Monday, February 7, 2011

One Thousand Thoughts…

I pray that you are being blessed as you read Ann’s book.   If you were unable to get a copy of her book, you can follow along weekly here.

Last night was the first time I was swept away as I read her book.   Each of us are coming to this book with our own situations and life experiences.   So of course different things will hit us in various ways.   However, I think the words and truths shared in chapter three are universal ones for all of us.

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A dare to be thankful was what got Ann started.  A dare to find things in the mundane and often predictableness of her day – little blessings from God.   A dare to stop looking at what wasn’t right in her life – but to embrace all that was.   To change her heart from thinking about the past hurts and questioning the reasons – to come what may, You God are always faithful, good, patient, kind, merciful, generous, forgiving, and always loving.  

No matter what His love remains when all else fails.

I have studied the book of Philippians many times.  My husband taught us through it as a family twice because the power in its pages are life breathing and giving!

For example the following verse written by Paul was penned while he was in jail.   Every plan he had was now on hold while God used him to bring others to Himself.   Not because Paul complained but because he lived by the grace of God and rejoiced in all the heavenly blessings given to him.  He took time to give thanks no matter what.

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You want peace, joy, hope and love in your life?   Then you too need to become like Paul and begin to praise His holy name no matter what.   It won’t be easy at first and you might resist it in some areas more than others because the pain is so strong. 

But if you say you believe He is good and that He loves you.  Then we must act out our belief by trusting in Him. 

The only life worth living is the one of gratitude.  The one where I put down all of my wants for His best.  The one where I give up on figuring it all out and trying to make what is wrong right.  The one where I find my joy in Him not in the situations I’m hoping for or desire.  The one where I find my peace in His taking care of me versus my trying to care for myself.  The one where I let go of whatever is holding me back from Him and run like the wind to Him with reckless abandon.   Because it is only there that I will find all that I have been searching for my whole life and have found to be ever true no matter what – pure love.

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So the key to a thankful, gracious, and joyful heart is this…

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whether plenty or little – my eyes are fixed on praising You!

There is so much to learn in the book of Philippians – take time to read this powerful book of His love for you and how He wants to use for your good and His glory.

I have not been keeping up with the book club videos and their notes because I want to truly listen to God at the moment without any chance of missing out on what He wants to say to me now.   In this season I need my focus to fully be on Him alone.  I will go back and watch them in a few weeks – but for now it is just me and God. 

I may not totally love her writing style but I do love the message of this book so far – take your eyes off of your circumstances, past, etc. and put all that wasted energy into time worth spending – fixing your eyes and life on God.  

Can you even imagine how different your life would be and the church body for that matter if we spent equal time with God as we do worrying, trying to fix things in our lives, or planning all the things we want in the future?   

Can you even imagine if we truly took all of our hurts and allowed Him to turn them into joy, how much more effective we would be for His kingdom?

Can you even imagine if we truly lived out Luke 9:23-25 daily and did it with joy – what our lives would be like? Or Romans 12:1-2?

Imagine with me for a minute the peace you would feel.   Close your eyes and take yourself to a place you love – listen to the sounds all around you, the smells that fill your nose, breath in the peace and then try today to imagine that the peace you will receive from God focusing on Him more each day will blow your mind!   Isaiah 26:3

There is nothing in this life greater than seeking God.   Because He will bless you more than you deserve over and over and over again.  He will take care of details you didn’t think of and will do them perfectly.   He will carry you through the pain with His grace.  He will carry you through the trials of life with His power and strength.   He will never leave you, nor forsake you – He alone will always love you! 

That my friends is worth more than anything this world could ever offer me.

Come with me and let us seek to thank Him more and more each day!   Whether we have plenty or nothing – He is enough for me. 

I trust I won’t regret those words the day I stand before Him. 

Praying I live them out more today than I did yesterday and every day of my life. 

Eyes up – not in, back or ahead!

 

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