Complainers or Bright Lights - by Sylvia Williston
By now, summer “staycations” have been taken and enjoyed by many individuals and families in our region. From what my husband and I experienced, and from the photos I have seen on Facebook, we live in a very beautiful part of the world!! And, then, there were photos from friends who grow gorgeous flowers to grace the outside of their homes, and others who nourish vegetable gardens in their back yards.
The flowers, the vegetable gardens, the incredible scenery, the sunsets, the sunrises, the rivers, the lakes and the ocean views all cause me to thank God for such diverse beauty!! I imagine you do the same. Even standing in front of my open kitchen window, early in the morning, feeling the cool breeze on my face, I am so grateful to Him for that blessing, as well as all these others, small or large, gently soft or majestically loud.
BUT, half way through our vacation, I found myself ready to complain, again, about something! What was going on with me? I stopped when I thought of the Bible verse from Philippians 2:14 (NLT), “Do everything without grumbling or complaining.” I did not want to displease the Lord with my complaining, so I asked His forgiveness, knowing He would forgive and cleanse me
(I John 1:9- NLT). I was grateful that the Holy Spirit stopped my mouth from uttering what was on my mind that summer day. I think my husband would have been happy, too, if he had known.
Since coming home, I have thought about that incident a bit more, and found another verse that is important to remember when complaining is an issue. Moses responds to the Israelites' complaints about the lack of food in the desert, just after they had seen God’s miraculous response to their need of water! In Exodus 16: 7, 8 (NLT) Moses says “your complaints are against the Lord, not against us.” Ouch!! This brings me to my knees!
Oh, Lord, forgive my penchant for complaining, when it is really about You that I am grumbling. This knowledge grieves and humbles me. I am sorry. Thank You for forgiving me and cleansing my heart. Help me to stop focusing on my problems but instead to see ALL that You have provided for me, and to be so thankful!
Philippians 2:14 is completed in verse 15 (NLT): “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
We acknowledge that we sin against God when we complain. Now Paul tells us that NOT complaining means that others will find no fault with us; not perfection, but a consistency of purity and spiritual maturity, both as individuals and as church bodies. How? God’s light inside us makes us shine like bright lights so that others can see God, and the good things He is doing through us. (Matthew 5:14-16- NLT)
Here is a Hymn and a Contemporary song to encourage you –
“Count Your Blessings” – Johnson Oatman, Jr
“Keep Me In The Moment” – Jeremy Camp
As this month is when our youth are returning to Schools, Colleges and Universities, I would encourage you to pray for those you know, from your church and your families. Pray for wisdom, peace and patience for both parents and youth.
Also pray for the Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff, Counselors and Professors in your congregations. Pray for them by name, and pray for the Schools/Colleges/Universities in which they work. Ask them how you can pray for them, then do so. They will be grateful.
(As a suggestion, our church has compiled a list of the current educators & school staff, dividing them up so that our congregation can pray for someone each day, Monday to Friday, for the month of September! Example: Every Friday we pray for Dale & Heather. We have shared, and will continue to share, general & specific teacher prayer requests with the congregation).
Ephesians 4: 31, 32 (NLT) – “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”