Habits : Good or Bad?

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by Andrea Nymeyer

What do you associate with the word ‘habit’? Do you tend to think of leaving clothes all over the floor, unnecessary throat clearing, or door slamming?

It is true that all of these things are habits, but they are not the only kind of habits. While our minds seem to make a negative association with the word, habits can be positive too. By definition a habit is:

“A disposition or condition of the mind or body acquired by custom or a frequent repetition of the same act.”
(Webster’s 1828 dictionary)

So you see, a habit is simply something we have done so often that we are conditioned to do it without thinking.

We all have these things we automatically think of as our own personal ‘bad habits’? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to change these things to good things? Bad habits don’t have to stay “bad”; we can not only defeat them, but change them to good habits. The earlier we can develop good habits, the better we will make life for ourselves and for those around us. Here are some of the habits we can start to develop today.

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  1. Learn to clean up. Our Daddy is in the janitorial business, so some evenings, we play “janitorial company” by working together to clean much of the house. As we’ve grown older, this makes for great memories. We must get in the habit of picking things up. When you walk through a disorderly room, try to grab a few stray things and put them where they belong. If the couch pillows are on the floor, it only takes a second to toss them back in their place. Once you do this often enough you will find your hands straitening items before your brain registers the fact that they need to be straightened. This will be a great blessing to your family now and in the future.
  2. Get up when it is time to get up. This is one that I have to rejuvenate in myself every so often, but is surprisingly easy to develop. After a few consecutive mornings of getting up at a consistent time, it becomes easier to solidify the habit. One of my sisters had trouble with a shortage of time in her day. She started to get up an hour earlier, and is loving it. She was surprised with the fact that she now awakens a few moments before her alarm clock rings. Instill this in yourself now, and when you are a Mother with no one to rouse you each morning, you will be so glad you developed this habit.
  3. Think of God and speak His name. Get in the habit of speaking of the goodness of God and thanking Him audibly. Seeing the beauty in His creation, His protection, and His answers to prayer are just a few of the opportunities we have to praise Him. In order to see His hand, we must already be aware of Him. Keep the Lord in mind whatever you are doing, and you will see the His hand more readily. When you are thinking of God’s goodness it’s pretty hard to be a grouch! Joyful people are the most attractive people – the type of folks who seem ageless.

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These are just a few habits we can be developing now. I challenge you to begin today to implement one of these ideas, or think of one on your own. There are so many good habits for us to implement as we strive to grow into sweet Christian ladies.

Remember that habits don’t have to be bad. They can be a wonderful foundation for your life.

-By Andrea Nymeyer:
a homeschool graduate who loves cooking, violin, writing, children, and reading with her family.

This Month’s Desktop Wallpaper:

KBR’s Joyful Daughters Conference, March 20-21, 2015:
KBR conference 2015 With Speakers

Ten-Year Anniversary Issue of KBR Magazine:

Learning Contentment In All Things (February)

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“Choosing God’s will over our desires is certainly a lifelong process.”

by Mrs. Cynthia Veysey

“Not that I speak in respect of want;
For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
[Philippians 4:11]

As believing women, we will all admit that the road to learning settled contentment seems to be a lifelong one. The Christian life is a journey along a wonderfully lighted path. Our Lord Jesus goes on before us, the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, illuminating every step with the light of His Word. Through the years, by God’s grace, we see measures of growth toward maturity in every area, including, and perhaps especially, that of contentment and a willingness to only please Him in all that we do. God brings various and sundry things into the lives of individuals, couples and families.

This testimony is what the Lord has given to us and is an area that I find little written about. It may be partly because it involves a relatively ‘small’ population of Christians, or perhaps because there is very little recorded concerning this topic in the New Testament. I hope that it will be used by God in the lives of others who may be experiencing it, or will in the future.

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When I met the love of my life in 1979, we were both new believers. I was eighteen years old, recently graduated from high school and so very excited to begin a second “new life”; that of a keeper of the home; looking forward to being the wife of this wonderful young man and the mother of 12 children, if the Lord would be willing. We married in October of 1980 and month by month, year by year, we prayed and waited expectantly for our first dear little child to come into the world.

