Be Thankful

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

–1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

I’ve really been pondering a lot of things lately.

Things concerning faith in God.

Being a Christian, all of my life actually concerns faith.

Lately, though, I have been really contemplating matters of blessing, disobedience, and thankfulness.

Those three may seem random, yet those are some of the things I have been reading about and praying about.

My focus has been on thankfulness the last couple of days.

I really am very grateful for so many blessings in my life.

My relationship with Jesus, my health, my job, my family, the provisions I have of food and shelter.

The radiant sunrise I photographed this morning on the way to work.

Why, I could write a list that would never be finished!

What I’ve been thinking about lately are the things that I have considered to be bad.

Sicknesses, poor choices, accidents—things like that.

Not just in my own life, but in the lives of others.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads,

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

All circumstances.

All.

Thanking God for the loss of a job?

I know He can work good from that and also provide a different job.

Thanking God for the situations arising from a poor choice?

I know He can work good from poor choices as we learn of our dependence on Him and the need for His guidance.

With every “bad” circumstance that I can think of, I have to acknowledge that God has not left me or others.

Having a thankful heart in the midst of trouble– and not just when everything is good–seems to be what verse 18 is saying.

Since circumstances change day by day and moment to moment, our thankfulness should be renewed with each situation.

A heart of thankfulness.

I’m going to continue to think about that….

thankful

 

The Lord’s Servant

The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient…

—2 Timothy 2:24

What does it mean to quarrel?
To have an angry argument seems like the best definition. 
So, a servant of the Lord must not have angry arguments. 
I truly desire to be a servant of the Lord, but I have definitely been a part of some angry arguments…
I should also be gentle to all. 
At my workplace, there is an overarching motto that is put out to the employees:

“All means all.”

If there is a directive for a group of people at work, it is for all of them. No one should be left out. 
If I am to be gentle to all, well, all means all. 
I can’t pick one person to be mean or harsh with and pick another to be gentle to.   
As a servant, I should be able to teach. 

I should be able to teach others through my words and actions about God’s love and faithfulness. 
I should also be patient…
Not quickly frustrated with others, it would seem. 
Are these easy character traits and attitudes to have?
Sometimes, the answer would be, “no.”
Still, if I have the desire to do what God wants, He will strengthen me. 

The Word

I have my great uncle’s Bible, published in 1896. 

For him, it was a guiding light, I am sure. 

Though tattered and worn, I cherish it, knowing that through the ages, God’s word in scripture has been alive for all people, proclaiming His love for eternity. 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

—Hebrews 4:12
  

You Hear My Voice

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The mist was so beautiful, I just had to pull over and photograph it.

In my area, fog is most commonly encountered in the early morning, before the warmth of the sun causes it to dissipate.

I pray a lot while I am driving my car.

It is then that I am usually alone.

Morning often finds me commuting to work, praying, and thinking about God and those I love.

There is no better way to start the day!

*

Listen to my words, O Lord,
    and hear my sighs.
 Listen to my cry for help,
    my God and king!

I pray to you, O Lord;
    you hear my voice in the morning;
at sunrise I offer my prayer
    and wait for your answer.

—Psalm 5:1-3

 

 

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i pray 2

Everlasting

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Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
 Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

—Psalm 90:1-2

God loves you right now.

God loved your parents.

God loved your grandparents.

God loved your great-grandparents, too.

No matter how far back you can go in your lineage, God has loved every person.

No matter how far back you go or how far forward you look to, God will still love—

From everlasting to everlasting.

*

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everlasting

A Brother or Sister in Need

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If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

—1 John 3:17-18

I think God puts thoughts into our minds sometimes.

When my husband came home from work today, he was in a great mood.

He said it was a beautiful day and we should go somewhere and enjoy it.

I responded by suggesting that we go to a lakeside park and watch the sun set.

After we had been at the park for only a few minutes, we met a woman on the boardwalk who had a need.

My husband and I were able to help her with what she was needing.

We were there at just the right time.

The time, I believe, that God wanted us to be there.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God cares so much for us that He will bring people to us when we need them?

~

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possessions

In Due Season

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Where I live, oranges are ready for picking around Christmas time.

Of course, there are other crops that are in season then, as well as many in October and November.

There are berry picking farms in my area.

Even corn fields.

One thing is worth noting—

No matter how hard we would want it to happen, the oranges aren’t going to be ready to eat three months earlier than normal.

The berries aren’t going to be ripe enough to eat three months before their time, either.

The corn isn’t good until each stalk has had the proper time to mature.

The Bible has this to say in the book of Galatians:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

—Galatians 6:9

Farmers can’t give up on their crops before the appointed time of their maturity.

