My husband is a good man, I mean really good. He’s editing this so I know he’s smiling as he reads my compliment. He likes it when I brag on him and show my gratitude. Although there are many reasons I describe him as a good man, my favorite is… he is a patient man. […]
That’s right and I mean it too…there is power in giving thanks. You can and should unleash the power of thanksgiving! And I’m not referring to the big fancy, elaborate “thank you” either. No, the simple two words “thank you” connected to a sincere heart has life changing power. We are wowed with the […]
There are all kinds of packers in this world. Heavy packers, light packers, immature packers and even the Green Bay Packers make my list. I’ve noticed that if you travel a lot and have to carry your own bags you have a tendency to pack lighter. I’ve noticed that last minute packers tend to plan less and carry more. Women almost always carry more stuff than they need, again, unless they have to carry it themselves. Immature packers pack their teddy bear and they are ready to go. They cuddle their teddy bear happily until they reach their destination, then wish they had done differently. The light packer is typically the business traveler, that travels enough to know where they are going, what they will need when they get there and they don’t want to be bothered with excess. And the Green Bay Packers, only one comment; can Aaron Rodgers lead them to victory this Saturday?
If you’ve ever lost your bags on an airline or arrived at your destination with only one shoe or without a hair brush you know the frustration of not having what you need and I can tell you first hand it’s VERY frustrating. So over the years I have become a great packer. I’m a great packer because before I pack anything I answer three questions.
1. Where am I going?
2. What will I be doing?
3. What are the essentials?
As you travel through 2013 you need to answer those three questions. I realize you’ve already walked through many minutes and hours and even several days into 2013. Maybe enough hours and days have passed to clear your head from the sugar high of the holidays and the emotional high of a New Year to answer the questions with clarity. Where are you going this year? What do you want to accomplish for God this year? Remember the Bible says, Ecc 9:10a NKJV “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might;” Colossians 3:23 “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Life is more than entertainment, yet while entertainment should be part of your life-it should not be your whole life. Life is meaningful, when it is filled with purpose, people and purposefully accomplishments. So set some goals. Write them down. What do you want to do? What do you want to learn? Who do you want to help?
The essentials are the things that I carry no matter where I go, deodorant, aren’t you glad? A tooth brush, hair brush and clean underwear are a few items that are always in my suitcase. So I always double check my suitcase for the essentials.
And the essentials for 2013? In my quiet time I’ve been mediating over what are the essentials that I need to take with me into 2013. I want to pack the right things so I will be equipped for the journey. You see life is a journey, not a destination! If my journey is going to be savored and not just spent, then I must identify and value the essentials. I want my life to count. I want to live it in such a way that God will be pleased. And I don’t want to be frustrated as I travel. I want to be equipped, so my time is well spent making me more productive and more effective.
For that to take place, first, I need to take wisdom into my new year.
My mother used to say to me regularly, “Pat, there’s a wrong way, a right way and a hard way. You always pick the hard way.” And the truth is…she was right. But when I take wisdom with me, I learn how to choose the right way. Wisdom doesn’t fall in my lap or jump out to grab my attention. It must be sought, secured and valued. It must be pondered and understood. It demands that I apply it’s principles and stretch and grow. It requires me to move beyond the way I’ve always done things to carve my path with ingenuity and creativity. Wisdom causes me to reach for better, to dream for bigger, to rejoice when I’ve done it well. It causes me to sidestep evil and avoid needless troubles and turmoils.
I also need God’s Love. I’m glad it’s not heavy, because I have to carry a lot with me. I need His love personally and I need some to lavish on others. It is life’s sweetest dessert. Without love, life’s journey becomes a drudgery and a difficult and painful climb. It casts out fear. It is a magnet that brings out the best in people, those that receive it and those that give it. It makes the bitter taste sweet. It brings hope. It encourages. Everything is better with love!
I haven’t always carried the last item on my 2013 essential list. And sometimes, even when I carried it, it was always slipped into the side pocket and I didn’t even use it. But this year I’m going to use it diligently. That life essential is gratitude.
