30 Day Thankfulness Challenge

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God works in mysterious ways

No doubt, God’s ways are far above my understanding, but He is often quite OBVIOUS in His direction. For the past several weeks, nearly every book, magazine article, podcast and Bible study lesson has touched on thankfulness.

Now, I like to think of myself as a thankful person, but apparently, God is raising the barre on my quota. He’s impressed on me to start a thankfulness journal. For one minute a day (I set a timer) I write what I am thankful for.

Initially, it was a piece of cake. It doesn’t take much effort to fill one minute with home, hubby, health, kids, etc., but now on day seven, the flow is slower. You can test me in this. I’d love the company.

Thankfulness rewires your mind. 

As the flow of things to write on my list dwindled from a stream to a trickle, I realize God is using this journal to cause me to deeply reflect on my blessings. 

Honestly, girls, God is wooing me and maybe to you, too, to appreciate what I have and not take it for granted. To chuck the “What have you done for me lately” attitude as I pray for more stuff and overlook what I already have.

Follow the example of Paul

Paul says in Phil 4:6, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.” 

What he practices a lot is thankfulness.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” Col 3:15

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Celebrate! You’re A Work In Progress

My birthday was last week and I had a ball. (see photos below – and, yes that’s a tiara, cuz – that’s what happens when you take a dare at 50 and it starts a tradition!)

In the afterglow of a day of celebration and indulgence, I’m taking a timeout to look ahead. How do I get to this time next year wiser, healthier, better off than I am right now.

We are all works in progress.

Progress being the operative word. If we are not making progress we are stagnating or worse yet, decaying.

Mirriam-Webster defines progress this way: to move forward: to develop to a higher, better, or more advanced stage

Listed antonyms of progress are: decline, descend, deteriorate, weaken, decay, or relapse.

We are either progressing or decaying.

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What Is That Stink?

No one wants to admit it, but we all have to face down stinky stuff in our lives.

What do you do when the computer swallows up your documents? How do you react when you discover your secret stash of Oreos has been raided? Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair? Imagine discovering that your car has been towed!

Delays, disappointments and doubts stink! 

In John 11, Lazarus is deathly sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are stuck in a stinky situation. When Jesus finally shows up, Lazarus is already dead and has been in the grave four days! 

The sisters are crying, the mourners are crying, even Jesus cries. They are still weeping and wailing at the cave/grave where a stone has sealed in the body of Lazarus.

Then Jesus makes the most remarkable request.

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Your Legacy Starts Now

What will you be known for?

Do you spend any time pondering your legacy? How will people remember you? What stories will be told about you? How will you be described when you leave your current church, or workplace or neighborhood or this life?

We all want to be remembered well. Unfortunately, in an effort to create a great legacy, we can get into trouble by trying to do everything, and end up burned out and overwhelmed or feel so hopeless that we do nothing!

Lord have mercy! How do you find balance and direction?

What does God require?

Medical professionals use the term “potentiate”. It means to augment or accelerate the efficacy of a drug. So, when two drugs are taken together, the secondary drug augments or accelerates the effectiveness of the first one.

God commands us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30-31) and to love others as Jesus loves us (John 13:34).

Our legacy is built by loving God and loving His people using our gifts, talents and life experiences to demonstrate God’s love to others.

In other words, we are to potentiate God’s love to others.

What did God put in you to potentiate his love to the world?

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The Secret That Changes Lives

 

When Sylvia and I started working the same shift, I liked her right away. She was smart and confident and full of life. She had good ideas to make the work flow better and it was fun to be in her cubicle space.

At lunch, I often read my Bible or worked on a Bible study. Sylvia had no interest in God, but she was intrigued with me. “How can you go through so many hard things and not be angry at God?” she asked when I told her I was working at the office because my husband had died at 39 leaving me to take care for our two kids by myself.

As we learned more about each other, I realized Sylvia’s performance at work was exemplary but her personal life was messy. Her weekends were parties and binging and hooking up.

When she first started to tell me about her raucous weekends, she anticipated being judged, shamed, and lectured. But instead, I showed Jesus’ love to her.

Sharing the secret

As she accepted my acceptance of her, she stopped trying to shock me and began to confide in me, asking for advice. It was the open door to talk to her about Jesus.