After our second year of marriage we were blessed to have our sweet nephew, Bradley, come into our lives on a regular basis. Due to sad circumstances he lived with us, spending time with his father (my husband’s brother) for a few hours each day but returning to his home with us for 4 years of his life. We were thrilled to have him from the time he was 9 months old until he was almost 5. This filled a void in our lives for a season, but when God made it clear that we were to move to a different state, Bradley went back to be with his father and soon started school. The separation was difficult for both Bradley and for us but God gave grace through it all.

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We had been married nearly eight years at this point and we continued to pray and await God’s timing in having children. The Lord moved us into two more major life-changes; one, a relocation to South Carolina so that my husband could attend college at Bob Jones University. Six years later He brought us back to New England to help in a small church. By the time we were sent “back home,” where we presently still abide, we had been married 17 years. Though it had not happened yet, we knew that God was still entirely able to bring children into our lives. Being surrounded by nieces and nephews once again was a great blessing, something we had missed for the nine years that we had been away from our home area.

Many times through those years, loving and well-meaning couples reminded us that there was always the opportunity of adoption. Having had witnessed adoption through the lives of grandparents on both sides of my family, I hold it in very high regard. We know many families, and highly respect those who have adopted children into their homes. From the beginning of our marriage we only wanted to have God’s will for our lives. I suppose that part of the decision not to adopt may have come from fear of not knowing if it was truly God’s will or if in adoption we would just be trying to “fill a void” that God was entirely able to fill with Himself. Whatever the reason, though faced with two opportunities to adopt newborns, we both were convinced each time that it was not the Lord’s will. When I turned 40 I went through a tumultuous two months of struggling with the Lord’s will in this burden of our hearts. He used the verse from Hebrews 5:8 to remind me that, “Though He were a son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Obedience is “learned.” Obedience is also a choice. Choosing God’s will over our desires is certainly a lifelong process. It is a daily discipline.

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“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
[Matthew 16:24, 25]

No two people bear the same cross. Perhaps this testimony is similar to that of many couples, but it is that which the Lord has given to us alone. As you can understand, I can only write from a woman’s perspective. It is difficult to know or articulate how a man does view this same situation, but I am thankful that my dear husband has left it completely with the Lord. Our lesson of contentment in ‘disappointment’ has gone on now for nearly 34 years. By God’s grace the ‘disappointment’ has become less and less, while He teaches us obedience more and more. There will come a day when we step into eternity with our God to worship the Father and Lord Jesus Christ forever. What will it matter then, what we have gone through, “suffered,” here on earth? Until then, He says,

“My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
[2 Corinthians 12:9,10]

-By Mrs. Cynthia Veysey
who writes from Vermont. She is the joyful wife of her loving husband, and they serve the Lord in a small Bible church and both help with the care her dear, 85-year-old mother.

“When thy secret hopes have perished in the grave of years gone by, let this promise still be cherished, ‘I will guide thee with mine eye.’”
-William Cowper [I will Guide Thee With Mine Eye]

Photography by Maggie and Martha Joy B.

This Month’s Desktop Wallpaper:

Ten-Year Anniversary Issue of KBR Magazine:

Is Your Life Distraction-Free? (January)

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Dear Sisters,

Do you make new year resolutions? I love the fresh start of a new year and the opportunity it gives to step back, evaluate my spiritual life, and make goals for the new year. I have been asking myself lately, “Am I seeking Jesus without distractions?”

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
[Hebrews 12:1]

The phrase, “let us lay aside every weight,” has been on my heart. What unnecessary “weights” are in my day-to-day life and tasks? This is an important question to ponder!

As saints of God, we have been delivered from our former sinful ways (Colossians 1:13-14), and set aside by God to be holy and sanctified for His purposes. Hebrews 12:2 commands us to run this race “looking unto Jesus,” as we talked about last month.

The concept of “looking to Jesus” inherently means that we are turning our head away from other things. Isaac Ambrose writes,

“The act in the original [text] is very emphatic–aphronontes eis. It signifies an averting or drawing off the eye from one object to another. There are two expressions, apo and eis: the one signifies a turning off the eye from all other objects, the other a fast fixing of the eye upon such an object. So it is both a looking off and a looking on. On what? Looking unto Jesus.”

So in this verse, we are commanded to looking away from something in order to look to Jesus. What are we to look away from? Sinful things and from distractions. Sin is usually easily identifiable, but distractions can be a bit more of a challenge to recognize in our lives. These things in themselves may be innocent and harmless, but they can hinder us from walking harmoniously with the Lord throughout every day. The are “weights” that slow us down spiritually.

