When You Need a Reason to be Thankful

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Everywhere I’ve been this week I see Christmas decorations. In the stores, in yards, and even Facebook is splattered with pictures of Christmas trees going up.

As much as I love Christmas, I couldn’t find it in me to take down my fall mantle. It has a set of broken pilgrims that stand tall and proud. If you shake the mantle … the male pilgrim’s top half will topple over, making him look like he’s been sawn in half by a magician.

I know … I need to superglue this universal symbol of gratitude together but somehow … I feel led to leave him broken. He reminds me of how I feel sometimes … broken … but still showing up and taking my place as God would have me do.

I purposely don’t want to forget the raw places that keep me close to God. I may whine at times … but the truth is … I need to see and be reminded of how desperately I need God.

Just as I write these words to you today … I sit here in mismatched pajamas … Indian style on my bed. My bible is laid open to Psalms 71 (a new favorite), there are about 10 used up tissues scattered about because I have a vicious cold.

The heating pad is on my lower back at the moment because I landed in the doctor’s office yesterday, doubled over with intense pain. It seems I have a rather angry kidney/urinary tract infection because God gave me two urethras. What a blessing right?

I’m miserable, physically, head to toe on this special day … but yet I am most thankful.

In my younger days, I am ashamed to say that I couldn’t always find gratefulness when life wasn’t all sunshine.

How about you?

Is there a situation in your life today that is swallowing up the goodness of God?

Are you wondering this morning how you were dealt the cards you are playing with?

Are you confused at how God allows the good and the bad … even from difficult people … into your life?

Yes, our infinite God allows places in life that we don’t understand … but HE is ever understanding about our plight.

Unfortunately, some of these difficult places we find ourselves in is of our own making … yet some are trials.

God wants us to learn the truths of His faithfulness through our mistakes and the trials … but sometimes we choose to check out on God in the middle of the test.

Sometimes we are walking through the wilderness and we decide to camp out for a while.

Bitterness, anger, and depression often stall us.

Just like the children of Israel, we can complain, blame God or someone else … but the truth of the matter is … we are responsible for checking out on God.

We are the ones who take our eyes off God and put them on self.

Trust me … I know.

I’ve done it too many times in years past.

So today on this Thanksgiving day … I challenge you to take your eyes off of what it is that’s stealing your peace.

Shift your focus … if only for an hour … to our faithful God who wants you to see Him today.

Make a list of the good things in your life. Then make a list of how HE has been faithful to you in the past.

I challenge you to spend some time in prayer thanking Him for all good in your life, past and present.

It’s time to shut down camp and move on.

We can choose to wallow in our circumstances or we can be grateful for what “is” good in our lives.

It’s simply an attitude adjustment my friends … one that replaces misery … with a faith in the one who created you and knows all about you.

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”                                                                                                                     1 Thessalonians 5:18

So what is your “everything” dear one? Will you get alone with God and figure it out today? You might just be surprised at what He shows you.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. May you see our loving God through all of your circumstances today!

love mel

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An Uncommon Thanksgiving

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If you were given only one chance to tell God what you are thankful for … what would it be?

Sometimes we can pick and choose our thankfulness … depending on the circumstances, but the Bible tells us to be thankful in ALL things.

It’s difficult to thank God for areas of life that aren’t easy … but it’s in the hard places that we can find an uncommon blessing waiting … if we open our eyes to see.

This thanksgiving I want to thank God for turning my world upside down in 2015. This place thrills and terrifies me all at the same time.

So Lord … here are the uncommon blessings you’ve opened my eyes to see. My how you’ve changed this old girl’s view.”

For the burdens that keep me spiritually alert … teaching me how to pray … and how to trust … Thank you Lord.

For the revelation of truth revealed in your word that challenges yet enlightens me … I am so thankful Lord.

For the peace that leaps with joy on the unknown path … oh the hope that’s growing in my heart. Thank you Lord.

For the surprise breakthrough that hovered over the impossible for too long; yet arrived in the nick of time … increasing my faith. Thank you Lord.

For the tears you collect when heartaches overwhelm and man lets me down, thank you for comforting me Lord.

For the bone breaking truth and conviction you speak into my life … thank you Lord.

