Gratitude for the win!!

This past Christmas, I received a Digital Picture Frame as a gift.  I have it set up on my kitchen counter, and while I’m doing dishes, I see pictures of my loved ones.  I see pictures of the moments of our lives.

I’ve been told that people who keep gratitude journals or make a conscious effort to focus on their blessings in life—-are happier, healthier people.  There is scientific evidence that keeping a gratitude journal helps addicts stay sober, and actually changes lives.

Looking at the pictures that come across the Digital Frame, is a visual reminder of all the many, many blessings in my life–all the many, many moments I am grateful to have experienced–all the many, many people I have been blessed with in my life.  

I find that scripture supports this idea of focus and transformation:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  Philippians 4:8

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

.….let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…..Hebrews 12:1,2

We are transformed by renewing our mind.  We renew our minds by fixing them on Jesus. Jesus is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.  Jesus is the literal Word of God and is God.  John 1

  As we are transformed we act differently–we show what God’s will is to the world.  God’s will is for us to love Him, and to love each other.  Jesus as God in human flesh, showed us what this love looks like.

It’s not hard to understand—it’s just impossible to do–in our own strength.  That’s why Jesus sent us the Helper–the Holy Spirit.   It starts with fixing our eyes on the One who loves us and gave up His life for us.  It starts and ends with Jesus.  I guess that’s why He is called the Alpha and Omega–the beginning and the End.

May We Be Encouraged!!

Why did Jesus have to die?

“Why did Jesus have to die, in order to save us from our sins”.  I have asked this question to a number of people over the years and many people have no idea why.  I mean think about it, why couldn’t Jesus have made some cookies, or run a marathon to pay off our sin debt—why did He have to die?

Recently, I had a conversation with a woman, and I asked her this very question.  She also had no idea why Jesus had to die.   I showed her the verse in Romans —-”For the wages of sin is death….” (Romans 6:23)  I told her that each of us has earned a death penalty for our sins–a spiritual separation from God—and that death penalty has to be paid with death.

Think of it this way, if I got a ticket for $200 for speeding, I couldn’t pay for that ticket with a batch of cookies –I would have to pay for the ticket with $200.

When I was a young woman in my twenties, I went with some friends to New York City.  I parked, by mistake, in a no parking zone, and the car was towed.  We had to ride the subway to where it was towed, and pool our money together to pay the toll,   While we were standing in line, we talked with some others, and explained to them—that this is what Jesus did for us—He paid what we owed—but the stakes were far higher—He sacrificed His own life—to save all of our lives.   He paid all of our tolls—so to speak.

For Christ died for sins, once for all…”  (1 Peter 3:18)  Our Death penalties had to be paid for with Death—if we choose to pay our own penalties–we will be in a state of death, (spiritual separation from God), forever.  

However, Jesus was able to pay for all of our sins–with His One Death—because Jesus is God–come in human flesh—-so with His One Death—He could pay for an unlimited amount of death penalties.

That is why the rest of that verse reads, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

So how does one avail themselves of this free gift of eternal life?   By faith.

“By grace you have been saved through faith…..” Ephesians 2:8    Faith is the ability to take God at His Word.

   Faith says, “Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins, Jesus.  Thank you for forgiving me.   I accept Your great gift.  I accept a relationship with You.  I ask You to come into my life, and make me the person You created me to be.”

It’s as simple as that.     Jesus has sacrificed to save us—and this is what we celebrate this week—that our Lord and God, (in the words of the Apostle Thomas–John 20:28), died for us and then rose from the dead.  He has power over life and death.   

This is good, good news!!

So, let us be encouraged!!



Access—to the powers that be—very few of us have it–or do we?

When my husband and I were first married, I observed that whenever he would call his dad, (his dad owned his own law firm in Boston, MA), his calls were put right through—-every single time.

However, when we visited the law office, I heard his assistants take message after message, and very few people got right through to my father-in-law.

My mom is a pretty popular gal–and she has many friends, and so much family.  This past year, she has been battling cancer.  I have noticed that whenever one of my siblings or myself wants to spend time with her—she has all the time in the world for us—-we are a part of her inner circle.  However, she tires easily, and so limits her time spent with others.

So what is my point here?   My point is that in the same way that my husband had immediate access to his dad, and I have access to my mom, because we are their children—whoever is a child of God–has access to Him as well.

Scripture tells us—that whoever receives Jesus–to them He gives the right to become children of God.  Scripture also tells us that God adopts us as His children, and He goes further than that–placing His Spirit into our very beings–making us new creatures in Him.  We now are partakers in His very nature!

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16.  

We are God’s kids!!  We have access to Him.  If we call out to Him–we get right through.  He is never too busy for us.  

Aren’t those amazing thoughts to dwell upon?  He will never stop fighting for us, even when we can’t fight for ourselves.   God is our Dad!!!   Think about that!!  The One who created the heavens and the earth, has created new lives within us, and calls us His Own!!

May those thoughts encourage us today!!

Riley Clemmons – Fighting For Me (Piano Version)

Sleepless Nights–A Blessing?

Songs—the music and lyrics— make their way past the walls of my life into my emotions, into my soul, and help me to understand what was previously not understandable.  Blessings, by Laura Story, is a song that has reached into my heart, and helped me comprehend with my heart and mind, a perspective on trials being a blessing. This is something I could not get my mind around in the past.

I found out that Laura wrote this song after her husband was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. 

Perhaps you too are dealing with a trial that seems too hard to bear—and you are desperate for hope and help.

Listen to this song and read the words to the song posted after the song. 

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

I pray that the message of this song, will minister to your heart, as it has to mine, and I pray that:

You will be encouraged!!