A Thankful Heart

I started off this month publishing a blog post titled, A Month of Gratitude,” on November 1, 2022, and considering that the day we celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving is now only a few days away, let’s take a look at some thoughts on the topic of gratitude and thanksgiving.

In an article published on October 13, 2021, titled, The Importance of Gratitude on Your Well-Being (author’s name not mentioned), the article states:

We hear it all the time: the importance of being thankful, or showing gratitude. For some people, these words elicit an eye roll or a blank stare (at best). Sure, we know that gratitude is important in an abstract sort of way—but it can be hard to take seriously when our primary mode of interaction with the concept is the #ThankfulThursday hashtag on social media.

In many ways, as a society, we’ve lost touch with the true meaning of gratitude. And that’s understandable—gratitude requires reflection and stillness, two things that can be difficult in our busy, overstimulated everyday lives. As a result, we’re also missing out on the benefits of gratitude, which may be greater than many people realize. As it turns out, the effects of gratitude can be important for our overall well-being for several reasons: 

    • Improved mental health. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, gratitude might be the last thing on your mind. However, as it turns out, gratitude could be a key component of helping with your mental health. One study showed that participants who wrote gratitude letters regularly displayed significantly better mental health than those who didn’t. In fact, brain scans suggested that gratitude might even have the power to rewire our brains for the better.
    • Improved physical health. Better sleep and immunity? Yes please! Fortunately, neither require a visit to the doctor’s office or a new prescription. Gratitude has been shown to help with both, and may even be linked to reduced pain and improved cardiovascular health as well.
    • Stronger social bonds. It’s no secret that people like to feel appreciated. Gratitude kept to yourself can have tremendous benefits. But expressing your gratitude makes it real to you and benefits the recipient. It is also tied to your physical and mental well-being. And importantly, expressing your gratitude often build connections and improve your relationships. 
    • Resilience. Gratitude has the effect of helping us to refocus on positive emotions. It guides us to take an optimistic, solution-oriented approach to the challenges that we encounter in life. Both of which are hugely important to building resilience. Resilience, in turn, improves our overall quality of life by enabling us to bounce back from the hardships we face. 

If the idea of beginning a gratitude practice feels overwhelming or cheesy, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be difficult. You can start small by setting aside time each day to think or write about three things that you’re grateful for, or writing a gratitude letter once a week. If you’re comfortable expressing your gratitude, set a goal for yourself to tell someone that you appreciate them every day. After all—you’ve got nothing to lose, and so much to gain! (Quote source here.)

Next, is an article title, Six Habits of Highly Grateful People,” published on November 20, 2013, by Jeremy Adam Smith, who edits the online magazine, Greater Good. He states:

I’m terrible at gratitude.

How bad am I? I’m so bad at gratitude that most days, I don’t notice the sunlight on the leaves of the Berkeley oaks as I ride my bike down the street. I forget to be thankful for the guy who hand-brews that delicious cup of coffee I drink mid-way through every weekday morning. I don’t even know the dude’s name!

I usually take for granted that I have legs to walk on, eyes to see with, arms I can use to hug my son. I forget my son! Well, I don’t actually forget about him, at least as a physical presence; I generally remember to pick him up from school and feed him dinner. But as I face the quotidian slings and arrows of parenthood, I forget all the time how much he’s changed my life for the better.

Gratitude (and its sibling, appreciation) is the mental tool we use to remind ourselves of the good stuff. It’s a lens that helps us to see the things that don’t make it onto our lists of problems to be solved. It’s a spotlight that we shine on the people who give us the good things in life. It’s a bright red paintbrush we apply to otherwise-invisible blessings, like clean streets or health or enough food to eat.

Gratitude doesn’t make problems and threats disappear. We can lose jobs, we can be attacked on the street, we can get sick. I’ve experienced all of those things. I remember those harrowing times at unexpected moments: My heart beats faster, my throat constricts. My body wants to hit something or run away, one or the other. But there’s nothing to hit, nowhere to run. The threats are indeed real, but at that moment, they exist only in memory or imagination. I am the threat; it is me who is wearing myself out with worry.

That’s when I need to turn on the gratitude. If I do that enough, suggests the psychological research, gratitude might just become a habit. What will that mean for me? It means, says the research, that I increase my chances of psychologically surviving hard times, that I stand a chance to be happier in the good times. I’m not ignoring the threats; I’m appreciating the resources and people that might help me face those threats…. (Quote source here; and his “six habitscan be read in his article at this link.)

