Monday, November 28, 2011

Standing on His Promises

On Christ the solid rock I stand...
After celebrating Thanksgiving again and again (our kids came home in shifts), I’m still counting my blessings. They’re nearing 1,000 now and I have decided to keep the list going. (Why stop at 1,000?) After giving thanks for the wonderful people in my life and the numerous comforts and conveniences that surround us all, I have been reflecting on the endless list of God’s promises in His Word.

For these, I am ever so thankful:
  1. All things are possible with God. 
  2. God’s arm is not too short. 
  3. Nothing is too difficult for the Lord. 
  4. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. 
  5. He gathers His lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. 
  6. No one can snatch them out of His hand. 
  7. God can turn to good what others intended as harm. 
  8. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 
  9. His mercies are new every morning. 
  10. His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. 
  11. He will continue the good work He has begun. 
  12. Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it to the full. 
  13. When facing temptation, He provides a way out. 
  14. He will never leave us or forsake us. 
  15. He gives wisdom to all without finding fault. 
  16. With the Lord as my shepherd, I shall not want. 
  17. He gives us immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. 
  18. The Spirit intercedes for us in groans that words cannot express. 
  19. If we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him. 
  20. He draws us with cords of loving-kindness. 
  21. Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. 
  22. He will make our paths straight. 
  23. He will refresh us like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 
  24. The joy of the Lord is my strength. 
  25. His grace is sufficient. 
  26. He gives us a future and a hope. 
  27. If we abide in Him we will bear much fruit. 
  28. Goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives. 
  29. Better is one day in His courts than thousands elsewhere. 
  30. One day every knee shall bow and every tongue acknowledge that He is God. 
The more I think, the more I thank! I invite you to add your own favorites in the comment section below.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Counting My Blessings

"Those who thank Him in all things find that He gives more to thank Him for." 
"Giving thanks to the Lord keeps my eyes on the Lord." 
"Focus not on the crisis, but on Christ." 
Of all the speakers at the women's conference last weekend, I was moved most by the heart of Ann Voskamp, whose words are above. Through the deep valleys of life, Ann has learned to praise God, to thank Him in all things. She painted a poignant picture of how we can live fully right where we are. It's keeping our hands open to God in life, not closed or withholding anything from Him.

"We were made to give Him thanks," she says. "Not just on one day -- Thanksgiving. We were made to praise Him and to live thanksgiving, every day!" Her book, "One Thousand Gifts" dares all "to live fully right where you are." She challenges each of us to start counting our blessings "to know that God can be counted on."

We all have struggles and stresses, but even on the most lonely of roads, we can find immeasurable blessings if we open our eyes to notice them... fresh dewdrops in sunlight, the rich aroma of coffee, a child's toothless grin, a brisk autumn walk, the flutter of a yellow leaf.

As we start thanking Him, our eyes are opened to the many more blessings... the symphony of the rain, the hoot of an owl, a confidence shared, an invitation extended, the colors of the sky.

I started making a list, and found that the only difficult part about it is taking the time to write them all down... freedoms and flexibility, fresh water in abundance, a delightful memory, words softly spoken, the courage of a young man serving our country.

While I thought I already had a grateful heart, the blessings kept coming richer and sweeter as I recognized anew all that He's given me... to love and be loved, the pleasure of a job well done, a good decision, the privilege of parenting, the gift of laughter... the list continues on and on.

As the appointed day of Thanksgiving approaches, will you join me in making it
a way of life -- to thank Him for all things, in all things? I invite you to share a special thanks you may have otherwise overlooked.

Dear God, giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), I will never stop thanking you for all you have given me. I'm especially grateful for your grace and forgiveness, and the everlasting hope we have in your son Jesus.