Asked ~ Answered

Two Jars

David and I had dinner at a friend’s house recently and I noticed something on the counter. There were simply two glass jars labeled with ‘Asked’ and ‘Answered.’ Some small pieces of paper and a pen were conveniently placed on the jars ready to be used.

Psalm 17:6 was written out in front of the jars.

“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.”

When I asked a little more about it, I saw what an incredible tool this was to help us think thanks. A visual reminder of how God has answered our prayers stimulates th(i)nkfulness.

Our friend would write out on a piece of paper the request and drop it in the ‘Asked’ jar. Later a review would take place, perhaps over a meal, of how God was answering those requests. The answered requests would move to the ‘Answered’ jar.

Every glance at the jar would be a reminder that God indeed had heard the petitions. He had answered. Great faith builder!!

Thankful for Answers

Every day we have needs. The car doesn’t start again. That niggling pain becomes more prominent and we need medical attention. Relational challenges present themselves giving us opportunities for wisdom. Finances are dwindling. We sin and need cleansing. We sorrow and need to be renewed in our minds to remember that we are pilgrims and headed for a celestial city. We pray and ask God to please hear our cry.

He does and He answers as He sees fit and in His timing. But I wonder if we take time to really thank Him for those answers?

He answers over and over. He guides us to His Word and encourages us to grow in trust. He is faithful and true. Thank You, Lord.

But what about when He chooses to answer ‘no’ or ‘wait?’ We struggle with letting God be God, but knowing His character, we can be confident that if He explained all of His reasons for the “no” or the “wait,” or let us see the alternate reality of what would happen if He said “yes,” we would be convinced that His answer was best.

I CAN TRUST GOD’S CHOICES

I CAN TRUST GOD’S TIMING

Knowing His character, we must trust that He is doing what is best. He can be leaned upon to have the right answers, positive, negative, or pending. 🙂

Teaching Tools

Incorporating teaching tools is such a helpful way of getting a message across. Having these two jars on the kitchen counter will beg a conversation when visitors come. They can be used to teach children about learning to recognize when God has answered something that we asked Him for. Often, they will be more diligent than we are at checking and changing the slips of paper. You might find their little prayers in there as well.

Children learn more from your ‘walk’ than your ‘talk.’ Let them observe you actively looking for how we can give thanks for how God answers our requests.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

Psalm 9:1

I Can Walk

Learning From Absence

“Going through a recent health challenge that left me flat on my back, unable to barely move, did a remarkable thing in my heart,” she said. “Now I rejoice just to walk through the grocery store. I give thanks I can bend and get out of bed.”

We learn best by experience. When something is taken away from us, we become acutely aware of how much we miss it. And we are more thankful if it returns.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”

Thomas Haynes Bayly

From small things to big things, we grow in thankfulness when we experience its absence.

  • We bang our big toe and it hurts so badly. Just to be able to put on a shoe again becomes a cherished thing.
  • We finish a difficult project that took up all our free time … but we start to realize that we actually loved working on it.
  • We see a loved one move overseas, and we realize how much we miss them. To touch them again is so meaningful.

What are some things that have grown in value to you? Does something have to become absent for you to really be thankful for its presence?

Appreciating Presence

Focusing on things that God has given me right now and expressing thanks is cultivating contentment. It fosters observation and th(i)nkfulness. It is a mindset that promotes mental health and a peaceful life. “What I want and what I have already are the same thing.”

My friend in the opening story above had walked through the grocery store hundreds of times. Often it was rushed. When her intense back problems began and she had to be confined to bed and allow her back to heal slowly, there came a new appreciation to just be able to walk again. Perhaps the great gratitude she now feels for being able to walk would not have come unless she lost it.

But godliness with contentment is great gain.” The Lord describes a person who has great gain in 1 Timothy 6:6. That person has learned to be godly and content.

Capture Gratitude

Sometimes the capture happens automatically, like when you loose your ability to walk and it is restored, you automatically capture gratitude.

