Look to Him

Look to Him

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
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Look to Him

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalms 121:1-2

Day by day I look for help. I might look to the internet, to a friend, to my oils, to hot black coffee, or to my husband. Ah, but who is the giver of these wonderful gifts? The Lord, of course! Do I remember to look to him? Do I really trust him with the matters on my heart?

Declarations of Faithfulness

David did. The Psalms are bursting with declarations of faithfulness to God in his times of need. 

“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eye- it has gone from me.” – Psalms 38:9-10

It is encouraging to see how David brought the very depths and grit of his emotions to the Lord. Even through his times of doubt, fear, and sadness, he turned to God for strength and encouragement. Just a few verses later, we read:

“But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Psalm 38:15

We really can bring God everything.

He will help us! He wants to strengthen us and transform us. The Lord draws us to him through our longings. Ruth Chou Simons’ words in the last chapter of her book Beholding and Becoming really touched my heart. 

“No amount of finding our place here on earth will satisfy the longing we have to find our place with Him. We can stop looking frantically to our past, our future, our left or right to feel fully at home- we won’t find it here on this dusty earth.” 

Our needs can truly only be met by God alone.

Our problem though is that we want fulfillment on this earth. We strive after success, prime health, and material bounty like it can surly cure this inevitable need we have to feel complete. We starve ourselves of experiencing rest in God because we are so distracted by trying to solve our problems on our own. Only the God who created us and loves us can meet the needs that are anchored deep in our heart. The need to be filled, content, known, and loved. The need for purposeful and fruitful living. 

“Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23

Oh, to be home with Christ our Lord.

Yes, that will fulfill our need for wholeness. That will make us complete. The great news is that we don’t have to go to him. He comes down to us! Having him reside in us will give us sure strength and offer us the help we need day in and day out. We just have to look to him

Look to him, and behold his goodness and glory. 

When you are burdened by the disappointments this side of Eden, or stressed from the little things, look to him.

When you are overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, insecure, or trapped, look to him. 

When you’ve been wronged, look to him.

When you are facing illness, look to him

When you are unsure of the future or restless with discontent, look to him. 

When you are feeling void of direction and purpose, look to him

Look to him in the majesty of nature or in the sweetness of his people.

Look to him in the gifts he’s given you.

Most importantly, look to him in scripture and in prayer. 

Hope on Earth

Work in itself isn’t bad. God won’t take away our work. He doesn’t take away the realities of this earth, but he does give us fulfillment in a way that no earthly solution can.

He can fill our hearts with meaning and purpose. He can save our souls from selfishness and aimless pattering and give us hope for our eternity. Hope for what really matters on this world. He can take our life and make it good and pure despite the scars we bare. He can make us fruitful in our daily lives as well as in our legacy.  

Our Best Through Him

Through the Holy Spirit, God has actually made his home in us, and our best help will come from him! As we look to him and behold who he is, we will become more and more like him through the work of his spirit.

It’s not our effort, but his grace that fills us and generously sustains us. Praise God! 

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

Inspiration for this Post

This post was inspired after reading Ruth Chou Simon’s book, Beholding and Becoming. I encourage you to check out her book for yourself! The artwork is gorgeous, and her message offers great encouragement for those of us seeking to become more like Christ. 

Be Encouraged by these Posts as well…

Trees are the Answer: Questioning Adversity

You Don’t Have This: God’s Got This

Flash Flood of the Spirit(Opens in a new browser tab)

Blessing Others with a Valentine’s Day Heart Attack

Blessing Others with a Valentine’s Day Heart Attack

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Blessing Others with a Valentine’s Day Heart Attack

For the first time last year, the kids and I decided to give some friends and neighbors a Valentine’s Day Heart attack. This is a fun way to secretly let others know that they are loved and someone cares about them.

We not only wanted them to know that they are loved by us but by God too, so of course, we made up our own Valentine’s Day Heart Attack Hearts saying as much! We printed them out on red paper, cut them up, grabbed tape, and tried to not get caught by our neighbors. 

Achieving Part of our Goal

The goal of not getting caught by our neighbors was blown in the first 10 minutes. LOL!!  I tried to nonchalantly send the children to the house next door while the neighbor’s vehicle was gone only to have the lady of the house pull into her driveway as the kids were running wildly with the hearts in hand.  It was hilarious! 

We were able to give a Heart Attack to the rest of our neighbor’s and friends without them initially knowing, although I’m sure they eventually realized it was us. 

We need to work on our secretive sneak factor. At least, the true goal of blessings others worked out.

