November 27, 2014

Let your Thanksgiving Overflow into Thankful LIVING

A GRATEFUL heart has a CONTINUAL feast.  

                                             Satisfied. and content.

Gratitude can change our perspective and the way we perceive EVERY moment.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

......................Because a grateful heart is confident and at rest in the GIVER of all GOOD things.  Knowing that all of life is filtered through the hands of GRACE.  Gratitude can turn every encounter, every experience into something extraordinary and miraculous.  There is something REDEMPTIVE.  Something BEAUTIFUL.  In every moment.    So be grateful.

Be. Grateful.(in all things)

You can't be grateful and unhappy. You can't be grateful and bitter. You can't be grateful and without hope. You can't be grateful and angry.
Choose gratitude.In all things there is something to be grateful for.
It's all in your perspective.
Just be grateful and SEE how much goodness surrounds you.

Don't dismiss the beautiful things in life or allow them to be embittered by the unfair and hurtful things. 

Be grateful for the   GOOD:) 

Every one of your days is filtered through hands of Grace. And He determined GOOD things for YOU. This moment HERE is part of your story and our Sovereign GOD is the author. Embrace the GOOD in it and see the beauty of the LIFE He's prepared for YOU.

Acts 14:17 ....but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness.  For instance, He sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts."  FULL.  SATISFIED.  Evidence of  GOOD beyond your own doing from the GIVER of all GOOD things.

But one final and important word.  Gratitude changes our heart.  It changes our perspective on life.  We are overwhelmed with AWE by the GOODNESS that surrounds us.  That's *ONLY* the beginning.  Don't let it stop there!!!!!  Let your THANKGIVING overflow into thankful LIVING. Let it MOVE you to PURPOSEFUL LIVING.  Out of the abundance of what we've been given.....being *GIVE*  The end of gratitude is not contentment and resting satisfied and full.  Thanksgiving overflowing into thanksLIVING.  Thankful GIVING.

             The end of gratitude.  GIVING without hesitation.  LOVING without reservation.

Realizing that the only way we can truly influence the world around us is to constantly be pouring OUT the abundance of LIFE we've been given.  Being not just TOUCHED and GRATEFUL; aware of the GOODNESS of God.  SO consumed by gratitude, in AWE of His blessings.  But letting it overflow into not only PRAISE but being moved and compelled to GIVE.  SO grateful that it spills out into life around you, those around you and changes the very atmosphere around you.  SO grateful that it spills out into thankful LIVING.  

November 23, 2014

The LINES for me have Fallen in {WELCOME} Places

 Can you say, in the middle of this place you find yourself standing in, "it is GOOD"? 
I was studying this morning the story (journey) of Ruth .... Thinking particularly of Naomi.
Her life was full of crushing disappointment. Even before her husband died. How can anyone be so bold to say, "{THIS} is good" when the unexpected happens?
I came to Psalm 16 and there it was AGAIN, in verse 16, "The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places."
That is a line in one of Chris Tomlin's new songs, "The boundary lines have fallen in welcome places."
I've heard that verse 3 times in the last perhaps God is wanting to show me something......
Land, in Bible times, was measured and divided into portions. It was determined by LOT. However it fell was no choice of was the hand you were dealt.
I can imagine the disappointment some felt when they found out the hand THEY were dealt. Or the exuberant JOY the others felt when the LINES fell in welcome places.
"FAIR are the places marked out for me."
Is THIS fair?
Is this place I find myself in, FAIR?
I suppose it depends on your expectations and how you define FAIR.
So I LOOK at the work God is doing----the UNSEEN.
The things to come.
The fact that there is something GREATER on the horizon ---- even in THIS place. There is a plan. A purpose. 

We are disillusioned in THIS moment because there is nothing tangibly GOOD in this hand we've been dealt. We are tempted in THIS moment to succumb to bitterness, jealously, discontentment, fear......
thinking that somehow God has held back from us.
That He has withheld His greater treasure from us and ---- we've been ripped off.

OR.....perhaps maybe we've missed the bigger picture here.
The SOVEREIGNTY of God......and HIS MASTER PLAN. His grand PURPOSES being played out in the unseen. BEYOND this moment here. BEYOND this lot we've been dealt. Because, you see, He is working ALL things out for our GOOD and HIS GLORY. *ALL* things.
 and IN THIS PLACE----He will SUSTAIN us, make provision for us, and follow THROUGH on this GOOD WORK He has purposed for us since the beginning of time.  He WILL perfect all that concerns us.  He will FINISH what He started......
and one day when we look back over our lives we can say, "The lines for me have fallen in WELCOME places."
Can you EMBRACE this place you find yourself in?
KNOWING that God is doing a GREATER thing?
KNOWING that God is sovereign?
Can you TRUST Him that what He does is GOOD? Even in {THIS}? He doesn't owe you an explanation. We often want escape from the uncomfortable. He wants SURRENDER......
When we are willing to surrender we release God to WORK in GLORIOUS ways. That is when we can TRULY say the LINES FOR ME HAVE FALLEN IN WELCOME PLACES.

Psalm 16

Keep and protect me, O God, for in You I have found refuge, and in You do I put my trust and hide myself.

I say to the Lord, You are my Lord; I have no good beside or beyond You.
As for the godly (the saints) who are in the land, they are the excellent, the noble, and the glorious, in whom is all my delight.
Their sorrows shall be multiplied who choose another god; their drink offerings of blood will I not offer or take their names upon my lips.
The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage.
7 I will bless the Lord, Who has given me counsel; yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety,
10 For You will not abandon me to Sheol (the place of the dead), neither will You suffer Your holy one [Holy One] to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

November 17, 2014

You Desire TRUTH in the Inward PARTS

 Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart. Psalm 51:6

TRUTH ---- in those places we tend to hide. 
TRUTH heals things.  Those deep deep places.

