Count Your Blessings!

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” Psalm 103:2

I love Autumn.  To me, it is a season of tucking in.  The air turns a little cooler, with just a hint of crispness touching you amid the fall breezes.  Smells change as we turn from super floral fragrances to that of cinnamon, spice, and everything nice.  Schedules, prayerfully, slow down a bit as the run around of summer dissipates and more time is gathered around home and family.

For me, the feeling of fall brings an added bonus.  It seems that with the shifting of seasons we become more reflective and our hearts turn more to being appreciative of what we have and have been blessed with.

One day recently, things did not go according to plan.  My schedule was shot and the things I had on my agenda for the day – well, most of them didn’t happen.  But, as I spent time thinking about it, I just began to mentally thank God for all the things He did allow me to do.  Although my plans went awry, I was able, in those moments, to be there for others, to support them, and help them.

Lately, I have felt a strong impression on my heart to literally count my blessings.  Not by number, but by being more appreciative of daily things.  The day may have been hard and full of work that was strenuous, but I thank God that I was able to work it.  I may not have gotten the whole house clean, but I thank God for the small chores that I was able to accomplish.  The food on the table may not have been food cooking show worthy, but I thank God, not only for the food but for the opportunity to serve my family in this capacity on this day.

In the little things, as well as the big things in life, there are so many reasons to be grateful.  If we truly took a moment to reflect, we would readily say that God has been so good to us.

Life is going to happen.  And while we are living, it’s going to happen to us all.  Some days are going to go off perfectly, without a hitch, and we’ll feel like we can take on the world.  Other days may feel like a constant struggle – just making it through – can’t wait until bedtime comes and bring this day to a close.

Whatever the day brings, may our hearts find reminders of gratefulness in it.  Focusing more on God and the blessings that He has already provided can tip the scales, allowing the counting of blessings to far outweigh any negatives we may face.

How does Autumn speak to you?  Do the changes of the seasons stir special feelings inside you?

Whatever this season brings you, I pray God’s best for you in it all.

Blessings ~

“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;” Psalm 105:5

“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?” Psalm 116:12

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 118:29

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

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“Lay it all down!”

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

Lay those burdens down!  Give yourself permission to release it, and let it all go.  Grab hold of the confidence of His Word, and cling to it for dear life.

This world is raging.  Things we’ve never seen before are unfolding at a frightening rate.  Hurts are dissimulating families.  Distresses are speaking despair into lives.  Lay it all down!

Refuse to pick it up today!  That fear; that feeling – refuse it space in your world today.

Who does God say I am?  What does His Word speak over my life?  That’s what I choose to pick up today.  That’s what I am choosing to carry with me.  Not these burdens.  Not these worries.  They are hindrances to my progress.  They’re deflating my steps.

I want to run!  I want to run for You, Jesus!  I want to run my race well and effectively.  But, in order to run, I have to release some things that’s been holding me down.  I must cast disappointment aside.  I have to get rid of any sin that’s stopping me from running full speed ahead for the Lord.  I have to throw away everything that’s not working for my heavenly good and trust in God the Father who is.

Lay it all down, dear friend, lay it down.  The heaviness it holds it’s not worth it.  Don’t coddle it.  Don’t get comfortable with it.  Don’t declare this is how it is now.

No, get rid of it.  By faith, be determined.  By faith, walk in the confidence of the God who has spoken beautiful things over your life.  By faith, don’t just claim His peace – live it, because it’s already yours!

The weight is not yours to carry, but His peace is.  Run your race with Him and be blessed.

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“What will you do in the end?”

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You are watching the movie.  The scene is intense.  You are waiting for something climactic to happen.  Then, so as not to disappoint the viewers, the characters stumble upon a ticking agent.  On it, there is a clock whose time is counting down indicating when it reaches zero, something big is going to happen.  The time will be up.

We love those moments when the story keeps us on the edge of our seats.  When it makes us stay glued in anticipation of what the characters are going to do now, or what’s going to happen in the end when the signal comes and there is no more opportunity to avert the crisis.  Danger is imminent.  The time of warning is over and the cataclysmic event starts now!

While it might be fun to watch on the screen as the suspense builds and the action unfolds, there is a very real countdown coming and once it reaches its end we must ask, “What will you do?”

The problem is so many are unprepared for what the end will bring.

Jeremiah had to confront the people with this line of questioning in his prophesying.  The Lord used Jeremiah to let the people know about the wickedness He sees in the land.  But, He also uses Jeremiah to confront false prophets who prophesy lies and love tickling the ears of the people and the people who give ear to it.  In Jeremiah 5:30-31, he writes, “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will you do in the end thereof?”

With wickedness pervading the land the people needed a good, healthy dose of Holy Ghost truth spoken into their lives and not messages that sugarcoat their wrongs and make them believe that they are still okay and that God is still going to bless them. Because there is an end coming and what is it going to profit them if they have not learned to live holy, if they have not learned to repent, if they have not learned that there is a right way before God to live, but they are not there yet.