Unexpectedly, we also received a surprise of our own. 

Receiving Our Own Heart Attack Surprise 

Trying to be sneaky, we decided to give our own front door a Valentine’s Day Heart Attack too because we didn’t want to make it easily noticeable that we did the attacking.  

After attacking our friends and neighbors, we received our own surprise. It wasn’t a heart attack but actually more along the lines of a heart hug!  

I thought this was a cute idea for Valentine’s Day and really expected everyone to remove the hearts a couple days after Valentine’s Day.

However, the opposite happened.

Some people left the hearts on their glass doors, windows, or mailboxes until the weather and wind removed. 

The neighbor, who caught our not-so-sneaky crew, sent us a picture months and months later after we had moved saying the last remaining heart was hanging on for dear life and she was going to leave it on there until it fell off by itself. 

What a blessing this was to us!  We felt so loved and cherished! And that is exactly what we wanted them to feel. 

Our mission was accomplished with blessings that were returned!

In reference to sharing God’s word  and love with others, this verse from Isaiah 55:10-11 comes to mind:

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Valentine’s Day Heart Attack Printables

I hope this has encouraged you to give out Heart Attacks for Valentine’s this year. 

Those red paper hearts simply said:

“You are loved!”

“God loves you!”

“You are a blessing!”

Although the message was short, the blessings were felt for months after the chocolates were devoured. 

Whether it’s Valentine’s day or not, may we choose to find ways to let others know they are loved and cared for not only by us, but by the mighty One who created this entire universe. They are loved and they are special. He knows them by name and wants to be an eternal blessing to them. 

 

Prayer Over our Hearts

Lord, we praise you for loving us the way you do. You give the best gifts and we praise you for the gift of Jesus, who died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could come to be blessed as having you as our Heavenly Father.

Lord, give us the courage to spread your love freely to others. We praise you that every gift you give does not return to you empty. May we share the blessing you’ve given us with others freely.  In Jesus’ holy name – Amen! 

Be Encouraged by these posts as well…

Living Out Love on Valentine’s Day

Thoughts From the Mom Who Needs Grace

Let Me Live That I May Praise You

Are You Willing to Be Humiliated?

Are You Willing to Be Humiliated?

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Are you willing to be humiliated? As the kids and I read through Isaiah 20, this was one of the main questions that came to mind.

Are you willing to be Humiliated?

What would be the most humiliating thing you can think of that God might ask you to do?

In my wildest dreams I would not have thought God would ask this of anyone, but as I read it out loud to my kids, I realized that what God asks us to do is often for the benefit of others and can put us in an earthly humiliating position.

How was Isaiah Humilated?

[God] said to [Isaiah], “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.”

And [Isaiah] did so, going around stripped and barefoot.

Then the LORD said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exciles, young and old, with buttocks bared – to Egypt’s shame.

Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. In that day people who live on the on this coast will say, “See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria!

How then can we escape?”

Isaiah 20:2-6

3 years of Nakedness? Really?

I’ve been to topless beaches in Europe, where I kept my suit on, and even then I couldn’t fathom being uncovered.

But without hesitation Isaiah took of his shoes and his clothes. Yes, it was sackcloth, and I’m sure he was relieved to not be wearing that itchy, old, uncomfortable piece of clothing, but naked for 3 years!

Isaiah exchanged his sackcloth for nothing that would protect him from the sun, insects, or the chapping wind!

For 3 years, he boldly walked in what others would consider humiliation. This was surely a sign that did not go unnoticed by the population of people he passed by.

Although he may have seemed like the emperor with no clothes, he knew he didn’t have any clothes. However, he had a calling and his crown is definitely waiting for him in heaven. He obeyed even in the midst of earthly humiliation.

Will we be as willing?

Will we be as willing as Isaiah to go through with what God asks us to do?

I pray so, if it comes to that. If so, then we truly will be following in Jesus’ steps as earthly humiliation followed him being beaten and nailed to the cross.

“Remember what I told you:

‘A servant is not greater than his master.’

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey your also.

– Jesus, John 15:20

Humble ourselves to God

Although, I do believe that God won’t call many followers to replicate Isaiah’s physical act of obedience in order to warn others, I do believe God expects us to humble ourselves to Him every day.

For the Sake of Others

Most definitely, Isaiah streaked across the countryside not in fun as a college student who is trying to get into a fraternity but as a man of God who was trying to turn the attention of others back to their Creator and true Savior.

