Monday, December 1, 2014

Thank You, Lord!

by Margaret Lepke


This year has been full of ups and downs for me. There have been times when I felt like a spring chicken - ready to chirp and run and play - but also times when I felt like a tired old mare, ready to be put out to pasture. Too much to do, too many things to contend with, never enough time. Just stop the world, I want to get off... But through it all I have tried to thank the Lord in (not necessarily for :) all circumstances and kept reminding myself of two things: that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13), and that godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim. 6:6). Thank You, Lord, that You know best how to order our lives. 

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One of my Bible studies this year focused on the book of Job and I concluded that I am blessed beyond measure. Thank You, Lord! This patriarch suffered terribly for almost a year. His repeated cries for help seemed to fall on deaf ears, his questions were left unanswered, and the heavenly scene that could have explained it all was hidden from his sight. In other words, God seemed to be absent. Did Job curse Him and die as his wife suggested? No, his faith endured despite incredible heartache and physical pain.

When Satan was allowed to remove Job's worldly attachments, Job’s faith did not crumble. When Satan attacked Job’s body with almost unendurable pain, Job remained steadfast. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? And throughout all of this Job did not sin in what he said (Job.2:10)! What an example to us... thank You, Lord!

Then the final test arrived: a prolonged attack on Job’s integrity by those whom he counted his friends. Their psychological assaults would have hurt just as much as the physical and emotional pain Job endured. If only they had remained silent! But when his time of trial was finally over, Job’s faith had grown and his understanding of God had deepened. In his suffering he had sought God like never before, and his reward was a more intimate knowledge of the Almighty as well as physical blessings. His attitude would have been, "Thank You, Lord!"

I am so glad that God answered Job’s cry, Oh, that my words were written! That they were inscribed in a book! (Job 19:23). The record of this faithful man encourages those who suffer and gives a rare insight into Satan's involvement in human affairs.

Satan was given power over the elements, marauding people and physical illness, and he was able to use Job's friends for an attack on his integrity. While their assumptions were well meant and based on cultural norms, their reasoning couldn’t have been more wrong in this particular case. Let’s remember not to be like them when we take on the role of comforter. Let’s never assume, never offer cliché answers, and instead be willing to listen without judgement and to love without giving advice.
 
Friends that are tuned to God are worth their weight in gold. They accept one another, help one another and love one another at all times (Prov.17:17). The kisses of an enemy may be profuse, but faithful are the wounds of a friend (Prov. 27:5-6). Two are better than one, and they have a better return for their labor. If either of them falls (or is discouraged, or goes down the wrong path), one can help the other up (Ecc. 4:9-10). 
 
We all need friends like that in our lives. People who influence us to become what God intended us to be, who fill us up when we are empty; people whom we can trust and be ourselves with, and those who encourage us to stretch and expand not only our faith but also our God-given abilities. We can thank the Lord for each true friend He has given us.
 
And this is where I would like to take the opportunity to thank you, dear writers, for your encouraging, inspiring, insightful and soul-searching blog contributions throughout the year. As fellow travelers along the narrow road, I count you my friends. And while I rarely have time to comment (and for that I apologize!) I do read your posts when they arrive via email. 
 
Please know that your thoughts and challenges have left their mark... As the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it: As iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other (Prov. 27:17). I believe that this writers' blog is capable of sharpening minds and encouraging hearts, and for that, too, I thank You, Lord.



Margaret Lepke is a Christian educator, counselor, naturopath and freelance writer. Enjoy the resources on her website.  http://drlepke.com.au

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for that Margaret. I'm sorry you've had a difficult year, but it's wonderful that you've been able to see God at work in it and to share what He's shown you. I pray the next year will be filled with blessings for you. Thanks too for the reminder to encourage each other as writers. I know the words of others have encouraged me many times and there have been so many heartfelt and inspiring blogs that have made their mark. Thank you for adding your words of wisdom.

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    1. Thank you, Nola. You are always full of encouragement and inspiration.

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  2. Thanks for that very encouraging post Margaret. I am so sorry that it has been such a difficult year for you - one I can totally identify with since it's been the same for me. I loved the way you turned a difficult year into a Thank you year. Well done. That verse about 'faithful being the wounds of a friend' - God has used it in my life - so it speaks volumes. I too thank God so much for many wonderful friends who have helped me keep the faith and to keep going.

    And yes, I too owe a big THANK YOU to all my wonderful writer friends who encourage me in lots of ways - especially to improve my craft and to keep writing.

    Thanks Margaret - a lovely post it was at the start of the advent season which should be filled with THANK YOU's to our Lord who became flesh for us. Many blessings and may the New Year be the opposite of this one! Have a great 2015. :)

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  3. I am sorry that you had a difficult year, Anusha, and hope that the next one will be easier for you. Through contact with www.gospelforasia.org.au I have once again been reminded that following in the footsteps of Jesus usually means more sacrifice and persecution than a cushy existence. If you have a passion for mission, check out the site. God bless!

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  4. Hi Margaret,
    Thanks for the encouraging post, and your reminder that there are Job's Comforters still out there, so let's be grateful indeed for good, encouraging friends. I hope 2015 will bring you many more spring lamb moments and less tired old mare ones.

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  5. Wonderfully wise post. I hope that 2015 will be your year. Your post was filled with so much encouragement. I love the story of Job. I've read it often. One day I'll sit down with him and tell him how he encouraged my life. Thank you Lord!

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