In my blog post published on November 1, 2022, titled, A Month of Gratitude,” I decided that very day to start my morning prayer (while still in bed) with “Thank you, God,” and listing all the things I thank Him for doing in my life, and I focus on Him first and foremost, and not on anything else that might be going on in my life. I’ve been doing that every morning right up through this morning, and I plan to continue doing it long after November has ended. I haven’t been keeping a journal, but I have noticed the difference in some very positive ways which I may publish at a later date.

GotQuestions.org reminds us why giving thanks to God is so important:

The Bible is filled with commands to give thanks to God (Psalm 106:1107:1118:11 Chronicles 16:341 Thessalonians 5:18). Most verses go on to list reasons why we should thank Him, such as “His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:3), “He is good” (Psalm 118:29), and “His mercy is everlasting” (Psalm 100:5). Thanksgiving and praise always go together. We cannot adequately praise and worship God without also being thankful.

Feeling and expressing appreciation is good for us. Like any wise father, God wants us to learn to be thankful for all the gifts He has given us (James 1:17). It is in our best interest to be reminded that everything we have is a gift from Him. Without gratitude, we become arrogant and self-centered. We begin to believe that we have achieved everything on our own. Thankfulness keeps our hearts in right relationship to the Giver of all good gifts.

Giving thanks also reminds us of how much we do have. Human beings are prone to covetousness. We tend to focus on what we don’t have. By giving thanks continually we are reminded of how much we do have. When we focus on blessings rather than wants, we are happier. When we start thanking God for the things we usually take for granted, our perspective changes. We realize that we could not even exist without the merciful blessings of God.

First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We are to be thankful not only for the things we like, but for the circumstances we don’t like. When we purpose to thank God for everything that He allows to come into our lives, we keep bitterness at bay. We cannot be both thankful and bitter at the same time. We do not thank Him for evil, but that He is sustaining us through it (James 1:12). We don’t thank Him for harm He did not cause, but we thank Him when He gives us the strength to endure it (2 Corinthians 12:9). We thank Him for His promise that “all things will work together for the good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

We can have thankful hearts toward God even when we do not feel thankful for the circumstance. We can grieve and still be thankful. We can hurt and still be thankful. We can be angry at sin and still be thankful toward God. That is what the Bible calls a “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15). Giving thanks to God keeps our hearts in right relationship with Him and saves us from a host of harmful emotions and attitudes that will rob us of the peace God wants us to experience (Philippians 4:6–7). (Quote source here.)

And since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, GotQuestions.org reminds us of what our focus as Christians should be on Thanksgiving:

The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for grain, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.

These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Native Americans in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Native Americans in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 Native Americans (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.

From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.

Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh’s army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times [Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36)] involved remembering God’s provision and grace. Harvest and Tabernacles took place specifically in relation to God’s provision in the harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.

In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our sin debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin in simple but sincere faith (John 3:16Romans 3:19-26Romans 6:23Romans 10:13Ephesians 2:8-10). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children. (Quote source here.)

I’ll end the post with the words from Psalm 136:1 (NKJV)–Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good…

For His mercy . . .

Endures . . .

Forever . . . .

YouTube Video: “You Are Good” by Israel and New Breed:

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Resilience

On a recent Sunday morning, the senior pastor at the church I attend mentioned a new book he has been reading titled, Resilient (2022), by John Eldredge, a New York Times bestselling author, counselor, and President of Wild at Heart,” which is “a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God and recover their own hearts in God’s love” (quote source inside back cover flap for Resilient”). 

Two days ago I was shopping in a Hobby Lobby store, and among the Christian books being sold (at up to 50% discount) near the front checkout counter area, I noticed a copy of Resilient and I decided to buy it. I have previously read books by John Eldredge and his wife, Stasi, who is also an author, and my interest was piqued by the very positive comments regarding this latest book by John Eldredge as stated by the senior pastor.

preview of Chapters 1 & 2 (in PDF–52 pages) is available online at “Wild at Heart at this link. Amazon.com provides the following information on Resilient:

The human soul has a built-in yearning for joy and beauty and all good things. But that craving for life has taken a real beating in the last few years. Join New York Times bestselling author John Eldredge as he gives you the tools you need to follow Jesus’ path of supernatural resilience so you can reclaim your joy, strengthen your heart, and thrive through the storm.

Between false promises of ease and comfort on one side and the sheer trauma of global disease and disasters on the other, people today are facing a shortage of peace, happiness, and strength. In “Resilient,” Eldredge reveals a path toward genuine recovery and resilience through Jesus himself.