You see, what was happening was any time God’s people were in trouble or scared, they would run to others instead of running to the only One who has ever truly delivered them, the LORD.

Who Do We Run to In Times of Trouble?

This is a question that we must ask ourselves. Because if we don’t have the courage to ask this question, we stand to be humiliated but not by choice.

Isaiah made the choice to humiliate himself to the world by humbling himself to God.

If we choose to not humble ourselves to God and put our trust in others, we will be humiliated for all the world to see. It may happen in this physical life or it may be the ultimate humiliation that leads to damnation and destruction in the next.

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Lord, you suffered the ultimate humiliation for us on the cross. Physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, you sacrificed your whole self to save us!

Lord, we pray we will lean into your courage and strength and trust you above anyone else on earth. May we hold your opinion and your truth in it’s rightful place and seek your approval over the approval of man.

In Jesus’ powerful name we pray – Amen!

Days of December

Days of December

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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The days of December are here!  

What words comes to your mind as you think about the days of December? 

Joy.

Excitement. 

Hope.

Waiting.

Warmth. 

Light. 

There are so many words and images that fill my mind when I hear that the days of December are coming or are here. These are just a handful. 

Especially since we started celebrating Hanukkah and Advent, one of my favorite images is of our family gathered together by candlelight or flashlight reading God’s word. 

The Power of the Light

There is something powerful about even a soft light glowing in an otherwise dark room. Your eyes can’t help but look at the light. Your eyes might search the dark room but they always come back to the light.

Try this experiment with your family tonight.

Turn off all the lights. Then, carefully and quietly walk somewhere else in the room. Turn on a flashlight or light a candle and notice how quickly everyone’s face turns toward you.

I do this little experiment with our kids every so often, because I want them to remember the power of the light. The light cannot be ignored. Others might try to extinguish it, but the light always breaks through the darkness and shines a path before us. 

Christ is the Light of our Lives

Christ is the light of our lives and even though we have difficult times, he is our constant guide and companion, shining the path so we can walk. 

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Doesn’t that verse give you a surge of hope and joy? 

He has removed the darkness from our lives and given us the light of life!

I am the Light of the World

Oh, to never have to be afraid of the darkness. To “not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more (Luke 12:4).” This is the peace that comes with following the light.

The Truth often Hidden during the Days of December

Yes, those verses are joyful and hope-filled. They give us all the warm fuzzies, but there is a truth that is often overlooked during the days of December, that in honoring Christ, I cannot over look here. 

In Luke 12:5, Jesus continues…

“But I will show you whom you should fear:  Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.” 

Depending on where you stand in your relationship with Christ right now, you may exude joy in proclaiming that you know and trust the One who should be feared, knowing that he is protecting your soul from being completely separated from him is something to praise and celebrate. 

OR you may not even realize that there is a God worth loving and trusting that will protect you from the tortures of hell, if you choose to follow Him.

Our Longing for the Days of December

Our longing is for more and more to know the heart of Christ, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the joy of being reunited with their Heavenly Father. The advent season is a time of eagerly anticipating Jesus’ return and joyful praise over what Christ has already accomplished. 

But we can’t forget about those that don’t realize he is coming back!

He is coming!

Jesus will return soon, so let us take on not only this time of eager anticipation with joy in our hearts but realize the urgency in these moments too. So many still do not know Christ. 

We want them to have a holy, reverent fear of our Lord because his light is truth. He is the holy way. They need the eternal hope that we are so joyful and excited about right now. They need to see you shining the power of Christ’s light in their dark world. 

In these days of December, many are looking for the light that you have.

Shine brightly! The light cannot be ignored.

Prayer Over our Hearts

Lord, your love for us is beyond compelling.

When we hear what you’ve done for us, it humbles us to know that you would love a people that have in their actions and words have spoken hate against you. You took our sins upon you in order that we, an unholy people, may be reunited with our holy Heavenly Father. 

Oh Lord, we pray that we will not only praise you, but proclaim you to those you have placed in our lives. Let us be a shinning light to those who still don’t know you and are living in darkness. Let our hope in you become their hope as well. 

As followers of Christ, may we unite together in purpose so that your light may shine even brighter here on earth. May we let the light of Christ shine so all can be impacted by his truth and eternal gift of salvation! 

In Jesus’ powerful name – Amen! 

Letting Go of Guilt

Letting Go of Guilt

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
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Clinging to our past is drenching, isn’t it? It keeps us from experiencing the fullness of the present.

Sometimes we just need to let go.