They just have to trust that in time, they will see the fruits of their labor.

It’s that way with us.

We just can’t give up….

~

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due season

Our Church Meetings

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In response to all He has done for us, let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other and in doing good.

 Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His coming back again is drawing near.

—-Hebrews 10:24-25

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church meetings

Perfect Peace

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While visiting the ocean recently, I photographed two pelicans.

Often seen silently gliding in the air above in group formation, they are sometimes seen just sitting in the water, floating.

As I watched them, large waves would come up.

At times, they were completely hidden from my view because of the raging water and its foam.

Seconds later, they would appear in view again, still calmly riding the waves as though nothing had happened.

I know, of course, that at any moment they could’ve decided to just take off and fly away.

For a very long time, though, they chose not to.

They remained anchored in the water, moving as it moved, back and forth, high and low.

I can imagine them saying, “Let’s just sit here in the water for awhile and rest.”

Rest?

Rest in the constant surge of water beneath them?

Rest in the ocean’s white foam?

Evidently so.

They seemed at peace as they trusted their Maker.

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 26:3-4 that God can give perfect peace to those who trust Him:

You, Lord, give perfect peace
    to those who keep their purpose firm
    and put their trust in You.
 Trust in the Lord forever;
    He will always protect us.

The waves in our lives can we great, yet God can give us peace…

even in their midst.

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purpose

The Rock

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As for God, His way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    He shields all who take refuge in Him.
 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.

—Psalm 18:30-32

the rock

And the Two Will Become One

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What does it mean to be married?

Ephesians 5:31 reads:

As the scripture says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.”

When someone is married, life is shared.

Happy life.
Sad life.

Healthy life.
Sick life.

Confident life.
Unsure life.

Faith life.
Doubting life.

What happens in one spouse’s life is felt in some way by the other.

A partnership of love.
An alliance of fidelity.
A union of commitment.

That’s what it means to be married.

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become one

Puzzling Reflections

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In my journey of faith, there are many things that I do not understand.

Yet, even in my lack of understanding, I must trust God.

He sees things perfectly.

His knowledge is complete.

His love for me is great.

Like a little child trusting in her father as she grasps his hand while crossing a busy street, I must put my faith in God’s wisdom and guidance as I walk through this life with Him at my side.

~

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

—1 Corinthians 13:12

*

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reflections

Amazing Things Happen

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Purple Gallinules are very common where I live.

Even though they are common, they are not commonly colored.

In fact, they are arrayed in a most beautiful mix of emerald, turquoise, indigo, red and yellow.

The Purple Gallinule is an amazingly adorned bird, decorated exactly the way God planned.

In the book of Job, God’s voice is spoken about in reference to thunder.

In a different way, I think God’s voice speaks through His visual creations.

Job 37:5 reads,

“At God’s command amazing things happen,
    wonderful things that we can’t understand.”

Amazing things happen every day.

Things like Purple Gallinules walking past us or a glorious sunset lighting up the western sky.

Amazing things happen, because God is amazing…..

~

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command

Everything He Does

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Walking over to a bush in my yard, I suddenly noticed something on a Lantana bloom.

Not really being sure what it was, I cautiously approached an intricately designed, winged creature.

Was it a wasp or a bee?

Would it decide to sting me at any moment, for being so close?

One photograph after another, it remained on the flower, content to be the object of my curiosity.

Looking on the internet later to try to find out what it was, I found that I had been watching a Polka-Dot Wasp Moth.

Well, now.

Imagine that!

Wonderfully arrayed in red, white and blue, this moth was such a beauty to behold.

Psalm 111:3 reads,

Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.

God fashioned this moth just the way He wanted to.

In each color and design on its body, God’s marvelous power of creation was evident.

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Overcome Evil

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The barbed wire fence in my neighborhood is there to keep some things in–and some things out.

Either way, the sharp points on the twisted metal are harmful if contact is made with them.

I noticed that a vine had grown, making its way on the horizontal fence, gently moving past the painfully pointed ends.

The delicate and persistent vine had overcome the danger of the protruding barbs.

There are many “fences” encountered in life.

The Bible has this to say in Romans 12:21:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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with good

God’s Way

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There is an orange grove just across the street from my home.

Where I live, the oranges will be ripe in a couple of months or so.

Steadily they grow, getting sweeter each day.

God has been at work in my life, changing me and growing me since the time that I became a Christian years ago.

I have known that He was with me, guiding me and protecting me.

I want to live God’s way.

How about you?

*

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

—Galatians 5:22-23 

The Message

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gifts