As wife and mother Susannah Wesley wrote,

“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the desire for spiritual things..that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.”

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What about you, my friend? As you enter a new year, will you stop and evaluate your own life? Is there anything doubtful in your life, that is not encouraging you in your focus on Jesus?

Distractions can come in countless forms, and they are all different for each one of us. Think through the moments of your day…the things you read, listen to, ponder, meditate on, talk about, watch, say—does anything come to mind that does not exactly point you to the Lord? If you are not really sure if there may be distractions in your life, why not make a sticky note on your desk to remind you to consciously take a look at what is going in and coming out of your life throughout the day. Constantly evaluate what might need to be eliminated to help you run this race more smoothly. It may be something that might be “ok,” but needs to be replaced with something “best.”

Some common distractions could be…

  • Culture
  • Social media
  • Beauty/fashion
  • Music
  • Fiction books
  • Friendships that are not centered on the Lord
  • Clothing
  • Day dreams
  • Foolishness/jokes
  • Electronics
  • Money
  • Success/appearances
  • Dreaming of having a spouse or children
  • Texting
  • Hobbies
  • Personal goals
  • …and there are hundreds more!

Even good things can become distractions, if we let ourselves begin to focus on that “good thing” as the means of becoming holy. Be honest with yourself and see what is in your life that is hindering you from looking to what is Best...

And, what would that be?

We look away from distractions in order to look to Someone of infinite value—the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 3:18:

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

The idea presented here is that as we look to Jesus, the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), we are slowly transformed into His image. As our thoughts and minds are more and more turned from vain distractions and pointed toward Jesus, He imprints Himself on our lives.

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We have 24 hours in a day. How much of that time are we spending “looking unto Jesus”? Is it only 30 minutes? A whole hour? These are good places to begin with in our personal time with the Lord (devotions), but we are to be wholly His. He made us. He owns us. We need to “mix” Him into everything we do and say and think. We must be molded around Him.

“The mind assimilates itself to what it thinks much upon; grows more worldly by thinking on worldly things, and more spiritual by thinking on spiritual things.” -John Berridge

The undeniable fact is that we will become like the thing upon which we focus. So if we are gazing to Jesus, we will take on His likeness. And as believers, I hope that is our hearts’ desire and goal.

So, as you enter this brand new year will you take a look at your heart and life? Write a list of things that tend to attract your attention and take your eyes temporarily from Jesus. Bring these areas before the Lord in humility, praying that He would help you fix your eyes upon Him and transform you as you gaze into His lovely face. Prayerfully evaluate how you can eliminate these distractions, so that you can focus your fullest attention on the Lord this year.

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Sisters, we are only given one life. Don’t waste your life on frivolous things in this life. It is not worth it! Pledge yourself to Jesus, for He is the only thing worth seeking. Only one life, and it will soon be past. We will be in eternity forevermore reaping the seeds we planted on earth. Will it have been in looking to Christ and living for Him? I encourage you to commit yourself to Him anew and walk hand in hand with Him in 2015. Together, let us press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus!

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
[I Peter 1:13]

Thankful for Jesus,

“Comrades…we are here to live holy, loving, lowly lives. We cannot do this unless we walk very, very close to our Lord Jesus. Anything that would hinder us from the closest walk that is possible to us, ’til we see Him face to face, is not for us.”
-Amy Carmichael 

This Month’s Desktop Wallpaper:

Ten-Year Anniversary Issue of KBR Magazine:

Do Not Grow Weary (December)

12-2014

by Sarah Lee Bryant

There are times in life when we grow wearied by difficulties and trials. Hardships press in against us, and we begin to feel the painful reality of our own weakness and the fleshly urge to stop climbing uphill. We subconsciously think that because of the present difficulties in our journey, we have good reasons to slack off in being faithful in our callings. We even mentally complain that God needs  to change our circumstances or lot in life, before we can really progress spiritually.

We daily deal with circumstances that we cannot change, nevertheless, circumstances we thoroughly dislike. If we didn’t have that annoying little brother who aggravates us constantly, we could be patient and kind. If we just knew what the future held, we would know what to do with our life right now to prepare. If that person would have not hatefully hurt us, we would not be so discouraged right now. If all of our friends and family were saved, then we would not face this painful mockery and persecution. If we had not met that young man—or could just marry him tomorrow—then we would be perfectly happy and content right now in singleness. If we had enough money, then we could really do something important in life. You fill in the blank for whatever your current circumstance or wish might be!

