Sunday, December 4, 2016

Higher Expectations Met Through Our Abundant God

"People who expect nothing will never be disappointed."  That's what the little paper said that came from the fortune cookie.  All my life I've held to the thought of preparing for the worst.  With that mindset, situations usually end up on the better side but low expectations usually mean less disappointment.  Anticipation is said to be the major part of an event.  My level of anticipation stays low 'just in case it doesn't go as planned'.  Perhaps this has always been a defense mechanism, guarding against disappointment, but there comes a time to rise up and gain some courage!

Being an avid walker, several hours a week are spent walking.  I consider these walks 'my time', where I can relax, get rid of the stresses of the day and also do something healthy for my body. In an attempt to fit in some spiritual exercise, I have a variety of podcasts to listen to.  Many of them offer resources that often I just have to have!  

A recent podcast interviewed the author of "I Want It All".  The introduction shared the exact thoughts and feelings of low expectation I have had for so long.  The sub title of the book is, "exchanging your average life for deeper faith, greater power and more impact."  Wanting it all isn't about a selfishness, but a meekness, acknowledging God is able to transform and equip us.  

Most Christian women have the desire for more.  Here is an exert from the book that probably sums up that desire..."I want to live beyond ordinary.  I want revival.  Authentic, soul level revival...I want to live a new kind of beauty.  One that is deep and mature, far beyond my ordinary tendencies. 
I want:
God's grace to trump my grouchy.
His peace to quiet my anxiousness.
His plans and power to blow away my small thinking.
His love to annihilate my indifference.
His holiness to consume my sin.
His disciplines to prune away my rebellion.
His vision to purify my heart and purify the world in and through me. 

God has a plan for each of us, much more than the average life, measured by the culture around us. We were created to be women of impact who is so aware of the love of God that we can't help but expect His greatness, power and grace to shine from us. 

Trusting in my own self, my expectation are low, but God's Word speaks vision and life to us each day and reminds us of the beauty available to us through Christ. A beauty reflected out that brings Him glory. Where I lack, He can fill abundantly. 

 "If God is your partner, make your plans big." D.L. Moody 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ending November With a Thankful Heart

It may be last minute, but I'm sharing the remaining days of November blessings!  As one who loves to begin new projects, challenges and ideas, but struggles to finish, this November counting daily blessings has been completed.  

This November instead of seeking daily blessings (which is so important), my desire was to be reminded of the promises of God, mainly in who He is and His attributes.  Here is the remainder of November:

November 20: Forgiveness.  Being forgiven by God and overwhelmed enough to pass it on.

November 21:  God of Comfort.  No trial is in vain, the comfort given to us, can be shared with others.
November 22:  Holy:  God is Holy and the Holiest of all.  Hard to grasp, but brings awe.

November 23:  The Fruit of the Spirit.  found in Galatians 5...Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness...the qualities we want to grow in our lives!
November 24:  God Reigns...above all

November 25: Faithful and True
November 26:  Giver of Wisdom
November 27;  Our Creator
November 28:  Full of splendor and majesty

November 29:  The God of favorite verse Romans 15:13 "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
November 30:  The God who gives rest to our souls.  

Each day these were written in a notebook, but not to simply jot down and forget.  These are precious reminders of how wonderful God is and that He provides all we need.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

There Is Nothing Like Family

This is Thanksgiving week and probably most of our plans will involve family and spending time with our family.  Our families can be our greatest blessings but may be accompanied by great stress.  The smallest tension with our families can quickly escalate into worry, distress and a host of other emotions.  Basically we love and cherish our families and desire their best.  When we see things that distract or derail them from that best, that tension begins.  

Although we may try and will probably fail, we cannot 'fix' our family or solve their problems for them. But there is something stronger and more powerful we can do.  

Love them unconditionally.  Even if there are areas we do not agree with, we can love them without endorsing or enabling.  Love is a strong bond that runs deep.

Model the fruit of the Spirit.  Love, Joy, Peace Patience, Kindness, etc. when evident in our lives will always improve the atmosphere.

As much as possible, keep open the lines of communication.  There is probably a family member you many have nothing in common with.  Months or even years may go be without contact.  In our busy culture, it takes time to develop and keep family connections.  But it is very important. If possible, find a connection, no matter how small and keep the lines open.

Pray for one another.  When we desire good for our family, God's good will never lead us astray.  Some powerful prayers for other are found in Ephesians 1 and Ephesians 3 and Colossians 1. 

"making mention of you in my prayers:  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,"

 "I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

"do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;"

Truly our families are precious blessings that should be blessed with the greatest gift we can give - prayer for them.  God can do so much more than we can in lives and that will bring His greatness. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Still Counting the Blessings

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

By taking deliberate time to count our blessings, it has a very positive affect on our attitudes and actions.  Through my journey of thanking God for who He is, I'm finding those beautiful blessings from Him are to be manifest in us and shared through us.  Here are some powerful things I've found this week:

November 14: God's love.  this is so vast and so mighty, but so basic..."and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

November 15:  God's Divine Power:  The power of God that is only ascribed to Him, is shared with us, to equip us in our daily life..."His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence," II Peter 1:3

November 16:  God is our Help.  In times of trouble, we need a help greater than what we are facing.  God truly is our help..."I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth."  Psalms 121:1

November 17:  God is a Refuge:  This week, our family faced some great challenges.  What peace and strength it brings to know our hope is with God and He is a refuge for us. "My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God." Psalms 62:6-7

November 18:  El Roi - The God Who Sees.  "She [Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”   I read Hagar’s story again in Genesis 16, what a beautiful truth that El Roi sees you, cares about you, and will provide.  

November 19: Our Protector.  Today we went to a follow up appointment with our son's doctor regarding his recent accident. This was a new doctor which alone was an answer to prayer we will have to share about later.  He read aloud the medical reports to us.  He had only heard our version of the injuries and was amazed as he read the results of the head scan.  Fractured skull, cracked, but if it moved a fraction would have punctured his brain, ruptured artery in the head, he looked at my son and are a miracle.  On the reports, the doctors first name was "Jesus".  He read that and said..Jesus was looking over you, then looked up and said.."Really, Jesus was looking over you."  Truly God is our Protector. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Our Words Matter

We create the atmosphere we will live in with the words we speak. So one of the ways we can change the temperature of our life and our world is by changing what we allow to come out of our mouths.

There is a measure of greatness is everyone, simply because God has created each one. Sometimes we need to dig in, but there is such blessing as we find that greatness and encourage others as we speak about it.

Every now and again, we may get caught up in the cycle of negativity, only seeing the bad. A critical spirit is easy to catch and spread with horrible results. But the God of mercy can help us deal with and overcome my own critical nature. To bring life to those around us. 

Our words matter to our children.  No one has ever criticized their children into better character.
May our words be marked with love. Tell them what they did right.  May our words be marked by wisdom. May they leave our presence feeling built up.  It has been said that there are two sides to our children, one may be a pain, the other is a prince/princess.  The one we speak to, is the one who will answer. 

May we live out Ephesians 4:29.. may it become the filter of our lives.  before we open our mouth, may this filter our words.   Write this down, keep it in front of us as a daily reminder. May we live this out.  "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."