Gratefulness: Think and Thank the Lord
"Count your blessings name them one by one."
As human beings, we are vulnerable to complain about life, family, work, studies, friends, and the people around us. There are lots of things to complain about if we choose to. But King David, the greatest king of Israel, gives us plenty for which to thank God. He encourages us to thank the Lord and never forget the good things he does for us. As per David, the following are some of the things we have to think about, and thank God especially as we end this very challenging year of 2020 due to Covid-19.
First, God heals our diseases. Though not all diseases are being cured for a better purpose. Just liked Apostle Paul, he begged the Lord to take away his physical malady but God answered him, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weaknesses”. God heals our diseases could also mean he restores moral and spiritual life when he forgives liked what he did to David when the king committed adultery and murder. Second, God forgives all our sins. Third, God redeems us from death. Fourth, God fills our life with good things.
Furthermore, we have to thank God for his intervention and provision. He makes a way when there seems to be no way; He provides our needs generously so we will always have everything we need and plenty to share with others. The Scripture also encourages us to be thankful “when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation”.
Due to various needs, problems, and wearies in life; God’s abundant blessings are not being thought of enough by many of us. And pressures and problems look prevailing in one's life. Consequently, a line in the hymn reminds us:
Count your blessings name them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God has done.
Count your blessing, name them one by one.
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
A few days from now, we are to cross over into a new year. Because “the Lord our God has taken care of us the whole time”. Accordingly, let us think of God and thank him for salvation, provision, protection, intervention, and even tribulation. Indeed, in life, there is so much to be thankful for than complaints to consider; Count your blessings name them one by one. (LCM, CRFV)
The Protective Power of Submissiveness
Submissiveness is one of the key elements for the smooth operation of an organization. It is when directives from the leadership are smoothly carried out. Without submissiveness, there is chaos and disorganization as instructions are not implemented under proper protocol. Each one goes to his or her own direction pursuing his or her own agenda. There is a break in the chain of command from top to bottom. When this happens, it gradually weakens the foundational elements of a strong corporate entity.
Through submissiveness, the principle of accountability is nurtured fulfilling the old maxim that says, “In the multitude of counselors, there is safety”. Coordination and consultation with one another become the norm and reporting to the leadership is developed. The network of people within the system is strengthened as the personnel move consistent to the well-defined vision and office policies. They play their respective roles without being disintegrated from the overall structure. Their varied talents, skills, and abilities do not contribute separation from the established linkage.
Submissiveness, however, has boundary or limitation. It does not include control and manipulation to the extent that even unlawful orders are obeyed and accordingly followed without question or opposition. It is not a license to silence the voice of the subordinates. It is not a privilege to tame the will of the righteous. It must not be used as an instrument for abuse by those in authority or as an avenue to suppress and oppress others. The practice of “obey first before you ask” under the guise of submissiveness should not be countenanced in the face of patent illegal or unlawful order.
Submissiveness can be learned well by putting ourselves under subjection of the Almighty God. If we practice obedience to the will of God in our lives, we can easily exercise submissiveness. It directs our actions and decisions toward the right path without having mastery of all legal provisions. Our pure conscience shall serve as our guide for upright living. When we are trained to submit to divine authority, we become trained to submit to human authorities. As others say, “Human authorities are from God and they are His servants”.
The benefits of submissiveness are protection and authority. One who submits put himself or herself under covering. If we put ourselves under the covering of God, we are protected by Him. In the same manner, when we submit to the authority of God, we act under His authority and not on our own authority. Consequently, all the enemies of God will flee from us. As it is written, “Submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you”. We cannot overcome temptation if we are not subservient to divine authority. Only when we are representing the authority of God and we are representative of God that ungodly influences are done away with.
Submissiveness should not therefore be taken as a weakness but rather as a condition of the heart and a skill. It is best exemplified when a leader-follower relationship is tested by adverse circumstances where we master submission even when it is inconvenient. (NAS, CRFV)
Walk the Path of Righteousness
For you, what do you think exalts a nation? Many things may, in human perspective, exalt a nation. Military might, economic prosperity, status among nations, cultural influence, and athletic victory may each make a nation seem exalted. Our nation, the beloved Philippines is very known across the globe. Most foreigners identify us Filipinos as positively jubilant, warm, and hospitable people. For others, we are known as the Pearl of the Orient with multi-faceted vibrant cultures. For some, they relate to us with the names Manny Pacquiao and Pia Wurtzbach. In 1949, Doctor Abellardo discovered the bacteria that later led to the development of the antibiotic erythromycin. Erythromycin is an antibiotic used worldwide for the treatment of a number of bacterial infections. Indeed, all of these bring glory to our fellow countrymen and nation. Yet ultimately, none of these fame and glory can match righteousness as a way a nation is truly exalted. It is not the past and new successes, not even the creation of the COVID vaccine that will make a nation great because it is only righteousness that can exalt a nation.