No matter what difficulties we face (some legitimate and some imagined)—we do not like trials in any form. And when pain comes, we want to find the fastest route away from it. The furnace hurts.

But you know what, sisters? We are never promised an easy life. No, not even if we are Christians, not even if we love the Lord Jesus, seek Him daily, and obey Him to the best of our ability. We find throughout the Scriptures that even “good” people face great hardships—sometimes hardships even greater than unbelievers face. In fact, we are promised tribulation and afflictions in life. “We should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know” (I Thessalonians 3:4)

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So we might wonder, why do we suffer, if we are walking with and honoring the Lord?

We find in God’s Word the amazing answer to this incredibly deep and sometimes difficult question. 1 Peter 1:7 says, “The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 

Suffering is actually one of God’s tools of mercy and kindness toward us. It may seem like a paradox, but think about the good things the Lord does in our lives through these very trials. We are never clinging to Christ more tightly than when every earthly hope has been shattered. We are never more needy for His strength than when we are too weak to even move. We never see His glory and love toward us more sweetly than when we can just simply gaze, in our weakness, up to His loving face.

You see, in our weakness and pain, we experience His sufficiency. We do not wake up asking the Lord for strength each morning to face another day, when we are healthy, youthful, and abounding with energy! We do not cry ourselves to sleep before Jesus every night, when life is doing smoothly and there is not a trial in sight. We do not lean upon the Lord for hourly wisdom on how to respond to unkind remarks when all around us are like-minded and support our stand for Christ.

Personally, the richest times in my spiritual walk with the Lord are when I am facing difficulties or pain. During trials, I lean into my Lord and find Him, oh, so present, sufficient, and loving toward me. I meditate on Him more faithfully in these hours of need, I commune with Him, and I delight in His presence. Truly, I find Jesus to be all I need and begin to thank Him for even these trials that cause me to seek Him more earnestly!

How then do we find strength to continue on faithfully in these trials?

We are human, and we are very apt to grow discouraged as we face trials day in and day out. We want to find a way out of this particular pain right now. One day I was feeling very overcome by various trials, and cried out to the Lord in prayer, Lord, am I really doing the right thing? Why am I facing these hardships? Can You just take them away? I don’t want to keep going; I feel so weary and tired.

In my flesh, I felt like giving up. Is this what being faithful felt like? It sure didn’t seem as “heroic” and amazing as the word sounded! I decided to reach for my Bible. What does God say about faithfulness and endurance?

One of the first verses I read was Proverbs 24:10: “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” Immediately, I felt humbled. Here I was, weary and wanting to give up in the midst of the fire. I continued to read…

Hebrews 12:12-13: “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”

Deuteronomy 20:3b: “Let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them.”

Luke 18:b1: “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

It became clear to me that I had only one choice—to press forward. God’s Word offers such strength and encouragement to us in each season and situation. It even gave me incredible hope as to the outcome of tribulation…

Romans 5:3: “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.”

Lastly, I came to James 1:2, which commands, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” Count it all joy? This is not a joyous situation, but I am told to account it joy (impute joy to it). Why? James continues, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

That I may be perfect and entire—lacking nothing. What incredible promises God gives us. He has not promised to take suffering or trials away from us—but He promises great hope in the midst of them and even as a result of them. He is working good in us through these painful things. He is producing patience in us through these unpleasant circumstances. And He is sanctifying us and making us more like Jesus and more ready to receive the eternal weight of glory one day that we will partake of in heaven.

Wow. I felt quite small as I read these incredible passages. These truths made my earthly trials seem so small—and even glorious in light of eternity! These very things are working for me a crown in heaven. These “10 minute afflictions” are producing a “billion year reward”—eternal crown of glory! II Corinthians 4:17: says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Our trials are not accidents and they are not bad.

Our trials today—whatever it might be that you or I face today that comes across as unpleasant to us—are not accidents. We need to stop viewing them as “bad.” Yes, we do face sin and sin’s fruit each day, and in this sense they are bad. But, according to Romans 8:28, God is able to work these “bad” things for “good” in our lives, because we love Him!

