Verse of the Day

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Count Your Blessings, Indeed

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James, NIV, 1:2-4)

This week was one of those weeks... the kind that takes much of your energy to simply endure. You're trying to stay focused on the goodness of God and persevering with your eyes focused on Christ--- although just doing that can be rather exhausting if you're in the midst of trial. You're surrendering your thoughts and your family and your dear friends over to the Lord all day long, sometimes ever minute. Trust Him... trust Him... trust Him.

Without going into detail, our family has been quite grieved upon hearing news that one of our dear grandchildren is seriously ill. Thankfully and mercifully, it appears as if he will completely recover after he endures a significant and lengthly treatment protocol. 

When life throws an unexpected curve into our plans, it stirs up all sorts of emotions. We may react in fear or in anger; we may search for someone or something to blame. But must must train ourselves to see with the eyes of our Lord. 

This week was full of reminders and mini-lessons:  We remember not to take life for granted; we remember that any time we have, any enjoyment we experience in this life is a merciful gift from Above. We remember to make the most of our moments with our children, our beloved friends, and our aging parents, knowing that perhaps we will not have those moments back again. We need reminders in life so we don't waste our time and our lives on trivial pursuits. Trials are meant to teach us and to perfect us so that we can be more like our Lord. Trials teach us to surrender--- again and again.

Psalm 39:4-7 (New Living Translation)

4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
      Remind me that my days are numbered—
      how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
      My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
      at best, each of us is but a breath.”

 6 We are merely moving shadows,
      and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
   We heap up wealth,
      not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
      My only hope is in you.

Sometimes we may cry out, asking the proverbial "why?" question.  Why this child? Why this woman? Why this pain? 

Isaiah 45:5-7 (New International Version)

 5 I am the LORD, and there is no other;
       apart from me there is no God.
       I will strengthen you,
       though you have not acknowledged me,

 6 so that from the rising of the sun
       to the place of its setting
       men may know there is none besides me.
       I am the LORD, and there is no other.

 7 I form the light and create darkness,
       I bring prosperity and create disaster;
       I, the LORD, do all these things.

Somethings we simply can not make human sense of happenings. Yet, we can trust that we know the One who does understand, as He orchestrates the happenings. We must be content with not having all the answers. Therein lies faith... trusting when you cannot see the full picture. Thankfully, the Word tells us that all things are from God:  the good, the bad, the in between. All things are through Him and for Him and are for His purposes. If we understand that--- if we truly comprehend that in our hearts and souls--- we should not fear anything. He will strengthen us to deal with whatever He allows. 

Psalm 27 (New Living Translation)

 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
      so why should I be afraid?

Are you distressed? Afraid? Weak? Weary? Take action. Do not merely retreat and grieve. Remember to turn to the Lord and surrender your control. Surrender your will. Surrender your children. Surrender your suffering friends. Surrender your timing. Get on your knees and give Him every part of your life. Pray His will on your life. Then you will find peace and joy in suffering.

Ephesians 6:10-13 (New Living Translation)

 10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[a] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
May the Lord give you His peace as you surrender yourself to His will; may the Lord grant you the wisdom to count your blessings.

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