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WHEN LIFE IS HARD…COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!: GIVING THANKS FOR MATERIAL BLESSINGS

 
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100 (NKJV)

GIVING THANKS FOR MATERIAL BLESSINGS

SHOWER_HEAD-e1414453757107The warm water cascaded over my head, seemingly washing away weeks of stress and fatigue. I could feel the muscles in my back and shoulders melt against the strain of three weeks and 16,000 miles of travel.

“Ahhh, this feels good,” I thought. And then it hit me. The simple blessing of hot water. Of the soothing comfort of it beating down on my shoulders, feeling warm and clean. So normal in our culture. I looked around my bathroom. There were four water faucets within eyesight. One simple turn of the handle and warm clean water would gush through each one of them. Wow. What a luxury. In American culture at least.

Having just returned from a small town in Brazil on a mission trip, I’d learned how to appreciate a little thing like hot water. While there, I’d found myself in need of some modern conveniences for which I am accustomed. Hummm … could it be that I am just spoiled rotten and in need of a little “thanks” giving?

I remembered being in one village—in a very simple cottage—with running water. Cold water. Sometimes. The weather was hot and sticky, with dirt roads and puffy clouds of dust. I remembered the times the water shut down, and we’d go to night services without a shower … or to bed without one. Or had to pour water from a bucket to flush the toilet. I remembered we couldn’t drink the water even when it was running.

Standing there with the hot water beating upon my shoulders, I thanked God for clean water that you can even drink, and paved roads and clean air. And I thanked Him for America where opportunity abounds … even in these harder times for which we are unaccustomed.

And I thanked Him for the opportunity to travel to that simple village with the sporadic water supply and puffy clouds of dust. Because it is in that place that I am reminded of my blessings at home, and the blessing of sharing Hope in this new land. It is because of the blessings we have in this country that I am able to travel and share blessings in theirs.

I am also reminded that even the great blessing of warm, clean water, and paved roads, does not offer peace in my soul. Only Jesus offers that. And we can take that blessing with us no matter where we travel, or whereever we live-—or no matter what we have or don’t have. Peace of the soul is an intangible gift, that when given by God, no one can take away.

So, today, I’d like to offer you that peace. It’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make, and you’ll never regret it!

http://www.zookeepersministries.com/getting-to-know-christ/

Until tomorrow,

Your Traveling Partner,

Brenda

God is Teaching Me About…

From giving Him my all to giving up control, join me this week as I share some things God has been teaching me lately.

Who is Holding Whom?

 

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10, HCSB 

There are verses in the Bible that mention clinging tightly to the Lord:

“Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.”
Joshua 23:8, NLT 
“I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.”
Psalm 63:8, NIV

bonding_THURSDAY-247x300I believe it’s important for us to cling to the Lord and seek Him as our Hope, Provider, and Father. At times in my life, my relationship with God has been the only thing left to get me through the day.

But I think it’s also important to recognize it’s not my own power holding me in His arms. Sometimes, I’m so busy managing everything in my life that I start believing I’m also in control of my relationship with God.

Just like a child, I’m clinging to my Father. But when a child lets go, does her Daddy drop her? Of course not.

Because it’s His power and strength holding her there, not hers.

I often forget who is holding whom. I cling desperately, thinking I’m the one keeping my relationship with Him intact and moving forward.

Just like most loving fathers, God must love when his children cling to Him. But even when we let go, He’s just as close. He’s still right there—holding us and loving us the same.

He doesn’t let go.

Heavenly Father, thank You for holding on to us, even when we let go.

Humbly learning these lessons,

Allison

God is Teaching Me About…

From giving Him my all to giving up control, join me this week as I share some things God has been teaching me lately.

 

More than Three Letters

 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV

ALL_WEDNESDAY-300x238I’ve read today’s verse many times and thought, “Of course I should love God with all of myself. Sure, I am doing that. Check. Move on to the next verse.” While reading the verse, I sped through the little word all each time. But I’m learning that all is truly the key word here.

It’s easy to love God with part of my heart, part of my soul, and part of my strength. I’m beginning to understand the difficulty of what He is truly asking us to do. I’m beginning to see that all encompasses much more than three letters.

All means loving God when my world falls apart, when my plans are crushed, and when my dreams are shattered. When circumstances pull me deep into the dark place, where is my all? Buried in self-pity?

When I’m in the pit, do I reach my arms up to God? Or sit in the mud and feel sorry for myself? In the dark places, I usually put all my heart, soul and strength into surviving. When I take a piece of God’s all and keep it for myself, it gets ugly. I grasp onto that slice of self-sufficiency and hide in the corner trying to make myself feel better. Here’s the problem with taking part of God’s all into the corner with me—my hands are clenched tightly and my back is turned. I am not reaching up to God with open hands to accept all He is offering to me.

Jesus didn’t give just part of Himself as payment for our sins. He gave ALL of Himself.

Lord, we tend to hold back pieces of our hearts. We want to give You ALL of our hearts, souls, and strength. Teach us to let go of those pieces that we’re grasping tightly and find our ALL in You. Amen

Humbly learning these lessons,

Allison