Gifts. So many of them. Sometimes I miss them because I am not looking. I took the challenge from the Christian writer, Ann Voskamp to find 1000 gifts from our Creator God. This is my “Thank You Journal”. I list my gifts and find I have lots to be thankful for. They aren’t major gifts. One day it was a sunny day after a lot of winter days. Another day it was simply peanut butter or half a grapefruit. Some days it is that I feel really good or I don’t hurt. I have given thanks for water that comes to my house so easily when I have read that clean water is available in some countries. My grandchildren, my car running despite many miles on it, a hot cup of coffee, a day at home after a busy week are all marvelous gifts. The other day I wrote tacos. I had been wanting to have tacos but since I live alone, I wouldn’t be able to buy just enough make only one meal. When I was at my daughter’s the other day, they had tacos for dinner and I got to stay.
I have made a commitment to put down five things I am thankful for every day. It may seem silly to some that I write down these simple things as gifts. But doing that reminds me that God is interested in even the little events of my life. When things aren’t going well, they remind me that God is there and He is taking care of me. In the really bad times which we all go through, I can have peace.
This isn’t the first Thank You Journal I have kept. But it is the prettiest and probably the least expensive. But inside are words of gold. So I add, thank you, Father in Heaven, that you give me gifts that show me you care. Not big ones most of the time, but small ones I can tuck into my heart. I love you.
A few months ago, we celebrated Christmas–God incarnate, coming in the flesh as a baby. How neat to celebrate that time!
But now the baby is grown. He has died. He has risen. He is alive. I celebrate because I have life in Him, beginning when I came to believe in Him and accept His lordship, to go through eternity! So I celebrate. I have hope!
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you when he was still with you in Galilee?”
(Luke 24:5, 6)
THE TRUTH BE TOLD
The truth be told we’re tied to sin.
Iniquity, transgression tell the truth
of our lives. Sin tosses us bare bones for
life but death is our reward and takes our hope.
But One from heaven took human form and lived
in total submission to His Father, defeating
death and delivering deliverance to those
who choose His life. The truth be told,
our ties to sin are demolished.
Life is transformed.
We have hope.
DEATH HAS LOST ITS STING
Rejoice! for death has lost its sting.
The grave is empty, for the King
no longer lies in chains of death.
He is alive, defeated death.
This living King will soon one day
rule earth and heaven in righteous way.
No longer will the evil stain
what God has made, for Christ will reign.
Christmas. The angels proclaimed Christ’s birth with joyful songs and “peace on earth, good will to men!” But do we see that? There is no peace on earth. There are wars and rumors of war. Terrorists threaten everyone. There are lonely, grieving people. Death touches so many lives. What do we have to rejoice about?
But we misunderstand the peace God offers to man. When Adam sold the world into sin and Satan’s power, the relationship with God was broken and there was no peace on earth. Ever since, man has been at war with God, wanting to run their own lives, and finding frustration and unrest, not peace. Because Jesus (who is God) came to earth, lived, died, and rose again, he restored man’s relationship with God and through the relationship with Jesus. Even though everything about me is chaos and in tatters, I can have peace with God, true peace. And I rejoice. I have life with God, not just now, but for eternity.
BECAUSE OF LOVE
Glory could not hold him
when love called out his name
His Father bade him change his
clothes of glory’s reign.
The Son of God left heaven
to don a servant’s life
to dress in human skin to
serve those lost to strife.
Because of love he suffered;
because of love he died.
Because of love he rose that
with God we could abide.
The year marches on and we find life takes detours we would rather not take. But God is good and gives peace in the midst of those detours! I am hoping to become a regular on WordPress again as my life takes on more normalcy. Now as I approach Christmas and a New Year, I am grateful that God became a man to bring life and peace to men. May He bring life and peace to you this season.
WHO IS THIS JESUS?
Who is this Jesus, He who came to earth from heav’n in human garb, proclaimed Himself as one with God, and died for men. Against men’s barbs
of unbelief, He called himself, “I am”—the name of God, the One Creator God who made all things that now exist. He is the Son,
and He is God who rules all things. When time is done, His righteousness will rule and all will bend the knee for He will end all wickedness.
Who is this Jesus, He who came to earth from heav’n in human form to bring true life to men on earth, to give to all a bright new morn.
Many years ago, my husband and I walked through a Japanese Tea Garden. It was a lovely, peaceful place. The land had been landscaped and the trees trimmed. It had been transformed.
So with my life. As I go through rough times, I am prone to dwell in fear or anger. It doesn’t help the situation, but it is hard not to react that way when I don’t the pain and grief.
But like the gardener who does beautiful things with the land, God is a gardener who does beautiful things with my life. He can give me peace in the midst of His trimmings and diggings. He has given me a promise that has become dear to my heart: Proverbs 3:5-8. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your way straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
Recently a friend told me her mother had died of brain cancer about four years ago. She had quoted those verses to her daughter many times. It was her life verse. Now, during this difficult time, she clung to it. It gave her peace and strength.
As I have experienced trials, God has used them to minister and strengthen others. I am grateful. I often think how God gave His Son so we may have life. Can I do less than suffer graciously so I can give comfort to others–maybe even life?
God alone knows where the trials lead and how they will end. I’m glad He does. Someday I can ask Him about those things. Meanwhile, I ask for grace to trust Him and experience His peace through all the stormy skies and rough roads.
I ask myself, am I continuing to be thankful? Scripture tells me to be thankful at all times! One of my favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What? In all circumstances? When I tear my meniscus and have pain no matter what I do? When I get strep throat and then a cold? When my finances don’t seem to be what they should?
But then I am reminded that God’s will is that I be thankful. And for that, He gives me peace and joy. Oh, things don’t automatically become better (though they may), but I know that He is listening to me and I can trust Him. He is in charge. After all, He is not my personal servant boy, waiting on hand to give me whatever I ask, or my Aladdan with a magic lamp. He is the Creator of the Universe who showed His love and care about 2000 years ago when He came to earth to die for me! Through that, He has opened heaven’s door to me. This life is so short (though in suffering it doesn’t seem so!) and ahead of me lies heaven since I have embraced Jesus as God eternal and my Savior.
So I ask myself, am I continuing to be thankful? I must admit, too often I am not. But when I come back to God’s will for me and express thanks for the marvelous gift of coming as man to earth (an event we are soon to celebrate), plus the gifts He has given me, He gives joy and peace. This life with all its sorrows and pain will soon come to an end and then the decision I have made about Jesus will bring joy and peace forever.
With His fingers, God created all the universe and me. Just as sure, His fingers stir my heart in healing for my soul. I know that as I walk my path, nothing will defeat me, for He has pinned me to His heart. As I learn from His gentle ways, I am spurred to serve with my fingers those in my life, that they may win when life bangs their shins or breaks their bones. He desires that His fingers may bring healing into their living as they are assured of His love.