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  • Writer's pictureNancy Martin

Give Thanks

If you have read anything I’ve written lately, you probably realize I just write from my heart regarding where I am, or what I have gone through, and what I have learned – or what I’m in the process of learning. Just some real life stuff. I tend to think that we can all glean some understanding from each other along the way, if we make the effort. But it does take a bit of vulnerability to let your heart be seen, and trust that the Lord will protect you from getting run over. I personally find that new levels of healing come through those moments of transparency, so I guess I’ll just keep throwing the line out there to see if the fish are biting. In a recent temper tantrum, I expressed my frustration to the Lord about a situation that was weighing me down. (let’s just jump right into transparency!) The frustrating part was that I really had no control over this situation – it was the actions of someone else, but it was affecting my schedule, and consequently my attitude. Now, I can’t control their actions...but my attitude is my responsibility. So, I had to own it, repent of my negative thinking and attitude, and allow the Lord to help re-direct me back on to the right path. It’s amazing how quickly we can get overloaded with the cares of this world and it feels like there is a truckload of bricks bearing down on our shoulders. It’s just too heavy, and it makes everything we do much more difficult. In a very early morning moment with the Lord, He reminded me that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. We were never designed to strive and struggle underneath the heavy burdens of this world. But sometimes we lose our focus and our eyes drift from seeing seeing the things around us. The overdue bills...the long hours at work...the family member who is struggling with health issues...the broken relationship with a friend...the current situation of our state and nation...abortion issues...violence in our cities...the political ads running rampant in October (Jesus help us)...any number of things can divert our attention from the Lord. And when we lose sight of Him, and look at everything else, we end up carrying burdens that aren’t ours to carry. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 If you are familiar with The Message translation of this passage, it says, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” I like that. The picture is of two oxen wearing the yoke, so that they walk together to get the work done, in step with each makes the load lighter for each of them. It would be too much for one of them to do it alone. And Jesus offers that type of relationship to us – that we would be yoked with Him...walking in step with that the load is never more than we can bear. So – when the Lord helped me to get my thoughts back in order, and re-align myself with His yoke, I wondered about what I needed to do differently, so I didn’t get burdened down again. I asked Him what I should do to stay focused on Him. (Because you see, we all like to think that we’re doing something to feel better about ourselves...which is laughable.) And I immediately heard in my spirit, “Remember what I have already done.” In other words...recall the testimonies...recount His faithfulness...remind ourselves of how He has previously provided for about His goodness and His loving kindness. When I give thanks for what he has already done, it’s much easier for my attention to stay on Him. Ah yes, it’s about Him, and what He has done, and not about my puny effort. Testimonies are fun...because I’ve seen Him do a lot! Sometimes I am astounded at what I’ve been able to witness over the years. Because the Lord has allowed me to travel internationally, I’ve seen Him touch lives literally around the world. What a privilege!! So if you’re running low on some things to recount and you are struggling to find a testimony, I’ll share a few just to help us get started. I remember that lady in the Philippines who was deaf. She had suffered a terrible disease when she was a baby, and it had left her deaf in both ears since the age of 3...and now she was in her late 40’s. We prayed a few times, and God supernaturally touched her! Her hearing was restored! On my very first trip to Brazil, I got to pray for a 12 year old girl who was legally blind; and God touched her eyes and she began to read the signs on the wall on the other side of the building!! Her mother just stood there weeping...and I did too! And then there was the time in Colombia where we prayed for a man in the park, and God completely healed his back. He began to bend over and touch his toes, and then told us he hadn’t been able to do that since his fall. He was so excited that he insisted we go pray for his wife. We finally found her and prayed for her, and God healed her knee instantly! She began to do squats, all the time exclaiming, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this!” Yet she was doing it. We asked her why she kept saying she couldn’t do it, and she told us that they had performed surgery on that knee, and had removed ligaments and tendons that were too damaged for repair. God actually gave her a new knee! And just in case you think that those kinds of healings only happen ‘somewhere else’, I remember praying for my friend Ralph, right here in Loveland, 8 or 9 years ago. Several of us prayed every week for 12 weeks, because he had been diagnosed with cancer. His doctor agreed to wait on treatment, because Ralph wanted to trust the Lord for healing, and battle with prayer, instead of chemotherapy. So every Saturday for 12 weeks straight, we prayed, and at the end of those 12 weeks, he went back to the doctor for another scan. The doctor came out, and said, I don’t really know what to tell you...but there isn’t any cancer in your body! (Incidentally, I just saw Ralph a couple weeks ago...he’s still cancer free.) Well, you may be thinking “that’s all wonderful...but it’s not where I’m at right now, and I don’t travel that much...” OK, so start with wherever you are at the moment. Did you wake up this morning and have breath in your lungs, then be thankful! Did the sun rise in the east today? Be thankful! Have you noticed the maple leaves with wonderful autumn colors? That’s the work of our thankful! Whatever it is...find a reason to give thanks, and intentionally put your attention on Jesus. Shoes on your feet? Roof over your head? Food to eat today? Thank you Jesus! The truth is, we constantly have things to be thankful for. Salvation alone should keep us singing praises daily! He has paid the ultimate price to redeem us; He provides for us, protects us, heals us, and continually pours love on us. “I will give thanks to you Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1 This is about aligning ourselves with Him, so that we are not burdened down with unnecessary cares of this world. When we remember Him what He has already done and express gratitude we step into that position of being yoked with Him. We come into agreement with Heaven and remember that our walk with Him is because He has chosen us...and not because we have earned anything. So if you find yourself this week being burdened with the stuff of earth, try recalling the great things God has already done for you. Don’t try to simply be stronger so that you can bear up under the weight of things that you were never meant to carry. Take up His yoke and rely on His strength. And then give your voice to thanking the Lord for what He has done. Don’t just think it in your head...verbally express your gratitude for what He has done. It accomplishes multiple things: It helps you to be focused on the ways of the Kingdom, and it can shift the atmosphere and your attitude. Remember His love. Remember His faithfulness. Remember He chose you. Sounds like a good time to take communion. Bonus moments for giving thanks:


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