God deserves our thanks

Debra Whittington

“I know thy works … for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Revelation 3:8

Ever since I heard a sermon based on John’s words to the church at Philadelphia (not Pennsylvania), one verse has stuck with me: Revelation 3:8. While the whole verse has great meaning, the words “for thou hast a little strength” has become a lifeline. This church of Philadelphia was known not for their size or wealth, but their faithfulness to God. In other words, they did all they could to be a lighthouse to the city. As the city in Pennsylvania is known as the city of brotherly love, I am sure the same could be said of this congregation.

As the holidays approach, I am more aware than ever of my physical limitations. Living with a chronic illness is always a challenge, but even more during this time of the year. This verse has come to mean that I am not responsible for those things I am no longer able to accomplish.

Instead, I am more determined than ever to take what little strength I have and allow the Lord to work through me.

This means I will not get discouraged, but instead will praise the Lord with all of my might because it is what is on the inside that matters. I have found that the more I have to rely on the Lord the more he teaches me, which in turn blesses me and fills my soul with joy. It reminds me how the Lord can take that little strength and turn it into a lesson of how he can meet all our needs.

Note that I said needs, not necessarily wants. It is like Paul said to the Philippians: “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have … I have learned the secret of living in every situation …” (Philippians 4:11, 12 NLT)

I am not always successful in living by being content as anyone who knows me can testify. There are many times I take my focus off of Jesus and turn inward. However, I can say without a doubt I am at my best when I look up instead of in. How I desire to live like that more!

Yes, the holiday season is full of challenges but as I write this a few days before Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for and give God the glory. I am thankful for Jesus who gave his life for me, for family and memories of those in heaven, for church family and good friends and on and on the list goes.

Before you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, pause to thank God for what he has done for you and your family. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

In good and in bad you can always give thanks by turning your eyes upward to the one who loves you. All it takes is a little strength.

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at: dawhittington@msn.com