Have you ever felt unsettled? Things just weren’t going right or your world turned upside down? Maybe you’ve lost your job or maybe can’t find a job. Maybe you’re facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Maybe you’ve lost someone very dear to you either suddenly or through a long illness, or maybe a loved one is suffering with an illness. Maybe you have children who have lost their way and you’re not sure where they are. Maybe a good friend has betrayed you. Maybe your health is not what it used to be. Maybe you’re experiencing depression or fear. The “maybe” list can go on and on.
Life can be hard! During this week of Thanksgiving, how can someone be thankful when life is hard? How do you do hard and be thankful at the same time?
Being thankful is a choice and is mentioned many times in the Bible. When it says to come before the LORD with thanksgiving (Psalms 95 & 100, etc.), it doesn’t give any stipulations like “when everything is going right” or “when we ‘feel’ like we have something to be thankful for.” There is always something to be thankful for, and we might have to ask God to open our eyes to see the many blessings around us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
In every situation.. Not just certain situations. And thanksgiving goes right along with prayer. While we are in prayer, we can give all the hard things in life over to God and give Him our worries. When we stop feeling like we are in control and realize that God is in ultimate control, then and only then can we stop being anxious. Somehow that opens our hearts and eyes to see all the things we do have to be thankful for.
The Bible also tells us that we need to come before God like little children. He is our heavenly Father, our Creator, the God who knows us.
He (Jesus) called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2
Have you listened to the prayer of a child recently? Have you noticed that sometimes they pray for everything, simple things, things that adults often take for granted? God is the Creator of everything. They are coming before God with thanksgiving for everything, no matter how simple.
Maybe these two Bible verses can help us to open our eyes, come before God as children, give Him all our worries, and truly come before Him with thanksgiving…in every situation! When we focus on being thankful to God, our eyes are opened to the abundance of blessings we have to be thankful for… no matter how hard our life is at the time.
We don’t know why tragedies have happened the last few months, why innocent children and staff died at Sandy Hook Elementary; why so many people, several of which were children, died and were injured and lost their homes in Moore, Oklahoma; why people died in a tornado in Granbury recently. There have been other tragedies as well the past year, the past decade, and throughout history.
But one thing I do know without a doubt is that our God cares, and He is close to those who are hurting. He will comfort all those who turn to Him for comfort.
There are so many people in churches all over the country who are reaching out monetarily and with their time and sweat to help those who are hurting. The church where we attend in Texas helped people up north after the hurricane hit so hard a few months ago. And you know what? Some of those people from the church who were hit hard up north came down to Texas to help those in the West, Texas, disaster recently. It really encourages me to hear of all the many things that are being done by fellow Christians all over the country to help those who are hurting, who are brokenhearted, who are grieving.
I am so overwhelmed with the end-of-school things that have to be done, but I hope that I can go to at least one of these places where people are hurting and be of comfort and help to them this summer. That’s my goal.
The best source of comfort comes from God. Here are some verses from God’s Word, the Bible:
There’s a newly released book that I’m planning on ordering from Amazon, maybe today. A friend of mine read it and couldn’t put it down. I’ve been reading about it on different Facebook posts of friends, and it sounds like an awesome book. I also read some great Amazon Editorial Reviews. Have any of you read it?
Just having a lot of Bible knowledge or going to church every Sunday is not what being a Christian is about. It’s about being transformed into what God would have us become and about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, & strength. It’s about loving others as well. It’s about having a servant spirit like Christ and being transformed more and more into being like Him every day of our lives. It’s about being transformed and changed because of the great love, mercy, and grace that God has showered on us through sending His one and only Son into this broken world… to save us!
Several years ago, when my mother only had a few days left to live, I would sit in her room, reading my Bible. I knew in situations like those that God was and is always the true source of comfort. The chorus of one song kept going through my mind over and over again, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” I knew He was there with me in those very hard days.
Francesca Battistelli posted on Facebook this past week that she has a new song out “Strangely Dim.” This immediately caught my attention…the words struck a chord in my heart because those words are in the song, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. I quickly listened to her new song on YouTube and loved it. No matter what anyone is going through in their life, it’s amazing how the tough things in life grow dim when we have our hearts focused on Jesus. When we trust in Him, we can talk to Him in prayer and turn any and all problems over to Him. He not only is God’s Son…He is also our best friend, if we open our hearts to Him! He can comfort us in the way no person can.
