7 Ways to Be Properly Worried

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Got a sinking feeling? Pesky premonitions? Just a little nervous? That’s nothing!

Here are seven sure-fire tips to fuel that anxiety. Continue reading

Day 15: Providence

This post is part of “30 days of Giving Thanks” To read more within this series, click here.

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A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

~ Proverbs 16.9, NKJV

Providence.

Thats one of those old churchy words that people used to use in reference to God’s plan, right?

Very close!

Its actually a very beautiful concept. The origin of the word is from the Latin ‘providere’ meaning “to foresee, to attend to.” It is currently defined as “the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth.”

You know, I love God’s providence.

I find great comfort in knowing that God provides and will provide for my basic needs. I am able to trust in the Lord because I know that He sees the end from the beginning and can guide my steps in the right way.

My friends and I were discussing prayer a bit yesterday and one of the things we touched on was the fact that God knows so much more than we do. We may ask for something and think that we ought to have it or that it would be beneficial. God may say “no” or “not yet” because He recognizes the physical or spiritual harm in what you request. God ultimately wants us to love and serve Him with our whole heart. Our prayers also should be geared toward that.

God orchestrates so much of what goes on around us. He confounds the plans of Satan. He raises and destroys kingdoms.

Today I arrived home safely from the conference in Anaheim. It was a lovely trip, but I was so thankful to get home safely.

I’m unaware of the abundance of ways in which the Lord has blessed me and led me safe thus far. But in moments like these, there’s a line from an old hymn that goes through my head:

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?

It breathes in the air, it shines in the light!

It streams from the hills it descends to the plains

And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain!

~ Robert Grant, ‘O Worship the King.’

what a lovely expression—his care distills in the dew and rain. His providential care surrounds us! I am so thankful for such assurance in this crazy life!

Day 14: Fellow Christians

This post is part of “30 days of Giving Thanks” To read more within this series, click here.

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It was a small insignificant building in a small insignificant coastal town. The streets rolled up at 9 pm along with the gas station. As I stood outside on that breezy August afternoon, I noted with immense pleasure that I could see the ocean from where I stood. Inside the four walls were Christians I had never met before. I was full to bursting with mingled anticipation and trepidation.

My parents and I walked in and were greeted in no time by the preacher, the elders and various members. Within the space of 10 minutes we were invited to dinner, offered a place to stay and—since I would be carless—arrangements made for a ride to worship and bible classes. It was a small group, but large in love, hospitality and godliness. I spent the better part of five years with them. They were my family away from family. I essentially gained grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers. That building is gone, but the church remains. They relocated to a larger building so they could grow. Even today, I like to go back with my young family and see them.

The church is a great blessing. The ties I have to my Christian family run deep. Having lived all over the state, I’ve had the opportunity to worship in many places with many brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve never worshipped and failed to connect with a brother or sister with whom I’ve shared a common faith. It’s a beautiful thing.

We are connected through Christ.

We learn to love those who are difficult to love. We learn how to settle disagreements. We encourage each other to press on. We learn from the examples of the elderly and teach the young the way of the Lord.

I am thankful for the church and all the lovely Christians I am privileged to know!

Day 9: Thorns

This post is part of “30 days of Giving Thanks” To read more within this series, click here.

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So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~ 1 Corinthians 12.7-10, ESV

Thorns come in many forms. Ginormous thorns are easy to avoid as you can slide your fingers between them and work around them. The ones that prove most difficult to avoid are the small, nearly imperceptible ones. As you go to cut your rose, they assault your fingers with gusto. Here in the desert, we have these prickly things called goat heads. The thorns on those things are strong enough to puncture a stroller or bike tire, but a goat head is no bigger than the eraser head on a pencil. Taking them out with your fingers is particularly painful. They get swept about by the wind and caught in socks, dog fur and whatever else is unfortunate to be in its path. I hate those things…

The thorns that I give thanks for are similar to what Paul refers to in the above passage. Sometimes we are given a weakness in the form of physical illness, mental illness, urges, and troublesome people. No matter how much we pray and fight, they won’t. go. away. They sap our strength. They humiliate us. They test our faith.

So why be thankful for these horrid things, these thorns?

Thorns allow God’s power to shine through. They keep us from the downfall of conceit. They teach us to rely on God and not ourselves.

Allow me to illustrate through a real-life example. I am friends with a very dear, sweet lady who is the wife of a preacher. Her husband is such a powerful speaker both in volume and in message that he doesn’t necessarily need a sound system for his message to get through. In contrast, she is small in stature, soft spoken, and gentle. Her eyes glow softly with the light of Christ. Her presence is calming. She and her husband are an excellent team, balancing each other in perfect harmony. She has done a great many things for others over the years, working quietly in the background, supporting and encouraging her husband, and raising three godly children.

She has done and continues to do all these things while being afflicted with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS makes a person feel weak along with abundant aches and pains. While she may tell you about it when asked, I can’t think of a time I’ve ever heard her complain. She always has a ready smile and, as I say, the light of the Lord in her eyes. That steely strength doesn’t come from her own power. She relies on the strength of the Lord. His power shines through her thorns. Her humble spirit allows Christ to be magnified. She lives with joy in spite of her pain and weakness. She continues to work for him in spite of fatigue.

I am thankful for people like Vicki and the Christ-like life they live each day.

Give thanks for your thorns. Every time you are tempted to complain, be thankful for the opportunity to allow God’s strength to be magnified through your weakness.