When you stop saying “Thank You”

This great post is from DanielDarling.com.

When you stop saying “Thank You”

By Daniel Darling

Many years ago, a writing mentor counseled me with words I’ll never forget: “Dan, no matter how far you get in your career, always say ‘Thank you’ every time someone offers you an opportunity to write.”

I’ve never forgotten that advice. Maybe its because my mother taught me–no she actually insisted (you know how mothers can insist with some power)–that I always say thank you. It became a habit of mine, whether through notes or verbal expression or, now, through texts or emails.

It’s a simple thing, really, to say “Thank you.” I’ve noticed, however, that ingratitude is often the first sign of a troubled heart. When I stop saying “thank you” I know that sin has overcome me.

Read the rest here.

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Leaning Against A Thorn [Repost]

Today’s post is something I shared with you several years ago that definitely bears repeating. It was written by my wonderful writer friend, Lynn Mosher. This was first published on her blog and it made such a huge impact on me that I asked Lynn if I could share it with you and she agreed. Here it is again.

Leaning Against a Thorn

 Thorns of trials.

Thorns of affliction.

Thorns of adversity.

Thorns of all kinds.

 Thorns pricking. Briers sticking. Thistles piercing.

Pricking thorns of…

  •  abuse
  • divorce
  • addiction
  • a lost job
  • failing health
  • loss of a home
  • financial disaster
  • a friend’s betrayal
  • a teen making bad choices

The enemy stands ready to prick us at any time with adverse circumstances.

However, sometimes we find ourselves being pricked with the barbs of consequences when we lean into an avoidable situation, something God’s Word clearly states that we are to shun.

If we lean into wrong desires, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of heartache and sorrow.

If we lean into improper thoughts, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of guilt and remorse.

If we lean into fleshly lusts, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of shame and regret.

Sometimes, God will remove the thorns; however, on occasion, He will leave them for our good, as when He left Paul’s thorn to prick him when he leaned into pride.

I wonder if we ever thank the Lord for the thorns? What? Thank Him for a trial, a heartache? All things work together for good, remember? So says Romans 8:28.

The next time a thorny ordeal is pricking you, remember the words of this prayer by George Matheson, a blind Scottish theologian and preacher in the late 1800s…

My, God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn…Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.

He thanked God for his blindness. Is that something we would do?

What did David say? “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB)

What about Habakkuk’s attitude? The prophet asserted his faith in God and promised to praise Him, even if all else failed, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18 NLT)

Being thankful is easy when everything is hunky-dunky, but the praise that emanates from a pain-ravaged heart, pressed by a thorn, is the sweet-smelling sacrifice of holy incense that rises to the throne room and lingers at the Father’s feet.

But what of those times when our hearts are pricked with grief?

Once I heard a song of sweetness
As it cleft the morning air,
Sounding in its blest completeness,
Like a tender, pleading prayer;
And I sought to find the singer,
Whence the wondrous song was borne,
And I found a bird, sore wounded,
Pinioned by a cruel thorn.

I have seen a soul in darkness,
While its wings with pain were furled,
Giving hope and cheer and gladness
That should bless a weeping world;
And I knew that life of sweetness,
Was of pain and sorrow borne,
And a stricken soul was singing,
With its heart against a thorn.

We are told of One who loved us,
Of a Savior crucified,
We are told of nails that pinioned,
And a spear that pierced His side;
We are told of cruel scourging,
Of a Savior bearing scorn,
And He died for our salvation,
With His brow against a thorn.

We “are not above the Master.”
Will we breathe a sweet refrain?
And His grace will be sufficient,
When our heart is pierced of pain.
Will we live to bless His loved ones,
Tho’ our life be bruised and torn,
Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
With its heart against a thorn?

~ Author unknown

Do you sing and thank the Lord when a thorn pierces your heart with pain?

Thank you, sweet Lynn! May God continue to bless you as you have blessed us today!

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Godliness + Contentment

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Godliness + Contentment

By Patricia Knight

“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

We could list the aspects of our lives that have changed due to the invasion of adversity, but that exercise would not change our circumstances. Instead of stressing the negative, why not accentuate the positive? List the gains rather than the losses. Reflect on the people you’ve met, the introspection you’ve gained, the spiritual strength and dependency that has grown, the patience learned, and the ability to mature in your faith.

