Philippians 4: 4 - 9
4Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! 5Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
6Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 7Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. 9Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I am down. Really, really down. It feels almost as bad as a few years ago, before I got medical treatment that was life changing. Now I am examining the past few months. I am particularly thinking of the times I did my best to encourage and bless people who are struggling. I have learned a lot about how to encourage and listen and pray with people instead of giving advice. Nonetheless, I still shudder to think of how quickly I was able to slip towards thinking that everyone would feel great if they would just take my encouragement to heart.
And so I have decided to look upon this down time as an opportunity to grow in my compassion and understanding. If there was a better way for me to learn, I am sure that God would have used it. So I must trust that he knows what he is doing by allowing me to feel pain.
I have also decided to act on the scripture above, rather than just read it. So here are some things that are worthy of praise:
I thank God for my daughter who just called me to talk, to listen, to empathize, and to reassure me. It is so good to know that she loves me.
I thank God for my wife who is praying for me even as I write. I thank her for her gentle words of encouragement.
I thank God for my good friends, who are praying for me and who have listened without complaint as I have exposed my hurting to them
I thank God for what he is working in my children’s lives and for the growth and health that I see in them. Just as pain is sometimes a part of my walk with God, so it is with them. I rejoice that my children know God and trust him.
I thank God for small children, especially when I see them smile with innocent pleasure over such simple, but wonderful things.
I thank God for the friendly touch of a hand on my shoulder.
Each day I think I thank God a bit more for the sky, whether it is cloudy or clear and blue.
I thank God for trees, especially when they sway in a breeze. I love the way firs and pines sigh when a wind blows through them. I watch in wonder at the leaves tumbling through the air to the ground this fall.
I thank God for the ability to speak and to write. I love being able to hear or read and to respond.
Thank you God that I have come to know you better and better. Thank you for showing me how I will change as I know you more.
Thank you God that life is not scored on the curve. Thank you that each moment is a fresh start. I thank you that my sins are forgiven.
I thank you, God, for food, shelter, clothing, warmth, and luxuries like chocolate.
There is so much beauty. There is so much that is good. All these good things flow from you, God. You are love. You are faithful. You are true. You deserve all of these thanks and ten thousand more.
I thank you that there is more to thank you for than I could ever write.
I know that all who seek you and turn to you will find you and be healed. I know that is true for me, even when my feelings contradict.
I pray that God will be glorified in all that I write and say and do. I pray that in the midst of my weakness and pain, he will use me to help others.
So be it.