Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving in Trials

James 1:2-5
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

     Being thankful for a loving family, good kids, your good health, a good job, a nice house and a nice car--or two, is one thing, but being thankful in your trials, when your family life is less than perfect, your kids go astray, you come down with an illness, you lose your job and can't make mortgage payments on your house, and all your cars are repossessed, or whatever is testing your faith, that's a different story.  Can we be thankful and full of joy in our trials?  I wondered that myself.  But God said to count it all joy in trials.  With joy, I believe, comes thankfulness.  Philippians 4:6 says, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  Life was never meant to be perfect after the Fall of Man.

     Without thanksgiving there is pride.  We see ourselves and our problems, but we don't see God--working on our behalf.  He is at work my friends--always.  This Thanksgiving, be thankful for the trials you suffered this year, especially if you grew closer to Jesus in them.  I know it is difficult.  I have been there many times, and I've wondered, "What is there to be thankful for in this?  And where is the joy in this trial?  You can be thankful and have joy.  They are both available to you and to me.  God's Word is truth, and what He says and offers us is truth, we just have to accept the truth.  When you sit around your dinner table tomorrow, with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, vegetables and pumpkin and pecan pies and whatever delicacies you may sink your teeth into, remember those who go without, and be thankful for what you have, in any circumstance you are in.

Psalm 106:1
Praise the Lord!  Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and may you all receive God's blessings during this holiday season.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Being Thankful

1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

     Family is arriving for Thanksgiving.  They meet and greet and each family member brings delicious dishes to go with the host family's turkey.  The men sit around the television waiting for the annual Thanksgiving football game to come on.  The kids play with each other in the back yard.  The women prepare the table and meal.  Thanksgiving is a great treat for the family to get together and visit and eat.  The greatest treat and gift from God is to be thankful for all the year's blessings.

     The women call in the kids to wash their hands and get them sat down at the table set especially for them.  Then the women pry the men away from the television and sit them down at the main table as well.  The big kids get to share the main table, unless there is no room, then they are sent to the little kids table.  The head of the house says grace and then they go around with their thankful statements.  It starts with the head man.  He is thankful for his beautiful family that God has graced him with.  The wife then goes on and says she is thankful for being with all the family again for another year.  Grandma is thankful for her grand kids.  Grandpa is thankful his wife let him live another year.  They all chuckle.

     The Aunt and Uncle are thankful for God's provisions in time of need.  One cousin is thankful for the college he attends.  The younger kids are thankful they have laptops, tablets, iPads and iPhones.  What do they know?  They're kids, right?  Then their parents remind them of the important things in life and they squirm in their seats.  

    As grandpa gets ready to carve the beautiful turkey that his daughter prepared, God asks the turkey, "What are you thankful for Tom?"  The turkey looks up at God and asks, shaking and nervous at his upcoming demise (granted, he's already cooked, but just work with me), "Are you kidding me Lord?  They are about to eat me!"  God again asks, "What are you thankful for?"  Tom scratches his head (yes, again, work with me), and thinks, "Well, I've been fed real well I guess.  I use to have beautiful feathers.  I was created by You Lord and free to roam (thinking to himself, "Only to get shot and plucked and packaged and cooked and ate".)  "I suppose I'm thankful for that".  God nods His head, even considering what the turkey was really thinking.  "Anything else?", God asks.  He looks up at God and answers, "Anything else?  I'm about to be carved up and eaten!"  God says to him,  "Look around you and what do you see?  I see people getting together with family and enjoying a meal together.  I see them giving thanks even though some have had hardships, and I see you with a purpose."  The turkey shakes his head and says, "Yes, this purpose of Yours is for people to eat me."  "Yes", the Lord says.  Some of the family members have struggled to put food on the table because of a job loss.  "I see", said the turkey.  He thought about and told God, "Yes, I am thankful for being of service to these people."  The the grandpa carved the turkey and they ate happily and were thankful.

     See, even a turkey can be thankful at Thanksgiving even though he will be gobbled up, so be thankful in everything.

I know my turkey humor was a little odd but that's my humor at times.  A little humor, even though odd, goes a long way.  Enjoy the holidays this year and be thankful all year.




Saturday, November 1, 2014

Doubt and Worry

Matthew 14:31
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt"?

Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

     I haven't blogged in awhile.  I really couldn't pinpoint why I hadn't written at all.  Though today I'm not talking about discouragement, I have been discouraged, and that right there brought me to doubt my abilities, not just in writing, but all my talents and gifts God gave me.  I saw Jesus and got out of the boat.  Then I saw the storm and started to sink.  Thankfully, He came to me and pulled me up and saved me.  My faith was wavering and I not only doubted myself, but I doubted Him.  Each time God has me do His Will, satan invariably comes up and puts thoughts into my head that I'm nothing, a nobody.  Satan is wrong!  He already has lost the battle, and I've gained victory through Christ.  I go to Jesus each time, and He lifts me out of the storm.  So why so little faith?  Why do I doubt?  Because I, for a moment, look at the storm instead of my Savior and sink into despair.  But God is always ready to help when I call out to Him.
     There are storms everyday, but God is right there ready to bring us through it.  When the world says that God can't or won't help, ignore their blasphemies, and listen to Jesus.  When the world persecutes you, stand up, stand firm, and stand strong in Jesus.  When you're sick, and think you are of no help to God, think again.  Jesus uses every obstacle for His plan for your life, for His glory.  God's promises are true, even today when men say there is no God.  I don't believe in men, I believe in God!

     After doubt comes worry.  In the NKJV in Philippians, it says anxious.  Worry and anxious are synonymous.  When I pray for something or someone, I sometimes doubt, then, ultimately I worry.  We are to worry about nothing and pray.  When we pray, we are to believe, not doubt or worry.  If we doubt or worry, why pray?  Trust is another word that comes to mind as I write this.  Believe God and trust God, in EVERYTHING.  He cannot lie.  He is trustworthy at ALL TIMES.  There are things that are going on in this world that are horrible.  Everyday we hear about terrorists, diseases, wars, school shootings and such.  It can be worrisome.  But Who is in control?  God is.  Pray.  Take it to Him.  Give Him your worries.
     Life was never meant to be easy after the Fall.  We struggle to make ends meet, with our families, with illness and the world going on around us.  But Jesus has the answer in every situation.  Why does He allow such troubles?  Why does He allow such sins?  He showed it at the Cross.  We fell as a human race and separated ourselves from God, then God gave us His Son as a sacrifice for an atonement for our sins, to honor and glorify Him.  He gave us a way out.  He gave us a second chance.  We were created to glorify God and we blew it, but He let us off the hook by the way of the Cross.  Worrying is from the Enemy.  God's got our backs.  Why worry?

     Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest".  When we doubt and worry, we carry a heavy burden that only Jesus can take from us.  Give it to Him.  One thing I've learned is that I will not stop doubting or worrying, but the remedy is that I cry out to Jesus in times of distress and ask Him to help me.  We are not perfect until we see Jesus on the other side of eternity.  So for now, things will pop up and we'll wonder where God is.  Things will pop up and worry us, but the good news is He will hold us in His arms and comfort us at any given time.  Just let Him.

Just wait for what's in store for November!  Remember, be thankful.