Thankfull living

Thankful.

Every Thanksgiving, we are reminded to celebrate all we have to be thankful for in our lives.

But God doesn’t want us to just be especially thankful once a year. He longs for us to be thank-full every day, in every situation, every time we can.

You recall that verse “Give thanks in all circumstances” we hear every year around Thanksgiving? There’s more to it….for it wasn’t meant to stand on its own!

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be cheerful no matter what.

Being of good cheer is part choice, and part based upon how we handle the emergencies and hard situations we face. Which links it to the next instruction in this verse:

Pray all the time.

All the time. Out loud, in your mind, or with your spirit, constantly bringing everything to Him in the moment.

And when we connect with Him as we do so?

(We can) Give thanks in all circumstances.

Only when all three occur together does the last part of this verse make complete sense:

This (cheerfully praying with thanks every step of all we encounter) is the way God wants His Beloved to live….

Choosing joy.
Connected with Him.
Celebrating with thanks.

This Thanksgiving season, take the time to look back on how God has been with you in every season, and what He walked you through.

Smile. (Laugh, twinkle your eyes or flash your dimple!) Because cheerful inside usually leads to a sign on the outside! 🙂

Pray. However you pray. Whether by speaking it. Thinking it. Writing it. Singing it. Drawing it. On your own. In two or three. At home. At work. Over coffee. While walking.

Thank-fully. We are so extra blessed when we are part of God’s family! We are loved beyond measure by our Father. We belong. We are inheritors of the Kingdom, made whole and clean in Jesus. We are free. We have access to resources surpassing our comprehension through Holy Spirit. We are never alone.

Because God is fully with us through all things, we can always, and in all ways, have a reason to be thank-full.

And then these verses, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, become as they were intended by God in our lives: Thanks-living as we express how thank-full we are to Him!

#thankfull #hopefortheharddays

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find rest…

We are all looking for that soft place to land upon when we fall.

We tend to keep ourselves busy to distract ourselves from the fact something isn’t right.

We all need rest.

And some of us need to stop running so we can find it again.

Saying yes to some priorities means saying no to some things we may love, but aren’t important in the big picture of life.

Rest- both physical and spiritual- is near the top of my list.

We are called, actually reminded in the Word, that to rest.

Psalm 62:5 tells us we can find our rest in Him.

Time spent in His Presence brings an inner rest and peace in the quiet place where we meet together….and that connectiveness helps keep me calm when the storms of life hit.

Because we all know storms come and go, as do the sunny days.

My soul needs to be supercharged with rest to help keep me seeking Him despite what is ahead, just around the bend.

Relationship problems?
Work problems?
Health concerns?
Financial stresses?
Relocations?
Death of a loved one?
Unprovoked aggression?

All of these can be seen throughout the Bible….and none more clearly than in the life of Jesus.

Jesus took Himself away from the crowds, even his best friends & family, and sought God in the quiet place.

To seek His face,
to be reminded of His love,
to remember who He really was,
to find rest despite the hard road ahead.

Unsure of things going on in your life?

Press in to the One who is ever present and never changing.

Press in to Him for the rest you need, which only He can deliver.

Respond to His invitation to come and be with Him.  For the rest you are looking for is found on His Presence.

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cover lover or lover of the Word?

I love getting a new version of the Bible. There is something holy and fresh to me about holding a brand new Bible. Opening the cover for the first time, and taking a peek at the insides.

As a book lover and word crafter, I can appreciate a pretty cover, fantastic graphics or eye catching images.  Yet if I never open the book, I  will miss the point.

If you don’t move past the cover, you miss the meat of the words inside which you are meant to meet.  To read.  To chew on. To ponder. To be challenged, entertained by.

Without reading the words inside the covers, a book becomes just an ornament on a shelf.

Which isn’t the point of a book.

Nor the point of the Bible.

The Bible, or the Word as I prefer to refer to it as, is designed to help us along our journey.

It not only instructs us, but gives us insight into situations we might experience, and the God we hope to encounter we meet inside.

If you remain a cover lover, the Word will not come alive for you.  For the Holy Spirit speaks to us as we read it, whispers the words He has for us in the moment, and reminds us that the Word is an invitation for a fresh encounter with the Living Word, Jesus.

The Bible is meant to be read, digested, interacted with. We are to allow it to shape our mindsets, fix our values, guide our emotions and be a foundation we can turn to in the hard times.