Drawing on wisdom from Scripture and Christian tradition, and illustrated throughout with powerful, true stories of grit and survival, “Resilient” will help you:

    • Recover from the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Tap into the river of life that God promises his people
    • Learn to be patient with yourself–genuine recovery from spiritual and emotional trauma takes time and intentionality
    • Create a plan to foster resilience in your day-to-day life
    • Discover deep wells of freedom and strength through Christ who lives within us

Thriving requires a resilient soul. This book will help you find the resilience you long for when the world has gone mad–and discover in Jesus himself the strength that prevails. (Quote source here.)

I’m looking forward to reading the entire book over the next several days, and to pique your interest in this book, as I mentioned above, the first two chapters in the book are available to read online at this link.

So let’s take a closer look at what it means to be resilient. EveryDayHealth.com defines resilience as follows:

Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Being resilient does not mean a person doesn’t experience stress, emotional upheaval, and suffering. Resilience involves the ability to work through emotional pain and suffering.

Resilience is important because it’s needed to process and overcome hardship. Those lacking resilience get easily overwhelmed, and may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Resilient people tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems. (Quote source here.)

From a biblical perspective, what does the Bible have to say about the subject of resilience? GotQuestions.org provides the following information:

Resilience is the quality of being able to adapt to stressful life changes and “bouncing back” from hardship. Resilience is a response to tragedy, crisis, or other life-altering changes that allows us to move on despite the loss. Showing resilience does not mean that a person is unaffected or uncaring about the life change. Resilience is the human heart’s ability to suffer greatly and grow from it. We see examples of national resilience, such as the United States showed after the events of September 11, 2001. We observe personal resilience every day in people who suffer handicaps, deaths of loved ones, and other losses. When people refuse to give up on themselves and the world, even after misfortune, they are being resilient.

Resilience is the biblical norm for Christians. The Bible contains many admonitions to press on (Philippians 3:13–15), overcome hardship and temptation (Romans 12:21), and persevere in the face of trials (James 1:12). It also gives us numerous examples of people who suffered greatly but continued to follow God’s plan for their lives. Proverbs 24:16 could be seen as the theme verse for the resilient:

Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

Paul showed great resilience after his life-altering encounter with Jesus (Acts 9). When he was transformed from religious Pharisee to radical Christian, many were not happy with his message. He was beaten, stoned, criticized, jailed, and nearly killed many times (2 Corinthians 11:24–27). One incident especially shows Paul’s exceptional resilience. In Lystra in Asia Minor, he was stoned, dragged out of town, and left for dead, but, when his enemies left, Paul simply got up and went back into the city (Acts 14:19–20). His missionary endeavors continued unabated. Godly resilience enables us to be undeterred from our mission, regardless of the opposition.

In the Old Testament, Job demonstrated great resilience, and God honored him for it. After losing everything, Job was in great agony of soul and body, yet he refused to curse the Lord or give up: “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:22). Later, when the suffering intensified, Job’s wife counseled him to “curse God and die!” (Job 2:9), but Job would not even consider such a thing. Despite his suffering, Job knew that God was in control, and that knowledge helped him maintain resilience instead of giving in to defeat. His faith resulted in resiliency.

The believer in Jesus Christ is upheld by God’s power and so is naturally resilient. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). Christians keep bouncing back. The key to resiliency is faith in the Lord:

The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand (Psalm 37:23–24).

One enemy of resilience is the incorrect assumption that we know how things will end. When a situation seems out of control or does not appear to be headed in the right direction, we tend to write “The End” over the story. We think we know the final result, so, instead of exercising resilience, we give up or take matters into our own hands. Proverbs 3:5–6 is a good passage to cling to whenever we can see only disaster ahead:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not to your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct your paths.

Choosing to trust in the Lord rather than rely on what we understand is the best way to stay resilient. (Quote source here.)

In an article published on February 5, 2021, titled, Resilient Faith,” by Sharon Hazel, who blogs at limitless-horizon,” she writes:

In our Western society faith, so often, is an easy choice. We have the freedom to go to church, to read our Bibles, and to talk about our faith without fear of recrimination. But what happens if our comfortable world is shaken in some way? What happens when our choices are restricted or reduced? Will our faith remain steadfast?

Faith is not just about what we know, but in trusting in what we don’t know. Unless we acknowledge that tension, we will never stand firm when second choices threaten to unsettle us.Jeff Lucas, in his book, “Singing in Babylon

Resilient faith is based on the knowledge and experience of a steadfast, true and unchanging God. When we live out our lives depending, not on the strength of our faith but on His faithfulness.

