As the year ends, I’d like to look back at the months passed, replete with hardships, I tell you, but I’d rather count the blessings that always come with every trial. There’s no other, more excellent way with our God, than to follow the way of thanksgiving. And it is in itself tremendous grace to end the year with a heart (though often tried and tested) that still beats gratitude.
- I thank the Lord for chastisements that I may learn NEVER TO MURMUR, but constantly LIVE IN THANKSGIVING. I always learn the most valuable lessons the hard way, and I think there is no other way with me but to go through painful, heart-wrenching processes to let the lessons sink in and remain. That is the way with our loving Father: He teaches and teaches us until we REALLY LEARN. That is His love for us and the way He cares for us.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Heb. 12:6)
God hates murmurings and complainings. He punished the Israelites that complained in the wilderness, and He still does it to His children today. He doesn’t change.
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition… (1 Cor. 10:10,11)
Complaining is an expression of dissatisfaction, or rejection even, of God’s providence and of all He has done for us. It is a defiant show of ingratitude and lack of humility, things which God hates. But in this He delights:
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. (Heb. 13:15, emphasis added)
IN EVERY THING GIVE THANKS: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thess. 5:18, emphasis added)
- I thank the Lord for ALL the lessons that I’ve learned in my trials. I could either name the year a year of suffering, or a year of more learning and growing, and I will always choose the latter, for indeed, it was a year full of precious lessons I now call gems. I could have been busy complaining during the whole painful process, but the Lord taught me to gather all the gems of lessons strewn along my narrow way. And I have picked one gem after another, and in the midst of my hard trial, God gave me a treasury of these – a whole field of goodly pearls.
They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and THEY THAT MURMURED SHALL LEARN DOCTRINE. (Isaiah 29:24, emphasis added)
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psalm 119:71)
A wise man will hear, and will INCREASE LEARNING; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. (Prov. 1:5, emphasis added)
- I thank the Lord for beloved brethren that fast and pray for the salvation of souls and for physical healing. During the dark days and nights of my suffering, it was a big comfort to know that there are saints who spend hours praising, praying, fasting, and begging the Lord for deliverance, protection, and miraculous healing, day in and day out. I thank the Lord for the practice of prayer and fasting in our Church and the laying of hands to heal the sick.
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by PRAYER AND FASTING. (Mat. 17:21, emphasis added)
And the PRAYER OF FAITH SHALL SAVE THE SICK, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:15, emphasis added)
- I thank the Lord for His healing grace. The trials were deep, long and hard, but His mercies are deeper still… and enduring.
For indeed he was SICK NIGH UNTO DEATH: BUT GOD HAD MERCY on him… (Phil. 2:27, emphasis added)
Be steadfast in our love for and faith in the Lord. He sees the faithful and humble heart, and the tears that fall in every earnest prayer.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. (Isaiah 57:18)
- I thank the Lord for the gift of writing and time, and the anointing, well of inspiration, and wisdom that all go along with it. One of the things that gives meaning to life is to be of use. And nothing could be more meaningful and fulfilling than to be used by the Master!
Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
If a man therefore purge himself from these, HE SHALL BE A VESSEL UNTO HONOUR, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and PREPARED UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK. (2 Tim. 2:21, emphasis added)