The Word reminds us…

  • We are not alone.
  • God is with us.
  • God is for us.
  • God is in us.
  • God lives through us.
  • God knows us.
  • God guides us.
  • We are loved.

Crack open the cover of your Bible, and allow His words to seep into you.  Ponder the mysteries.  Savor the love.  Delight in the truth. Align your path to the one He has for you.

Move beyond the covers into the best part of the Word, for He is just waiting you there!

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Take me away…

Take me away, a secret place
A sweet escape, take me away
Take me away to better days
Take me away, a hiding place

– Natasha Bedingfield, Pocket Full Of Sunshine

My heart started crying out this song to my Abba these past few days.

When life gets tough, my first reaction is instinctively to ask to be rescued, for a quick escape so I don’t have to deal with whatever is currently facing me.

Afterwards, it used to be I would escape into a bag of sour cream potato chips or a sitcom, licking my wounds and berating myself for rolling over and taking a beating yet again. 

We never learn to be proactive and change our ways by just thinking about it. We need to do it.

Instead of being passive and keeping my hurts buried in the hidden spaces within, I am learning to run to the secret place.

His embrace.

I am invited there 24/7.
365 days a year.
And on into eternity!

I stopped short quite some time ago as I was headed down the wrong path of response when it hit me.

Why wait for eternity to fix everything? Why not now?

If we are called to supernaturally live in, through and with Him…then here on earth is where we need to do so.

Just as Jesus did.

Jesus took Himself away at times. Not to kick his wounds or hide away, but to reconnect. Becoming rejuvenated and reinvigorated for the plans He was to walk out with His Father. (Luke 16:16, Mark 1:35)

Jesus never backed down from doing His Father’s business where He saw His Father inviting Him into a situation.

I need to do the same.

Instead of allowing fear and survival instincts to drive me, I need to choose faith and supernatural instincts to guide me.

He promises to always be with us, and show us how to live free.

Our part is to choose to stay in His embrace through our days, and refuse to allow the lure of other pleasures to steal us from where our souls and spirits know is where we belong.

With Him.

He may take you away from a situation by prompting you to remove yourself from it.

He may guide you as to what to pray to shift the atmosphere.

He may tell you what to say to diffuse discord and bring peace.

The whole time, He will be with you.

I would rather be in His embrace in a hurricane than left alone to my own devices.

Lead me away from what doesn’t work, Abba, and keep me headed on the path You have for me. May I run to You first, and You alone, when the storms begin to circle.

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community: family by choice

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I am very blessed in community.

I know several people who feel like they are all alone in their circumstances or situations, and the reality is: often it’s due to your choices.

We don’t always reach out to show our need nor vulnerability when we can, so we essentially build a wall to block out connection when everything within us may be craving it.

Connection begins with a choice to be vulnerable, and let someone in.

Community happens when hearts are knit together through regular connection.

Family occurs when God blesses community with a love which can only come through weathering the storms arm in arm, knowing your family has your back and won’t leave you on your own.

Jesus modeled this well while He walked among us.

He carried an atmosphere of invitation to those who were outcast and lonely in society, and they came.

The disciples are a perfect example of choosing to connect, seeing what someone is capable of beyond their current situation, becoming community through shared living, and becoming family by choice.

God deliberately chooses to connect with each of us.  He wants us to live in close community with Him, Abba Jesus Holy Spirit.  He wants you to walk knowing you are already in His forever family, even if we aren’t physically there yet.

God didn’t choose those we would automatically assume would be on the inside.

For His community is family by His choice.

●Cain, marked with His divine protection despite his crime.

●Jacob, wrestling with God after stealing his brother’s birthright.

●Saul, more concerned with following his fears than God’s leading.

●David, lacking strong self control over his attraction to women.

●Solomon, who tried everything under the sun to come to the realization that without God, all is futile.

●Paul, murderer of the faithful.

●Moses, the stutterer.

And just so we keep it real, there were also women He chose to include in His community which make us sit up and pay attention:

○Sarai, who laughed off the Promise to come.

○Hagar, who took off when things got tough.

○Pilate’s Roman wife, who had dreams of the Jewish Messiah.

○Elizabeth, barren for so long she must have given up hope of a child, chosen to bear the forerunner to the Messiah. (And her priest husband ●Zachariah, struck dumb when he doubted the angel delivering God’s Good News, in the Holy of Holies!)

○Tamar, who tricked her father-in-law to do the right thing but broke the law to do so.

