Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Giving Thanks

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thess. 5:16-18

It's that time of year of my favorite holidays is here! I love the Thanksgiving holiday. It has always been special to me. It's a time when we intentionally slow down and gather together to remind ourselves and to share with each other what we are thankful for.

We really are so blessed! Yet in the midst of the challenges, stress, or craziness of life, it's easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for. Paul's words to the Thessalonian Christians remind us that it is in fact God's will for us to give Him thanks in ALL circumstances. That's not always easy...but having a specific day set aside to practice thanksgiving is a good way to help us.

I think the reason we can give thanks in ALL circumstances is because of who God is, all He has done for us, and all He has promised us. Without those three things, it would be impossible to be thankful in ALL things. But with this wealth of goodness we've been given, we always have reasons to give thanks.

So for me today, in the midst of frustrating circumstances, uncertainties, and physical weakness...
*I give thanks to God that He is with me, He loves me, and He delights in me.
*I'm thankful to God for the amazing people in my life.
*I thank God that He never fails to provide for me and take care of me.
*I give thanks for God's Word, which gives life, wisdom, and peace in every circumstance.
*I'm thankful for the little things we so easily take for granted - a pillow for my head, food to eat, clean clothes, and technology that allows me to keep in touch with friends around the world and to share this blog post.

This list could be much longer...I have so much I am grateful for today. I'm thankful for you, my friends who read this blog. I'm thankful for the ways God is working in your life. I'm thankful that one day we will share eternity together with Jesus - in perfect circumstances! =)

I hope you are encouraged this Thanksgiving by remembering who your God is, all He's done for you, and all He has promised you. Regardless of your circumstances, you are blessed!

I'd love to hear about something you're thankful for today. If you want to, you can share with us in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving dear friends!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Preaching To Myself...

Several years ago I wrote the words below. At that time, I thought I had learned this lesson. I thought I was pretty good at following God wherever He would lead me without fear… (funny, right?).  

Many years, a few traumatic experiences, and several faith-testing lessons later – I feel the need to preach this message to myself once again. So I’m sharing it here, to remind myself, and to encourage you, if you’re feeling in need of this truth today as well. 

Grace and peace,

Safest Place

I was eleven when my mom decided God wanted us to move to Colombia, South America, as missionaries. Some people thought she was crazy. A widow taking four kids to a drug-lord and guerrilla-infested country… What was she thinking?

I’ll never forget what she said to us: “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” Wherever God wanted us to be was the safest place for us to be, even if it was Colombia.

Proverbs 10:29 says, “The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous.” That doesn’t mean if we follow God we’ll never experience any harm or problems. It means that when we walk in God’s way, we know that whatever happens is part of His plan for us. He will take care of us. He will be our Refuge. 

What does it mean to be in the center of God’s will? It means we obey what God has taught us in His Word, the Bible. It means we take all our decisions and choices to God in prayer. We wait for Him to show us what He wants us to do. Then we follow where He leads us. 

God already knows everything about my life, and yours. He knows what we need and what is best for us. When we choose God’s way instead of our own, we can have confidence that we’re living the best life possible. 

Whether it’s going to a foreign country, changing jobs, or walking next-door to help a neighbor – the safest and best place to be is where God wants you to be. 

No matter what happens, don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from following the God you do know. He loves you, and He is with you.

What is God asking you to do that seems scary to you? Remember, He is your Refuge, and His will for you is the safest place to be.