The “why” of a Grateful, Grace-full life

This is a photo I took while in Capernum in 2019. I chose it because it’s not perfect – those upside down containers don’t belong, right?
Kind of like our lives, even when the picture isn’t perfect — we can still lift our hands and be thankful for He is Good, and His faithful love endures!

It’s Thanksgiving today, and it has been anything but traditional at our home. Due to my husband’s currently compromised immune system we are not having or participating in a family gathering. As this day approached I made a conscious decison to be thankful and grateful, and I am so glad. The quiet has been good, and I even found time to sleep in, bake bread, and just reflect on the goodness of God — to count my many, many blessings. 

While thinking on this I feel I heard the Holy Spirit whisper that being grateful opens the door to a grace-filled life. It’s a matter of the heart and it’s the “why” that He is teaching me. I see that being grateful/thankful is like having my arms lifted, wide open to the Father. Looking to him and thanking Him for not only what He has already done, but trusting Him with the future. It’s like a magnet, pulling all the good things that He has toward me. He is love, He wants to supply all that we need, and He delights in doing it!

In contrast, being angry and ungrateful is like standing with closed, clenched fists, head down, fearful, unable to percieve or recieve all that God had provided and wants to provide. (Oh, how that must grieve His heart.)

As an example: I was deeply touched to learn of the unexpected home going of the husband of a precious woman I know — have known for years as a woman of faith and a lover of God. Her response today on social media was to write about thankfulness. As she so amazingly and aptly put, “In the midst of intense sorrow and loss the only posture that is fitting and necessary is thankfulness.” She then wrote a wonderful list of the many things for which she is thankful.

What she wrote served as an important reminder to me that no matter how difficult a moment in time or circumstance may be, I have the opportunity to be thankful for things both large and small — I am so very blessed!

I am so very grateful that He has given me the choice! When the enemy comes at me with fear, to make me angry or tries to get me to have a pity party over things that have happened, I will choose to believe in and thank God for His mercies and unfailing love. I will rehearse His goodness in prayers of thanksgiving and worship Him. King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Love incarnate, my savior and redeemer. And in doing so I will open up my heart and receive His great, great grace. Oh how HE LOVES you and me!

Complete Prayer

From my pastor this morning: “Prayer is not complete without gratitude… Thankfulness is an exercise in Faith.” – Pastor George Pearson, Eagle Mountain International Church

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, Philippians 4:6 TPT https://bible.com/bible/1849/php.4.6.TPT

We read in the story of Daniel and how he faced the lion’s den – not desperate or fearful. He was faithfilled and grateful. His prayers and thankfulness led to his deliverance . (Daniel 6)

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
Daniel 6:10 AMPC
https://bible.com/bible/8/dan.6.10.AMPC

The Glad Game

I enjoy old movies. When recently thinking about being mindful to be grateful, I thought of the movie Pollyanna. I haven’t watched this movie from the 60s again just yet, but I found the story available on Kindle and I am reading it. If you want to learn more about the movie and see some clips, here is a link to Turner Classic Movies.

In the story, Pollyanna is an orphan who was born to missionaries and being sent to live with her wealthy, austere Aunt Polly. Early in life Pollyanna’s father taught her to play the Glad Game. The object of the game was to find something to be glad about no matter the situation or circumstance. To the chagrin of people around her (including her Aunt Polly–who did not want to hear anything about Pollyanna’s father), Pollyanna was very good at it! Although several did not like her positive attitude, eventually many of them found themselves learning to play the game too. She touched the lives of many around her, even the minister of the local church.

Not only do I enjoy Pollyanna’s story, I admire her courage and perserverance to do just what her father said, even when it was difficult — choosing to find something to be glad about. It seems that at the root, the Glad Game is quite biblical. It goes right along with the scripture below from Philippians. And with the following scripture that talks about the Lord being glad.

Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.
Philippians 4:8 TPT
https://bible.com/bible/1849/php.4.8.TPT

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/zep.3.17.NLT

So as we near this Thanksgiving season, I’m making an effort to do just that — to hear and obey the Word of my Father — to choose to fix my thoughts on what’s good, pure, lovely… And no matter the circumstance to choose to BE GLAD, BE THANKFUL, and BE GRATEFUL.

Here’s an example: I would really enjoy being able to sit and talk with each one reading this. That might not be possible, but I am glad to have the opportunity to share my thoughts and my faith with you. Oh how HE loves you and me! I pray you will find many reasons to be glad too!

Higher than the highest Heavens

Thinking on this today:

Higher than the highest heavens— that’s how high your tender mercy extends! Greater than the grandeur of heaven above is the greatness of your loyal love, towering over all who fear you and bow down before you! Farther than from a sunrise to a sunset— that’s how far you’ve removed our guilt from us. But Lord, your endless love stretches from one eternity to the other, unbroken and unrelenting toward those who fear you and those who bow facedown in awe before you. Your faithfulness to keep every gracious promise you’ve made passes from parents, to children, to grandchildren, and beyond. You are faithful to all those who follow your ways and keep your word.

