“Gratitude For Our Broken Places” Day 5 ~ Five Days Of Thanksgiving ~ Drawing Closer To The Giver

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We stood hand in hand in a big circle around the room.

Bright eyes….

Hungry souls…..

Grateful Hearts.

Over 30 women from different walks of life.

All with a story…..

Battles survived….

Heartaches endured….

Some with loss still waging war on their souls….

Yet they were grateful.

I stumbled into this group on accident.

I was asked to share a devotion at KARM’S Serenity Shelter.

I came away changed.

How these women press on is nothing short of a miracle out of GOD’S playbook. 

My heart was so excited to return this month to celebrate Thanksgiving.

A precious sisterhood of women from our church have been going for months to love on this magnetic group. And yes my heart is now knit to these special women who have been serving faithfully.

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I’m hooked.

We do simple activities, play games, eat, laugh and pray with them.

This month we took a THANKSGIVING tree to hang ornaments of gratefulness on.

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It struck me it could easily be a TESTIMONY tree.

Reading the ornaments made my heart swell…..much like the Grinches crusty heart did when the “Whos” showed him unconditional love.

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I find myself thinking about these ladies all the time.

We go to love and encourage them….

We come out loved on and encouraged.

They are so grateful we come.

It’s ever so obvious they love us too.

Cassandra came in late from her job having missed the opportunity to share what she was thankful for earlier.

As we stood holding hands for prayer to end our evening, she spoke with humble eloquence.

“I am thankful for a second chance. Ladies, we have all been given a second chance.  Because we belong to JESUS, we get another chance at life. HE lives in all of us girls….HE is inside of us. I am so thankful for that.”

The humility in her voice as it cracked literally split my heart.

Earlier in the evening I prayed with four other ladies ranging in age from 20 ~ 55 years old..

The prayer requests were not of the material means….instead they consisted of….

Restored relationships and Salvation for their families….

Freedom from addiction for their families….

Requests for favorable results for upcoming educational testing, court dates, custody hearings.

They weren’t ashamed to share how long they had been sober…clean…..drug free.

I marveled in their humility wrapped in gratefulness. 

Their stories are not pretty by any means….

In fact their stories are shocking to someone like me who lives in a bubble.

Yet they shared….unashamed of their brokenness….with ugly details….ugly facts….ugly consequences.

Transparency is key to humility.

Transparency is necessary in GOD’S eyes. 

I can’t help but think about the ugly details in my life…the ugly facts…the ugly consequences.

I am not so brave to share such things with my sisters.

Why?

The LORD whispered in my ear…

     “It’s because of your pride, Mel.”

Pride keeps GOD at a distance in our lives.

Pride breaks down truth.

Pride hinders the SPIRIT’S desire to work in and through us.

Is there a broken place in your life GOD worked for good?

Are you ashamed to share it?

When we hide our broken stories….

We deny GOD’S glory.

We deny HIS work in our lives….

We cheat GOD….

We cheat ourselves…..

This THANKSGIVING can we lay down the pride?

Can we allow GOD to work through our ugly, sordid brokenness?

Can we let go of the shame of our weaknesses and let GOD do HIS work?  HIS will?

Can we ignore Satan’s attempt to silence our stories?

Can we start living transparent in JESUS CHRIST?

We keep too many struggles secret…..yet we probably all struggle with the same things…. doubt, greed, jealousy, hate, bitterness, lust, selfishness, insecurity ….and the list could go on and on.

In this 5 day series of THANKSGIVING I have challenged you each day to do draw closer to the GIVER by thinking different…being different…engaging GOD in a different way.

I can think of no greater way  to start engaging GOD ….than laying down our pride and letting HIM have HIS way with our stories.

Instead of being ashamed of your places of brokenness…..

Be THANKFUL for the GLORY GOD has worked in your life….

And pass it on.

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Start sharing what you have overcome…

What God’s done in your life that no one can see on the surface.

The truth will set us free…..

But GOD wants to use our truth to set others free as well.

Happy Thanksgiving friends….

May you engage JESUS in a way like never before.

