This year has been quite the year for me. As always, I have so much to be thankful for but I realize that thanksgiving is more than just saying thank you. It is an attitude of appreciation for everything that God has done for me. It’s knowing from my heart how truly blessed I am.
Blessings are not just tangible things. I am also thankful for things like peace, joy, God’s presence, etc. Then, of course, there is my family, my friends, those of you who read this blog, etc. If I took the day just to name the things I’m thankful for, there wouldn’t be enough time but I’m grateful that God knows my heart. He sees that I am but dust trying to serve Him yet He has called me to serve Him anyway. That makes me truly thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! May you have a wonderful day counting your blessings!
I am still learning to give thanks in everything for I know there is a purpose in each trial. If I don’t take time to rest, God may allow me to get sick so that I finally get that rest I need. If am beginning to be over-confident in my abilities, God may see fit to remove a bit of my comfort to remind me that it is He who supplies my needs. God loves me so much that He will not leave me in my sinful, selfish state if I am truly His child.
I confess I am a slow learner at times but I am striving to be quicker to hear what God would speak during the “down” times. I am pressing on to draw closer to Him and to allow Him to teach me and purify me as He sees fit. “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).
Thank You, Lord, for not leaving me as I was but for working out Your will in my life. Continue to give me a heart of thanksgiving through every trial that serves to mold me into the daughter You desire me to be. I love You, Father!
This week, my sister-in-law and I attended a ladies Bible Study. The topic was on rest. Not just physical rest but also Spiritual and what that looks like. One of the questions was something like, “How do you find Spiritual rest?” For me, I find the most rest in withdrawing to my room on a hectic, stressful day and lying on my bed and consciously drawing near to my Savior. Sometimes when I’m busy trying to get a lot done, I don’t think about how near God is but, in those quiet moments, I become very aware of Him. It’s these times when I can hear Him more clearly.
I don’t take the time as often as I should but I’m purposing to start doing that more often. I don’t want to be so busy doing things FOR God that I neglect to spend time WITH Him. I always take time for morning worship but He deserves more than just that. I want Him to be with me everywhere I go in everything I do. I want to be in tune with Him so that I know I’m where He wants me to be at every single moment. I want to know that He is with me continually. Not only during times of prayer and worship, yet that is where it must start–in a heart that desperately longs for Him.
With the holidays coming up, many have increasing stress but I just want to encourage you today to rest in Him. Don’t let the cares of this world quench your heart of Thanksgiving. Give Him your burdens, and you will find rest for your soul.
Back in September, I had the opportunity to attend the WSGMA Labor Day Celebration in Turlock, CA and I was introduced to The Johnson Family Quartet for the first time. I was instantly struck by their stage presence and their harmony, along with their fun style of singing.
“Open Your Heart and Sing, Sing, Sing!” is an uptempo, fun song.
I love their medley of “Cleanse Me/Whiter Than Snow.”
“Jesus Knows My Name” is another uptempo song with a simple but good message.
“There but by the Grace of God Go I” is a really neat song and one of my favorite songs on the CD.
“I Sing the Mighty Power of God” is an acapella number which showcases their great harmony.
“Brand New Old, Old Story” is a happy song about salvation being the brand new old, old story.
“Autograph” talks about how we can see God’s love all around us.
Bonnie Johnson has a sweet voice and sings, “I Fall On My Knees and Pray.” No matter what you are going through, there is such comfort on your knees, talking with the One who can take your burden away.
They sing a unique arrangement to “Love Lifted Me.”
“I Love Living in Grace” has a “swing” feel to it.
“A Secret Place” is an excellent song penned by Michael Booth. Every time I hear it, I have to ponder: Is there a place in my heart that I wouldn’t want Jesus to go?
An acapella version of “There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit” concludes the recording.
I am going through a time where my mind is constantly going in a million directions. So many things I could do … things people want me to do … yet I’m trying to clear my mind to figure out what exactly it is that God wants me to spend my time doing. Every moment is important. Today only comes once. Slowly but surely I’m beginning to sense God’s leading in some things, and that is a wonderful feeling.
If there is one thing I could encourage you in today, it is to not stop seeking, asking, or knocking if you need direction. God’s timing is not always ours but His answer will come in His time. As hard as it may be at times, it’s worth waiting for. You’ll see.
I played a lot of music today, worshiping while I unpacked boxes, dusted, folded laundry, and other sundry tasks. By late afternoon, I was ready for a break so I did something for which I was long overdue. I laid on my bed and listened to The Downings. The Spirit of God filled the room, and tears welled up in my eyes in gratitude to God for His love which I so don’t deserve but which He continually pours out upon me.
I feel bad that I have let life become so busy. Even in the slow times, I find something to occupy my time. I don’t often take time to do nothing but bask in His presence but it’s a habit I need to reincorporate into my schedule. It’s during these times that I can actually hear God’s voice if I listen long enough. It’s these quiet times in which I can more fully feel His love and His presence.
