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

Higher, Greater, Farther, Endless Love & Faithful

Take a few moments to reflect on these words and be encouraged dear one. Oh how He loves you and me!

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

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.

Walking through…

I wish I could remember who taught me this, but I can’t. I am however so very grateful. God has used it many times to remind me that when it feels like I am surrounded by darkness:

1. I am walking THROUGH. NOT building a permanent dwelling place in that place.

2. I don’t have to fear ANYTHING because He is with me, right where I am, and He is the great I AM.

3. He is not just there, He is there to PROTECT, GUIDE and COMFORT me.

This is just one verse from the powerful promises found in Psalm 23. It is a rich Word to meditate on, to consider who He is, and what He does. I believe it never grows old because these words are just as alive with the love of God now as they were when King David wrote them.

Oh how HE LOVES you and me!

Peace

Thinking this morning about peace, and praying for anyone who is struggling today. In Hebrew, peace means wholeness, wellness, nothing missing, lacking or broken. When Jesus was born the angels said, “glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, goodwill to men.” And in John 14, before he went to the cross Jesus said, “my peace I leave with you.” My prayer is that you receive and unwrap His gift of peace, freely offered – take possession of it and don’t let it go. Choose to believe in the love that God has for you, and that He cares for you.

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere!
Luke 2:8‭-‬10 TPT
https://bible.com/bible/1849/luk.2.8-10.TPT

It’s for a season…

And in this season, I choose joy, I choose to be grateful, I choose to look for things to celebrate, to look for the good, for opportunities to love, to live, to enjoy. I don’t know when this season will change, but I’ve made up my mind not to let it stop me from living, from doing what I enjoy, anymore.

If I’m honest, since my husband became sick a year ago, my focus became very narrow. My “job” has been to pray and stay in faith, and to do what it takes to remain at rest in Him, to work fulltime from home and care for Ed. Most days I did well, others not so much as responsibilities sometimes overwhelmed me. I am still walking this journey of faith daily, trusting God to work, and to lead me/help me do all that needs to be done.

But over these last few weeks I became very aware of my lack of joy. And I feel the Holy Spirit is leading me now to pick back up what was laid aside, lost in the difficulties of this past year. So, no matter the season, I am consciously choosing to make room in my life again for painting, knitting and writing. These are gifts the Father wants me to use and enjoy. I will not let the enemy of my soul steal the joy that comes from being creative and the rest and refreshing it provides.

My watercolor pallet
My yarn swift and ball winder

I guess the lesson for me is no matter the season…find joy, don’t let it slip away, and be grateful. Listen for that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Oh how He loves you and me!

The Importance of Rest

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It seems that the Lord has been teaching me about rest for years. I even wrote about it on here back in 2018. Now I am beginning to understand why… Knowing that the fight of faith is truly a fight to remain at rest in Him has become so important in this last 11 months. Our lives were literally turned upside down as we went from working opposite shifts to being together almost 24/7. Illness robbed my husband both physically and cognitively, and put me into the unfamiliar role of a caregiver and advocate. Plus work and responsibilities we had shared were all mine, and I continued to work. Of course family and friends have helped much, for which I am so grateful. But it was overwhelming, and that’s where understanding the importance of resting in Him comes in. Without it, I don’t know how I could have walked through this time.

One night while laying in bed talking to the Lord, he spoke to my heart. “You know how people say to do your best and leave the rest to God?” Yes… “Well, I want you to rest and trust me to do the work.” That really helped me! Whenever I don’t know what to do, start to be overwhelmed, that thought comes to me. I close my eyes and think of it. I choose to rest and trust him to work. I think of how this weapon of rest frustrates the enemy of our souls.

I can tell you that the fight of faith is not easy or a battle for the faint of heart. Sometimes it’s a moment-by-moment choice. Resting in Him means that no matter what the situation or circumstance I choose to believe He is a good God, our loving Father, Healer, trustworthy, faithful, and His Word is true.

I am trusting God to restore Ed to health and to lead us each day. I pray for and expect his doctors and the medicines prescribed to minister to him as helps in the healing process. I don’t understand His timing but I trust Him. I am thankful for faithfilled and faithful family and friends – for all those who are praying and have spoken words of wonderful encouragement. I am grateful for His grace, trusting in His mercy, resting in His love and rejoicing in every victory no matter how small.

There are so many scriptures that God has spoken to us through, I can’t share them all. Key verses I pray for Ed are found in Psalm 23, 91 and 103. They are full of promises of health and restoration.

For me it’s the verses below, and the story of Jesus on the sea in a storm — I remember He is with us in this storm too, and that the wind and waves won’t win. He is still the One who says peace, be still, and in Him we have victory.

Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]…. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].
Hebrews 4:11‭, ‬16 AMPC

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. [Ps. 55:22.]
1 Peter 5:7 AMPC