Thought For the Day: We should REHEARSE all of God’s benefits to ourselves and others

StrawberriesThought for the day: Not only should we not FORGET all the Lord’s benefits, but we should REHEARSE all of His benefits OUT LOUD to ourselves and to others.  Speaking about the benefits and blessings of the Lord keeps His presence at the forefront of our minds.

It’s too easy to lose sight of God’s greatness and goodness in our tiresome lives. It’s too easy to focus on everything that isn’t happening.  So the Lord gave us a solution for our ingratitude and shortsightedness.  In Psalm 103, He tells us to forget not all of His benefits.  The opposite of forget is remember, right? But simply remembering His benefits in the solitude of our mind doesn’t create the atmosphere of God’s favor that speaking about His benefits does.

Have you ever been around a person who is talking about something great that happened to them? As they speak, you can see how they are reliving that situation in their minds as if they were there. The same is true for when we tell others about the things that God has done for us.  As we relive His goodness and power, people can see that our God is real and moving on our behalf.  A God who once was a theory in their mind now becomes the Living Wonder that He truly is.

And as far as it concerns us, I have noticed that when we lose sight of God’s benefits, we grow cold in our affection towards the Lord. But when we remind ourselves and others of what God has done for us, we refocus ourselves on the fact that the that God who poured out His benefits before can do it again.

So today, let’s open our mouths to our families and friends and tell them of the benefits that God has poured out.  Ask the Lord to bring situations back to your memory and to give you opportunities to share testimonies of His care with people who need to be encouraged.  You never know how the goodness that God has poured out in your life will bless someone else – and I KNOW it will certainly bless you!

And if you’re having trouble thinking of anything to applaud as a benefit, I recommend reading all of Psalm 103 where the Psalmist rehearses many of the benefits of the Lord. Those displays of God’s goodness, mercy and patience should never lose their luster in our affections; and if they have, repent for your hard-heartedness and ask the Lord where the root of bitterness has sprung up. He will show you, wash you up and restore the joy of your salvation!

Psalm 103:2 – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.

Psalm 116:12 – What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?

Now you:

  • Can you think of a time that God poured out His goodness and mercy upon your circumstances? Can you recall times when you could imagine the worst, called out to God for rescue and then watched Him work His wonders on your behalf?
  • Do you ever spend time in prayer just thanking God for what you have rather than asking for something more?
  • Do you know people who are discouraged and who don’t believe that God would ever want to do anything good for them?

Dear God

Today, let’s make it a point to thank God for all we have instead of asking Him for anything more,  Let’s exalt the ways that He has blessed us and create an atmosphere of His goodness around us that others can draw from.  Amen!

Chicken Soup for the Church’s Soul: Every person adds flavor!

Chicken SoupA few night’s ago, I made a really killer chicken soup –  if I do say so myself.  I love to make and eat every kind of soup.  It’s the most effective comfort food for me.  However, I don’t follow recipes so no two soups that I have ever made are the same.  I may follow the basic steps for making chicken soup, but one of my habits is to use whatever is in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t go to waste.  This may not sound appealing to you at all, but I have found that leftovers of vegetables or grains that I have cooked to go with other meals are fantastic in chicken soup.  It really becomes the “everything but the kitchen sink” soup filled with unique flavors. So the most recent chicken soup incorporated leftover yellow squash from our Easter dinner, and extra green beans that I had waiting to be prepared for another meal.  I had half of a lemon leftover from Easter’s hollandaise sauce so I squeezed that in to give the broth some zing. Then I added the perfunctory carrots, celery, onion and garlic and threw in some spices.  After simmering on and off for a day, these flavors have melded together to make a really amazing broth filled with nutritious veggies and chicken.

So you may me wondering if I have started a food blog all of a sudden. No…not exactly.  But I find that the most common experiences in my life are usually the things that the Lord uses to show me deeper truths.  And so my soup became today’s object lesson.

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Unqualified (Part 2): Don’t let what you lack hold you back

impossible

What things are you called to do that you are unqualified to do? What deep waters has the Lord called you out into that you know are over your head? Are you facing situations that are completely our of your league and beyond your experience? If so, you’re in the situations where God shines!

What things are you called to do that you are unqualified to do?  What deep waters has the Lord called you out into that you know are over your head?  Are you facing situations that are completely out of your league and beyond your experience?  If so, you’re in the situations where God shines.

