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Thankful, Grateful, Blessed (A Timeless Truths blog post)

 

tulips

Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Perhaps you didn’t want to get up at all … with all the stress going on in your life right now. It may have seemed much more appealing to just bury yourself underneath the covers and hide from the world … forever. Then, whether you liked it or not, your bladder had other plans … and you were forced to face the day … ready or not. Having taken care of business, you start wandering around the house with a million thoughts in your head … all of them vying for attention … all at the same time. Realizing it would be best to at least try to focus on one thing at a time, you remember some flowers you had seen just beginning to come up on the other side of the house … so you go to look to see what progress had been made. It was then that you saw how the buds had developed into beautiful yellow tulips. It was then that your spirits were lifted … and it was then that you realized you had a choice. You could choose to be thankful. You could choose to be grateful … and, in so doing, you could choose to appreciate the fact that you, in reality, really were blessed (and not just by the appearance of flowers). That one, seemingly inconsequential act of choosing to look for the good in the development of flowers became the start – became the inspiration you needed – to choose to look for the good in other areas of your life. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much effort to see all the obviously bad things all around us in our lives. To actually see the good takes effort … to see the good takes practice … to see the good takes an intentional choice on our part to actually look for it … to actually search for it … even when it may appear (on the surface) to be nowhere around. Philippians 4:8,9 The Message (MSG) tells us, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” So, the timeless truth for today is to LOOK. Look for the good. Look for the beautiful. Look for every opportunity (even in the small things) to see and comprehend all the ways God shows his love towards you … and that (in and of itself) will yield the positive results of you actually becoming genuinely thankful, grateful, and blessed.

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Don’t rain on my parade (a Timeless Truths blog post)

umbrella

When Jesus came to town riding on the colt of a donkey large crowds surrounded him joyfully praising God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen. Luke 19:38-40 (NIV) tells us what they were saying and how the Pharisees responded to such an exuberant expression of praise, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” So, in essence, what Jesus was saying was, “don’t rain on my parade,” don’t tell people who are joyfully praising me to be quiet … don’t diminish how they choose to express their heartfelt praise and gratitude for all they are thankful for. In other words, Jesus Himself was giving the “go-ahead” for people to be themselves and to express themselves fully … not holding anything back. In other areas of scripture, the principle remains. Consider Romans 12:11 (NIV) which says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Also, Jeremiah, (the prophet) said in Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV), “But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” In another scripture we read, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18 NIV). And again in Acts 1:8 (NIV) we read, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” So, since 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (NIV) tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” I believe all of scripture applies to us today as well (that is, all of the principles that were taught can be principles we can use and practice in our lives today as well). So, the timeless truth for today is to not allow anyone to “rain on your parade.” That means, if you, from a humble heart of gratitude, wish to praise the Lord in an exuberant way as His followers did in the past, feel free. Don’t let anyone stop you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18-20 The Message (MSG) even tells us, “Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master.” As Easter approaches, and with it a special opportunity to give thanks to God for all He has done through giving us Jesus to be our Savior and King, I invite you to fully express yourself from your heart and soul … holding nothing back … for everything God gave to His early church and His early followers He makes available to us today as well … remember, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever; God doesn’t show favoritism; God’s gifts are irrevocable; His gifts are for us and our children and our children’s children. Since God knew His disciples (past, present, and future) would need power to be His witnesses (wherever they went), He provided the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see Acts chapter 2). Now, we have the opportunity to trust and believe His provision is for us today as well (after all, we never cease needing His power to live out our lives for Him and He knows that). That being said, I invite you to pray and ask God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit from a humble and grateful heart … and then, by God’s power and through a gentle and loving attitude, be courageous enough to not let anyone rain on your parade as you worship God with all your heart, in spirit and in truth.

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