Give Thanks to the Lord

Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise, and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it. Jeremiah 33:9

Our lives should bring God praise and honor when people look at them and see what He has done for us. So many times I am incredibly quick to point out the areas of my life where I think God could spend a little more time and so slow to give Him honor for all the amazing things He's doing in me. Today, I want to correct that.

Several years ago, Chris left the corporate world for the world of education, which means he left the ever-growing paycheck of the ladder-climbing world for the ever-shrinking paycheck of the government-run world. Really, though, he left behind seeking worldly security to be used by the Lord. That sounds all nice and spiritual, but it's been a tough journey as far as letting go of that earthly security and those worldly pleasures. I've talked about it here before...just the struggle it has entailed for us. I find myself complaining or playing the martyr about it all too often. I will still have tinges of jealousy when others are able to do things we can't do. I'm so quick to focus on the negative and whine to the Lord about something so ridiculous when compared to the rest of the world's struggles.

So, I want to do the opposite and tell what He's done in our hearts through this. First of all, He has slowly taught us to trust Him for our needs. He has faithfully put food on our table and provided money for all the repairs that are needed as homeowners and car owners. The money is always there, even if it's money I thought I was going to get to spend on something else.

Secondly, though, He has not only provided for our needs, He has changed our wants. Yesterday, I read in Proverbs "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty." I had the audacity to think, "Well, it hasn't played out that way for us." Oh, how wrong I am!

I realized I was wrong last night. Chris and I are asked each year to let loving family members know what we and our children want for Christmas. Since we don't have a whole lot of extra - or any - money to buy large things that we want or even think we need, we usually reserve this time of year to ask for those things. We have been blessed so many times with being able to receive something we could never get on our own. But as we discussed our "Christmas list" last night, we discovered we could not think of ANYTHING that we needed or - get this - wanted. Everything we could think of seemed so trivial and unnecessary. I tried to think of things our kids need, but I could think of NOTHING. How is it that, when we make less than we've ever made (figuring in inflation - just want to be accurate) and have more people to provide for than we ever have, that we have everything we need and even want? We have "gained even more." It's impossible on paper, but it's possible in Christ.

My prayer for my life and for the lives of my children has been that this Scripture would be true of us: Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strenth of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26) Today, I can say it's true. Now, I fully expect to be tested on this in the next hour, because that's how things seem to go, but I pray that the Lord will bind my fickle, wandering heart to Him. It's only by His grace that my desires are changed, so it's only by His grace that they can stay changed. I just want to give Him praise, honor, and glory for the great things He's doing with my weak flesh.

Today, I am thankful for the work God is doing in my heart.

Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever. Jeremiah 33:11


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