Giving Thanks for the Gift of Life

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 136:1

As Thanksgiving approaches, we often turn our thoughts to consider and praise the Lord for the countless blessings we’ve been given. While large numbers of believers would rank salvation, family, and health high on the list, I don’t suppose too many reading this will spend all that much time simply praising God for allowing them to see another Thanksgiving. Although we know we’re not promised tomorrow, I would imagine that few of us had any concrete reason last year to seriously question whether we’d live to see another November.

That is, however, the perspective that Pastor Matt Chandler and his family will have as they celebrate what would otherwise be just an average holiday. Thanksgiving will mark the first anniversary of the seizure that signaled the presence of a Grade 3 cancerous tumor growing in Matt’s brain. One year later, it is not only the Chandler family, but also all of us who have spent the last several months praying for Matt, that have great reason to thank the Lord. He has graciously answered our prayers.

Here’s Matt’s update on his latest MRI… 

If you haven’t seen it already, you should check out the interview that NBC News conducted last week with Matt and Lauren Chandler.

You can watch it HERE

Photo: Nossirom

Comforted to Comfort

 “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

1 Peter 4:19

Yesterday, Matt and Lauren Chandler appeared on James Robison’s TV show, Life Today, to share the story of what God has done in their lives through Matt’s battle with brain cancer. Even though my heart aches for the Chandlers, I can’t help but be amazed at how God’s grace has been manifested in their response to this painful trial. Instead of becoming wrapped up in their own sorrows, they have continued to find ways to minister to others as they share the hope they have found in Jesus Christ. As I watched this interview, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 came to my mind: 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Here’s a clip of the interview:

Watch the entire program here: LifeToday Video

Related Posts:

Dropping the Weight of Worry

Grace Sufficient in Suffering

Photo: abcdz2000

Dropping the Weight of Worry

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:34

If the Proverbs 31 woman had a fan club, I’d want to be its president. As you might guess, I’m a big-time admirer of this noble lady. When I grow up, I want to be her, but I find that some aspects of being her seem more challenging to me than others. Take for example, the fact that she rises while it is still night. Um…yeah, let’s just say I’ve got a long way to go before I resemble the Proverbs 31 woman in that particular area of my life. Nightowls, raccoons, and bats are much closer companions to me than are earlybirds like her. Still yet, I know that I could get better at being an early riser if I really wanted to. But there’s another characteristic of the noble woman that seems much closer to an impossibility for me: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come” (Prov. 31:25).

When it comes to the issue of worry, I worry that I’ll never quite measure up to the stature of the virtuous woman. She laughs when she thinks about the future? Ha! I laugh when I think about being able to laugh at the future! Now, crying about what might happen in the future? That I can do, and I do it quite well, I might add. 

Here’s an example of the type of course my sinful mind usually runs: Back when I was struggling greatly with the issue of infertility, I would regularly and frequently cry as I looked ahead to my babyless future. It wasn’t the thought of making it through that particular day without a child that would break my heart, it was the thought of making it as a 72 year-old with no children that would overwhelm me with grief! Instead of obeying Jesus’ command not to worry about tomorrow, I would burden myself with all of my concerns for today, tomorrow, and every day following for the next 40 years. No wonder I was so overcome with sadness!

How much freer and more joyful I could have been if I had chosen to rely in simple faith upon Jesus’ assurance that our Heavenly Father knows and provides for all of our future needs (Matt. 6:30-32). In her book, Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety, Elyse Fitzpatrick elaborates on how trusting our Father’s character is a key to gaining victory in our battle against worry:     

Why is worry unbelief? Because it has its roots in doubt about God’s character. It questions His Fatherly care and provision. When I worry about what’s going to happen to my life, what I’m really saying is, “God, You can’t handle this. You’re either too weak, uninterested, unloving, or not smart enough to take care of my life. I’ve got to devote all my attention to sorting this situation out on my own.”

…When we worry and fret about our perceived needs, we’re forgetting that we have a Father who knows what we really need even before we ask. Of course, there is usually a great difference between what I think I need and God’s perspective. I must humble myself then, conceding to His wisdom, and believe that He knows what’s best for me and that He will give me everything that’s truly necessary for me. Paul tells us in Romans 8: “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

The Father who gave me the most needful and precious gift of all, His Son, will not fail to provide everything I need.

(pp.113, 115)

Jesus: Living Proof that our Heavenly Father will always give us His very best! As we ask God to replace the fear in our hearts with faith in His perfect love, we can experience the freedom that comes when we finally drop the weight of worry.  

If ever a woman had reason to be overcome with worry, Lauren Chandler would certainly be that woman. Since last November, she has lived daily with the knowledge that her husband is suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer. In the following video, as Lauren shares how God has steadied her through this storm, we see a vivid picture of the way our Heavenly Father cares for His own. Her testimony was an inspiration to me, and I hope it will be to you as well.

Related Posts:

Comforted to Comfort

Grace Sufficient in Suffering

Photo: Pawel Kryj