Attitude of Gratitude

In recovery programs, this is a key concept. Since beginning my steps into a life free of of codependency, I know I’ve heard the phrase hundreds, if not thousands of times. Have an attitude of gratitude. Make a gratitude list. When we take time out of our misery – because that’s what addictions are – and make time to write a few things we’re grateful for, it moves our focus onto something good.

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is GOD; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is Good; His Lovingkindness is everlasting And His Faithfulness to all generations.” Psalms 100:1‭-‬5 NASB

What five things can you write down that you are thankful for today? Make a list; write them down!

1) LORD, I’m grateful for a warm house today!

2) Thank You for my part time job at the little local grocery down the street.

3) Thank You, God, for Christian radio, that I can listen to 24/7 if I choose.

4) I’m grateful for 2 little dogs who wormed their way into my life and who taught me how to spoil them.

5) Thank You, LORD, for the financial hardships that encourage me to trust in You for my sustenance daily. Amen.

GOD, the Ultimate Authority

While there must be an institutional separation of church and state, there must NOT be separation between God and government. NO people, institution, or government has any authority beyond what has been given by God. GOD has the ultimate authority and power!

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Romans 13:1 NASB

“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ ” Jeremiah 29:7 NASB

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; ……” Colossians 2:8‭-‬10 NASB

Just some things to keep in mind as we move into this season of campaigning and elections. The Deceiver is moving strongly throughout our nation, and it is easy to fall into his many traps and lies. Our nation is unique among nations because it is based upon Christian principles and values. Think hard, pray hard, evaluate each candidate by their lives, their families, their actions. Above all else, remember this:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NASB

Pray About Everything

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 NASB

Every time I read this verse, it strikes me.

“Anxious for nothing.”

“In everything…. let your requests be made known to God.”

“….. prayer …. supplication …. thanksgiving ….”

I’m not supposed to worry about anything. Anything. Geeze Louise, how does that work??? Not worry when the money runs out in the middle of the month? Not worry when the kids are sick, or I’m sick? Not worry about the person traveling in the snow and ice? Not worry when the boss says “You’re fired”, and you are the sole income? Not worry about that family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol? How does that work?

“…. in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Prayer (noun): a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.

Supplication (noun): the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. “He fell to his knees in supplication”

Solemnly, seriously, on our knees – whether literally or figuratively – ask God for help while thanking Him for the situation. The Serenity Prayer (used by many 12 Step programs) by Reinhold Niebuhr is a good place to start.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

LORD  I’m Yours To Count On

Am I?

Are you?

Faith, diligence, discipline, self control, moral excellence, virtue – do I practice these things?

“To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.” 2 Peter 1:1‭-‬7 NASB

Verses 1-4 outline the riches we receive in Christ; for those who have received FAITH …. {in} Jesus Christ – receiving, believing, trusting; these are all gifts from God. Everything follows faith.

To apply “all diligence” (one writer said “true Faith sweats”), it takes discipline to pursue Christ and our spiritual growth. There is no time to be idle in our pursuit of Christ. We should be – must be – earnest, and give it intense effort. Philippians 2:12-16 we are to “work out [y]our salvation…”; not work to be saved but to work with the LORD to do His Will. In your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge – these qualities require hard work, and maximum effort on our part. “For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” Colossians 1:29 NASB

What is moral excellence? The effort to clean our life; to gets rid of the “rocks” and “weeds”, the trash and detritus of a sinful life. We do this through knowledge – it’s how we grow, it is essential to a healthy spiritual life, by learning and knowing God; and it must be applied and lived out in our lives. We gain knowledge through Bible studies, meeting with small groups of fellow believers, by reading and studying God’s Word with a daily quiet time. All of these things sustain us, both in good times and in times of conflict. Through moral excellence and knowledge, we gain self control: we learn to rein in passion and desire, and controlling ourselves rather than being controlled by outside sources. Proverbs 16 is a great chapter on self control. No one and no thing should control me other than the Master. “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.” Proverbs 24:16 NASB

Can you say “LORD, I’m Yours to count on” ….. ?

Focus

“….. for through Him [Jesus God] God [Father God] created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16 NLT


Why did Jesus leave heaven and come to earth? After all, the Universe was created by Him and for Him, and He was on His throne where He could observe everything and everywhere and everyone. Why leave the glories of a perfect place for this flawed planet, full of flawed beings? What was His focus once here? We go to the book of Hebrews and the words of Jesus Himself for the answers.

“Therefore, when He comes into the world, He [JESUS] says, “Sacrifice and offering You [FATHER GOD] have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me; In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the Scroll of the Book it is written of Me) To do Your Will, O God.’ ” After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your Will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:5‭-‬10 NASB

Jesus came for the sole purpose to do His Father’s Will, and in doing so fulfill Prophesy: feeding on the promises God has made, verse 7 “In the Scroll of the Book it is written of Me.” God’s prophesies start in Genesis (3:15, 12:2); Isaiah 7:14, 11; 2 Samuel 7:16; through Micah and Hosea, books full of prophecies, and throughout Scriptures. Jesus is the “fulfillment of the laws and prophets”. Out of a thousand prophesies in the Bible, 500 have been fulfilled; 409 of them by Jesus! He is following the Father: in verses 7-9, He is speaking to God the Father, ready to do His Father’s Will. Jesus is defined by following God’s Will. In

John 5:30, He says I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And again in John 6:38, He says  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”


Our focus as Christians, as followers of the Christ, needs to be like Him: Obey regardless of the cost; be patient, honest, and steadfast. Our duty is not to find our freedom but to find our Master, otherwise we are enslaved by sin. Everything is ashes if we are not following the will of God. Remember His Mercy and His Grace! AMEN.