possessed a great gratitude.  These were  strong people, devout and sincere.  They are the timbers upon which our nation was founded.

      They had a custom of putting 5 kernels of corn upon each empty plate before a dinner of “thanksgiving” was served.  Each member of the family would pick up a kernel and tell what they were thankful for.  It was to remind them that the first Pilgrims were in such dire straits that their allowance was only 5 kernels of corn per person each day.

      You and I have many reasons to be thankful.  Let’s take 5 grains of corn, and using Psalm 103:1-5 as a basis, think of 5 things to praise God for.  In this Psalm David calls upon his body, mind, soul, and spirit to join in one grand symphony of praise for the benefits God has so graciously bestowed upon him.  Can you see the 5?

I.  The Kernel of Forgiveness (v 3a).

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits--
Who forgives all your sins /

        One day a fellow was visiting with his pastor in the parsonage.  He picked up a book that was on a stand and began to read.  Suddenly he shouted, “Glory! Praise the name of the Lord!”  The pastor asked, “What’s the matter with you?”   The visitor replied, “This book says that in certain places the sea is 5 miles deep!”

        “So” said the pastor, “What of it?”   The visitor answered, “The Bible says that my sins have been cast into the depth of the sea, and if its that deep, I’m not afraid of them coming up again.  They would be crushed like an egg.”

        There’s no mistaking it—God offers forgiveness.  All any person must do is turn from their sin and turn to Christ, and God will forgive him and revoke the penalty of sin.

        Forgiveness is a:

•                    Promise of the Father

•                    Provision of the Son

•                    Proclaimed in the Bible

•                    Practice of the church.

        From the depths of our hearts, a sense of gratitude should well up and ascend like incense to the throne of God as we thank Him for the forgiveness we have received.  Second,

II.  The Kernel of Healing (v 3b)

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who heals all your diseases…”

        We know that God doesn’t heal everyone who is sick.  But I believe the Holy Spirit can help us to see three important truths contained in this verse.

        a.      All healing is divine healing and all recovery from sickness, injury and surgery is the result of the healing properties of God.  Medicine, surgery and therapy are merely extensions of God’s healing ministry.

        b.     This verse doesn’t say that God heals everyone’s diseases, but that He heals all diseases.  There is no disease or sickness that lies beyond His healing power.  He is the Great Physician.

        c.      The main truth I learned is that the Psalmist is speaking to his soul. “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” he said, “who heals all your diseases.”

        Where does the diseases of the soul come from?  From sin!  Jesus identified this virus and its symptoms and disorders in Matthew 5:


For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what make a man ’unclean.

        The diseases of the soul, all of them, can be cleansed, purged and purified — and made whole when God the Holy Spirit is allowed to possess us completely.  Third,

III.  The Kernel of Redemption (v 4a)

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits ... who redeems your life from the pit.

        The London Times publishes the prices paid for art objects in all of the salesrooms of the world.  If a painting is sold in New York or Paris or Rome or London, “The Times” gives the full details of the sale.  You can judge the value of the painting by the price paid for it.

        Can I say to you that we can judge our value by the price Jesus paid for us — the depths into which He had to reach in order to redeem us.

        The Lord not only redeemed our souls from hell, but He also redeems our lives from the clutches of the devil.  Satan is bent on destroying our lives and damning our souls.  But thanks be to God, He redeemed us from Hell and the clutches of Satan. 

        All you have to do is take a look at our penitentiaries, sanitariums, hospitals, and half-way houses.  They are filled with people whose lives are being destroyed by Satan.  Jesus said in Matthew 7:13, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many are on that road.”

        But we thank God today with the Psalmist who said,

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:2,3).

        Fourth, we find,

IV.  The Kernel of Love and Compassion (v 4b)

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits …crowns you with love and compassion…


        In one of Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman’s meetings, a man rose to give the following remarkable testimony:

        “I got off at the Pennsylvania depot one day as a tramp.  For a year I begged on the streets for a living.  One day I touched a man on the shoulder and said, ‘Mister, please give me some money so I can have something to eat.’  As soon as I saw his face, I recognized him as my father.  ‘Father, don’t you know me?’ I asked.  Throwing his arms around me, he cried, ‘I’ve found you! I’ve found you! All I have is yours!’  Think of it!  That I a tramp, stood begging my father for a few cents, when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all he was worth.”

        How similar this is to the loving kindness and tender mercies the Lord wants to give us every day.  God wants to give us all He has.  Last week, I heard a pastor say that “we have as much of Jesus as we want!”  That is so true!  Jesus wants to give you all, do you have it?   Last, I want us to thank God for:

V.  The Kernel of Satisfaction and Renewal

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits … Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

        There’s a great paradox here.  We’re satisfied but never are never to be satisfied.  Janice makes the best pies in the world.  I’m always satisfied when I eat some, but I always want more because what I’ve experienced makes me want to taste it again and again.  So it is with righteousness.  We’re filled and the filling is so sweet and so rich and full that we want more.

        When we seek God’s righteousness, He grants it.  Psalm 107:9 says, “He has satisfied the thirsty soul and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”

        A famous surgeon was seldom seen on the streets without a beautiful, fresh rose in his lapel.  His friends wondered why these buds stayed fresh for so long a time.  When they asked him his secret, he turned back the flap of his coat and revealed a little bottle of water into which the stem of the flower had been inserted. So it is with believers.  If our lives draw from the great resources of the Lord Jesus, we will grow more fragrant and beautiful as the days and years go by and fly on wings like an eagle.

Conclusion

        But that’s not the end.  The psalmist also says that God will renew my youth like the eagle’s.  The eagle is known for three things: size, strength, and survival.  Its also know for something else, it’s annual molting.  Getting rid of the old feathers and getting a new ones.

        Our spiritual lives go through renewal also.  This is the result of living a fulfilled, satisfied, spiritual life.  I am constantly being renewed, refreshed, and revived in my soul and God is doing it all!

        No wonder then that the Psalmist said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!”

        As you sit down in a moment to our annual Church Thanksgiving dinner, this evening as we enjoy our annual thanksgiving community service at the Methodist Church, and as you set down to your Thanksgiving meal Thursday, take time to thank God for these blessings — these five kernels.

Invitation

        Real Thanksgiving begins and ends with Jesus.  Like the psalmist have you found forgiveness of sin, have you found healing in your heart and life, have you been redeemed by the blood, have you found love and satisfaction? It all begins with a personal relationship with Jesus.

        In a moment we are going to be singing a song of invitation, it is your invitation to come and do business with God.  Some need to receive Christ, some need to renew your commitment to Christ, some need to come and join this fellowship of believers, whatever God is leading you to do, come.

FBC, Hughes,                                  11/23/08

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