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Sunday, November 30, 2014

In All These Things

I am always amazed at how I can read several passages from the Bible and fail to notice
certain things, until one day suddenly, a word or phrase jumps out at me. This verse from 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 is an example of that. It says, "In every thing give thanks : for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Notice it doesn't say, "For everything," but "In everything." 
Thanksgiving in America is now behind us and we are looking forward to Christmas and then the New Year. Some of you may still be rubbing your stomachs and thanking God for his bountiful blessings, while others may be thinking, "Why should I be thankful? Nothing went right for me this year, and I don't see things getting any better next year."

I sympathize. The news is so full of all the bad stuff going on around us that even those of us who have not suffered any hardship over the past months may still be affected by all the doom and gloom. But the Bible tells us, "In every thing give thanks."

So, here are some reasons why we should be thankful:

1. Because it is God's will for our lives, and if it is His will, we know that everything will turn out well.

2. It shows God that we trust Him, and this pleases God. The Bible says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God," Hebrews 11: 6.

3. Being thankful relieves us of anxiety, takes the burden off ourselves and puts it on God. Isn't it wonderful to know that "in all these things" we have Someone who loves us and is looking out for us?

Anyone can be thankful when the table is loaded with goodies, our family members are well and we know where our next meal is coming from. But in the sickness, in the divorce, in the hardship, we are to give thanks to God.

And as my way of saying thanks to all my followers and readers, I will be giving away two copies of Chicken Soup For The Soul: Reboot Your Life in which one of my stories is published. If you are already a follower, all you have to do is write to me at between now and Dec. 15 and tell me what you like about this blog and your name will be entered in a drawing to receive a copy free of charge, postage paid. If you are not yet a follower, you may do so by clicking on the Follow This Blog button or by subscribing.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I Lift Up My Eyes To The Hills

English: Trinidad and Tobago Northern range fr...
English: Trinidad and Tobago Northern range from the Asa Wright Nature Centre, my photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Is there a particular natural feature that makes you catch your breath, stare in wonder, sets your pulse racing? I think almost all of nature makes me stand in awe and think about the One who created it, but there is one particular feature that really sets my soul on fire, and that is mountains. Having just returned from a short vacation in my native country Trinidad and Tobago, mountains are very much on my mind. From the minute the plane begins to descend, my eyes are riveted on the hills and they are the last things I look at when I am leaving.

Tall, forest-clad, majestic, their highest peak stands just over 3000 feet, so they are really considered hills in comparison to the mountains of the world, but for me they are impressive enough to make me love them. They frame the small island with their undulating beauty and form a protective barrier from hurricane winds. It was said that when Christopher Columbus discovered Trinidad in 1498 and he saw the three peaks of the Northern Range, they reminded him of the Trinity, and so he named the island La Trinidad which later became Trinidad.

When I look at those hills, so majestic, so immovable, so protective, so invincible, so impenetrable I can't help but think about my Creator who is all those things and more. Hills and mountains have many benefits for the people of that land. In addition to providing protection from strong winds, they were used as forts in time of war. From the hills come rivers and streams to water the land and cause crops to grow. Wild animals dwell there and precious minerals lie buried.

We can compare the hills to our God. He is our protector, our refuge, our provider and the source of all our supply. He cannot be moved, He protects us in our sleeping and waking moments, He cannot be destroyed and no one can fathom His height or depth, length or breadth. He is as solid, as timeless and as breathtaking as the hills. No wonder the Psalmist wrote, "I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?" (Psalm 121: 1)

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Break Down Those Walls

English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. Th...
English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. Türkçe: Berlin Duvarı, 1989 sonbaharı (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had another post already drafted to be published today, but then I saw somewhere that today is the anniversary of the pulling down of the Berlin wall, and I thought I couldn't miss out on commenting on this historic event.

A lot of young people may have never heard of the Berlin wall, but for older folks like myself, familiar with the Cold War and all it entailed, the Berlin wall was a physical and political barrier that separated West Berlin from East Germany. It also represented the separation of communism from democracy, oppression from freedom. Twenty-five years today, that wall was demolished as hastily as it was erected and Germany is a united country.

Many of us build up walls between ourselves and others. Walls of prejudice, racism, hate and anger. Some of us are so insecure, we shun love and companionship and encase ourselves within our own cocoon. God does not want us to live that way. This is the reason he placed us in families and communities so we can fellowship and learn from each other. The Bible says, "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" (Ephesians 2: 14).

Note the words, "he himself is our peace." People who live within walls have no peace. They are always on the lookout for an attack, but when the wall is broken down, they can breathe easily, move freely. Over two thousand years ago, Jesus, by His death on the cross and His resurrection, broke down the wall of sin that separated us from God. Now we have been reunited with the Father and enjoy all the freedom that comes with being His child.

What walls have you built around yourself? Sin, anger, unforgiveness, fear? It's time to let Jesus break them down and come into your heart. Let Him be your peace; let Him be your shield and your protector. You don't need those walls. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8: 36). Invite Him in today.