Psalm 68:3- 6

 3But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.     
4Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds his name is the LORD— and rejoice before him.    
5 father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.     
6God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

 

I am Thankful to God

 What a statement, I am thankful to God, but really I am. There are so many things in my life that I am thankful for I hardly know where to begin.

 Let me start by telling you how I realized that thankfulness had become so profoundly evident in my life.  I grew up in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. I was gifted with a set of wonderful parents who loved my siblings and I very much. They were a great role model on how to love as they were always practically showing the love of Christ to those around them.

 Helping their friends and family financially or with advice or anything else that was needed. They never turned anyone away, and often gave to those less fortunate than us in copious amounts. I am very grateful that God gave me such wonderful, stable and loving parents to teach me how to live my life.

 These parents also gave me another gift that I am so thankful for; they gave me the gift of introducing me to God. They faithfully sent me to Sunday school and took me to church. It was there that I discovered that there was a God who loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me. It was there that I found out that I had a God sized hole in my heart that only he could fill. I probably was 8 years old when I asked Jesus to become Lord of my life and my life truly has never been the same again.

 I am thankful to both God for his calling my heart to his and to my parents for being faithful and introducing me to Him.

 The next thing that I am thankful for was that my mother loved to travel, she had travelled a bit with my father but she loved the whole idea of exploring new places. She encouraged all three of her children to be the same way. I remember many hours that were spent in the kitchen with her telling me of how wonderful it would be to travel and to see new places. (Little did I know at that time, that she was laying a travelling foundation in my life, once again she was being used by God to help direct me in the path that he had for me)

 Shortly after my 21st birthday I had an opportunity to travel to Europe. My mother was so excited about this that she even went out and bought me the ticket. To be honest at the time, even though I was very excited by the prospect of leaving home and being gone for 1 year on my own, it was incredibly scary for me. I had never really been away from home up to that point.

 Well with all of the excitement that I could muster I got onto the airplane and left everything that I knew and loved behind.

 This is where I can say without a doubt that God really started my education on thankfulness and joy and character building. I often refer to the next 19 years of my life as being in the intense school of the Holy Spirit.

 In Europe I discovered that God had a new plan for my life and that plan involved a husband and a move to another continent. It involved leaving everything that I had treasured behind and following what he had for me. In my youthfulness I whole heartedly agreed. I ran ahead not really giving any thought to anyone or anything, but what I believed God wanted me to do.

 Please don’t get me wrong, if I had to do it all over again, I would do the same things, but I didn’t fully appreciate the cost of following Christ wholeheartedly.

 When I arrived in North America, I was still full of the excitement of the new adventure; until my heart started to ache for all that I had left behind, my precious family, my parents and siblings. My aunts and uncles and cousins, friends, everything that I had treasured was a continent away. I have to admit that the grief was overwhelming.

 For many years I carried the grief as a banner over me; it upset me to call the family especially if they were all gathered together and I was not there with them. I would love to tell you that I got over it quickly and absolutely embraced my new life but I would be lying.

 Over the years though God in his great mercy; has placed me within families that have loved me as their own. I am now the adopted aunty to many children and sister to many men and woman. I feel so very grateful to God for these relationships.

 I recently celebrated a milestone birthday and reflected on how rich my life is with all of these wonderful people that God has blessed my life with. I know that not only am I loved on two continents but my heavenly father loves me to.

 I guess what I am trying to tell each of you is to look around you and see and appreciate all the wonderful people that God has placed in your life. How they have helped you to grow and become whom he has called you to be.

 I want to encourage you to nurture those relationships, and give God the thanks and glory that he cares so much for you that he places you in “families” when you are lonely. Thank him for all the ways that those people have enriched your life in one way or another. I encourage each of you to become that person, who welcomes the lonely into your family, who enriches the lives of others around you by your life, your words and your love for God and them.

 I encourage you to surrender to the Holy Spirit in your life and let him show you how to love others in a way that will meet their deepest needs. These people that God placed in my life did just that, some unknowingly but others on purpose. For that I say with the deepest gratitude in my heart, thank you precious heavenly Father for the love that you have shown me through these wonderful people.

 Be God’s love today in someone else’s life.

Your sister in Christ Jesus

    

A prayer of blessing

 Psalm 20

1 In times of trouble, may the LORD answer your cry.  May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
2 May he send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you from Jerusalem.£
3 May he remember all your gifts and look favorably on your burnt offerings. Interlude
4 May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the LORD answer all your prayers.
6 Now I know that the LORD rescues his anointed king. He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power.
7 Some nations boast of their chariots and horses
, but we boast in the name of the LORD our God.
8 Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm.
9 Give victory to our king, O LORD! Answer our cry for help.

 What a powerful Psalm and one that I truly cherish, why, because it is a prayer of blessing from one to another. I pray that as you read these words you will realize that God desires to give you the desires of your heart, which he planted there. He desires to give you victory over the sin that so easily entangles your life.

 God desires that we would recognize where our help truly comes from, it does not come from people, or carefully laid out plans or even things, but it comes from Him.  He is the one who can help us through every difficulty in our lives. He without a doubt is able to see us through to the other side of any storm that we may be facing.

 You see when we put our trust into things and people instead of in God we often don’t get the results that we are looking for. Things don’t work out and we find ourselves in a worse state than before.

 I want to encourage you today, to surrender your plans and your hopes and dreams to God, cry out to him for mercy and grace and I promise that without a single doubt in my mind that God will meet you were you are at. He will give you the ideas that you need to solve the problems, he will bring healing to your heart, where it is broken, and he will blanket you with his peace as you trust in him and his plans for your life.

 Don’t delay, act now, call on him, he is waiting for you to cry out to him. Our human nature screams at us to run in the opposite direction from God when we are in trouble or when our sin threatens to drag us down.

 But, turn to him today and you will see that without a doubt, he will give you forgiveness and a peace that truly passes all understanding. Then you will be able to boast like the Psalmist did and say:

 Hey everyone, you guys boast in horses and chariots to fight your battles, but I have something way more powerful and effective, that is God, the mighty one, who loves and fights for me!

 I pray that this Psalm will bless you as much as it has blessed me. I pray that you will know the sweetness of God’s peace and that the desires that God has placed in your heart will be fulfilled and you will bring glory to God through your obedience to him.

 Amen