In All Things

As most of y’all know, besides supper, my two favorite times of the day are sunrise and sunset. I’m blessed that most days I’m doing something outside at those times, which allows me to enjoy both. This week found me outside early one morning, showing off the stars that we can only view in the darkness of country-living to Ms. Diane’s son. In that moment, I contemplated my smallness in the vast universe God created.

Pointing out stars and constellations to him and his wife, I considered how insignificant my life is. Of course, that thought invites Satan to stir up doubts about my unworthiness. Immediately, ideas and accusations began flooding in.

  • God doesn’t have time to bother with you, you little pipsqueak. He’s got bigger, more important things than you to worry about.
  • God probably doesn’t even know you exist. You’re a name in a book, long forgotten.
  • As weak and insignificant as you are, you’re worthless to God. Look at all the published authors, all the titans of faith out there today; you’re a nobody. Look at all those in Hebrews 11; you’ll never be able to do what they did.

As those negative thoughts were invading my mind, God’s Word sprang forth to counter them. I started thinking of beloved Scriptures from Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. In Ephesians 1, Paul gives us three reasons that remind us of how valuable we are in God’s eyes.

  1. Ephesians 1:4. We are valuable because of who we are, made in His image.
  2. Ephesians 1:5. We are valuable because God paid a high cost to adopt us into His family through the sacrifice for us made by Jesus Christ.
  3. Ephesians 1:11-12. We are valuable to God because of His plan for what we can become when we submit ourselves to Him.

Many other verses came to mind that speak to the value God sees in a true Christian. Knowing God has predestined us for His glory (2 Thessalonians 1:12), when we work to do His will in our lives, we see the value that God sees in us. When we do, any negative self-doubts disappear.

How many of us have ever questioned our calling, our faith, or our worthiness to do what He has called us to do? God’s Word never said, “Go forth and spread the gospel to all the world and make disciples, John, Mary, and Albert.” Christ’s great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) was to all Christians. How we do it depends upon the gifts and talents that God equips us with. Thank goodness it is not dependent upon our own abilities.

How do we best carry out Christ’s great commission? #LivingForHim #ChristInUs #WeInChrist Click To Tweet

The best way we carry out Christ’s great commission is by doing the best we can to rely on Him in faith to guide us through this journey. A maxim I’ve long appreciated is “If God calls you to it, He’ll lead you through it.” For all Christians, we are called to shine His light into this darkened world through our lives. The more we surrender to His will and His work of sanctification in our lives, the better we please Him and the more His light shows in our lives.

Responding to His calling in our lives, whether we believe we are equipped or qualified to do whatever He calls us to do or not, is an act of faith. As we walk with God, we are to give thanks to Him in all things.

in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18  NKJV)

The keywords I focused on in Paul’s writing were “in everything”, or in some translations, “in all things.” Note that it does not say “for everything.” I believe that was purposeful, as Romans 8:28 tells us God will use all things for good to those who love God. When we thank God in everything that happens in our lives, we are recognizing His supreme authority and control of our lives.

Events large and small, good and bad, filled this past week. I’m not sure I gave thanks in all things that God allowed in my life. I’m uncertain His light shined as brightly in me as He had desired it to shine.

God does not want or expect us to praise Him for death, divorce, disease, stress, heartbreak, etc. He expects us to allow Him to grow our faith from those things He has allowed in our lives. How do we thank Him for those difficult things and seasons? We acknowledge His authority and His desire to help us grow stronger in our faith.

My prayer is that we all recognize that although doubts may enter our thoughts, our God is bigger than our doubts and He has promised to be with us always. With that promise, we can overcome all that comes our way. We know what awaits us upon Christ’s certain return.

God’s blessings,

60 thoughts on “In All Things”

    1. As a fellow Christian writer, I know you understand how much our reading friends mean to us. And when you take time to comment on something we write, it’s a double blessing. Be well my friend and God’s blessings.

