“Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17. Our God has not left himself without witness but He always does good to us on this earth. He gave us the rain from heaven, making fruitful seasons on this earth filling our hearts with food and gladness. We are now moving quickly into the Thanksgiving holiday, which is the season of celebrating our King of Kings, the Almighty God who has graciously and generously given us food and gladness. It is a time to be grateful to the Father of lights and come before Him with hearts full of thanksgiving. Not only one day, but also everyday of the year.
***A BIBLE BELIEVING PEOPLE***
In the year of 1620 some people were very dissatisfied with the King of England and his church who did not teach about Jesus as Saviour and that He ruled men from within. Rather, the church was directed by men who did not understand the Bible. There was a small remnant in England who were true Christians and wanted to worship as the Bible instructed. Persecution then began and the church in England started putting the Bible-believing Christians in prison. This put these Bible-believing remnant of people in a real dangerous predicament. They had to get out of England and find a place where they could worship the Almighty God freely and not be afraid. They left England and went to Holland, but were there for some years realizing this was not where God wanted them to live and put down roots. This remnant of English Christians were thankful and faithful to God and wanted to serve Him freely. God had a very special purpose for them and would use them in a very special way. Our God has always looked for a people that would make Him Governor and King as Israel did years ago, therefore becoming witnesses of His goodness, love and protection, thus others would want to come and become part of His kingdom. These families who would become “the Pilgrims” and under the leadership of their pastor, prayed and finally decided not to go back to England but rather to the “New World” which later would become a great nation called the United States of America. Their greatest need was a ship so they could sail to the New World and they found one called “The Mayflower.” This Christian remnant became the first pilgrims to make this voyage across the perilous waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. This ship was not made to carry people, but rather to carry cargo, but this was the only way out for them and they took the opportunity.
***132 BOARDED THE MAYFLOWER***
On August 5, 1620, 102 Pilgrims, of them 34 were children and 30 sailors, boarded the Mayflower. It was a very, very hard voyage for them. That ship sailed alone, but with God on her side she would not fail. The Word of God would map out the way for the next 90 days across the Atlantic. All their faith was in the one God, that what He started He would finish! Surely Psalms 119:105 was lighting the way, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” It was the light of Christ leading them into the adventure of a new day. They took very little clothes, some tools and utensils for cooking, but most important they had their Bibles, the most precious thing that they owned and their faith. There were no bathrooms or showers and all slept on the same deck of the ship. There was no room for the children to run and play. They all worked hard and made such sacrifices of love to get to the “New World” so they could be free in Christ. After 90 days of many hardships had passed, they reached Cape Cod; that place is now in the state of Massachusetts. William Bradford, one of the Pilgrim leaders wrote, “Many fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who brought them over the vast and furious ocean.” At one point in one of the great storms they encountered at sea, the Mayflower’s “main beam” cracked and they almost shipwrecked. Can you imagine everything in the ship was wet and damaged? Thank God that the pilgrims had brought a great big iron screw (nail) to help build houses. They used that big nail to keep the beam in place. This big nail represented the Christ within. In Ezra 9:8 it reads, “And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.” Ezra recognized that only a small remnant remained faithful to the Lord at that time. The Lord had acknowledged them as His own and given them a “nail” in the holy place that would lighten their eyes and revive them in their bondage. They would again build a “sure place” for Him where His honor and presence would dwell amongst them. Nothing was changed since the time of Ezra; the Lord was looking for His remnant people and found the Pilgrims. When Jesus, after His resurrection, spoke to doubting Thomas, John 20:27, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side and be not faithless, but believing.” In other words see the prints in my hands and the hole in my side where those nails penetrated me in the “sure place” of Calvary.
Without Christ we (America) are on dangerous waters and just like the Pilgrims if they hadn’t had their faith in Jesus, the “sure nail” needed to hold that main beam together, surely they would have failed their mission by losing their course. They would have shipwrecked and been destroyed. If America does not return back to Calvary, the “sure place” where the nail (Jesus) is holding the main beam of this country together, so to speak. Then, we will continue to go down and be destroyed as a nation by the judgment of hurricanes, sudden strong winds, tornadoes, floods, severe weather, earthquakes, terrorism, etc.
***NAIL IN A SURE PLACE***
Isaiah 22:23 reads, “And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.” The Pilgrims carried and believed in the “sure place” of their hearts, their faith and love for the God of the Bible. God in His mighty power made a way for the Pilgrims who had a vision for a country where they could worship God freely. Without that “sure place” and the nail of Jesus, America will go down as a ship wrecked at sea. These Pilgrims had such great faith and love for the God of the Bible and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. They were the founders of America. The foundation had to be laid by a people whose heart burned with the love of Jesus and knew that they would not make it unless God was on their side. As soon as they landed in the new land, they had to make rules to be governed by; therefore, they established the Mayflower Compact, an agreement that was based on the Ten Commandments of the Bible obeying God’s commands. The beginning foundation was laid on Christ. “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 3:10-11.
