Friday, September 16, 2016

The heart must learn to sing always . . .

Would love to have sat down with this man and heard more of his amazing insights.

The Thanksgiving Lesson 
by J. R. Miller, 1912
Gladness may not be thanksgiving. It certainly is not all of thanksgiving. One may have a heart bubbling with joy, without a note of thanksgiving. The task of happiness is one to which we should all firmly set ourselves. To be miserable in this glorious world, is most unfit. We should cultivate joyousness. But our present lesson is a larger and deeper one. Thanksgiving implies thought of God. One may be glad all the day—and never think of God. Thanksgiving looks up with every breath, and sees God as Father from whom all blessings come. Thanksgiving is praise. The heart is full of gratitude. Every moment has something in it to inspire love. The lilies made Jesus think of his Father, for it was he who clothed them in beauty. The providence of our lives, if we think rightly of it, is simply God caring for us. Our circumstances may sometimes be hard, our experiences painful, and we may see nothing in them to make us glad. But faith teaches us that God is always good and always kind, whatever the present events may be. We may be thankful, therefore, even when we cannot be glad. Our hearts may be grateful, knowing that good will come to us even out of pain and loss.
This is the secret of true thanksgiving. It thinks always of God and praises him for everything. The song never dies out in the heart, however little there may be in the circumstances of life to make us glad. Thanksgiving is a quality of all noble and unselfish life. No man is so unworthy, as he who never cherishes the sentiment of gratitude, who receives life's gifts and favors—and never gives back anything in return for all he gets.
Until we think seriously of it, we do not begin to realize what we are receiving continually from those about us. None may give us money, or do for us things which the world counts gifts or favors, but these are not the best things. Our teachers are ever enriching us by the lessons they give us. Those who require hard tasks of us and severely demand of us the best we can do, are our truest benefactors.
Sometimes we complain of the hardness of our lives, that we have had so little of ease and luxury, that we have had to work so hard, bear so many burdens, and sometimes we let ourselves grow bitter and unthankful as we think of the severity of our experience. But of all times—it has been in these very severities that we have got the richest qualities in our character. If we are living truly, serving God and following Christ, there is no event or experience for which we may not be thankful. Every voice of our lips should be praise. Everyday of our years should be a thanksgiving day. He who has learned the Thanksgiving lesson, well has found the secret of a beautiful life.
"Praise is lovely," says the Hebrew Psalmist. Lovely means fit, graceful, pleasing, attractive. Ingratitude is never lovely. The life that is always thankful is winsome, ever a joy to all who know it.
The influence of an ever-praising life on those it touches, is almost divine. The way to make others good—is to be good yourself. The way to diffuse a spirit of thanksgiving—is to be thankful yourself. A complaining spirit makes unhappiness everywhere.
How may we learn this thanksgiving lesson? It comes not merely through a glad natural disposition. There are some favored people who were born cheerful. They have in them a spirit of happiness which nothing ever quenches. They always see the bright side of things. They are naturally optimistic. But the true thanksgiving spirit is more than this. It is something which can take even an unhappy and an ungrateful spirit—and make it new in its sweetness and beauty. It is something which can change discontent and complaining into praise; ingratitude into grateful, joyful trust.
Christian thanksgiving is the life of Christ in the heart, transforming the disposition and the whole character. Thanksgiving must be wrought into the life as a habit—before it can become a fixed and permanent quality. An occasional burst of praise, in the midst of years of complaining, is not what is required. Songs on rare, sunshiny days; and no songs when skies are cloudy—will not make a life of gratitude. The heart must learn to sing always. This lesson is learned only when it becomes a habit which nothing can weaken. We must persist in being thankful. When we can see no reason for praise—we must believe in the divine love and goodness, and sing in the darkness. Thanksgiving has attained its rightful place in us, only when it is part of all our days and dominates all our experiences.
We may call one day in the year Thanksgiving Day, and fill it with song and gladness, remembering all the happy things we have enjoyed, all the pleasant events, all the blessings of our friendships, all our prosperities. But we cannot gather all our year's thanksgivings into any brightest day. We cannot leave today without thanks, and then thank God tomorrow for today and tomorrow both. Today's sunshine will not light tomorrow's skies. Every day must be a thanksgiving day for itself.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Why in the world have we, as  Christ's warriors, allowed Satan to  reduce  us  to weak, doubtful, fearful, lukewarm, distracted, impotent soldiers?

What has happened to us, sisters and brothers, that we could ever be thus described?!

Paul, through inspiration, had a very different vision for the Christian warrior: strengthened with might, more than conquerors,  renewed day by day, victorious!

