Gratitude

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. This is synonymous with respect; acknowledgment; indebtedness which is a sense of obligation and appreciation; recognition; regard.

Happy 4th of July everyone. We can be thankful we are here to see another one.

The importance of this definition and these synonyms is understanding. It is all about our perspective of God and why He asks us to give thanks. Gratitude is about recognizing the bonus value for favorable things or positive life experiences for which we did not actively work towards or ask for (gifts outweighing exchange). This part speaks to God’s grace. Hebrews 12:28 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

Giving thanks offers appreciation for what one has. It is recognition of values independent of monetary worth. It is affirmation of goodness. It is worth noting here a quote found that truly speaks to what thanks (gratitude) is all about. “It is not happiness that brings us gratitude, but gratitude that brings us happiness.” (Monterey Bay Holistic). Another quote found is “Gratitude teaches us to appreciate the rainbow and the storm.” This one is by Christina G. Hibbert, a psychologist. And last but not least, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We can be thankful for the beauty of nature.

While these quotes are not from me, they speak to the topic at hand. Being grateful even in the midst of the storm, and yes we are in a storm, helps to keep us grounded. It points us toward what is truly important in this climate and any other. What is most important in this day and time is our relationship with Christ, the condition of our hearts and soul. If you are reading this, you have something to be grateful for. You have another day to honor and glorify God. Colossians has several different mentions of what to be thankful for. The following Scripture always moves me because I am so thankful not to be still walking in darkness and without God in this world. Colossans 1:12-13 – “12and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. 13For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

When you feel caught up in what’s wrong with your life, with what you don’t have and start to feel depressed or discouraged, look up. Give thanks for what you do have. If you are breathing, walking, talking, not in the hospitable, not overcome with medical issues, etc., you have something to be grateful for. If you have family and friends, distant and close, you have something to be grateful for. I just want to encourage you today that life is worth living. We don’t have control over everything that happens in our life. We only have control over ourselves. It is time that we exercise that control and give thanks to God Almighty in the name of Jesus Christ.

When we trust Him, we can be thankful.

Triple O

Omnipotent, all-powerful. God is the creator of the universe contrary to popular beliefs. As described in Psalm 74:13-17, He is the master of all. There is nothing that God cannot do. Yet, as powerful as He is, He won’t force Himself into our lives. We must let Him in and give Him the control. He asks us to give Him our hearts. We tend to forget that He gives life and it is His anyway. But more than anything, He gave us free will. What a powerful thing. And, though He gave it to us, He allows us the choice on whether to give it back to Him for His purpose and glory. And, yes there is always more with God, He loves us regardless. So much so that He gave His only Son, Jesus, that we would have the means to reconcile with Him.

Psalm 74:13-1713 “It was You who split open the sea by your power; You broke the heads of the monster in the waters. 14 It was You who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert. 15 The day is Yours, and Yours also the night; You established the sun and moon. 16 It was you who opened up springs and streams; You dried up the ever-flowing rivers. 17 It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; You made both summer and winter.”

God is…Omniscient, all-knowing. If you want to know something, ask the Lord. James (1:5) states that if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask God. Many times, when we think of asking God, we feel like we can’t or won’t wait for the answer. However, with God, there is always an answer. It is “yes”, “no”, or “wait.” Now, let’s say that God does answer you, are ready for the answer. If yes, are you prepared for whatever comes along with that yes? If no, are we prepared to trust that God knows what’s best for us? We may think we need what we want right now, however, since God is the omniscient one, He knows the future and may see something attached to that thing which is harmful to us. Remember His love for us. He is good to us whether we always see it or not. Can you “wait” on God when you need to?

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God is…Omnipresent, present everywhere. We see evidence of God all around us, from the neighbor or person next to us – man created in God’s image – to the beauty and wonderment of nature. However, God is also present in the spirit. The Word states that God is spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-2423 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

God is just that awesome that He would give us a deposit of His Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. He is present everywhere. Let us exalt Him daily and give Him the praise, honor and glory due His name. This post is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the awesomeness of God, and then some more fractions. He is an all-consuming fire within us when we let Him be. Won’t you join me in worshiping the one, true God?

