Sunday, December 8, 2019

You could Be! Yes, You!

In my state in the US, the winters can be brutal, with sub-zero temperatures and never-ending snow. One bitterly cold day, as I shoveled snow for what seemed like the thousandth time, our postman paused in his rounds to ask how I was doing. I told him that I disliked winter and was weary of all the heavy snow. I then commented that his job must be pretty rough during these extreme weather conditions. He responded, “Yeah, but at least I have a job. A lot of people don’t. I’m thankful to be working.”

I have to admit that I felt quite convicted by his attitude of gratitude. How easily we can lose sight of everything we have to be thankful for when the circumstances of life become unpleasant.

Paul told the followers of Christ at Colossae, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). He wrote to the Thessalonians, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Even in our times of genuine struggle and pain, we can know God’s peace and permit it to rule our hearts. And in that peace, we’ll find reminders of all that we’ve been given in Christ. In that, we can truly be thankful.

What do you need to stop complaining about? What do you have to thank God for today?

God, how often I complain about things that are mere inconveniences. Help me never to lose sight of Your goodness. Give me a heart full of gratitude.

- Our Daily Bread for December 8 2019

How often are we sucked into the mode of complaining over a situation rather than be grateful?   How often are our prayers to God a grocery list of wants and desires rather than honest needs and thankfulness?

I am talking to myself as well as you in this.

But go one step further.  How often COULD you be someone else's answer to prayer and you never recognized it.  You're so busy complaining for your circumstances that you missed the chance to be grateful?
Or even thankful?

The subtlety of deception by Satan and his minions is also played out in our not so obvious to see opportunities to be thankful. 

We can easily sit and gripe about our circumstances about our woes and miss the opportunity to be a blessing to someone else. 

In recent weeks God has redirected my life's circumstances to put me in the right place and time to be a blessing to someone else.  The key is to quit looking at me.  Peter sank in the storm while on the water because his eyes were on it and not Jesus.  But that's not the end.  Look at his impact on the 11 who didn't get out of the boat.  Jesus was there to be a blessing to Peter, Peter could have been a blessing to the 11 but he was more concerned about the wrong things than the right. 

We can gripe easily.  Cain taught the world that complaining comes as quickly as sinning.  Griping is second nature to mankind in the terms of life.  

Even the most Godly of them all can trip on that one.  Paul did concerning Mark, and it took some time for God to convince him of his wrong. Paul not only had a sharp disagreement with Barnabas over Mark, it was included in Scripture!  How would you like to have something like that immortalized?  Then later to have to write about your repentance of it.

We are quite often the most ungrateful people in this world yet we are the ones who should be the exact opposite.  People split hairs over denominations yet in what counts in terms of Salvation, there are no differences.  People look for an issue of disagreement to stand on and disregard the obvious truth that God's working in their lives in great and mighty ways!  Rather than acceptance they face a level of rejection.  Hate to break it to everyone in this world but there's only 1 denomination in Heaven.  The Saved.
Only the born again are in Heaven with Jesus and His Angels.  It matters not if they adhered to a certain version of the Bible.  It mattered not in anything except that they obeyed the Word of God as it was given to them to use and listened as the Spirit of God grew them in Christ. 

No other book in the history of mankind ever changed a life like the Word of God.  The Spirit is the same Spirit that enabled Jesus to rise from the dead.  He's more than capable of using any version of the Bible to Glory Jesus in a person's life.  We are the ones, just like the Pharisees and Sadducees to try to institute laws and rules not found in Scripture to dictate how people should live.  The is a really big reason why the Berean Church is immortalized in the Bible. Why? Because they searched the Scriptures to see if what they were taught was so.  Do you?  Or do you put the Spirit of God in a box and determine that anything anyone says outside of it is heresy?  The early Church was almost infected with that way of thinking by former Pharisees and Sadducees.  

You cease being a blessing to others when you miss out on why God brought you into their life and they were brought into yours.

You cease being a blessing when you're so focused on your differences rather than on what happened to have in common. 

You cease to be a blessing when you would rather be right in your own eyes rather than right by the Word of God as taught by the Spirit of God. 

You then lose your ability to be grateful. 

Paul's rejection of Mark cost Paul.  Rather than be with Mark as he was with Timothy, he lost out on a relationship that could have been.  All because of Paul's ingrown thoughts that didn't bring about what was right towards Mark.  It wasn't until later that he realized his mistake.  I imagine that it was quite humbling to Paul the great Apostle to ask Mark to forgive him.

It is also what trips us up.  The necessity to ask people to forgive us. To restore a relationship.  To realize that maybe God is the one who brought you in contact with someone to be their reason to be grateful.

For me this past week was on the surface my forgetting to buy something.  I get to the store and get it. I am in line behind an elderly woman struggling to empty her basket on her electric cart. I put my stuff down and told her to please sit. I would take care of unloading for her.  You can often miss the opportunity to be a blessing by being ungrateful.  The cure is to start forcing yourself to list your blessings. List your reasons to be grateful and pray that list back to God.  You will be surprised at how it will change you.

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