By: Richard Berry
November is one of my favorite months! I think I feel that way with every month that rolls around because I am always ready for a new season after I have enjoyed the blessings of the previous one. I love to experience the changing of the seasons for so many reasons with one of those being the demonstration of God’s majesty, power, absolute control, dominion, creativity, and imagination. It increases my faith to see that I serve a God Who commands nature with such precision and purpose. It gives me peace to know that God can control the one thing that no human being has mastered – nature. If God can command the most rebellious, unpredictable force in the universe, how much more is He able to totally control our lives and the lives of the people we love? Our entire community has just experienced the ravages of a category one hurricane with Ian. After the roller coaster of emotions we felt watching the weather reports 24/7, how much more do we empathize with the residents of Fort Myers, FL, and the surrounding communities? As we continue to pray for the families and people who lost loved ones, their homes, and maybe even their complete way of life, I am reminded that God often uses these catastrophes to allow His love to shine through others as we comfort, pray, and give aid to those in distress. We serve a Heavenly Father Who listens and compassionately cares for us. “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry,” Psalm 34:15.
Do you ever find yourself growing more and more anxious and maybe even fearful in your circumstances? Do you sometimes pray and pray for God to fix something or someone and start to wonder if He is listening or is even aware of your struggles? Hebrews 4:13 reminds us that NOTHING in all creation is hidden from God’s sight! And if that isn’t enough, Jesus sits at the right hand of God and is interceding for us (Romans 8:34)! Sometimes when I don’t even know what to pray, I just thank Jesus for knowing what is best for me and my loved ones and for talking with God to work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:38). I am also comforted when I think of Jesus putting on skin to live as a human being. He understands every trial, difficulty, loss, heartache, joy, and blessing that I ever have or ever will experience. John 16:33 reminds me in Jesus’ own words, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I also find that sometimes when I pray, I just start rattling off a list of requests of the way I think things need to be handled. It’s as if I am giving a Christmas list to Santa rather than speaking to my Creator Who knows what is best for me and the ones I love. I want you today to have confidence that God wants more than anything to bless you and your loved ones! He is actively searching the earth nonstop, looking for those of us whose hearts are fully committed to Him! 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the whole earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” I know that obedience equals blessings, and I want more than anything for the Lord to search my heart and find me faithful to Him, to His kingdom, and to His people! The verse that helps me put life into perspective is Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and THANK Him for ALL He has done.” November is the month we can feel God refreshing us with the coolness in the air and displaying the razzle-dazzle of the eye-popping extravagance of the leaves in all their splendor as they change from every shade of green to splashes of reds, oranges, and yellows. I pray that you, your family, and your friends have a Thanksgiving filled with God’s richest blessings.