Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

A Thanksgiving challenge

Chaplain Bertram Bobb

November 2011

This is my Thanksgiving greeting and challenge to you in the Chahta language: “Yakni moma kut yakoki achi nitak ai ulhpihisa tok a il afamah mak osh e hieli hokut, Chihowa ut pi hullo, micha pi nukhaklo na nan ulhpesa bieke ho ai itunohowat afumi achuffa moma ka il afama hokut, Yakoki! il ima hachi pullashke.”

Interpreted: “Thanksgiving Day is a day set aside as a national holiday. A day when we can pause and thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us during the past year.” That was Paul’s attitude when he wrote in First Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything we give thanks:…”

Paul thanked God for the faith of believers in Romans 1:8: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world…”

Paul thanked God for his personal relationship with Jesus Christ saying Corinthians 9:15: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

Many of us know that we have learned the most through the rough experiences of life. God’s way is to bring about the best of us under the pressure of tough times. God usually gets our attention when we feel our inability to cope with these circumstances. Our weakness gives God an opportunity to show his strength.

When we learn to thank God for everything, He turns what seems like a calamity into a blessing. During these times, the Lord brings us closer to Himself.

The Psalmist recalled the mighty acts of God, saying, “Come and see the works of God:…He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice Him.” (Psalms 66:5-6)

As Christians we can thank God for past events that brought hope for this life and for eternity. We can thank Him for the first coming of Jesus Christ and the hope of the second coming, the cross and the resurrection. We are thankful for the writings of Paul, for example: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (II Corinthians 5:19)

Jesus said “…thy Word is truth.” (John 17-17). Because the Bible is true, we know the promise of Christ’s return and all other prophecies in God’s Word will be fulfilled.

We can be grateful for the signs of realization of God’s great program for the earth. We are grateful for these signs that point to God’s ultimate triumph. God is in charge of our world, and His glorious plans will be realized.

Today’s message is on WORKS. You may hear many commendations on work here on earth. But if you never hear those words which will ring forever in the ears of those who hear them. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant;…enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” (Matthew 25:21). Sad will be your lot.

I believe these are the words that everyone should want to hear: “…enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” Well, how can we do this? How can we enter into God’s presence, into His joy?

Jesus said: “Not every on that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

What is God the Father’s will? To do His will is to do things His way.

First, to come into His presence is to come by the way He has planned, and that is by they way of the cross. The cross on which Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin, which is death. You cannot come into God’s presence any other way. Jesus said while He was still on earth: “…I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

Peter said this concerning God’s promises and His will for you in II Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as come men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

God’s will is for us to come to Jesus and He is not willing that any should perish.

Jesus said this concerning man’s works. And it was a message of comfort: The message of Christ to the laboring man is one of comforting too, in Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

This is God’s plan of salvation, through His Son, and it is one of Joy, Peace and Satisfaction.

I mention also that there will be rewards for the Christians. I don’t have time to go into details on this subject but will you read this passage from First Corinthians 3:11-15?

Remember, salvation is not by works. It is by faith. Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The work of Christians shall determine their rewards in Heaven. After one has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior his life is one that is building. God has a will and a purpose for our life and as we study His Word, the Bible, we learn His will for us. And as we labor according to His will then we are building upon the foundation of Christ with Gold, Silver and Precious Stones.

So many times we try to do God’s will our way. Our way is to satisfy our fleshly desires. When a Christian is our of God’s Will then he is building with hay, wood and stubble.

Continue to pray for Native American people for their spiritual and physical welfare. Pray for America and for our tribal leaders for wisdom, encouragement and strength to lead our Nations.