Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.- James 1:2-4
Today we’re starting with another classic by Don Moen. As usual, please meditate on the lyrics.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.- Ephesians 1:3
Dear reader, please do not judge God’s faithfulness by the ebbs and flows of life. He is faithful, and cannot be any other way. His faithfulness is permanent. He is good and there is no evil in Him. When we judge God’s faithfulness and goodness by the ebbs and flows of life we will always have an inaccurate picture.
God is eternal. Our praise and thanksgiving helps us to fix our gaze on our God who is eternal and unchanging. God’s permanent blessings are eternal in nature. It is his good pleasure to bless us and give us wonderful things on this side of eternity, but I want you to remember that He already gave us His ALL on the cross, when he died to save us from our sins.
He shed his blood for us so that we may become sons of God through His sacrifice, and because of this, we have full access to Him. We have access to God’s fatherhood and we are seated in heavenly places with Christ.
We can rejoice in praise and thanksgiving always knowing that “IT IS FINISHED”. God kept His promise to redeem all of mankind from sin and death. He has faithfully kept this promise. Salvation is a promise kept and is the only eternal promise. It is the only thing that will transcend this earthly realm, and it is a gift that we have freely received. This is why we can rejoice always. As scripture says:
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”- John 16:33
God loves to heal and promises us healing in scripture, but even if we’re healed from every ailment that we face, we will still face physical death. Salvation is the only thing that promises eternal life.
Likewise, even if we are raised from the dead or see our loved ones raised from the dead, they will still die when they get older. Only salvation is enough to preserve a soul forever.
If we receive miraculous financial provision, we have to spend the money on the things we need. It won’t last forever.
Similarly, if we get a job that pays excellently well, we’re still going to face challenges in the course of doing that job.
If we get into an Ivy League school for our masters, the euphoria of getting admission soon gives way to the reality of being a student.
If our visa gets approved and we get to travel to a new place, the difficulty of settling in and adapting dawns in very quickly.
I can list more examples of some of the things that are probably on your prayer list and weighing heavily on your heart. It is God’s good pleasure to grant us these things. However, it is very easy to become despondent while waiting for the answer to your prayers or the manifestation of a promise. The way to combat that is to remind yourself of what Christ has done on the cross. If you meditate upon it often enough, it will provoke joy. Choose to see beyond your current circumstances.
If you are facing a tough situation, I want to encourage you. God sees! He is El Roi
Even though we don’t know why bad things happen, we know that the glory of God can be made manifest in every terrible situation and he is able to redeem it for his glory.
The Bible tells us about the interaction between Jesus and a man who was born blind. People mocked the man and said the reason he was blind was because he or his parents were sinners. He lived with the stigma all his life until he met Jesus who told everyone that the man’s blindness was for God’s glory to be revealed to all. Jesus healed the man.
Now as Jesus was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth, and His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God would be displayed in him.- John 9:1-2
Lazarus, a friend of Jesus was ill and when his sister sent for the Lord and asked him to come and heal her brother.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Lazarus died, but he was raised to life again, and his resurrection made a lot of people believe that Jesus was truly the Messiah.
When Jesus was going to raise Lazarus, the first thing he did was give thanks.
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus lifted His eyes upward and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me, but I say this for the benefit of the people standing here, so they may believe that You sent Me". After Jesus had said this, He called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The man who had been dead came out with his hands and feet bound in strips of linen, and his face wrapped in a cloth. “Unwrap him and let him go,” Jesus told them.- John 11:41-44
Paul and Silas were imprisoned as a result of obeying God’s instruction to preach the gospel. While they were in prison, because they had a heart of gratitude, they spent time praising God. I don’t think that their praise was a strategy or they were trying to force God’s hands to open the prison doors. I think that they were just genuinely praising him, and the effect of their praise was that the prison doors were flung open. I also believe that the bigger miracle was the fact that many people in the prison accepted Christ as their Lord and saviour. Even the prison guard received the gospel. In a very unpleasant situation, the glory of God was revealed and thanksgiving was the catalyst.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly a strong earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. At once all the doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself! We are all here!” Calling for lights, the jailer rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. At that hour of the night, the jailer took them and washed their wounds. And without delay, he and all his household were baptized. Then he brought them into his home and set a meal before them. So he and all his household rejoiced that they had come to believe in God.
This is getting long, so I’m going to stop here. I truly hope that you have been blessed.
Please know that you can rejoice and give God pure praise and thanksgiving, knowing that ALL things work together for the good of those who love God.
Thanksgiving prompt: Praise God for a less than ideal circumstance you are facing in your life that’s different from what you’re hoping for. Flip the script!
For example: Lord I thank you for my unemployment. I thank you because in this time, I have experienced you as Jehovah Jireh and I have learned to trust you. I am learning to abase and abound, glory to your name!
Lord I thank you for my ill health. I thank you because despite it all you have preserved my life , and I know I can trust you to bring me full healing as you promise in your word.
Lord I thank you for the storms I am encountering, because I have experienced your peace that passes all understanding, and I know you are more than able to still every raging storm.
Lord I praise you for my singleness. I thank you for preserving me. I thank you because you are teaching me to wait on you and how to prepare myself to be a worthy partner for my future spouse.
I advice that you journal your thanksgiving, it will help you engage in it more consciously, and in 50 days, you will have a record of gratitude.
You can play the song below as you give thanks to God.
Thank you for reading! Please share this with as many people as possible! God deserves our gratitude.