Righteousness is an ethical conduct, the quality or state of being morally correct and justifiable. It can be considered synonymous with "rightness" or being "upright". Righteousness is the act in accordance with the divine or moral law, and faithfulness to high moral standards. It is the conduct that conforms to the word of God as God is always just and fair. This righteousness is not the same as self-righteousness. When we claim to be righteous in our own eyes that no other people can affirm, and have a “holier-than-thou” attitude, it is self-righteousness.
To do what is right and just is more acceptable and pleasing to the Lord than sacrifice. Matthew wrote: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” We can see here that it is imperative for us as one who is devoted in serving God, that we must fully seek the kingdom and the righteousness of God. Why is that so? Because God holds us, his people, responsible for righteousness, not for results. Martin Luther said: “We do not become righteous by doing righteous deed but, having been made righteous in Christ, we do righteous deeds.” The same thing that Thomas Boston said: “A righteous man may make a righteous work, but no work of an unrighteous man can make him righteous. Now we become righteous only by faith, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.” Indeed, we are made righteous only because of Jesus Christ. We follow God who is righteous in every way.
One may say that the most patriotic thing a citizen can do is repent of their sin, then receive and pursue God’s righteousness in their life. Imagine if as a nation we will pursue righteousness, God, our Provider will not just bless us with His abundance but we will also find life, not death and decay. We will find prosperity, not poverty and lack; and we will find honor, not disgrace. The Book of Proverbs says “Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” Also, the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. The test of righteousness does not happen in a peaceful environment but when things are chaotic and off-tangent. In the midst of chaos and disorder, which way should we choose? Our response to the situation determines if we are living in righteousness or if it’s just an empty talk. It is a challenge for our present generation to pursue righteousness especially in these trying times, however, it is a promise that: Surely the righteous will never be shaken, they will be remembered forever. Let the nation of the Philippines be never shaken with what is happening round about, and let it be remembered and exalted as a nation because of righteousness. We call upon our government and officials and employees to walk in His righteousness – to seek His ways and follow His precepts; to have faith in our God, just as the example of Abraham – Abraham believed and it is accounted to him as righteousness. Noah is found righteous, blameless among the people of his time, and one who walked faithfully with God.
Let God’s righteousness in us as a people, exalt this nation. Let us walk the pathway of righteousness! (CD, CGLG, CRFV)
To have reverence and fear of God is to express deep sense of adoration, awe and honor to God in recognition of His holiness, sovereignty and love. It makes someone stay on the side of righteousness all the time, as it causes a person to accurately obey the will of God. It is like a shepherd staff that guides the sheep towards the right direction. With an earnest desire to please Him, reverent fear of God keeps a person’s actions, words and thoughts under control.
The value of reverence and fear of God is relevant in our day-to-day life. We are aware of the rife violent crimes in the country. It is troubling to hear certain acts of murder, theft, and physical injuries committed even before the presence of law enforcers. It is also tiring to know the endless acts of corruption, whether concealed or explicitly committed. These are worthless use of courage that are fatal to the lives of present and succeeding generations.
The threshold of all these patent violation of laws, rules, and regulations is the lack of reverence and fear of God. This makes the transgressors have a thoughtless disregard of the consequential effects of their detestable acts towards themselves, their family members, and loved ones. They are not aware of the fact that condemnation awaits the wicked. Worse, they are unmindful of God Almighty who watches over the wicked and the righteous. This keeps them viciously chronic and incorrigible.
People of this type have itching ears and unbelieving to the word of righteousness. The truth never enters into their hearts. They are heedless until they personally learn from their circumstances and misery that they themselves have created. Only then that they give attention to corrections and discipline. They become contrite upon realizing that uprightness is still the better choice to make.
We should not therefore learn the hard way. Before worse things happen, we must allow the word of righteousness to take root into our hearts. It will create a righteous nature within us and will cultivate a life of holiness. It will nurture the value of reverence and fear of God. Our clear conscience becomes our guide. Even without mastery of the existing laws, we become law-abiding citizens. There is an inner instinct that helps us determine what is right and wrong because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The transformed nature within enables us to be irreproachable.
In this time of pandemic, we should do away with the practice called “kapit sa patalim”, as it has been written that ‘the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, by which one may avoid the snares of death’. Hence, all the more that we should have reverence and fear of God. The intense afflictions we may be facing now should not be a license or a driving force for us to deliberately transgress. The best place to live is in the side of God. He remains the source of blessing. Abundance and favour belong to the God-fearing. (AOS, CRFV)
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.