“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3
If you are struggling with the thought of Christmas arriving in just a handful of days; if you despair at the thought of how you will bring joy to your jingle-less world; if you don’t know how to lift your head amidst your trials, I would like to guarantee this; the only way to have our thoughts established or to see any light at the end of a gloomy Christmas tunnel, is to commit our works to the Lord.
Translated in Hebrew, our Christmas activities are works; from sunrise to sunset, anything we put our hands to and apply diligence in; baking, card writing, shopping, phoning, gift wrapping, finances, and friends – all that we labor in are “thy works.” In this verse God promises, that as we prayerfully entrust all that we do to Him, our thought process and our purpose will be time-honored.
Without encouragement, hard times become hopeless times!
As a Christian woman one of my job roles, as characterized in Scripture, is to represent the specific training I have received, and to pass on encouragement to other women. “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:5
If we profess to be influenced by the Word of God, then our own lives must give an account of consistency - not inconsistency! As we grow in these virtues, outlined for us as women by the very breath of God, then we add value to Christianity for the younger women and for the unsaved women who are watching us. If we lead an inconsistent life through our conduct, we attach reproach and less value to the gospel - “…that the word of God be not blasphemed.” As women, we are held accountable for this!
When we moved here, it was nine-months before we experienced our first Christmas together in America. Presents were not a priority – survival was! Being prepared and planning ahead seems such an achievable option for most however, when your world is in disarray and life has been squeezed out of your haven of hope, your mindset is on 1-day. At the time, 1-day represented every day in my life.
I remember thinking as I lay my head on my moistened pillow as the tears trickled from my eyes - “It’s over! ---perhaps tomorrow will be different?” A new dawn arrived and I would muster up the courage to get out of bed and make my way through the course of another day. It really was that tough at times, and it really IS perhaps that tough for YOU this time!
During this period of my life I could not lift my head high enough to see beyond my circumstances and the how’s of what felt like, at the time, a hopeless world. Job uses words to describe his own trial as “My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.” Job 17:11
You begin to really grasp Scripture and the meaning of why certain words are used to describe ones spirit and/or circumstances, when you study Hebrew. “My day…“ From sunrise to sunset, you experience perpetually troubled days – with no end in sight! “…are past…” described in Hebrew as intensive, beyond, and alienating. Have you ever felt like that? Do you know of a lady who may not be able to define her sorrow; she is going through a most intensive period of her life, which in many respects alienates her as it did for me?
Early days in America were exhaustive for us. It was literally one-day-at-a-time. Feelings of “I don’t belong” and “I can’t identify with that” were very isolating for me. “…my purposes are [were] broken off…” Yes, I felt plucked up from the roots and torn away from any normality, which is so aptly penned in Job as “…even the thoughts of my heart.” All courage and understanding were superfluous. Before God’s grace opens your eyes to the jewel of any storm, you are numbed by a weakened spirit.
Thoughts literally mean “possessions.” That is, all the feelings of hope which a person’s heart was once encouraged and nourished by - are nonexistent! Possessions belong to the heart as “purposes” for our understanding. In this verse, possessions and purposes describe the inner man.
Four years on; I now thank God for every feeling of hopelessness during that stretch of time and for every lesson He taught me through the various trials. Our lives can be defined as a spiritual classroom. God desires that we grow in grace and mirror His image. If we seek to do His will then we must face our trials with a humbled spirit and a desire to learn. We can’t change the circumstances however, our testimony and how we respond to what He lays out for us - can be life changing! Our worst is most often our best and our worst is always God’s best!
I have lost count of the numerous times I was consumed with what I had lost by surrendering to God’s will and moving to America. BUT, to loose something in the will of God is to find something better! Defining what I have found will take time, and as I meditate on that thought, my mind is already compiling a list.
It’s a most desirable goal to have our thoughts established and not tossed and put into a hurry by disquieting cares and fears. I love to go on in an even steady course of honesty and faithfulness - not disturbed or put out of frame by any event or change. Yes it’s wonderful to be satisfied that we can work for good and subject ourselves to His leadership, and be always easy and sedate. But not always is my day spirit filled, and quite effortlessly it can be the opposite. “My day” is the key to my thoughts being established. When my day is given over to God, it becomes His day, and I experience victory!
The only way to have our thoughts established is to commit our works to the Lord. The great concerns of our souls must be committed to the grace of God, with a dependence upon and submission to the conduct of that grace - "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." 2Timothy 1:12
All our outward concerns must be committed to the providence of God, and to the sovereign, wise, and gracious disposal of that providence. Roll thy works upon the Lord (so the word is); roll the burden of our cares from ourselves and onto God. We need to lay the matter before Him by prayer. Make known our works unto the Lord, not only our outward duties and responsibilities, but the workings of our heart - and then leave it with Him; by faith, dependence upon Him, submission and resignation to Him.