○The Samaritan woman at the well, with her colourful history, spreading the word about living water.

All of these people are and were part of His story through the family He chose to create.

And we are included.

We have the opportunity to build community and family wherever we are,  for we carry God with us.

The Father who is just waiting for us to come near and join the family.

The Son who is just waiting to connect with us and not only show us who we truly are but help us become whole.

The Holy Spirit who draws us into community, helping us to see beyond our natural sight the Kingdom He is shaping about us.

Community is family by choice.

It has always been God’s choice to choose you.

It is your choice to accept the invitation of life long family and beyond which He has always offered, or stand alone on your own two feet.

Only you can make the decision to move into connection, to stay isolated in your current situation.

Community is family by choice.

tears for now

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making His home with men and women! They’re His people, He’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.”

Revelation 21:3-4 MSG

The Good News has arrived once in the person of Jesus, but God’s story for His people doesn’t end with that first arrival here on earth.

In Revelations, we are reminded the Good News yet to come…Jesus is coming again.

He is going to come back and make His home with His people, Beloved.
He will live with us, not just within us where He currently resides.

And once He has moved in, look at the next things He does….

He wipes every single tear from our eyes.

For He brings peace with His presence.

In fact, He will stop us from crying or weeping at all.

For He brings joy in His Presence.

We will never experience or suffer another pain. Ever!

For He brings hope in His Presence.

We will never die again.

For He gives life to those in His Presence!

The Promise will come to pass when we are with Him forever. No more tears, crying, pain or death!

Now is not forever, as You remind us all, God!

What a promise to celebrate! Sing, journal, dance – however you best offer your thanksoffering of praise for His promise yet to come!

Let this truth soak deep into the hearts and minds of the Beloved, Abba. Bring it back to the forefront when we need the reminder in the hard moments, Holy Spirit. May we entrust all we are, pain and tears, hopes and dreams, grief and loss, joy and hope, into Your loving, more than capable hands, Jesus. 

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what is fueling your hope?

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.  Isaiah 40:31

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Hope is fuel and passion fuels hope. Christine Caine

How is your fuel tank?

Are you running low from all the running around you are doing, and not stopping long enough to sit as His feet?

I am coming to realize that if we make seeking Him foremost eac day, somehow everything we need to do gets done with more grace.

It’s part of the Kingdom of Heaven, how spending time with God fuels us up.

Hope is intertwined with passion in a circle which continuously redirects us to the other as we seek Him.

For its in the pursuit we discover our passion, which fuels us to pursue all the more, elevating our levels of hope in such a way we are even more fueled to keep pursuing.

Our energy feeds off this combination of passion and hope, calling us to grow deeper, soar higher and leap all the steeper.

We can become, do, see more than we ever imagined possible when we allow the fuel of Heaven to be our drive.

Jesus showed us this kind of empassioned hope fueled living while with us on earth.  He knew who He was in relationship to His Father, placing His desires before His own, and walked empowered by Holy Spirit wherever He was lead.

My prayer for you and I?

For us to catch that this was not an isolated incident in the life of Jesus; but a daily moment by moment occurance, one we too can live out.

Weary from all the running here there and everywhere? Low on hope? In need of a top up of love and passion?

○Head to your Father’s embrace.
○Sit at the feet of Jesus.
○Allow Holy Spirit to whisper their love deep into your very being.
○Soak in their Presence.

And then, in their power, refueled with their love, you will be ready to roll with fresh hope and passion for the day ahead.

For we, you and I? We are meant to be the ones who soar, who can stay on course in the race without losing our focus or source of fuel. 🙂

So let hope rise up and darkness tremble at Your Holy light, for every eye to see Jesus our God, great and mighty to be praised.

lasting hope

I am hardwired to be optimistic.

It takes a lot to get me down… usually a combination of illness/injury, eating poorly & not sleeping enough.

But like you, every day something tries to undermine my hope:

I am married to a wonderful man, who tends to be more of an Eeyore in nature, mostly due to his having seen so much in his nursing career over the last two decades.

I have had random twitches joint pain which has still not been diagnosed, leaving me exhausted some nights, and make it hard to fall asleep on others.

I too have had unexpected expenses pop up.

The loss of a loved one.

The dishwasher conking out when it was full.

My order not show up.

Not enough work.

Too much work.

Our complaint lists can keep going and going like the Energizer bunny, if we keep feeding them.

I choose to feed my hope.

Not on fluffy catchy feel better quotes.

