Though we are slaves, our God has not deserted us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia. He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has give us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem. Ezra 9:9 NIV
Welcome to 2009. A new year has arrived. We are now that much closer to the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In just a few months I will celebrate my 50th birthday. Fifty?!?! I never imagined I would see 50. Like every other generation I was sure He would return and I would join him “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor 15:51). But I patiently await.
Also this year, my grandparents will celebrate their 80th anniversary. Can you believe it!! I am sure this is a record, but haven’t yet found how to confirm it.
Every day is a new day in Christ. We are asked to do three things in First Thessalonians 5:
- be joyful always
- pray continually
- give thanks in all circumstances.
When times are hard it is difficult to think of being joyful and thankful. Often these circumstances are the only time we pray.
I once heard Joni Earickson Tada speak about a time she was very short with those around her. Joni was paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident when she was a teen. She said she apologized saying this wasn’t like her. Her husband responded, yes it is. You see, how we respond in times of pain shows who we really are. It is very easy to hide behind a mask and offer up a good appearance when is going well. But it is in those trying times, when our emotions are loosed and anxiety reigns that our true self comes out.
That is why we must pray always, not just in the bad times. How do you feel about that “friend” that calls you only to cry about their problems then doesn’t speak to you during the good times?
Be joyful no matter is going on. I find it very difficult to smile when the back pain is overwhelming but I know I must overcome this. In her book ” Mama Get the Hammer! There’s A Fly on Pap’s Head” Barbara Johnson give 5 practical ways to live a joyful life. My husband what my goals were for 2009. I think this list best describes them:
- Be an Encourager
- Avoid gumbling, don’t speak whinese
- Be thankful for anything
- Learn to Laugh
Simple enough when things are going my way, but when life happens I need to be reminded of them. So I am setting a goal, something to achieve. I am not making a resolution because that denotes failure. See, I am already looking at things differently.
Finally I must be thankful. We are starting 2009 in a difficult manner with my husband being laid off work just before Thanksgiving. We must encourage each other and name something to be thankful for every day in order not to allow discouragement to overtake us. We still have a home, some of our friends do not. We must tighten the budget, but we can do that as well.
Yes, it is a decision to be thankful. It is a decision to be joyful. It is a decision to trust God in all circumstances.
What decisions are you making?