I resolve myself through being diligent in my walk with God each day, that the will of the Lord be done! In this respect, our lives are uncomplicated. When we resolve ourselves to grasp, that whatever pleases God shall please us - the fuss settles down!
One of the key factors in overcoming my fear and sorrow, and my going on with living the Christian life is this; I build my life on principles NOT hope!
Good Thoughts Produce Good Outcomes
I have compiled what I call a “reality check-list” for hurting women. This wisdom was gleaned from my own seeds of sorrow during some of the saddest Christmas seasons I have experienced. During these times, I learned to use my heartache as a bridge for someone else’s depression. So often I cross a bridge provided by God, built through another, and never realized I needed to cross it until I reached the other side.
Hurting people need;
This season we can all make time for someone hurting. When we take time to be kind and make time to demonstrate kindness, we build a bridge of encouragement and lighten the load for another considerably. Encouragement lifts the yoke for others as Christ lifts our yoke and places us in His yoke. Encouraging a woman that is going through a particularly difficult Christmas this year, magnifies Christ and demonstrates the love of God through you and onto them.
The Christian life is so simple that we often pass it by; we pass by opportunities to be a blessing to others for various reasons and none of them will stand before the judgment seat of God.
Someone somewhere is hurting this Christmas. We all have a circle of influence. I observe those around me where I sit in church and places I frequent. There may be a widow who will experience her first Christmas without her husband. I have already thought of a lady who I will write to and tell her I am thinking of her during this time of year. It’s OK to acknowledge someone’s pain. It encourages me when I receive a card from a lady who has specifically mentioned that she is thinking of me during a particular time. Don’t be afraid to reach out and be specific about your words of kindness. It will encourage the heart of a hurting lady.
When I write to a woman or when I speak to her personally, I use Scripture verses that are specific and that I know will speak the truth of God’s love and the righteousness of His ways. “Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” Psalm 85:11
Like an abundant harvest, our encouragement speaks - “friend and helper.” There are many promises which lie unfulfilled like buried seeds, and the truth of God’s love expressed through us shall spring up and yield harvests of joy! Like a window thrown open in heaven and God’s big arms leaning over---gazing down upon us---surrounded by the stars, so we too mirror His beauty when we do good unto others. I don’t mean just handing the gift bag over, I mean going out of our way!
"Earth carpeted with truth and canopied with righteousness."
In Christ, truth is found in our humanity and His deity brings divine righteousness among us.
If you think of something, don’t withhold it. So often we think of kind deeds and then they go on the back burner of our mind and are never brought into fruition. The reality is YOU didn’t think it! God is full of ideas for an obedient lady to use. His still quiet voice whispers and gives us all sorts of thoughts. They’re not our creative imaginations – they’re His! And if He gives birth to an idea, wouldn’t you think He has the means to fulfill His own desires? It’s not about us, it’s about the Love of God illuminating through us and touching the spirit of another during the Christmas Season.
It’s the simple things in life that are often the most enjoyable. It does not have to cost or equate to anything elaborate. I ask God for specifics. He trumps me every time with His ideas. So often when I have given a lady something that I thought was---well---not exactly what I wanted, it has proven to be the perfect gift every time. God’s ways are always perfect and He had the perfect gift from the beginning. Nothing has changed!
Often good is measured by the tangible objects around us. This being the case, then there are many who will not experience the goodness of Christmas this year. The love of Christ is the greatest gift you could share with anyone! This love is non-tangible yet unforgettable. By demonstrating the Love of Christ to others this Christmas, you may give the greatest gift to a woman with little hope of any joy this season.
Our giftless Christmas taught us to do all we could to demonstrate the Love of Christ to someone in need at Christmas. Yes, after almost four years, I was finally able to prepare during the harvest months this past year, and I purposed myself to do little things for less that would mean the most to someone else.
There is a season for all things. Not everyone has the strength or the ability to rise above their circumstances. I work very hard on my attitude towards other women who struggle with their roller coaster of emotions, and who find it nearly impossible to see any joy through their trials. Be patient with everyone – God is! “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.” Psalm 6:6
The good responders are the easy ones in our life - they feed our flesh! The poor responders are our classroom. We can embrace the lesson on how to respond to non-responders. Everything is a spiritual lesson, including the women God will place on your heart this Christmas. Don’t ignore the whisper and make sure you take time to hear it and act in obedience. You didn’t think of it – God did!
He wants to use US to demonstrate the Love of HIM this Christmas. "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul," Deuteronomy 10:12
I Love You,