But we can capture gratitude on purpose. Over a cup of coffee, while commuting, or during free time, you can imagine one of the joys in your life, or one of your senses, is eliminated. What would you do? How would your life be different? If God chose that for you, He would give you grace to handle it and to overcome.

But now, come back to reality and praise the Lord that it is not gone! By eliminating something we count on, and then bringing it back, we can capture thankfulness. We are more motivated to not take that thing for granted, but instead appreciate it and express our thankfulness for it to the Lord.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:17

Thank You, God:

  • That my eyes work
  • That my hope is not based on me, but instead in YOU!
  • That one day You will return for us.
  • That I have access to the Word.
  • That I can walk
  • That my inner ear isn’t infected, causing me dizziness
  • That my headache lifted
  • That I have a bed to sleep in

Today focus on something to be really thankful about. Capture that thought and feed it!! 🙂

“Contentment is the only real wealth.”

Alfred Nobel

20,000 Thankfuls

How It Started

“Get it on your thankful list,” he yelled as he left the rehab. She had just finished explaining to her counselor something that she really worked hard to complete. Part of the program at this drug recovery center was that every day each person had to make a list of five things they were thankful for. It was an assignment. It felt irritating at first. Actually felt impossible.

Trying to write down anything that she was thankful for felt like walking up a steep hill.

But since she would have to report on what she wrote down at the end of the day, she acquiesced. After a few weeks, the hill didn’t seem quite so steep. The practice of writing down what she was thankful for came easier. It had become a habit … a good habit.

Other people coming through the program soon got into the same required habit. She had started recording the required five things just on the paper she had available, but it wasn’t long before she ran out of paper.

The thankful lists made their way into inexpensive journals. The required list of five things at the end of the day often grew to eight, ten, or even twelve things. She had a nice collection of those journals now. Encouraging to behold.

In fact, Sarah was getting close to finishing three years at the rehab and her thankful list had a running tally of 20,034 to date.

Counselor’s Toolbox

As a counselor I have found that the practice of learning to think thanks and expressing that thanks to God and to others has a place in my “Counselor’s Toolbox.”

In whatever counseling situation that I find myself in, gratitude is a necessary part of finding solutions and remedies.

In Ephesians 5:1-4 there is a interesting contrast presented:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among the saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."

Choosing to think and express thanksgiving is the opposite of the sin that Paul is warning the Ephesian believers about in this passage. It is the correct behavior of a person walking worthy of the Lord, walking in love, pleasing the Lord.

How Long Is Your List?

Knowing that practicing gratitude is so helpful, does it alter your own behavior? Do you have a list of things that you are thankful for? I do not have an updated tally for mine. I have so many journals and papers filled up that I am sure it is in the thousands. I do know I kept track of the first 1000.

I encourage you to invest in a th(i)nkful or gratitude journal if you find yourself in a difficult season in your life. It is a well-documented tool of hope and solution. Our Creator God knows our frame and our challenges … and He ordered us to do it.

Virtually every sin that we commit is a result of a lack of thankfulness

In the Mundane

Thinking Thanks in the Mundane

“Today I didn’t ‘waste’ the mundane. It was a temptation to view folding laundry as a nuisance. But today it turned into something with eternal value. The Holy Spirit urged me to pray as I folded Josiah’s shirt: I thought about his heart. I thought about King Josiah of the Bible (his namesake) and prayed, ‘Lord, give Josiah the desire to be a man after your heart, like King Josiah.’ Josiah’s socks: ‘Oh Lord, let Josiah be a man that runs hard after You.’

Sarahlyn’s little tea towels: ‘Lord, thank you for a little girl that wants to spend time with me drinking tea. Thank you for her heart to serve.’ Emily’s shirt: ‘Lord, use her mightily and her heart for writing music to glorify Your name. Use her Lord.’ And on and on I prayed until every piece was folded, matched, and grouped together.

