Be Joyful

August 28, 2015

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

Someone I know recently shared about how she changed her prayers from pleading with God to thanking God.  That reminded me of a few years back when I kept feeling a check in my spirit every time I started to say "Please God watch over my children and keep them safe," and rather, I felt the need to instead say, "Thank you God for looking after my children and keeping them safe."  The message that I felt in my heart was that if I begged God to do things that He already does, it was suggesting that He is not trustworthy, that He doesn't already do those things, that I was somehow a better parent than Him because I wanted these things that He wouldn't do unless I begged Him?  What an absurd train of thought!  Each time that I caught myself and changed the "please" to "thank you," I felt a sense of peace.  It became a change in attitude that helped me to trust God in more and more situations and remember to always be thankful for what God has done and for who He is.

The point is not about taking God for granted, but rather acknowledging that He is good and faithful.  He had answered that same prayer for my children's safety so many times in the past that there was no reason to continue worrying over it, especially when viewed in light of the fact that they belong to Him, not me.  He certainly loves and knows them better than I ever could, is with them at all times even when I am not, and knows what is best for them beyond my capabilities.  Praising Him for what He's done and for what He does is not taking Him for granted, but showing gratitude and accepting his control over everything.  

"Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"  Matthew 7:9-11

When Christians fall into the trap of worry, it calls into question the goodness, faithfulness and trustworthiness of God.  We of all people should be confident of God's true nature and character, and stand firm in our faith when facing the troubles of the world.  How else will those who don't know Him see what He's like? 

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence."  Jeremiah 17:7

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house."  Matthew 5:14-15

I have been blessed by being used by God to provide for my children's earthly care in many ways--but at the end of the day, He is the One who really provides for us all.  We do not become God's children until we are born again and adopted into His family through believe in His Son who redeems us, but that does not change the fact that each of us belongs only to Him.  He owns the earth and everything, including everyone, in it.  

A psalm of David. "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him."  Psalm 24:1

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'"  John 3:3 

"But to all who believed him and accepted him, Jesus gave the right to become children of God."  John 1:12

"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship."  Galatians 4:4-5

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