Thankful…

Well, another Thanksgiving is upon us. How can that be? This year has gone by so fast!

It seems to me that everyone wants to rush through Thanksgiving and get to Christmas. I love the Christmas season, but, I also think that it is important for us to celebrate Thanksgiving, especially before the Christmas holiday. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what is really important in our lives. It is a special time to spend with those we love, to give thanks for our blessings, and to appreciate the goodness of God in our lives. We don’t spend enough time being thankful, at least I know that I don’t. We take so much for granted on a daily basis. We take our loved ones for granted, having food in our pantry, clothes in our closets, a warm bed, friends, finances, and so many more.

I want to tell the world how greatful I am to the One who daily provides for me and my family. The Lord has been so good to us, even though we fail Him so many times. He has never failed us. I am so thankful that I can talk to Him about my problems, and concerns. I am so very thankful that He listens to my prayers, and answers them. Where would my life be without my Lord, and His wonderful Salvation? With Him, I can have hope in what seems to be a hopeless world. He is the anchor that keeps my soul grounded to what is really important.

This Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to take the time to really count your blessing. We all have them. There is always something to be thankful for, always!

HAVE A GREAT THANKSGIVING!

Do you love beauty? I do. There’s just something about a beautiful picture, beautiful words, beautiful music, colors, smells, clothing, scenes…I could go on and on. Why do we crave beauty? Well, I crave it because it makes me feel better. When I see a beautiful scene of God’s creation, I am in awe of it. When I hear beautiful words spoken, I ponder them, and they speak to my soul,and I am inspired. Beautiful music stirs my heart.

I believe that God has put a desire in each of us to crave beauty. God created us in His image, and God loves the beautiful things. Just look at His creation, the variety and complexity of it all. Think of a sunset, a mountain scape, the ocean, a beautiful field of wildflowers that God planted. Think of all the beautiful animals, plants and living things that He gave us, such diversity, and beauty in them all.

The Bible tells us that “He hath done all things well.” (Mark 7:37)
I want to live a beautiful life for myself, my family and most of all my Lord. God’s Word encourages us to think on those things that are beautiful. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Why does God want us to think on these things, because it is good for us. We need to surround ourselves with those things that lift our spirits and inspire us to live a life worth living. If we go around with what Zig Ziglar called “Stinkin Thinkin” (this kind of thinking dwells on the ugly/negative things of life) we will be discouraged in our spirit, wrong in our attitude, and miss out on living a beautiful life. There’s plenty of ugly things to dwell on, but why do we want to do that?

Colossians 3:2 says “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” We are to have lofty thoughts (Philip. 4:8), a beautiful song in our heart (Ephesians 5:19), beautiful words to share with others (Ephesians 4:29), a beautiful attitude (Ephesians 4:32), and beautiful wisdom (Colossians 3:16).

A child of God shouldn’t have to live a life of defeat, fear and discouragement. We have been commanded to think about what’s good, and pure, and lovely for our own good. It is to help us live a beautiful life, even when life sometimes isn’t so beautiful.

To encourage you today, I have created a print to remind you to surround yourself with beautiful things. Just click on the image below, it will open in a pdf file so you can print it out. Have a beautiful week!

Please click here to receive your printable download.

Spring Time

Well, it’s that time of year, you know, time for spring cleaning. When spring rolls around, I want to clean out my house, clean up the yard, and get ready for warmer weather. I don’t know about you, but I feel better when I know that things are organized and clean. It just gives me a feeling of satisfaction. Springtime is the perfect time to clean up, and clean out.

Keeping our home clean is important. We want our homes to reflect the love and care that we have for our family. Home is a place of refuge from the outside world. It’s a place where we can feel comfortable, secure and welcome. Just as we need to keep our homes clean, we need to keep our souls clean.

Our soul can get dirty with the pressures and struggles of life. We can have unconfessed sin in our heart that will affect our spirit, but we know how to get that cleaned out.

God has promised us in His word that we can be cleansed from our sin if we simply confess it. That’s not so hard, much easier than cleaning my house.

This cleansing happens everyday for me. I can’t keep myself clean. It’s an ongoing job each day, but He has promised to “cleanse me from all unrighteousness,” if I do my part and confess my sin.  God is so wonderful. He knows that I will fail at keeping my soul clean and pure, but He is there to help me in my time of need. I need to keep my soul saturated in God’s Word to keep my soul clean.