But too often.....
We bury our pain.
We cover it up.
We hide our sin.  Our flaws and imperfection.  Our insecurities. 
We think we are protecting what's left.
Afraid of MORE hurt.  Afraid of the consequences of confronting those things in us.  We've gotten used to it.  Pushing it away and closing the door. 
Or we defend those things.
Find excuses for them. 

Jesus confronted the man by the pool of Bethesda. 
He asked the man who had been lying there for so long, "Do you WANT to be well?"
It seems a foolish question for someone whose life is spent in isolation and pain.
To the onlooker the obvious answer is, "YES!"
Even to the man.....he wouldn't hesitate to respond.  Of COURSE I want to be well.

....."Are you willing to do what it takes to be well?"

This is where most of us back out.
It requires too much of us.
Sometimes it requires MORE pain. 

Every single one of my children fight the process when they've gotten a splinter.
They are well aware of how much it hurt when they got it, how much it hurts NOW and they are afraid of how much more pain they will experience to get it out.  So they don't want to take the necessary steps to healing....they just want to nurse it, cover it up and pretend it's not there.

I've done it.
And chances have you.

Eventually we are so focused on tolerating the pain, the sin, the insecurities, the imperfections, the flaws and the disappointments that we become MORE familiar with those things and forget what HEALING feels like. 
PAIN is a prison.
But rather than pursue wholeness we TOLERATE this place we are in. 

We endure and limp through life never experiencing what it really feels like to LIVE THAT ABUNDANT life Jesus suffered to PROVIDE.  

PAIN -not TRUTH- becomes the lens with which we view all of life.  Overtime it infects every other aspect of our lives.

Our relationships.
How we view life.
How we see God. (or how we DON'T) 

TRUTH in those deepest places.  TRUTH in the inward parts.....
that is the only way to HEALING. TOTAL healing.  Not just in part but EXPOSING all of those things we've left dormant for so long and confronting them with the Word of GOD.

Do you WANT to be well?
Will you do whatever it takes to be well?
It's time to stop nursing those things and take the steps you need to be whole again.  

November 8, 2014


This too shall pass.
Bloom where you're planted.
Time heals all wounds.

Those words feel MORE cliche when you're in the middle of a less than desirable season than they do on a Hallmark card.  They seem cold and calloused.  Unfeeling.
I DON'T *WANT* TO BLOOM HERE!----In *THIS* place.  
and from where I'm standing.....from MY vantage point.....this doesn't look like it's passing anytime soon.  

I'm weary.  I'm broken.  I'm helpless.  EVERYTHING around me is unfamiliar.  NOTHING is as I imagined it would be  

This is not where I want to dig in my heels and camp.  THIS is *NOT* my promised land.  

I think of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.  The Israelities in captivity during their exile.  I think at times I can relate to their heartache, their disappointment.  I am quick to surrender to the obvious reality that my expectations were not met and I have been let down.  Surrendering to a victim mentality.  It feels SO unfair.  
I didn't WANT to be a widow raising 4 children on my own!!!!!!!! 
I might as well have been shaking my fist at God.  There. I said it. 
.....and with those words and a few others came HOT ANGRY TEARS. 

In that moment I didn't feel His reproach or scorn though I felt embarrassed. 
I saw things differently......

I knew He was asking something of me.
"Will you embrace THIS as enthusiastically as you embrace all the things you WANT?"
Instead I am pushing His hand away-refusing His Grace-because THIS IS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR.  This is not what I want.  

EMBRACE?  Embrace means to WELCOME.  To CLING to.  *willingly* 
I run through my list of grievances with Him.
My list of hurts.
Those things which have left an inconsolable ache.  

Then I saw it.....I am not embracing the hurt.  To do so would make me a victim and God a bystander.  As if LIFE happens *TO* me.  

I am embracing His GRACE. 
His presence.  I am admitting that even in THIS---------HE IS WORKING a DIVINE THING.  

I am choosing the GREATER.  

It's a hard thing to see His hand in the darkness.  To sense His presence when the presence of the unforseen seems so much greater.  The voices of doubt and fear, discouragement and panic seem so much louder.  But I looked back and I could see it.
From the very first moment when my world crumbled under my feet I had EVIDENCE of Grace.  It washed over me like a flood.  Not for a MOMENT will He forsake me or leave me to do this on my own.  

He doesn't ask us to embrace the heartache, fear, doubt and hurt......He asks us to embrace His grace.  Not seeking rescue.  But seeking to SEE things from HIS vantage point.....because He sees things we cannot possibly see.  He knows things we may NEVER know.  He asks us to CHOOSE to TRUST.  
When we can do that we embrace grace, peace.....and we welcome His hand to do something in the midst of our chaos, in the midst of darkness that we couldn't have fashioned with our own hands.  We want escape.  He wants surrender. 
I remember the day He asked me.....I could hear Him almost audibly....."Are you ready to trust me now?" 

Do I TRUST HIM? I mean REALLY TRUST Him?  Trust Him with the outcome, trust Him with those things I hold in my heart? 
Trust that where He led me He did so with PURPOSE.
I had to let go and surrender those things that were beyond my control knowing that the will of God would not take me where the GRACE of God wouldn't SUSTAIN me.
TRUST leaves no room for fear or doubt, no time for planning and plotting an escape.
Just obedience and rest.

It sounds poetic. 
Bloom where you are planted.  

I am learning. 
I have CHOSEN.

I have DECIDED. 
When I embrace His grace I allow Him the freedom to do something {even in *THIS} that will take my breath away.......