Love,

MEL

To worship our LORD please click this link from the Elevation Worship Team.  Ask GOD to give you the boldness to share the broken places in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Live With Hope? Day 4 of FIve Days Of Thanksgiving ~ Drawing Closer to the GIVER

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Are you a person of vision?

Do you see the glass half full or half empty?

Do you live life with the expectation of GOD’S deliverance?

Our attitude often determines our faith.

If we have a rotten attitude…..

Often times our faith is weak.

When our faith is weak it’s hard to see life through rose colored glasses so to say.

Some of us are so beat up by the world.

Maybe you are existing day in and day out in a state of acceptance of your situation.

We’ve become resolved to living in defeat.

We wallow in the past…..

Recalling happier days….

Wishing we could go back….

But friend, going back will only set you back.

The good news is GOD is always working your redemption story.

You are a child of the true KING, you don’t have to live with a pauper’s mindset.

You are a blue blood!

Though you are living in a place of life that is disheartening at times…..

As a child of the KING, we need to be living with expectation of what HE will bring our way.

If we have experienced victory in the past….

We will have victory again.

If you have seen GOD do amazing things in the past….

You will see amazing things again.

There is a story in Luke of a Prophetess named Anna. She was a member of the faithful remnant of Israel who was waiting for the Messiah.

She was over a 100 years old, living and serving in the temple even in her old age.

Yet she anticipated better days.

She daily lived with the hope and expectation there would be a Messiah born to save her people.

In Luke 2, Mary and Joseph bring JESUS to the temple as an infant, to be presented to the LORD.

GOD revealed to Anna who JESUS was…..the scripture says….

And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to GOD, and continued to speak of HIM to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.  Luke 2:38

Oh friend….Is there a situation that needs to be redeemed in your life?

If so…

Start living and believing in the expectation of the KING’S arrival to redeem you.

Living in anticipation of what the LORD is going to do is a faith attitude.

Living in expectation of the LORD’S deliverance is a hopeful surety.

Be THANKFUL for hope…

Be THANKFUL for the anticipation of redemption….

Be THANKFUL for the expectation of the KING’S arrival.

HE has not forgotten you.

 

To worship the KING click on this link and worship with Elevation Worship team. Close your eyes and anticipate the KING’S presence in your life.

Day 3 ~ “Are You Intentional with GOD?” Five Days Of THANKSGIVING – Drawing Closer to the GIVER

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Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works.  1 Chronicles 16:9

Do you ever turn up the radio when a specific song comes on?

What about the song taking you back in time?

A simple lyric or bass line can evoke emotions and memories catapulting us to either another place in our mind.

It’s amazing the powerful effect music can have on our emotions.

We can go from happy to sad in a New York minute and back again.

Our Creator cleverly designed music to move, influence and give pleasure.

I know music is a major part of my life.

I’ve been told I came out of the womb singing.

Because music means so much to us, it stands to reason our creator loves music too.

Over and over in the scriptures we see our bible heroes use music as a means to worship GOD.

In 2nd Chronicles 5 we learn the men of Israel congregated with King Solomon to celebrate the Ark of the Covenant’s arrival.

In celebration they made continuous sacrifices, had feasts and played music.

The LORD was so moved HE filled the temple with a cloud.

So if the LORD loves music….

Do we sing to HIM only at church on Sundays?

Do we just turn up the radio on the Christian station and sing along?

I believe the LORD wants HIS children to be more intentional with our worship.

When our heart is in tune with HIS….nothing can be sweeter than to offer a simple song of worship.

You see…..worship isn’t about standing and singing with the congregation on Sundays.

It’s not singing along in the car either….

It’s about offering our self in different methods of worship, with a sincere heart.

We know our GOD is a GOD of variety and creativity.

Just like we want a variety of choices in our meals…..

HE desires diversity in how we worship HIM.

When we do the same things all the time we can become complacent.

We have a tendency to get bored.

We react and respond out of habit.

Our focus can be meaningless.

Variety breathes new life.

I believe GOD craves a variation of ways to worship from HIS children.

Some may not be musical…. elegant orators….or writers….but GOD does not care about our skill level.

HE cares about our desire to praise HIM in a specific way pleasing to HIM.

