by: DALE NESSMITH
“It is a good thing to give thanks un- to the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1,2
The fall season is a most splendid time of the year. The crops are being harvested, the leaves are changing colors, and the temperature is cooler. The sky seems bluer in the fall and that should remind us of God’s faithfulness and also help us keep Him at the top of our “to do” list.
Fall is the season that shows off what God has done this year. From the snowy white cotton fields to the golden ground of peanuts, the diligent efforts of farmers are
rewarded by God’s gracious increase and bounty. The gold and red colors in the tree leaves seem to be celebrating the breeze and rains of the past spring and summer. Autumn is the year’s last hurrah and the crops and the trees seem to be manifesting the Creator’s splendor even as they die.
Nature is a good teacher and we should follow suit in the fall season by thanking God for all He has done for us and to us during this year. God is so good and merciful to us sinners, and that makes it easy to be thankful. Anyone who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, adopted into God’s family, and given the gift of eternal life should be able to make a thanksgiving list at least a mile long. There is no way we can think of God’s unconditional, inseparable, unending love for us without being thankful. And to know that all our sins are forgiven; that includes the ones we haven’t committed yet too, should make our hearts smile a long while. It’s good to know we are saved by grace and not works; be thankful for that! Yet, we are created for good works, which have all been planned for us before we were born.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
These good works are things we do or think which honor and glorify God. The Holy Spirit enables us to do them and the blood of Jesus cleans out the self-righteousness in them so that they are acceptable to our Heavenly Father. The Great Potter takes a lump of mud like us and creates a vessel to honor Him. Truly our cups should run over every day in all seasons as we acknowledge the benefits of His grace and the place He has given us in His kingdom.
Thankfulness means full of thanks, so as vessels of mercy, we are containers filled with spiritual blessings for which we should be most grateful for. Sometimes the vessel is marred or has a crack or leak. The Potter though does not throw the cup away. He puts it back on the Potter’s wheel and remakes it, taking away the mars and sealing all the broken places. The vessel then is filled with thank-fall-ness. A thank-fall person realizes that sometimes you have to hurt to be thankful and that you have to be down before you really appreciate being able to get up. Thank-fall-ness is the season of a believer’s life which, like the cotton and peanut fields, and the turning leaves on the trees, show that dying displays God’s glory in a very special way. No one has ever, nor ever will show off God’s glory and celebrate what God has done by dying any better than Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross to pay the sin debt His people could not pay. His people should give thanks for His fall. Are you one of His people? If so, you ought to be thankful for right things and thank-fall for wrong things.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” II Corinthians 5:21
God is the only one who can make wrong things work out right. He can also make fallen things stand up and be thank-fall. We are all fallen creatures who have much to be thank-fall for. I know for sure that you can’t accurately measure a tree until it is cut down. Like, a Christian really doesn’t know how to be thankful until a fall. Jesus came to save sinners who fell for Satan’s lies and are in the pits of despair because of it. It’s the fall which prompts a Jesus call.
Be thank-fall that you don’t think you can’t fall.
A few years ago at a thanksgiving service in the sanctuary at SPBC, I asked the congregation to think of some things they were thankful for and share it with the congregation. As I monitored the thanksgiving reflections from the congregation, I remember a brother saying, “I’m thankful that I am convicted of my sin.” Now that’s a different take on thankfulness. It really falls into the category of thank-fall -ness because this is describing a genuine believer’s feeling about sin. When God saves us by His grace, He changes our heart, our desire and our motives. But He doesn’t take us straight to Heaven. He has a journey charted for us on earth and though we are predestined to persevere all the way to Heaven, the road of life has many slippery places making it so easy to fall. Sometimes we think we’ve “got this” but end up flat on our backs.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
1 Corinthians 10:12
When you know you are a sinner and you don’t like it, is a sign you are a thank-fall child of God. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and then He comfort us, drawing us to Jesus our Savior. When we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior we know we are forgiven and our fallen nature becomes humbled by His grace and we are lifted up. Thankfulness can cause us to fall in love with God all over again.
We still have to fight sin though. It’s a struggle between our redeemed self and our fallen self. If we’re gonna make it, God must hold our hand. In order to be strong in the Lord, we must realize how weak we are in this world. We are NOT self-sufficient and we can be sure we will fall if we get too big for our britches. Remember the Pharisee who went to the temple to pray in Luke chapter eighteen thought he was standing tall and secure in his religious robe of self-righteousness. The publican though was full of thank-fall-ness as he acknowledged he was an unworthy sinner. Jesus said the publican had it right and said his prayer was justified in his sight. Be thankful that you are not bulletproof and that you realize you are weak for then and only then will you be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.
A thank-fall attitude keeps us depending on God, not ourselves or others. It prompts our prayers and keeps us in a soldier mentality, vigi- lant and aware of the enemies’ tactics. The Apostle Paul was humble, faithful and committed to the cause of Christ, but he also was full of thank-fall-ness.
“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast- away.” I Corinthians 9: 26-27
Be thankful that you cannot fall too far from God.
