|Volume 22 Number 11 November 2020||
Only God knew what the year 2020 was to bring. However, we are still thankful to be alive. In his book, Always Near – Listening for Lessons from God, Bill Bagents wrote this about being thankful.
In every situation, there are blessings to be found. It’s always healthy to see them. In every situation, at least on some level, there are reasons to be thankful. If nothing else, we can be thankful that things aren’t worse or that the challenges didn’t come earlier. There’s great wisdom in choosing to be grateful that things are as well as they are. We can be [emphasis mine] thankful that we never face trouble alone (Heb. 13:5-6). We stay [emphasis mine] thankful that God’s ultimate deliverance is just as certain as His grace, mercy and love (2 Cor. 4:17-5:8; 2 Tim. 4:6-8).
Psalms for Women – God’s Gift of Inner Beauty, Peace, and Happiness contains topics with passages from Psalms. One topic is entitled, “Our Thankfulness and Praise to God.” It states in part:
We should open all our prayers with the praise and thanksgiving that are God’s due. When we wake in the morning and before we fall asleep at night, praise and thanksgiving should be our first and last thoughts. For whatever our circumstances may be, God has in fact given us the gift of life in the here and now and the promise of life everlasting in the future.
We must be thankful and stay thankful for God being on His throne reigning over His creation. He is in ultimate control of everything and everybody. “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). Hallelujah and Amen!
We must be thankful and stay thankful for the safety of our family members. Our immediate family members are not only our greatest God given blessings, but also their safety is our greatest concern. How thankful we are to Almighty God for all aspects of our safety every day! “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
We must be thankful and stay thankful for our physical health and mental well-being. Yes, for many of us, the physical fitness of our 20’s is a distant memory. Mentally, we are not as sharp as we once were. However, we are forever grateful for the measure of physical and mental health that we still enjoy. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).
We must be thankful and stay thankful for our material possessions. We must understand we are always better off than someone else. We must never take the place we live, the car we drive, the clothes and shoes we wear, or the food we eat as a given. They can – and so can we – be gone in a micro-second. Solomon was God’s example to us of the one who had it all. “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
We must be thankful and stay thankful above all for our spiritual blessings. Obeying the Gospel and being translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light is a spiritual blessing. Forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ is a spiritual blessing. Praying with the assurance that our prayers are being heard and answered is a spiritual blessing. Worshiping in spirit and truth is a spiritual blessing. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31)!” In his book, The Songs and Devotions of David, Volume 5 Psalms 90-108, page 308, Tom Wacaster makes several observations on these verses from Psalm 107 that are noteworthy. He writes, “The quadruple refrain, ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness’ should capture our attention. This should be the desire of every saint in every generation. Implied is the obligation we have to tell others of God’s goodness. No wonder the Psalmist wrote, ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord say so’” (107:2).
Who Really Decides?
Tami Coble Brown
Everyone has an opinion about who should run the country, but did you ever wonder what God’s opinion is? The only way to know is by reading the Bible.
During the time of the Old Testament, God appointed kings to rule over His people in Israel and Judah, but some of the kings began to worship manmade idols. God sent many prophets to warn them to turn away from their idolatry, but they would not listen. Because of their disobedience, the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, and the people were carried away to Babylon by the cruel king Nebuchadnezzar. Among those taken to Babylon was a young man named Daniel. Many years later, he told Nebuchadnezzar “that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:25).
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul told the Christians who lived under the authority of the evil Roman emperors, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority, except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1).
When elections are over and the ballots are counted, some will be glad, and some will be sad according to the outcomes. But no matter who wins, it is ultimately God Who decides who will rule. Let us remember that God is in control and He gives it to whomever He chooses.
[Editor’s Note: Truly, God is in control. Yet, that does not excuse Christians from doing their part as tools in the hands of God when He unfolds His providential will. This applies to one’s Christian living and Christian service on a personal level, as well as how God deals with nations. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]