Thanks to the Lord

It is Thanksgiving 2020 today. Many may feel there is little reason to be grateful considering the many difficulties we have experienced this year. However, the difficulties actually serve to magnify how abundantly grateful we should be.

This earthly world is only temporary. For those who accept the gift of salvation through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, there is a world to come that is void of pain and strife and sin and tears. Eyes turned on this magnificent blessing will be washed with joy and peace, causing the things of this earth to become dim. These eyes will shine with gratitude for God’s everlasting mercy.

Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His mercy is everlasting.

Psalm 106:1

Sorrowful, Yet Rejoicing

I love to laugh; there is something about it that just feels good. Smiling is also a pleasant sensation, especially when an unexpected delight grabs my attention. These “feel good” times are still part of my life, but they come far less frequently than in the past, which distresses some who know me. It seems they think I have little joy. The thing to note is this…

It is true that my face does not smile as much as it used to; I am not sure the smiling muscles work when my head hurts, my brain is foggy, and my energy is null. However, my soul is smiling; it is praising God for my salvation.

(Learning to Be Content)

In this way, I am “sorrowful, yet rejoicing” as Paul was (2 Cor. 6:10). He had experienced many trials (2 Cor. 6:4-9), but knew that his salvation was his source of joy. Peter knew this as well:

…who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials…

(1 Peter 1:5-6, bold font mine) 

Jesus had joy while He suffered on the cross because He knew the joy of heaven was coming (Heb. 12:2). Although this joy comforted Him, my guess is that He did not have a smile on His face while nails were pierced through His hands and feet and His lungs were collapsing. 

My suffering has caused me to turn my eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2). He is not only my example for how to rejoice, but also my Savior. I rejoice in the God of my salvation with a smile in my soul.

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Sinful Discontent

Current events and the resulting “at home” status in many areas of the world tempt us to desire other than what we have. We want to be able to choose where we go, when we can go there, and what we can do once we get there. However, we must remember key truths about God in order to prevent sinful discontent from sprouting and flourishing. My intent is to briefly examine these truths over the course of several blog posts.

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No Stress Required

It occurred to me today that being homebound is advantageous in one respect. The fact that I can no longer attend Christmas parties, family get-togethers, and plays or go shopping among decorations, loud music, and bright red and green lights means that there are fewer distractions. As a result, the true miracle of Christmas is clearer in my mind than it was when I was “having Christmas” as I used to call it.

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Prepare Your Mind, Keep Sober in Spirit, and Fix Your Hope

Over the last couple of years, it became apparent that my health was suffering significantly each time I would leave my house to go anywhere. The resulting illness that lasted for several days was a strong motivator to simply stay home instead of participate in my previous activities. As my world gradually grew smaller, I thought it would become easier to keep my mind on things above (Colossians 3:2). I thought there would be fewer sinful distractions. How wrong I was.

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Hold My Hand While We Limp to Jerusalem

NOTE: This post is much longer than any of my other posts. However, for ease of access, I am providing it here at the request of several people. For a printable pdf version, please scroll to the end of the post.


The blessing of Christian fellowship is a wonderful gift! God “comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Sometimes though, it is difficult to know how best to offer this comfort even when there is a sincere desire to do so.

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What Moths and Rust Cannot Destroy

In an attempt to cheer myself a few weeks ago, I tried to think of something I could look forward to, but it was difficult. Through a tearful struggle, I came up with a few things and kept my eyes on them with the expectation that I would be cheered once they happened. This gave me a precarious sensation of hope amidst circumstances that had been brimming with loss for several years. But… this was simply a recipe for additional disappointment.

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My Song in the Night

At the end of my last post, I commented, “Preaching truth to myself instead of listening to thoughts that cause despair is what I must do in order to be filled with joy, peace, and hope.” However, I also realize that prayer is essential in my desire to draw closer to God. Recently, my prayers have come in the form of pleading cries for relief and comfort. I know that God notices my tears as He did with Hannah (1 Samuel 1:10) and doesn’t grow weary of listening as written by David (Psalm 6:6-9). As I pray though, I find myself wondering, as David did in Psalm 13, “How long, O Lord”?

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Why Are You in Despair?

The battle for right thinking is hard; sometimes, it is very hard. Prolonged trials challenge the faith of a believer but have the potential to produce spiritual growth and nearness to God. Many of the Psalms illustrate this as the psalmist pours out his heart to God with words of anguish and fear alternating with praise for God and hope for His help.

As a prime example of this, Psalm 42 reflects much of what has been on my heart recently. I have felt anguish and fear after finding another breast lump. However, the Holy Spirit is bringing truths to my mind that challenge my thoughts, resulting in a spiritual war that is difficult, but bound to produce good.

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