God’s Faithfulness

Deuteronomy 32:4 – “He is the Rock,” His works are perfect,” and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.”

When we consider God’s faithfulness, what is it that we think about? Do we assume that means no sorrow, no pain, no trials, or discomfort? It took 400 years for the Israelites to be freed from Egypt. Does that diminish God’s faithfulness? Did they question God’s faithfulness when they reached the Red Sea and things looked really bad? They were not confident at all that they would reach the other side. However, as God always does, He was right on time. He shows up and shows out.

Psalm 91:4 – He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

In the above Scripture, the word rampart means defense. In Deuteronomy, God showed His defense for the Israelites. Though life brings serious difficulties and pain, God will bring us through. The question that might need to be answered is if you had no difficulties, no challenges, no pain or sorrow, would you still need God? Of course. We would not be here without God. Difficulties for some may be more important because of financial challenges. However, those with money still find there are serious challenges. Money will not fix everything. It will make physical things a little more comfortable. Do the tears on a down comforter feel less significant?

Lamentations 3:22-23 – 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Consider that every morning, you have another opportunity to make things better, do things better, accept God’s love for you and appreciate the day. How awesome is that!

Romans 3:3 – What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?

We must ask ourselves the hard questions.

Still Committed, Faithful

Nature expresses God’s faithfulness.

Expounding on the post regarding being committed, it would serve us well to look at our standard for commitment. God. He is committed, faithful to us. There are Scriptures, of course, that speak to this characteristic of God. In order to become wise about commitment, let us go the Scriptures. God loved us so much and was so committed to us that He gave His only Son that we might have life, and that more abundantly.

John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 10:10 - “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

The Psalms are such comforting chapters for us no matter where we are or what state we are in and sincerely speaks of God’s faithfulness. When we seek comfort for heartache, tough circumstances, and anything else this life throws at us, the Word says the following, from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

Deuteronomy 7:9 - “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.”

When reading the Old Testament, it is clear that God was faithful to the children of Israel, from the parting of the Red Sea to providing manna from heaven and water from a rock. Just the simplicity of God providing something out of nothing moves me. Sure there are times when it is difficult, but remembering His faithfulness is strengthening and refreshing. Understand that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways not our ways. There are times when patience has to have that perfect work where you endure because you are faithful to Him and trust Him.

Psalm 145:13 – “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,” and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does.”

There is nothing that you will experience that God cannot get you through. Not unless you don’t want Him to. He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. He is present everywhere, knows everything and is all powerful. If there was ever a source to connect to, He is it. Yes, things are crazy and chaotic right now. Some might say they don’t believe because of that, what would they be committing to? But know this, God is still and always will be in control. He has allowed things to happen for His glory. They are at times uncomfortable, painful, and just get in the way of us getting what we want right now! Let’s keep it real, when we feel the most discomfort, it’s because we believe that we are not getting what we want and He may be keeping it from us. However, since God is all knowing, there may be something that will be harmful to you and God will not allow it. That said, what He does allow He knows you will be alright.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

God desires our heart. He wants us to be committed to Him; not our flesh, not the enemy and not the world. Are you committed? Are you still committed?

AHEAD in 2020

It’s about moving ahead now. We must be diligent in our pursuit of God. More even than we were when we pursued the things of the world. It’s time to move ahead with focus being the key element. The focus for this year has been streamlined. The primary focus will always be God. Submit to Him and then you are able to resist the enemy. In order to fulfill our purpose, we must streamline the extras that are distractions from His plan and purpose for our lives.

There was a major process that I had to experience to move forward in God’s plan and purpose for my life. Part of that process was recovery. I truly did not understand the wide expanse of what that included but I needed to learn how to love myself.

Learning to love myself has been a challenge and as I go through my recovery journey, it is more important than ever. I am good for encouraging others but also had to learn how to encourage myself. The Word tells us to love others as we love ourselves. How can we love others when we don’t know how to love ourselves? This doesn’t mean the egocentric, “I’m all that” attitude. This means taking care of yourself the way God wants you to in order to be that vessel fit for use. This process has been cleansing and heartfelt. Now that I can see much clearer, my desire to help and encourage others can be much less hindered.

