I can remember when Believers in God always displayed the inner joy that comes from serving God. There were never any negative words of defeat spoken from their mouths, and the smiles on their faces indicated their rock-solid faith in God. Even in severe trials and sorrows, the Saints of God still praised God.
The gospel singer CeCe Winans recently shared her father’s reaction when their oldest brother passed away in 2005. Pop Winans immediately lifted his hands and began praising God for the life of his son, Ronald, and thanked God for the time that He granted them to enjoy his presence.
I must admit that this is one of the most powerful testimonies that I have ever heard. After watching his son take his final breath, Pop Winans’s faith was so strong that he expressed gratitude to God. I pray every day to have this level of faith in God.
Our lives have evolved into a complicated web of misinformation, the pursuit of wealth, and overwhelming anxiety and worries. We are entangled in life’s complexities because we seek to blend in by accepting and practicing the world’s standards.
Had the coronavirus pandemic hit 20 years ago, ordering groceries and toilet paper from the comfort of your sofa wouldn’t have been nearly as easy. But in May alone, Americans spent over $77 billion through online retailers, and the industry saw sales growth typically reserved for the holiday rush. https://theeagle.com/business/investment/personal-finance/online-shopping-already-hit-holiday-level-peaks-this-year/article_d3aecca3-6a6e-5d84-b3be-8086025bb02c.html
When the Coronavirus developed into a pandemic, it was then that I started to read Matthew 6:19-34 over and over again. My mindset and my spending habits changed to reflect necessities over desires. I reviewed my tangible long-term goals and eliminated them as I begin to focus on spiritual growth. I intentionally changed the way I prayed. “God, I want to thank you for… ,” was the beginning of my morning and evening prayers.
Throughout the day, I uttered prayers and lifted up songs of praise to God. And then I begin to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was then that I begin to notice a change in my temperament. I felt an overwhelming peace that I had never experienced before. The inner joy began to display itself through laughter and smiles on my face. My conversation included gratitude for God’s love, grace, and mercy. I received the blessing of God’s peace by intentionally possessing the mindset of appreciation, accepting that I have everything that I need, and continually praising God with thanksgiving for His provisions.
King David says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1
Jesus, our Wonderful Lord, and Savior reminds us: “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Finally, the Apostle Paul shares his spiritual wisdom: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12 NIV
And how is this possible? For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
God, we want to thank you for your love, grace, and mercy. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, that we are forgiven of our sins and have the opportunity to live with you forever in the New Heaven and New Earth. Most of all, thank you for the gifts of food, shelter, and clothing. We pray that we will never forget to keep a song in our hearts and a prayer of thanksgiving on our lips. Please give us the strength to endure and always embrace and receive your unconditional love as our Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.