I’ve discovered gratitude is an attitude that goes beyond excitement over a gift I’m given or a place I get to enjoy. Gratitude is more than a passing feeling. Gratitude is a heartfelt realization that i have been given more than i deserve. Gratitude is a song that reverberates from a humble heart that is truly thankful. Gratitude sees more than the gift, it sees the giver and responds from the heart. Gratitude is conceived in the heart, but is not birthed until it is expressed, first to God, then to others. First to God because I understand the reality that He is the given of every good and perfect gift. Gratitude can only be cultivated and honed from a heart that loves and receives love. Gratitude is both emotional and intentional. Gratitude makes the ordinary extraordinary. Gratitude clothes the simple things in regal robes. Gratitude blesses me and those to whom I express it!
And while I’m on the subject. I want to tell you that I appreciate you. Sincerely, from a humble heart, thank you for reading my blog. Many of you read all my posts. If you are reading my blog you are interested in the things of God, you have a heart for God. We have that in common. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak into your life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you what God is sharing with me.
I pray for my readers often. Today I pray that God will bless you, that He will expand your territory and love through you, speak through you and transform you into the image of His dear Son! I pray that your 2013 will be enriched with wisdom, love and gratitude and that you will love God and obey Him deliberately like never before.
I’d love to hear from you. What are some essentials that you are packing for your 2013?
Links You Might Like
While the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us, it’s warmth and essence are more fragrant today that they were Thursday. Let me explain.
When I discovered that Kimberly’s three fledglings would be out of school on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I asked if I could borrow them. I had been planning crafts and things we could do together for several weeks. While none of my pictures come close to Pinterest quality, the memories we made were awesome. They made popsicle stick puppets, then moved from one craft to another where they painted and glued and created. It was messy. It was wonderful.
We made Indian Teepees from Pinterest. I should have read the directions more closely, because the cones tipped and leaked into my oven. (No, the smoke alarm didn’t go off, because I took it down. I’m tired of being the Smoke Alarm Queen.) Sorry, Kimberly, I know that doesn’t make you too happy. But think about it this way, they made it safely home…so no worries.
Karyn made her first pie crust all by herself from scratch! Way to go, girl! It was flakey and delicious!
Brayden and Ashlyn helped me arrange flowers for Kimberly’s table.
It was sooo much fun! They cleaned up behind themselves.It just doesn’t get any better, but then it did. Ashlyn came up to me and asked, “Would you mind if I vacuumed your floor?” I though I heard the Hallelujah Chorus right then and there! Hallelujah! Yes, baby, you just have at it!
We decided to go for a walk.I didn’t know God was going to use Ashlyn again, as He has on so many occasions to talk to me. They had been inside all day, so it was time for some exercise. Ashlyn handed me the camera as we put on our shoes to go outside with the instruction, “Here take this.”
“Why do I need the camera?” I asked. “We’re just going to walk down the street. We’re not going anywhere except right here in the neighborhood!”
Her twinkling smile was convincing,”In case we see something special,Nana.”
We walked a few houses down the street, “Show me something special,” I asked Ashlynn.
She flashed that big grin at her Nana and pointed to the mailbox. “Take a picture of the mailbox, Nana.”
So I did. It’s a beautiful mailbox. I’d never seen it before. I chuckled; because all these years that I’ve lived in this house, I’d never noticed that beautiful mailbox.
Again, she pointed and I clicked. “Look Nana, see the flower…
and the fountain ….
By this time, Brayden had joined the search…is the fruit ripe yet? …referring to the loquat tree at the entrance of the neighborhood.
She was right my neighborhood was filled with special things! Thank you, Ashlyn for helping me to see them. They are special. Gifts of beauty–from God–there for me to enjoy, but I hurry past without even noticing until with tiny fingers she points them out to me. Pleasures, simple pleasures, but I have to see them, to enjoy them.
I respond with heartfelt gratitude and glee (Does that sound like too strong a word for such little things? Not when you’re seeing the beauty through the eyes of a child! Or when you see every little thing as a gift from God.), “Thank you God for sweet smelling velvet roses on a late November day. Thank you God for a childish reminder to notice special things, so I can savor them. Thank you a little hand inside mine, skipping alongside me as I tried to remember how to skip…and I did. Thank you God, for Brayden racing ahead, you know he’s our miracle boy, jumping across the drain grate at the pond and calling to Ashlyn to do the same—and she did!