Perhaps it’s pride from past successes, insecurities that we’ve allowed to define us, pain from hurtful experiences, or crippling guilt from our mistakes.

Is there anything from your past that you need to let go of?

I’d like to share a little bit of my personal story with you, and why I am learning to let go of the guilt and shame from my past. 

First, let’s consider the following scriptures.

“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:22-23)

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 17-19a)

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

 

There is beauty in the letting go of our past. 

The source of this beauty is God and his love for us, his chosen and dearly loved children. In his great grace, he forgives our sins and offers us a life filled with hope and assurance in what truly matters.

He wants us to let go.

 

My girls and I often walk in our local arboretum. Recently we’ve been enjoying the changing leaves and crisp autumn air.

I believe it reflects God’s grace. He paints the trees such glorious colors as they prepare to let go of their leaves. They let go of their leaves in order to sustain themselves through the winter, and so that they will be able to produce new life. I’ve been pondering this and reflecting on my own story, particularly a chapter I haven’t been able to turn the page on. 

 

During one of our evening walks, I watched my daughters giggle and play. I soaked in the sweet thoughts my five year old was sharing with me. I gave recognition to the value and blessings in this season of my life, and I knew it was time.

It was time to let go.

If I was going to flourish in the here and now then I needed to let go of the old parts of my story that left me feeling insignificant, stuck, and unfit for kingdom work.  I wanted to embrace the new chapter God was writing.

The specifics of my guilt aren’t really that important. In our selfishness, we all give way to sin. We all have reason for guilt. 

Dwelling on our past or how we thought life was supposed to be is a useless waste of energy. We can’t go back and do things differently. We can however, look to our past and see how God has worked in our life. We can remember lessons learned. We can consider where God’s brought us, and look for ways to bring him glory here, in our current circumstances.

We can’t grow in the past, but if we let go of what’s holding us there we can grow in the present.

 

It’s easier said than done. Letting go of guilt is especially difficult when we are living in the consequences of our sin.

There may be other people involved, you might be dealing with mental health issues, regular health issues, or you might have suffered loss. You might have a cost to pay.

Through this, it’s important to keep an eternal perspective.

Yes, we have to deal with the results of our actions, but we don’t have to wear the shame as our label.

We can let go and grow!

Doesn’t that sound better than clinging to our past mistakes, and wallowing in our guilt?

Which response will cause us to be more effective for the Kingdom?

Life is certainly filled with hills and valleys and some people face more difficult times than others. These chapters are hard, but even in them we can serve the Lord.

The purpose of bringing God glory exists in all of our chapters, not just the easier ones.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

 

 

“Letting go” isn’t about forgetting all of our bad memories or ignoring what other people think about us.

It’s not even about feeling happy. It’s about letting go of our sin and guilt, experiencing the fullness of our salvation in Jesus Christ so that we might be fruitful. 

So how do you do this?

Well, I don’t have all of the answers for you, but I know a good place to start. Fill your heart and mind with scriptures that speak of the assurance of your salvation. The above scriptures are wonderful ones to meditate on and memorize if you are struggling to release your guilty past. 

Here is the truth, friend:

If you have accepted salvation in Jesus then God intends for you to live with joy and freedom.  Without Christ we were headed toward death, but with him we are forgiven of sins, made clean, and headed toward heaven!

So let go of your sin and guilt, and live in the light of your eternity!

 

 

 

**

If you have not received salvation in Jesus and you would like to know more about God’s life changing grace then please reach out to our Creating a Great Day team. It would be our privilege to talk about the Gospel with you. 🙂

 

Trees are the Answer: Questioning Adversity

Trees are the Answer: Questioning Adversity

Jayne Michener has been married for over twenty years to a "son of thunder" and is mother to two adolescent daughters, one delightfully immersed in nature and another humorous, artistic girl who is devoted to cats.The better days are spent developing Christian culture and character with the educational principles of Charlotte Mason in mind.The worse days are spent with lightly held sanity, tightly gripped coffee, and semi-vocalized prayer.She is on a journey depending on the Holy Spirit to guide her into all truth, whether unseen spiritual realms or earthly ventures, such as education, healing arts, nutrition, neuroscience, and art.Oh, and her children would be horrified if she did not mention that they live with two cats, Blacksmith and Beauty.
Jayne M
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Trees are the Answer?

A true story was told concerning a bold venture to grow the strongest possible trees, which would then be made available for purchase. The saplings were planted inside a large, domed stadium to protect this
young forest from inclement weather. In fact, these trees received every possible nourishment and protection, and after the proper lapse of time, the trees were made available for transplant.

