Be Thankful

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

–1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

I’ve really been pondering a lot of things lately.

Things concerning faith in God.

Being a Christian, all of my life actually concerns faith.

Lately, though, I have been really contemplating matters of blessing, disobedience, and thankfulness.

Those three may seem random, yet those are some of the things I have been reading about and praying about.

My focus has been on thankfulness the last couple of days.

I really am very grateful for so many blessings in my life.

My relationship with Jesus, my health, my job, my family, the provisions I have of food and shelter.

The radiant sunrise I photographed this morning on the way to work.

Why, I could write a list that would never be finished!

What I’ve been thinking about lately are the things that I have considered to be bad.

Sicknesses, poor choices, accidents—things like that.

Not just in my own life, but in the lives of others.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads,

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

All circumstances.

All.

Thanking God for the loss of a job?

I know He can work good from that and also provide a different job.

Thanking God for the situations arising from a poor choice?

I know He can work good from poor choices as we learn of our dependence on Him and the need for His guidance.

With every “bad” circumstance that I can think of, I have to acknowledge that God has not left me or others.

Having a thankful heart in the midst of trouble– and not just when everything is good–seems to be what verse 18 is saying.

Since circumstances change day by day and moment to moment, our thankfulness should be renewed with each situation.

A heart of thankfulness.

I’m going to continue to think about that….

thankful

 

Armor of Light

—-Romans 13:12

The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

It had been a long night with a family member at the hospital for several hours. 

Driving to work as the sun was just breaking into the darkness, the beauty of the morning was before me. 

Jesus is our light. 

Now Faith

 

A very odd thing happened the other day.

While I was having lunch with some coworkers, I noticed that two of them were enjoying Chinese food.

I asked them where they had gotten their lunches, because I also enjoy Chinese food.

Telling me about a nearby oriental restaurant, we continued our conversation on other things.

After a few moments had passed, a friend sitting next to me opened a fortune cookie that was provided with his lunch.

I normally don’t even want to open them when they are added to a meal.

“Fortunes” are not something that I believe in; only the sovereignty of God.

My friend handed me the paper that he had taken out of the cookie.

It had Hebrews 11:1 on printed on it:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

 

The scripture reference was missing, but the verse was there, nevertheless.

That is the first time I have ever heard of Bible verses being placed inside fortune cookies.

This was a situation where I was able to discuss briefly with my friend where in the Bible this scripture was found.

At any moment, I know that I need to be ready to speak to others around me concerning matters of faith.

A moment might come when I least expect it.

 

faith

 

Before They Call

Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.

–Isaiah 65:24
This morning as I walked out to my car to drive to work, the sun had not yet come up. 

The day was bright with the sun’s approach, however. 

As I started to get into the car, I could see a giant cloud, blazing with glorious hues of orange, yellow and pink in the western sky. 

Putting my things in the car, I photographed the cloud with my phone. 

Even though I couldn’t see the sun directly, I could see it’s illuminating effect on the billowing mass of water vapor that rose so high in the distance. 

It was a testimony of what was soon to come into view. 

I have been praying about many concerns lately. 

God knows about them all. 

Even though I may not see how God is working in a particular moment, there are times when I can see His light shining on a situation. 

It is a testimony of His faithfulness and answered prayers to come. 

For You Are With Me

This morning, my mind was filled with great thoughts of concern over a loved one.

As I drove to work, I prayed about the matter, almost constantly.

I usually have music on while I drive, and today was no different.

My music began by starting at the beginning of my collection with songs that start with the letter “A.”

A song titled, “And That My Soul Knows Very Well” came on.

The sun was just about to come up, as it was very early.

My heart was heavy with concern as I prayed.

Suddenly, the blazing light of the rising sun came through a break in the trees behind me and reflected into my rear view mirror.

It only lasted a second or so.

My face was flooded with bright light from the reflection.

At just that moment the singers’ voices were saying, “You make Your face to shine on me, now my soul knows very well….”

I could not escape knowing what had just happened.

The light of the sun bathed my face at the same time the words reached my ears–

A message from God that He was with me.

When I arrived at work, the parking lot was crowded. I parked in a different place than I normally do.

As I was getting ready to get out of the car, the sun was coming up over the building in front of me, once again bathing me in dazzling light.

I decided to take a photo of the sunlight with my cell phone.

God knows what my heart is longing for and the concerns that I have.

He is with me, and He is with you, too….

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

–Psalm 23:4

 

 

 

fear-no-evil

Trust in You

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.—Psalm 9:10

 

As I got into my car early this morning, I was well aware that I was running late.

I would not actually be late for work, but I would be arriving past the time that I had planned.

Pulling out of my driveway, I turned my car to face toward the east as I began the journey down my long street to get to the highway.

My car radio was on, set to a Christian radio station.

Right as I pulled into the street, I saw the sky.

I can’t fully describe the beauty that was before me.

Stopping the car immediately, I took my cell phone and began to take pictures.

As I was already experiencing praise in my heart for such a display of God’s glory in the sky, I realized the song that was playing at that time on the radio was speaking about trusting in God even when we don’t hear or see Him working in particular situations that we are concerned about.

As the beams of sunlight were bursting out onto its morning canvas, a jet plane was bursting through the sky, as well, leaving a trail of white as it sped on to its destination.

There before me was an example of man’s accomplishment in flight and an example of God’s creative and limitless power.

We must trust Him, even when we don’t understand…

 

Trust in

 

The New Has Come

Everyone needs to start over at some point in their lives. 

A new house. 

A new job. 

A new outlook. 

A chance to start over with things being different. 

We like starting over, really. 

We do little mini- start overs all the time. 

We paint the kitchen a different color. 

We get a hair cut. 

We rearrange the furniture. 

We buy new clothes. 

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but at the end of the day, their attributes have one thing in common—they’re not permanent. 

Jesus can truly allow us to start over. 

Everything in the past is over and He changes us into a new creation. 

Everyone needs to start over with things being different—

Things like being forgiven instead of guilty. 

Knowing we are loved instead of feeling abandoned. 

Having the assurance of eternal life instead of insatiable fear of the unknown. 

With Jesus, we can become new–permanently. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

—2 Corinthians 5:17

  

Rays of Light

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I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
    help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
    remember your mercy.

 I see God moving across the deserts from Edom,
    the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
    and the earth is filled with his praise.
 His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
    Rays of light flash from his hands,
    where his awesome power is hidden.

—Habakkuk 3:2-4

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brilliant

New Every Morning

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The beach was glowing in the sunlight as the new day began.

I sat, watching the splendor unfold before me.

The clouds filled the sky with white, cottony patches that changed in hue as the sun rose.

Every day is a new day.

A new day to live for God.

 

 

 

 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

—Lamentations 3:22-26

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every morning