Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 40

Someone recently asked me who my favorite Bible character was, and quite honestly, I had to think for a minute.  I don't know that anyone had ever asked me that question before.  And then, the answer was clear to me... my favorite Bible character is David.  This isn't a huge surprise because I love the the book of Psalms and he is one of the major authors.  I like David for many reasons... that he was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), and he made mistakes and God still used him (Psalm 51).  But the thing that I'm loving the most about David recently is his honesty with God.  I mean, David is completely transparent with God... no holding back.  When God did great things for David, thanksgiving was his theme (Psalm 105).  When David faced trials, he let God have it... he complained, gave God a piece of his mind, even told God how he wanted the situation handled (check out Psalm 31:17-18:  http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Psa&c=31&v=17&t=NIV#17). 

But the thing that impresses me the most about David is that no matter what his emotions were regarding his circumstances... whether feelings of anger, frustration, defeat, abandonment, being ignored... he consistently came back to praising God.  It's amazing!  Take Psalm 22.  The theme of this Psalm according to my Life Application Study Bible is "A prayer that carries us from great suffering to great joy.  Despite apparent rejection by his friends and God, David believed God would lead him out of despair. (1)"  Wow!  In my book, David is in the Hall of Fame when it comes to gracious gratitude, which is praising God for Who He is when we are faced with trials.  See Day 34 for more information and here's a link to the article that explains gracious gratitude:  http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/17365

Psalm 22:1-2 says:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?  O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. 

David's in a bad place.  And He's asking God where He is.  Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever cried out to God like this... by being completely honest and transparent?  I'm learning to do this recently.  Let's just say that God's been refining me throughout this Thankfulness Experiment.  Being refined is tough... He's showing me things I need to change and He's growing me too.  There are days that I feel alone and abandoned; there are days when I don't know what He wants me to learn and I'm confused...  And I'm learning to literally to cry out to Him... and you may think this next part is crazy and I'm OK with that, but I even yell at God.  And you know what?  God can handle my questions, my anger, my yelling and my confusion because guess what?  Even if I don't verbalize it to Him, He's all-knowing, so He already knows I'm thinking it.  I can't tell you the relief I feel by getting it out of my system.  And God often meets me soon after my rant... with His still small voice helping me understand, or maybe gently revealing the sin I need to confess, or maybe He brings a scripture to mind that gives some hope.  Trust me, this is not how I've always been, but I'm learning that it's so helpful for me to be real with God.  But let me warn you, my rants typically happen when I'm home alone...

Psalm 22 is much more than David ranting about being forsaken.  In fact, about half the Psalm focuses on praising and trusting God... David remembering Who God is in spite of his circumstances.  That's my desire... to pour out my heart to God, and then thank God for Who He is in the midst of my circumstances, because God doesn't change.  He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love (Psalm 103:8). 

Look how David is praising God in spite of his circumstances in Psalm 22:22-24:

I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise You.  You who fear the Lord, praise Him!  All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!  Revere Him, all you descendants of Israel!  For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from Him but has listened to His cry for help. 

I think David is the perfect example of 1 Thessalonians 5:18:  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus, don't you?  Oh, to be more like David when it comes to praising God in the trials.  I'm definitely not there yet, but I'm so thankful that God gives me examples of how to get there, one Psalm at a time. 

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  The first snow and my three year old's excitement about it
2.  God's grace
3.  Free pizza
4.  Playing the thankful game in the car tonight and my three year old making me chuckle by being thankful for the giant fork next to Forscht Bank
5.  Getting a lecture written today
6.  The smell of Chai tea brewing
7.  Reading books with my son
8.  Much needed phone conversation this evening
9.  Prayers that can set you free
10.  The power of saying James 4:7 out loud
11.  God listening all the time
12.  All the Thankful Lists that came through today
13.  God providing help for tomorrow morning at just the right time
14.  God being a God who does immeasurably more over and over and over again
15.  For looking at Christmas lights tonight with the boys while listening to Christmas music

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 5,678 to go...

  1. The Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. (1991). Psalm 22 Theme (p. 922).  Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.


