- An Attitude of Gratitude
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV
So now that we are past the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I have really had a stirring to share about gratitude. Many of us find it easier during the holiday season, particularly the Thanksgiving season to find reasons to be grateful, however, truth be told, thanksgiving should be a daily lifestyle. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of gratitude is: a feeling of appreciation or thanks; state of being grateful; thankfulness. Now, our definition on the other hand, probably goes a little something like this…” when I am having a good day and things are going my way, I am grateful.” I definitely don’t think this definition is in the Bible though lol.
Our thankfulness should not be determined by the kind of day we are having or what our current circumstances are because in all honesty, if we are breathing, we have so much to be thankful for. My mom used this quote on us a lot as kids when we complained about not having something we wanted…” I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” (Quoted by multiple sources so unsure of true origination). It’s all about perspective, right?
The Bible gives us numerous examples of people who were thankful in the midst of challenging circumstances…David, Job, Paul, and Peter just to name a few. Sometimes, we just need to praise ourselves right on out of the “funk” we are in. All we have to do is follow David’s example. In Psalm 103, David rehearses a whole list of reasons he has to be thankful and guess what?!? That list applies to us too! Here are just a few things from David’s list (Ps 103):
- He forgives all my sins
- He heals all my diseases
- He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies
- He fills my life with good things
- He renews my youth
- He gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly
- He is compassionate and merciful
- He is slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love
We should be thankful because God is worthy of that and so much more. And the Bible does actually say that being thankful is the will of God for us, and surely, we want to do His will, right?
Another awesome truth is that if we actually position our hearts toward gratefulness, we tend to find that it moves our focus off of our circumstances and on to God where it should be anyway. And this will surely be one of the best moves we could make to improving our outlook on life. What a way to start off the new year!
Here is a link to the perfect “de-funk” song, “Gratitude”. Enjoy!
I am also including some Scriptures on thankfulness to help get us started.
I will thank the Lord because he is just;
I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
Psalm 7:17 NLT
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
Psalm 34:1 NLT
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4 NLT
Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1 NLT
Featured Image for Blog: Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash
- Are we choosing “the better thing”?
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:40-42 NIV
Many of us know the story of Martha and Mary very well and we associate Martha with the “spirit of busyness”. We live in a world that is go, go, go all the time. We are constantly bombarded with information and distractions at every turn. We are “movers and shakers” and have to “make things happen”, or so we think lol. Something the Lord gently reminded me of earlier today is that “busyness” does not equal “fruitfulness” …ouch!
Many of us can be like Martha and wear “busyness” as a badge of honor. This can cause us to see others that are not doing what we are as “slackers” and lead us into murmuring and complaining. The sad truth is that many of us have the schedules we do by choice. We say “yes” too much or we do not say “no” quite often enough. I have to remind myself often, not every good thing is a God thing. Although, we can’t swing the pendulum to the other side and make excuses not to serve God or do a particular thing He is directing us to do because “we don’t have time”. Truth be told we tend to make time for what we want to. This is why it is vitally important especially as believers to present our “plates” to the Lord and allow Him to say what should stay and what should go.
If we step back and look at what was really going on in this account Jesus was not telling Martha what she was doing was bad but was trying to help her gain perspective and adjust her priorities so she could see the bigger picture and choose what was better in that moment. The decision that would yield better and longer lasting fruit!
As the Holy Spirit was dropping nuggets into my heart for this blog, He told me His people are weary. However, much of this weariness is caused by our own doing.
We are running on empty and empty vessels can’t pour out! So, what do we do?
We access the cure for this weariness, and that cure is Jesus!
Sometimes we just have to turn off the “Martha” and sit at His feet. Practically speaking, this means turning off the devices and noise (disconnect) and spending quality time with the Lord (connect). In His Presence we are refueled and strengthened for this journey called life but WE HAVE TO CHOOSE THE BETTER THING!
I have included links to some worship songs that may help facilitate your “Mary” time 🙂
- Praising Him in the “Valley”
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. ~Hebrews 13:15 NKJV
I’m not exactly sure how as Christians, we ever got it in our minds that our lives would be so convenient and trouble-free. The Word of God teaches us the complete opposite of this: John 16:33 says “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” However, we should not be discouraged because Jesus clearly told us that in Him, we would have peace and also reassured us He had already overcome the world.
We go through seasons in our lives. There are times where things tend to go a little smoother and then there are times where we may see difficulty around every corner. We have what we may call our “mountaintop” times…times where things are great, we get that promotion, we get the raise, we get the house, etc. But then there are times when things aren’t so great…the what we can call “valley” times. The low and even sometimes very dark times. Times where we may lose the job, lose the house or get a bad report.
This is the definition of valley according to Merriam-Webster 1. a. an elongate depression of the earth’s surface usually between ranges of hills or mountains. 2. a low point or condition; 3. hollow, depression. Now, isn’t that interesting? A valley is considered a depression. Most of us understand the word “depressed”. That word is generally equated with sadness, discouragement and even hopelessness. This is certainly where we can end up if we do not learn how to walk through our “valley” seasons with the Lord and the truth of God’s Word.
In these valley seasons our flesh will want to isolate and retreat inward. This is the very LAST thing we should do. We have to dig deep and fight against that feeling. Our feelings (emotions) are very fickle. We can not rely on them. We must rely on the Truth…the very thing we know that does not change…THE WORD OF GOD!