  1. J.D. it’s hard to find places that lights don’t remove our ability to clearly see the stars. I remember laying on a dock as a teen out away from the city lights and being in awe of what I saw. They remind me of God taking Abraham out and pointing to them. I love to imagine that scene. His problem of infertility shrank when he beheld the size of his God. So thankful that God is bigger than our doubts, fears, and inadequacies.

    1. Me too Ms. Debbie. When I consider that in the vastness of all creation, He sees me, then I realize how much He values us. To know that He wants to be with us, He wants relationship with us, oh how humbling it is. To know such love is a precious gift my friend. Perhaps you can remember, but something I do each night when I’m outside viewing the heavens is to close my eyes for about thirty seconds and then open them again while looking up. That little change brings into focus what seems to be billions more stars than we could see before. When I consider the construct of the human eye and its ability to see things so far away, I know I serve a most powerful, omnipotent God.

  2. Ok. I was starting to worry, since you were late with your post today. Life regularly gets in the way of our routines and plans. I’m glad the Lord takes our existential doubts & questions seriously and has already anticipated them in His word. Your post reminded me of a favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Calvin shouts to the night sky, “I’m significant!” Then in the last panel he whispers, “Screamed the dust speck.” We’re dust. Dirt. But loved and fashioned by God’s hands.

    1. Thank you for the Calvin and Hobbes reference. I haven’t read that strip in years but used to always enjoy their musings. And yes, my post was later than normal this week. Being a caregiver often means that things need to be reprioritized at times. This week was one of those months. 🙂 Thanks for understanding. Just knowing that friends look forward to reading about the adventures I call “this life of mine” on Wednesday mornings bring the best smile. God’s blessings sweet sister-in-Christ.

    1. Amen Ms. Marilyn. Our grands and “pseudo-kids” need to know they are valued in our eyes and especially in God’s eyes. I so often read and hear of how today’s culture is seeking to remove God from the conversation. God should be the reason for conversation. Thank you for standing strong, as a pillar of faith, for your family ma’am. The legacy of faith that you are cultivating and living out before your grandchildren will remain with them for many years to come. God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. Exactly Ms. Ann. If we allow the world to define us, we will begin to view ourselves as the world does. Weak, insignificant, worthless. If we look at ourselves with spiritual eyes and view ourselves as God sees us, we see the truth of His greatest creation. Loved, strong, domineering (we have domain over all), capable, special, gifted, beautiful. Oh, the difference He can make when we listen to our Creator and not the deceiver.

  3. This encouraged my heart, J.D. You had me at enjoying the sunrise and sunset. My mom says that I’ve had a love for the sky since I was a little girl. I would say, “Look at the boot-i-ful sky.” 🙂 Still to this day, the skyline mesmorizes me and helps me remember to praise the Lord and glorify His name-the only worthy One.

    I appreciate how you clarified that we are to give thanks “in” everything and not “for” everything. It’s in the midst of those hard circumstances that does grow our faith and we still thank God for who He IS.

    God bless!

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Your encouraging words are a “boot-i-ful” balm to my writer’s soul ma’am. I’m with you on how I like to start and end my days, prayer included of course, while observing His majesty in the heavens. I sometimes pause and consider that if I were standing at the farthest point I can imagine upon the horizon, God would still be there. What a comforting knowledge comes from knowing that He will always be with me, no matter where I am or what I’m facing. Oh, the joy that comes from knowing He is my Father God. The peace that I find in knowing I am His dear child, one that will be with Him throughout eternity.

  4. Wise words here, my friend.
    Some of my favorite words in the Bible are “all things,” and you have elaborated on them beautifully.
    And, yes, it’s amazing to realize that Creator God is mindful of each detail of each of us.
    Oh, how worthy He is to be praised!

    1. Amen Ms. Connie. I firmly believe that all of creation, and that includes me and you my friend, were made to praise Him. Knowing that He loved us enough to leave heaven to come redeem us is sometimes an overwhelming love. God’s blessings my gentle friend.

