Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Learning to be Thankful in Everything

During the month of November we having been talking about Thanksgiving in All Things at Highland Oaks. Each week what we study in Bible class and what is brought to us from the pulpit challenges me. I am very thankful to God. But am I thankful in everything?

It's really easy to be thankful when things are going well; but what about when things aren't going well. What about when you pray and pray about a situation, but you don't "see" God working. Not that he's not working, but you can't see it. You continue to pray day after day, month after month, year after year and yet you don't see any answers. Do I thank God in those times?

It's easy to be thankful when things are going well. But when things aren't going so well and in fact are going down right horrible, it's a lot harder to be thankful. In those times it's a lot easier to be angry at God, it's easy to feel hurt and feel like God isn't listening. But it's really hard to be thankful. It's sometimes hard to find things in the midst of turmoil, trials and struggles to be thankful for.

We talked Sunday in class about how people have been thankful when they were in a situation in which there was nothing to be thankful for. People who were on their way to bury a stillborn child and wondering how in the world they were going to get through it. And then they looked outside to see the most beautiful sunset they had ever seen and knowing it was God telling them that He was with them. And later getting pictures in the mail from someone who had been looking at the exact same sunset and took pictures of it knowing that God had sent that sunset for the person who had lost their child. Lynn Anderson talked in the sermon about a man who as a child had lived on the streets with no parents, who was always in trouble. One day while he was getting ready to throw some type of fireworks into some people's houses just to see if they could catch them on fire he had one blow up in his hand and it made him permanently blind. He now thanks God everyday for his blindness because a Christian family took him in and showed him what God was all about. They loved and cared for him and put him through preaching school. He now preaches God word. So he says he thanks God everyday for his blindness. It was a powerful day.

We talked also about taking every situation and asking ourselves "How will God be glorified through this situation? How will God use this situation for good? How is He going to reveal Himself? " Let me tell you, when you are in the middle of a situation, it's not easy to ask yourself how God is going to be glorified through it, how will He use it for good or how is he going to reveal Himself. It's not easy when you are in the middle of a situation to find the ways you need to thank God. But I'm going to try. I'm going to try to look for and be aware of the things I need to be thankful for no matter how dark the moment may seem. I'm going to try and be aware of the sunset, or the leaves falling, or the cool breeze that God may send my way to remind me that He is right there; that He hasn't left me.

God tells us he will never leave us and he will never forsake us. Sometimes in the middle of turmoil we forget that. I'm going to try and remember He's always there... and Be Thankful.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Psalm 73:21-24

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Saturday, November 01, 2008


Ive been sitting out on my front porch today reading. The weather is great! Sunny with a breeze blowing occasionally. It could be cooler for my taste but beautiful none the less. As I was sitting here reading in the quiet I heard some scratching noise from across the street. I looked over to see 2 squirrels chasing each other around the very large trunk of a tree. It was amazing to watch God's creatures just scampering around without a care in the world. I began to look around at all the beauty of God; just thinking about how amazing He and His creation are.

Then all of sudden our air conditioner kicked on behind me. It drowned out anything about God going on around me. I tried to look around and see the things of God around me, while I could still see everything, without being able to hear it, it just wasn't the same. All the noise seemed to somehow work really hard at covering up God. Then Chris came around with the weed eater and it was just one more noise added to the mix. I could still feel the breeze, but I couldn't hear anything from God any more.

I started typing this blog and after a little while the air conditioner kicked back off and I could once again hear a little better, but the weed eater was still in the background.

If I sit here a little longer the weed eater will eventually go back off too. Then I will once again be able to hear the sounds of God on this glorious day. But then after a while, there will be some other noise interrupting the beauty of God.

Isn't that so much how life is. There is always something to interrupt what God has put here for us to enjoy. Always something to interrupt our time with Him. There is always noise in our lives. How do we handle that noise is the question. Do we sit patiently and wait for the noise to die down, so that we can once again hear God and enjoy what He has planned for us? Do we let the noise distract us as we move on to something else missing what God has in store for us. Or do we let the noise completely drown out everything Godly around us instead of waiting for the noise to die down and waiting on God to reveal Himself to us.

I pray that in this world of noise, I can remember to not let the noise overtake me, but to continue to listen carefully for the sounds and voice of God to become more clear again.