“This, Too?”

Blessings “The power of gratitude is breathtaking and centering. It is along the lines of nuclear power. It makes our lives richer and fuller and freer. And it is a direct link to the goodness of God, which is an unending source of power and hope and faith.”
~Nancy Ortberg, Looking for God

Too often I think the attitude we have about the way the Lord blesses us goes something like, “Thanks for blessing me with…. but…” or “I’m really glad that You gave me this, or helped me through that, but what I really wanted was…” We pray for things that seem to be a big deal, but completely miss something even bigger when we’re upset that the Lord didn’t answer our specific prayers.

I recently finished reading “Looking for God” by Nancy Ortberg (It’s fantastic, definitely a recommended read!) and the title of her second chapter is “This, Too?” as I read I began to realize that those two simple words need to be precisely how we look at each blessing the Lord places in our lives. I won’t get into explaining the context of how the phrase was used in the chapter, it would take a long time, but it shook me. We should be overwhelmed and overjoyed each time God blesses us. Whether it be something huge and completely life changing, or something as simple as seeing a smiling face when we’re feeling down.

Here’s the thing, if we go through life constantly expecting more and more from God, there WILL be disappointment. There’s a reason you didn’t get that promotion at work, or you didn’t win the lottery, maybe someone else is dating the person you thought you were meant to marry. There’s a good reason, God has something better planned for you! I have to be honest here, I’ve occasionally found myself looking at the blessings of people around me and having thoughts like “Why did the Lord give that to her? She hasn’t even been a Christian as long as I have.” Or “I’ve prayed and obeyed God and waited for what seems like forever for that, why did they get it so easily?” I’m sure it’s not just me that finds myself scolding myself quickly after I let those thoughts dance through my brain.

Can I tell you something? Yours is coming. The Lord doesn’t play favorites, and even if He doesn’t give you exactly what you want or think you absolutely HAVE to have, He still loves you. Bunches and bunches! He has a plan and a purpose for each blessing He places in your life, trust Him and His perfect timing.

From now on, no matter the size or relative importance of each blessing the Lord places in my life, my response is going to be “This, too? Thank you Lord for blessing me more than I deserve!” (And remember, as hard as it may be to accept or admit, most of the time life’s rough patches are blessings in disguise and opportunities to grow spiritually and pull closer to the Lord.)

“So whether we’re looking out of an airplane window, or into the faces of people we encounter everyday, whether we’re on the job or in our kitchens, whether we’re reading a book or paying bills, if we just look, we will see things that cause our hearts to well with gratitude. God created the world, and it reflects His nature. Because of that, we can see Him everywhere. And everywhere we see goodness, we see God. The only thing we have to do is connect the dots.”

~Nancy Ortberg, Looking for God

I am Blessed

Thankfulness Journal Challenge!

be-thankful

November, the month that my Facebook feed is flooded with “30 Days of Thankfulness” posts. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I LOVE seeing what each of my Facebook friends are thankful for. But why only in November? We should be thankful EVERYDAY of the year. Not just one month out of the year, or only on Thanksgiving day.

What if everyday, for a whole YEAR, when we wake up in the morning and before we go to bed each night, we chose one thing that we’re thankful for and write it down in a “Thankfulness” journal. I bet by the end of that year, we’d each realize how blessed we really are and we’d probably even be happier people! OR, each time you find yourself complaining about something, find something in the situation to be thankful for. That would probably be a tad bit more difficult for most of us, wouldn’t it?

Even when we might have legitimate reasons to complain, there are always many reasons to be thankful as well. It’s just a matter of how you look at things.

Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. 

~Robert Caspar Lintner

So, will you join me for 365 days of thankfulness? I’m not gonna lie, I’m really bad at keeping up with “daily” reading/writing habits, but I’m going to do everything in my power to remember to keep this one up! Share this with friends, in fact why don’t you let THEM know how thankful you are to have them in your life. It doesn’t have to be big things, just BE THANKFUL! 