If I keep God’s Word in my heart, it will help me stay clean in my soul. God’s Word works like a filter. I can compare thoughts, feeling and ideas that come into my head with the Word of God. Ask myself, “Is this good for me, healthy for me, positive, helping, or hurting me.” If we are dwelling on something that is unclean or ungodly, how do we expect to keep our soul clean?

We have to think on things that will give us peace and joy. Those are the things that will help us to live godly in an ungodly world.

Spring cleaning can be a lot of hard work, but it is always worth it. Cleaning our spiritual houses can also be hard work, but it will refresh our souls, and lead to a life full of God’s blessing.

 

Welcome Spring!

I love springtime. In the spring, all the migrating birds return, the grass gets green, and all the beautiful springtime flowers and trees start blooming. Nature comes alive. It is a time of rebirth and new growth after a cold, dormant winter season.

Spring is a beautiful season. Everything is renewed in the springtime. We get revived as well. We long for the warmer temperatures, the sunshine, and longer days. We get excited about outside activities like walks, bike rides, picnics and cookouts.

One word that I would use to describe spring is flourishing. To flourish means to grow vigorously, to succeed and prosper, and to be in the prime or peak of development. Just as nature flourishes in springtime, we can flourish for the Lord and help people see the beauty of the Lord in our lives. The Bible has a lot to say about flourishing for our Lord.

Psalm 92: 12-14 says, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a Cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing…”

The word flourish or flourishing appears in these verses three times. Christians should be vigorously growing and prospering for our Lord. Notice that there is no age barrier for this growth period. The scripture makes a reference to being fruitful in our old age. Although we may become limited by our bodies as we age, our spirits can still flourish. Isn’t that encouraging?

Notice in Psalm 92:13, the psalmist mentions the palm tree. The palm trees of Lebanon were trees with a very long life span. The scripture says, “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” For something to be planted, it has to be grounded with roots. Palm trees have deep roots. We must also have deep spiritual roots to flourish. We must have roots deep enough to withstand the storms of life that will come. The palm tree sways with the winds of the storm. If it falls, it’s because the root system wasn’t strong enough. When the storms of life come, we may bend, but we won’t break if our roots are deeply ground in God’s Word.

Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” This is how we grow deep spiritual roots – rooted and grounded in the love of Christ.

Another interesting point about the palm tree is that it’s roots grow deep searching out a water source. In desert places, the palm tree can thrive because the roots seek out an underground water source. Sometimes, we may have to survive a dry desert-like time in our life. We can survive and even flourish if we are drinking from the right water source. John 4:14 says, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” We can always have refreshment for our souls in dry places as long as Jesus is our source.

I want to flourish as a Christian, now and as I age. Psalm 71: 17-18 says, O God thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come.” No matter our age, we can still bring forth fruit and show the next generation God’s strength and power. Our fruitfulness gives others a glimpse of our God and His goodness to those who will give their lives to Him.

A palm tree grows straight and tall, resisting every attempt to press or bend it downward . It grows straight toward Heaven. What an example for us to resist those things which will try to make us break or bend. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” Life’s trials will try to press in on us, discourage us and yet, we continue to flourish, moving Heavenward with each trial – getting more like our Lord. We, like the palm tree, have to resist the urge of our flesh to bend and break, to despair or feel sorry for ourselves, and press toward Heaven like a beautiful palm tree.

 

Psalm 1:3 says, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

We can prosper, flourish, and bring forth much fruit. We can remain strong, immovable, and upright during the storms of life. We can rely on our inner strength that comes from the Lord. We can stay green and watered in the desert places of life and be a symbol to the world of God’s goodness to those who love Him. By showing the world the goodness of God we can help others to see their need of Him.

Just as the springtime flowers and tress are flourishing and becoming beautiful, we can flourish and grow and be a symbol for the world to see God’s wonderful blessings in the lives of His children.

 

The Wonder of Creation

I love to look at the Heavens. The sky is one of the most beautiful creations. Just as we have various emotions, the sky can appear to have emotions. The sky can look ominous, scary and dark, and then turn in to the most beautiful, peaceful sunset you have ever seen.

Whenever I watch the sky, I can’t help but think of the One who created it. Psalms 8:3-5 “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.” Isn’t it amazing to think that our God, Creator of the Universe, cares more about us than any of His creations. We are truly blessed to serve such an amazing God.

As you go through this new week, remember how incredibly special you are to God. You were so special that He gave His Son to die for you. Let’s not waste our precious days, but use them for His glory.