  1. I am thankful for....
    1. Heather's honesty and encouragement that are ever present in this blog
    2. Friends that are obedient to God, even when it isn't comfortable
    3. God refining power that makes us closer to Him
    4. God's grace
    5. God's unconditional love
    6. A husband that ran to the grocery store on his lunch break so I didn't have to
    7. Help with laundry
    8. Clean clothes and bed sheets
    9. Unexpected pizza arriving for dinner
    10. Dinner with a new family friend
    11. All those who spend time each day and week volunteering with Community Clubhouse
    12. Family laughter
    13. Seeing God's presence in my house
    14. Christmas music
    15. SNOW! SNOW!! SNOW!!!!!!!!!!
    16. Feeling as though God was winking at me when it snowed
    17. The uniqueness of each snowflake
    18. The uniqueness of each person
    19. God caring about the details (no matter how small)
    20. Being able to experience God in the big and small things
    21. Being about to be honest with God
    22. God's forgiveness
    23. Being able to praise God
    24. Knowing that God is not finished with me yet
    25. Knowing that God sees me all the time even in the "menial" tasks

  2. I am thankful for
    1.. Allergy shots.
    2. Watching Atley playing and having conversations with
    her dolls.
    3. Going shopping
    4. Almost being finished with my Christmas shopping.
    5. Finding time to Christmas shop.
    6. Making my menus and gtocery list.
    7. Having time to go to the gtocery.
    8. Having a few minutes to read and relax.

  3. I am thankful for:

    1. The generosity of the Cardinal Aquatic Swim Team
    2. Amy Albiero
    3. the many people who have said yes to serving at the Community Clubhouse
    4. that God never leaves us or forsakes us
    5. finishing my book and getting to start a new one today
    6. morning devotion time before everyone gets up
    7. getting to have lunch with the ACC staff today
    8. heat in my house on a cold morning
    9. prayers
    10. that Philip is o.k.
    11. plans that work out
    12. Proverbs 11
    13. a fun time at Jake's 18th birthday "tool time" celebration
    14. the whole Nagy family

  4. I am thankful for:
    1.The feeling of great relief after finishing my first ever college final exam - HOOT !
    2. A surprise blessing from Dr. Lee
    3.Getting to share my joy of finishing with my Daddy and all the special friends who nudged, prayed, and encouraged the whole semester !
    4. my praying, loving, super supportive husband whom I greatly love.
    5. Proverbs 8
    6. GOD's timing
    7. The Brave Study
    8. Hope
    9. A cram packed calendar of festive fun.
    10. GOD's reliable character
    11. Jason's deli for dinner tonight with R and E to celebrate surviving the final :-)
    12. Having lots to look forward to.
    13. Memories
    14. The promise of Heaven.
    15. The peace that comes from choosing thankfulness !

  5. I am thankful for:
    1. referrals from fabulous customers.
    2. sunshine on a chilly day.
    3. my cake student.
    4. picking out a gift someone likes.
    5. getting errands done.
    6. little reminders from different places that God is truly everywhere.
    7. hearing my daughter's excitement for her upcoming performane @ school.
    8. seeing God provide in so many ways.
    9. knowing the days will be getting longer again in just a few weeks.
    10. the smell of spices.

  6. I am thankful for:
    1. the smell of warm pumpkin chocolate chip bread
    2. celebrating on the phone with a friend who had finished her final - so proud of her
    3. making my friend say aloud three times, "I am smart" - and the smile this brought to my face
    4. helpful people at the dentist office
    5. praying friends and their faithfulness over the years
    6. friends whose counsel you can trust
    7. making chocolate dipped pretzels with my daughter
    8. perseverence during editing
    9. that God was, is, and always will be
    10. my husband texting me a Bible verse and a funny memory

  7. 1. Dental insurance
    2. Overtime at work
    3. A wife setting a great school work ethic for Eden
    4. The gym at work
    5. Funny TV


  8. Amanda L.
    I'm thankful for cookie exchange.
    I'm thankful for winning a tea cup and teapot. at the cookie exchange party.
    I'm thankful for rooibus hot tea .
    I'm thankful for for God forgiving my sins.
    I'm thankful for the sunshine today.

  9. I am thankful for ...
    1) Get together with my father's side of the family
    2) precious girl who graduated from Teen Challenge yesterday
    3) Scoops & Scriptures program and Teen Challenge home for kids recovering from addiction
    4) daughter finished with college finals and home for the holidays
    5) watching movie at home with my daugher

  10. 1. Waking up without an alarm
    2. Sleeping 13 hours
    3. Hanging out with my momma
    4. good morning texts
    5. Getting to catch up with Verona