Give Thanks in all Circumstances

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, emphasis mine).

Really think about that: Rejoice always!  Give thanks in all circumstances!  Even when you lose your job?  Even when your best friend betrays you?  Even when your child dies?  Even when the worst possible thing happens?  Those words: “always” and “all” don’t leave any room for complaining, bitterness, or feeling sorry for yourself.

I learned this first hand yesterday.  I woke up with a migraine attack.  I have been healed of migraines.  Since my healing, I have been able to pray away almost all attacks.  If a migraine goes away in an hour, then it was an attack, and not a true migraine.  Migraines typically last 18 to 20 hours.

Whenever these attacks come, I have typically prayed, and lately I have added thanksgiving to God for the provision for my healing through the blood of Jesus.  But the attack that came yesterday morning was only getting worse with prayer.

So I asked the Lord what to do, and He said, “Thank Me.”  So I began thanking God for the migraine attack.  The strange thing is that as I thanked Him, I began to feel grateful—really, genuinely grateful.  And that lead to extravagant praise.  I was praising God with a grateful heart because He had allowed the migraine attack.  In my heart was born the absolute certainty that if God had allowed this migraine attack, then it must be for my ultimate good.

Almost instantly the migraine left me.  And after about half an hour, I was feeling 100 percent again.

Then I realized that this had been an important lesson to learn, and another step forward in trusting God all the more.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight, (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I trust You, Lord!  The more I trust You, the more You prove Yourself faithful and good!  God is good!

Beautiful God

This morning I was meditating on God’s beauty and goodness. Consider this: the most beautiful things and places on earth, whether natural or manmade, are only a pale reflection of His own great beauty. Likewise, everything good in life (friends, love, chocolate) is just a small glimpse of His own great goodness.

Take some time today to meditate on God’s beauty or to meditate on His great goodness. And give Him thanks and praise. God is good! I can’t overemphasize it: God is good!

Rescued by My Misfit Church

Two of Mom’s three dogs are “rescues,” that is that she got them from the pound instead of from breeders.  Rescues tend to be mixed breeds, and if not adopted, they will be euthanized.  In many ways, I can relate to rescues because I feel more like a mutt than a pedigreed purebred.  And like the dogs, I was under the sentence of death, but Jesus rescued me.

All my life I’ve felt like a misfit.  I didn’t know precisely what to call that feeling until I moved to Italy.  As a foreigner in Italy, I finally understood this misfit feeling to be feeling foreign.  Yes, all my life I’ve felt foreign in my own country, and even among my own family.  Peter Wagner in his amazing book, Your Spiritual Gifts can Help Your Church Grow, points out that this is a sign of a missionary gift and calling.

I moved to Asheville over a year ago, but in truth I have spent very little time living here.  During this time I have visited a few churches to which I had been invited, but mostly attending Mom’s church and going to Bible studies and services here in the retirement community.

The first church that I was invited to (the day after moving day) was the church next door.  It is a small, very friendly church and the worship style is chandelier-swinging—which I love.  I like worship that is uninhibited and free because then I know that the people behind me (I prefer sitting down front) aren’t shocked by my uninhibited show of love for my Lord.  I have visited some churches where I have gotten comments about the freedom of my worship.  One pair of teenage girls once told me, “Wow!  You just don’t care!”  That could be taken a number of ways, but I prefer to take it as a compliment.

Most of the time I live in Italy.  And because of my traveling lifestyle, even when I’m in the US, I haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities to attend this church or get to know its people.  Until now, that is!  Before going to the conference in Dallas, I attended a Sunday evening service (before Thanksgiving) in which each of us was asked to share what we are thankful to God for.  In hearing about what they were thankful for, I learned that almost everybody there was a rescue like me—rescued first by others in the church, and then by Jesus.  Many of them are misfits like me.

The associate pastor told me that the church’s mission is to help those people who have been wounded by bad church experiences.  Certainly there are a lot of those, not just in Asheville, but all over the US.  It certainly is good to know that there is a place where misfits can fit together and all of us can be rescued—by each other and by the Lord.  I love my misfit church!  God is good!