Giving Thanks :: By Dennis Huebshman

Today, we’re in the heart of the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. This year is different than any other we’ve had before because of the so-called “pandemic” and all the radical changes that it has caused. Even though everything seems to be getting worse, we need to be constantly giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for this time that we are privileged to live in. (any emphasis mine)

Psalms 95:1-3; “Oh come let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our Salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all other gods.” (Note: the “gods” are man-made, thus the small “g.”)

Romans 8:28; “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Hebrews 13:14; “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek “the City” that is to come.”

We are seeing all the signs that are indicating that the end of this age is very near – imminent – right at the door. It can be very unsettling for all who do not have Jesus as their Savior. He is our absolute reason for the Hope that we have, no matter what is happening around us.

As given in 1 Peter 3:15-16; “but in your hearts, honor Christ the Lord as Holy; always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the Hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect; having a good conscience so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

Jesus knew that just before He will come for His “Church” (all true believers) that there would be a turning away from the true word of the Father. John 16:33; “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Today, only about 10% of the total world population have Jesus as their Savior. For His chosen – the Jews – the total is about 1%-2%.

In today’s world, anything that has to do with Jesus or Christianity is being called “hatred” toward everyone else. We are to love everyone as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31 and Luke 10:27. Even so, we do not have to like what they do. Jesus loved even those who put Him to death, but warned them that their ways would cause them to be in the eternal fire with Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41). It was totally up to each of them to repent and accept Him as their Savior, or not.

Matthew 24; 2 Timothy 3; 1 John 2-5; 2 Peter 3, and even going all the way back to the book of Daniel gives us signs and attitudes of what is to come. There will be tribulations on this earth for seven years as has never been before. Yes, there have been some awful times in the past, but this will be when Satan is unleashed. His ultimate antichrist and false prophet will cause a lot of misery for anyone who does not pledge allegiance to them, and the outcome for all who do this will be eternally in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 14:9-11; Revelation 20:11-15).

All who receive and accept the gift that our Savior paid for in full for us will not have to worry about going through that time. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, there’s talk about a coming “rebellion” when the “man of lawlessness” is revealed. This is the ultimate antichrist, the ultimate evil servant of Satan. Verse 6 states, “And you know what is restraining him now, so that he may be revealed in his time.” This is the Holy Spirit. Verse 7; “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only He [the Holy Spirit] who now restrains “it” [the beast] will do so until He is out of the way.”

All who call on the name of the Lord and have accepted Him as their Savior have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Timothy 1:14; Acts 6:5; Romans 8:9-11; John 16:13). Therefore, to remove the “Restrainer” is to remove all those whom He indwells. God promised that we would not go through the wrath in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, and Revelation 3:10, just to name a few verses.

The act of removing all true believers is the “harpazo,” “Rapture”, or “taking up.” This is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. This is the last major prophecy to be fulfilled prior to the coming of the tribulation/wrath, and will fulfill God’s covenant to keep those who are saved from going through that terrible time.

The false prophets and antichrists are becoming more evident and out in the open daily. They have been here from the time that Jesus was on earth, but never to the extent that we see now. There are even “pastors” in some churches that claim to be “evangelical” that are speaking of many ways to heaven without Jesus, and that the abominations given in the Bible are no longer in effect. By the way, “evangelical” derives from a word meaning “gospel” or “good news,” and refers to a person, church or organization that is “committed to the Christian gospel message that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all Humanity.” Nowhere is there a definition that says, “according to man’s will.”

The “delusion” of 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 appears to have already been started. Those who have a desire to worship Satan will believe it is right, and God will send them a strong delusion to make this seem perfectly fine to them. It’s also what will condemn them at the Great White Throne Judgment. This delusion will be in full force after we are gone and the tribulation is in progress.

For today, all still have the opportunity to call on the name of Jesus and be saved from that terrible time (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). Romans 8:1 states, “There is therefore now no condemnation, for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This alone is reason for all believers to give thanks. Our Heavenly Father has promised that we will be forgiven of all sins, and they will be remembered no more (Psalms 103:11-12).

This does not mean we will never sin again, as all of us have the sin-nature within us (Romans 3:23). However, when we have Jesus as our Savior, and we slip and sin, God has promised to forgive us when we confess what we have done and ask His forgiveness (1 John 1:8-10). This is not a license to continue in habitual sin, but it means that the Father knows and understands our weaknesses, and wants all who will to repent and have Jesus as Savior and be with Him forever (2 Peter 3:9).

Once we have been taken up from this evil world, we will have new, immortal, imperishable bodies with a mindset that will not be subject to temptation and sin ever again. If that isn’t worth giving thanks for, then nothing is. Our God does not lie (Titus 1:2), and His covenant of eternal life in Heaven for all who have received and accepted the gift from Jesus is absolute. Likewise, all who reject Jesus will spend eternity in hell with Satan. There is no other option; it’s “either/or” and totally up to each person to choose.

My prayer is that you will join me on that day at the feet of our Jesus, giving Him all the thanks, praise and glory He so richly deserves. After all, He came willingly to take our punishment (John 10:18) for our sins. Today would not be too early to call out to Him. He will be calling up His flock to meet Him in the air any day now.