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Giving Thanks When Adversity Strikes

November 7, 2006

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

When a heavily armed outsider violated the peace and security of a small one-room schoolhouse in the Amish community and shot execution- style 10 girls but let teachers, aides, and boys go free, the nation was shocked and outraged at the evil. Five girls aged 7-13 died, and the shooter killed himself; yet the Amish community found it within their hearts to minister the grace and forgiveness of Christ before the watching world by forgiving the assailant and extending forgiveness and financial help to his family. How?

1 Thessalonians 5.16-22:

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Itís November, the time when our thoughts turn to feasting and football, to turkeys, parades, to the smell of stuffing and pumpkin pies, and to various family traditions. Itís also a time when our thoughts turn to giving thanks and returning grace by blessing God for His bounty and by blessing others who have been instruments of blessing in our lives. But how are we to thank God in every thing? When adversity strikes, how do we continue in the grace that appreciates God for His love?

Every believer can learn to give thanks in every circumstance by seeking God for grace to do the following from a heart of love:

      1. Interpret the events of life through the paradigm of Scripture. How you interpret events determines your response and therefore the outcome. You get bitter or better. When bad things happen, you may feel betrayed. Bitterness is betrayalís baby unless you can keep the root of bitterness from taking hold and choking you. You do this through forgiving.
      2. Forgive because God has forgiven you in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4). Forgive that your Heavenly Father will forgive you. (Mark 11.25, 26) This takes faith in God and in Godís goodness.
      3. Trust in the goodness of God. Trust that God will bring something good out of every circumstance. He saved you, and delivered you from the pit of sin and the dungeon of death. God gives liberally and generously and allows His blessedness to spill over onto us. His Name is El Shaddai, the God Almighty of Blessing. We see Godís goodness manifested in forgiveness, in His supply and in His blessing the fruit of our labors. God preserves humankind and animals. He delivers from distress, gives good gifts, satisfies hungry souls, watches over creation, and suffers long. God is good even to the evil and unthankful and calls us to reflect His goodness to others.

        Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Paul in Romans 15.14

        We can manifest a bountiful bent of the heart towards the good. We can will and do what is good. We can truly be kind, virtuous, and beneficent, blessing others from a pure heart with a goodness that comes from the goodness of Godís heart.
      4. Pray with a desire to move toward God no matter what the circumstance. We can keep our peace and settle our souls no matter what the storm if we heed Paulís words in Philippians 4. There he exhorts believers to rejoice in the Lord always, to remember that God is near and that we are to let our gentleness be known to all people. Pray and bring requests to God with thanksgiving instead of stewing and fretting. Think about the positive and follow Paulís example in living. And the God of peace will be with you.
      5. Think. Thanking requires thinking, getting to the spiritual behind and beyond the physical. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9.10) Strive for wisdom from above.
      6. Submit to Godís sovereign rule and will for your life. Do not give the devil a foothold, but humble yourself before God and resist the devil that the devil may flee and God may give you grace for the days of your life. Fall on your knees before God and worship Him as your Creator/Redeemer, because an angry fist in the face of the Almighty is just not wise!
      7. Face the day with the light of God shining on you. This is the day which the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118.24) Be determined. Face trials with an understanding that God forges character in the crucible of the cross life of the believer. (James 1, 1 Peter)
      8. Walk in the faith of Jesus, who suffered and endured the cross while despising its shame. Jesus looked to the joy set before Him. Look to the joy set before you, the glory that awaits every believer and enables every believer to persevere. You have the Holy Spirit. You have Christ. You have the salvation of your souls, redemption and resurrection. You have what money cannot buy and what evil cannot destroy. You have eternal life through Christ Jesus who loves you and who is with you always.

Pastor Jim and I thank God for you. We remember you in our prayers and hold you in our hearts. You are so important to God and to the work of extending His kingdom to every nation and to every person who will hear the call of the gospel of Christ.

Our next international mission trip will be to Ethiopia. This may occur late January/early February, 2007. Pray for those preparing to go. Pray for Ethiopia and for the church in Addis Ababa where we will be ministering. Pray for the children. Pray that the gospel of Christ penetrates the darkness of menís souls and that many are saved, healed, and delivered. Pray for protection, for travel details, etc.

Our next Barnabas Project Distribution will be Saturday,December 2nd, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Delevoe Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We thank all who have given toys, childrenís clothing, school supplies, household items, Bibles, evangelistic tools, etc. Pray for good weather and for many to hear and receive the gospel. Pray that many give thanks to the God of all Life and Blessing.

God enables MCM as you give generously, gladly, graciously, and as He guides. Please pray for us as we pray for you, and send in your best gift today. Letís join hearts and hands as we take the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world and across backyard fences.

Thanking Him today,

Mary Craig

P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org for more articles to help you in your faith. Order from our Catalog section using PayPal. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests. Mary Craig Ministries, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Federal ID 65-0429517. Be blessed! We love you.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good:
because His mercy endures forever. Psalm 118.1



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