The job became a joy and my thankfulness for each person and God’s goodness to me nearly spilled out of my eyes. 🥲 It’s incredible how many thoughts we can have in the mundane that have very little value. That can even be in a spirit of complaining or self-pity, or about something that isn’t good and pure. No benefit whatsoever. They can even be working against God’s best for us. But turn that time into a moment to thank Him and pray, then you’ve done kingdom work. Those are thoughts worth dwelling on. That is worth my time. We have a choice what we do with our minds in the ‘mundane.’ (At any time really.)

What if we choose to meditate on what’s good? What if even in those menial tasks that we can easily resent or see as a less desirable way to spend our time, we chose to use it as an investment… into the heart and soul of another, a deposit for eternity? What if we chose to pray? What if we chose to give thanks along the way? What a difference that would make today AND in eternity.”

This was written by my dear friend, Dawn. She has been a great inspiration to me throughout the years. I love how she takes the everyday mundane and makes it into a teaching tool.

Everyday 1 Thessalonians 5:18

When the Lord says to give thanks in all circumstances, he means giving thanks not just for the hard times, but even in the everyday mundane. I begin by being th(i)nkful, disciplining my thoughts to search for the good, the meaningful behind the mundane, asking His Spirit to guide my thoughts as a radar to spot the undetected.

Formulating that thanks into a prayer thanking the Lord for the gems in the mundane is like making an eternal deposit, turning cardboard into emeralds. In addition to that, when you weave into your prayer specific requests for the people connected to that mundaneness, your intercession not only encourages your own heart, but also brings a blessing for people outside yourself.

How could you be th(i)nkful in the mundane today?

Th(i)nkful Round

Th(i)nkful Round

“Who wants to start?” Nick drew in the attention of his children as they tried to stay the wiggles. They were doing family worship time before bed and it was very difficult to actually sit still and listen. Recently they had incorporated a way to teach the children gratitude by doing a Th(i)nkful Round. “I am thankful forrr …” and the word trailed off while they brainstormed. The responses varied greatly. Sometimes it was profound. Sometimes it was simple. But all the comments pursued thinking thanks.

Putting a specific habit into place takes forethought. It is a mental labor with furrowed brows. The victorious life for the believer is pursuing Christlikeness. Learning to dream the dream that God dreams for you. Finding and walking in the steps He prepared for you. Seeing your life through His eyes. Discovering how He wants to use you for His glory.

Carving and reinforcing brain neural pathways of thinking thanks to God for everything in your life
is a defining part of becoming Christlike.

Colossians 3:17

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

In Colossians 3 there are three verses in a row – 15, 16, 17 – that exhort us to give thanks. It should be pervasive in our lives, the glue that holds things together. Perhaps the Lord urges our gratitude knowing it is extremely beneficial for us as His created beings. Learning to focus on thanks, and expressing it, makes hope ooze out to flavor every element of our existence.

In fact when you focus on the grace that God has poured out, to love us while we were still in our sin, how can you but think thanks?

“It has been said that in the New Testament doctrine is grace, and ethics is gratitude; and something is wrong with any form of Christianity in which, experimentally and practically, this saying is not being verified.”

J.I. Packer, Knowing God.

Iron Sharpens Iron

One way to strengthen your Christian growth is through the accountability of friends. It is like iron sharpening iron Proverbs 27:17 says. It is beautiful how we can edify one another in developing these traits. Whether it is in the setting of family worship in the home or just over a cup of tea with friends, community around you is a great influencer. So, before you get up and walk away from your time together, do a quick Th(i)nkful Round.

I have a dear friend who asked me to keep her accountable every week about being th(i)nkful. So every Monday we text each other our th(i)nkful list. I believe we have done this over two years now. It is so cool for me as well. I love scrolling back on our texts, seeing one list after another of things for which we thought and wrote down our thanks to God. It takes only a few moments to do this, but the effect of it in our brains and hearts last a lot longer.

Action Point

So I would love to assign you an action point. 🙂 What are you actively doing to establish a consciousness of thinking thanks? How about letting me hear of strategies that you are putting into practice? Perhaps your ideas will inspire others to grow in this area.