Not on physical food or drink.

With the hope that lasts…

God given hope which rests on Him as its sole source.

In a world seeking bargains and making our lives as ease filled as possible, it dumbfounds me to see people spend millions on make it all better in 10 day programs.

If it didn’t take 10 days to get there, it isn’t going to take 10 days to get back out….just saying.

Since my life has had a lot of knocks, whacks and pitfalls, I need a source of Hope that can take all the concerns and worries I have, and then some, for days to come, for the rest of my life.

God is my choice.

He even paid the cost, fellow bargain hunters, so we can come to Him without barrier.

He even invites us to come and find rest in the shelter He has to offer:

He himself is our peace (Eph 2:14)

Come to me,all who are weary and heavy laden (burdened) and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Because he loves Me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name.
He will call on Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
 and show him my salvation.”
(Psalm 91:14-16).

God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!”
(Jeremiah 31:3a)

This is just a glimpse of the treasured promises from God for you.

He knows you.

Despite anything you may have done or will ever do, He loves you dearly.

He made a way for you to come home and be with Him, your heavenly Father.

Jesus calls you sibling, friend, chosen, apple of His eye.

Holy Spirit is within you to guide you, help you in any way you need Him to.

God with us.

That is where I place my hope.
Not on shifting trends, things that pass away and don’t last.
On the foundation of Hope my God has laid down for me.

All my hope is in Him.

The path of hope is waiting for you as well.

Its a journey unlike no other, but with Him leading you, you will always have reason to be thankful, give praise and hope.

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(Repost from Sept 17, 2014 as I am out & about getting ready to celebrate one of my babies’ birthday today, and this is one of my fave posts!)

pressing in for connection

Until you commit to the goal of connection, all the relational tools in the world are not going to help you. It’s only when you decide to take responsibility to pursue connection that you will discover just why you need these tools. It’s only when you commit to moving toward someone that you will seek the knowledge and skills necessary to reach them. – Danny Silk, Keep Your Love On

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It’s only in the choosing that our pursuit ignites with purpose.

If you encountered someone who was deaf, and you wanted to communicate with them, you would seek out sign language to help you do so. If they were blind, you might learn to write them a letter in braille, or add more descriptive words to your dialogue.

When we choose to love someone, we decide to study them and find out what they love, then discover how we can best offer them our love.

And we can only do so when we chose to do so whole heartedly.

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Jeremiah 29:13 reminds us that God promises those who chose to wholeheartedly seek Him will find Him.

When we are intent on learning more about the ones we love, we will discover who they are.

And when we discover who they are, we are able to love them more deeply and whole heartedly in response.

It all begins with our choice.

Will we press in for deeper connection, or settle for surface level fluff?

Like cotton candy, which tastes good going down but doesn’t satisfy your hunger, surface loving never satisfies our deeper longing to connect with one another.

Because God ultimately hardwired us to connect with Him, and to one another.

I have decided to throw off my usually cover of restraint and purposely chase after God with all I am and have.

And I am choosing to do the same in all my relationships.

With God as the primary lover of my soul, and His guidance, I will discover how to love more, deeper, stronger and better.

For when Love Himself is your pursuit, and promises to be found by all who purpose to seek after Him?

With Him, I can love as He intends. With all my heart, for His glory and his honour, to better His Kingdom. Loving those about me as He has designed them to want to be loved, and as His love overflows through me to and for them.

wonder at Your ways

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One of the most wonder-filled aspects to being Yours is seeing Your Promises come alive in my life.

I love digging deep into Your Word, because not only do I find You there, I discover just how much You have done for me!

This verse jumped out this morning.

And I realized it was true.

When I follow Your ways, You not only have shown me the way to go which is best for me but You shine Your delight on and in me.

There is a blessing through following You first which cannot be experienced any other way.

Not only do things turn out better for me in the long run, I discover just how much more wise, good, true and majestic You are.

I can place my trust and put my hope in You all the more when I take a step back and see how Your story has been shaping mine for the better.

A newer song by Big Daddy Weave perfectly captures my sense of wonder and delight as I see You work in my life. 

Lord, may I never cease to wonder and worship You as I follow Your ways, all my days.

MY STORY – Big Daddy Weave

If I told you my story You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

If I told you my story You would hear victory over the enemy
And if I told you my story You would hear freedom that was won for me
And if I told you my story You would hear Life overcome the grave

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long

For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell of my story is to tell of Him!