As Thanksgiving approaches, it may be hard to feel thankful. Our nation has been hit hard with catastrophe, tragedy, and unprecedented violence. From the fires in the west to the hurricanes in the south and flooding in the east and numerous shootings throughout, no region has been spared from calamity. Many people are hurting and broken. Some are destitute without a home, while others have lost loved ones without having the chance to say goodbye.
Our hearts hurt for those who have lost everything, and we’re heavily burdened for those who have no hope. So this Thanksgiving, how can we rejoice and give thanks when our world seems to be falling apart?
I’m a full time private music instructor. It’s my job to teach students the inner complexities of music and how to translate what’s written on a page to how to play it on an instrument. I teach students of all ages, but right now, I have quite a few little guys—ages 5-6. And while these youngsters can be a challenge, it is so rewarding to see the proverbial light bulb come on and watch them master each new lesson. Recently, as I was telling my family some of the funny things these little guys have said—I have quite a few stories!—God hit me with something big.
Children trust utterly, absolutely, and entirely. They don’t doubt what you tell them, but in fact, are willing to somewhat blindly trust you.
Since a very young age, I have always been fascinated by the stained glass windows found within the states. The stories of Jesus show forth proudly as the new day sun shines through. Casting the dark reds, and deep blues upon the faces of the congregation as they eagerly listen to the words of their shepherd. Small children investigate the photos of Christ in His ministry on earth, remembering the tales of Christ that they so often hear from their parents: the feeding of the 5,000, Christ's birth, death and resurrection. Though it may seem childish, I still enjoy spending my time looking at stained glass windows and maybe the reason behind my love of them is knowing how much they show my own story.
Editor’s Note: Since my article was published on TheRebelution.com, there has been an increased focus and interest on the subject of trials and God’s sovereignty in them. So when I received an email from a friend paralleling the metal refining process with God’s work in our lives and the biblical use of metal, fire, and purification, I was so encouraged and excited by the concepts and truths brought out that I felt led to share it with you all. So here it is. While the first half may become a bit tedious—especially if you’re not an engineer—keep reading, everything will fall into place and create a power-punch at the end! May the Lord use it to encourage and build you up in your current place—whether it be in the midst of, coming out of, or recovering from a season of difficulty.
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. So reads the title of the book, the start of a Rebelution. It’s challenging. It’s exciting. It’s world changing. But for some of us, it’s not reality. For some of us, doing hard things doesn’t always mean rebelling against low expectations but rather merely meeting them.
Now before you stop reading in aghast, let me explain. I agree that we are all called to do hard things. However, for some of us, those hard things are not necessarily big things. In fact, they might be ordinary, mundane, supposedly “normal” things, but they’re hard for us. Now the “us” I’m referring to is not the typical, everyday teenager or young person, but the one navigating physical affliction and suffering whether it be cancer, Lyme’s disease, juvenile arthritis, autoimmune disease, or any other chronic illness. Can you relate?
Today is a day of remembrance and reflection for our country. A time to remember lives lost, sacrifices made, and a war begun. Fifteen years ago, terror struck America as three hijacked planes hurled into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The attackers’ objective: terrorize the most powerful nation in the world and bring fear and devastation. They accomplished their mission and ignited the War on Terror. Since that fateful day in 2001, there have been many other terrorist attacks in America and around the world where innocent people have lost their lives and military personnel have sacrificed theirs.
We’ve come to the beginning of yet another new year. Yes, I know that this post is late and that the first month of the year is already almost over; however, I’m still trying to get my head around 2016!
Today is a day of remembrance and reflection for our country. A time to remember lives lost, sacrifices made, and a war begun. On this day, fourteen years ago, terror struck America as three hijacked planes hurled into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The attackers’ objective: terrorize the most powerful nation in the world and bring fear and devastation. They accomplished their mission and ignited the War on Terror. Since that fateful day in 2001, there have been many other terrorist attacks in America and around the world where innocent people have lost their lives and military personnel have sacrificed theirs.
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
“Then the LORD said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.’”
While God was making His covenant with Abraham, He told Abraham that his descendants, the Israelites, would be sojourners in a foreign land and that they would be afflicted for four hundred years. Now this is not something I would want God to tell me, would you?! But as always there’s a promise, and it is in the fact that although God allowed the Israelites to suffer He vowed to bring judgment on their oppressors and lead them out with great possessions.
“These pains and trouble here are like the type which the printers set; as they look now, we have to read them backwards, and they seem to have no sense or meaning in them; but up yonder, when the Lord God prints us off in the life to come, we shall find they make brave reading.”
Luther penned these words on his death bed, amidst the pain and torment of his final illness. The Lord is the mastermind of our lives, choosing the text with extra care, for every word has divine purpose.
"But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand"
Like a gigantic puzzle with all its pieces strewn about, so also situations in life can look like the aftermath of a hurricane. However, it is from the chaos of the scattered pieces that we come to truly appreciate the beauty of the completed work. Many times, though, we don’t get to see the finished product or the purpose behind the chaos.
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Today is a day of remembrance and reflection for our country. A time to remember lives lost, sacrifices made, and a war begun. Read more
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