Bear with me as I lay the ground work of this Newsletter article.  I really am a “talker” when I write.  An attorney asked me once if I was German (which I am, at least half of me, the writing half I guess!) because I love to cram 10 thoughts in one sentence!!!

I heard a message last year that really changed the way I apply God’s Word to my life.  Believe it or not the message was about forgiveness.  I haven’t yet faced a real crisis in my ability to forgive on my faith journey although it may come someday.  For me what hit home was how the speaker applied God’s Word to his need to forgive.  His wife cheated on him with a friend, no less.  He just couldn’t forgive the friend, it created bitterness in his heart and he lead a very angry, dark life for several years until he realized something.  God’s Word says to “forgive and you will be forgiven”  in Luke 6:37.  He realized God told him to do this, not to “feel” it but to do it.   Did he believe God?  Did he believe his Word?  Did he trust God that in the end, the step of faith to say “I forgive” is what God wants and “enough” for God to work with?  and that the “feelings” or “emotions” of his “heart” would follow for true healing?

Since I don’t struggle with forgiveness, I focused on the belief in what God’s Word says and how to apply it to the struggles in my life.  I struggle with plenty of other faith aspects in life.  A big one is fear and anxiety.  I don’t want to be that way.  Do I believe God in his Word when He says “Do not fear, but in all things through prayer & petition… (Phil. 4:6) Do I fear God more than man? I’ve always felt like I had to feel “brave” first to conquer the fear and then God would accept me.  NO.  I had to confess to God that I let fear drive me, that I don’t trust Him with my fears.  That I don’t believe His Word or the outcome if I relinquish my fears.  And that was when everything changed for me.  It’s not about me being the one to prepare my emotions first, its my job to realize I don’t believe God and His Word about “fear” in my life.  I believe in God but do I believe Him? When I took that step to confess that I don’t trust Him with the fear in my life, what a relief!  As I walk on my faith journey I know I will struggle with fear again as God continues to refine me.  But hopefully I will be quicker to believe, quicker to relinquish control, quicker to give God the glory.

So this month, I have been pondering, do I believe in what God says about thankfulness?  Am I thankful in all situations, Have I given God the ability to work on my thankless heart?  Do I give God thanks in everything?  As I think of all I am thankful for, God releases me from all my fears and anxiety and ungratefulness because I am focusing on all the good things God has done in my life- rather than all the things I am afraid of in my life.  Relief!  Again!  God is so good, and I am thankful even if I don’t understand how it all works.

I hope this helps a brother or sister out there that may struggle with who knows what….there are plenty of struggles.  But God’s Word can bring relief if you ask yourself, do I believe?

The end of the speaker’s story was amazing, after his epiphany on forgiveness, he actually had to ask the “friend” for a job.  And he was able to (about a year after he told God he wanted to forgive and believed he could with God’s help.)  What an amazing testimony.  I simply went to the dentist and didn’t pass out!  Which really means a lot to me on my faith journey.

Since I wanted a thankful theme this month, I’ve ended with a few verses that mention thanks, thankful or thankfulness.  In case any one feels like asking, do I believe in [what God says about] thankfulness?

In His Service, Shelly Simpson

Philippians 4:6 

Ephesians 5:19-20

Colossians 3:14-16

I Thessalonians 5:16-18