For the cares that no longer hold me in bondage … Oh Praise you Lord for freedom.

For the boldness of honesty … and the call to stand … thank you God for filling me with courage.

For the deliverance from man’s greed and envy … Hallelujah for clarity to see oppression.

For the negative judgement and opinions of man … let them rail Lord, because you are for me.  Thank you for being my strong tower Lord.

For healing hurts the enemy tries to use against me … Oh thank you sweet Jesus.

And Lord … because you always give joy to balance the pain … thank you for the sweet places too.

For the spirit of urgency that’s teaching me to number my days … thank you for making me productive.

For the laughter of little children who bring life to weariness … thank you Lord.

For the new kindred souls that dance to the rhythm of my heart, embracing my hand in friendship … how good you are O God.

For the love of words … thank you Lord. Help me to use them for your glory, the rest of my days.

This year …  don’t pick and choose your thankfulness based on your circumstances. I challenge you … find the places that hurt and thank God for “ALL THINGS” He is doing in your life.

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

1 Thessalonians 5:18

love mel

 

 

 

 

We have a “GOOD, GOOD, FATHER. Spend some time worshiping HIM for all things.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBwXHpKVS5I

 

The God of our Senses #He Knows What Pleases You

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Are your senses dulled by the natural order of things?

How many God fashioned pleasures have you rushed through or exchanged for man-made moments like TV or social media?

The Creator romances my senses like no other can.

Fall’s parade of color enchants my soul to the point of ignorant bliss.

Early in my youth I would drink of these delights, guiltless and unaware of the spiritual connection nature offered.

Bejeweled perfection constantly evolving, season after season, yet I was oblivious.

I loved being in the midst of His artistic backdrop, but I never stopped to question why the amber foliage or brilliant periwinkle skies make my heart sing?

I took the giver for granted.

For example, one might argue the sunset with every color of pink and salmon explodes in visual rapture because that’s the natural order of things.

But how can that be when every single evening sky since the beginning of time has never been duplicated by the master painter?

And why pink on a Tuesday?

Why the occasional yellow with a hint of orange the day after?

Can it be He remembers how color is an aphrodisiac to my soul?

Does He consciously think about tickling my senses….all for my pleasure?

Can it be He is that sensitive, caring and loving?

Can He possibly love me so much He designs the perfect fall day with vivid intense color and a host of rustling leaves whispering joy in my ears?

It’s just a fall day you say, He didn’t make it just for you.

Maybe so….but how can it have such a profound effect upon my soul unless He knows and cares about how it makes me feel?

God is ever pursuing us like an old fashioned suitor.

The master creator is ever awakening our soul…showing us His handiwork….longing for us to praise Him…..so we must.

I believe He specifically fashions my pleasure every day.

With every cornflower blue sky He tints, I close my eyes and smell the Indian summer.

My mind is catapulted back to my prayer warrior grandmother who loved October’s pageant of colors most, just like me.

I remember her spaghetti with baseball sized meatballs and the velvety yellow daffodils I picked every spring blanketing her hillside farm.

I recall animated bed time stories and sweaty, bareback pony rides.

All one of a kind memories and experiences no one else can claim.

Just a blue October sky you say, the natural order of things.  I say nonsense!

He orchestrates my pleasures right down to the detail.

Oh yes, He is the God of detail who puts stripes on the wooley worm, mistletoe in the tree tops, and polka dots on the butterfly.

He knows the detail catches my eye, jogs my memory, and takes me back to a sweet, sweet time.

Every pleasure from His hands pluck the senses like a gentle harp…and when this divine moment happens…the sensory perceptions of our world can go a million different places.

And you can be sure we won’t all go to the same place.

The essence of our DNA, the creator has tailor-made in each of us, is beyond vast even before the sensory journey begins.

As the seasons spin, let him awaken your heart in the crisp evening breeze kissing your face.

Listen to the bluebird’s banter as the morning frost glistens.

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Close your eyes and feel the pleats on the bumpy pumpkin.

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Let the creator take your mind to a place only He can….and worship Him for His worth.

This season let the master creator romance your senses in a way like never before.

Let His creative handiwork give you wild pleasure…..and give Him pleasure back.

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Praise the King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLCrKmZd17U

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.   Revelation 4:11

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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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