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The Answer to Everything

Ready for an easy Bible Quiz ??

  1. Who was fathered by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin?
    Answer: Jesus
  2. Who was tempted in every way, yet remained sinless?
    Answer: Jesus
  3. Who is the Savior of the world?
    Answer: Jesus
  4. Who issued the great commission in Matthew 28?
    Answer: Jesus! 

The answer to everything.

At our house we say Jesus is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. 🙂  You probably believe that, too, but I bet you know lots of people who wouldn’t agree with us.

These folks with an underwhelming faith sit next to you in church, stand next to you at work, and live next door to you in your neighborhood.

They long for the kind of faith and trust in Jesus that stands firm in any situation but don’t know how to get it. Maybe a name is coming to your mind right now???

The great commission in Matthew 28 says make disciples who make disciples … who make disciples… who make disciples of Jesus! 

The great commission is to make disciples, but once a person says yes to Jesus (becomes a disciple), the real work of reconciling that decision with past habits and patterns can be daunting. Old temptations are alluring. The tests are real. The choices are many.

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My Finest Recipe

The recipe everyone wants. 

Last week, I made the best balsamic Brussel sprouts … ever!  They were so good, everyone at the potluck wanted the recipe. (That didn’t surprise me, cuz I got the recipe at a different potluck.)

Though the recipe was simple, the dish was not easy to make. It took planning, timing, prepping and double-checking the instructions to make sure it would turn out well. But it was worth it to see it consumed with glee and share the goodness with others.

We readily share recipes for lasagna, banana bread and glazed Brussel sprouts, but what’s the recipe for a life that works?

The recipe for disaster.

I tried all sorts of things before Jesus.

  • Drugs.
  • Men.
  • Food.
  • Shopping.
  • Will-power.

Nothing worked till I surrendered my life to Jesus and found a woman to disciple me. Louise recognized how quickly a girl like me, who knew little about God and nothing about the Bible, could get discouraged or misled, so she took me on like a project and never made me feel like one. She provided a safe space for me to ask questions I was too embarrassed to ask in class.

  • How do I talk to God?
  • Where do I start reading the Bible?
  • Is there forgiveness for my past?
  • How can I let go of the pits and patterns that keep me stuck?
  • Where do I find peace in the midst of cruddy circumstances?
  • How do I know if God is leading me or if it’s my own idea?

Louise discipled me from starting out to standing firm. Could you do that?

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Exciting News Flash!

What’s overflowing in you?

I set up the coffee pot, hit start and walked away. Just like I’ve done everyday for the past umpteen years. When I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, I heard the hiss of the overflowing liquid hit the hot plate and the drip, splat, splash of coffee flowing off the counter and onto the floor. Arrgh!

Since my coffee carafe is metal, I hadn’t noticed it was already half-full of coffee from the night before. I’d brewed a new pot on top of the cold pot – ruining both pots!

I had a mess to clean up and no coffee!

As I fussed and mopped and grumbled and wiped, God whispered in my ear. “There’s no room for me to pour my fresh stuff in YOU if you’re already full of yourself.”

Can you say ouch?

It had been a while since I had spent any time in prayer. My Bible lay dust-covered on the bed stand. I couldn’t remember the last time I paid attention in church or spent time in community with women who loved the Lord and studied the Bible together.

That lack of connection was showing up my behavior and demeanor. I was often irritable or discouraged.

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Want To Take A Divine Journey?

Perfectionism is the lie that we can earn God’s favor. Or that we need to!

The truth of God’s word is that God already loves us to the moon and back (my paraphrase of Ps.103:11) and accepts us as is (Rom 15:7).

There are many strategies to overcome the compulsion to be perfect that we’ve addressed in previous blogs, but let’s review them before I give you the best bad news and ultimate solution for overcoming perfectionism.

1.

In a blog titled, How Do You Measure Up To Perfection, I suggested that you STOP measuring yourself against what you see in other people. Stop COMPARING yourself to what you think you see in others.  

Replace the lie that you don’t measure up with the truth of God’s word.
He loves you so much, he sacrificed his son, Jesus, to pay for your sins so you could establish an unhindered relationship with him.

No conditions
No catches.
No exclusions.
No performance required.

God loves you with an everlasting love. Jer. 31:3

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