“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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