Giving Thanks to God

By Craig Condon

Thanksgiving was approaching, and a family had received a Thanksgiving card with a painting of a Pilgrim family on their way to church.

Grandma showed the card to her small grandchildren and observed, "The Pilgrim children liked to go to church with their mothers and fathers." "Oh yeah?" her young grandson replied, "So why is their dad carrying that rifle?"

Today we are celebrating the Canadian Thanksgiving. It is a time when we pause to celebrate and give thanks to God for everything he has given us, and the best way to give thanks to God is to pray. Giving thanks is one of three types of prayer, the other two being supplication and intercessions (which means speaking to God on behalf of someone else). Regardless of the type of prayer we use, we must remember that prayer is not just for our sakes or needs.

Supplications are petitions for certain definite needs. They are humble requests made because of certain situations, which God alone can help. When our supplications are granted, we need to give thanks. When we take our concerns to God, God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.

In the reading from 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Paul tells us to pray for those in authority. Here in Canada this is appropriate right now because we are in the middle of a federal election campaign. Complaining about people in authority is easy, but God also tells us to pray for them. These prayers should include requests for the peaceable and wise rule and prayers for their salvation. Such prayers acknowledge that all authority is ultimately God's authority and that God is the ultimate King. We are also to pray for salvation for lost souls. This puts us at odds with Paul. He argues that although God wants everyone to be saved, that does not mean that God will save everyone. People must either accept the Gospel or reject it.

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Spirit and Judgment in the Last Days

By Bob Faulkner

The final days: Spirit and ultimate judgment. Turn in your Bible to Joel 2:28-3:3
The most famous passage of Joel is this one that is quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost. The assumption is that the Holy Spirit gave this passage to Peter, to link what he was experiencing there to the end times that Joel is here prophesying. The link is real, and very instructive, but not what even Peter was thinking in his natural mind. One gets the distinct impression from reading the New Testament that the early church, from messages like this, assumed that Jesus' return was to be very soon. What they and many of us need to comprehend is that the grace and mercy of God has caused Him to place a huge gap of time right in the middle of Joel's prophecy. Let's go verse by verse.

v. 28. Where Joel says "afterwards", Peter, in quoting Joel, tends to interpret him instead by saying "in the last days." Perhaps the Spirit changed Peter's quote in this way to let us know that Joel was speaking of events that would not come directly after the last things he was talking about (Israel's full restitution in the Millennium). Instead Joel was starting a new paragraph, as it were. As that restitution was to be, in a generic sense, in the future, so is this pouring out of God's Spirit. Verse 28 begins a new topic altogether, the only thing similar to the prior topic being that it will come about later than now.

All mankind is to be affected by this latter day outpouring. We read in Acts only of the beginning of that work, as representatives of all the Gentile nations receive a measure of the Spirit. Supernatural revelations from Heaven are promised not only to leadership, but also to sons and daughters, young and old.

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