Posts Tagged ‘thankfulness’

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Staring at the abundance of fruit that was overflowing onto the countertops, I clapped my hands with excitement.

“Kids, look at all the fruit!  I prayed that God would provide us with fruit and he did!”

God didn’t promise that life would be easy, but He did promise He would supply for all our needs.  Yep, that’s my Father, my Abba, taking care of even the smallest of desires!

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  – Hebrews 13:15


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broken car

I’m sitting here at work desperately trying not to give into the temptation to grumble and fret.  I made a commitment this week and I plan on sticking to it.  My half day Friday has ended, and excitedly I packed my things up to go home and get lunch before heading off to the Trail to serve coffee, but that is not meant to be.  After turning my car on, it huffed and vibrated, with all the warning lights turning on.  Much to my dismay, I’m back at my desk wondering how are we going to get to the Trail with all the supplies on time and how will my daughter get to work.

But I made a commitment!  God promised that ALL things would work together for good, so there’s a blessing in this situation.  I just need to find it.  🙂  So, Father, thank you for the car, thank you that it didn’t break down while I was driving, and thank you that I can wait in a warm place.  Blessings come in disguises.

In all things will I give thanks.

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After spending the weekend feeling discouraged and fearful, I decided that I would focus on finding little blessings throughout the day.  As I found things, I would text them to my husband.  Blessing #1:  the ability to text so I can stay in touch with Josh all day.  Blessing #2: God provided lunch at work, etc.  The discouragement and fear were beginning to be replaced with peace and joy, that is, until I received a phone call.  A doctor’s office called informing me of a medical bill that I had no idea I even had.  They were very unsympathetic to my surprise, all they cared about was when they would receive payment.

“God, really?  I’m trying to do the right thing here by not grumbling and complaining.  What’s this all about?  Why can’t we get a break?”

In the quietness of the moment, God answered, “What about the commitment you made this morning about be thankful for the blessings?”

“Yes, BLESSINGS, not more bad news!”  I complained.  “You know we’ll never be able to pay this!  We can’t even buy a roll of paper towels!” (fact, not exaggeration)

“But who’s to say that I didn’t just give you a blessing?”  God challenged.

“What?” I retorted, but then I stopped and thought about it.  Our helpless situation required a miracle, and the only one that could perform the miracle was God.  There was the blessing.  I would be able to see God provide for us in a way that only he could do!  Through this my faith would be strengthened.

Quite humbled and filled with gratitude, I responded, “You’re right, God, this bill and this situation is a blessing.  No matter what, I will praise you.”

That night, my husband and I shared with our children the situation that we were in and our commitment to give thanks in all things.  As our kids prayed asking God to meet our needs, they also made sure they thanked him for all that he has given.

Sometimes blessings come in disguises, we just need to have a different perspective.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(I Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)

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Image from Los Angeles Times


As they pulled up to a modest looking motel, Thomas was surprised that they were not staying at one of the plusher extravagant hotels that they had passed. He wanted to ask why but thought better of it. He quietly fell in step behind Matthew. Matthew paused at the check-in desk to confirm his reservations.

Puzzled, the receptionist searched the reservations on her computer screen, “No, I don’t have any reservations for you, sir.”

Frowning Matthew replied, “That’s odd. I made advanced reservations.”

As if in a rush, the lady replied hotly, “Well, it’s not here and besides that there is no room. We are booked.” Before Matthew could reply she loudly called, “Next!”

Feeling hopeful, Thomas suggested, “We could always try one of the nicer ones.”

Deep in thought, Matthew murmured, “No, that would defeat the purpose.”

After hailing a taxi, they were on the freeway heading back to the poorer district. Thirty minutes later, they pulled up to what resembled more of a shack than a motel. The bed
sagged while the sheets looked as if they hadn’t seen a wash in a very long time. Peeling wallpaper donned the cracked walls. As they stood there examining the room, a rat scurried by their feet.

