Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
In her lifetime, Melody has survived abandonment, kidnapping, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, and the death of a child. “Beattie understands being overboard, which helps her throw bestselling lifelines to those still adrift,” said Time Magazine.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Have you wondered lately, “What is wrong with me? Why am I so discouraged and depressed?
If so, you could be under attack by spiritual forces of evil! The apostle Paul wrote about it in the book of Ephesians. He said,
“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:10-12
Recently, a friend said to me, “I think I’m under the attack of the devil.”
I thought, “I think I am, too!”
Thinking about how we both had really geared up our efforts to be obedient to God’s will in our lives, I realized that Satan wasn’t taking it lying down! He was trying to discourage us both! He was trying to steal the Word and wear us down.
He was putting negative thoughts in our minds! Remember: Satan is the Accuser. (Revelation 12:10) He is also the Father of Lies. (John 8:44) He will attack your thoughts. Jesus said,
“Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word …” Mark 4:15
Did the devil attack Jesus? Yes, he did. Did Jesus fight back? Yes, he did. Did the devil finally give up and leave him alone? Yes, he did!
After fasting forty days and forty nights, (Jesus) was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Mathew 4: 3-4
Three times the devil tempted Jesus, and every time Jesus quoted the Word of God to him. That’s how Jesus fought back! Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the sword of the Spirit (our powerful weapon) is the is the Word of God. Jesus fought the devil’s schemes with the word of God. We can, too!
Let us praise and thank the Father, in prayer, for all the promises that contradict the discouragement and lies that come from Satan.
It is written, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
Jesus has promised that if I remain in His love, my joy will be complete. (John 15:11)
It is written “God gives us endurance and encouragement.” (Romans 15:5)
By your grace, you have given us eternal encouragement and hope. (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
It is written, when I am weak, then I am strong because your power is made perfect in weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
I thank you, Father, because you are able to make all grace abound to me, so that in all things at all times, I will have all that I need, and I will abound in every good work! (2 Corinthians 9:8)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength! (Philippians 4:13)
WOW! I feel better already! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The Bible is full of encouragement and love for you and for me!
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?
When I do all the talking, I can’t hear God! That’s right. You heard me right. Do you ever have that problem? Prayer isn’t just talking. It’s listening, too.
Sometimes, in my eagerness to write, I rush ahead of God. When I don’t wait on Him, I make mistakes – not horrible mistakes, but my writing lacks something.
In other words, I can’t wait. So I write in my own strength, depending on my own abilities. That is not what God wants from me.
How do I know that I rushed ahead of God? Because I realize later that I ignored the still small voice. That’s easy to do. We hear the whisper of God’s Spirit, but do not stop long enough to consider it. We cannot wait. We have to plow on.
This quote by John Piper made an impact on me, “To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord.”
I pray that God will teach me to wait and to listen; and to know the difference between working in my own strength or wholly depending on His.
Scriptures to Ponder
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin….” Zechariah 4:10
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12
Memorizing Scripture may have more benefits than you think!
It renews your mind, enabling you to know God’s will.
Romans 12:2 says, “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.” (NIV)
I had never connected this verse to memorizing Scripture until now. But, how better to renew our mind than by memorizing Scripture! That is filling our mind with God’s Word, not something we read once, but something we know by heart! Reading the Bible is important, but memorizing Scripture is important, too!
The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance the Scripture you need at a particular time.
Dallas Willard, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California wrote,
“Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs.“
For example, when people have hurt my feelings by what they said or what they did, the Holy Spirit has brought to my remembrance a verse memorized long ago.
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 NIV*
it has practical advantages
Chuck Swindoll stated, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends!”
Do you ever have trouble going to sleep because you can’t quiet your mind, and you can’t stop thinking about all you have to do? I still remember the 23rd Psalm from memorizing it in childhood, 60 years ago! Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I recite it and meditate on the verses. Nothing is more calming and quiets your mind like reciting and meditating on the 23rd Psalm. I bet many of you learned it as a child, too.
Sometimes the KJV is easier to learn and easier to remember, too. I was just trying to remember Psalm 119:105 and realized that I remember it in the KJV, but not in the NIV. As soon as I said, “Thy word”, it all came back to me!
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 KJV
Another Scripture I rely on when I’m worried or afraid is Psalm 91. (It really isn’t that hard to memorize!)
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91 NIV (1984 edition)
MyTop 5 Tips for Memorizing Scripture
Write it and doodle while you repeat it out loud several times. (I like this idea!)
Learn one verse, and then add another verse to it. Keep adding on one more verse. Always go back to the beginning and recite everything you have learned so far. You can learn long passages this way. (This is how I memorized Psalm 91.)
Play a memory game. Using dry-erase markers, write the verse on a dry-erase board. Read the verse a few times, then erase 2 words at a time. Keep saying the verse until all the words are erased.
Go for a walk and recite all the verses you have learned so far.
Make the wallpaper on your phone the verse you are learning.
Well, I hope you’ve been motivated to start memorizing. I know I have!
Some passages to memorize:
Do you have any memorization tips?
