Friday, January 28, 2022

In Spirit and In Truth


Gratitude Year 10 - Day 28: Today, I am grateful we can worship in spirit and in truth. 

Are there days your spirit is weary? Are there times when your spirit is lifted high. Are there situations where  your spirit knows you are in the presence of truth? 

My verse of the day today: 

"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” -John 4:24

Such a simple instruction. We can let our hearts dance with delight because the God of the Universe inhabits our worship. Embrace the scripture, the prayer and the music that brings your spirit to a place of knowing you are in the presence of our mighty God. 

Do we look around and see where God is moving in our days? His hand is everywhere. We can see it if we pause and look for it. We can run from Him, but we can't hide. There is a unique peace that comes from letting our whole hearts worship Him. Nothing held back... in spirit and in truth.  

Today, I am grateful we can worship in spirit and in truth. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

God is Still Faithful

Gratitude Year 10 - Day 27: Today, I am grateful God is still faithful.

I loved this image. It looks so warm and cozy and it is very, very cold today. The sentiment really captured my heart today. After all life brings, we can be completely certain our God is still faithful. 

Our God is still faithful when we are celebrating. He is faithful when we are suffering. He is faithful when we are energized. He is faithful when we are exhausted. He is faithful when we are filled with laughter. He is faithful when our hearts are broken and grieving. Our God is faithful on the mountains and in the valleys.  

 "He who calls you is faithful;" -1 Thessalonians 5:24a 

He is always present. He is sometimes silent. He is a mystery. He is full of wonder. He is truth, justice and love. We do not always understand His ways, but we can count on His faithfulness. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. Lean into the shelter of His wings. 

Today, I am grateful God is still faithful.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Hand Cream

Gratitude Year 10 - Day 26: Today, I am grateful for healing hand creams.

I know I don't use hand creams as often as I should. I don't like my hands feeling gunky. (I think gunky is a word.) I don't like them sticky or slippery. Yet, in the winter season... especially with the frequent handwashing... I find my hands are a mess. Hand cream is more than a luxury, it literally helps to restore my hands to good health. Today, they are cracked and bleeding. 

I was blessed today when someone shared their hand cream. I came home and used my own. My hands need several more treatments... and I need to dab some aloe on them. 

In this season, I keep recalling the passage "and the leaves of the trees shall be for healing".  It is in Ezekiel and Revelation, too. Often, much of what we love in the hand creams we favor, comes from nature. 

Long day. Short post. Time for another hand treatment.

Today, I am grateful for healing hand creams.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Whatever Is Good


Gratitude Year 10 - Day 25: Today, I am grateful for whatever is good. 

This world is full of things that are far from good. In fact, things that are noble, right, pure, true and admirable stand out. They are, indeed, praiseworthy. 

The world loves to distract us with darkness. Evil is real, but so is truth, justice, mercy, grace and love. Our God did not abandon us. He left us His Holy Spirit to whisper comfort and encouragement. 

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." -Philippians 4:8

How do we find these things? We must pause and be watchful. They can show up in unexpected places. Where love resides, you can find these things. Love is not self seeking or selfish. Love is not boastful. It is not careless. Where there is love, good things abound. 

When Corrie Ten Boom spoke of the days in the concentration camps under Hitler's rule, she spoke not as much of the suffering but of the tiny little good things they could squeeze out of tragic and dismal days. She looked for God where most thought he would not go, and she found Him. She found Him to be big and strong... and very real. 

When the going gets tough and the days are long, think on the good things. 

Today, I am grateful for whatever is good. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

When Things Make Sense


Gratitude Year 10 - Day 24: Today, I am grateful when things make sense. 

My mind is a mix of the logical and the creative. Organized chaos can render many beautiful outcomes. Most think the two cannot co-exist, but I think they do. God is a god of order, but he allows chaos, too. In creation, he called the chaos into order. Genesis is always a fascinating read. 

As we go through life, there will be seasons with more questions than answers. There are times very little makes sense. We live in a world that is contaminated by sin and other dangers. We press on.

"It would be so nice if something made sense for a change." -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Every once in a while, a picture becomes clearer and yes... some things come in to focus and make sense. When it happens, record it. We are quick to document the trials, but do we celebrate the times things make perfect sense? I need to get better about writing down when clarity comes. We observe and we wait.

Savor the good in this day. 

Today, I am grateful when things make sense. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Shallum's Daughters


Gratitude Year 10 - Day 23: Today, I am grateful for Shallum's Daughters.

Shallum's daughters are some of the first women in the Bible noted for non-traditional female roles. I am so curious about them. They helped rebuild the wall around Jerusalem to protect the sacred city so central to their faith.

Nehemiah was known to them. Nehemiah's passion to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem was contagious. He was cupbearer to King Xerxes (yes, the same King who married Esther) and the King respected Nehemiah enough to offer aid in rebuilding the wall. Many hands were needed.

Typically, men were seen as the builders. Women needed all day to manage the home and tasks like making breads. Shallum's Daughters were granddaughters to Hallohesh, the ruler of half the district of Jerusalem. Who were these women? 

Perhaps, they were more affluent and had more time to do the things that interested them. Perhaps, they were good with their hands and wanted to do their part. The scriptures give few extra details, but it is clear they helped on the wall. They must have been fierce. 

"Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters." -Nehemiah 3:12 

Shallum's daughters must have felt they had something to pour into the project. Perhaps they were smart about architecture and building. Whatever inspired them, they did what they set out to do. 

I love that they did not let anyone intimidate them enough to keep them from the job. They did what they felt directed to do. Surely, they would be legends to the generations that followed. 

When God calls us according to His purpose, we feel the call. We can do ordinary tasks with extraordinary care and passion. We can step out into bigger adventures when we trust His heart and His hand. 

The book of Nehemiah is only 13 chapters, but don't read it too swiftly. There is much to learn and explore. 

Today, I am grateful for Shallum's Daughters.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Don't Look Back


Daily Gratitude Year 10 - Day 22: Today, I am grateful for reminders to not look back. 

It is easy to focus on the past and what is behind us. Especially, when what is ahead looks scary or unknown. Lot's wife provides us with a lesson in looking behind instead of ahead. 

"But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt." -Genesis 19:26

The punishment seems drastic. But, we are told "the wages of sin is death". There are times consequences seem harsh and unfair, but in the light of God's holiness, we know sin is intolerable. Jesus provided the means of reconciliation. 

Jesus taking on our sins might seem unfair, because it is. Love stepped in and took our place. He paid the price so we could move forward and not look back. 

Today, I am grateful for reminders to not look back.