Three Ways to Build Resilient Faith

1. Acceptance of God’s Sovereignty

Resilient faith flourishes not because of the circumstances that we are in, but despite the circumstances. The acceptance which changes the “if God blesses, I will worship Him” to “though I do not understand, yet will I worship.”

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.Habakkuk 3:17-18

This is a beautifully poetic passage from Habakkuk. And reflects one of the greatest declarations of faith in Scripture. The decision to worship God for who He is, our Lord and Savior and to accept His Sovereignty. When we are willing to submit our will to the Lord and trust in Him through our trials we can find peace of mind in daily life. A strength that develops through focusing, on the eternal rather than the temporal, and trusting in the love of the Lord.

2. Choose our attitude

We build spiritual resilience when we cultivate gratitude. When we are thankful for what we have, rather than focusing on what we have left behind or on what we feel we are missing.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus1 Thessalonians 5:18

We are resilient when we choose to live in the presentWhen we are willing to adapt and learn from the situation we are in, even when it is not to our choosing. Last year brought challenges with the restrictions that were placed on corporate worship. We then had a choice in how we responded. Were we willing to actively find other ways to connect and worship together. Or would we cling to what we had before, and miss out on a new experience in the present.

3. Walk humbly with God

We accept God’s Sovereignty and give thanks in all circumstances when we maintain the integrity of our faith. To walk humbly with God, reflects our dependence on Him and prayer is the key. Engaging constantly in conversation with God, for “pray continually” comes before “give thanks in all circumstances.” We bring our prayers and petitions to God, we talk with Him and listen for His direction and guidance and receive the strength that we need. God’s grace is sufficient and as we are inspired by His grace we are not intimidated by our circumstances!

Habakkuk completes his prayer, his declaration of faith with the confidence, that with the Lord we can rise above our circumstances:

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.Habakkuk 3:19

Resilient Faith demonstrated in the Bible

Scripture is full of examples of those who demonstrated resilient faith in their lives, such as Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Peter, Paul, and John…. Those who through immense trials and difficulties showed that we can, not only survive but, thrive where we are planted. For we are all, to a certain extent, “exiles” on earth when our citizenship is in heaven.

In his book,Singing in Babylon–Finding purpose in Life’s Second Choices,” Jeff Lucas [author, speaker, and senior executive pastor at Timberline Church] explores and develops the theme of second choice lives.

Life is never perfect. As Christians we need to move on from the myth that following Jesus will always give us what we want, our first choice. And that second choices are those situations, very real and painful, that we find ourselves in which we never would have chosen.

Even in chaos, God has a plan and purpose. He works with the found and seeks the lost.Jeff Lucas

The book focuses on Daniel and his friends and their lifelong exile in Babylon. The author skillfully interweaves their experiences with relevant application for our lives today. The godly principles that Daniel and his friends displayed while living out their lives in exile, brings a challenging message. When all apparent choices had been forcibly taken from them, they resolved to live their lives in worship to God, even when in a strange land.

We too can build resilience into our faith, when we trust in God through the unfamiliar and unknown. And we may find, just like Daniel, that the place of suffering can be a place of refinement and growth, where we develop a resilient faith. (Quote source here.)

I’ll end this post with the words of Paul found in Romans 8:38-39For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God…

That is in . . .

Christ Jesus . . .

Our Lord . . . .

YouTube Video: “Stand in Faith” by Danny Gokey:

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A Month of Gratitude

I read a short devotion for October 21st in a daily devotional published by The Upper Room that got me to thinking about the subject of being thankful in all circumstances as the Apostle Paul encourages us to do in I Thessalonians 5:16-18. While the entire devotion isn’t available to read online, you can listen to it at this link.

The devotion titled, Overcoming Despair,” by Amy Graham describes a situation where one year in particular, 2016, was filled with several life-changing events for both her and her husband, the most painful being that they both lost their fathers that year, and they were grief-stricken. Her husband is a pastor who served in leadership roles and he continued to work, but she wrote that she felt alone, angry, and stuck in her grief, and she found it hard to go to God in prayer during this time. As she states in her devotion:

One day, I decided I had to do something to break myself out of this pattern. I sat quietly and simply said, “Thank you, God.” The next day, I thanked God again. With each new day, my time with God grew longer, as did my list of thanks and praise. Each time I expressed gratitude to God, I felt like light was breaking through the darkness that surrounded me. As my spirit of thanksgiving grew, God’s light overcame my despair. (Quote source: The Upper Room, September-October 2022, p. 62; listen to the complete devotion at this link.)

