Six Things God Uses to Encourage Part 3

God uses six things to encourage us and, so far this month, we’ve looked at God’s Word, music, and Fellowship. This week, I’d like to talk about thankfulness.

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

It sounds counterintuitive to say that in the midst of great suffering we should be thankful, but it does help. First of all, we are not thankful for suffering, but we may be thankful that our suffering brings understanding of other. We may be thankful that we can now understand enough to help others. We may be thankful that we will grow from this experience. But above all, we can be thankful that God never abandons us in our suffering. He is always near, giving us strength, giving us peace, giving us guidance and direction.

Secondly, it is true that the more we are thankful for what we have, the more we see the positives that struggles bring us. Further, as we get used to being thankful for the beauty around us, the opportunities that come our way, the fact that God is with us, the people in our lives that help us, the more joy we are able to have.

I’m not saying this is easy, but it is powerful! At first, you may only see one good thing in the mess that you perceive to be your life. Soon, you can see more. Keep looking for them. You see what you look for. Look for a red car and you will see them everywhere. Look for a blue car and you may never notice the red ones. Think of this as an exercise similar to I Spy that you played as a kid. See how many blue cars (blessings, joys, good things, beautiful things) you can see each day. After a while, you won’t notice the red cars (negative things) as much.

This is a powerful encouragement to cultivate in yourself and that is why I discuss it frequently here on the blog and why I have included it as a theme in the Life Beyond Surviving Facebook Group. I post a prompt each week called, Thankful Thursday as a chance for you to think more about the good things in your life. I hope you participate with me as I get just as much out of them as my members do!

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15

Next week, I’m going to talk about how humor is another way that may encourage us through difficult times. Join me!

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When I’m down, I look up to my Creator

About a month ago, my husband was working a ten-day streak at a temp job 82 miles from home. Our son was visiting and it was Sunday morning. We only have one key for the car I drive and though my husband left the car for us, he forgot to leave the key so, we weren’t able to go to church or to the store to buy groceries.  It was my last day with our son before he had to go back to college and I was in more pain and fatigue than usual due to a Fibro flare.

Sitting at my computer working for my clients’ social media accounts, I “penned” the following because it suddenly occurred to me that the things I was praying ABOUT were the very things I was praying FOR not too long before.  It received so many responses from people who said they needed to hear it that I decided to share it here so folks could always find it if they needed it.

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When I am worried about my husband having to drive 82 miles one way to work, working ten days straight, leaving at 5:30 am and not getting home til 9 pm, I am reminded of when I prayed to the Lord because he was out of work for months.

When I am sad that my son is leaving again to go back to college, I remember how I prayed that God would keep him safe in utero and how the Lord performed several miracles during his birth.

When I’m lonely because my daughter lives in another state, I think back on the time when the Lord healed her completely after a virus had caused an enlarged heart valve.

When I’m frustrated with how tired I am and the pain I feel, I’m reminded that my God had given my surgeon the idea to take out my fallopian tube during a routine surgery for a simple cyst and found cancer in its infancy that is almost always found too late.

When I’m down, I look up to my Creator and marvel at His blessings for me.

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Some more “joy” resources from the article vault

So ends the Paul vs Job series here on Life Beyond Surviving, but I didn’t want to let you go without giving you some more “joy” resources.  You see, I’ve been writing about this topic for quite some time. I started over on my JoJoisms blogsite.  I’ve been transferring my most popular articles over to this site, but I’ve written so much that it’s not easy.  It takes quite a bit of time so I’ve been doing them in bunches as these topics arise.

After this series, I thought about how a few of my other articles might be of some value to you.  That being said, here are two articles I’ve written, a bit of what they say with links to the full articles here on Life Beyond Surviving.

1) How to Praise God in the Storm:

There are many devotionals on thankfulness that talk about this so I’m not going to spend much time on it since you’ve probably read enough of them to quote them verbatim. I’ll just say that it’s important to continue to pray and read the scriptures even when we are at our wit’s end and even when we are no longer able to envision that God would help us because, the moment we no longer seek God, we begin to drift away from Him. “Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.” -Psalm 119:143

So how do we begin to feel thankful? Well, last week I prepared our hearts a bit by sharing with you what we should remember about struggles. But that often isn’t enough to bring us through from frustration and despair. After many years upon this earth I have found some things that have helped me to become more thankful and bring me to the point where I can praise God during the storms of my life. By the way…I wrote this as much for me as I did for my readers.

1. Start small and build

Thank Him for whatever blessings you can think of, even…

Click the above link to read the rest of the article.

2) What to Remember About Struggles:

Sometimes things that friends and family communicate to us can make our struggles more difficult, but there are things we can communicate to ourselves that can help us during struggles.  Today I’d like us to consider some things that will help us remember that God is not out to get us when struggles come. God isn’t punishing us and that there is a reason and maybe even a blessing around the corner.

Here’s what we need to remember during hard times:

1. Even if we cannot feel Him, God is still with us

We can count on Him to help and support us through the difficult times.  Often we feel abandoned by God when tough times come.  It’s only  natural that we may not feel close to God when we are struggling, but if we can remind ourselves that God has not moved away from us, we might feel Him near.  It’s always harder to find something when we aren’t looking.

It’s almost like when you have a close relative who lives far away.  You can’t reach out and touch them or hug them, but you can still talk to them on the phone, but only if we dial the phone.

2. This struggle may prepare us for an incredible opportunity

We may need to learn something from this horrible experience…

Click the above link to read the rest of the article.

I pray the Paul vs Job series has blessed you and your family and that these additional resources give you more to help you begin to work toward having more joy in your life despite the trails.

 

 

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