Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever.
This was written by King David who knew as much hardship, disappointment and betrayal as anyone who has ever lived. However, above the pressures and problems of life, King David also knew the overcoming goodness of God and without respect to the tragedies of life, David never ceased praising the Lord and giving Him thanks for all He had done and would yet do.
God called David a man after His own heart and it was from this heart and lineage God raised up a Savior, Jesus the Christ.
On October 5, 1973, Brenda and I moved from Bossier City, Louisiana to a small town in the English countryside named Newbury. If you have every watched Downton Abbey, a popular series on TV, you will see the area in which we lived. Highclere Castle is the house and grounds they use to film Downton Abbey and Brenda and I lived just about 2 miles or less from that now famous house. Newbury is a beautiful setting for certain. I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to leave there.
Some years ago now, a young lady from Newbury named Mary Norris met and married a man from London whose last name was Allerton. They had 3 children. A son named Bart who later became a preacher at Bramfield in Suffolk, England; a daughter they named Remember; and a third child, a daughter named Mary.
This Allerton family of 5, along with a 13 year old boy named John Hooke whom they’d taken in, and several of their friends didn’t care for the politics of Great Britain and the beautiful countryside around Newbury simply could not keep them satisfied. The Allerton’s decided to relocate. So, they all got together, pooled their resources and with high hopes for the future made a move.
Within a few short months Mary Norris Allerton, wife and mother, became part of a group of people you might know. The group includes:
· Richard Britteridge
· William Button
· Robert Carer
· James and Margaret Chilton
· Richard Clark
· Tomas Tinker, his wife and his son named Thomas
· John Langmore
· Sarah Eaton
· Elizabeth Winslow
· Roger Wilder
· Governor John Carver
· Ellen More
· Jasper More
· Mary More
· young John Hooke
All together there were 51 or 52 people in the group. Mary Norris Allerton went from Newbury, England, straight into the pages of our history books, Mary Norris Allerton, wife of Issac Allerton, is listed among those who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 only to succumb to perils of that first winter in the New World and die before ever enjoying any of the hopes with which she began her life’s greatest journey.
Mary’s husband, son and two daughters survived to celebrate that first Thanksgiving despite the great loss they personally suffered along with so many other families. With half of their friends dead within the first 3 months how in the world could anyone have been thankful that year?
Although we have all experienced pain and loss in the past we nonetheless are thankful for the things we still have and for the blessings we have received from the hand of God. Which one of us would not paint our lives a little differently if we could but be the author and the finisher of our faith?
Mary Norris Allerton, wife and mother, did not get to participate in that first New England Thanksgiving but her husband and her three children did. Not only did they enjoy that first Thanksgiving but they all lived long and prosperous lives. Mary’s youngest daughter, also named Mary after her mom, became the oldest living member of those first Pilgrims who sailed as passengers on the Mayflower dying in New Haven, Connecticut in 1699.
The daughter Mary not only enjoyed that first Thanksgiving but she lived to enjoy yet another 78 Thanksgiving celebrations in the New World her mom gave her. What a legacy … what a future … what a life.
Tonight we turn to the book of Psalms and read reasons we have to be thankful. (Almighty God created the world and also created a Promised Land for His children)
Psalms 136 NKJV
1 ¶ Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever.
3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever:
4 To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever;
5 To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever;
6 To Him who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever;
7 To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever —
8 The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever;
9 The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever.
10 ¶ To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn, For His mercy endures forever;
11 And brought out Israel from among them, For His mercy endures forever;
12 With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, For His mercy endures forever;
13 To Him who divided the Red Sea in two, For His mercy endures forever;
14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it, For His mercy endures forever;
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, For His mercy endures forever;
16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness, For His mercy endures forever;
17 To Him who struck down great kings, For His mercy endures forever;
18 And slew famous kings, For His mercy endures forever —
19 Sihon king of the Amorites, For His mercy endures forever;
20 And Og king of Bashan, For His mercy endures forever —
21 And gave their land as a heritage, For His mercy endures forever;
22 A heritage to Israel His servant, For His mercy endures forever.
23 ¶ Who remembered us in our lowly state, For His mercy endures forever;
24 And rescued us from our enemies, For His mercy endures forever;
25 Who gives food to all flesh, For His mercy endures forever.
26 Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.
With respect to the pressures and the pain we have known in our past it would do us well to remember three key truths during this special Thanksgiving season in America:
1. God is good!
2. His mercy endures forever.
3. We owe Him our thanksgiving.
Give God thanks tomorrow along with a grateful nation of people who have truly been blessed.