Grammar is not necessarily an exciting pursuit for most people. Actually, if we could go from great ideas in the brain directly to the perfect written novel, bypassing grammar altogether, we might see happy people celebrating across the country.
From brain to automatic bestseller!
Since we can’t do that, we have to deal with nouns, verbs, subjects, predicates, and even prepositions.
But that is not a bad thing.
Prepositions can be very significant when we try to communicate with each other.
And so it is when we come to Thanksgiving.
In the Greek text of 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the verse begins with the preposition “en” (the word “in” in English).
The English version, from the New King James Bible, reads:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
In the Greek language prepositions are broken down into great detail describing very specific uses.
In this verse the structure makes the preposition “en” a preposition of location. In the context of this passage that means it describes the physical relationship of the Christian to the word “everything.”
Why is that important?
The passage is NOT telling us to be thankful FOR everything, but to be thankful IN everything. Regardless of your circumstance or situation, be thankful. If your world is going well, be thankful in that good situation. If your situation is terrible, be thankful for something in spite of the situation. Be thankful within every situation. There is always something to be thankful for even when things go wrong.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NKJV)
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
The unthinkable had become reality. The threat to American security from a European dictator melted into mere fantasy in light of the real invasion. The invaders had arrived violently on American soil and they were unlike anything we had even imagined. They attacked at night, when we were the most vulnerable. And the first place targeted was not the capital, nor the major cities, but a small town that seemed the most improbable and least likely of targets. No place in America was safe, and the people whose role was to defend America appeared helpless. . The only protection was for people to flee for their lives. At one location gunfire could be heard from shotguns aimed at an invader’s war machine. Horrible and murderous creatures from Mars had come to claim America.
It was October 30, 1938. It was the War of the Worlds.
H.G. Well’s science fiction classic had met the creative genius of Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater radio team to become the terrifying reality of a Martian invasion to those listeners who missed the warning that the broadcast was merely a theatrical production.
Historians and researchers differ in their conclusions about what really happened that night, except for the one fact all agree upon: there was no actual attack from Mars. One thing is certain, however: the War of the Worlds broadcast that focused on the Martian invasion of Grover Mills, New Jersey on the evening of October 30, 1938 has become an American legend.
In the “real world” of 1938, storm clouds of war were on the horizon as Adolf Hitler gained power in Germany. America was emerging from its economic turmoil of the Great Depression. Bible prophecy scholars wondered about the Bible’s prophecies that promised the reappearance of the nation of Israel in the end times.
And here we are decades later. The world again faces the genuine threat of war and dictators make terrifying threats. The world is struggling economically after a near miss with a massive depression, and several experts warn that the danger is not over. The media pumps out its fictional end-of- the- world warnings about manmade global climate change, and people panic over what we need to do.
And Israel has returned to its place as a nation, occupying the same land God gave the Jews long ago.
So, where should I place my trust for accurate information about the world, and about the future? The Bible is always right. God is in control. I think He is my only option.
Where did the time go???
Several days ago fall officially began. What happened to summer? I wasn’t ready for summer yet – and now it’s gone.
Then, a few days ago October arrived. I love October, but what happened to September? I needed a few more days before September left for good. In just about three months we will welcome 2016. W-A-I-T!!! 2015 is almost gone? I still have things to do.
Aaach!!! With January I will turn 65 years old! I know this because of all of the phone calls and letters I am receiving from insurance companies.
What happened here? I didn’t send out any announcements. I still enjoy watching the same corny science fiction movies that I watched when I was 10!!! OK. Today I know they are corny; but when I was 10 they were cool. I still enjoy them!
When I was a boy, Christmas never arrived. We waited, and waited and waited and finally, FINALLY, it was here. Time passed SO SLOWLY. Now, it seems like December 31st arrives the day after January 1st. What! Christmas was LAST WEEK!!! But I just celebrated the 4th of July!!!!!
Children who were born not long ago are suddenly graduating from high school. Granddaughters are getting married. And just as suddenly, we realize that we are the patriarchs and matriarchs of our family. We are the generation that will soon pass from the scene and take up our places in the memory of the living. But wasn’t it just yesterday when Dad and Mom were driving us to Grandma’s house for the holidays?
You need another cup of coffee, don’t you? Maybe a nice, freshly baked cookie would help. Coffee and cookies can comfort us and stir some nice memories, but they won’t stop the rapid passing of time.
What is my point in focusing your attention on this depressing thought?
Simply the fact that God warned us through the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes that we need to establish a saving relationship with the Lord before it is too late.
That is the basic message of Ecclesiastes 12:6-8.
Ecclesiastes 12:6–8 (NKJV)
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well.
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “All is vanity.”
Life on earth is only temporary. Even the most important things about our lives will disappear, replaced by eternity. Death and the grave simply signal that we will have run out of time to make important decisions. We will have no more opportunities to prepare for a future that will never end. If we don’t get it right now, we won’t have another opportunity. God has explained very clearly in His Word, the Bible, what lies ahead for all of us, whether we accept it or not. Hell is very real for those who don’t prepare. But so is a glorious future that is beyond description for those who have listened and responded to God’s love and call to salvation. With time zipping by so rapidly, it is dangerous to put off placing our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross in order to secure our salvation. Today is the day to face the truth about life and eternity.