If you don’t have a habit of quietly basking in God’s presence, I would encourage you to begin that habit. Meditating may be a part of it but you can also listen to worship music during this time. From the depths of your heart, quietly praise God and then allow Him to direct your paths and show you how you can best worship Him. Begin to practice listening. So many times, we do all the talking and God never gets a word in edgewise. Invite Him to speak in the stillness.
There is nothing on earth more important than a close relationship with the Heavenly Father. He calls to you today to stop what you are doing and draw near to Him. He understands deadlines and family and schedules but He desires to be first in your life. He tells us to seek Him first and His righteousness and everything else will fall into place (my paraphrase). If this hasn’t been your pattern, start setting aside that time with Him today and make sure it’s extra from your prayer and Bible reading. This is a time for worship and stillness. Whether it’s five minutes or an hour, I’ve no doubt He will meet you and your day will go much better.
“They are weak but He is strong.” A simple line but so true. The last couple weeks, I have been more aware of God’s strength through my weakness. Physically, I am tired but God has a work for me to do, and I desire to be faithful.
In life, there are many things that bring us down. Whether physically, emotionally or spiritually, life is full of these challenges. I don’t like being down but I find myself more and more praising God and saying, “Thank You, Lord, for giving me strength. Without You, I can do nothing.” The truth is I really can’t. I realize that more now than ever before.
“I need Thee. Oh, I need Thee. Every hour, I need Thee. Oh, bless me now, my Savior. I come to Thee.”
As I was worshiping this morning, my heart was filled with gratitude, along with the awareness that my praise should not be dependent on how I feel on any given day. God is good in EVERY circumstance. Yes, I may not always understand God’s ways. I may not want to go through some things He brings my way but He has never failed me, and I know He never will.
Scripture is full of admonitions to “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good” (mentioned repeatedly in the Bible), “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). There is no room for self-pity or blaming God.
This is an area I may not be perfect in yet but I feel I am growing. I don’t believe giving thanks in all circumstances means necessarily to give thanks FOR bad circumstances but it does mean to praise God even when you are going through that difficult time. If you can’t think of anything else, you can still thank God for His continual love and presence. As you praise Him, your spirit will be uplifted and you will find that peace that passes understanding. Then you can praise Him all over again. Start today to praise God in everything. You won’t regret a moment.
The latest CD from Greater Vision includes ten songs, nine of which were written or co-written by Rodney Griffin or Chris Allman.
This recording begins with the mid-tempo Come Unto Me, followed by Looking for the Grace. I’m not asking for God to remove the things that are going to help me draw closer to Him. I’m simply looking for the grace to go through those things.
This is Mercy is a beautiful song about the cross.
Chris Allman wrote and sings, The Blood Hasn’t Ever Changed.
Forever is Sure is a song of hope as it reminds us that “tomorrow is uncertain but forever is sure.” This was written by Rodney Griffin and Jim Brady. A great song.
The only song on the recording that was not written by Rodney or Chris is an old song the Cathedrals recorded, Seeking for Me.
Preacher Tell Me Like it Is addresses the fact that so many preachers will only say what they think people want to hear. No wonder the Church is in the shambles it is. “You say you want to be my friend? Don’t be afraid to call my sin what it is.” If there were more preachers who would do that, maybe God would send revival.
I Can Trust You is another beautiful song written and sung by Chris Allman. Regardless of the path God has for you, you can trust Him.
They continue that message in I Will Take Care of You.
What better way to end a recording than with For All He’s Done, a song of praise.
This morning during my praise and worship time, I started singing, “God Walks the Dark Hills.” I am so grateful that God always gives me a song to sing and that is the song I’m singing this morning. Isn’t it wonderful to know that, no matter how dark the valley we may go through, we can fear no evil for our God is with us? What joy wells up in my heart at that truth.
“He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry, thirsty land. He hideth my life in the depths of His love and covers me there with His hand.”
“Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall your hand lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-10).
Yes, Brothers and Sisters, that is the God that we serve. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and He has always kept that promise.
I personally don’t like going through dark times. I would prefer life to always be sunshine and roses; however, in the biggest rose garden, there are also lots of thorns. These are the things that test our faith, draw us closer to God, and makes us into the sons and daughters that He desires us to be if we but allow them to do that.
The hardest song for me to sing has been, “If it takes a valley to really know your grace, and if it’s in the desert where I’ll meet you face to face, then turn this path I’m traveling to some dark and lonely place ’cause if it takes a valley then a valley’s what I’ll take.” I may not like singing that but I’m very aware that this is where God desires me (and all His children) to be.
Thank You, Lord, for walking with me through sunshine and through darkness. Thank You for peace and joy that You provide in the midst of dark times as You hold my hand. Thank You for adopting me into Your family and continually proving Your love for me. I am blessed beyond measure. May I never cease to praise You and show my thanksgiving in the way I live my life for You.