Thursday, November 27, 2014

8 Fun Facts About Thanksgiving

"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor." -George Washington

1) Approximately 46,000,000 turkeys are sold annually just for Thanksgiving. Since the average weight of each bought turkey is 16lbs, all the turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving could equal the weight of almost 750 filled Boeing 747-8 airplanes.

2) 20% of all cranberries eaten in the US are eaten on Thanksgiving Day!

3) The very first Thanksgiving menu included deer, small fowl, corn, and several types of fish. Almost all the dishes we know to be traditional became so at least 200 years later.

4) Pumpkin was used as an ingredient for the crust of some pies during the colonial period, but not the filling!

5) Part of why Swanson invented the first TV Dinners in 1953 was because they needed to use up all of their Thanksgiving Turkey leftovers!

6) In 2013 was first time that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have converged since 1888, and the next time these two events align might not be for another 79,043 years!

7) Despite that George Washington supported setting aside a day of Thanksgiving in 1777, the US did not officially recognize Thanksgiving Day until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln declared that it should be held on the last Thursday of November every year.
(Note: In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt was convinced by the National Retail Dry Goods Association to change Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November in order to extend the holiday shopping season. This decision was very unpopular and was officially reversed in 1941). 

8) Sarah Hale, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” campaigned for almost 2 decades to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday, and it was in part because of a letter from her that Abraham Lincoln declared it so. She also came up with an outline of suggested Thanksgiving dishes that likely set the tradition for our modern menus!

On a more serious note, don't forget to treasure this special day you have with family and friends this holiday season. Take a walk down memory lane and recall the blessings of the Lord. "Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 118:1)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

*The 8 Fun Facts Were Originally Posted on:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Has the Western Church Lost Its Love
For Persecuted Christians?

In a time when violence is on the rise, we are bombarded with news of severe persecution against Christians. Story after story of imprisonment, torture, rape, beatings and beheadings are reported daily. 

The question I must ask is: Is there still a disconnect between the American Christian culture and the persecuted believers overseas?

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is on November 2nd. Organizations are working tirelessly to bring unity to our dysfunctional spiritual family but research shows a lack of interest in participating in the IDOP.

The Persecution Resource Council reported, “During the week prior to the 2013 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, we reviewed the websites of the one hundred seventy leading churches and denominations. Nearly all of these leading Christian organizations had Veteran’s Day- or Thanksgiving-related “food for the hungry” programs advertised on their home pages.

None of them mentioned the Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on their website’s home page. Only ten of them had it listed on their website’s calendar of events or somewhere else on their websites.”

The statistics are clear: western Christians have lost their love and burden for the persecuted church. Why is it that we can receive persecution news in “real time” and yet lack the heart to pray? These persecution stories are not just statistics; they are real people who are part of our spiritual family.

The media brings reports about my spiritual family...and your family too. This morning I asked myself the question, what would I do if my parents were threatened, abused or imprisoned? How would I respond?

Should I not feel the same urgency for all the fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters being persecuted right now? Jesus is calling us to “Remember those in prison, as if we were there ourselves. Remember also those being mistreated, as if we felt their pain in our own bodies.” (Hebrews 13:3)

Take at least five minutes to pray. Pray that God would revive your heart to “remember them as though you were with them” and that you would “feel their pain in your own body”. 

After all, “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26) …because we are family, right?