As it turns out, this venture was an abject failure.

The trees proved to be as fragile as thin glass, with limbs breaking under the slightest pressure.

In trying to mitigate all risk, the aborists had noble intentions, but they failed to take into account the benefits of naturally occurring, contrasting winds. Strength and resilience developed only in presence of wind pressure. To remove external pressure removed internal strength.

Are we resisting God’s goodness?

All adversity involves real risk that it will not go well. But in that risk also lies the opportunity for previously unknown growth. Perhaps in seeking to build a dome and resist natural adversity, we also resist God’s goodness for our lives.

Through breeze and storm, we are storytellers in our own lives, narrating our experiences and coloring our tales with various emotional shades. Our inner voice interprets the trials of life to explain events that challenge us.

In this task we must prophecy over ourselves based on the wisdom of both nature and Scripture. We must whisper in our own ear,

The God who loves us is developing our strength. We will not be children made of glass timber, but will be mighty in the tempest. This adversity is my opportunity for unforeseen growth.

Will we take the opportunity to grow in faith?

When presented with the opportunity to grow in faith while traversing the desert, the Israelites failed. They complained of bitter hardships, despised the heavenly manna, and longed for “free” Egyptian food and meat. The people rejected the opportunity in their adversity, aborting their growth and resulting in a severe plague (Numbers 11). Not all challenges go well.

Much like the Israelites, complaining plagues us.

Perhaps you, like me, had never looked at the synonyms for complaining, but the words seem to be reproaches unto themselves:

  • Grumbling,
  • protesting,
  • whining,
  • bellyaching,
  • fretting,
  • lamenting,
  • moaning,
  • mourning,
  • weeping,
  • repining,
  • murmuring and
  • regretting.

Conceived in the mind and birthed with the mouth, these verbs are deadly.

The book of James compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship which steers its course; likewise, complaining steers the course of adversity away from its proper destination of God’s goodness and into the peril of plague. Looking in faith towards the goodness of God in the midst of adversity allows his providence to meet us in our desert of need.

What is the poison and the antidote?

In the case of adversity, verbs are both the poison and the antidote. The antidote to poisonous complaining is found in the antonyms of complaining: Appreciating, enjoying, and praising, which sounds remarkably like Psalms 100:4:

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”

Complaining kills, but praise prospers.

Once, when diligently pursuing God, I prayed that he would remove the scales from my eyes so that I could see him, and a still, quiet voice said,

“Thanksgiving removes the scales from your eyes so you can
see God.”

Later that weekend at a women’s conference, the main speaker declared these very words from the stage.

Oftentimes in the midst of adversity we are in such turmoil and angst that God seems ever far away, not the God who is near. We can’t see God.

Thanksgiving not only reminds us of his goodness to know his nearness in our pain, but it is also a safeguard to protect our hearts from bitter despair.

Likewise, praise raises our eyes in hope, knowing that his goodness and power are abundantly sufficient for the trials we face.

More than that, praise sets the stage for miracles.

My favorite example of this principle is found in II Chronicles 20 which describes three vast armies that came to wage war against King Jehoshaphat. Alarmed, Jehoshaphat determined to inquire of the Lord,
concluding in prayer,

“We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

The next day Jehoshaphat demonstrated his faith that the battle
belonged to the Lord by sending out – not the cavalry – but praise teams to lead his army. From what happened next, it appears that their worship activated God’s saving might. Verse 22 states,

“As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

What might have happened if Jehoshaphat had met his time of adversity without inquiry, without faith, without song? Would the nation have forfeited God’s goodness that was waiting for them in song at that moment of trial?

Trees are the Answer.

Going back to our planters of domed trees, they would have benefited from the perspective of an eminent Indian scientist, Professor Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose. He had already concluded one hundred years earlier,

“A plant carefully protected under glass from outside shocks looks sleek and flourishing but its higher nervous function is then found to be atrophied… Is it not the shocks of adversity and not cotton wool protection that evolve true manhood?”

Perhaps with the protection of cotton wool removed, we develop full Christian maturity, i.e.

“We will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head” (Ephesians 4:15).

Thanksgiving circumvents adverse outcomes during this risky but necessary process, and praise ushers us into the King’s holy presence, the place where all power lies to overcome adversity.

My husband and I once saw a bumper sticker we never forgot: TREES ARE THE ANSWER. We weren’t sure what the question was, but now as we reflect on adversity, joy, and strength, we are ready to boldly proclaim,

“Trees Are The Answer!”

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