Last night at Grace-Toti we started our prayer time with filling up our thanks basket. It was amazing to see hands pop up all over the place of things for which people were giving thanks to the Lord!

Let’s get the Th(i)nkful Rounds going. May those rounds be frequent and strong… all around the globe.

The Aroma

Aroma Drifting In

The loud sound of grinding coffee beans burst forth from the kitchen … followed predictably and delightfully by the aroma of coffee grounds, and then a few minutes later, by the wafting wonderfulness of freshly brewed coffee. I couldn’t see it, but its presence was detected by the nose.

Steaming hot water poured over crushed coffee beans creates a specific aroma. I don’t drink coffee myself, but I sure enjoy the smell of coffee.

Fragrance of Christ

God uses the picture of aroma when describing us walking in victory with Him. All the glory goes to Him. He has conquered us. It is His victory that we get to be part of. He has taken us captive. We are vehicles of the fragrance of Christ.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

2 Corinthians 2:14-15

John MacArthur describes diffusing the fragrance of His knowledge this way: “The imagery comes from the strong, sweet smell of incense from the censers in the triumph parade, which, along with the fragrance of crushed flowers strewn under horses’ hooves, produced a powerful aroma that filled the city. By analogy, every believer is transformed and called by the Lord to be an influence for His gospel throughout the world.”

Have you pondered what that aroma of Christ smells like?

We are emanating a fragrance. We smell.

When the Lord describes us spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere, I envision a person who is reflecting Jesus. Through our engaging of people, our thoughtful and kind words, our facial expressions, and our body language, we are wafting unmistakable scents that, in God’s estimation, smell better than coffee, jasmine, or fresh pastry … they smell like His Son who paid for our sins on the cross and rose again to be victor over death and the grave.

But there is a crowd of unregenerate believers watching our procession. To some, the aroma emanating from the procession is repulsive and offensive, representing ignorance and delusion; in their thinking, these people are just captured slaves of the victor, brainwashed, hopeless. Others are still watching and sniffing; some may be your children.

But there are others in the crowd whose hearts are strangely enamored with the victor who seems to be a benign conqueror who has actually taken these people captive for their own good. The heads of the slaves are high, their faces noble; some are even smiling. No one is struggling to break loose; they carry no shame or fear. Amazingly, they are slaves who have been set free from their old world. The sight and the smell draw the watchers forward and they feel this strange compulsion to jump into the procession; to join the slaves.

What Fragrance Are You?

Missionary Dawn Perry shared with me recently that she had been studying about this triumphal procession that the Lord leads us in. We are in this parade, not because of ourselves, but because of what Christ has done.

And as we walk through life in this procession, we give off a fragrance that not only reminds our God of His Son, but is affecting the onlooking crowd as well. Verses 15-16 continue: “we are a fragrance … among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” Will the crowd be drawn to us or repelled by us? Every act, every word to a nonbeliever who knows I am a believer either pulls or pushes them. We are being watched. We are being smelled.

Dawn highlighted the Th(i)nkful Tree concept. She recalled that when we choose to embrace and think thanks about the hard things in our lives, we are like the tree drawing up the living water from where our roots are grounded to keep our leaves green. Living leaves smell different from dead leaves, and the blossoms that break forth after a tough winter bring their own wafting scents and feathery joys.

The testimony of a person practicing th(i)nkfulness gives off a strong fragrance of Christ. Oh, may we smell good! To our God chiefly, but also to a sniffing and skeptical world.

Th(i)nkful: (adj) describing people who choose to download grace/strength from the Lord to think thanks about every circumstance in their life and to express that thanks orally or in written form.

The Season of Faith’s Perfection

Ian and Freda

“The paper is lying on the kitchen table,” Ian told his dear wife Freda. “Just jot down something that you’re thankful for as you pass by.” And so, they each began to compile a list.

Freda had struggled with cancer for 20 years. Slowly it was winning, and now it was invading the neural pathways in her brain. Ian and Freda were both Afrikaners living in South Africa and loved the Lord. They were walking this difficult season together. As Ian moved through his day, he often found opportunity to stop by the kitchen table and jot something down that he was thankful for. Not so easy for Freda. She tried and a few things made their way to the list, but it was hard.

