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Testimonial from Kathy Pyle

When Colin asked me to write this testimony on the need for gratitude in our Quiet Times, I thought that I could not write about this topic. I still fail the Lord so often and lapse back into my old way of thinking. Colin assures me, however, that he has seen a huge change in my life since I realized the need to make gratitude to God as part of my Quiet Time and my life. This is a condensed version of what happened two years ago.

Kathy's testimony to why gratitude to God is so important

I remember making a commitment to Christ as a child when I was 8 years old when my mother prayed with me to receive Christ. When I was aged 16, I made an adult Lordship decision to follow Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade. It was at this time, that my brother, George, put me into contact with a disciple making organization called the Navigators. They built on to what my mother had taught me about how to have a Quiet Time and other discipleship principles including Scripture memory. Since that time, having a Quiet Time each day has been very important to me. I am deeply grateful to all these people for instilling in me a love for spending time with God. (The Quiet Time sheets we now use are an adaptation of the Navigator 2:7 Quiet Time sheets.)

The Lord has been so wonderful to me. He has blessed me far more than I could have imagined. He led me to a wonderful husband and gave me five awesome children who all love God.

However, despite the fact that God has blessed me so much, I still struggled with the problem of a lack of gratitude towards Him. I have struggled with this problem most of my life.

I did, on occasion, try to make thanksgiving a part of my life, but would lapse again into focusing on either my problems or my sinfulness, which took my focus off God and onto my self, which I later realized to be the worship of self, rather than God.

One day, Colin shared with me an insight which he had received from a verse, which had been a great help to him, the gist of it being, "Those who worship worthless idols become worthless like them." The insight that Colin received was that we become like what we worship.

It suddenly occurred to me that all these years, I had been going round and round the ramparts of "self", trying to fix this sin and that. Inadvertently, in so doing, I was worshipping the idol of self, by directing all my attention onto it. However, the opposite could be true. I could equally focus on something worthy like God and become more like Him. I recalled 2 Corinthians 3:18 which indicates that, "As we behold Him, we are changed to become more like Him."

Yet, in spite of this revelation, I still continued to focus on myself, and not really worship God.

A breakthrough in my life came in July, 2005. I had been reading a book which stated that many Christians seek God's hand, and not His face. At the time, Colin had asked me this question, "When I spend time with God, does my deepest joy come from Him alone?" I realised with chagrin that to answer truthfully, I would have to say, "No." I realised that for years I had been having a Quiet Time, seeking God's hand for what He could do for me, and that I was not getting my joy from just His presence alone.

I knew this because when God didn't come through for me, I felt depressed and even a little annoyed with God. This was highlighted for me at the time, because I had been having some health problems (not major ones) which seemed to get worse, not better when I prayed. My joy came when God answered, but was missing when He didn't. Hence, this showed I was seeking God's hand ultimately, and that I was not deriving my joy from His presence alone.

I had always prided myself on my walk with God so this revelation was quite a shock to me.

Hence, when Colin came home from his early morning walk the next day, I was open to what he had to say. Colin had been walking and memorising his verses. As he was going over Psalm 84, which he loves, it was strongly impressed on his mind that I should memorize Psalm 84.

I immediately felt that this was from God and maybe a means to helping me seek God's face rather than His hand.

So I wrote Psalm 84 on card and began memorizing it.

I meditated on verse 1Verse1, "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty." I knew that God dwells in His people and not just away up there some place. I felt that God was saying that He dwelt in my heart and that He found my heart lovely. I couldn't see how He could find my heart lovely as I knew I failed Him so often with all the sin in my life.

V2a says: "My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord." I thought, "My soul doesn't yearn for God alone. It yearns for Him to do things for me, to answer my needs and to fulfil His promises. I yearn for his blessings but not for Him alone."

V2b. "My heart and my flesh cry out for the Living God." I thought, "My heart doesn't cry out for God alone. It cries out for human affection and affirmation." I also thought, "My flesh doesn't cry out for God but rather it is the lusts of the flesh in me that cry out."

V3 "Even the sparrow has found a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young -- a place near your altar , O Lord Almighty, my King and my God." I had always loved this verse because, just as the sparrow and swallow with her young seemed to want to get close to God's altar in the temple, so I also wanted to get my children close to God.

V4 "Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you." I knew that I was not always praising God." For 23 years, since I had been married to Colin, he had been asking me to give thanks to God and be grateful, but for 23 years I had rebelled. If I truly dwelt in God's house or presence, I would be always praising Him according to this verse. So, in spite of the fact that I thought I was sitting in God's presence all these years, I had not been very close to Him.

Verse 4 was as far as I got memorising Psalm 84 when the breakthrough in my life happened. I had been memorising and meditating on these verses for 2 or 3 days when suddenly I was flooded with deep joy and gratitude towards God. To think that God had forgiven my sin and found my heart lovely was awesome. I felt that my heart did yearn for God's presence.

I felt my heart crying out for God and not for human affection and love. I felt a new joy in my life which was God Himself.

My mind went to the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, found in Luke 19. In this story, Jesus asked if He could come to his house. Even though I was such a sinner, I felt that Jesus wanted to come to my house and have fellowship with me. I was filled with such joy that, like Zacchaeus, I wanted to go anywhere or do anything for Jesus. (Zacchaeus wanted to give half his possessions to the poor and if he had cheated anyone, he would pay back four times the amount)

It was at that point that I realized how vital it was for me to make gratitude to God an integral part of my Quiet Time. I was 52 years old at the time and so for 36 years (from aged 16) I had been seeking God's hand and not His face in my Quiet Times.

I now believe that the way for me to seek God's face is to be "always praising Him." A new dimension has been added to my Quiet Times. As I begin my Quiet Time each day, I think over all God's goodness and faithfulness towards me. I write down the key blessing of the day before, and this helps to keep me focused on God's face.

Footnote by Colin

God's gift to my life, Kathy, has been such an encouragement and blessing to me. Without her encouragement, it is unlikely that this "Walking With God" ministry would ever have got off the ground. I asked Kathy to write this testimony because I have seen a new dimension added to her life over the past two years. It was partly as a result of what happened in Kathy's life that caused us to have on the Quiet Time sheets, a place to write down our daily blessings for which we can thank God.

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