Satan whispers the old lie and we repeat it:
  I can handle this
This isn't really a problem for me
I'm a strong person
I can quit whenever I want

 And even more dangerous:               I pray every day, I'm fine!
I read my Bible regularly, more than some
go to church
I give

That LITTLE word is a BIG problem and STANDS IN THE WAY of our strength, our conquering, our renewal and our victory.

Most of us long-time Christians know these favorite verses and can quote them from memory . .  oh! but not usually the parts in bold.

". . . that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . ."                         Ephesians 3:14-17

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 'As it is written: For your sakes we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'
Yet, in all these things we are more than conquerors THROUGH HIM . . "
Romans 8:35-37

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Cor. 15:57

There is no me in my strength
There is no me in my conquest
No me in renewal
And no me in victory

 As we casually glance over our shoulders, comrades are falling all around us. Too weak, too distracted, too fearful to pick up the sword that guarantees victory. And perhaps I am too weak, distracted and fearful to realize: I am one of them.

This is war!

I choose strength
I choose conquest
I choose renewal
I choose VICTORY . . .

He has already won it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wanna be happy, peaceful, contented?

Rejoice . . . always

Pray . . .  without ceasing

 Give thanks . . . in everything

For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

The result of rejoicing always?                      I'M HAPPY
The result of praying without ceasing?          I HAVE A SENSE OF PEACE AND SECURITY
The result of giving thanks in everything?    I'M CONTENT

So . . .

The will of God is that I am happy and have a sense of peace and security and contentment.

Isn't that what EVERYONE wants?
The problem is we think we can attain these through our own means. But God gives us the means, the path, the formula:

As Christians we know this intellectually, but I, for one, forget to intentionally do the rejoicing, the praying, the giving thanks;  always, without ceasing, and in everything. Why?  Because I've taken my eyes off of Jesus Christ. It's a moment by moment, day by day, focused, disciplined, decision to keep the focus on HIM, " . . . for in Him we live and move and have our being . . " Acts 17:28

I want to be happy, peaceful, secure and content. God wants me to be happy, peaceful, secure and  content at all times.  He has given me the formula.He's given me the power. I can only conclude that it is my own foolishness that could ever keep me from it.

The "secret" of God's Word is in its simplicity. We always make it harder than it is. Keeping our eyes on Him around the clock requires dedicated prayer, reading of the Word, checking negative thoughts and replacing them with good ones, holding our tongue. Nothing new or earth-shattering, right?   But if we yawn at that, then we've missed it. Period.  We know it, but don't do it.  It's always our choice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.”
― Emily DickinsonThe Complete Poems

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Highest Compliment

 I read recently that God has paid us,
 His believing children, the highest compliment possible.

Taking a closer look at Romans 8:28-29 I see it:

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
 to those who are called according to His purpose . . .
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined
to be conformed to the image of His Son . .

Isn't God saying here:

It's been my plan all along to work ALL things out in your life;
 the good, the bad, the heartbreak,
 all the things you don't understand why they're happening,
for one reason:
I am conforming you to be like
 my Son Jesus.
 I know you don't understand.
I know it's not easy.
But I'm in control.
I want what is best for you.
I want you to be like Him

Because He's the best.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Fueled by Gratitude

"To be a saint is to be fueled by GRATITUDE,
nothing more and nothing less."
                                                                                         ~Ronald Rolheiser

What fuels me?
When the tank is low, when fears threaten, when discouragement hovers?
When I see mountains in my pathway and darkness all around?
The answer is always the same.
It's so simple though; it sometimes eludes me.

The cross

When I SEE the cross
I am grateful.

When I am grateful
I can do
He asks me.

Monday, February 16, 2015

trust means doing things his way

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,
 and lean not on thine own understanding. 
In all thy ways acknowledge Him 
                          and He shall direct thy paths"     ~Proverb 3:5

We all know it. Could probably quote it since youth. Written in the flyleaf of many Bibles.
A beautiful verse. A reassuring promise. Proverbial wisdom at its best.

But then ONE DAY
in a moment of great need
the words FLY OFF THE PAGE
and into the UNDERSTANDING.

When GOD tells us HOW to do something
but we question it:
What if they . . .
What about this . . .
Couldn't I just . . .
BUT they might . . .

This line of questioning  just left the TRUST realm and entered the
dark waters of my OWN UNDERSTANDING.
But it's not true! I have no understanding.

So, I choose TRUST.
I don't understand it.
I fear the end result.
I'm not even convinced it's the best way.
But it is GOD'S WAY.
So I  take a deep breath,
Do it exactly HIS way 
Take a step back and SEE:

HE directed my path, just as He promised,
An outcome was achieved that I could not have imagined
 I am engulfed in HIS LOVE and REASSURANCE, 


is the irrepressible song I sing.