On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“A grateful heart”

It was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right. I got up late and the more I hurried, the less I seemed to get done. Traffic was awful with every stoplight turning red just as I approached it. Trains even timed their journeys to cross my path, too. I dropped things, forgot stuff and wasted time looking for keys and paperwork and schedules. By lunchtime, I was exhausted. I thought I could see the end of the rope that people always talk about. Just then I looked down to see that the “check engine” light on my dashboard was glowing brightly. I broke down and cried. I thought, “Lord, what have I done?” Surely I must have done something bad to be having so many trials in just one day. It seemed as if I was being punished and I wanted to know my offense. My answer came pretty quickly. I had planned my day carefully and had made a lot of assumptions about how it needed to unfold. I had my timetable ready to go. The more I sat there in my funk, the more I realized that my plans hadn’t included God.

I hadn’t started my day with gratitude. In a hurry, I’d skipped those precious waking moments spent lifting my heart to the Lord and giving Him thanks for the precious gift of another day. I was too busy thinking of all I needed to get done and adding items to my to-do list. I didn’t take the time to remember the Author of my life. After all, God has given me all that I have, including the work I was absorbed with just then. Without Him, what is there? Yet on that misbegotten day of problems and tangles and frustrations, I’d been trying to do it all myself. I hadn’t included God in my plans. Also, I was living in the future and not in the now. Gratitude is being thankful for the moment, not living in the “what’s next.”

And that’s why the day was such a mess. I hadn’t turned to Him, given thanks and offered all my works and sufferings of the day for His good use. I hadn’t asked Jesus what His plans were for my day. The Savior I daily claim to follow might just as well have been a forgotten bit of pocket lint. That may sound harsh, but any Christian whose life isn’t founded on, centered in, and consumed by Jesus Christ is just plain lost. St. Paul tells us that “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together”(Colossians 1:17). Things were definitely NOT holding together for me that day because of my own pridefulness. It’s a lesson I have to learn fairly frequently.

Some people teach a kind of Christianity that says God will give you earthly riches if you are following Him “in the right way.” I don’t remember reading that anywhere in the Bible. I believe that suffering is a part of living in this world and that being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re magically protected from hard times. Remember that 11 of the 12 Apostles were martyred for their faith. Most of the saints suffered all sorts of difficulties in their lives and they claimed their suffering as joy because it united them to His Cross. Their lives make my silly little frustrations disappear.

So at the end of my tiresome, trying day, I heard Him call to me. “Let me into your day, Judy. Share your plans and fears and frustrations with me. Let me carry the burdens in your heart and when you’re tired, I’ll carry you, too. Don’t try to do it all yourself. I love you. Let’s walk this road together.” He quietens my restless heart and gives me peace in the midst of my troubles. He restores my soul. Problems and heartaches don’t disappear if you follow Jesus—but they take on eternal meaning and joy. I pray that He’ll keep reminding me of that and that His grace will conform my will to His own, in thanksgiving and gratitude.

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” — G. K. Chesterton

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Sunday, January 19, at 11 AM, Pleasant Valley Baptist will recognize and focus on the Sanctity of Life. Thousands of innocent babies have been murdered through the sin choice of abortion. Animals are protected more than precious innocent babies, gifts of God. We understand many mothers have been victims of the wiles of the devil and those who have made this irreversible decision are loved and need to be helped. As a nation, we must recognize this horrible national and personal sin taking measures to change Roe vs Wade. Come join us on this special day. Be blessed and educated on this great need.

Pray with us for those with physical needs, Warren McAllister, Betty Pitts, Dianne Hullender, Jewel Mitchell, Carolyn Denton, Lula Petty, Denise Pitts, Claudette Armstrong, and many others of whom the Lord knows their name and their need. Many extended family members are in need of prayer and ask for them to be remembered in your prayers knowing God knows. Pray for Pastor Flood and his family, for the church and ministries including missionaries, Sunday school, youth, nursing homes and homeless, orphans. Pray for Israel/America. Pray for our US Congress and the members who represent you and I. May they each humble themselves before God and call upon Him. Pray about Iranian issues facing our nation. Pray for our President and all elected officials, national, state, and local. Pray for PVBC to grow and spread the gospel in this community. Pray for souls to be saved and that God will send revival.

Services are live-streamed on Facebook. Service times are Sunday School 10AM, Worship 11AM, Evening 6PM with prayer at 5:45PM. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth Kid’s Zone meet at 7PM. Call for transportation 706 537-3633.

Come visit us at Pleasant Valley Baptist. What better time than now, a new beginning for a new year. You are always welcome!

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