  5. Wow, Brother–so much inspiration and encouragement wrapped in one post. I have begun to resonate with you in a new way recently, since I’ve been getting outside before daybreak. I don’t have a ranch to run, but I’ve got a body that has has spent way too much time sitting down. The gym helps, but it doesn’t offer the view that the heavens open up every day. It can’t imagine looking up at the panorama He unfolds and not thinking about how vast He is and how small and insignificant I am. But, as you so clearly and powerfully said, It’s the perfect canvas on which to paint the glorious picture of God’s amazing willingness to make personal contact with us and beyond that, to allow us to be a part of His work, and His family.

    You’ve not only been an inspiration for me taking those morning walks, but a special part of my conversations with God during them. In the grand scheme of things both of us are pretty small players, but the One who called us didn’t send us out to compete against one another. When Jesus had that conversation with Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee after the resurrection and Peter asked Him what He had in mind for the other guys, Jesus basically told Peter to just do what He was sending him to do. What He chose to do with the other guys was none of his business.

    Thank you for the encouraging reminder that the path He called us to is going to run headlong into some bad days and tough patches but God can and will use them to strengthen and enrich us if we don’t abandon the faith that got us this far. Your words have, as always, brought nourishment to our souls and a bright spot into our day–may God make every minute He gives us a personal reinforcement of every promise He made.

    1. Humbled by your graciousness sir. I often find myself sharing those same thoughts with God after I’ve read one of your insightful, encouraging, and exhorting posts on my Saturday mornings. I love how God can use each of us, each in our unique way, to give a more complete picture of who He is to those who listen, read, or view us. Like you, I suspect, a part of my prayers each day is that God place me in the path of someone who needs to see Him and that I be ready to shine His love into that place or person(s). Thank you for all your kindness and encouragement sir. God’s blessings.

    1. Amen Ms. Diana. Those trials we trust Him to lead us through are not always easy, are they ma’am? Still, in going through them in faith, we find we are stronger when we reach the other side. Thank you my word-loving friend.

  6. I can recall the myriad times I’ve felt humbled when looking at the starry, infinite heavens, J. D., but when I remember that God still cares for me, I feel a sense of honor and peace that I am a beloved part of His grand creation. It’s right to be humbled at the sight, because God wants us to have a sense of humility in His incomparable presence.
    Blessings, my friend, and thanks for this thoughtful insight!

    1. He does indeed Ms. Martha. Too often, and I think it’s always been that way since the fall of man, we are wont to think too highly of ourselves. Yes, we have been created by God for relationship with Him (unworthy though we are). Yes, He has given us domain over all other creations. Yet, we must remember that we are not the Creator but the caretaker. What many forget, and some may never know, is that we must also be good stewards of the spiritual gifts He has given us. We must steward the love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control He has blessed us with so that others see Him in us. Only His greatest creation is capable of reflecting His character so completely. Humbling indeed my friend.

  7. Your verses from Ephesians are a great counterattack against Satan’s lies. I’m recording them in my prayer journal to call on as needed. Thanks for your encouraging words. Be well, my friend.

    1. Well amen Ms. Candyce. In these times, we need all the ammo we can get my friend. Can’t speak for others, but it seems that Satan’s attacks are increasing in both frequency and intensity with each passing day my friend. Stand strong sweet sister, you’re not standing alone!

    1. Aww shucks Ms. Edwina. You sure know how to make a friend feel special and appreciated ma’am. I will endeavor to always keep improving because I owe it to my friends who support me and the God who directs me. God’s blessings precious friend.

  8. J.D., this so encouraged me today. Very early this morning, while it was yet dark, I looked up at the sky over our yard. There were two stars that shone so bright and stood out. I remarked out loud to myself, “Look at how they both shine and stand out!” They were just stunning. But the more I looked, I then realized that one was slightly brighter than the other. But they were both present, both purposefully doing exactly what their Creator had purposed. I think one day we may just discover that even when we thought we weren’t shining, or as bright as others, we were doing exactly what our Lord designed for us to be doing, right in our little corner of the world. Keep shining, my friend, and keep writing for you are an encouragement to many! Blessings!

