Friday, November 25, 2011

Give Thanks

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
~Romans 8:28~
Wow!  What a thought!  All things?  Really?  Even the what-we-call "bad things"?  The answer, as much as I sometimes really do not want to admit it, is yes; even the bad things.  You hear people sometimes say, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"  Well, the answer to that one is simply, they don't.  The reason?  There are no good people.  There is only one good, that is, Christ.  We all sin, and, even if there was a person who had committed but one sin in his entire life, what do you think?  The smallest of sins is enough to send us to hell for eternity.  But, praise God, Christ was, is the propitiation for our sins.  All those who call upon His name are redeemed by His blood.  Anyway, I got a little off track, there.

If all things work together for the good of them that love God, can anyone tell me what we shouldn't be thankful for in our lives?  Anything at all?  Yes, that means, I should be thankful that 3 years ago our family was uprooted from our home where we had lived with our friends and family for 15 years, and that we had to move to Colorado where we don't even really know anybody, and can't find a church that preaches the sovereignty of God, even after 3 years.  I should be thankful when the car in front of me is going extremely slow, like 15 miles under the speed limit.  I should be thankful we didn't get to go to that Bible conference for the past 3 years.  I should be thankful I had to quit Tae Kwon Do two years before the rest of the family because of a knee injury that I deemed stupid.  I should be thankful for that knee injury that still bothers me, too.

Well, I guess whoever reads this is going to see that it's pretty hard for me to be thankful in all things.  And I'm sure there are others with "bad days" that have been worse than mine.  But that doesn't change the fact.  The fact that all things, all things, work together for good.  And that we should be thankful in all the circumstances, good, and, especially, bad (and I say that only because it is naturally harder to be thankful for those things that we say are bad).

There is a purpose to everything God does.  If you have read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, you'll know who I mean when I say that Betsie ten Boom, when she and her sister, Corrie, were taken to a new prison camp in the middle WWII, thanked God for the fleas that infested the barracks where they were to sleep.  Corrie didn't understand how her sister could thank God for those pesky little creatures.  Shortly after, the ladies realized the reason the German guards wouldn't come into that building.  Why?  Because thy didn't want to risk the fleas.

God is good.  God is great.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.  And, just maybe, it's a blessing that God put my family, me, right where I am today.  In Colorado.  Away from everyone I know and care about.  I may not know why.  But I certainly know that God knows why.  He has a reason for everything.  And I know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

May God help me to accept these things in my life, cheerfully, as of the Lord.  And may He help me to be thankful for them.  And may the name of the Lord Jesus Christ be praised, glorified, and honored throughout the earth!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


In March of 2010, (and I know I've said before that it was 2009 when I was saved; please excuse the mistake, it was 2010), the month the Savior came into my heart, I prayed - a lot.  I prayed that Christ would use my life to glorify His name.  I kept short accounts with God; whatever happened or whatever I did wrong I was so convicted of immediately after that I would tell the Lord everything right away and ask His forgiveness.  Everything was most wonderful for a time.  It seemed as though nothing could or would go wrong.  But it just seems that when a person is saved, the devil tries harder and more frequently to attack that person, and it seems as though he'll never let up.

The first thing that seemed to put a bridge (which I could have crossed if I wanted to) between me and my God was so small a deal that I'm completely ashamed to bring it to remembrance.  There have come times in my life when I would get mad, or angry, or upset with some silly little nothing and I wouldn't go to the Savior right away.  I wanted to be angry.  I wanted to have my revenge in my mind for whatever stupid trifling thing that dared upset me.  I actually wanted to be mad for a while.  And this is what the devil used to keep me on my own side of that bridge for a time.

As soon as I let my guard down, Satan struck.  And it wasn't a simple little slap.  It was quite a blow.  As I faced trial after trial, I became more and more sick with everything.  And the stupidest part played by me was being too stubborn to ask my Savior to help me overcome the evil.  And because I didn't, I sank into a dark pit of depression all because I didn't carry everything to God in prayer.

My next mistake was being of the mind-set that since I hadn't talked to the Lord in quite a while, that I wasn't worthy to come before His presence.  This is another trick the devil uses to keep us from the Forgiver of sins.  I had come to the point where I was so weary with all my sin that I wanted to go to Jesus, wanted to confess everything, but I didn't.  What would He think?  How would He respond to such a poor wretch as me who had purposely turned my head away from His face so as not to see His pleading look beckoning me, "Come...and I will give you rest."?

O what peace we often forfeit, 
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

I eventually realized that no matter what, I had to get to the Savior.  No matter what lay in my path, no matter what befell me on the way, I knew I had to pray and pray and pray and not give up until I had gotten through all of Satan's stumbling blocks and was safe in the arms of my Jesus Christ!  I didn't care anymore!  I had to get this infinitely deep ache that was rotting away my soul removed!  And I knew that only Christ could heal my broken spirit.  If it took years for the Lord to turn His head in pity to look upon me, then it was going to take years.  I wouldn't, couldn't give up.

But it didn't take years, or months, or even weeks.  I poured out my soul to the God of heaven and immediately He heard my cries and brought me up out of the miry clay.  I wept.  I was so broken and ashamed that I had denied my Savior for so long and that it only took me asking once for forgiveness and it was granted.

The first part of that verse written above goes like this:
What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!

But so many times I was too stubborn to trust in Jesus.  I had to do it all on my own.  I so wish I could erase those times, but sadly, it can't be done.  What I can do is pray.  Pray for strength.  Pray for faith.  Pray that the Lord is always near.

If I had only asked God to deliver me of what I was feeling when that anger first crept into my heart, it would have gone much  better for me.  I wouldn't have become so cast down and depressed, which is what will always happen as a result of sin.  Oh, if only I had confessed my sin to Christ the moment I felt it rising, I would not have gone through so much trouble.

But as Christians, there are marvelous, wonderful, beautiful times we spend with the Savior.  What a blessing it is while in prayer to feel as though Jesus is right beside us listening to and caring about what we have to say.  How sweet it is to fall asleep at night doing nothing else than communing with the Father, and then waking to the thought, How Deep the Father's Love for Us!

I have heard of some people saying that the song Sweet Hour of Prayer is not realistic.  They say, "Who actually prays for an hour?"  Well, I would venture to ask that person if they truly believed they were a Christian if they had not spent an hour at one time in prayer to the Lord.  Communion with our Lord and God must be the sweetest thing that we can obtain on this earth.  How can we not but spend an hour, or two, or three, or all night in prayer to Jesus the Christ, the Savior of our souls?

I guess what I'm trying to say here is, well, mainly, pray.  But if you ever find yourself in the position I was in and have it in your head to turn your eyes away from Jesus, don't!  Oh, friend, once you go down that road, it becomes increasingly harder to walk back up to the right path again.  The very moment you find yourself in a spiritual battle, take it to the Lord in prayer!  He will all our sorrows share.

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  ~Matthew26:41