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"Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, 'It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.'” 2 Samuel 21:1 Things don't happen without a cause. King David knew that, so he went to the Lord and asked why famine was on the land. The Lord answered that the former king, Saul, had killed Gibeonites. Saul was dead by now and the slaughter of the Gibeonites took place long ago. So we see that judgments and curses can be brought forward even long after the deed was done that caused them. It's reminiscent of the several passages revealing that judgment continues down to the third and fourth generations. "The Lord is long-suffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but he by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation." Numbers 14:18 So David set out to make things right. He asked the Gibeonites how he could make things right with them. They asked that seven descendants of Saul be handed over to them, and David complied. Then he went to the graves of Saul and his son Jonathan who had been buried by the enemies who killed them in war, and he brought their bones back to Israel and buried them in the graves of their fathers. After doing all he could think of to rectify the situation, he then went to the Lord and asked the curse to be removed, and "God heeded the prayer for the land." Folks, we need to understand spiritual laws. Today, believers ignore them believing that their sins have been forgiven because of the atoning sacrifice Jesus accomplished for us, and that is very true. But there are CONSEQUENCES of sin, and many times those consequences will reach down the generations from the perpetrator. Children tend to carry on the sins of their fathers. If you look into the descendants of an alcoholic, you'll often see alcoholism down through the generations. If a woman is promiscuous, oftentimes her daughters will be too. If a man sins through violence, there will oftentimes be violence in his descendants. So what to do when you realize there is such a tendency in your own family, even if the source is a generation or two back from you? You do as David did. You confess the sins you know about, and ask for forgiveness. Then you do whatever you can to make things right with anyone who was victimized by the sin in your family. And then you ask the Lord to reveal anything more of what you need to know, and you submit the whole subject into the hands of the Lord and ask for guidance. Then, having done all you can, you wait for his response. Sometimes a judgment or curse cannot be reversed, but in such a situation the Lord will walk with you through whatever you have to face. And if a judgment or curse cannot be reversed, the Lord will make a way to turn it into a blessing, because for those who love the Lord, "all things," ALL THINGS, will be turned around for the good. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 If you perceive that there is a judgment upon your family, seek the Lord concerning what you should do. One way or another, Jesus has promised relief. Stand on his promise, read the following over and over again until it lives inside you: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;" Luke 4:18

"Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that he had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, 'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' And they said, 'What is that to us? You see to it!'” Matthew 27:3-4 When Judas saw Jesus standing there condemned, he realized he had made a terrible mistake and regretted it. So he returned the money he had been paid to betray Jesus, but the priests and elders weren't interested. So he went out and committed suicide. vs 5: "Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the Temple and departed, and went and hanged himself." Earlier in this story, recorded in Matthew 26, we see Peter who denied Jesus three times! When he heard the rooster crow, the words of Jesus came back to him, in which Jesus had told him he was going to deny him three times before the rooster crowed. "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.' So he went out and wept bitterly." Matthew 26:75 What is the difference between these two men? They both denied Jesus. The difference is in the heart. They both sinned a grievous sin, and one was not worse than the other. But more telling is what they did with it. Judas could have been forgiven, but instead he committed suicide. Peter, cut to the heart for what he had done, wept bitterly. Suicide is regret weighed down with despair. Weeping bitterly over sin is repentance. "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." 2 Corinthians 7:10 We are all sinners, every one of us, and it's not a matter of kind of sin or degree of sin; but a person who has not been born again will treat his sin much differently than one who has been. Judas had witnessed the miracles Jesus did over the past 3-1/2 years, and he saw Jesus escape every attempt by Satan to kill him before his time. So Judas thought that if Jesus was seized by the leaders of the people, that Jesus would fight and overpower them, put down the Roman government, and restore the Kingdom to Israel. When Judas saw that his plot had failed, and when he realized the greatness of his sin, he killed himself. Peter, on the other hand, LOVED Jesus. Throughout the Gospels we see Peter again and again acting from a deep love for him. When he realized his sin, the regret hit him in the heart. How could he have done this to someone he loved so much, the one he knew is the Messiah? He heaved great sobs of shame and regret. A repentant heart leads to godly sorrow, not to killing oneself. Judas removed himself from all possibility of forgiveness, but Peter later received the great forgiveness the Lord extended to him. Later, after Jesus was raised from the dead, he had a little conversation with Peter: "So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” John 21:15 Jesus asked this question three times, and by the third time Peter was humbled in sorrow