November 8, 2021 www.PositiveChristianity.org for 22 years presents POSITIVE WRITTEN SERMON

Sermon # 1086 Happy Thanksgiving

Time Sensitivity: Sunday Before Thanksgiving (America)


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This is our turkey mascot for today. His name is George Gobble. He is going to be our mascot as we talk about Thanksgiving today. (Show funny stuffed turkey – available at Amazon, Wal-Mart, and everywhere)

Once there was a lady of very high rank who went begging the night before Thanksgiving Day. She wore ragged clothes. She put a shawl on her head and carried a basket. She wanted to test the charity of her neighbors. At some houses, she was given things of absolutely no value. At others, she was told harshly to go away. Only in one place was she received with a welcome and given a large warm meal. That was at the home of a poor man. Here she was taken into a warm room and treated like royalty.

The next day was Thanksgiving. All the people the lady had visited in the town were unexpectedly invited to the castle. When the servants led them into the main dining room, place cards showed each person where to sit. On the plate before each person was the same thing that person had given to the disguised lady the day before. Some plates were completely empty. Only the poor man received a huge helping of warm food.

When the countess entered, she explained to her guests. She said, “I came to you yesterday to test your charity; I went all about the village dressed as a beggar. Today I am serving you the same thing you gave me yesterday.”

Take a calendar you can carry around with you, to daily write down what you are thankful for, write down current things, and remembered things, the little things and the big things. Then during Thanksgiving, you go back over your list realizing what God has done for you.

It is a truly enlightening experience. As you review this, you are being filled with an awareness of God. If you haven’t done this before, I invite you to start this now. Everyday write down the things you are thankful for to review next year.

In today’s lesson we go one step beyond – to Thanks – Giving. We talk about giving gratitude for what you have, about giving something back. Often if you talk with very successful people, they are overflowing with gratitude because they have come a long way with God’s help. No matter where they come from or how they have gotten their success, they often have an overwhelming desire to give something back, to help other people climb that ladder, to help others avoid some of the mistakes they made.

My friends, you have it all right now. You have all the blessings from God. It is time to realize this and start giving back to humanity and helping humanity. This is our subject today, about how you do really make a difference. One person, then two, then three, then four, and then a million people making other peoples’ lives better. What better way to say thanks to God? You can do it.

Let me share a story with you about Anthony Robbins. He is a very successful businessman. He now spends his life teaching others how to succeed. Here is his story in his words:

“I remember one Thanksgiving when our family had no money and no food, someone knocked on our door. A man was standing there with a huge box of food, a giant turkey, and even some pans to cook it in. I couldn’t believe it. My dad demanded, `Who are you? Where are you from?’

“The stranger announced, `I’m here because a friend of yours knows you’re in need and that you wouldn’t accept direct help, so I’ve brought this for you. Have a great Thanksgiving.’

“My father said, `No, no, we can’t accept this.’

“The stranger replied `You don’t have a choice,’ closed the door and left.

“Obviously that experience had a profound impact on my life. I promised myself that someday I would have enough money to do the same for other people. By the time I was 18, I had created my own Thanksgiving ritual. I like to do things spontaneously, so I would go out shopping and buy enough food for one or two families. Then I would dress as a delivery boy, go to the poorest neighborhood and knock on a door. I always included a note which explained my Thanksgiving experience as a kid. The note concluded, `All that I ask in return is for you to take good enough care of yourself so someday you can do the same thing for someone else.’ I have received more from this annual ritual than I have from any amount of money I’ve ever earned.

“Several years ago, I was in New York City with my wife. She was sad because we weren’t with family. Usually, we were at home decorating the house for Christmas, but we were stuck in a hotel room.

“I said, `Honey, look, why don’t we go out and decorate some lives instead of some old dead trees?’ She didn’t know what I was talking about. Then I told her about my Thanksgiving ritual. She was enthusiastic. I said, `Let’s go someplace where we can really make a difference. To appreciate who we are, what we are capable of and what we really can give let’s go to Harlem.’ She and several of my business partners who were with us weren’t really enthusiastic about the idea of going to Harlem. I urged them. I said, `Come on let’s make a difference in some people’s lives. Let’s go to Harlem and feed some people. We won’t be the people who are giving it because that would be insulting. We will just be the delivery people. We will go and buy some food for six or seven families for 30 days. We have enough. Let’s just go do it.’

“That’s what Thanksgiving really is, giving good thanks, not eating turkey. My partners started calling rent-a-car places, but they were all out of vans. Quickly they shrugged their shoulders and said, `Well it is no use, we can’t help people this year because we can’t get a van to carry all the food.’

“I called them over to the window. They looked down at the street far below. I said, ‘Do you see all those vans down there?’

“They said, ‘Yes we see them.’ I said, “Let’s go get one.”

