To Fret or Be Thankful

Feelings of disappointment flooded me, as I came out of my visit with a second podiatrist for help with a heel malady that hasn’t resolved itself since beginning earlier this year. Even though I liked and interacted with this podiatrist better than the previous one, the appointment hadn’t met my expectations. I expressed those thoughts to Steve and then dwelt on them in my mind. 

Steve encouraged me that Scripture (Psalm 37:8) says that fretting doesn’t lead to good outcomes. It is true. Through my reactions and thoughts, I was fretting and that was making me discouraged, glum, and unhappy. Not the emotions I wanted to carry through the day.

In a recent morning Bible time, I read, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15 ) and was pondering using it as the theme for a November Mom’s Corner, since this is Thanksgiving month. I hadn’t planned to be a poor example of it, though!

I have two verses memorized that also directed me with what to do rather than fret, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And then there was this one, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

There are key words and phrases from these three verses that give us critical information for the path of thanksgiving:

  • sacrifice 
  • praise to God/unto God
  • continually
  • thanks to His name, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • in every thing
  • will of God
  • always for all things

Why would thanking God be a sacrifice? Could it be because our flesh wants to do exactly what I did – dwell on the negative, allow disappointment to direct my thoughts, and fret? So to combat the flesh, we are to make the sacrifice of praising God. That is even defined in Hebrews 13:15 as our lips – speak it out loud – giving thanks to His name, continually. We choose to worship Him in thanksgiving rather than worshipping self in self pity. 

Next we learn how often this thanksgiving is to happen – continually, in everything, always, and for all things. That is quite inclusive. It doesn’t give room for worry, fretting, complaining, or negativism. Thanksgiving and negative emotions don’t coexist well. Sometimes it is easy for us to forget that mindset of continual thanksgiving and to move into critical words and thoughts. Perhaps those kinds of wrong thoughts and words, should remind us that we aren’t giving thanks, continually for all things in God’s name. Then we can repent and go back to those right and godly thoughts.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

On Duty or AWOL?

The dire need of families today is for husbands/fathers who are men of God and serious about living for Him Who died to purchase them. Our Savior humbled Himself by leaving the glory of Heaven to come to this world to redeem for Himself a peculiar people. Are we living for Christ, or the “gods” of this world? 

Might this time be similar to Judges 3? We are told in verse 3:1a “Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them…” Prove means to “test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test.” There were two purposes. To also teach them how to fight against evil and to see if they would obey “… to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD” (Judges 3:4b). 

They failed. In verses 5-7, we are told the children of Israel, “… dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites…took spouses for their children from them and served their gods.” In essence, they loved the world, lived like the world, and embraced their gods.  

I wonder if the Corinthian church was an example of that in Paul’s time AND what is going on in the American church as a current example. May we heed Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians.

“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18).

Amazing

Recently, while at a Christmas nativity event, I encountered a dad who had a very worn and beloved, 3-foot-tall stuffed play raccoon hanging over his arm. I engaged and found out that it was his young daughter’s beloved companion. She always wanted it with her, and where they went, it went. However, the daughter quickly tired of carrying something almost as big as she was. So she asked her daddy to carry it, and because he loved her, he would. 

I was impressed with his humility. A grown man carrying a child’s giant raccoon would raise many questioning looks from observers. Possibly there were some child training opportunities being missed, but he demonstrated his love for his daughter and benefited in growing his humility in the process. 

In Andrew Murray’s book titled Humility, he suggests reading the gospels with a careful eye to note Jesus’ humility throughout His ministry. Teri and I have followed that suggestion underlining examples and noting in the margin our observations. It has been an inspiring exercise in humility. 

During this time of year, please especially consider how the Creator/God of the universe humbled Himself to take the form of man. He then allowed Himself to be treated as a criminal and die for sinful, rejecting, rebellious men. Only a loving, sacrificing God could invent and execute such a plan. Eternal praise that He did. 

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11).

Heaven

If you are saved, surely you have thought or think about Heaven. What are your thoughts about it? Frankly, our thoughts about Heaven might reveal a lot about us. 

Over the years I have heard some amazing/sad things that professing people have said they were looking forward to in Heaven. Before I was saved, I likely would have looked forward to flying, in some manner, in Heaven. What consumes peoples’ hearts now is what they see as Heaven being the ultimate fulfillment of. Scripture does not tell us about any earthly rubbish in Heaven to include big-screen TVs, movies, sports, video games, and many other things. 

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). 

Heaven is God’s home. What will make Heaven glorious is being in the presence of our righteous, holy, merciful God and Savior. Jesus will be the light. To be with Him, nothing else matters. If you love Him now, Heaven will be Heaven. If you love other things more, hmmm, then something is very broken. “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35).

Love Him now, serve Him, love reading His Word, love worshipping Him, love praying to Him, and love sharing Him with the lost. This, my brothers, is the warmup for Heaven.  May we be about His business. (BTW, we won’t be able to share with the lost in Heaven, so now is the time.)

Young But Wise

A number of years ago we read a book, gifted to us by dear family friends, while we were traveling on an extended trip. Recently, I wanted to sharpen my soul winning skills and reread it. It is so good, I am compelled to highly recommend it to you. I believe you and your children will reap eternal benefits.  

The book is Will Our Generation Speak? by Grace Malley. It has many endorsements by the “who’s who” of today’s soul winners. Grace was in her early 20’s when she wrote it, but you would think it was written by someone in their 60’s. The wisdom this young lady shares is amazing. She has countless stories/examples that instruct and motivate. I’m confident that you and your children will find great encouragement and excitement in being busy about what we are must do. 

We live in a time when believers fill their time with things that are of no profit to God’s kingdom (or themselves), and parents seem to be pleased if their children merely stay out of trouble. However, what if Dad, Mom, and the children were on-fire and passionate about seeing souls introduced to our Lord and King Jesus Christ? Some of us say we want revival, but are our hearts and lives consistent with that desire? 

Oh my brothers, I plead with you. Purchase a copy. One young brother whom I highly respect as a passionate, soul winner said, “Oh yes, I LOVE that book! That was the book that was the tipping point for me between knowing how to share my faith and actually doing it. And it would be fantastic as a read aloud – I like that idea!” 

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).