Yes, we have the promise of heaven before us if we are living lives of righteous faith before God but on the other end of the spectrum, there is a very real, horrible place called hell.  It is a place for judgment and punishment that will never see an end.

Too many are unprepared for an eternal future in one place or the other because they are not taught to be ready anymore.  They are not taught that tomorrow is not promised and that they could step into eternity at any moment.  They are not taught that holiness matters and that God requires holiness for He said, “Be ye holy; for I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:16).

Instead, there is a lot of tickling of the ears.  Messages that continually show us how to prosper here and tell us that we are next in line here even though this earth is not our final home.  While I enjoy a good message of blessing myself, I and everyone else also need to know how to prosper and push for the eternal goal of heaven.  Without it, what will you do in the end?

In that time to come, how will you be prepared for the reality of what lies ahead?

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein . . .” (Jeremiah 6:16a).  When you do that, when you seek the proven path of God’s word and choose to live by it then we have this promise for our end, “ye shall find rest for your souls,” (Jeremiah 6:16b).

Sadly, many choose not to listen for the rest of that verse tells us, “But they said, We will not walk therein,” (Jeremiah 6:16c).  They made the decision for their eternity.

The way forward into eternity with God is through the old proven path of His sound Word.  God relayed through Jeremiah that when He delivered His people He instructed them to “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you,” (Jeremiah 7:24).  But, the truth became clear: “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward,” (Jeremiah 7:25).

They chose a backward mentality after the things that would not profit them in the end.

Daily we find ourselves running against the clock to get this done and that.  May we all take heed that there is a spiritual clock we are racing against, and one day it will read “Time’s up!”  What will you do in the end?  A very real question that will one day require a very real answer.

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“In the weary land . . .”

In the weary land, we don’t have to be wearied. In the parched places, we don’t have to feel the dryness of our surroundings. We were made to flourish. We were made to grow and thrive. We were made to still produce good fruits through the difficulties of dismal days.

Our shelter and our hope is in that Rock (Psalm 18:2) upon which we sing and stand. It is He, that the whole of our lives bases their confidence upon. He is our Light that brings salvation even in the darkest days (Psalm 27). This we know, for the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).

Faith that knows the Father is near. Faith that believes healing is on the horizon. Faith that sees beyond what the eyes behold, knowing God has much more than this in store for His people.

The weary land may try you at times, but we have this solace and peace upon which we can rest our minds, for His Word declares, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusted in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

Help us to stay in that peace, Lord. Even through the weariness of days, help us to continually fix our hearts upon You, and in that promise that says:

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.” Psalm 63:1-8

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38

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“Our Hearts”

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Our hearts are considered to be the very center of our being. It is the seat of our emotions, cares, and love for those around us. It is in our hearts that we make some of the toughest choices in life. What we think and what we carry will guide the heart or prohibit certain paths of travel.

But sometimes, our hearts can carry even more than we know, more than we can see, feel, or are aware of. Knowing this, David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), invited God to take a closer look at his own heart. He opened himself, no holds barred, for God to do exploratory surgery in every crevice of that bodily member that lies at the center of our being.

How bold of him, you may think. For some, there may be things that they don’t want to be touched. But for David, his greatest joy was his relationship with God. And, his end purpose of inviting God’s holy inspection was to be led “in the way everlasting.” He wanted nothing getting in the way of that, and neither should we.

If God were to knock on the door of your heart today, would you invite Him in to take a closer look? There is nothing there that He doesn’t already know. Like Adam and Eve hiding in the Garden on that revealing day of the Fall, His probing “Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9) isn’t because He doesn’t know, but that we may become aware of our position in Him. It is only then that we can correct any waywardness as David sought to when he earnestly prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

“I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2

“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” Proverbs 27:19

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Helpful Articles:

“Your Hearts Shall Live!”

“Open Your Heart . . .”

“Your Heart Wants God”

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Your Word Has Given Me Life

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“This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.” Psalm 119:50, NKJV

The richness of God’s Word can never be underestimated in our lives.  When sought after wholeheartedly, it becomes more than we could ever hope for.

As we peruse the pages of Scripture and happen upon those words that speak directly to our hearts – that speaks directly to our situation – that speak, in some way or form, directly to us personally – those words give us life.

They animate us from the inside out.  They stir something beautiful and special in us, a sweet meditation of the heart that is full of His Spirit and fuel for our life because the living Word is not only about what is written before our eyes on those glorious pages, but it dwells in the very center of our being.

You cannot have a satisfactory and full, beautifully flourishing relationship with God if you do not have a relationship with His Word, who also our Lord Jesus Christ is described as (John 1:1, 14).

Scripture doesn’t just tell us stories of a long-ago time for us to glean wisdom and encouragement from.  My friend, it is so much more.  The very Word is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and anointed, and powerful beyond what the ink of my pen or my understanding could write here today.