***GOD HAD A PLAN & PURPOSE***
I’m weeping as I write this message on seeing how far we have gone away from the one true God and the sure place of Calvary in America. Yet many not understanding that the blessing of being “the greatest country in the world” has been because His “sure mercies” have blessed us and it’s nothing of ourselves. We have been deceived to reject the one true God, the Ten Commandments, and prayer, etc. which are the banners of our faith, that made us an independent nation from all others, but very dependent upon Him alone. The Pilgrims did not come to a Holiday Inn or a Days Inn but lived on the Mayflower until they built the first house called the Common House. It was a storehouse, a church and meeting hall and met many other needs. The men and boys worked hard chopping wood and logs. The Lord would send an Indian named Squanto to come and show the Pilgrims how to fish in the rivers and plant corn that kept them from starving. That first winter these courageous and sacrificial people who had counted the cost lost half of the family of Pilgrims. They laid down their lives for the future of the next generation and the next generation and on and on, and here we are 385 years later and we can barely find “righteous” America. Their first Thanksgiving holiday was October 1621. The Pilgrims were so grateful to their God that for three days they ate and feasted while giving thanks to the God for everything He had given them. They gathered with their friends, the Indians, who had been so faithful, to help them. Everyone took part in that Thanksgiving holiday in Plymouth that November day so long ago. We are quickly approaching the Thanksgiving season.
***WE FORGET TO BE THANKFUL***
What’s happened to the people in America? Many of us have forgotten to be grateful from our hearts. Being truly grateful makes you look up to heaven to thank the Almighty God who is the provider of all things. A knowing down deep inside that we would be “nowhere” without Him! The word grateful means gratitude to someone and if you have gratitude then you are thankful. Thankful means grateful for kindness received. We have forgotten to be truly grateful and thankful to God. In Romans 1:21, it reads, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened.” When we forget to be “thankful” as the scripture above states, eventually our wisdom turns us into fools. (Vs-22) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Vs. 26-28) “For this cause God gave them up into vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that such is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet….” And further in this chapter it reads (Vs 29-32) “Being filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; backbiters, haters of God deceitful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Yes, they became a nation of sodomites and now we can better understand what is happening to the American people with their alternative lifestyles.
Our wealth, money, pride and rebellion have made us an unthankful generation. The majority of the American mindset says, “I have gotten me these blessings, instead of “God has given me strength to work, be in health and provided for me and my own and I’m so grateful!” We have forgotten to be truly happy and joyous and we do not serve the Lord with gladness for the abundance of all things. In Deuteronomy 28:47-48. it reads, “Because thou servest not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things; and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.” And earlier in Deuteronomy 8:17-20, He said, “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against this day that ye surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.”
***FOUNDING FATHERS TAKE AMERICA***
Over a period of time America grew in size. Nine steps of land possession and purchases were taken to complete our nation, as we know it today. It started with the original states, New Western states, the Northwest Territory, and the Louisiana Purchase (comprised of 13 states), etc. America was possessed one step at a time from East to West. The Pilgrims arrived on the East Coast of the United States. The East Gate is the gate of true religion. The Pilgrims arrived on the shores of America with their Bibles under their arms and their fervent faith establishing a foundation on the sure place Calvary, and the sure nail, Jesus Christ. The Pilgrims represented the rock (Jesus Christ) the true religion. God gave America to a people who loved Him and would continue to love Him. America must come back to God to reach her destiny. Just recently our beloved state, Louisiana, was hit by two devastating hurricanes. I consider that state to be the foot of the nation. She was hit in the toe and then the heel from East to West, surely this was the wind of God. She has been hit and is limping right now. If ever she needs our prayers, it is now. When Thomas Jefferson, our third President, went to France to buy New Orleans, a key port, Napoleon did not want to sell but later changed his mind and sold not only New Orleans but also the whole Louisiana Territory. God had a purpose and a plan for Louisiana and the city of New Orleans that is on the mouth of the Mississippi River. Hurricane Katrina did severe damage to New Orleans, but our God still has a purpose and a plan for this city and in time as we pray, I assure you, will see it.
***THE PILGRIMS LANDED***
The Pilgrims landed on America‘s shores in the Fall – November 1620. The fall was the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, the fall festival of Israel. During this feast Israel had to leave their homes each year for a period of 7 days and live in a Succoth, which was a hut-like little house made of branches. It had to have a window type hole in the top of the roof so they could look up unto the great heaven during the day and the stars and moon at night. Thus they would be reminded that it was the great God of Heaven who had kept them fed, sheltered and protected throughout the year. Also, they remembered that their forefathers lived in Succoth huts, with much sacrifice, when on their journey to the Promised Land. It was God’s object lesson annually so they would never forget God’s goodness and kindness to them and without Him there would be no blessing, material or otherwise! After seven days they would return to their homes and they would be so grateful for all the goodness of God. This festival also was known as the “Festival of Shelters.” This is how God kept the nation humble and grateful which are ingredients needed to keep us in prosperity, physical, spiritual, mental and financial. I’ve preached for years that God was going to bring a real Succoth celebration to America to get us to remember His kindness and goodness that we would remember to be truly grateful. And if we are grateful we will be humble, not ungrateful and proud. Now hurricanes, tornadoes, strong winds and floods are destroying our homes in America and many Americans will celebrate the Festival of Shelters or go to a small place like campers, etc.
***FESTIVAL OF SUCCOTH***
America, we don’t need such severe lessons, but rather let us celebrate Succoth in thoughts, heart, and prayers by remembering what the Pilgrims established for you and me. Let us look up to heaven this Thanksgiving season and be truly thankful. Let us not worship the work of our hands, but rather worship the One who made our hands and gives us the power to use them and get wealth—the maker of all things. As praying people, let us stand in the gap together and pray. “Please God, we repent, forgive us that we have become an ungrateful nation and let this Thanksgiving be a “turn around” towards being truly grateful for the blessings you have bestowed upon us here in this great nation.” Amen. America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea! Truly His Word has come to pass for us here in America. “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17 To God Be the Glory!
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