“First we went down and tried walking out in the street in front of the vans. But we learned something about New York drivers that day. They don’t stop; they speed up. Then we tried going to all the traffic signals while the cars were stopped, knocked on the window, and said, “Can you help us?” It wasn’t very long before the perfect van showed up at the traffic light. It was perfect because it was extra big, and it would accommodate all of us. We went up, knocked on the window, and asked, “Could you take us to a disadvantaged area? We will pay you a few hundred dollars.”

“The driver said, “You don’t have to pay me. I’d be happy to take you. In fact, I’ll take you to some of the most difficult spots in the whole city.” Then he reached over and grabbed his hat. As he put it on, I noticed it said, Salvation Army. The man’s name was Captain John Rondon and he was the head of the Salvation Army in the South Bronx.

“We climbed into the van in absolute ecstasy. He said, `I’ll take you places you never thought about going but tell me something. Why do you want to do this?’ I told him my story and that I wanted to give gratitude for all I had by giving something back.

“Captain Rondon took us into parts of the South Bronx that make Harlem look like Beverly Hills. When we arrived, we went into a store where we bought a lot of food and some baskets. We packed them for seven families for 30 days. Then we went out to start feeding people. We went to buildings where there were half a dozen people living in one room – `squatters’ with no electricity and no heat in the dead of winter surrounded by rats, cockroaches, and the smell of urine. It was both an astonishing realization that people can live like this and a truly fulfilling experience to make even a small difference.”

You see, you can make anything in the world happen if you commit to it, take action and plan a thanks – giving.

I have a question for you. What can you give back this Thanks – giving? What can you give back to life because life has been so unbelievably good to you?

Gratitude takes three forms:
1. It is a feeling in the heart.
2. It is an expression in words
3. It is a giving in return.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it away.

One of the most breathtaking sights in the whole world is a San Diego sunset on the beach. As the sun sinks slowly into the horizon, hundreds of seagulls stand and turn quietly toward the sun to bid farewell. Pelicans then fly by in perfect formation, skimming just the top of the waves in their sunset salute. On the bridge across from the beach, thousands of birds line up on the electrical wires all sitting, facing the sun, and saying goodbye to the day. Perhaps they are also silently praying thank you God for this day that you let me live. They give thanks in silence.

Author Dr. Eric Butterworth has written, “You do not need something to be grateful for. You need only the desire to feel grateful and to show it to others.” How do you show gratitude to others?

In Matthew 25: 35-40, Jesus is speaking, and He is speaking directly to you: “‘For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick, and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it we saw you as a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it, we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, `Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'”

How do you honor God? According to this, you honor God by helping God’s children.

If you wanted to thank me for something, do you know how you could really thank me? If you helped my son or daughter, I would remember you forever because I so love and adore them. If you helped them, I would think about you with a smile on my face every night when I went to bed. God feels the same way about all of you.

We are not to be separate; we are to be a team. We are all members of one family and we are to help each other. That is the way to thank God and show gratitude. Yes, you feel gratitude in your heart for all God has done for you. Now is the time to give it away and make others know how good it is by seeing God in you.

A Thanks – giving is Thanksgiving in action. It attunes your consciousness to the wavelength of God. It is daily exercise of the spirit of Thanksgiving through giving. It is giving thanks to God, giving thanks to each other in our home, giving thanks to each other in our workplaces. Giving thanks through giving to people we don’t even know.

If you have never practiced this Thanksgiving ritual, you have left unused one of the most potent factors available for your happiness. It is a living celebration of God’s Truth.

It is not what you do, in the end; it is what you do it in the beginning. Here is what I mean by that. You do not wait until every prayer is answered before you give thanks. You act as if it were now so, through your actions.

Thanksgiving is like rain to a thirsty soil. Humanity is thirsty. Humanity needs your help. You say, “I don’t know where to begin.”

Ask God to show you HOW.
Ask God to show you WHEN.
Ask God to show you WHO.

You will be shown. Probably when you open up your eyes, you will have someone in front of you needing you where only you could make a difference. You might think you don’t have enough inside of you to give. God is inside of you and God will give through you and empower you in the giving.

The mental act of thanksgiving carries your human mind far beyond the region of doubt into a clear atmosphere of faith and trust, of building and strengthening, where all things are possible to you. Then you go into physical action of a thanks – giving. This is a Thanksgiving action prayer. It is an open line to God.

Today choose with me to be the most grateful and happy person alive. Choose to make a difference.

Gratitude and praise are the saviors of the world. How do they save the world? Through you and each one of us. The person who grumbles or complains through life doesn’t save anybody, least of all themselves. The person who is so alive with life really makes a difference. Their light shines on others continuously.

Let me share a story. A missionary to Africa has related the story of his work with a tribe that was mysteriously poverty-stricken, even though other tribes in the same region were relatively prosperous. He was curious about this phenomenon. He spent years researching all aspects of their culture. He came up with just one possibility. In their tribal language, they had no word with which to express gratitude. Perhaps through some quirk of evolution, they had forgotten how to say thank you. He drew no conclusions, but he did ask a question: Could this loss of the spirit of thanksgiving have been responsible for their poverty?

