It is much easier to recognize what is going wrong in our lives, than it is to rejoice for the good. I don’t know why that is, but it seems that our natural bent is to complain about what is happening to us rather than recognize what God is doing in the difficulty. I’m sure that I have been guilty of that in my own life. As we come out of the Christmas season and I have seen people returning those precious Christmas gifts complaining that the gift didn’t work; was the wrong size; didn’t meet with their liking; etc. — I could only think about how dissatisfied we are most of the time! Just like we forgot that someone sacrificed something in order that we might have that gift; we forget that He sacrificed all so that we might have eternal life.
When Lloyd and I moved to Ghana in 2004 we didn’t speak the language; we couldn’t eat the food; we didn’t know the rules; we didn’t understand the culture. People stole from us; people told us that they did work that they didn’t actually do; the car kept breaking down; pipes kept bursting (once so badly that we had to fetch water and bring large barrels into and around the house for use); bugs were getting into everything; the ceiling fell in; malaria happened; dysentery happened; etc. When all of these things happened – we were careful to encourage one another to rejoice at how God was going to fix it for us; how He was going to use us to be Him to the people we were trusting to fix the problems; how our headaches would bring Him glory. Lloyd and I would go into our room and inspect one another – miraculously we found that neither of us had scars from a thorny crown; holes from nails in our wrists or feet; and not even a spear in our sides! Incredible isn’t it! None of it was Calvary! We believed every time that He would give us the strength to bear it – and He did!! Time and time again – He brought us through all of it.
My dear friend Mike Pickett wrote a song that serves to remind me daily of what it means to count all of it as joy. The lyrics say,
“You are the salt of the earth, a preservative for some. You may be the ONLY reason destruction hasn’t come. If while following God you find yourself in the midst of circumstance; you may have been sent there to let someone know that today may be the last chance to walk in righteousness; holiness; love; peace; and joy in the Holy Spirit of God”
So, yeah — you may be driving a car that is a little older than you like, and it may require a lot of repair; but are you taking that opportunity to be salt and light to the person who will repair the car? You might be facing a different trial everyday in your health; but are you being salt and light to all who visit you and to the doctors and nurses that serve you?
This life on this earth is temporal! Don’t lose sight of that! Our home is in heaven – a place where all will be well! As for the “momentary light afflictions” you WILL face down here — count it as joy AND count it as an opportunity for you to be His glory in this fallen world. Know that as you face each hardship with joy – you will have more patience and endurance to face the next thing. Being used for His glory in the midst of it all is just the icing on the cake! I like icing and the thought of being icing on His cake is an incredible gift to my heart! May the Father move me to trust Him in the midst of it all and may He bend my heart toward full joy and the hope of my eternal hope. Remind yourself in the midst of difficulties and hardships — It Ain’t Calvary!
When dealing with this kind of healing – a situation where my salvation in Christ and my strong dependence upon the Father and my strong listening to the Holy Spirit is real – there is just no way for me to be in fear.
My rules from the doctor in these first two weeks is quite real – I have to study regular language; I have to practice the names of my family; I have to rehearse and reintroduce the names of my friends, neighbors, and others that are in my regular community.
I’m enjoying hearing from people that love me deeply and who just want to be close and understand the journey! I haven’t been able to see everyone physically, but it has been amazing joy knowing that they’ve come by or called.
I’m enjoying the beauty of waking up each day desiring my Father; my Savior; and the Spirit that works in me in amazing ways!!!
It’s only week one – but I’ll be great! I know the survived Jan be used in amazing ways by the God who called me!
Christ I have nothing but encouragement from being united with You, my Savior I have no doubt at all that Your love is comforting me. I have no doubt, that my Father is ensuring my connection with the Holy Spirit. Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit I have no doubt that depending upon you means that I will be like-minded with you, that I will be having the same love that you have placed in my heart and that I will be one in spirit and one in purpose for the sake of my belief in You!! (Philippians 2: 1–2)
If we If we would all wake up daily just grateful!