One other important note I would like to add is that as a believer, with a much lighter load, I can express the joy that I truly feel as a child of God. I am more motivated to be thankful, as well as acknowledge who I am in Christ. As I move forward, simplicity is my key. What’s yours?

GRASP THE MAGNITUDE!

 

IMG_0291
The magnitude of God, even the creation speaks of the goodness of God. 

 

As I return to my writing, I thought it would be encouraging to speak about the magnitude of what Jesus has done for us. January started with reading the Bible in a year. There are several reading plans available that include the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, etc. I just like to start at the beginning in Genesis and read through Revelation. I could read it like this all the time. What I most like is the story of Israel and God’s relationship as it unfolds. Most important and why I deemed the name of this post “grasp the magnitude” is the struggle we as humans have in giving it all to God, truly not fully appreciating and understanding the true depth of His love for us.

 

IMG_0552.JPG
He set the earth on its foundations so that it should never be moved. (Psalm 104:5 ESV)

 

The Israelites really did struggle and Judges shows the return of evil again and again in the sight of God. The evil is truly turning your back on Him and choosing other “gods”, whatever they may be. Only you know what you have given your heart to. As I read, I reflect on what Jesus truly did for us. Between the burnt offerings, sin offerings, and feasts as well as the cleanliness protocols, I tend to flinch. I am not sure that I would have been okay. But what Jesus did when He died for us and rose again is give us the option to choose Him and let Him do the rest. Can you imagine giving your child everything he may want for Christmas and then act like you did nothing? The attitude of insignificance and no big deal would drive us nuts.

Grasping the resurrection and us receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit in us as a real deposit for eternal life is magnificent. All God wants us to do is worship Him and He promised to provide all of our needs. That includes physical, emotional and spiritual. How awesome is that! Simple, but not easy. We are so easily distracted by the world and things that we forget that He created the world and things through us. We make the thing created more important than the Creator.

IMG_0134Each time I start reading the Bible from the beginning, it moves my heart more towards God. Not saying I am always diligent in keeping it that way, but I do love God and desire to worship Him only. I have experienced God changing my heart on things I was holding to and found difficult letting go. Grasping the wrong things instead of His heart about those things. Intangible objects can do nothing. It is our heart towards those things that make us move to do what we do not desire to do. Paul really did have a clue. Grasping that we have the power within us, the Holy Spirit, to change that is just the tip of the iceberg. Is it so impossible to fathom that we have a God that loves us so much that He cared for us and loved us in and through our mess to give us not just a more abundant life here on earth but eternal life as well?

Can you grasp that?

 

IMG_0444.JPG
Can you grasp the magnitude of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ? He created the heavens and the earth, as well as us. And even when we did not honor Him, He cared enough to offer up His Son as a sacrifice to draw us back to Him. 

 

The Pinching

20160421_192851One addiction has been conquered and another rises to the service. When things begin to drop off – when you start dropping the baggage in your walk with Christ – what remains rises to the service. The pinching begins as God calls us to raise our standard to the way of life he has ordained for us as believers. It is a call to draw you even closer to Him and to walk worthy of the calling.

Ephesians 4 – “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Things become more challenging as He calls us back to making Him the center and the first priority again. It is amazing to me how many layers are uncovered as I strive to give everything to God. The flesh will always rise to contend with your spirit to glorify God. This is a very real and true aspect of the spiritual battle that we face every day. You have to resolve in your heart and mind to put God first. I haven’t always been successful in this area, however, I will never give up but continue to strive to fight the good fight of faith.

spiritual-warfare3Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Eternity, eternal life with Jesus and our heavenly Father, is certainly worth it. He has already given us everything we need. The victory was won on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus died on the cross.death-and-resurrection1

Going from glory to glory in the Lord is our life on earth, though definitely not our permanent home.