    1. AMEN Ms. Joanne. What a wonderful point you’ve made ma’am. Even when we feel tarnished, dull, and not very “noticeable”, what is inside us will and must come out. The key point I took from your comments is that I must always reflect what my Creator has placed inside me. Like a star in the heavens, I may twinkle on and off, depending upon how the sun is reflected off me, but the “Son” inside me is always consistent and the same. What a wonderful reminder that someone is always watching us. How we handle our tired, disappointment, illness, or other challenge is just as important as how we handle our joy, elation, and success. Thank you so much for contributing this truth to our conversation ma’am. God’s blessings my friend.

    1. Thank you Ms. Nancy. I often think of that image when I’m helping at church with the little ones. We “grown ups” tend to want to socialize and interact with one another and we sometimes seem to pay little attention to the children around us. They’ll be happily playing together or sharing stories, but if you pay attention, there’s almost always one who is “away from the crowd”, is “off to themselves”, and who perhaps needs a friend. We can be that friend who can listen to them, share with them, and show them they are valued and loved. In the same way, that’s what God does for us. He’s always watching and listening for one of His children to need Him.

    1. LOL How did I know you were going to pick up on that Ms. Joy. Only farmers and farm families can understand how our affinity for that delightful meal at the end of the day is something special we look forward to. We’re often so busy during the rest of the day, if we’re lucky we get a sandwich in the cab of the combine or able to grab a snack while refueling or servicing the tractor, that we don’t get a lot of time to be together and share with our loved ones. It’s the coming together, the fellowship of family, that makes the food taste so good. Of course, starting and ending our day reflecting upon our relationship with God, sure does feel and taste good too. God’s blessings to you and Mr. Guy ma’am.

  9. “Our God is bigger than our doubts.” Oh, yes! We are so blessed, my friend. Like you, I look up into the night sky (or the early morning) and marvel that the God who created this vast universe LOVES me. I, so unworthy, am loved by our awesome God. It’s so humbling. Thank you for sharing this beautiful reminder of our Father’s majesty and faithfulness. Blessings!

    1. Amen! I think it’s important that we humble ourselves before God Ms. Katherine. It reminds us of Who is in control of our lives, and I’m certainly glad it’s not me. LOL Thank you so much for your comments and support my friend. Praying you a blessed week, full of peace, love, joy, time with God, and those wonderful grandchildren. Oh, and Heidi and the horses too. 😀

  10. I appreciate the way you countered Satan’s lies with truth as the Holy Spirit brought His Word to your mind. Whether our calling is large or small, all that matters is doing it as unto Him, relying on His grace and strength.

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. We can’t always stop Satan from attacking us, but as Christ Himself demonstrated, having God’s Word at the ready is our best defense. You can’t win the battle when you let the enemy control the beachhead my friend. God’s blessings.

    1. Amen Ms. Yvonne. I often think about that image of the struggling marathon runner. That one who has suffered and endured 26 miles of their goal, but that last .2 miles seems to be impossible. They’re tired, in pain, and their body is refusing to carry them further. It is shutting down. Then, someone comes back from the course or steps forward from the crowd. They wrap their arms around that haggard runner and they begin speaking words of encouragement into them. They all but carry that seemingly defeated person across the finish line. I believe that is what the Holy Spirit does with our souls. When we are “soul-tired” and Satan almost has a beaten with his FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), the Holy Spirit shows him (Satan) as the liar he is and encourages us to rely upon our faith to take that next step, to write that next page, or to share that next message. As we rely upon His help, we can begin to see the finish line we imagined. He does not let us forget and God will never let us stop running the race. God’s blessings my precious sister. Oh, how you encourage me ma’am.

  11. I appreciated your drawing attention to Paul’s words “in everything” rather than “for everything”. When life takes a downward turn or I’ve chosen to go my own way, my spiritual sight is blinded and the light of Christ within me inevitably dims. In ALL things leaves no room for exceptions. Praise God for his compassions, new every morning!

    1. Yes ma’am. It’s easy to thank God for the good things in life, isn’t it? It’s more difficult for us to appreciate the difficult stuff. It’s like our personal trainers (not that I’ve had one for many years), we never thank them when they’re pushing us to do “Two More!” or to “Run another mile.” Instead, we sometimes want to curse them for their tortuous ways. But then, we the session is over and we see that we’ve gone farther, faster than we ever have before, we thank them for pushing us to new heights. Perhaps we should view the Holy Spirit as our spiritual personal trainer.