Sidenote: Francesca is one of my favorite female contemporary Christian music artists. We (our son, my husband, and I) heard her live at a Celebrate Freedom concert at Southfork Ranch (yes, the one that was in the TV show Dallas) a couple of years ago, and we were impressed with her sincerity and commitment to God. We were impressed how she was seven months pregnant and was sitting on a stool out in the Texas heat (the stage was shaded and she probably had a fan blowing on her). She must have felt a great commitment to share her songs. By the way for those of you who keep up with her, they have another new baby, a little girl.
Here’s a great song “Redeemed” to encourage those who are in Christ. Big Daddy Weave (their lead singer is Mike Weaver) has other great songs that are very thoughtful if you ever have a chance to listen to them. We heard the group live at a Celebrate Freedom Concert at Southfork Ranch (yes, that’s the Southfork Ranch from the TV show “Dallas”) during this past summer and appreciated what Mike Weaver had to say.
“I think of You who shines with endless light through broken jars of clay.” Great lyrics in this contemporary Christian music song. Laura Story happens to be one of my favorite artists in this genre of music because of her sincerity and love for the Lord. She has other great hits such as “Blessings,” “What a Savior,” and “Indescribable.” .
Philippians 4:4-7 “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 118:24 ” This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Nehemiah 8:10 “…the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
I’ve been hearing on the radio how the Dead Sea Scrolls are available for viewing in the Metroplex. It would be very interesting to go see them! The Dead Sea Scrolls contain Isaiah (a book of the Bible in the Old Testament) which was written approximately 597-538 BC. It’s fascinating to me that ancient writings of God’s Word were preserved for centuries in the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Here’s just one verse from Isaiah:
Isaiah 40:22: God sits on his throne above the circle of the earth, and compared to him, people are like grasshoppers. The world was thought to be flat until the 1400’s, but nearly two thousand years before that, the prophet of God named Isaiah (inspired by God) wrote about the circle of the earth, and God preserved the writings of Isaiah in the caves. Amazing!
I love this new song, “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul”) by Matt Redman. The popular songs “Blessed Be Your Name” and “You Never Let Go” were also written by Redman and his wife, and these songs have been such a source of comfort and encouragement to thousands of people all over the world. Many well-known contemporary Christian music artists have sung quite a few of his songs, by the way. If you listen to “10,000 Reasons,” I hope your heart is touched like mine is every time I hear this song.
Sometimes things happen in life that are devastating. Such is the life of Horatio Spafford, a lawyer who lived in Chicago in the 1800’s. Any one of the following things would be traumatic, yet he experienced all of these:
His only son died at the age of four.
About that time, the great fire in Chicago in 1871 destroyed him financially.
Later, Spafford planned a European vacation in 1873 with his wife, Anna, and four daughters, Maggie, Tanetta, Annie, and Bessie. Business kept him behind and he was to join them in Europe. However, the ship on which he sent his family sank in the Atlantic Ocean and only his wife survived. All four of his daughters died along with 222 other passengers! Anna cabled her husband, “Saved alone!”
On his way to meet his grieving wife, Spafford said these words, “It is well; the will of God be done,” as his ship passed close to where his four daughters had died. Later, he wrote the words to this song based on those words. .
Since Horatio lost all of his children, I thought it would be a nice tribute to have these young ones sing his song. Here is a young teenage group, all siblings, who do a beautiful job of singing this amazing song written by Horatio, It is Well With My Soul:
Some people believe our planet Earth occurred by chance. I believe the very first words in the Bible where it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” without taking any probability factor into account. My belief comes from faith in God.
However, John Clayton was a scientist and former atheist who set out to disprove the Bible using scientific facts. I’m sure it was a great surprise to him when he came to believe in God and the Bible while trying to disprove the Bible.
Although I haven’t read Clayton’s book, The Source, it’s interesting to see how mathematical probabilities are used to show the improbability of Earth possessing all of the conditions needed to support life by random chance. These are the variables used.
Being in the right type of galaxy: 1 in 100
Being in the right position in the galaxy: 1 in 150
Having the right kind of star: 1 in 1,000
Being the correct distance from the star: 1 in 10
Having the right planetary mass: 1 in 10
Having the right planetary spin: 1 in 10
Having the right planetary tilt: 1 in 10
Having comet sweeping planets: 1 in 40
Not being close to a black hole: 1 in 250
Having one large moon: 1 in 10
Having a magnetic field that can shield: 1 in 10
Mathematical probability of Earth occurring by chance:
1 in 150,000,000,000,000,000
This doesn’t prove that there is a God who created the Earth. This always has been and always will be a matter of faith. But there is plenty of evidence in the world that reveals God.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies announce what his hands have made. 2 Day after day they tell the story; night after night they tell it again. 3 They have no speech or words; they have no voice to be heard. 4 But their message goes out through all the world; their words go everywhere on earth.