Do we care enough to offer a sincere chorus of song in our quiet time?

Do we pen our own words of Praise from a grateful heart….lifting up HIS name for all HE does for us?

Do we read Psalms aloud to HIM?

Do we lift our hands lauding HIS mercy over our lives?

When we “DO” worship like this…..it’s intentional.

Being intentional with GOD is personal….it’s not cookie cutter worship.

Sincere praise from an intentional heart celebrating GOD is a sweet sacrificial offering.

I challenge you this THANKSGIVING….

BE INTENTIONAL in your worship.

Lift your hands to HIM.

Sing HIM a sweet song.

Write HIM a love letter of praises.

Let HIS presence fill your spirit….

For then you will experience GOD in a new way.

BE INTENTIONAL.

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To worship click on this link to hear the Elevation Worship Team. Close your eyes and absorb the words as though they are coming from your heart to the Saviour.

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“Five Days Of Thanksgiving” Day 2 If We Are Thankful

Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying GOD with a loud voice, and fell on his face at HIS feet, giving thanks to HIM, and he was a Samaritan. And JESUS answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine…where are they? Was no one found who turned back to give glory to GOD, except this foreigner.  Luke 17:15-18

Some people we meet in this life are takers.

They take all they can get…when they can…and as often as they can.

Some say thank you….and some don’t.

Yesterday we read about the 10 lepers who called out to JESUS, MASTER for healing.

The MASTER healed them.

Today we read about what happened after.

Only one turned to thank JESUS, MASTER.

Only one fell at HIS feet, giving HIM the GLORY HE deserved.

It doesn’t make us feel good when people can’t extend the common courtesy of saying thank you, does it?

It doesn’t endear them to us either.

It makes us feel used.

For the life of me, this southern born and bred girl cannot understand the absence of manners?

I don’t care how important you are….

There is no excuse for not saying thank you.

Even for the little things.

I’ve been pondering why only one of the lepers turned back to thank JESUS.

I think it has a lot to do with humility.

The one leper was a Samaritan…..an important detail since it’s mentioned.

The Jews treated Samaritan’s as second class citizens because of their religious differences.

Even JESUS was once accused of being a Samaritan with a demon.

Samaritan’s were considered foreigners…

Despised….

Rejected…

Not only was he a leper….

But he was rejected before he became a leper.

He knew how it felt to be lonely before he was diseased.

Society deemed him worthless.

Perhaps he believed the press….

Perhaps he was broken….

Weary from pain….

Out of hope….

When we are broken…..we’re stripped of pride.

When we feel worthless…..we don’t believe we deserve.

When we are humble…..we don’t forget to say thank you….

If anyone needed JESUS….this Samaritan, leper did.

And after he was healed….he turned back to JESUS.

He fell at HIS feet….

He gave HIM praise.

He was willing to stop….and give the giver …..due praise.

Have you ever struggle with saying thank you to someone?

Thankfulness is a sign of a changed life.

It’s the mark of a mature Christian.

I am reminded of something I heard from a worker at an animal shelter once…..

The lady told me…..

“Strays make the best pets….because they are so grateful to have a home and someone to love them.”

Just like man’s best friend, the dog….his loyalty and gratefulness is evidenced in companionship and devotion.

The pup wants to be around his master at all times.

He protects his master….

He obeys…..

He watches for him to come home….

He greets him with joy…..

I think we could all take a lesson from the strays….and the Samaritan leper.

If we are grateful to our giver….

We won’t just tell HIM…..

We will show HIM.

If we are thankful for HIS mercy….

We will be loyal…

Devoted….

If we are thankful to HIM…..

We will seek HIM…..serve HIM….spend time with HIM.

Just like the adopted, stray pup who lays at his master’s feet…..

If we are thankful we will sit and linger at GOD’S feet.

You see…

Gratitude keeps us connected with the giver.

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If we are thankful….

We don’t forget what HE’S done for us; therefore, we seek HIM every day with complete abandon.

Will you be the one to step forward in complete humility and fall at HIS feet in complete devotion and adore sweet JESUS?

Not just on Thanksgiving….

But everyday.