Think Missional! Pass this on to someone you think may enjoy it or need it.
Don’t Miss a Single Blog
Get the latest blog posts sent directly to your e-mail or RSS Feed!
I got my socks blown off last week (I lose more socks that way!) and it wasn’t even my fault. I was cleaning the kitchen, Praise the Lord! Might as well do some praising, it doesn’t do any good to grumble about dirty dishes, especially since the food was good and it wasn’t even burned this time. Beside that, praising God makes everything better, but I digressed.
You know me. I’ve got to do more than one thing at a time, that’s why I burn everything. So, while I washed dishes I was listening to Bryan Jarrett. I love that man. Listening to him is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant! Honestly, in the first five minutes of that sermon my faith was ignited and my socks went missing. Most of the time I skip the introduction and go right for the meat of the sermon. But even his first five minutes was riveting. I had to listen again and again.
If you have my Prayer Object Lesson Kit for Kids you know I love the verse in Psalms 34:3 KJV “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” If you’ve ever played with a magnifying glass you understand that it allows you to focus and analyze more clearly what you are seeing. Worship causes us to stop and focus on the nature and wonders of God. It is a powerful way to move into God’s presence to experience the wonder of who He is.
Pastor Jarrett expounded on this verse. Magnify means make bigger. Yet our worship cannot make God bigger. God is already big, really BIG. So big in fact that it take a universe that spans the distance of billions of light years to reflect His glory. God is immeasurable. God is unfathomable. But if we can’t make God bigger, why does the Psalms tell us to magnify God.
Listen to his explanation: “Our worship does not change the nature of God. Worship changes the perspective of the worshiper. When the Psalmist says come magnify the Lord, He was not saying ‘Come make God bigger’. He was inviting you into a mind shift, a perspective shift where you right size your God, and in the process of right sizing your God you right size your mountain. You right size your difficulty. You right size your perspective.”
Wow! When our perspective is right, we understand God is big and our problems are little. That’s the kind of perspective that turns a youth into a giant killer. It turns a fiery furnace into a revival center where you dance and praise God. It turns a lion’s den into a place to catch up on your rest.
Bro. Jarrett explains there are two methods of magnification:
1.A microscope takes something small and make it bigger, so we can see what it looks like and examine it more closely.
2. A telescope takes something enormous, but because it is so far away we can’t see what it looks little. So the telescope makes it look bigger so we can see what it looks like; so we can be awed by its splendor and beauty. Like the pictures taken from the Hubble Telescope.
Bro. Jarret explains that God is not little. And because God is so big, our praise is like a telescope. The church is like a magnificent observatory filled with telescopes. When we begin to praise God, it gives us a lens to focus on God and see more clearly what He is like. Our praise focuses our attention on Him and brings Him into our view so we can see more clearly what He is like.
Magnify enables us to take something big, like a star that is much bigger than the Earth, pull it closer, so we can analyse it and see it in all its glory for what it really is. Our worship magnifies Him by bringing his presence near. Our worship gives us the opportunity to study, feel and experience and know God for Who He is. Worship is the lens that allows us to see how wonderful, powerful and glorious He really is. Worship brings His presence near.
He also quoted from the classic sermon of Dr. S.M. Lockridge. It is one of the most powerful sermons ever given. I’ve listened to it dozens of times, and every time I am moved to tears and worship! He paints a graphic word picture of Christ our King, Redeemer and Savior. Here’s the link to the audio with slides of this amazing sermon entitled That’s My King
Listen to Bro. Jarrett’s sermon. Even if you only have 10 minutes, you’ll be blessed. http://northplacechurch.com/resources/watch/ Select Incomparable/Magnify Don’t forget to take off your sock first though.
And if you haven’t read his book, Extravagant, run, better yet, take the car and get to the Bible book store or Christian Book Distributors online and get his book! It will bless you. Great book!!!