Grateful that we are alive
Grateful that we are living somewhere
Grateful that we are on some type of electronic device
Grateful for our family/friends
Grateful for jobs
Grateful for something to eat
Grateful for salvation
Grateful for mercy
Grateful for grace
You add to this list things you’re grateful for personally.
As for me I would add to that list so much more! I’m grateful for a joyful marriage, for a 91 year old mother that’s in great health and has a good mind, grateful for sons that know and love Jesus: for a home that lets me minister to others; for an incredible church family – more than I could list here, He has been so good to me!
If we spent our time thanking The Almighty for all of the things we are grateful for, maybe we’d have less time to participate in the foolishness of the flesh. You know what I mean? When I say foolishness of the flesh I mean – desiring someone that isn’t your spouse, hanging out with your friends in places that expose you to immorality as a normal thing, joining in conversations that belittle people, using our mouths to speak things that dishonor the God who blesses and keeps us – You Know What I Mean.
I encourage you to take time daily and throughout each day to keep in your mind how good God has been to you. I guarantee you that it will refocus you and turn your heart and mind toward things that bring Him honor!
Lord, please help your children live without even a hint of depravity, or any defilement or covetousness, because it is not befitting our commitment to You! Help us, Father, not to be vulgur; help our words not to be stupid. Help us not to find laughter in things that are lowdown and dirty. But instead let our minds, our hearts, our souls be in the habit of giving thanks to You! You are so worthy!
God is more knowledgeable about us than we are about ourselves. He knows that the temptation to fall into line with the world’s systems are too much for us to bear alone. He does not leave us to our own devices, but will work within us to teach us to be satisfied – to give us hearts that are content.
As you start this New Year, I encourage you not to cry over the things that you did not accomplish; the stuff that you did not get; the relationship that ended; the project that you did not complete. Ask the Lord to help you to accept that all that happened in 2014 was what He had for you in 2014 — and then walk into 2015 with a new attitude that says “I am beginning again!”
Paul said that he could be content in any situation because Christ within him gave Him the strength. You have access to that same resurrection power! Ask the Holy Spirit today to teach you the way to be satisfied/content with what is over and done with and ask Him to teach you the new lessons you’ll need in the coming days to move ahead.
God’s plan for you in 2015 are perfect – tailor made for you! There is nothing that He intends for you to have that you cannot not have. There is nothing He intends for you to accomplish that you cannot accomplish. There is no good thing that He will withhold from you. What God has destined for your life is for your life.
You are a part of God’s great plan to redeem this world and reconcile it to Himself. Get in the game in 2015 – realize that there is something that God created you to do that no other person can accomplish. Know this — when you identify that purpose; you will know satisfaction in a way that you have never known it before!
Happy New Year! Be New! Be Changed! Be All HIS!!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
Today, I woke up happy that gratefulness and acclamation can change my whole outlook in an instant. God is the first person I dialogue with in the morning. Before I open my eyes, before my feet hit the floor; I greet Him with a holy good morning. I thank Him and praise Him for the day ahead and for the nights rest and I feel His presence enter the room! Best part of my day! I realized that because I take this time to thank and adore Him first, I have a good outlook on whatever lies ahead.
I have a lot to face each day, the work I do does not afford a day off; the people I serve in this role need me operating in His power and wisdom throughout the day. I could choose to stain my day with worry; fretting about a bill that is due; an unpleasant meeting; a home or car repair; a doctors visit; etc. OR I can choose an upgrade! We all like an upgrade! Choosing to start the day in thankfulness will color the rest of your day. There will be problems today; there will be people who grate on your nerves today; there will be office politics that make you cringe today; there will likely be a home or car repair that you have to deal with; but in the midst of all of that is joy!
There is a song called “Gratefulness” that says ‘I could go on, and on, and on about Your works, because I’m grateful, grateful, so grateful just to praise You Lord!” If you’ve already started your day — just allow your mind right now to recount the works of God in your life and keep thinking about them until you feel His presence with you and your heart turning toward being sincerely thankful. I believe you might find that there is very little to complain about AND you’ll have the bonus of experiencing His presence with you because He dwells in our praise!
Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. (Psalms 100:4)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.--Romans 8:38-39