As I've mentioned here before, I have to work to refrain from being negative, critical and a complainer. It is only as I spend time in the Word, letting the Holy Spirit change the way I think, that I can choose to live differently.
By Saturday night I'd just about lost my will to even try; I was feeling discouraged and negative. As I went to bed I promised myself that I would refrain from the temptation to lick my wounds in private, to isolate, and instead I would make myself go to church the following morning. I mean, after all here I was praying that God would empower me to change my attitude, who knows that He might not use the service to do that very thing?
This morning I woke up to the phone ringing, a fact which I totally ignored. Then my cell phone rang with my son's ring tone (need I mention that this was the son whose been giving me all kinds of grief lately?!) I answered the phone to find out that he was on Hwy 2 and his friend could drive him no further since his friend did not have chains for his car; my groggy, sleep laden, brain was slowly grasping that this must mean that it snowed last night. I assured him that I'd be right there to pick him up. I quickly dressed and went outside to see that beautiful sight of first snow. The world dusted with that pristine whiteness. How could even my morning crabby self not rejoice in such beauty and splendor!
Church was really something. It reminded me of why I love belonging to a local group of Believers.
Unfortunately the pastor fainted between the two services and had to leave via ambulance. A fact of which, since I arrived to the second service just a few minutes late, I was unaware. The music worship time was, as always, a time when I felt brought into the presence of God. When I felt privileged to get to praise His great and awesome name. Then one of the leaders got up and explained about the pastor and, since the pastor was not there to preach, this man shared from his own heart what God has been teaching him.
This leader who shared is not a public speaker kind of guy. He's a recently retired CPA. But he's a man who has a genuine relationship with the savior, and in whose life God is working; so of course he has something to share. He gave a good word for about 6 or 7 minutes. It blessed me to see how God works in everyone's heart and life who is open; this brother's word that God's been working in his life validated that truth. Then he said that since it's the week of Thanksgiving, he wanted to open it up for anyone to share with the group what they are thankful concerning.
As I heard my brothers and sisters share, my heart just overflowed. I felt so grateful to be part of this group, so grateful to get to have each of them in my life. There were a couple of men there who I knew had lost jobs this past year during this time of economic trouble, yet there they were expressing words of gratitude for God's goodness and faithfulness. There was a woman rejoicing in the pain she'd encountered as a youngster growing up in a home where fighting and bad feelings had existed between her parents that had made her own life troublesome, yet here she was giving thanks because she appreciated so deeply the wonderful husband, children, and family she enjoys today. A woman who I greatly admire was transparently admitting that she's sought to avoid calls from a woman who was an incredibly time demanding and difficult person, who suffers from debilitating anxiety, but that just the night before God has used her to take the woman to the ER and minister to her through prayer and His Word. Repeatedly as people shared, my heart was blessed by their humility, openness, and grateful attitudes. It is indeed wonderful to be a part of a local family in Christ!
What about you, has God blessed you recently through your church?
My Joy in the Desert
19 hours ago