So that bad situation—you fill in the blank for what that trial is for you today—God has selected it just for you to face today. No accidents about it. And therefore, He will also grant grace for you to be able to face it with a Christ-like attitude, and to press on faithfully and obediently. Our God is incredible, and it never ceases to encourage me to press on with Him, when I stop and think about this.

He carves out our trials to suit us, to hit our specific weaknesses, and to reveal our individual sins and failures to ourselves. We see more of who we are and how we need Him. You and I are probably facing something completely different today—however, the Lord has gently selected the very specific trials you and I will face today. Think of this in the immediate sense…in the daily, small, hourly trials or emotional struggles that come.

Hurtful words (again) from someone we love. Sinful actions that inconvenience us greatly. Sickness that inhibits us from an active lifestyle. Instead of complaining about the day’s trials as if they are an accident, we can take them as straight from the Lord—realizing He is trying to work in us more patience and more endurance through these particular situations.

We are called to be faithful no matter what.

Doing what is right before the Lord and walking in His commands is not easy. It often requires going against the flow. Let’s admit it—we all enjoy being around other believers at church, conferences, or like-minded gatherings. However, in “normal daily life,” we must face the world, which opposes God and drinks iniquity like water. No matter who we are around or what opposition we face, we must be faithful and obedient to the Lord.

Our Lord is so merciful. He does not leave us alone to walk rightly. He knows it is difficult, and offers countless promises and comfort to us as we walk obediently and faithfully. We are commanded to “Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.” (II Chronicles 15:7) Our God is mighty, and is not slack concerning His promises toward us. II Corinthians 4:16: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” I encourage you to do a study of the promises God has given in His Word regarding those who are afflicted. Here is a tiny list of verses to start with:

  • Deuteronomy 4:7
  • Psalm 46:1
  • Psalm 145:18
  • Isaiah 43:1-2
  • Isaiah 63:9
  • Micah 7:7,9
  • Matthew 18:20

Lest we grow weary, we have been given an Example!

It is amazing that the Lord does not simply give us commands to be faithful and endure even unto death—as if God up in Heaven does not understand what these trials feel like to us as humans.

No, His own Son came into this world and faced these trials Himself. We have a High Priest Who in ALL points was tempted and tried as we are (Hebrews 4:15). Don’t ever feel like the Lord does not understand your current pain or grief. Not for one moment. Have you ever read Isaiah 63:9: “In all their affliction he was afflicted”? He feels our afflictions with us!

The Lord Jesus, the Lord of Glory, endured all, thus we are given this most glorious command in Hebrews 12:3—“Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Sisters, the Lord knows our weaknesses. Jesus Christ Himself faced a painful, trial-filled and afflicted life. He learned obedience by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). And He suffered and strove even unto blood against sin (Hebrews 12:4).

So we are commanded to CONSIDER Christ, lest we grow weary. Consider Him Who faced evil, hurtful men throughout His entire earthly life, Who was mocked, persecuted even unto death, Who hung upon that Cross in agony, Who bore mankind’s sin and filth, Who was rejected by His own beloved Father, and Who went to the grave to redeem His people (Isaiah 53). Consider the blood that ran down His head and His body as He died a most horrific and painful death. Consider Him, Whose friends all fled and even denied Him. Consider Him, Who is the very Son of Glory Who holds the whole universe—stooping to such a station as that of the shameful Cross. Who arose from the grave, conqueror forevermore over sin and death! The Lamb of God – victor and conqueror forevermore!

Dear sisters, I want to encourage you to press on. Do not grow weary, for in due time, you will reap if you faint not (Galatians 6:9). Yes, these earthly trials we face are real. We do not need to try to deny this. But we also cannot deny the truth, that if we are Christ’s, nothing shall separate us from His love (Romans 8) and He is using even all these things for our good. There is SO much comfort found when we can simply rest in peace, knowing that we are not forgotten by the Lord and these very trials are not an accident, but a very sign of His tender love for us (Hebrews 12:6).

Today, let us consider Jesus, and not grow weary!

