It matters…

As I wrote earlier, God wants me (and you) to think His thoughts, because they are higher, better, and they accomplish the purpose for which he thinks and speaks them. Following up on that, I am listening to, reading and hearing about the importance of what I think – because it matters.

I have heard this saying: You can’t stop the birds from flying over head, but you can stop them from nesting in your hair. It’s the same with thoughts. Just because a thought “flies over” doesn’t mean it’s something I have to take ownership of. I have the opportunity to judge each thought. I may choose to accept as truth and meditate on it, or I can reject it as a lie and refuse it.

Here are a few of the scriptures that remind and help me to embrace the power of God’s thoughts, as communicated in His Word:

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Philippians 4:8 AMPC

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

Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.
Colossians 3:2 TPT

Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies. And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword of the spoken word of God. Pray passionately in the Spirit, as you constantly intercede with every form of prayer at all times. Pray the blessings of God upon all his believers.
Ephesians 6:17‭-‬18 TPT

We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.
2 Corinthians 10:5 TPT

Think about, know and believe this today beloved: His thoughts toward us are precious, His plans for us are good, for our peace (shalom – wholeness, nothing broken, missing or lacking). Oh how He loves us!

Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.
Psalms 139:17‭-‬18 TPT

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
Jeremiah 29:11 AMPC

Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com. Other verses are taken from The Amplified Classic (AMPC).

Treasure

What I love about the Word of God is that no matter how many times I read it there is always more to learn. I’ve heard it said it’s like peeling an onion — one layer at a time, but I tend to think of it as a treasure chest – each time it’s opened something new and wonderful is revealed. In light of that, I offer these thoughts on Isaiah 55:7- 11 and other scriptures below.

7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon. God wants us to give up our ways and our thoughts and return to him so that he can pour out on us His love, mercy and pardon.

8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. He wants us to exchange our thoughts and ways for His because while ours are low and limited by our experiences, He is unlimited by time or circumstance. He is, He was, and He will be. Eternal, omnipotent, forever faithful.

10-11 For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, [II Cor. 9:10.] So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. God’s thoughts become His spoken Word. He releases His words on purpose and with purpose. What He speaks happens. His words bring about what He pleases — His will. Period.

This quote is from the Charles Capps book titled, Gods Creative Power Will Work for You”God never does anything without saying it first. God is a faith God. God released His faith in Words.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth. John 1:1‭, ‬14 JUB. He sent Jesus, the Word made flesh, to be our savior – to visibly reveal himself, to make known His desire to reconcile us, as His beloved children.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:3‭, ‬6 NLT It takes faith to know Him and to please Him. Everything that He offers is received by faith.

Ephesians 5:1 says: Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as his beloved sons and daughters. To imitate Him we must know Him.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all the things that I have said unto you. John 14:26 JUB
How grateful I am to have the Holy Spirit, the Bible — His written Word and the ability to commune with Him in prayer — all of which are ways I can know Him more, learn to live by faith, to imitate Him — and as His daughter learn to represent Him well.

Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com.

Hope

There is a story of King David in 1 Samuel 30 that has come to my mind several times lately. Things didn’t look good for him. In returning home from battle he and his men found their town burned and all of their family members had been taken captive. They all wept and his men talked of stoning him… he was greatly distressed, BUT “David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord.” AND, the end of the story is restoration and victory.

So, I am encouraging myself in the Lord with these scriptures – reading them, speaking them to myself, and I pray they will encourage you too. I’ll start with some words written by King David, and follow with some other precious words.

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the one I love, waiting as long as it takes for him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and he will not fail me.
Psalms 62:5 TPT

So then, my soul, why would you be depressed? Why would you sink into despair? Just keep hoping and waiting on God, your Savior. For no matter what, I will still sing with praise, for you are my saving grace!
Psalms 42:5 TPT

The eyes of the Lord are upon even the weakest worshipers who love him— those who wait in hope and expectation for the strong, steady love of God.
Psalms 33:18 TPT

Celebrate with praises the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has shown us his extravagant mercy. For his fountain of mercy has given us a new life—we are reborn to experience a living, energetic hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3 TPT

So cheer up! Take courage, all you who love him. Wait for him to break through for you, all who trust in him!
Psalms 31:24 TPT

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold,
Hebrews 6:19 TPT

Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!
Romans 15:13 TPT

Oh, there are so many more I could share, I encourage you to pick up your Bible. Start reading the Psalms, spend some time in John 13-17, Hebrews 6-11, Romans 5-8. Be encouraged, He is for you, He loves you!

Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com.

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