I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! It is my hope that you are spending this day surrounded by the presence and love of family and friends. There’s nothing quite like the opportunity to simply sit and share a meal and memories in thankfulness with those that we love. These opportunities should hold a special place in our heart, and we should elevate the gathering of loved ones to a place of importance in our life. Those we love are a gift of God, and we should honor that gift by not forsaking times of fellowship together.
Yesterday, I made the four hour trip from northeast Alabama, and I traveled home to Georgia to be with my family. As I sit here with them today, I am thankful that I have a loving family with which to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday. At 80 years of age, my parents are still thriving. They are healthy and active. It thrills my heart to have the privilege of coming home and sharing moments of grace in their presence. I am blessed.
Today, I am thankful for the tremendous grace that God has showered down into my life. I’m thankful for Christ and the selfless sacrifice He demonstrated for me on the cross. I am thankful that, although I am unworthy, He chose to love me with His very life. Christ embraced my creation, absorbed my sin, and became my righteousness. His passion for my eternity was paid for with His innocence, and for that, I am eternally thankful.
I am thankful for family. Specifically, I am thankful for the love of my family. Throughout my life, the love of my family has been the foundation of our relationship and the gauge by which I evaluate other relationships in my life. They have set the standard very high, and for that I am thankful. They have been a constant source of strength, encouragement and love for forty-three years, and I hope they are around for many more.
My thankfulness runs much deeper than superficial holiday celebrations. I am thankful on a very deep and enduring level for every day that God allows me His precious gift of life. I am thankful for God using me in His ministry. I am thankful for friends and family who fill my life with great joy and wonderful memories. I am thankful for the American soldiers who have sacrificed so much for my freedom. I’m thankful that there are still men and women who are willing to place themselves between freedom and evil. To those who do so, I am thankful. I am thankful for a wonderful church and for those who give so much of themselves to enable ministries that matter. I am thankful for many things…
So, on this Thanksgiving Day, it is my hope that you enjoy the planned celebration of family and friends, but it is also my hope that you truly reflect on just how blessed you. Those blessings flow from a loving God whose intentions for us are those of peace, love and joy that are found only in Him.
Enjoy your day, laugh, reminisce, eat turkey, take pictures, make memories…and thank God for His extraordinary blessings!
I want to express my gratitude and thanks to those who have made the choice to serve our country. As there are always those who would seek, through threats and violence, to impose their will through force, we should thank God that there exists men and women who choose to confront the evil intentions of others on behalf of a nation that is not always so grateful. We should be mindful that our freedom has never, nor will it ever, be free. It has been purchased at a high price by the American solider and the families of American soldiers. The cost of freedom is not just one of time spent away from loved ones. Often the cost of freedom is the very life of those who are willing to place themselves in harms way in order to secure liberty for the day and for generations to come.
As many in our nation seem to find it politically profitable to criticize our armed forces, they must realize that their freedom to express that opinion was bought with the blood of those who have an understanding and respect for freedom that they may never possess. In 2015, we see our flag, the symbol of national sovereignty, not only burned in other lands, but burned on the streets of our nation as well...a nation that seems to have lost its focus on the events of history. May we never diminish the honor of those who came before us by diluting the message of their service and sacrifice. The greatness of our nation was forged through the sheer grit and determination of brave souls who were unwilling to concede the banner of freedom to those who would seek to destroy it. Through tremendous adversity, these brave men and women have been relentless in their pursuit of freedom's defense, and our lives today are a reflection of their sacrifice. May we never forget that.
Today our flag still flies; however, it flies over a country that is profoundly different than the nation past generations have died to protect. We are in need of another 'great generation'...another generation of morals, character, drive, determination, and resolve. We are in need of another generation that understands the great cost of liberty and the responsibilities imbedded in the care and preservation of the same. Our forefathers knew it well. Previous generations have embraced it. Today, in a divided nation, I'm not sure that all of us understand? However, there are still those among us who do, and these are the surviving veterans and modern day soldiers that still serve our nation with a sense of pride and honor.
Political parties fight to redefine our nation under the umbrella of their own ideologies. The Constitution, the defining document that has guided our great nation, is shredded everyday by many who seek to destroy the influence it was created to provide. They deem it to be outdated and antiquated. As they alter the contents, our national sovereignty suffers. The lessons of history fall to the wayside as we seem to be raising a generation that seeks to be served by our nation instead of serving. It would be beneficial for all who live within the borders of this great land to understand that our flag flies above them. Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians and Independents serve under the shadow of the freedom that our flag represents. They serve in America, and they serve Americans.
To those who seek to enter our country and dilute the message of freedom, to those who seek to destroy it from within and without, and to those who have an irrational hatred of the values held by our Republic...to those we should send a message. That message should be one of unified strength and agreement that, at the end of the day, whether we are a liberal or a conservative, regardless of the color of our skin or the political ideology to which we personally ascribe, we are Americans. This is our country, and it has been built and preserved by freedom and liberty, paid for by the American solider. We should send a message that we honor the sacrifices of those before us, and we are unwilling to allow their service to be dishonored by finding ourselves weak where they were strong. Our message should be conveyed with compassion, but it should be backed by a military strength that is unequalled anywhere on this earth. And to those who would make the foolish choice to pursue violence against this great land and its citizens, to those we should extend through force the discipline necessary to correct them in their error. America is not great because of weakness and tolerance of evil. America is great because of strength and the determination of the few to defend the many.
America is great, not because of politicians, but because of the American solider. My father, Bobby Beatty, is one of these great men who chose to serve. His sacrifice, along with so many others before and after him, is the reason that our country still stands as a beacon of freedom to the world. So, to the American solider, let me say thank you. Thank you for choosing to defend our nation. Thank you for sacrificing your time, your abilities, and in many cases, your very life for my freedom. May the flag of our nation always represent the freedoms that our soldiers have died to preserve. My our nation always reflect their patriotic character, and may we always honor our veterans as the heroes of freedom that they are. And, may our nation always be one, unified under Almighty God, persevering liberty, freedom and justice for all. God Bless America.
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!