David and I had the privilege of meeting Ian Murray recently and he shared this story with us. His Freda has been gone for 12 years now, but by God’s grace, he “landed on his feet.” He continues to serve the Lord and to find purpose in God’s sovereign plan for his life. We were amazed at his kind and gentle ways of trusting in our God. He reinforced in our minds the strength that comes from focusing on thinking thanks, even in your darkest times.

Living with Hope

Facing struggles almost always makes us initially doubt God’s love for us. That’s a big and persistent flaw in our thinking – when our circumstances turn dark, we think God’s attitude toward us is also dark. When our wind is contrary, God is angry with us. When I am hit with one setback after another, God is really irritated with me and feels it is payback time. And we believe the inverse as well – that when there is good health and wealth and smooth sailing, God really loves me. This is such a wrong view of God and of the usefulness of the circumstances He has chosen for us.

“We must see our circumstances through God’s love instead of, as we are prone to do, seeing God’s love through our circumstances.”

Jerry Bridges, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts

We need to remember that God is committed to re-forming and con-forming us to the character of His Son. Romans 8:28-29 promises that all the things in our lives – the wonderful, average and horrific – work together for our good. That ‘good’ is our being made like Jesus … Jesus, who was loved by the Father using every superlative, but who went through suffering, loneliness, misunderstanding, hostility, injustice and a slow murder. Do you see the problem of connecting my circumstances with God’s emotions toward me? It robs me of the hope – the steady confidence I have in His love for me and commitment to my good.

God will accomplish His work in us and His mission through us until we finish the days He has numbered for us. He won’t miss one detail. Psalm 139:16 tells us that all of us have an allotted number of days to live. The tally of Freda’s days were determined before there was yet one of them. When we rest in the sovereignty of the Lord, we can look past the challenges that confront us presently. We can look to the Orchestrator of my circumstance for help and hope. He gives grace. A little at a time. We can make it holding tightly to Him because the Orchestrator is also the Sustainer.

What Happens When We Are Thinkful?

There is an interesting phenomena that happens when we choose to think thanks. The brain neural pathways we develop start searching for other similar things to travel those pathways. The mind begins to sluff off the discomforts and irritations we face, and although those hardships may still be very much present, the focus has been moved to find grateful things. Emotions may not applaud at first, but they are fickle and soon trail along.

Another thing that happens is that we become a testimony to others. Just like when David and I sat around Ian’s table and he shared with us about his wife and the journey they had together. David and I were edified by their example. We were strengthened to also follow in that kind of pattern. Struggles we will always have. The Lord Jesus promised us that. It is how we process the struggles and move through them that makes the difference.

It was the discipline of listing thanks in a trying time that was the key for Ian and Freda. Yes, it didn’t change that Freda passed on to glory, but it made a difference in how those preceding days were spent. Thankfulness brought them through the season of faith’s perfection as she swung out into eternity on the promises of God and faith fell away because it was replaced by sight.

What About You?

So if it was your story, how would you pass the time? Now Freda’s faith has been made perfect, but what about that season that we, on earth, are still going through as our faith is being perfected?

In The Morning

When You Wake

Popped awake. All of a sudden you are aware that you are awake. Not sure what exactly woke you, but you have definitely left sleep and moved into awake. 🙂 Your eyes are still shut, but your thoughts are running. What are you thinking?

Do you try to remember the happenings of yesterday … or what lies ahead for this day? Maybe you check where you are hurting? Perhaps you don’t think about anything. Must … have … coffee … first?

What if the first thoughts you had when you woke was your sacrifice of praise to the Lord? Whoa there! That may be a little too much!

When Your Feet Hit the Floor

There is a lie out there that you can’t help what you think about. It is easily believed. But it is not true. We have great propensities, great leanings, strong habits to continue thinking patterns as we have always done. However, you are not a slave to them.

