Monday, June 27, 2022

Silence Is Never Misquoted


Daily Gratitude Year 10- Day 178: Today, I am grateful silence is never misquoted.

Oh, the desire within our human nature to have the last word! We want to be right. We want to win the fight. There are times when the best response is silence. 

The tongue is so small, but it can cause so much trouble. How many times do we regret the things we say in frustration and anger? Often, right? Once an angry word is spewed like venom, it can't be reclaimed. 

Like the dandelion puff we blow into the wind with a wish, the seeds of angry words once spent, cannot be recollected. They are in the wind, taking root in fertile soil. It can't be undone. 

"People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison." -James 3:7-8

Yes, there are apologies. But, some words leave emotional scars. It is better to speak wisely or not at all. 

"Sometimes, not saying anything is the best answer. You see, silence can never be misquoted."

Being a "word person", I know I need to be extra careful. Words can pierce the soul and bruise the heart. I blow it sometimes, and I ache over the things I should have said differently or not spoken at all.  His work within me is far from finished. 

We are instructed to love God relentlessly, chasing His heart. We are to love others with grace and gratitude. We are to love others the way He loves us... because of the way he loves us.

There are times silence is the perfect response. Choose love. 

Today, I am grateful silence is never misquoted.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

God's Omniscience

 Daily Gratitude Year 10- Day 177: Today, I am grateful for reminders of God's omniscience. 

I know, intellectually, nothing is hidden for God. Nothing surprises Him.  The last few Sunday's there have been lessons from the life of Elijah. I love that guy. He is real. Sometimes, on a spiritual high and other times, life's disappointments get to him. He is like most of us. 

We may spend another day on his passage, because one of my favorite moments in the life of Elijah happens later in the chapter. But, today, this verse has been stuck in my head all day. 

"And incidentally, there are 7,000 men in Israel who have never bowed to Baal nor kissed him!”   -1 Kings 19:18

God knew who was true! Elijah was discouraged and he was weary. Queen Jezebel was determined to see him dead in her fury. God showed up in a mighty way and embarrassed the arrogant Queen. Her prophets of the idol Baal, ended up dead. Elijah, strengthened by God, out runs the King's chariot. Elijah makes his escape. 

When God and Elijah are discussing what happened in Chapter 19, Elijah is feeling sorry for himself. Evil is everywhere and the people are not turning their hearts toward God. Elijah feels alone, but God very clearly tells him he has 7,000 men in Israel who have remained faithful to the One True God, never bending a knee to him. They have not worshiped the popular idol. 

Just like that, God tells him the headcount of the faithful. Just like that!  He knows who among us today are faithful, too.  Is the knowledge of his omniscience reassuring or terrifying? Ah... the Word has an answer to that question:

"Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." -Proverbs 1:7

Some translations say it is the beginning of wisdom. When the reality of who He is becomes more real, we find ourselves in awe of the awesome One. We pause. We ponder. We pray. We humbly kneel before The King. 

Today, I am grateful for reminders of God's omniscience

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Right Thing At the Right TIme


Daily Gratitude Year 10- Day 176: Today, I am grateful  His Word is the right thing at the right time.

Sometimes, we need encouragement. Sometimes, we need correction. We always need what flows from His Word. 

"But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” - Matthew 4:4

We like the things that make us feel good. We grow from the things that make us stretch. It is true. The "struggle bus" is where we grow.  In time and in submission to "thy will be done", we find ourselves learning to trust and finding joy in obedience. We are all works in progress. 

His Word is living, breathing and always delivers on time, but we have to open it up to receive His instruction. Savor it. Share it. Grow with it.  

Today, I am grateful  His Word is the right thing at the right time.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Our Guardian


Daily Gratitude Year 10- Day 175: Today, I am grateful for our Guardian against the evil one.

This world is full of evil. It is everywhere. A great read is "The Screwtape Letters" by C. S. Lewis, but it also reminds me that beyond the obvious evil around us... there are things unseen. The book is fiction, but it represents  the truth that if we believe in God, Jesus and his angels... we cannot dismiss the other side of the war for our souls. It is game on. 