Thomas had enough, “Really,” he exploded, “You are an ambassador of the Royal Court of Miskana! This is how they treat you?”

Matthew smiled, “Don’t worry so, Thomas, we are not here to be exalted. We have a job to do. We are running out of time. We must dress quickly.”

Managing as best they could with the cracked mirror, both rushed to clean up and put on their formal wear. Stepping out into the darkness, they carefully avoided the muddy pot holes of the parking lot. As they reached the street corner to hail a taxi cab, a figure clothed in a long dark overcoat plowed into Matthew. Instinctively, Matthew grabbed the falling figure to steady her.

With a surprised gasp, the frightened girl looked up, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.”

Matthew chuckled, “It’s no wonder with that streetlamp out. It’s hard to see!”

The girl pulled back in fear as if waiting for a sharp rebuke, or worse yet recognition as belonging to Rasha. Sensing her fear, Matthew gently spoke, “It’s alright. No harm has been done. You don’t need to be frightened.”

Feeling slightly relieved that the stranger didn’t recognize her, Adi mumbled her thanks and pushed past him. She had to hurry if she was going to make it in time to meet Ze’ev.

“May we offer you a ride in our taxi? We’ll drop you off wherever you need to go!” Matthew called after her.

Adi hesitated, confused by the stranger’s kindness. Or was it kindness? Maybe he did know who she was and was planning to harm her, but then again, she had never heard such tenderness before. Her heart stirred within her. Before she could listen to her doubts anymore, she rushed back to Matthew who stood holding the taxi door open for her.

After giving the driver her destination, Adi nervously sat back in the seat and stared out the window. Matthew slid in next to her while Thomas chose to sit in the front by the driver. “I’m Matthew and you are?”

The girl fumbled, obviously scared by the question, “Umm, Catherine.” She lied as she went back to staring out the window.

Sensing that the girl did not want to talk, Matthew settled back in the seat. Occasionally, he would steal a glance at her, but in the darkness he could only make out her silhouette. He was troubled by the fear he had sensed in her. His heart ached to help her understand that she could be free from the life she led. But the time was not quite right. Something had to happen before she would understand.

Time passed in silence. At last the driver pulled to the side of the curb. Relieved that the uncomfortable situation was over, Adi jumped out of the car without a word of thanks. Matthew and Thomas both watched her as she disappeared into the darkness.

Thomas gave a frustrated grunt, “She didn’t even say thank you! How ungrateful!”

“It’s okay, Thomas. Appreciation and love are very minimal here. The common belief is that society owes them for the hardships that have been imposed upon them. They deserve to receive kindness not to give kindness.”

Confused, Thomas turned to look at Matthew, “But if everyone has that mentality, then no one gives kindness and so no one receives it, do they?”

Matthew chuckled, “It’s rare. Often the kindness of others comes with a price. If you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Kindness is conditional. People here have a difficult time expressing encouragement, compliments, or appreciation to others.”

“Why is it difficult when giving encouragement brings so much joy, both to the giver and to the receiver? It’s a win-win situation!”

“Pride for one thing. They seek to exalt themselves not others. Jealousy, bitterness, selfishness to name a few reasons, but when they have never truly experienced real love, how can they possibly give something that they don’t have? That is why we are here—to show them the real meaning of UNconditional love.”

….to be continued….

The Inner Workings of the Story:

Even though Jesus sent advanced notice of his first coming through the Old Testament prophets, many of the Jewish people missed the signs for they were looking for a King to deliver them from the Roman’s rule. When Jesus came to earth, he did not come as a king in all his majesty, but rather a humble baby who was not born in a fine palace or even a mediocre motel. When it was time for Mary to deliver, there was “no room in the inn”, only a dirty filthy stable was available, but that was all apart of God’s plan. How do you show the world unconditional love? By sacrificing everything! It wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice if Christ traded one palace for another now would it?

“Therefore, The Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14

“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

“Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped him snugly in cloth and laid him in a feeding trough- because there was no room for them at the inn.” – Luke 2:7

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