You can forge new thought patterns. You can be renewed in your mind. Your risen Redeemer who has paid for your sin account, and bought you, has promised to help. As you allow Him to reset your thinking, He can help you choose to THINK TRUTH. You are loved by your Creator. He desires for you to discover, embrace, and do His perfect will for you this day. He has good works that He has prepared for us to walk in today (Ephesians 2:10).

How about harnessing those first few thoughts as you wake to remember things that you are thankful for? It is such a good jolt to get on the right track as you begin your day. So, you sit up, rotate around and put your feet on the floor. BUT, before you stand up, mumble three things for which you are thankful.

  • I just woke up. I have been given the gift of another day.
  • My eyes aren’t swollen shut, and the optic nerves in both eyes work.
  • I was able to fall asleep last night and let my body and mind rest.
  • God never sleeps and has watched over me as I slept throughout the night.
  • God will not test me today above what I am able. He is with me.
  • I have a choice in what I say and do today.
  • I thank You, Father, for giving me Jesus.

Blessings of a New Morning

Have you ever thought of what a blessing it is that we get to go to bed and then have a new fresh morning? It is like you are given a clean sheet of paper to start anew.

Psalm 5:3 “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

Here’s a link to listen to in the morning – Give Me Jesus, by Fernando Ortega.

Nuggets

Panning For Gold

It was July of 1886, a winter’s day on the high grassy plains of South Africa. An Australian prospector named George Harrison traipsed through the high grass on the Langlaagte farm and chanced upon an outcropping with embedded nuggets of gold. Content with his little find, he sold his claim for £10 and moved on. Little did he know that underneath him lay one of the largest gold reefs in the world, which soon caused a gold rush and the founding of Johannesburg.

The 1800s was the era of Gold Rush Fever. When gold was discovered in a place, people came from all over the earth to search for their share. They would give up all they had to get a chance to find that nugget of gold. Often one would search for years and find nothing, going bust.

Nuggets From God

Matthew 13:44 describes a man that finds a treasure hidden in a field and in his joy he sells all that he has and buys that field.

The treasure in that verse is not physical gold, but is the Kingdom of heaven. The Lord was teaching His disciples using physical things to help them understand spiritual truths.

So what is a gold nugget from God? It could be a lovely truth from God’s Word that grabs your heart. It could be a moment when you see His hand in your life, His fingerprint.

Might you be like Harrison and miss it because you didn’t intentionally look for it? Most people go through life half asleep, their eyes down, their minds dull … and missing so much wonder. A th(i)nkful person has the eyes and passion to investigate through the swirling dirt and dust of the day to appreciate the nuggets of what God has done for us.

Discovering these treasures is what I am endeavoring to promote by being th(i)nkful. I wish for our eyes to be trained to look for these gifts from the Lord all around us, especially in his Word. In Proverbs 2:4-5 he describes searching for his wisdom as one who searches for hidden treasures.

“if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

What About When All I Find is Coal?

It is all well and good to find little golden nuggets, but you may say, “I only see coal in my life.” It may seem impossible for you to see any nuggets from the Lord in your day to day. Trouble, heartache, and sorrow may have engulfed you.

Well, I have a surprise for you. In I Peter 1:3-4 there is a huge nugget available to anyone who desires it.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you”

Your living hope includes a sparkling treasure that no one can take away from you. It is kept in heaven for you. As you begin to see things with God’s eyes, you discover that there is a process going on. Our grace-enabled response to coal turns it into diamonds. He is able to make even my ugliest scars into trophies of his grace. Only Christ can do these miraculous things, but he can.

My Own Personal Nugget

Our oldest son Joshua is the worship leader for a small inner-city church-plant in Allentown, PA. Yesterday just by ‘chance’ I clicked on the ABC LIVE worship service. I love seeing him lead the songs and especially to see our grandson playing his clarinet in the back of the worship team. 🙂

Well, I just happened to click on when they were singing, “Still, My Soul, Be Still” (about 10:30 into the live stream) and I enjoyed hearing the familiar words and tune. The song encouraged my soul again as it has so many times in the past.

