A Guide for Thanksgiving

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember the history of this holiday. The first Thanksgiving in America was celebrated among the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians in 1621. Over a century later, President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, the 26th of November 1789, a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. However, Thanksgiving became an official federal holiday when President Lincoln declared it as such during the Civil War, 156 years ago. Thanksgiving is rich with American history.

And while nothing is more American than abandoning our diets and fighting each other over discounts the day after we remember what we’re thankful for, Thanksgiving is not exclusively American. The Bible tells us that the Israelites celebrated their own “thanksgiving” nearly 3,000 years ago, and it was much more than a holiday—it was an act of worship.

Three millennia ago, Psalm 100 was written as a guide for the Jews as they gave thanks and expressed gratitude for their blessings, much like we do at Thanksgiving. It is, as the superscript of the psalm says, “A Psalm for giving thanks.” It provides guidance and instruction regarding thanksgiving. And as Thanksgiving approaches, you can use this psalm as a manual for how to give thanks to the Lord.

Psalm 100 tells us four things about thanksgiving:

(1) Giving thanks can be done through song. In the first two verses, it says, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” Singing is essential to giving thanks (Acts 16:25; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; James 5:13). Sing a song to the Lord as an expression of your gratitude for who He is and what He has done.

(2) Giving thanks is personal. The psalm continues, “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (v. 3). In order to give thanks to God, you must have a personal relationship with Him—you must know Him as Lord. You must be among His people—a sheep in His pasture.

(3) Giving thanks should be corporate: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (v. 4). You cannot fully give thanks to God unless you are in the presence of other believers. Thanksgiving happens in His “courts” and “gates.”

(4) Giving thanks should be done because of God: “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever; and his faithfulness to all generations” (v. 5). You are to give thanks because God is good, loving, and faithful.

Let Psalm 100 guide you this week—honor the history of Thanksgiving by honoring the Lord with your thanksgiving.


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie, Aries, and Dot.

The Roaring Lion

There are thousands of good ideas in the world—entering into a lion enclosure at the zoo is not one of them. Earlier this year, a man miraculously survived a lion attack after doing just that. An employee at the Serengeti Zoo in Hamburg, Germany, entered into the enclosure to do a routine fence check. Usually, the lions are in their cages when employees enter, but not this time. One of the lions pounced and attacked the man and he sustained several serious injuries as a result. Needless to say, lions are dangerous whether they are in the wild or in zoos. They are territorial and always ready to fight anything that may challenge them. Not to mention, they are natural hunters that can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Another bad idea is walking around as a Christian, unaware of the fact that a more dangerous lion lurks around, waiting to chow down on your life. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter gave a firm warning about this lion: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter says that Satan wants to devour and destroy you, just like a roaring and hungry lion.

Comparing the devil to a lion suggests at least four things about his nature and work. First, the devil wants to consume you just as lions consume their prey. Lions hunt by staying hidden so their prey will be inattentive to their presence. Once they get close enough to the unsuspecting animal, they chase them until they are caught. This is precisely what the devil does to believers. The devil is always hidden, disguised as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). And he will attack when you are ignorant of his presence.

Second, like a lion, the devil attacks the weak. Lions don’t normally hunt elephants or giraffes because they are too challenging to kill—they are much larger than lions. Instead, lions will stalk smaller and weaker animals—antelopes, zebras, or wild hogs. Likewise, the devil hunts the spiritually weak. The devil will tear you apart when you are frail and defenseless without your spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-20).

Third, the devil intimidates just as lions do. Lions roar to show how big they are—to scare their prey and competitors. The devil also roars to instill fear and he does so through persecution, fierce trials, and strong temptations.

Finally, the devil devours just as lions devour their prey. Lions don’t eat with silverware and neither does the devil. Like a lion, the devil wants to consume you until there is nothing left and he will leave a mess.

The best idea is to be sober-minded and watchful, alert and prepared to fight when he attacks.


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie, Aries, and Dot.

Hungry Christians

The following column was published in the Murray Ledger & Times, Weekend Edition November 9-10, 2019:

Hungry Christians

Bible Gleanings by Brandon Bramlett

Pastor of Locust Grove Baptist Church

All babies cry. Their cry is one heard ‘round the world, too. One, because all babies everywhere cry, no matter their skin color or ethnicity. Their squeal requires no translation—every language understands it. And two, some cry so loudly that it appears to travel the globe. A variety of things may cause an infant to cry. Perhaps they need a diaper change. Maybe they want to be held. It may be that they are trying to break a world record for the loudest and longest cry. But every parent knows that infants often cry when they are hungry. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, I’m hungry—feed me.” It is healthy for a baby to be hungry—they need nourishment to be strong, growing, and healthy.

If you are a Christian, so do you. You need spiritual food so you can thrive, flourish, and grow. It is healthy to be spiritually hungry for spiritual nourishment. No wonder the apostle Peter wrote, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Just as newborns naturally hunger for the nutrition that comes from their mother’s milk, it should be natural for you to hunger for the nutrition that comes from God. More specifically, this spiritual nutrition comes from, “the pure spiritual milk.” Clearly, this is referring to the word of God in the Old and New Testaments. The Scripture is pure—undefiled, free of contamination and error. The Scripture is spiritual—it deals with our spiritual lives. And the Scripture is like milk because we can digest it and be nourished by its contents.

As a believer, you are commanded to hunger and cry out for the word of God so you will feast upon it and “grow up into salvation.” The more you hunger for the word and are fed by it, the more you’ll grow in your salvation. This intense desire for the word of God has been characteristic of believers since the time of Job. Job described his intense longing for the Bible like this: “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food” (Job 23:12).

But how can you maintain a hunger like this? Here’s the answer: understand that hunger is directly correlated to taste. Think about your favorite meal—you hunger for it because you know how good it tastes. Likewise, you will hunger for the word of God the more you taste it. Many have no desire for the word because they don’t know what it tastes like. But the more “meals” of God’s word you consume, the hungrier you’ll be, and the more you’ll grow. So, are you a hungry Christian?