It is good to know we have a  faithful Guardian against the evil one! We have a Guardian who will strengthen us and who will be with us. 

"But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one." -2 Thessalonians 3:3

Isn't it good to know there is a promise of faithfulness? 

When C.S. Lewis was wrestling with his own faith, he was hanging out with a group of friends that  included J.R.R. Tolkien. They had many deep discussions about whether or not the Bible was true. When Lewis picked up the four Gospels, he found they read more like reports than religion. His spirit stirred. 

In time, Lewis said "Yes!" to the call of Christ on his heart and life. This is one of my favorite quotes about surrendering our will to His will: 

"Jesus Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or He was who He said He was” -C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis had his revelation moment where he knew. The blinders fell off.  He gave his heart to Jesus and instead of finding it burdensome, he realized he was really free. The guardian of his soul would  strengthen him,  protect him and fight for him. 

That is as good as it gets!

Today, I am grateful for our Guardian against the evil one.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

New Strength

Daily Gratitude Year 10- Day 174: Today, I am grateful for new strength. 

This scripture is loved by many. It is full of hope and promise. The NLT translation is not the most popular, but I found it helped me dig a little deeper into the verse. 

"But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." -Isaiah 40:31

When we "trust in the Lord" we do not waste energy trying to control things that are in His hands. When we let go and let Him drive, we find "new strength". We can recharge our souls because He is in the driver's seat. 

New strength. Renew is the word in some of the other translations. The Hebrew word is "halap". A common translation of the word is "change". New. Renewed. Changed. When we trust in Him, something changes. 

To run without growing weary and to walk and not become faint, awakens something inside of us. Something good. 

Today, I am grateful for new strength. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Shared Power


Daily Gratitude Year 10- Day 173: Today, I am grateful for shared power.

We lost power at work this week for a chunk of the afternoon at the end of the day. I was quickly reminded of the blessing of back up generators. It is a form of shared power.  Everyone tried to reduce where we could to make what backup supply we had last longer.  It gave us time to finish some things and made sure no work was lost. I am grateful for those who have the insight to prepare us for those times when a backup power source is necessary. 

When the tornadoes tore through our community several years ago, we were without power for a significant amount of time. Our house is close to our next door neighbor's,  Jim and Susie. They have a generator. We do not. They shared their generator power to keep our fridge running and cold and  we were able to light some lamps. Such a gift! Shared power carried us through until the power returned. 

Another time I think of shared power is when I read the book of Acts in the Bible. For the ones who walked with Jesus closely, his return to heaven after resurrection must have been devastating. They must have felt as if they had lost their power source. But Jesus told them they would send His Spirit. He would not leave them orphans. They would see great things. 

"Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”" - John 1:50

"No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you." -John 14:18

He did not not abandon them. His Spirit descended upon them on the Day of Pentecost and they knew they were plugged into His power.  They went out into the world to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus. They were excited and fearless.  The went out knowing His power would not fail them.  In life or in death...  His promises were true. 

Today, I am grateful for shared power.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Rest In The Shadows

Daily Gratitude Year 10- Day 172: Today, I am grateful for rest in the shadows.

Another hot week. This scripture made me think about what it means to rest in the shadows.

There is a sense of cool retreat when we sit in the shade. The shadow doesn't hurt us. When the sun burns hot, it is good to find comfort in the shade. If we rest in the shadow of the Almighty, it is a shelter like no other.

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty." -Psalm 91:1 

Food, shelter and clothing are considered basic human needs. They are. Take them away and we don't survive long. 

I've never had any desire to be on the reality show "Naked and Afraid".  I'm not a fan of discomfort.  The show does remind us that covering our bodies gives us some protection from the elements. Clothing is not just about fashion. I've not watched the show often. I know there are times when sunburn is a real concern, when the climate offers little shade. 

I love the natural light of the sun. I thrive when the light is ample, but there are times it is good to pause and celebrate the shade of the shadows. 

Live, dwell, abide... celebrate   the shadow that reminds us our God is  near. 

Today, I am grateful for rest in the shadows.