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Friday, May 13, 2011

Be Grateful In All Things

Have you ever been in a situation so long, you became ungrateful? You no longer saw the good in your circumstances, but perceived it from a negative vantage point? If you have, you are not alone. The Israelites did the same thing when they left the land of Egypt. They had been enslaved for 400 years and were treated unjustly and with much cruelty. The Bible says, “Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act” Exodus 2:23-25. The Lord sent Moses to deliver his people from the Egyptians. By mighty miraculous acts God conquered the Egyptians and led His people into the wilderness to worship Him and move them into the land He swore to give to their forefathers. The Israelites had some inconveniences on the journey, but nothing compared to the slavery and oppression they had just been freed from. They cried out to God for help and He rescued them – just not in the way they thought it should happen. In response, they complained and murmured. The Bible says, “Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”). Then the people complained and turned against Moses. ‘What are we going to drink?’ they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink” (Exodus 15:22-25). And another time shortly after this episode, His people complained again. The Bible says, “Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. ‘If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,’ they moaned. ‘There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death…’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God’” (Exodus 16:1-3, 11-12). Instead of being grateful and thankful to God for saving them from slavery and bondage, they complained because they did not get water exactly when and how they wanted it. Then they complained because they did not have the type of food they had in Egypt. God was their Deliverer and Provider and was leading them into an amazing land filled with many blessings, but He first tested their hearts to see if they would trust Him in the wilderness. Have you ever prayed for God to do something amazing in your life and then you found yourself in one difficult situation after another? If you have not, you eventually will. Learn to trust God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. He will guide your steps and will eventually bring you through the difficult trial and help you receive all the good things He has for you! You will be much stronger and better equipped to face other challenges in life and help others who face similar circumstances. The Bible says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4). God saw how He was going to take His people out of slavery and into a land that was filled with blessing, but His people had to learn to trust Him. Many refused to lean on God and ended up in the wilderness their entire lives. Will you trust God to take you into your promise land despite some inconveniences along the way?
Through the financial difficulties the last two years, I lost my job, my house, my car and almost everything tied to my name. I did everything I could to make good financial decisions and I still ended up bankrupt. Before this took place, I was praying for God to help me step into the plan and purpose He had for me and then my financial collapse. So many times along the way, I asked God, “What are you doing?!!!” He simply replied, “Trust Me.” At times during this process, I had to rely on other people to take me places, help me out financially and acknowledge my complete dependency on God! To say the least, I was uncomfortable, humbled and broken. As I learned to trust God, He began to open doors for me in a career that would not have opened had all these things not taken place. God was orchestrating my steps. I needed to trust Him and be thankful for all the good things He was doing in my midst instead of complain and murmur. He provided people to take me where I needed to go, He provided a place for me to stay with my parents…so grateful…He provided food and clothing for me and I have never gone without! I was tempted at times to go back to the way things used to be, but it never worked out. God’s plan for me was forward by faith, trusting Him because He sees above the storm clouds!
Will you trust God today and have an attitude of thankfulness and a grateful heart? It could be the very thing you need that propels you into your Promise Land.

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