What passages do you recommend memorizing? Please share!
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 NIV
If I compare myself to the Apostle Paul, Joseph in the Old Testament, Corrie ten Boom, or any number of other saints who did great things in their generation, I find myself seriously lacking in many areas. I just don’t measure up. But God had a plan for these people in their generation.
The Bible says, “After David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors…” (Acts 13:36) God had a plan for David that was specific to the generation in which he lived. I believe He has a plan for us in this specific time period.
I don’t live in the same generation as the Apostle Paul, therefore I am not confronted with shipwrecks, angry crowds, horrific prisons, or the prospect of being stoned.
I don’t live in the same generation as Joseph so I don’t have to worry about being sold as a slave, thrown in a dungeon, or having all my brothers hate me. We know that Joseph became ruler over all of Egypt and was highly honored. But …
“In time, Joseph and all of his brothers died, ending that entire generation.” Exodus 1:6
And did things change! The new king didn’t know Joseph and he feared the Israelites, so he made them all slaves. They were mistreated and abused.
My favorite heroine is Corrie ten Boom. She lived during the Nazi invasion of Holland. She and her father and her sister hid Jews in their home during the Holocaust. They were eventually discovered and all three were sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. Her father and sister died there. Corrie was eventually released due to an admistrative error.
I don’t live in the same generation as Corrie ten Boom, so I don’t have to face the horrors of the Holocaust.
When Esther was selected to be the Queen, her cousin, Mordecai said, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
It makes me ponder the question, “What is God calling me to do in my generation?”
This generation is as unique as the generations described above. We have problems that are different than any seen before. School shootings, pressure to conform to the world and its unbiblical views, world starvation, false teachers, teen suicide. The list goes on.
In this unique time, what is God calling us to do?
Tell others about Jesus and the Gospel.
Share our story.
Read and study the Word of God so that we won’t be seduced by error.
Love the Lord.
Pray about everything.
As we become mature in the faith, perhaps God will call us to do something we can’t imagine having the strength to do right now. (Consider how God prepared Joseph to lead Egypt.) But for now, we know exactly what He is calling us to do.
What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts.
P.S. If you haven’t read it, be sure to read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.
I found myself in a situation that took me off guard, and I had no idea what to say. As all of us parents love to do, a friend was bragging on her kid. Then, she added that the child was too smart to believe in the Bible.
I uttered a meager, “But it’s true.”
My words were so faint, I don’t know if she even heard me. The conversation drifted to other topics and the opportunity was gone. I felt ashamed for not speaking up.
The Bible says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV
I wasn’t prepared. It’s that simple.
The next day in prayer, I asked the Lord to forgive me, help me prepare, and give me another chance to witness to her.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV
Paul goes on to say this (from the Amplified translation):
“… be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]…” 2 Timothy 4:2 AMP
I pray that I will learn from this experience and prepare well for the next opportunity God puts in my path.
I confess, it’s easier to write about the Lord’s goodness and love than it is to boldly speak up when an opportunity arises. Oh it’s easy to talk about Jesus at church, but what about around our friends and acquaintances?
Will they talk about me behind my back? Will they avoid me? Will I make them uncomfortable? Can’t I just blend in??
Lord, Give us boldness to speak Truth fearlessly, as we should. Give us boldness to tell about Jesus and His love. Teach us to do it the right way, with gentleness and respect.
Two years ago, I had no idea I was going to write a blog. I had no idea my daughter would lead worship in my church. I had no idea God was getting ready to change my life.
But God had His plan working all along, even though I was completely unaware of what He was doing! He already knew these things would happen. I have prayed frequently and asked God to do many things, but I haven’t always seen the answers I hoped for. Finally, I asked Jesus to teach me to pray.
I learned I was right to ask Jesus to teach me how to pray. He has already taught me something new! Jesus said,“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…: Matthew 6:9-10 NIV
What does that have to do with effectual prayer? Everything! Because, I don’t need to go to God with a list of things for Him to do. What do the words mean “hallowed be your name”? Hallowed means: honored as holy, blessed, greatly revered, respected, honored and worshiped.
Let’s think about that for a minute. When we go to the Father in prayer, let us worship Him. Let us adore Him and recognize the character of our God. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise.
Then Jesus said, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God has shown me that the key to effectual prayer is not about me. It’s not about my ability to pray. It’s about Him! I’ve been too focused on myself instead of on Him!
Let Jesus teach us to pray. Let us worship the Father. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise. Then, let us pray for His will to be done in our life, in our church, in our city, and all over the world. He has a plan that is better than all we can ask or imagine!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20 NIV
The words of the hymn are true, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” But, let us have a new and deeper revelation of His greatness and love. Let us revere and love Him as we should. We can find words to praise Him throughout the Psalms! Here are just a few key verses:
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens…. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him… that you care for him?” Psalm 8:1-4 NIV
“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord who is worthy of praise….” Psalm 18:1-3a NIV
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.” Psalm 25:1-2a NIV
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep…. How priceless is your unfailing love!” Psalm 36:5-7 NIV