Dec 19

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Be Thankful

Life in general, life lived through the years, and life lived daily, sometimes has bad events that must be faced. Yet, these bad events may be used for good or bad, and this depends on our character! There is nothing new about this; bad times are common to all of us. Do they make or break us? The answer to this question depends on us; it depends on the character we have made ourselves into.
When James wrote to those of the first century, his words must have sounded unbelievable: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials, frw); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience (James 1:2-3). How can “trials” be counted as something good, something to rejoice over? These brethren were going through what Peter called, “the trial of your faith” (1 Pet. 1:7). Think about it this way, how would you ever know what kind of faith you have without “trials?” How would you ever be able to overcome really bad “trials,” if you had not faced little “trials” first? Be thankful for little “trials” which come upon you; and understand they give you an opportunity to grow stronger. Being stronger enables you to overcome the harder, the more severe “trials!” So, be thankful for those little trials which try your faith!
But, not everything in life is a “trial,” and we should be thankful for these. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to worship with God’s children. That we can come before the great throne of the Almighty God, who, left on our own, we would have no right to even approach, but thanks be to God, we come through “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18). Therefore, we can worship “in spirit and in truth (John 4:24):” 1) as our voices join together in singing beautiful biblical truths (Col. 3:16); 2) as we pray expressing our desires and needs to our Heavenly Father through him who can be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” and so we come “boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:14-16); 3) we give as “as God hath prospered” us (1 Cor. 16:2) knowing that “God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7); 4) as we individually, yet together take of the Lord’s Super: “ For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26); and 5) and being edified by the truth; as we feed upon the spiritual food, the word of God, in the manner Timothy was charged: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:1-2). Yes, I am thankful for all such blessings!
Then, there is this beautiful truth that I am saved not based upon my own merit! For based upon my own merit, I would never be saved! Therefore, Paul’s words mean so much to me: “For by grace are ye saved through (the, frw) faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). If we will read this verse with care, we will get a better understand of it. First, the words, “that not of yourselves,” reaches back to the word “saved.” Meaning we are not saved of ourselves! Second, neither “grace” nor “the faith” is of us, both are from God and both are required in our being saved. The favor God bestowed upon us was not based upon our goodness; then, the plan of salvation, “the faith,” did not come because of our goodness. Therefore, our salvation is “not of yourselves!” I am so thankful that my salvation is not of man, for if it were, it would be no salvation! I am so glad that my redemption is by “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18). You see, I rejoice in the words: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
With Paul, I say: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). I am thankful that God has put his power of salvation in “the preaching of the cross” and that I can have a little part in such! I am thankful that I can have fellowship with those of like mindedness; not only in the Oklahoma City area, but unto the utter most part of the earth! I am thankful for all of God’s children; who desire to follow him in his truth that makes us free!
Have you counted your blessings, have you counted your blessings lately? Well, count them, and name them one by one as the old beautiful songs says; and be thankful for each one! When the storm clouds come upon you, remember, God put a rainbow in the sky!

— Frank R. Williams

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