Nourished by the Word, it seeps like butter over fresh out-of-the-pan hot pancakes into every crevice of our heart, mind, and soul.  It enlivens us and awakens our spirit in a way that nothing else can.

I implore you, do not neglect the gift and the life found in the Word.  Hold its precepts, its correction, its instructions, and its encouragement like the treasure it is (Psalm 119:11; Colossians 3:16).  Keep it close to you and never let it go.  When you have nothing and nobody else, the Word will be your friend, your advice, your guide, your love, your inspiration, your hope, and your life.

In a previous article, Relationship With the Word, I jotted down some of my favorite “Word” verses found in just Psalm 119, NKJV.  That chapter alone is a treasure trove of verses to learn about and be inspired by God’s Word. I will place them here as well in the hope that they will inspire your heart to find life in His Word.

Pick up these treasures and let them breathe life into your day:

  • “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” (vs. 2).
  • “You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently,” (vs. 4).
  • “Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes,” (vs. 5).
  • “Let me not wander from Your commandments!” (vs. 10)
  • “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You,” (vs. 11).
  • “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches,” (vs. 14).
  • “My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times,” (vs. 20).
  • “Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end,” (vs. 33).
  • “Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it,” (vs. 35).
  • “Establish Your word to your servant, who is devoted to fearing You,” (vs. 38).
  • “Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness,” (vs. 40).
  • “Remember the word to Your servant, upon  which You have caused me to hope,” (vs. 49).
  • “Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe Your commandments,” (vs. 66).
  • “I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right,” (vs. 75).
  • “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven,” (89).
  • “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction,” (vs. 92).
  • “You are my hiding place and shield; I hope in Your word,” (vs. 114).
  • “Direct my steps by Your word,” (vs. 133).
  • “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble,” (vs. 165).

In many dark times, and even on the good days, the Word is what shines a light brighter than any sun.  In the Word, we find comfort, solace, and peace no matter the prisons that try to hold us. We need the WORD!

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Marveling at Great Faith

“When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.” Luke 7:9-10

Jesus was not amazed at the situation or the people who spoke on the Centurion’s behalf.  Jesus was amazed at the Centurion’s response.  He had not met anyone in Israel, among His fellow brethren, who had so recognized His authority and power as this man; someone who willingly gave himself over to total abandon to trust Jesus to heal and believe that He will.

Astounding!  This was the true epitome of “great faith!”

When one’s faith is centered on Jesus, healing can take place.  Not just physical healing, as we see here.  But emotional, spiritual, relational…, in every area of life that needs restoration, Jesus is able to heal.  But it only comes about by faith.  The Bible reminds us, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).  The Centurion filled this faith criterion.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he knew that Jesus was able to do all that he had known of Him, and he sought Him with an open heart of belief.

Jesus spoke highly on his behalf, saying, “I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”  If we were to put our spiritual thermometer in the waters of faith, how would we measure up?  Would we be found on the “greater than” side of faith or on the “less than” side?

Faith is the access key to everything God wants to do through us and for us.  Jesus once taught, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.,” (Matthew 21:22; emphasis mine).  One must believe, as the centurion did, with total abandon, that Jesus can do this for you, too.

Adapted from The Centurion’s Great Faith previously published here on WordforLifeSays.com.

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Despair will try to rob you…

Despair will try to rob you of everything God has for you. Don’t give up. Rather, place your hope in God who is able to turn any situation around and give you peace in the midst of the storm. “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 43:5, NIV

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Always Pray and Not Faint | Words to Live By

One day Jesus is coming back. Until then, keep praying, and don’t give up! Your heavenly Father hears every cry uttered from your lips and spoken silently in your heart. You are loved, my friend. Let your faith rise in your Savior today and believe in His love and power at work in your life. Keep on keeping on. Always pray and not faint!

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” Luke 18:1

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Let God’s Grace Work

Let God’s grace work in the lives of others as He has once worked in your life.

Once, we were without understanding in many areas of life, including the spiritual aspects of life.

There was a time when we didn’t see things as we do now.  Growth will do that for you.  Over time, seeds of change are planted in your life and with the proper soil conditions, they grow and flourish, teaching you, revealing to you, and molding you and me into a better you and me.

How quickly are we to point the finger, verbally or silently, at those who are still struggling to understand?  The place of judging others does not belong to us (Romans 14:4; James 4:12).

We must have patience with our fellow man and remember where we once were and His grace that brought us to this day.  Pray for others as they are still trying to find their footing in this life.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

Did you catch that first phrase of that last verse?  But now…

Remember, we didn’t bring ourselves salvation.  Remember, we weren’t always what we are today.  Remember, it was Christ’s blood that saved us.  His grace did the work that we couldn’t do or didn’t deserve.

Let us show the same grace to others today as God is working on them too.

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