On Thanksgiving we give thanks, but to whom? It must be an odd feeling to feel thankful to nobody in particular. Christians in public institutions often witness an odd thing happening on Thanksgiving Day. People are thankful in general. They are thankful in a vague, sleepy way.

There is a story of Aaron who was a fisherman. He lived on the banks of a
river. He was walking home one day with his eyes half-closed after a long day. He was tired. He was dreaming of what he would do in the future when he became rich. Suddenly his foot struck a leather pouch filled with what he thought were pebbles. Absentmindedly he picked up the pouch and opened it. As he walked along, he said, “When I’m rich, I will have a big castle.” Then he threw a pebble in the river. He walked along and said, “I will have a wonderful car when I am rich.” He then threw another pebble into the river. “When I am rich, I will have a gorgeous wife.” He then threw another pebble into the river. He was down to the last pebble when the moonlight fell on the pebble, and he noticed that it glistened. He realized at that point that he had been throwing valuable gems into the river. He had it all along.

It is the same way with our lives. If we just realized the incredible gifts of God we have with us, we can feel alive in a new and a great wondrous way. It is easy to give thanks when everything is going well. When you have had all the answers to your prayers, you can say, “Thank you, God,” in celebration. I know it is difficult to give thanks when you are in the middle of a challenge. It is hard to give thanks when you are in pain. It is hard to give thanks when you are going through a business problem, a personal bankruptcy, or there are problems mounting up in front of you. This is precisely the time that you do need to give thanks.

I want to share a story with you about Matthew Henry, a famous scholar. He was once accosted by thieves and robbed of his purse. He wrote these words in his diary, “Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before, secondly because although they took my purse, they did not take my life, third because although they took my all it was not much, fourth because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed, and fifth because I choose in this moment to freely give to the one who needed it more than I, so that I will not hold on to the possession of the grief of loss in my memory forever.”

Dr. David Soper in his book, God is Inescapable, suggests that basically the difference between a prison and a monastery is just the difference between griping and gratitude. Undoubtedly this is true. Imprisoned criminals spend every waking moment griping. Self-imprisoned saints spend every waking moment giving thanks. He says that when a criminal becomes a saint, a prison may become as a monastery. When a saint gives up gratitude, a monastery may become like a prison.

Is your life a prison or a monastery? You make your life a monastery by giving thanks in everything and by a thanks-give-away, which gets you out of yourself, and into the higher life of helping humanity.

Join me in a closing prayer.

This morning dear God, I give thanks and I praise you. My world is filled with so many bountiful blessings that I cannot count them all.

As I enter into this special week of giving thanks, I will look for reasons to be thankful. As I think of the life which sustains me, the light which guides me, the love which warms my heart, I say, “Praise God!”

As I give of myself today, my heart is filled with love. I see the truth. I have understanding. As I give of myself today, I will make a difference. I will do an in my power to be a light and to bring a blessing to my surroundings by a thanks-give-away.

As I reach out to praise You God in everyone I see, I reach out to praise God-light everywhere I see in others with my God-vision. I praise You God for all we love which is all-great. We all live, move, and have our being in Your love.

In Jesus Christ’s name, we pray, and we believe. Amen.

Prayer / Meditation____________________________

Today in prayer:

I begin a thanks – giving.

I GIVE thanks to God for the gift of life – by living it triumphantly.

I GIVE thanks to God for talents and abilities – by investing them for the common good.

I GIVE thanks to God for all others have done for me – by doing things for others and giving joyous love to others.

I GIVE thanks to God for opportunities – by accepting them as open doors to new achievements.

I GIVE thanks to God for beauty – by helping to make the world more beautiful.

In gratitude rest in the silence of prayer …

I GIVE thanks to God for inspiration – by trying to be an inspiration to others.

I GIVE thanks to God for good health – by taking care of my body.

I GIVE thanks to God for creative ideas that enrich life – by adding my own creative contribution to life.

I GIVE thanks to God – by contributing to life.

In gratitude rest in the silence of prayer …

I GIVE thanks to God for each new day – by believing it will be the best day yet.

For these things we are thankful, and I ask you to rest in the silence of prayer.


I live in light of God. By the light I see, I can see God has created good. I was created with love to be a caring person. The people with whom I live, work, and associate were created in love, and I give thanks for them.

I am empowered to be responsible and to create a life which fulfills my dreams and meets my needs.

I GIVE thanks to God – by lifting other people up to fulfill their dreams.

Jesus Christ came into this world to teach the truth of empowerment and responsibility. With a trusting spirit, I accept the empowerment and responsibility, with love, wisdom, and the power of God as my own nature – and I share it with others.

In Thanks – giving to God, I share these truths with the world. Wherever I am, may the truth of God live in example through me.

In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen

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