CULTIVATING AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Joyful, Prayerful and Thankful
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Plainly, it is God's will for us to be joyful, prayerful and thankful.
Nicolae Moldoveanu – Composing Hymns in Prison
During one of our missions to Eastern Europe, Rev. Bill Bathman introduced me to an extraordinary Christian Hymn writer, who composed many hundreds of Hymns while being tortured by the communists in Romania. Nicolae Moldoveanu was called “The Bach of Romania.” In his lifetime, he composed more than 6,000 Hymns, hundreds of those while suffering excruciating torture in the communist prison system of Romania.
Extraordinary Creativity and Mental Discipline Under Torture
Without access to the Bible, or any books, without any musical instruments, without pen or paper, Moldoveanu determined to compose Hymns of praise to God and commit them to his memory, to later be put down on paper, when finally released from prison.
The Testimony of Richard Wurmbrand
Richard Wurmbrand testified that Moldoveanu was “one of the greatest saints I met in my 14 years of prison. He came smiling from the torture room. His approach was that of a lamb. While I was protesting against the guard’s abuses, against others, or myself, he never protested.”
WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMY
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones… My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:5-12
The Worst Pope
When Professor Martin Luther was asked which pope had caused him the most trouble, he replied, “Pope self – the pope who sits on the throne in my heart. No pope in Rome has caused me as much trouble as I have caused myself!”
The Most Trouble
When “the Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon had built up Baptist Tabernacle to over 5,000 members, he was asked, which member gave him the most trouble? Without hesitation, he responded, “Charles Spurgeon!” “You mean you have a member here who has the same name as yourself?” “I refer to myself,” explained Charles Spurgeon. “No one has given me more trouble than I have given myself.”
This is true for ourselves personally, for families, for congregations, for denominations, organisations, companies, countries and continents. The worst wars are civil wars. The United States of America lost more men killed in action in the war between the States of 1861 to 1865, than in all the other foreign wars it has ever fought, including the First and Second World War, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq War, combined. More South Africans are murdered every year than died in the First World War, Second World War and Angolan War combined.
TRIUMPH OVER TEMPTATION
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days, He ate nothing and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.’ Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You and their glory; for this has been delivered to me and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.’ Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the Temple and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” Luke 4:1-13
Expect Opposition and Temptation
After the dove at the baptism came the devil in the wilderness. When you have the approval of God you can expect the assaults of the devil. Immediately before this time of fasting and tempting in the wilderness, our Lord Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit came down as a dove, the Words of the Father was spoken from Heaven, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”
After Action Reaction
This is a high point. It is almost inevitable after any kind of high point, that there is a low point. Examples abound after some of the greatest achievements, Moses experienced the depths of depression. Elijah after the victorious battle against the false prophets at Mount Carmel, went into depression, he didn’t even want to live. It is not unusual that a great counter attack, or depression, happens after great victories.
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