Our next Lenten devotional is written by Alice Fredricks. Alice is a campus minister to international students at TCU, known as BRIDGES. She serves along with her husband, Gary. Alice has been with the mission group, CRU, for 57 years. She and Gary lived in Kenya, East Africa, for 24 of those years. They have 2 grown sons and 4 grandsons. She enjoys entertaining and trying new recipes! Blessings to you all as you continue your Lenten journey.
“Complaint or Gratitude”
Reading: Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Reflection: During this period of Lent, it’s appropriate that we focus on the blessings in our lives rather than complaining. Jesus, as our supreme example, in His humanity, willingly gave Himself on our behalf without complaint, recognizing that His Father’s plan for His life was best. When He and his disciples were in the Garden of Gethsemane, shortly before His crucifixion, He prayed this to His Father in Heaven. “My Father, if it is possible may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will.” And a bit later, a second time He prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” He poured out His heart in light of the agony ahead, but wanted His Father’s will over His own.
Gratitude prevents complaint. My mother use to say, “Alice, if you give thanks, it will dispel gloom.” I have found that to be so! When I am in circumstances in my life that make me want to complain, if I will choose to put the following words from the Bible into practice, my whole outlook changes.
“Give thanks in ALL circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18
Why can I give thanks in ALL circumstances? It is because I know that He has a purpose for everything that comes my way. Throughout my life, I have found this to be very true!
Someone has said, “It is good to silence complaint in your life, sitting down and taking the time to count your blessings. It is more natural for us to complain than to give thanks. Complaining is basically putting ourselves in the center of our worlds where it’s all about us.” And this will just lead to being unsettled and restless. We all have so many things for which to be grateful. If we are children of God, through our faith in Christ, we have so many blessings. Not only do we have the gift of salvation, but all the blessings of a sovereign God who not only knows what is happening in our lives, but walks with us through life each day.
So, take time daily to thank God for all His gifts in your life as you commit the unknowns and concerns to an all knowing, sovereign, merciful and loving God. Your heart will be lifted!
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father thank you for the very unselfish act of giving your only Son for me, though undeserving, that I may have peace with God. Thank you for your presence in my life as I walk through difficulties knowing I’m not alone and that You will see me through it all. As I focus during Lent on Your gift of Jesus, help me to never forget ALL the blessings that come with this gift. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.