Friday, November 18, 2011

Learning to be Thankful ~ Devotional Friday

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesús Christ:”
Ephesians 5:20

If we learned to obey this verse, we would all live happier, more peaceful lives.  We have to LEARN to be thankful for the things we’re going through, for the things we have, and for the things we don’t have.

There are two words in this verse, two key phrases, or formulas for happiness, and peace:

ALWAYS:  when we have money, and when we’re broke.
ALWAYS:  when our children are right with God, and when we’re having trouble with them.
ALWAYS:  when we feel good, and when we have a migraine.
ALWAYS:  when we got 8 hours of sleep the night before, and when we feel like we’re sleep walking.

ALL THINGS:  for our friends, and for our enemies
ALL THINGS:  for those who encourage us, and for those who criticize us.
ALL THINGS:  for sunny days, and rainy days.
ALL THINGS:  for leisure time, and for too much work

The best way to fulfill this command…because that’s what it is…in Ephesians 5:20 is to follow these suggestions:

  1. Take your eyes off yourself.  Did you know there are other people in this world besides you?  There are others out there who are going through things you will never go through.  If you have a headache, thank the Lord that you’re not like others who have brain tumors.  Go to the hospital, the nursing home, the jail.  I just returned from a trip to Ukraine and Israel.  I’ve seen so much suffering that I don’t have a right to ever complain.  Esther and Lisette live in war zones in Israel…Babushka Taya…in Ukraine…Lyuda…fire…Alina.  You’ve heard the saying:  “I complained about not having any shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.”  You can always find someone who is having a harder time than you are.
  2. Focus on the needs of others.  Try to be a blessing to others.  God has put so many people in my path who sacrifice to see that I am comfortable…Sue Hutto.
  3. Count your blessings.  On my return from Ukraine, my flight was canceled in New York, on the last flight of my trip.  I had to spend the night in the lobby of the Holiday Inn.  I began to thank the Lord for a lovely, safe place to stay, for a sense of humor; for my health; for my sons who were concerned for me, and couldn’t do anything but pray; for my own private nightwatchman.
  4. Run the devil off.  The devil’s mission is to make you miserable, and ungrateful.  The Bible says in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  The best way to run the devil off, is to submit yourself to God.  When the devil sees that we’re doing the will of God, the Bible says that he’ll flee from us.  And the will of God is to keep a thankful heart.  If we’re commanded to be thankful, then it’s a sin to complain, and never be thankful for what we have.  Confess your sin to the Lord.  Treat the sin of complaining as the sin of lying, or stealing or adultery.  Ask God to give you the victory over your sin, and He’ll do it…and the devil will flee from you.
  5. Show your gratitude to God, by serving others.  Do you know why I’m a missionary?  Do you know why I spent thousands of dollars going to Ukraine and Israel?  Do you know why I feel it is a privilege to spend the night in a chair in the middle of New York City, and spend three months away from home?  Because God has done more for me than perhaps anyone else in the world.  It’s very possible that you’re looking at the happiest lady in the whole world, and everything I do, isn’t a sacrifice to me, because He’s done so much for me, that I could live a lifetime, and never repay Him.  But I can show Him my gratitude serving Him and others the rest of my life.  And so can you.

I Thessalonians 5:18  “In every thing give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Written by Mrs. Billie Sloan


Jolene said...

And I'M thankful for YOU, Mom, and all I've been able to learn from you! Thank you for this timely devotional (on the day of your Christmas banquet, no less!)

Ken and Vicki in Japan said...

Hello from Japan...I just wanted to let you know I used your outline to study with one of our ladies this a.m....I felt it was something BOTH of us needed! Thank you so much!! Pray your work in Ukraine and Israel is truly blessed!