Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Yesterday I started a study on praise and thanksgiving since someone reminded me that Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. In Honduras we do not celebrate Thanksgiving, so I totally forgot about it.

This morning, I remember and am thankful for the many times I have experienced the comfort and support of His presence. I reflected on the times when it felt like no one (except for mom and dad) was there to stand and support me, when uncertainty about life, caused my thoughts and emotions to spin. I remember when everything in my heart hurt. Most of us have experienced those seasons in life. Many call these experiences the valleys in life.

David Maldonado our oldest grandson to the left. He is holding a cupcake he made with me on one of my visits to the USA.

As I continued to reflect on life, I intensely recalled those moments when in the midst of depressing and heartbreaking hours, the glorious presence of God’s tangible love invaded the obscurity, flooding me with His sweet presence and peace and giving me the courage and strength that I needed to continue. When God manifested His presence, the battle settled.

I remember after the car accident knowing that my neck was broken, seeing that Sarah was in a coma, seeing that Mike was screaming saying, “she is going to die, she is going to die.” I began to pray and thank God for His presence in that situation. About that time my sweet little Jessica (8 years old at the time) began to sing sweet praises to the Lord, sitting on the side of the road. God’s presence entered the seemingly hopeless situation and He began to touch all of our hearts. No matter how devastating the circumstances were, they were insignificant in His presence.

The only fitting response to God’s divine intervention in our dark hours is to be thankful. Thankfulness is the only appropriate response. The memory of moments like these releases from deep within me an inexplicable gratefulness for all He has done for me. God is awesome.

45 of the 150 Psalms start out with words of praise. I want to learn to be thankful and to praise Him when I am in good situations and when I am in bad situations. I want to be as passionate about praising Him as He is with me about “never leaving or forsaking me.” I want to learn to be thankful to God all day every day. I encourage you today to join with me to thank the Lord for all the wonderful things he has done for you.

Psalm 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

A few weeks ago I was reading where the Bible says that God formed us in the womb. I think about that and I am happy that He chose to give me my parents. I am grateful for them, they are a blessing to me. I also am thankful for my two precious daughters. God chose to form them in my womb. I am thankful for their father, Mike. God chose him as my husband and as the father of my children before I was born. I remember praying at the young age of 14 years old for the husband that I would marry and for the children that I would have. I was 14 and was praying for God to be preparing the spouses of my children. He did. Rene and Casey are both wonderful fathers to their children, my grandchildren.

Rene Maldonado, my son-in-law with Shelah, our fifth grandchild to the left.

God is touched when we express our gratefulness to Him. He created us to have fellowship with Him and our thankfulness and praise is like a sweet savor to Him.

When I think of favorite smells, I think of grandma Jewel’s homemade biscuits baking inside the wood fired oven. I would be visiting, sleeping in my grandparent’s log cabin, under her hand quilted, cotton stuffed quilts and then I would smell her biscuits. The smell would wake me up in the morning and bring me to life. Biscuits and Blue Ribbon Syrup and fresh butter that she churned and made on the farm, just remembering them, makes me smile. This is how God feels when we remember Him and are thankful to Him. Our praise smells good to God and makes him smile when we remember to thank Him.

Casey Gonzales our son-in-law to the left with Christina, the second child of Sarah and Casey and our fourth grandchild. A more recent photo of Christina is posted below.

This morning tears came to my eyes as I received an email from my friend Susan. She has a prodigal daughter that she and her husband are praying will return home. She wrote to ask me to join them in prayer. I imagine that there is nothing that hurts a parent as much as an ungrateful child. When one gives their all to their children and the children are ungrateful and reject them, it hurts terribly. Imagine how God feels when people reject Him.

Daniel Maldonado, our third grandson to the left.
He is holding two candy dinosaurs he and I made together.

Many times as parents we do things that are best for our children, because we see something in the future that they do not see. They may become ungrateful as a result of our decisions or they may become ungrateful as a result of outside influences. We must make sure that we as Christians do not do the same thing with God. Many times we are in the middle of circumstances that seem to make it impossible for us to be thankful, never the less we must discern that God wants the best for our lives. We must see things from His point of view. We must be grateful that He loves us and cares for us.

Michael "Mikey" Gonzales, our second grandson to the left. He is in the boat at the lake.

In John Chapter 12, Mary of Bethany poured out an offering of perfume on the feet of Jesus. This was her act of thanks for the ministry she had received as a result of his presence and his teaching. Mary had a grateful heart and her way of showing her gratitude was to do something very special for Him. Bible scholars presume that perhaps the costly oil she poured out on Jesus’ feet was her dowry. Because she was grateful for all that Jesus did for her, she poured out her future. With no dowry, there was no hope for a good husband and there would be no wedding. How did Jesus respond? How did the disciples respond? Read John Chapter 12 and find out.

To be grateful we must sometimes take or eyes off ourselves and our situations and appreciate and admire God for who He is. I am convinced that most divorces happen as a result of one of the partner's becoming ungrateful and unthankful for their spouse. This opens the door and the ungrateful spouse starts criticizing and complaining and then they are susceptible to the first "outside influence" that comes their way, to "console them or counsel them" as they are telling their story of woe. An illicit relationship is born and next thing that comes along is a divorce.

In Mark chapter 8 we see that Jesus gave thanks. But what did He give thanks for? He was in a terrible situation, He had compassion on 4,000 very hungry people, but there was not enough food to feed them. Jesus was thankful and his thankfulness paid off. God performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes and fed the 4,000. Many times we find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations. This is preciously when we need to praise and worship God. This is when we need to look for the good in people and the good in the circumstance.

I love Luke 17:11-19, ten lepers were cleansed BUT only one returned with a thankful heart to express his gratefulness to the Lord. This was the one leper who was not only cleansed, but was made whole. Leprosy eats away at the flesh, to be cleansed and healed from the leprosy is one thing, but to be “made whole” is another. This man may have lost toes or fingers to the leprosy but he was made whole, because of his thankfulness. To be made whole means that everything which was lost due to the leprosy was returned. Jesus called the leper's gratefulness, faith. When we are thankful for what the Lord has done for us, we have a chance to be made whole, not just healed, but made whole. If you have lost something in your life, don;t just pray for healing of the hurt, PRAISE and be made whole. God will count you gratefulness and thankfulness as faith and you will be made whole.

Christina Gonzales our fourth grandchild and our first granddaughter to the left. She is tired after a day at the lake with Casey and Sarah and her paternal Great Grandma Charlene.

I am blessed even in the middle of all the corruption in Honduras. I am thankful even in the midst of all of the circumstances which life has thrown my way. I am blessed with time to study yesterday and today, because the battery on my truck is dead. The dead battery was not a blessing neither was it a gift from God, BUT I have decided that I am blessed because I have time to do what I enjoy most, study the Word and help others who need help. I have made a decision to find a blessing in everything. I am blessed because God loves me!

Christina and Mikey Gonzales with 1 of our 3 granddogs.

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