The elect angels in Heaven cannot be thank-fall for they have never fallen. They don’t know the relief and exhilarated joy of being restored to fellowship with God. The patriarch David and the Apostle Peter both took a hard fall on the slippery slopes of adultery and the steep cliff of denial respectively. Yet neither fell too far from God. Both were thank-fall to the extent that Peter fed the sheep and David taught sinners the way.
Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden when they took and ate the forbidden fruit which God specifically commanded them not to do. Their fall caused a domino effect whereby all of the human race fell as well. This rebellion did not surprise God though, for He knew it would happen and had already chosen a people who would by the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, one day be full of thank-fall-ness. I have never understood why God allowed sin or created the devil, but I do understand that if I had never sinned, I would have never known Jesus as my Savior. Jesus Christ came from Heaven to save sinners — fallen, disrespectful, gluttonous, lustful, lazy — people like you and me.
There is no sin that the grace of God cannot cover. God’s love is strong, enduring, everlasting and unconditional. Although a Christian can and does fall, that’s not all! The bend in the road is not the end of the road! Now it might be uncomfortable to fall into God’s hands when we disobey Him, but it would be horrible if we could fall out of God’s hands. Be thank-fall for the “fall” for without it there would be no Jesus on which to call.
“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord up- holdeth him with his hand.” Psalm 37:24
Be thank-fall that God not only saves us, but He also keeps us saved!
We could not and did not earn our salvation, so neither can we lose it; for it’s not ours to lose, it’s God’s. At the end of time as we know it, when all the redeemed children of God out of every nation, race and language are gathered around the throne of God, not one will be missing. Jesus the Lamb, slain yet standing, will get what He paid for.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 24, 25
Thankfulness is knowing we are saved. Thank-fall-ness is knowing we can’t lose our salvation. This amazing grace truth is not a fact by default, rather it’s the result of redeeming love at the cross at Calvary. This powerful, resurrecting spirit conquered death right then and there and forever. And, that same Holy Spirit indwells every believer and is more powerful than Satan. Believers are not puppets on a string nor trophies on a shelf, but are viable, victorious beings in Christ who sometimes stray away from the felt presence of God, but who never stay away; the attraction is too great. God in saving us not only changes our hearts and desires, He also changes our brains. The mind of Christ enables us to understand that we have a Master and when He calls we are thank-fall. There is more to the fall than colors. An encounter with Christ makes one guilty and grateful at the same time.
Be thank-fall that when you fall you are not alone and that you can get up again.
When our girls got their first bicycles they had training wheels attached to keep them from falling. However, when the bike riding became most exciting and memorable was the day the training wheels were removed. I don’t remember any of the girls riding off without falling a few times. I also stayed close enough to pick them up after their fall. I do remember the satisfied smiles and the contented courage which caused all the falls to fade away as they rode away without falling. They were thank-fall and so was I!
It’s good to know that when we fall we have someone to help us up. Marriage is a good example of that. And a good marriage is one filled with thank-fall-ness. When God instituted the marriage relationship between one man and one woman, He did so because it wasn’t good for man to be alone.
“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18
A faithful, true-blue friend is certainly one to be thank-fall for. Someone who is there when you need him is the person who is there when you fall. A “pick-up” friend will be there to the end, no matter how many times you fall. Telling our troubles to a close friend or our spouse often is the first tug from above to get us out of the pits of despair.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9,10
One of the most cherished promises of God is that He will never leave or forsake us. This thrilling truth changes the color in our lives like the leaves change their color in the fall, manifesting the glory of God while letting go of everything and drifting softly and silently, settling on the earth from which they came.
Even though we can’t see God physically, he is never far away. Jesus ascended into Heaven after completing His salvation work on the cross and is there right now, living, reigning and interceding for us. But His body is still on earth, it’s called the church. Not only is the church called His body, the church is also His building. When we worship together we are standing on the promises and we are standing up for Jesus. We should be most thank-fall for the church because it is one of God's means of grace where we stand for something right. And if we don't stand for something, we will fall for anything.
A healthy church is a thank-fall church. The unity and comradery of believers is vital given the fallen world the church inhabits. It is real important for all of us to know that in the church we are all servants; serv- ing God and serving one another. That means if one of our brothers or sisters fall, we come along beside them and help them up.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, re- store such an one in the spirit of meekness; con- sidering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Galations 6:1
There have been numerous occasions where I have heard a knock on my door (mostly at night) and someone said, “I am in the ditch, could you help me?” To which I replied, “Sure, let me get my boots on.” On every occasion where I helped someone get out of a ditch, I was on the road. Now if I had been in the ditch too, I would not have been much help. The church’s teaching of God’s truths and fellowship of kindred minds strengthens our faith and keeps us in the middle of the road of life. I never hesitated to help someone get out of the ditch because I have been in the ditch myself before.
The fall is more than a season; it’s a sensation of the spiritual senses which energizes the soul of a believer because God is at work in both His creation and His re-creation. It is true when we are down to nothing, God is up to something. When Humpty Dumpty fell, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put him back together again. Nothing is too hard for the King of Kings though. No matter how severe the break nor how many pieces need mending, or how flat the fall, God can handle it all. Because He lives, we can not only face tomorrow, we can also get up when we fall.
“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” Proverbs 24:16
Thank-fall for you all! Brother Randy
“Because He lives, we can not only face tomorrow, we can also get up when we fall. “