Word of God Speak

3 Keys Bible cjs Agape Feast Testimony – 1-11-14

I like to ask a lot of questions especially to God. How and why’s my most common favorites…it is easier to get answers to WHO, what or where questions. Honestly, I seldom get answers to my why questions!?! So for me I find it is best to focus on the practical life-applications for figuring out how to live above my circumstances.

How do we live in this world?  How do we get through the tough times?

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33

Due to a seriously painful broken ankle, I had a lot of time to read, pray and meditate during my extended recovery. On Friday, October 18th (the day before my son Joshua’s birthday), I was teaching my water exercise class at Willamalane Swim Center. Mandisa’s song “You’re an Overcomer” had just played as we transitioned into the full aerobic session. Suddenly out of nowhere while demonstrating the cross country ski move—my left foot hit a wet spot. Boom-bam! My ankle slammed against the hard concrete surface several times with a powerful force. I couldn’t get up so I signaled the lifeguard who at first hesitated but realized I could not get up. Another lifeguard came and helped me get onto a chair then I proceeded to finish the class. It hurt but I thought it was just a sprain. My call of duty took over and I knew my students needed their complete workout. A few members of my class recognized the seriousness and began to further assist me as they could see how contorted and twisted my ankle and foot was from their view below in the water.
I was totally unprepared for this emergency—even further unaware of the seriousness of my injury or the prolonged recovery ahead. The first weeks after surgery were really tough. Intense pain, medication side effects and helplessness plagued me as I was unable to walk or even get a drink of water. It can be very unsettling to be disabled. How will I get through another setback? Being inactive gave me plenty of time alone in my thoughts. Remember this is temporary. No why’s this time—just prayers for healing.
When you don’t feel good it is almost impossible to do anything that you enjoy. I love to read my Bible for inspiration and guidance. I love to write in my journal to express my desires, feelings and prayer requests. I kept coming across this one Scripture which really became a turning point for me through my recovery process:

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Really? Rejoice in pain and be thankful in all circumstances? Seriously! I was already heartbroken before this accident and now I had injury on top of grief. I wanted to trust and obey God but I needed to cry and vent. Ok God it hurts and I am discouraged but I will to try. I would write in my journal what I was thankful for…only after I cried and prayed first. Eventually I found I could list more and more things—so it became very uplifting to remember and recognize God’s blessings. I could be thankful for a friend who came over with a meal, or flowers, or a card in the mail. I was thankful for the birds singing outside my window. I found great encouragement from my Facebook friends. I knew people genuinely cared and prayed for me. Eventually I could even be thankful when the TV quit working—just as long as I had the internet. But after we got the TV working a month later the Internet quit working!

Being thankful was one of the best remedies for healing. I finally wrote a Christmas letter first time in years especially after the great losses; it became a compilation from some of my gratitude lists and a thank you card to precious people.

With my questioning heart, I did further study to try to understand God’s will related to being thankful for clarification and understanding….

Paul’s injunction to “rejoice always” is based upon God’s activity and deeds. When we live in the power of God’s Spirit the result is “a consistent stable and deep-rooted joy” the opposite of a put on human emotion of “feeling good.” In difficult circumstances of suffering we can trust God in faith that circumstances neither create nor prevent His comfort, peace and joy. Ok I get it I will rejoice in my Lord JESUS always!

To pray continually means that every activity must be carried on with a sense of God’s loving presence. In urging the Thessalonians to “pray” and to “give thanks” Paul is giving advice he himself modeled over 27 times in the New Testament writings. Clearly Paul suffered many difficult situations—yet he learned to be content and to be thankful. Remember God’s commands are not met in our own strength.

“Be blessed in your faith at all times. Never stop praying. Be thankful, whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed to you in Jesus Christ.” JB Phillips NT

This Scriptural command is deeply rooted in Paul’s understanding of God. Paul stated we could be assured in knowing God works all things for our good. Romans 8:28 Thus he could urge the people to “give thanks in the midst of circumstances” for there is always hope in Christ. Romans 8:39 We can recognize that both rejoicing and giving thanks become forms of worship or praise of God.

Life in the Spirit consists of positive joy, communion, and thanksgiving made possible as we are in God’s presence.

P.S. I even got an answer to my why and how’s? Being thankful is a testimony of my faith in a loving God who gives me peace, comfort and hope even in the midst of suffering. I will be faithful and share the comfort I receive to others.

And they overcame…because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Revelation 12:11 NASB

Next post: Overcoming The Lies When the Doors Close

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