and grief. vs 17: "Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' And he said to him, 'Lord, you know all things, you KNOW that I love you!'” And that's the point. Throughout the narrative there was no question whether Peter loved the Lord. A weak human being as we all are, he had cowered in fear when the crowd took hold of Jesus to condemn him. Yet the sorrow Peter had was godly sorrow. That was true repentance and he was forgiven. Friend, it doesn't matter what evil you have committed, the degree of sinfulness is irrelevant to the point being made here. What matters is what you do with it. If you humble yourself before the Lord, he will hold out to you the hand of mercy. He loves you and is waiting with forgiveness for you. He will receive you. Come before him, confess your sin, all of it. Humble yourself before him and know the depths of his mercy and forgiveness. He will wash you and make you clean. And you will be clean! "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, AND HE WILL LIFT YOU UP." James 4:10

The following facts are not the ones you usually hear in contemporary accounts of the Pilgrims’ history. What actually happened can best be described as an apparent miracle from God. The events concerning the miracle involve the days that followed the first Thanksgiving celebration at Plymouth. What happened is that though the Pilgrims rejoiced that they had food to tide them over, and gave God the glory for his providential care, they ran severely short of food in the following months. Just one month after their celebration, the first ship from home dropped off thirty-five unexpected people called “Adventurers,” but they brought no food, no clothing, no tools, and no bedding with them. So the Pilgrims, true to their Christian heritage, made the decision to go to half-rations in November and share their food with the newcomers, with hopes that they would all make it to the summer. They were practically starving that winter, eating their tiny little meals, praying the whole time, but not one person was lost to starvation which was a miracle in itself. Spring finally arrived, but the hardship wasn’t over yet. There was a severe drought that lasted through the summer. Week followed after week with no rain at all. The crops had been planted and had sprouted and come up in the spring, and had grown about midway up, and now they were just sitting there dying in the fields. This particular crop was really needed after having such hard times in their first year and a half in America. The situation was desperate, and people’s hopes were starting to die. Not knowing what to do, Governor Bradford decided to have everyone turn to God by ordering the colony to set aside a whole day for nothing but fasting and prayer. Then - the miracle occurred. Here’s the actual account of the miracle, as recorded by Governor Bradford in his own journal: “I may not here omit how, notwithstanding all their great pains and industry, and the great hopes of a large crop, the Lord seemed to blast, and take away the same, and to threaten further and more sore famine unto them. By a great drought which continued from the third week in May, till about the middle of July, without any rain and with great heat for the most part, insomuch as the corn began to wither away though it was set with fish, the moisture whereof helped it much. Yet at length it began to languish sore, and some of the drier grounds were parched like withered hay, part whereof was never recovered. They set apart a solemn day of fasting, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer in this great distress. And He was pleased to give them a gracious and speedy answer, both to their own and the Indians’ admiration that lived amongst them. For all the morning, and the greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen; yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain with such sweet and gentle showers as gave them cause of rejoicing and blessing God. It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked and therewith, which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold. And afterwards the Lord sent such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving.” That is the miracle of the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving — the first Thanksgiving where the actual-real-historic proclamation of a day of thanksgiving was made by Bradford. After three months of no rain, with dying plants, heaven literally opened up and the crops in a sense were born again. In fact, the harvest that fall was so abundant that they ended up with a surplus of food and seed. These facts concerning the Pilgrims aren’t often repeated nowadays. Maybe this is the first time you’ve ever heard of the miracle of 1623. But this is the season that Americans celebrate the Pilgrim’s “Thanksgiving,” and so from now on, you can celebrate Thanksgiving knowing why the original Pilgrims in 1623, as Bradford said, “set apart a day of thanksgiving.” We should never forget that God in His great mercy has given us more than we deserve, and more than we appreciate at times. It is human nature to take for granted the many blessings that we experience each moment. Our tendency throughout the day, is not to thank God, but rather to complain. But God wants us to be thankful. The Scriptures exhort us to “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever…” (1 Chronicles 16:34.) So, what God wants is that we give thanks to him. “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 We are to be thankful in everything. “...giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Ephesians 5:20 God desires that we always give thanks for all things so that each day will be “a solemn day set apart and appointed for thanksgiving, wherein we return glory, honor, and praise, with all thankfulness to our God, who deals so graciously with us, whose name for these and all other his mercies towards his Church and chosen ones, by them be blessed and praised now and evermore, Amen.” Excerpted from Rev. Henry’s sermon, “The Miracle of Thanksgiving.”