If we are able to combine our faith with personal well-being, then improvement or enrichment will result. We have learned the secret for peace of mind. Following God, no matter what occurs in our lives, believing that whatever He chooses is best for us, and telling others about God’s goodness and grace, will all contribute toward our personal and spiritual riches.

1Thes5-18-HandSilhouetteSunset-35--AMPAs difficult as it may seem, we can develop a greater dependency upon our Lord even during afflictions. Therefore, we can go forward to accomplish whatever God asks us to do for Him, not in spite of pain, but because of it. We are commanded to “give thanks in all circumstances”(1 Thessalonians 5:18). The thankfulness we express is not an appreciation for leading a restricted, hurtful life, but rather it is a means of recognizing and showing gratitude for God’s sovereign leadership in our lives. Whatever He plans for us is perfect in its design and timing. 

Learning patience and perseverance produces a stronger faith. We learn those attributes by practicing them. Our hardship gives us reason to develop positive and useful emotional tools—those with which we can reach out to others in their time of need.  Christian maturity will follow.

When God has something to teach us, He may set us aside in order to instruct us in life’s lessons. The experience we gain will be invaluable in serving a loving, faithful God and others.

“Godliness + contentment = great gain”
is a method of expressing the verse as a formula for life.
It defines a spiritual goal for us—
one that God honors.

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Being Thankful for What We Do NOT Have

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Rejoice always;
praying without ceasing;
in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you
in Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Lately I’ve been pondering the concept of thankfulness. Often when I thank God for all the blessings in my life, I have also thanked Him for what He has not given me or allowed in my life. Have you ever prayed like this?

Okaaay, I can hear most of you saying. The rest are thinking, wait … what? are you serious?

Yes, I am very serious. I thank God for things I don’t have, that He has not allowed in my life. I’m not just talking about more serious illnesses than those I live with every day or cataclysmic events such as tornadoes and hurricanes. I’m referring to things like more money, maybe more (and more stylish) clothes or a bigger house. How about straight hair instead of the naturally curly mop I was born with? Or writing talent so spectacular that publishers come after me instead of the other way around?

It seems to me that the more we want, well… the more we want, like some vicious cycle. Contentment with what we have now is admittedly difficult because human nature always yearns for more. And yet, I’m wondering if allowing ourselves to feel this kind of contentment will result in that inner peace that is so illusive.

And isn’t that something to be utterly thankful for?

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Peace, mercy and love be yours in abundance. —Jude 1:2

Peace. Mercy. Love. These are what can be ours in abundance. And from personal experience, reminding myself that I have these things usually leads to my feeling happy and contented with what I have in the here and now.

Beloved, how about you? Have you learned to be thankful for certain things you do not have?

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Great is Your Faithfulness

Great is Your Faithfulness

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Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:21-23

How often do we do things that disappoint the people in our lives?

Maybe we’ve made a promise that later we found we can’t keep. Perhaps we raise our voice in anger again even though we don’t mean to. And how about the times when a friend or family member tries to sympathize with our pain? They mean well, but you’re certain they just don’t understand. I’m sure you’ve wanted to tell them, “You have no idea what it’s like to be in this kind of pain every day.”

At this point, we have two choices: to dwell on our misery or get on with the business of life.

We can moan and groan about our circumstances so everyone is aware of how much we are hurting, or we can demonstrate God’s presence in our lives by rejoicing in the knowledge that He is faithful to be with us through our tough times.

I have a very close friend (you know who you are!) who is a good example of one who lets God shine through her in spite of her constant pain. She once shared her feelings about pain with me this way:

“It is just pain. It could be worse. I could be suffering with pain and dying. It is only pain. I can still live and make the most of my life, to extend myself as far as I can go, to reach for the stars, to do the unimaginable. The pain will still be there. So, why not celebrate?”

This dear friend is such an encourager. Her positive attitude is a beacon of light in the darkness of pain. Quite simply, she makes me smile no matter how awful I’m feeling.