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
(Hebrews 12:2)

-Sarah Lee Bryant

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This Month’s Desktop Wallpaper:

In Everything Give Thanks (November)

Julie Peterson


Give Thanks Challenge 2014Throughout November, KBR is hosting our annual GiveThanks! x7 Challenge. Join us as we thank the Lord each day, for seven things we are thankful for. You can write these things in your personal journal, or share them on our private minigroup. More info on the challenge is here. We’d love to have you join us!On the topic of thanksgiving, Christianna shares how thankfulness is so important!
In Everything Give Thanks

by Christianna Hellwig

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Have you ever thanked God for something for which you could see no purpose? It is easy enough to praise God joyfully for some great blessing which we’ve wanted or appreciated. But have you ever bowed your head and prayed, “Lord, I thank you that my brother just splashed mud all over my freshly ironed church blouse?” Have you ever softly whispered, “Father, I want to thank you that I am sick and have to sit here at home instead of going to the autumn fest?” I doubt too many of us have.

It is perfectly Biblical to ask for things; in fact Paul tells us, “let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” But have we ever spent a time in prayer simply thanking God for every single situation that is going on in our lives, whether we like them or not?

To be thankful is one of the hardest things we can do, because it requires humility and selflessness. And if you were to name the root of most of your sins what would it be? Probably, pride and self love!

We see the theme of ‘sacrifices of thanksgiving’ sprinkled liberally throughout the Scriptures, because the giving of thanks is a sacrifice. To thank God, instead of asking, is sacrifice on our part: we sacrifice our desires, our idolatrous interpretations of what life ought to be like, and, most importantly, our pride and self love!

I have read that there are four states of thankfulness:

  1. Constant complaining; grumbling constantly because there seems to be nothing good in our life.
  2. Ungrateful; not complaining, but not thanking either, as in the case of the nine lepers whom Jesus healed.
  3. Thankful for the good things; thanking God for the obvious blessings in life but not for that which is unwanted.
  4. Thankful in everything; taking the good and bad alike with a thankful heart.

Which state are you in? I fear I find myself far too often in the second and third categories, sometimes in the first, and exceedingly rarely in the fourth.

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Of course the question may be asked next, “Should we thank God for sin and evil? Should we thank Him for a killing or a stealing?” I think the key verse in this case is Romans 8:28: “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.”

The thought here is that every circumstance will turn out well for us who are Christ’s—no matter whether it is good or evil. So if we know that every thing will turn out well for us, why shouldn’t we thank God for every situation He brings our way? In light of this, pray, “I thank you, Lord Jesus, that you have caused this situation to happen to me; help me to learn from it.” We’re thanking Him that He can use any circumstance for our good.

I want to encourage every one of you to spend this next month thanking the Lord for things that, may not necessarily be things you wanted. What often happens is, as soon as you thank the Lord for it, you begin to find joy in it. I used to be extremely ungrateful for the fact that I had four younger brothers and no little sister. I didn’t care for boys and wanted a little sister who would look up to me as I looked up to my older sisters. About five years ago, I began to thank the Lord for my brothers and now, I can truthfully say, I wouldn’t trade them for a younger sister at any time, simply because that’s not what the Lord has given me. He gave me brothers and once I began to thank Him for them He granted me contentment with them. This leads to an extremely important point: with thankfulness comes contentment.

Amanda Hage

If you ever find yourself discontented, start thanking the Lord for whatever it is you’re unthankful for that moment. Not only will you start to see all the good in the situation, but you will also begin, very soon, to feel satisfied and content.

Another benefit, is that the constant thanksgiving will be a cure for any discouragement you may have in your life. When we are discouraged, we are willing to grasp onto anything that coddles our emotions and makes us feel hopeful instead of clinging to the truth. This is why discouraging thoughts must be nipped in the bud before they blossom into something ugly; try thankfulness as the clippers. If you are discouraged about how you behaved yourself one day, for example, start thanking God for all the times that you didn’t mess up! If your heart begins to sink at the sight of a ‘C’ on a Science test thank God you didn’t get a ‘D’. When we’re thankful, the petty annoyances and upsetting experiences that happen in life shrink down to their proper size.

This doesn’t mean that we try to pretend like the frustrations and troubles don’t exist in life; they do, and they are upsetting, but they are not our masters. We have the privilege of being able to say with John Newton:

I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I want to be, I am not the man I hope to be; but by God’s grace, I am not the man I used to be!”

In conclusion, remember that if we were not able to give thanks in every situation, the Lord wouldn’t have commanded us to. And though we live in a fallen world, there is always something wonderful in every mishap—something we can praise God for with a joyful heart.

Thank Him, right now, for your eyes to see His many blessings!

-Christianna Hellwig {Guest Writer}

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