2nd Corinthians 3:11 – “For if what was brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.”

As I write, I find that the focus needs to change from self to the Lord. Not our circumstances or what is going on around us, but what the will of the Father is for us. Jesus came to do the will of His Father, God the creator of heaven and earth. Can we not strive to be obedient to Christ because He was obedient unto death?

GOD BLESS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

pexels-photo-266430.jpegFirst and foremost, God bless and “Happy New Year!” God has been very busy with me; had to keep my eyes on Him. With all the things that were experienced last year, I have become even more rooted and grounded keeping my eyes on Him. There is a new level of peace that came with the challenges and growth of last year. A new beginning that is certainly welcome with a better understanding of living with the peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) No matter what the circumstances are, God will bring you through.

Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

moving-forward-2

I have re-focused and am back to writing. God has sincerely blessed. As a grandmother of another baby girl, I am very excited about being able to be hands-on with her; already seeing God move as I was lifting her in prayer before she arrived on the scene and she did come with pomp and circumstance. It has been a blessing to see the smile from the angels on her face. With a new place to live, a full-time job, a new car and becoming roommates with my sister, God has truly blessed. He is also bringing me to another place to serve Him. Becoming part of the leadership team at my church, I am moving forward in God’s purpose for my life. I did learn quite a bit more about patience, for myself and others. And that peace is so sweet! We get so much negativity from the world, we don’t realize how ingrained it becomes.

His peace is bringing forth my creativity again and that makes my heart glad. Truly rejoicing in what He desires for my life. Of course, my time has changed quite a bit and exercising time management is key to staying focused on Him. Not allowing distractions to make me lose sight of what’s important. I will say that I have missed the sharing and connection that I experienced on the WordPress blogs. Once again, I put my pen to paper to share my journey with you. Looking forward to excitement, growth and new things for us all. Be encouraged and stay the path with the Lord. He is worthy to be trusted and praised.

What’s in my heart at this point is to encourage you in your journey. Do not allow distractions to take your focus off of God and what He has for you. We all know the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. This is even when he knows you cannot be separated from the love of God. He will still try to distract you to keep you from ministering to those God has called you to. Remember, it’s not just you the enemy is after, but those God has given you to influence and draw into the Kingdom.

God is faithful. We must be as well. The more we lean on and seek His face, the more we will trust. The more we trust Him with our lives, direction, and path, the more triumphs we experience. There is nothing more important than your relationship with Him, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God’s Grace

Precious_True LoveI looked up grace and there were so many definitions. The focus of this grace though is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. It is defined as “the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.” It is a virtue or excellence of divine origin. It is also defined as moral strength. Now, I can truly say that God’s grace was with me as I endured the many challenges of the past year. But, more than anything, God’s grace has truly drawn me closer to Him. By His grace, I am here today.

I know that His mercy is the foundation of me still being here. I am saved because God had mercy on me. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How much more though is the grace that carries us forward. I see quite a few people challenged by life events. Some are pushing forward and others seem to be drowning. But for the grace of God, there go I. Not sure I can quite put into words the wonder of God’s grace. His favor on our lives, to give blessings and yet to deter destruction.

The true love of God is shown to us in the nature of grace. He loves us and desires to give us not only an abundant life through His Son Jesus Christ, a powerful life through the Holy Spirit thanks to the resurrection of Jesus, but eternal life because of Jesus. If I may say so, the grace of God encompasses all that I am because I am nothing without Him.

Avid

Avid

Hebrews 4 TwelveWhat are you avid about? What do you have enthusiasm for? What are you zealous for? Keen about and devoted to or dedicated to? The antonym is indifferent. Today I speak on faith. I am zealous about my faith. I am not indifferent to what pertains to eternal life. I am an avid reader of the Word and zealous for the things of God. Sunday’s message was rather sobering. The pastor spoke about the lack of care for Jesus. He died on the cross and yet the time taken to worship and praise Him is minimal. Let me do that in between this or that. Life gets in the way of our devotion to our Savior.

2 Peter 1:3 – “…as His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him…”

Continue reading Avid