November 19, 2021 Brethren Letter
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
In a few days our nation will be observing a national Day of Thanksgiving. Sadly, far too many Americans think of Thanksgiving Day as being more of a day of parades, turkey dinners and football games, rather than a day of expressing gratitude toward God. God has truly bestowed MANY abundant (yet undeserved) blessings upon this nation, and God’s people should NEVER take those blessings for granted!
Here is part of what Mr. Armstrong wrote in the booklet The United States and Britain in Prophecy concerning the blessings given to us as a nation (pages 156-157)…
How did we come into possession of all this vast wealth of the earth? Did we acquire it through our own human wisdom, foresight, energy, ability and power?
Let Abraham Lincoln answer: “We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards fertility of soil, extent of territory, and salubrity of climate … We … find ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or the establishment of them.”
Again, in his proclamation of April 30, 1863, for a nationwide day of fasting and prayer, this great President said: “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord …. We have been the recipients of the choicest blessings of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation ever has grown; BUT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD! We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”
And because Lincoln saw a nation who had forgotten God — a nation drunk with a success not due to its own efforts — a nation taking all the credit and glory to itself, this great president called upon the nation for a day of fasting and prayer to confess this national sin before God. The fate of the nation hung in the balance when he issued that proclamation. But God heard and answered that great national prayer offensive — and the nation was then preserved!
But today the threat to our fate is a thousand times more seriously hanging in the balance. And today we do not have a president or a prime minister with the vision, understanding and courage to bring our nations to their knees!
Abraham Lincoln knew these great material blessings had not been earned, but had been given to our people by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel.
And we should face the facts today and know that we were given all this vast unprecedented material wealth because God promised it, unconditionally, to Abraham. And He promised it to Abraham because Abraham obeyed God, kept God’s laws and commandments.
The blessings our nation have received were given by the GREAT God due to the promises made to Abraham through obedience!
I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. (Genesis 12:2)
And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. (Genesis 17:2-4)
Because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. (Genesis 26:5)
Brethren, I hope all of us are spending time in prayer continually giving thanks to the GREAT God for the many blessings He mercifully pours out!
As we see in Philippians 4, our prayers to God should express deep gratitude! It is God who has given us blessings. What are you grateful for in your life? The list should be a LONG one.
In a letter written by Mr. Armstrong, dated November 13, 1961 he stated very sobering words that should definitely stir us into prayerful action. Here are those words:
It’s time all of us REALIZE how blest we are, and GIVE GOD THANKS! Let’s be GRATEFUL. One of the greatest and commonest sins is INGRATITUDE — don’t be guilty of it.
While it may be true that millions of Americans will not be thanking God for anything on the Day of Thanksgiving, or perhaps any other time either, we should always be grateful for everything we are given so abundantly. Of course, we do realize that the problems America faces today are far deeper than “not praying on Thanksgiving.” But, that’s not the subject I am focusing on, tonight.
I will end with a short paragraph written by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in the Plain Truth magazine, “Personal,” dated August, 1967. He shows his own approach to prayer.
Nearly always I do begin a prayer with exaltation of God, which brings to my mind HOW GREAT — HOW WONDERFUL — is the ALL-Mighty One to whom I am speaking! So immediately I broke off the thanksgiving and the gratitude temporarily, to praise and exalt and extol the Supreme CREATOR GOD! Yet I just naturally continued my giving thanks — now thanking God FOR HIMSELF — and realizing HOW GRATEFUL I am that God IS — that there IS the Great GOD — that He is the LIVING God!
Please have a wonderful and prayerful Sabbath.
Your Brother in Christ