Like Paul, we can say, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Paul doesn’t say, “When I feel weak, I push those thoughts out of my head and tell myself that I am actually strong.” No, he says, “When I am weak…” He admits that there are situations where he is legitimately weak.  Yet because he is in Christ who is never weak, Paul’s weakness and lack of ability is of no consequence.  He is both weak and strong at the same time.  One is a condition of his humanity and the other is a condition of his connection to an unlimited supply of whatever he is lacking.

Don’t let your feelings of being unqualified keep you from taking the risk and stepping out where God has called you.  Stop playing it safe and start walking in faith and obedience.  What God calls, He anoints.  Who God calls, He qualifies.

And if you’re scared about taking the steps that you know the Lord has put in your heart, good for you.  You should be cautious.  You’re counting the cost.  The Bible says that it’s the foolish king who goes to war without first counting the cost and making sure he has enough resources to win.  But I advise you to remember how to count in God’s kingdom.  If you count YOUR resources, you’ll never get out of the starting gate.  But if you count using His resources, you will have nothing to fear.  All you need to know is that infinite resource is found in a person.  It’s found in Jesus Christ.  Whatever you ask the Father in Jesus’ name, he will give it to you. John 14: 13-14

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Unqualified (Part 1): Don’t let what you lack hold you back

PizzaPart 1

Dinnertime with our six children was a circus.  If any of you grew up in a large family, you know what I’m talking about.  We had a Lazy Susan in the middle of our big round farmhouse table and I’d put the food on it.  After we prayed, that Lazy Susan was far from lazy.  That thing spun faster than the Zero Gravity Ride at Six Flags.  It’s amazing that the dishes didn’t fly off. The reason why there was a shark feeding frenzy was that 3 of those 6 children were boys with appetites that rivaled Rob Gronkowski, and the girls knew it.  So because there was only a certain amount of food, especially if it was Taco Casserole night, they wanted to make sure that they got theirs.  The boys wanted to make sure that they got a big piece and the girls wanted to make sure that the boys didn’t get served first and leave nothing in the pan.

But this was ridiculous because I always made plenty.  No one starved.  But the kids still felt that there was a chance they could get less than someone else, and they acted as though there might not be enough to go around.

And while I can joke about those crazy nights now, I realize that this scarcity mentality is prevalent in me as well.  And I’m sure I’m not alone.  We struggle to get our share as if someone might take what we feel entitled to. We worry that our lack of qualifications will cause us to be overlooked when the goodies get handed out so we fight and scratch and strive to make things happen for ourselves. After all, God might run out of blessing and favor by the time He gets to us!

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No More Naomi: Don’t get stuck in Chapter 19

San and alone

If bitterness was collateral, then Naomi would have been a millionaire.  Naomi was a woman in the Bible who had seen her share of sad days, losing her husband and then both of her sons.  These losses and the accompanying grief were compounded by financial distress. Because of the culture she was living in, not having a male to provide for her, be it a husband, a son or a grandson, put Naomi in a very stressful and scary position.  Furthermore, she had two daughter-in-laws to worry about.  They were lovely girls, mind you, but they were more mouths to feed.  So she told her daughter-in-laws that they should return home to their families, something that was not in accordance with the custom of the day.  But Naomi didn’t know what else to do.  She planned on returning to her family in Israel and hoping for the best.  Maybe someone would have pity on her and take her in.  Otherwise, she would become a beggar on the street – as if life hadn’t been hard enough on this older woman who was just trying to get through each day under the intense weight of her sadness. Have you ever felt so sad that you no longer cared what happened to you? Naomi felt this way.  And I’m sure just trying to think about how to take care of her daughter-in-laws while struggling under the pressure of grief and financial strain was too much for her.

One of the daughters agreed to go home to her family but the other daughter-in-law, Ruth, begged to stay with Naomi.  So Naomi brought Ruth with her back to Israel, a land that Ruth had never seen before.  Now Ruth is following a grieving widow while trying to handle her own grief and adjusting to a new culture.  She had her own sadness and financial concerns pressing down on her, but her reaction to life’s stress was different than her mother-in-law’s.  Where Naomi saw her loss and grief as a box that contained her, Ruth looked around for the new beginning.  Where Naomi looked at the season she was in as the definition of who she was, Ruth looked forward with hope for what could transpire.

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