      And yes ma’am, “all means all”, doesn’t it?

  12. Thank you, J.D., for sharing this beautiful post. I think we all struggle with those feelings of worthlessness, but those Scriptures you shared tell us the truth about how God sees us. The blood of Jesus makes us worthy.

    1. Amen Ms. Barbara. We need to keep at the forefront of our minds who God says we are, not what the world wants to tell us we are. God defines us, not man. Well said my friend. Thank you so much!

  13. Recently, I was explaining “shooting stars” to grandson Rowan. I shared how when his Daddy was a little boy, we put blankets on the back porch and rested while watching the stars shoot across the sky. Seeing those glorious stars then and today reminds me of the greatness of God. He created us and we are His. Therefore, we are wonderful creatures, even though we fail at times. Thank you for this beautiful message dear friend.

    1. Well said Ms. Tammy. In whatever God has called us for, our faith is tempered in perseverance. God’s blessings sweet friend, and keep writing. The world needs to hear God’s voice through your hand.

  14. God’s creation has a way of aligning our perspective, doesn’t it? You’ve packed much encouraging truth in your post this week, J.D. We can thank God *in* all things because He’s in the middle of every circumstance we face. We can trust He will provide His presence to us always. That’s always worth a “hallelujah!”

  15. I think the key to being able to give thanks in everything is trusting that God is always good and that he works everything together for our good. Satan does everything he can to make us doubt that. But as you’ve demonstrated, the best way to combat the enemy’s lies is with the truth of God’s word.

    1. How true Ms. Terri. “Satan come to steal, kill, and destroy …” (John 10:10 [excerpted]), and he wants to destroy everything, especially our walk with the Lord. Yet even when he (Satan) attempts to bring us down, our shield (God) stands strong to protect us. His Word helps us to stand strong against Satan’s wiles. Well said ma’am. Thank you!

  16. Thank you, J.D. I especially loved, “Responding to His calling in our lives, whether we believe we are equipped or qualified to do whatever He calls us to do or not, is an act of faith.” By faith we do what God has called us to do. Maybe not perfectly, but to honor Him.

    1. Absolutely ma’am. I’ve long considered that while God has given me the talent to write, He expects me to learn how to be more effective in my writing so that I too can one day glorify Him with my efforts. Thank you so much sweet friend.

  17. Another post that blessed me. Thank you, dear brother. Satan will always find ways to bring discouragement, but the truth of God’s Word always negates it! Clinging to the Word is more important than ever so that we may walk in the light of God’s truth. I’m admiring the stars along with you, brother JD. Have a blessed week.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. How true ma’am; today more than ever perhaps, we must cling tightly to God’s Word and the moral values it provides. God’s Word gives us absolutes rather than interpretations. We can be assured of how we should walk when we follow His divine guidance.

  18. Great encouragement to remember my value when Satan’s doubts creep in. Also a great reminder that the first step is toward Him, not plowing forward on our own. That’s where I have trouble. Thanks JD.

    1. I think we all struggle with that from time to time Ms. Cathy. Perhaps that’s how we are reminded we still have growing to do, in Him. Be well my sweet friend.

  19. I, too, am guilty of negative self-talk when it comes to my insignificance and inability as God’s messenger and servant. My talents feel as if they fall short requiring me to work harder. But this I know, my tenacity is strong and my desire to do the most excellent job I can is noteworthy even if it doesn’t measure up to somebody else’s. Comparison is an ever-present force. I appreciate the reminder that God sees me through the eyes of how He made me and formed my inner self. Thank you.

    1. Yes ma’am! Satan works overtime to make us doubt if we’re enough. I sometimes remind myself that God would tell me, “You are exactly what I made you to be. That’s enough child.” I then think, if I’m good enough for God, right where I am right now, then why am I even worried about what anyone else might think. God’s blessings precious sister-in-Christ.

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