Reading her devotion reminded me of how often I don’t start off my morning prayer (I pray silently before I get out of bed in the morning) with thanking God for all he is doing (after all, he runs the entire universe) instead of going right into any requests or other stuff that is on my mind. While I am not going through a season of grief and despair as the author above wrote, I do sometimes wonder what I’m supposed to be doing at this stage in my life, especially in light of the past dozen plus years that took me in a totally different direction then I ever thought I’d be going in. My feelings are more along the line of perplexity and trying to figure out just what exactly these past dozen years have been all about especially in light of trying to move forward from this point on. Moving forward to what exactly?

After reading that devotion ten days ago, I decided to start my morning prayer (while still in bed) with “Thank you, God,” and focus on Him and not just on my own perplexity about this time in my life. My motto for the past dozen years has been to just take each day as it comes as any future I had hoped for was blown out of the water several year ago. So it’s been sort of like “Lord, here I am… now what?” on a daily basis.

Back in the fall of 2008 when I was working at that job that I lost in April 2009, I started keeping a daily journal of my devotional time that I had first thing in the morning before I went to work each day, and I kept it up after I lost that job in April 2009 and during the following two or three years while I was looking for full time work.

One day I came home to discover a bunch of pages had been ripped out of my journal while I was gone for a few hours from my small furnished apartment in the upstairs of an old house that was mostly vacant except for one other small apartment that was occupied beneath mine. After that discovery, I stopped writing in my journal since it was obvious what I wrote was no longer private, and my apartment was obviously not as secure as I thought it was (but that’s another story altogether).

When I read that devotion mentioned above a few days ago, I thought about starting another journal and writing down any reflections I might have from my morning devotional time. I thought if I had some of my observations from my devotional time written down on paper that it might give me some clarity and direction I should be pursuing at this time. However, I recalled what happened the last time I tried keeping a journal, and I decided not to put anything down on paper again.

What I have come to learn since 2009 is that in our tech-savvy world there really is very little privacy anymore, even in the confines of wherever we are living (whether in a private home or apartment or any other type of housing). Our technology has eyes and ears we never had to worry about in the past, and not only that, it can locate us (as in our exact location) anywhere we are via our smartphones and other techie devices.

I’ve also learned a lot about our world over the past dozen years that I had no clue about, and some of what I have learned can take one’s breath away. I used to think it was the stuff of science fiction, but advances in technology have made it far more science and far less fiction (see article published in 2021 titled, Databit x Databit, We’re Building Our Own Electronic Concentration Camp,” and a second article published in 2014 titled,Life in the Electronic Concentration Camp: The Many Ways That You Are Being Tracked and Controlled,” by John W. Whitehead, Constitutional attorney, and Founder and President of The Rutherford Institute).

As a Christian, I believe there is absolutely nothing going on in this world, and that includes anywhere in this world with it vast array of technological wonders, and it’s lack of privacy, that God is not fully aware of. In fact, Hebrews 4:12-13 states:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

I will state that I’m not against technology. In fact, I love it! If I had only been younger when PC’s first came out and when the internet first arrived on the scene for public consumption in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I would have much rather earned a college degree in Information Technology or Computer Science. That’s how much I love technology. But like everything else, it can be used for both good and for evil (and I described some of the evil above).

So, as I think and pray about what I’m supposed to be doing with my life going forward, I would love for some aspect of technology to be a part of it, but I have no clue what that looks like other then I’ve been publishing blog posts on this blog since I first started it back in 2010, and I now have over 800 blog posts published on my two blogs (over 700 posts on this blog and over 100 posts on my second blog). And I do thank God for my love and fascination with all things techie, but I’m also behind in keeping up with it since I haven’t been part of the workforce since 2009.

So, back to the devotion I really related to above when I read it several days ago. While the author was trying to “overcome despair,” I’m trying to “overcome perplexity,” as I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, and I don’t know why it has to keep going on and on without any resolution. So like her, I’ve decided I need to break out of this pattern and to sit quietly and thank God daily, and what better timing for me to do this then during the month of Thanksgiving (November) which started today–a month of gratitude.

So, if you are perhaps in need of overcoming some type of anxiety that you’ve prayed about for a long time but still with no resolution, why not join me in a month of saying “Thank you, God” at the start of every morning with praise and gratitude, and leave the rest with him regarding the situation you are seeking some kind of resolution for. After all, He knows us better then we know ourselves (see Psalm 139).

I’ll end this post with the last two verses in Psalm 139 (vv. 23-24): Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me…

And lead me . . .

In the way . . .

Everlasting . . . .

YouTube Video: “Heart of the Father” by Ryan Ellis:

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