thankfullness

Thankfullness is the opposite of discontent… and today’s true story concerns a young man who has seen more “hard times” than I have… but having observed his self-destructive behaviour for several years… I think there are important spiritual lessons to be learned.

The cycle (in a nutshell) is this…. he gets a job, rents an apartment and is happy for a couple of months…. then he quits the job, loses the apartment and goes around begging for lodging wherever he can find it…. usually nobody feeds and lodges a healthy young man  indefinitely so eventually “he wears out his welcome” and is put “on the street” again… in this “down and out” condition he resolves never to repeat his mistakes if he could only just find another job….. eventually he succeeds at getting another job (with help from friends, who also assist him with downpayment for another apartment)…. things are great for a short while because the apartment is close to where he works and he can walk to work (never needs bus fare) and can survive on the money he is paid because it can both feed him and pay for the apartment…. the only catch is, the job is HARD, long hours without “extra” money and as the weeks roll into  month or two he gets frustrated with “miserable dead end job” and gets ready to give it all up and repeat the cycle…. yet again.

Now I dont want to trivialise his predicament…. nobody, we say, likes “slavery-type work”….. but what are his options ?

1. Better yourself through government-funded education.

2. Accept your  “slavery-type”  conditions and learn to live happily (or unhappily)  in it.

3. Repeat the above “life cycle” until you are so “down and out and depressed” that you end it all by suicide.

Where am I going with this ?

EVERYBODY has “problems”….. from the rich master to the lowly slave….. the Bible says, “GODLINESS with CONTENTMENT is great GAIN” (1 Timothy 6:6)

I heard a Pan-African spokesman say, “The Bible was written for the slave master’s benefit… to keep the slaves in line through religion” and the same person also said “The Voodoo religion is just as valid a form of worship as Christianity”….. do I really need to analyse these statements ?… well…  certainly NOT in today’s posting.

Today’s post is focussing on the very important fact that WHATEVER your current state you have a mental CHOICE:

1. THANKFULLNESS…  (in the young man’s case) I am healthy and free of pain, today is a beautiful day (the birds are singing, the sun is shining, the air is fresh) and I live in BARBADOS… an idyllic paradise island, that the world’s wealthiest people visit for a two week vacation (and wish they could stay longer)…. I have an apartment and a job and even though the work is hard and the hours long…. I can still go on the boardwalk by the sea which is just outside my place of work for my lunch hour and when I leave work tired I can go home and lay down in peace and quiet on a comfortable bed…. LORD I AM BLESSED more than millions of starving children in Sudan…. eathquake and radiation victims in Japan…. and refugees of war-torn lands in ethnic cleansing….. THANK YOU LORD for my job, my apartment and all my other blessings that I have enjoyed today….. I guarantee that this approach will lead to HAPPINESS and PEACE and (perhaps) eventually an improvement in the conditions he finds so  “hard and painfull”

2. DISCONTENT….  My life sucks, going nowhere fast, fed-up with all this hard work and no “extra” money in sight….. I want new clothes and a ticket to Rihanna LOUD concert…. why cant I be like Betty and Stephen, its easy for them to talk, they want for nothing and never done a stroke of “hard work” in their life… it’s not fair… life’s not fair… I want to be a CELEBRITY, I want TO BE like Rihanna…. I want a big house and a car and… and… I WANT…. WHY CANT I HAVE…. EVERYBODY GOT… I cant take this anymore…. I going to tell that so-and-so “slave driver” boss where to “get off”…. just watch me today, I going “tell off” everybody in sight… I going BLOCK BAD (this is a Barbados slang expression)….. few days later, on the street again…. nothing to eat… and “no fixed place of abode”.

SADLY….. vast numbers of young men in this country are taking the SECOND option to their own hurt and ultimate undoing.

Prayer for today:

Loving Heavenly Father, help me today to be truly thankful to you  for all the blessings that you have given to me….. and guide me through your Holy Spirit thoughout the day… keep me from sinning against you…. and use me to minister to the needs of whoever you chose to bring my way. Amen

Bible Verses for you to read…

Psalm 92:1 “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O MOST HIGH”

Psalm 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name.”

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

Phillipians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known unto God”

thoughts

Today we look at thoughts…. where they come from…. and the effect that they have on your life…. I will not actually quote the Bible verses but I will ask you to look them up because it will help you to “learn” your Bible and such practice will enable you to find passages of Scripture faster.

Matthew 9:4 …. tells us that many of your thoughts originate with you…. you are the person doing the thinking… and this verse also tells us that Jesus can read your thoughts.

NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that satan can know your thoughts (what you are actually thinking about)…. but the Bible does tell us that satan can plant thoughts (ideas) into your head (John 13:2)…. and he can then observe your behaviour closely to see if you are still  thinking about what he has planted…… your words, reactions (eye movement, heart rate) and other actions  can then be carefully observed by him to determine how successful he has been at getting you to think about the idea that he has planted in your head.

Satan is not allowed to torment you continuously (indefinitely)…. his attacks come in waves….. and then he departs….. (Luke 4:13 and 1 Corinthians 10:13)

Jesus is able to help you during your temptation if you will only seek his help (Hebrews 2:18)

For the unsaved people… those who do not love God…. the vast bulk of people “doing their own thing”…  their thoughts are RUBBISH… (Psalms 94:11 and Matthew 15:19…. also 1 Corinthians 3:20)

For those who love God….. He has only GOOD thoughts for them….  read Jeremiah 29:11…. God has thoughts too, about us, and I think that is wonderful.

Our thoughts, determine our actions and our lives (Proverbs 23:7)…. this is why it is so important to think GOOD thoughts (Philippians 4:8)

We have control over our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5) …. and we must exercise that control at all times and not just “think whatever comes into our head”

The consequences of thinking on satan’s ideas can be disastrous (Acts 5:3 – 5)

Prayer for today:

Ask God to give you a “warning thought” (through His Holy Spirit) every time your own thoughts “wander off” in the direction of FOOLISHNESS and EVIL…… and then when He “pokes you” in your mind…. STOP… and CORRECT your thoughts to “something  proper”

Finally…. you cannot get enough of Scripture into your thoughts…. the more Scripture you know the better….. Jesus used Scripture when He was tempted of the devil….. and you can do it too…. in fact, you are expected to do it… so ask His help and start by actually looking up the Bible verses I gave you today…. and then maybe go on to read a Chapter or two.

Frustration

I am a very slow person, meaning I do not accomplish a lot in a short space of time….. perhaps because I am too “detailed” in everything I do… and this was always a source of frustration to me…. over the years, I have tried on occasions to “speed up” but this always ended in more frustration.

I found myself envying the people in the Bible, their lives seemed so simple and relaxed….. with HOURS to spare, just sitting on a peaceful hillside tending sheep or planting crops and just watching them grow….. I get to wondering IF David had lived in 2011, would the Psalms ever be written ?

I tell God…. I cant wait to get to Heaven where TIME SHALL BE NO MORE….. I mean, TIME is my WORST ENEMY….. I NEVER seem to have enough time to do even a quarter of the things I want to do…. and what is worse, as each year passes, I seem to be slipping further and further behind.

EITHER I am getting SLOWER or TIME ITSELF is SPEEDING UP…. I know this sounds crazy but it is my REALITY.

REGARDLESS of my “problem”, GOD is the same FOREVER… He dwells in the High and Holy place with them who are of a contrite and humble spirit , to revive the spirit of the HUMBLE, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)

The dictionary says that contrite means “penitent” or “thoroughly sorry” and humble means “humility” or “lowly condition or rank”…. I guess I qualify, because as a result of my “slowness” I am a “nobody” and cant seem to “get anywhere” in this world… or “achieve anything” in life….. therefore the only way I can ever be “happy” is to cling to the hope that someday I will be with God (who made me in the first place) and my “slowness” will not matter anymore.

So is this the end of the story ?

Not quite…. the MORE of my “scarce and limited time” I spend “studying” GOD and worshipping Him through Praise and Thanksgiving….. the happier I will be…. REGARDLESS of my circumstances on earth….. and since I cannot achieve all that I want to do anyway….. maybe it does not matter in the long run either.

Many “worldly successful” people view…  “God, the Bible and the Church” as a crutch for “inferior” people to hold on to…. “something they dont need and certainly do not have time for”.

These “successful” people (who we all envy) dont need God…. and they usually despise us as well…… no wonder it is “virtually impossible” for them to get into the Kingdom of Heaven…. and even if they could get there, they wouild not like it there…. because it would represent everything that they DESPISE.

Thank God today for everything He has done for you….. make a list of all the blessings you are enjoying… dont think you are being blessed ? …… just pick up a newspaper or turn on a TV….. trust me, you are blessed, there are many, many in a worse state than you.

love

Psalm 145:20 “The LORD preserveth all those who love him, but all the wicked will he destroy”

John 14:15 “If ye love me keep my commandments”

We must love in DEED as well as in word… otherwise we have no witness to others

If you lack love…. ask of God and He will give you….. never doubt this because He wants to give you love… both for Him and for others