Psalms 103:11‭-‬12‭, ‬17‭-‬18 TPT https://bible.com/bible/1849/psa.103.11-18.TPT

Staying focused

I have been reading and thinking a lot lately. There is a lot going on in our world and in my personal life. I have been feeling more emotional and find myself needing to be more diligent to remain focused, in faith and resting in Him.

I’ve been reading and meditating on Ephesians 6 (in The Passion translation) about warfare and the armor God has given us the right to use. I am sharing the lead in verses below, but I recommend reading to the end of the chapter. I hope you will find strength in it as I have. I needed the reminder of whose I am and the weapons He has provided.

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you. Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬12 TPT
https://bible.com/bible/1849/eph.6.10-12.TPT

We must gird ourselves with the belt of truth, put on the helmet of salvation, pick up the shield of faith, arm ourselves with the Sword of The Spirit (the Word of God), walk out the gospel of peace, and pray passionately.

WE ARE SOLDIERS OF THE LORD!

Rest

I was inspired to write this poem several years ago. It fell out of my Bible today and reminded me of the many benefits of my relationship with Jesus. I hope you know Him too and are experiencing the benefits of trusting in Him. 

Rest
I am your deliverer and salvation,
You are my covenant child,
I have justified you,
I have made you righteous,
I have made you holy through the blood of my son.

Rest
You are hid in Christ,
My Spirit is in you and with you always,
I am at work within you,
I am causing you both to will and to do my good pleasure.

Rest
Trust in my love,
I know the plans I have for you,
I planned them before your birth,
I see the end result,
I am focused on your future, not your past.

Rest
I am your Lord, I am King of Kings,
I am working all things together for your good,
I am the author and finisher of your faith.

Rest
I am faithful to My Word,
My promises are true,
You are a branch of The Vine,
Rivers of living water are in you.

Rest
I am your life and light,
The strength and might of my Spirit are being imparted to your inner man, along with My wisdom and My ability.

Now My beloved child, rest.

Hebrews 4:3a For we who have believed(who have adhered to and relied on God)do enter into that rest.

Learn more about Jesus…pick up a Bible and read the book of John, then see Romans 3:23 and Romans 10:10.

I’m praying that you find rest in Him. Oh how He loves you and me.

King David & Anne with an “e”

I’m smiling as I write this because it seems both amusing and lovely at the same time. I’m thinking about both King David and Anne of Green Gables.

If you haven’t seen the Anne of Green Gables series of movies with Megan Fellows, I highly recommend it. I’ve been known to binge watch all of them on a rainy or snowy weekend.

The things I enjoy most about Anne are her flair for the dramatic and her sensitive heart. Due to pride she sometimes gets herself into predicaments (some quite hilarious), and is moved to “the depths of despair.” But she also loves with all her heart, as in her relationship with Diana, her “kindred spirit and bosom friend”.

You might find it strange, but as I read the Psalms tonight, it seemed to me that she and King David may be a lot alike. Some of the Psalms are so very dramatic (due to real life situations), but the writing reminds me of “the depths of despair.” Then there are others that clearly reveal a tender hearted man with a deep love for God and how much He loves us. Below are examples, I can almost imagine how they would sound if Anne read them.

He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence. 
Psalms 91:2 TPT
Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come. Your faces will glisten with glory. You’ll never wear that shame-face again. When I had nothing, desperate and defeated, I cried out to the Lord and he heard me, bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most. The angel of the Lord stooped down to listen as I prayed, encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape. He will do this for everyone who fears God. 
Psalms 34:5‭-‬7 TPT

Finding Beauty, Goodness & Grace in Every Season

The peonies are blooming, the end of spring coming and summer is near. Some days are cold and rainy, and then suddenly we have warm and sunny days. Both are needed and beauty is found in fragrant blossoms even as they soak in the rain. Soon the hot summer days will take over and plants change their focus from blossoms to bearing seeds and fruit. The cycle of seed, time and harvest is in motion, it happens every year, just as the Father designed it.

In every season He is always good and He wants to reveal His grace, goodness and faithfulness. Just ask Him. Oh how He loves you and me!

 For the Lord is always good and ready to receive you. He’s so loving that it will amaze you— so kind that it will astound you! And he is famous for his faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for he keeps his promises to every generation!        ~Psalms 100:5 (The Passion Transkation)

A Savior, Strength, a Father’s Help

Sometimes we all need to be reminded… Whatever the circumstances are around you today, whatever the trouble, wherever you are, know this – God is there. Jesus is willing to be your Savior, the Holy Spirit to be your strength, the Father to be your help and deliverance. Just ask, then run into his waiting, out-stretched arms, receive His love and hide yourself in his care. Oh how He loves you and me!

Excited to Reach Nations!

The image below represents over 41 different nations from which one or more people have logged on to read this blog. This “blesses my socks off!” because my desire is to share the love of God with everyone – everywhere. Although my feet may never touch these nations, my prayer is that those who have read it are encouraged, have had their hearts lifted, and that they get a glimpse of how very much they (and YOU who are reading this) are loved by God. I pray that HE is honored, and I thank you for honoring me. OH HOW HE LOVES YOU AND ME!