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

~Psalm 100:4-5 (NKJV)

Don’t Leave Jesus in Ruins

Haggai Late nights with Jesus are my absolute favorite. Everyone is asleep, it’s quiet, and I can really focus on what the Lord is telling me through His word. Tonight, it took me a whole four verses in the book of Haggai before I knew that I’d be typing up a blog post before I could even think about going to sleep! It was these words that spoke to me:

 “Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while My house lies in ruins?”

~Haggai 1:3-4 (NLT)

So many different thoughts went flying through my head as I read those words, so many different ways to look at them and use them to better yourself and your relationship with the Lord. I think I’ve managed to choose two points that I want to share.

1. Are you too busy living a life of luxury to notice that your relationship with Jesus is in ruins?

There are so many prosperity preachers out there today that try to push a “how to use Jesus and His teachings to get rich” kind of message. I’m personally not a fan. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to pull His teachings out of context, try our best to then use them to get rich and live a luxurious live of ease, then die and go to Heaven.

NO.

Jesus died on the cross so that we could find forgiveness, joy, comfort and love in Him and live a luxurious life in eternity with Him, in Heaven, when we die.

Yes, some people have worldly riches and possessions and are just as good of Christians as anybody. I’m not saying that having money is a negative thing, We can do so much good with money, as far as donating and helping the needy. I’m just saying that we need to be careful that it doesn’t cause us to forget about Jesus and turn Him into an after thought.

When He says “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance. (to the full, till it overflows.)” (John 10:10 AMP) He isn’t necessarily talking about living a life overflowing with worldly riches and possessions. Jesus Himself can and will give us a life overflowing with joy and blessing. So don’t get comfy and cozy in luxury and leave Jesus out in the cold and ruins! Like the temple in the verse, do you need to “rebuild” your relationship with God?

2. Are you living in the warmth and comfort of Jesus’ love while your friends are left in the cold ruins?

I think all of us are probably currently, or have been in the past, guilty of this one. Are you letting your light shine so that others can see it, or are you hiding it around certain people because you’re ashamed of it, or even afraid to “offend” someone with your Biblical views? I struggle with this as much as anyone! I want everyone I encounter to know the love of Jesus, but I worry so much about “shoving Jesus down their throats” that sometimes I miss opportunities to share Him with others! I just pray that through my blog and my Facebook page I can at least reach a few people and change their lives because of something I post or mention in conversation.

Share the warmth of Jesus’ love this Christmas season, don’t leave others out in the cold without it!

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

~Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

A Challenge for your Week!

letter-writing-pic As I laid in bed trying to fall asleep last night, I got to thinking about all of the incredible people the Lord has brought into my life. I’m sure anyone who reads this can find at least one person that makes your life happier, can always put a smile on your face, or would drop everything to help you in a time of need. Does that one person really know how much you appreciate their friendship? Have you told them lately what a blessing they’ve been to you? If not, let’s change that!

My challenge to you this week  is to take time to write someone a letter. Yes, that’s right, I said write… meaning pen and paper. Even if you don’t have their address, find a time that you could hand it to them. Whether it be your Mom, Dad, a former teacher, a pastor, you get the picture! Letter writing is becoming a lost art, and sometimes it’s a hand written letter that can mean the most to someone and we don’t even realize it. For someone to know that you were thinking about them and took the time out of your schedule to hand write them a thank you note, a simple note just to say hi, or a letter to let them know how they’ve impacted your life in a positive way, I’d imagine it’s a pretty good feeling! So this week, take a look at all of the wonderful people in your life and pick at least one to reach out to. I wrote a letter this morning and got it in the mail right away! I plan on writing a few more throughout the week as well! Let’s all take time to let our friends and loved ones know how much we appreciate their presence in our lives. If you think about someone while you’re busy and can’t take the time to write a letter, give them a call. Text messages are great for when you can’t be on the phone, but they’re so impersonal! Go the extra mile to reach out to someone meaningful in your life! Who’s on your heart this week?