Beloved, the Lord is our only hope! He knows exactly what our pain is like and He will help us through it “every morning; great is [His] faithfulness.” He understands how constant pain can undermine a positive attitude and make us feel hopeless. But He’s always with us, ready to offer His love and comfort: “therefore I have hope.” Won’t you please pray with me?

Heavenly Father, sometimes it’s so hard to be cheerful and hopeful when I’m feeling so rotten. It’s easier for me to just give up and let the pain take over. But, Lord, I know that You love me too much to let me feel this way. Thank You for what You are teaching me through these trials and for being with me always. Help me to let Your joy flow through me to touch the lives of others who may also be suffering. You are great and greatly to be praised! Amen.

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Thank You Challenge 2015

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Would you believe that I haven’t always been the most thankful person? Oh, I did thank people out of politeness every so often. But God worked on my heart for many years before I realized the need to express thanks more often.

When I first met Rick, he took me to dinner and I thanked him for that afterwards. The next day we had lunch together and I thanked him for that too. I recall him being very surprised and pleased that I would thank him for such simple gestures and that spoke to my heart as I realized I needed to do this more often.

After we were married, I began my campaign to thank Rick for the smallest things he did for me, from carrying out the trash to his offer to help with the dishes—even though I always turn him down.🙂 The great thing is that it has led him to do the same. A day does not go by when he does not thank me for many little things I do for him.

ThankYouBlackboard--AMPThe point is that if you truly thank an individual for doing or providing something, it causes that person to feel as if what they did really matters. Not only that, being thankful breeds more thankfulness and results in a mutually loving attitude that colors your whole relationship. And your life!

So, here’s the challenge: make the effort to thank those around you regularly and wholeheartedly for even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant things. It may take time, but you’ll see a difference in the people in your life because a thankful attitude rubs off on others. And blessing other people this way ultimately blesses you!

As you start being thankful for even the little things, you’ll start seeing God’s hand in so much of your life that you were not so aware of before. And you’ll recognize how much God has blessed you, and that will lead you to thank Him for every single thing in your life. Every. Single. Thing.

Take my word for this. It really works!

And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.”
—Isaiah 12:4-5

 

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
—1 Chronicles 29:13

 

Be thankful and joyful.
Be content with life.
Make the most of every situation.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita

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Happy 2015! Do Not Dwell on the Past…

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Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
—Isaiah 43:18-19

Do you find yourself thinking about things you once were able to do but are not able to any longer? Are you dwelling on past mistakes or times that to you seemed to be better or easier than where you are right now?

I confess that I am guilty at times of dwelling in the past, remembering when it seemed effortless to do something as simple as laundry or taking an enjoyable walk without a lot of physical pain. However, I’ve found that these remember when thoughts only serve to fuel that monster called discontentment.

The dictionary defines being content as being satisfied or resigned to circumstances. Being satisfied means we feel fulfilled, but feeling resigned to our circumstances denotes a passive acceptance of our situation. These sound like opposites, but they are not. We can accept our physical limitations and still be satisfied, but it has to be a conscious decision to accept our situation as something God can use in our lives.

I haven’t been able to work at a job outside my home for about 15 years. I have always wanted to write, but never had the chance to do so—until I had to stop working. Now I’m thankful for this chance to do something that has always been on my heart, and in the process continue to glorify the Lord no matter what my circumstances.

It has taken some time, but I’m learning not to let my past dictate my future. Instead, I am acknowledging this new thing that God has fashioned in my life as He makes “a way in the desert” to use me in the lives of others.

For every wasteland in our lives, God gives us a stream of living water to help our way through that desert.

Those who are not able to scrub the kitchen floor can read a story to their children or grandchildren. If I can’t hammer a nail any longer, God has blessed me with the ability to write in a way that may help others in similar situations. Much has been taken from me, but God has replaced them with more meaningful things, which has brought me even closer to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for a brand new year! We are so thankful that You are our Stream in the Desert, even though we sometimes have trouble remembering that. Help us to see that only with You can we ever be satisfied and filled with joy. Amen.

 

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