Unfortunately, so many of us don’t realize this in time.
Mark Dever has been the pastor of the Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. for over 20 years. In a recent magazine article he explained how several months earlier he had been speaking at a Christian university. At this meeting he asked 1,000 students if they were familiar with Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezek. 37). Only ten percent were familiar with it. Equally sad is the critical reality that many professing Christians fail to understand the central place of Israel in God’s plans. The passage in Ezekiel 37 about the resurrection and restoration of the dry bones refers to the rebirth of the nation of Israel in the last days. Israel and the Jewish people are central not only to the history of the Bible, but also to Bible prophecy and events of the future. Israel is frequently in today’s news headlines because it is first in the headlines of God’s Word. It is not possible to understand world events without viewing them through the lens of Bible prophecy.
Not just Christians, but every American should be concerned with the dangerous nuclear treaty with Iran that our political leaders are tossing around like a basketball. It is too serious of an issue to be used as a political trophy.
America is treading on dangerous and deadly territory. Iran wants nuclear weapons because it has a clearly stated goal of destroying Israel. It has also been clear in its hatred for America. No one who negotiates by caving in to an enemy while that enemy is burning our flag is capable of looking out for the welfare of America, Israel, or the world.
Three critical factors should be considered.
The first is that God has a covenant with Israel that includes blessings for those who bless Israel, and curses for those who curse Israel (Gen. 12:1-3).
The second is that God has foretold a future Russian-led invasion of Israel that includes Iran as one of the invading forces. This is described in Ezekiel 38-39 – in the two chapters immediately following Ezekiel’s prophecy of the dry bones and the restoration of Israel. God will destroy those invading nations when they attempt to annihilate Israel.
Israel was restored as a nation in 1948, in keeping with Ezekiel’s prophecy.
Iran is on a collision course against Israel also in keeping with Ezekiel’s prophecy.
The nations included in Ezekiel’s prophecy can be easily identified today, even though some of them are insignificant in comparison to the United States and its historic place in the world.
This brings us to the third factor: America is in rapid and dangerous decline. It is also not clearly identified in Bible prophecy. If America is absent from Bible prophecy, it may be because of our present actions. We may be condemning ourselves to destruction or insignificance. If we abandon and betray Israel, we should stop asking God to bless America. He won’t. Or it could be even worse.
Perhaps the conversation could go like this . . .
Susan: So, what are you doing tonight?
Arthur:: We might go to a movie. What about you?
Susan: There’s a sale at the mall. I think I’ll look for a new white blouse.
Arthur:: Have you tried that new restaurant on Parker Street?
Susan: Not yet, but I heard it is fantastic! Have you been there yet?
Arthur:: We might go there before the movie.
Susan: Brrrr. Someone needs to adjust the air conditioner. I think it’s cold in here.
Arthur:: Yeah, it is a little cold. So, let’s take care of this little girl.
Susan: Look – she is adorable.
Arthur:: We are not here for “adorable.”
Susan: OK – but you have to admit she is cute. Look at that sweet face.
Arthur:: We are not here to observe “sweet face.”
I want you to take your scissors and begin to cut open her face to expose her brain. Be careful. This is the most important thing to harvest from this one.
Susan: This is hard. She is so cute.
A long, silent pause.
Arthur:: What’s wrong with you. You have this terrible look on your face!
Susan: It just struck me. Oh, this is horrifying.
Arthur:: What is horrifying?
Susan: How many people are in this room?
Arthur:: There are just the two of us, why?
Susan: No. I just had this horrible realization. There are three people in this room – this little aborted baby, you, and me. What have we done? What are we doing?
Arthur:: Remember, Susan – you have to properly define what a human is. Are you seriously calling this little girl a human?
Susan: Both of us have identified her as a little girl. Look at her! We just murdered a little girl.
Now we are harvesting her body in order to sell her piece by piece. Look at her. Look at her complete, perfect little body. And the organs we are harvesting are distinct – they are not just “tissues.” Stop for a second and think about this: which of the three of us is really human?
Arthur:: I don’t see your point.
Susan: Maybe the only human in this room is this little girl.
We have lost our humanity and have become monsters killing little girls and little boys and cutting apart their bodies to sell them, piece by piece. We have become calculated, cold-blooded creatures working in Frankenstein’s laboratory. Adolph Hitler would hire us.
Arthur:: Us? Monsters? I’m offended. Quit being so melodramatic. Just do your job. If you ‘ start thinking that way you won’t be able to work in this industry anymore.
– – – –
The previous conversation is fictional, yet based on fact. In America alone about 58 million babies have been aborted since the Roe v. Wade decision. How many of these have been harvested and their body parts sold?
Unborn babies are not crops to be harvested.
Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”