Then Joshua began to introduce the next song, he described how he felt when he was with his parents (gulp), and he said that he felt at peace when he was with us. My heart took a little jump. He was using that visual to describe how our heavenly Father wants to relate to us.

The gold in Celeste’s ring is from the earth in South Africa

That was a golden nugget from the Lord. These nuggets often come unannounced. All of a sudden, without warning, there it is ~ a beautiful golden nugget from the Lord. You may say that hearing your son describe being with his parents as a place of peace is no big deal, but for this momma’s heart it was a big nugget. A gift from the Lord and I took it as such. 🙂

When I train my eyes to look for them, these nuggets are all over the place. Gracious gifts that God gives on a continual basis. Mostly, they are present in His Word, but also in His world.

Have you discovered any nuggets in your life? I challenge you to become a prospector! Share your finds with others and start a gold rush! There are some incredible nuggets that are waiting to be found.

  • I opened both eyes this morning;
  • I woke up in my bed and not a hospital bed;
  • I typed this blog post; arthritis has not taken my fingers;
  • I have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God;
  • Through Christ I have the grace to “power through” anything that He allows to come my way;
  • I have no headache at present;
  • I get to serve the Lord today.

May God help you to find all the wonderful treasures He has stored up for you in Christ. Colossians 2:3 reminds us that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Enough

Tears of gratitude streamed down his face. He was so thankful for a cover over his head and that he was able to eat a warm bowl of stew. A blanket of contentment settled over his whole being. All was well. 

I am embarrassed to say that I was angry. Every person deserved better in my estimation. How can you be content with a shack and such meager food?? He kindly and quietly said that living in this shack and having some food was way better than sleeping in the field or under a bridge and slowly starving.

PERSPECTIVE

Contentment really is about perspective. One of the big side effects of believers going on mission trips to impoverished areas is that they return with guilt that they have so much, too much. But how long is it before they move downward from feeling “more than” to feeling “less than” others, where discontentment has crept back in?

KERNEL OF CONTENTMENT

“A harvest of peace is produced from a seed of contentment.” Proverb

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” so we can confidently say, “the Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5-6

There are several elements to the “seed of contentment” in that last verse, and the Lord is the kernel. 1) He has spoken to me and made promises; 2) He has promised that He is with me, never gone, and never unaware; 3) He is committed to me, never giving up, never walking away; and 4) He is my first responder, a helper reacting to my humble plea for help in His time and way.

CONTENTMENT LINKED WITH PEACE

One of my favorite names of God is Jehovah Shalom. It took some time to learn what all is involved in the word ‘Shalom.’ To borrow from modern culture, it is a “holistic wellness” word.

Shalom – wholeness, completeness, rest in my soul, stable prosperity in my finances and assets, no striving for more, harmony in my relationships, physical and mental health, and tranquility in my circumstances.

Jehovah Shalom can satisfy us completely. He has redeemed us and reconciled us to Himself, birthed in us a new divine nature, and has become the Master and careful manager of our circumstances. Those profound truths can greatly influence our contentment. When we get the singlemindedness that only God can really meet our deepest mental and emotional needs, we are able to become completely satisfied. He is enough.

I am not saying that we peacefully cruise to a smiling stop and don’t do our part. We need to work diligently at opportunities provided for us. Whether we are in school, in the marketplace, or working at home, we put our heart and fervent spirit into what lies before us and push to perform with excellence. Punctuality, honesty, character all need to describe us, but also contentment and trust in a sovereign God.

STOPPING WINDOW SHOPPING

What is required to make you feel satisfied, to feel that you have enough? Not sure most of us have really thought that out. We are easily influenced by all the advertising around us … and we begin to desire stuff. We need more, newer, better, faster, bigger. Are we thankful for what we already have?

The Lord has some words for us:

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”

I Timothy 6:6-8

“Contentment always eludes those who don’t count themselves blessed for what they already have.” Anonymous