We have a very powerful weapon at our disposal. The weapon of PRAISE! And one of the things I have learned in my life about praise is that it is the most powerful when you release it in the midst of the most difficult times in your life. We cannot wait until our circumstances are good to praise God. God deserves our praise at ALL TIMES. But it is a choice. We have to do it by faith, because we most certainly will not feel like it, and that is kind of the point. Even though our circumstances may not change I can assure you from personal experience that something IN YOU will change. God is always faithful and His Word is clear, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
I want to encourage you to dig into the Truths of God’s Word. Do not wait until you are in the “valley” seasons of life to see what God’s Word says. Get the Word in you now, because difficult times will come and when that pressure comes, what is in you will come out-good or bad. We want to make sure what comes out is the Word of God, for us, as well as for those around us who will need it too!
Be encouraged by these Truths:
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. — Psalm 34:1
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. — Ephesians 5:20
Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! — 1 Chronicles 16:8
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. — James 5:13
He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. — Deuteronomy 10:21
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. — Psalm 100:4
I also recommend having a good fight song. If you do not have one, I have included the link to one that I love. Fight on warrior!
- Is Your Heart Sick?
Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy.
Proverbs 13:12 TLB
Hope deferred makes the heart sick…what does that really mean anyway? I really never thought much about it until I began walking through the “waiting” seasons in my life and now I can see what the scripture means. The word defer means to put off, or postpone. When it comes to something we want no one really wants to hear the word “defer”, right?
We have this promise from God and we are holding onto it with all we have…we have our hope at the highest level and we are walking and talking in faith…but, we have yet to obtain the thing we are hoping for. So, now what…we keep trusting and hoping but over time something tends to happen. Uh oh, it’s that “sick heart” thing. Times of doubt and discouragement begin to set in. We can experience a roller coaster of emotions; I know I have.
The questions begin swirling around in our heads…I mean, “did I really hear from the Lord”? “Did He really say that”? If He did, “why is it taking so long”? “Am I not in faith”? “Did I do something wrong”? This is where the enemy does some of his best work. He has been at this from the beginning of time starting with Adam and Eve and he has not changed! He loves to get us to question God and what He has said to us.
Since we live in such an instant gratification society it is easy to allow those same expectations to bleed over into our “faith world”. We have to remember that God’s timing is not ours and many times it is more about the preparation and the process than it is about us obtaining what we are hoping for. God is not a man that He would lie but His ways are not our ways so we won’t always understand how He plans to bring the promises to pass in our lives. Our part is to pray, trust Him and obey what He says.
For me, I have been living this scripture for the last few years. I have a promise in the Word of God for my family. My husband and I have been believing God for a baby for 7 years. God has confirmed to me on multiple occasions that He is bringing this promise to pass yet and still we walked through four miscarriages. Each and every time we were in faith, speaking the Word and believed the outcome would be different yet sadly we ended up with the same result…hope deferred. BUT GOD! Each and every time the precious Holy Spirit was right there, encouraging me to stay in hope and trust God’s timing.
We have to actively guard against doubt and discouragement. We have to choose to stay in hope and not give up on what God has promised. But at the end of the day, it is our choice. We can choose to let our emotions rule us or we can trust what God has said and stand on the Word of God which is a sure foundation. So, let’s be encouraged. He will never fail!!
Scriptures for encouragement in the seasons of waiting:
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:14
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Hebrews 6:15
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. Psalm 130:5
- I Finally Did It!!
Welcome to Pursuing His Promises Blog! It’s launch day!!
I want to begin this by saying a huge thank you to everyone who has prayed, encouraged and challenged me along the way. I want to especially honor and thank a very special friend who was instrumental in this process, Brandy Butler, my KFP. Prior to her moving to heaven she was very vocal about me getting this launched. I know she is in heaven giggling and saying, “well, it’s about time!” I love you Brandy and you are forever in my heart!
About 3 years ago I felt a prompting by the Lord to start a blog. I know, I know…you are probably asking yourself why it took me so long to get this going. Unfortunately, I allowed life and a lot of excuses to get in the way of getting it done. My perfectionist, melancholy personality sure did not help much either. I researched a lot about blog writing, I talked to a couple of friends that had experience writing blogs and also looked at tons of different blog examples to get a general idea of the flow of things. In April of 2020 I even stepped out and purchased my domain and set up my account through WordPress and yet here we are having the blog launch in June of 2021. I am so glad the Lord has been patient with me!
Recently, a close friend of mine reminded me that many times the Lord gives us a “now” word so it is more important to get the word out there even if everything else is not “just perfect”. There is a wealth of knowledge in that statement. I am thankful to be surrounded by godly friends who not only encourage me but challenge me to be the best version of myself and who God wants me to be. I am also constantly reminding myself that delayed obedience is disobedience and I do not want to be disobedient to the Lord. Many times we do not know who or what is on the other side of our obedience.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17
I pray that you have a friend in your life that is that “iron” for you. If not, we can sure pray for you one!
Enjoy these pictures of my sweet friend Brandy AKA HolyGhost Rider…someone full of life and love for Jesus! And since I am dedicating the launch of this blog to her, I will close with a popular phrase she coined…
Jesus is Lit! and You’re the Light!
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