Mel

To draw closer to the GIVER, Click this link to worship with the Elevation Worship Team.  Close your eyes. Listen and absorb the words as though they are coming straight from your heart…If we are thankful…we will worship and linger at HIS feet.

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Five Days Of Thanksgiving Day 1 “Nothing Is Wasted”

 As HE entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices calling out, “JESUS, MASTER, have mercy on us!”  Luke 17:12-13  The Message

They were the outcasts of society.

Man’s fear robbed them of friendship….

Love….

Normalcy….

Ten lepers taking comfort in each other’s flesh rotting company.

This was their way of life….

Their fate…..

Until the ONE who could change it all walked into their village.

They had heard miraculous stories…

Their miserable existence made them hope.

They wanted something more than the woeful life they were living.

How similar we are to these 10 lepers?

We live in a constant state of rotten, murky messes.

We long for just a little relief.

And sometimes our grim outlook keeps us at a distance from our “JESUS, MASTER”……

Just like the leper’s disease kept them at a distance….

Our distance can be the sin we hide.

Or the despair we feel..…

Or our unbelief.

We pray and ask for a change….

Some days we pray a little harder because we feel a little bit stronger….

Then tomorrow we wrestle with doubt….almost to the point of giving up.

Some days we are convinced our situation will never change…..

And many will not….sickness….death….loss.

Do we let the ache in our soul defeat and keep us at a distance from the Master?

It’s all the more important we keep calling out to HIM….

And keep hoping with all hope that today is the day HE will answer back.

And make no mistake….

HE will answer…….

If we don’t stop calling out to HIM.

HE will answer in the way best….

This THANKSGIVING your circumstances may be far from celebratory…..

But JESUS, MASTER is so worthy of celebration.

HE deserves our THANKSGIVING even though our lives are imperfect.

Because in GOD’S economy….

Nothing is wasted…the tears….the pain….the hardships.

It will all result to a greater good in your life…..

So thank HIM even when you don’t feel it.

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The next verse of the story in Luke gives us reason to keep calling out to HIM…..

“Taking a good look at them, HE said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” They went and while still on their way, became clean.”  Luke 17:14    The Message

While on their way…they became clean….

HE answered them.

And HE will answer you friend.

Nothing stays the same….

This too shall pass….

The only constant in this life is JESUS, MASTER.

HE never changes.

Isn’t HE alone reason enough to be thankful?

Keep calling out friend…..

Keep giving HIM thanks even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances….

HE will answer…..

MEL

Meditate on JESUS

To draw closer to the giver click on this link  Close your eyes. Listen and absorb the words as though they are coming straight from your heart….and calling out to HIM.

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“Five Days Of THANKSGIVING” Drawing Closer To The Giver

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You are cordially invited to join me in shaking things up a little this THANKSGIVING!

I want to do THANKSGIVING different this year.

I want to think different….

Pray different….

ENGAGE my GOD different.

Do you have a tendency to do things the same way out of habit?

I recently read that scientists call this practice a “heuristic bias”……and it can result in doing things in a mindless manner…..where we just do something without thinking about it after a while.

Do we practice THANKSGIVING with a heuristic bias?

Do we practice living this way?

Do we practice love this way?

What about bible study?

Serving GOD?

Serving others?

Do we stop and actually think about what we are doing or is life predominantly lived out of left brained habits?

I am desperate to hear from GOD and because of that…..

I can’t just open my bible and read a few chapters….. then pray.

Oh no….this habit …though better than no spiritual habit…will not suffice the hunger HE has placed in my soul for more of HIM.

Living out of habit makes us forget the important things.

Living out of habit makes us self- reliant.

Living out of habit makes us spiritually barren.

Oh my friend if you want to hear HIS voice…..

I encourage you to engage HIM in a different way of thinking.

In Five days of THANKSGIVING….

I’m going to think different….

Listen different….

Be different.

I invite you to join me in CELEBRATING AND THANKING THE GOD WE SERVE!

Submit your email address on the sidebar of my blog and starting tomorrow you will receive a Thanksgiving devotional to challenge your thinking and hopefully inspire you to do THANKSGIVING different this year.

Won’t you join me?

MEL

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