What a mess! Can God do anything with this??

What a mess!!Messy room with girl in it

Sometimes it’s easy to look at our life and wonder “Can God do anything with this?” We look at all of our faults and question if there is any way that He will ever be able to truly change the mess inside. But the good news is He already has done something about the mess! The word of God tells us that we are redeemed and restored to glory – that old things have passed away and all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

But the enemy will lie to us so consistently and so believably pointing out our flaws and our failures that our consciousness of who we are in Christ becomes deadened and our focus on the lies becomes acute.

What is the solution for this? I believe that thanksgiving plays a major role in keeping God at the center of our focus and not placing weight on the wrong things. Do we have flaws?  Yes, we do. Do we have failures? Yes, we do. But believe it or not, those things do not define us. God has clothed us in the righteousness of Christ and he sees us as perfectly redeemed and restored. He doesn’t see us that way as in seeing us through a hopeful vision of who we may become someday. He sees us that way NOW.

Galatians 3:27
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

 

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

So why do we continue to struggle with the old man? Why is it so easy to see ourselves as defeated, as a bad person, as a failure?

It’s because we have lost our vision of the truth. But thanksgiving will put the truth back in the center of our focus. It will put the miraculous work that God has done in us and for us on Center Stage. We can’t afford to lose the awareness of God’s presence for one moment or we will succumb to the pressures of this life and to a worldview of ourselves and our limitations.

We serve a God who is unlimited and who calls us to live an unlimited life of adventure and holiness, so a small-minded view of ourselves will hinder God’s plan.

  • Do you wake up excited for a new day? Do you rise in the morning with an awareness of God and a feeling of intimacy with him?
  • Or do you wake up feeling already defeated, hemmed-in by your life, by your obligations and by your poor self-esteem?
  • Do you see other people’s successes and envy them because you feel you will never have success of your own?
  • Do you see goodness in other people and feel condemned by it because you wonder if God is disappointed in you?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God adores us and loves us the way he does when we are so busy comparing ourselves to other people. But He does love us each uniquely. He created us and he loves who he created. It is unhealthy to focus more on the problems in our lives and in ourselves than on the goodness of God. Thanksgiving turns our perspective around changing our thinking from focusing on the negative and on our failures to focusing on the work of God.

Now you:

  • Do you want to wake up with a positive attitude about the day and about your life?
  • Do you want to stay aware of the goodness of God throughout the day.

Thankfulness is the key to keeping God at the center of our focus.  We can set a reminder on our phone or place sticky notes around our house to remind us to be thankful.  We can teach our children the difference between being thankful for what they have and complaining about what they don’t have.

I was with a mother last night who had her daughter with her.  The daughter is around 10 or 11 years old.  When they were leaving the cafe where we were meeting, the daughter started to complain that the mom hadn’t bought her a cookie.  The mom calmly stopped her by lifting up her finger and said, “That’s complaining.  That’s not being thankful.  How about being thankful for the wonderful salad with chicken and tomatoes that mom bought you? How about being thankful for your family and for your blessings, like swimming lessons?” The daughter proceeded to try to voice her complaint but the mom stopped her again and said, “If you want to complain, you’re not going to do it front of me. You’re blessed and you need to say ‘Thank you’ to me, not gripe and complain.” The daughter, seeing that her complaining wasn’t getting her what she wanted relented and said, “Thank you for dinner.”  I thought that was such a great lesson.  Instead of telling her daughter that she didn’t want to hear the griping, the mother focused on the fact that being thankful should be her attitude and she helped her daughter by focusing her thoughts on things to be grateful for.

Let’s parent ourselves well and stop that little griping child inside from voicing complaint after complaint.  Let’s put a finger to our mouth and stop ourselves from being unthankful, rather reminding ourselves of things that we can be grateful for! Amen!!

 

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!

How to survive the snake bite: Overcoming disappointment

 

how-to-survive-the-snake-bite-2

Lorraine Johnson was taking her usual hike after work in the Santa Monica Mountains when all of a sudden she felt a stabbing pain in her ankle. It took a few seconds to register, but once she realized what had actually happened, it was too late.  She had been bitten by a rattlesnake.  Unfortunately, the path on which she habitually walked was a rattlesnake breeding ground and on this warm night, they snakes were basking in the sun.

Lorraine recounts, “‘Within seconds, I started feeling the effects: blurred vision, jelly-like legs, and a horrifying sense of panic.”

Lorraine says her bite was more severe than most. ‘The snake that bit me injected a standard-issue hemotoxin along with a rare and more powerful neurotoxin that quickly interfered with my brain’s signals to my respiratory system,’ she says. “’I didn’t know it at the time, but I had to get help fast if I was going to survive.’

Fortunately, other hikers were nearby who were able to rush her to a local hospital where she received the first of 116 vials of antivenin.  Lorraine credits the close proximity of the other hikers and of the hospital for her survival.

I also credit a loving God who was watching out for her that day.

In our lives, we also run the risk of a lethal snake bite.  But this bite is not going to be remedied with vials of antivenin.  This bite is in the heart and the snake has been around for eons.

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