We are weeks into one of the most uncertain periods of our lives. Our town is full of people in turmoil and despair, many jobless or facing increasing financial stress and all of this can be very overwhelming. Some may say the end is near but I would like to challenge you, and myself, that we have hope. As followers of Christ we should focus on having an attitude of gratitude, as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
By giving thanks scripture is telling us to trust our heavenly Father regardless if we find ourselves in the middle of the storm or on top of a mountain. This is good for us as the Bible says it is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. There are some practical things we can all do to help us give thanks, and don’t be under any illusion that being obedient to scripture won’t be without challenges! We have an opportunity, in the chaos, to display thanks and hope.
The following is what I believe we have been called to practically apply in our lives that will help us to give thanks. These tools will help us to “hear from God”, and this will mean different things to different people. We are all unique and God treats us accordingly. God doesn’t “speak” the same way to all of us but if we are seeking Him he will not hold back, we just need to recognise when He is “speaking”.
This could be through his Word, as 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, all Scripture is “God-breathed”. This obviously includes the teaching of Jesus Christ, where the Gospel or the good news of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s special plan. Here in Queenstown we are extraordinarily lucky that our landscape screams the beauty and majesty of God’s creation. We don’t have to go far to see nature and creation around us to be in awe of an amazing creator. This is what I believe Romans 1:20 refers to when it says “For since the creation of the World God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
We are part of a body of believers and God may use His people to speak to us. At times this can be direct, and others it may seem more generic, but don’t forget God can use many circumstances or avenues to communicate to us.
Worship is a common way people connect with God and He will use this to “speak” to us. For me I find music is one avenue God ministers to me, where I find a peace that goes beyond understanding.
As believers we have a great advantage in life by having the Holy Spirit within us. ”We are made in the image of God, and when we confess Jesus and follow Him as our Lord and Saviour, His Spirit comes to live in us” (John 14:17, 1 Corinthians 3:16). God’s Spirit can speak to us through our conscience, helping to make the right decisions and choices in life. I find that this can come as a thought or inspiration, often unexpectedly. It can be a gentle or quiet whisper and others will call this “God’s still small voice”. Whatever you call it, be expectant and listen out.
Whichever way you “hear” from God the key is prayer. At times we may not know what to pray, but Romans 8:26-27 says that His spirit makes intercession for us. We need to give God time in prayer and meditation. By giving Him space and time in our lives I am confident He will “speak” to us.
Our circumstances are unique and God will often use this to get our attention. This is relevant at the moment, what, if anything, is God telling us? This is the opportunity we can embrace in times like Covid-19. There may be a message for you individually or for us as a collective, His Church. What is God speaking to you about at this time? How can we be His hands and feet in our community? What are the needs around us and what hope or influence can we offer? Hearing from God creates opportunities and that is worth giving thanks for.
Glenn Mitchell, Is a Queenstown Local, a business owner who is passionate about people reaching their full potential. He is faithful in service and always fun to be around.