79 Thankfulness

Secret number 11 to finding humility is thankfulness.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

The Lord tells us, “give thanks in all circumstances” and “with thanksgiving, present our requests to God”.  We readily thank God when we receive what we want.  We need to thank Him in all circumstances including times when we don’t receive what we want.  In giving thanks we humble ourselves and acknowledge God as the Giver of all good things (James 1:17).

Giving thanks when we don’t feel thankful may feel difficult or impossible.  Giving thanks when we feel disappointed is a sacrifice of praise.  When the enemy accuses God to us, we feel angry at Him and giving thanks becomes next to impossible.  Instead of giving thanks we want rebel against Him.  Our flesh rears its ugly head and insists on getting its own way.  It demands what it wants when it wants it regardless of what God says, tempting us strongly when we feel dissatisfied.  We may seek to please ourselves and rationalize our behavior.

We need to remember to listen to what is God saying to us in our times of disappointment.  He is not silent.  The Bible has many things to say regarding disappointment with God.  We need to listen for His specific messages to us.  We can begin by telling God we are angry or disappointed with Him.  Initially, this may seem to contradict being thankful.  We aim for thankfulness, starting where we are.  This is a confession.  Besides, God already knows what we are feeling and thinking (Ps. 139:1-4).  We need to read a Psalm to God to tell Him those thoughts and feelings.  Some ideas are:  Ps. 55, if betrayed by a friend, 64 when feeling threatened, 69 if feeling overwhelmed, intense emotion or humiliated, 70 if needing help (quickly), 77 if God seems absent, crying out for long time with no answer or lacking sleep or joy, 88 if life is full of troubles, poor health or abandoned by friends & family, 91 if feel unprotected, 102 if physical distress or illness, 109 if slandered, accused or condemned, 130 if in despair or guilty, 141 if feeling tempted.

It is important that we pour out our complaints to God in order to become thankful.  Even if our circumstances do not change, God is deserving of our thanks and praise.  While trying to ignore or forget our troubles can actually make them worse, giving our negative emotions to Jesus in surrender to God aids in becoming thankful.  As we pour out our complaint, we tend to think of things for which we are thankful.  God will remind us.  Consider, even when we don’t feel loved, God still loves us.  In this we can be thankful.  Thanking Him allows us to feel loved by Him.

Let’s thank God for at least five things every day for 30 days and see how our joy increases.

Thanking God for all of you,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

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78 Receiving Gifts

A man actually managed to bring his gold to the pearly gates.  As he held his bar of gold, the angels asked each other, “Why is he bringing pavement?”

The tenth secret to finding humility is receiving gifts.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

“Grace is God’s promise to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.”*

Salvation is a gift, our eternal home with God in heaven is a gift and life is a gift.  Even our faith is a gift from God.  All we have and can do is ultimately a gift from God.  We can never earn what God has freely given us.  It does not even cross His mind that we would attempt to earn His love; He wants us to receive His love as a gift.  Our relationship with God relies on Jesus’ blood not on our attempts to please God.

Even if we know all this and believe that God’s love is unmerited, we still struggle to receive His love.  We resist His gifts.  We try to earn His favor.  We know in our heads His favor is undeserved but we need to be honest about our internal process and the lies within our hearts that say we can earn it.  If we seek to earn God’s love, the relationship we are trying to have with Him is not consistent with His nature.  Have we resolved in our hearts that His love is gift or is there a falsely earned “gift” in its place usurping the place of His true gift?  We can espouse correct doctrine yet what truly matters is our heart’s attitude toward Him.

The old self or flesh pulls us towards rationalizing our salvation and relationship with God.  After all, why did God choose us to believe in Jesus?  We need to remember…

He Who did not spare His Own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will he not also…graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God Who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus, Who died—more than that, Who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Romans 8:32-33

We want to give ourselves at least some credit for our salvation and God’s gifts so we can feel good about ourselves.  When we want the credit, we need to worship God and give Him all the credit.

God utilizes people to distribute His gifts.  In our old selves, we resist receiving gifts or help from people.  Friends and family bring both.  God has broken down my resistance by showing me how weak I am.  We cannot do what God calls us all to without each other.

To God be the glory, great things He has done,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

*Francis Frangipane 7-21-13 at River of Life Church in Cedar Rapids, IA.

77 Asking For Help

The ninth secret to finding humility is asking for help.

March 28, 2013 was a day to remember.  I took our scooter out for a ride.  I hadn’t ridden it for a month or so and had some trouble starting it, but eventually got it going.  While I was out, I figured I could drop off a couple of bills at the post office.  I put the envelopes inside the seat compartment.  This necessitated that I turn the scooter off in order to retrieve them.  After I deposited the bills in the mailbox I tried to start the scooter again with no success.  Initially, it turned over, but eventually stopped and wouldn’t even turn over.  I guessed it was a combination of low battery and problem with the starter.

I decided to push it home where we had a battery charger.  It was a beautiful day, in sharp contrast to the previous week which was snowy and cold.  The ground was fairly level for a long way (for those familiar with Kansas City, I was on the Kansas side).  As I crossed the state line I was dreading the thought of pushing it up larger hills on the Missouri side.  I made it quite a way up the first hill and, out of desperation, tried to start it again.  The engine turned over a couple of times, and then stopped.  I noticed that my wife had called.  I called her back and we prayed it would start.  Still no go.  I tried the trick of starting it by going downhill.  That did not work.  I was talking to my wife again, letting her know what was happening.  She told me later she was crying out to God for me at this point when someone came walking towards me holding a gas can.  I told him that it was a problem with the starter.  He offered to jump-start it.  I told him that I didn’t think it would work.  I set my mind on pushing it home even though I was very tired.  My wife was listening to this whole conversation.  She told me that she and our neighbors had prayed that someone would help me.  She reminded me of the person on the roof of a house in a flood who told the rescue boat that God was going to take care of him.

I pushed my scooter into the man’s driveway.  He had jumper cables, and we connected the batteries.  The scooter started right away!

“Ask, and it will be given to you….”  Matthew 7:7

Do you often refuse help, like I was doing?  In my perfectionism I was too proud to accept help, thought I could do it myself without any help and thought that if I needed help I would be displaying weakness.  We want to think we have it all together and are not needy.  “No thanks,” we say, “I can handle it.”  Except, the fact is, everyone needs to ask and receive help.  We are broken creatures, even though we don’t want to admit it.  We do need help.  We need God’s help.  He often sends help by way of people.

Learning to humble myself (which is better than the alternative),

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com