Attitude of gratitude

It’s that time of year again. Hard to believe but it is already time for thanksgiving this Thursday. Time to spend with family and friends enjoying what God designed from the very beginning when he said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” Fellowship and enjoying others is so important to a satisfied life.

Living every day with an attitude of gratitude and gratefulness can really make a great difference in our quality of life. People spend a lot of time and money trying to enjoy life. I heard it said that it really comes down to 10% of how life treats you and 90% of the attitude you have to that life. So true.

We all have trials and tough situations to face. They bring growth to our lives. We can dwell on the negative or we can look at the positive. I never wanted to be a recovering stroke victim. Unable to walk or even stand. One good hand, poor speech that is very hard to understand. Not much control over body functions.

I have to live in an old folks home away from my family. I don’t see my grandkids that much and my ex-husband has moved on. I have plenty to be bitter about. People tell me life has dealt me an unfair hand but I want my remaining years to be happy and fulfilled. I want my days joyful.

My life is what it is. God has given me a good life. A life that is designed just for me and what is truly best for me. All good and perfect gifts come from the father above. I truly believe that.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. He is right there beside me helping me.

Every day I want to do God’s perfect will for my life. To be able to further his kingdom and touch everyone I come in contact with for God. This is the cry of my heart every morning.

I may be totally helpless when I am flat on my back in bed but when I am up in my electric wheelchair I am very independent. It has taken years of work to get there. But I feel blessed. It could be so much worse. I am used to the life I live. Every minute of every day I see things I can be thankful for.

Quiet is one thing in my life right now that I cherish. It lets me spend time talking to God and also hearing him speak to me. I also have a roommate who watches television 24/7 and with poor hearing it is very loud so I spend all day outside enjoying God’s handiwork.

Living in Arizona we have nice weather most of the year and since I’ve lived here my whole life I enjoy even 100 degree days so only a few weeks am I indoors.

The home I live in is my family. I know everyone and care very much about their lives.

I have my meals prepared, my room and home cleaned, my laundry done and most every need met. My time is free to spend as I want. If I want to sleep all day I can or get up early.

I so love to spend quality time with my children and grandkids. They all live out of town but like to visit. My oldest lives in Ohio but married an airline pilot so I see her a lot. With Facebook I can check in on them anytime.

I have a friend that always reacts to everything coming his way and always negatively. “Oh, I’m not very good today.”  It really worries me how he can be so miserable so much of the time. That is not a good way to live.

I have some really great friends and I love my church and church family. God also has given me favor with people. He has shown me that I am good at encouraging others. It is my calling. I love to write and God has helped me to be good at it. I never would have envisioned my life as it is now but he knows me better than I do.

I am a better person than I thought I could be but then he knows what I’m capable of.

I can’t wait for what is next.

Managing our mindsh

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish in the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”   Genesis 1: 26 NIV

God made us like him with the ability to think and reason. To be in control of our environment. We have been given free will to think however we want. And because we are made in his image we are able to accomplish great things. With his help who knows what we can do.

We have one problem though. We tend to live by our feelings. They are not always true. Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy us. His best and easiest weapon is telling us how to feel to get us to act how he wants. “Oh you feel lousy and no one likes you. It is going to be a bad day.”

We believe him, but that is not the truth. God loves us and wants us to have a good day. We need to take control of our mind. If it is not something God would say then it probably isn’t true. But how do you get control. It’s so easy to feel from one moment to the next.

Someone says something you don’t like. You dwell on it and anger and bitterness ensues. You start becoming short with others. It just keeps growing. You are having a bad day.

I have learned that speaking life and positive things that are in God’s word to myself throughout the day keeps me positive. I have read the Bible every morning for many years now. It has helped me learn many verses. Promises God has given me. Keys for having a full and abundant life.

These are things he has told me to dwell on. And by dwelling on them I keep my mind positive. Satan doesn’t have a chance deceiving me. When he tries, and he will, I can respond with God’s words. Satan does not stand a chance.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he overcame every temptation by speaking His father’s words. When he was tempted to turn stones into bread. He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Even when Satan tried to trick Jesus by telling him to do something because God’s Words said, “…”. Jesus said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God. He did not do or think what Satan wanted him to do or think. He knew better.

We need to have that kind of control over our minds.

In His Presence

In Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near” and in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled,” we are given very important wisdom for a full life. Throughout life we all strive for peace, joy and acceptance. We go to great lengths to get this. God tells us that in His presence is fullness of joy.

That sounds so simple. Can’t be that simple, right? What is the meaning of life and how can we be satisfied and fulfilled.

I was born into a wonderful Christian home. Before I was ever born God had a plan for me. He had a call on my life and knew just how it would play out.

When I was just five I came to know the Lord one day in kindergarten. When I was a teen I went to church camp and was filled with the Holy Spirit.

My life was blessed even though I thought it was normal. My dad always told me how important it was to be at church whenever the doors were open and i was from birth. I always tried to be good and do what I was told. I went to vacation Bible school each summer and won prizes for learning all the books of the Bible, memorizing scripture, and knowing different Bible characters.

I always did great because my dad had us read the children’s story Bible during dinner time. Heck I knew all the stories and all the characters. I still struggled with doing all I should. I always forgot to pray and after I got married I tried to read my Bible regularly but life was just so busy, husband, kids, job, and living life seemed enough.

It wasn’t till I was 45 and had a severe stroke that I finally had plenty of time on my hands. Laying flat on my back, unable to move or speak, God had my attention. What was going on. I was calm and not really worried because I knew God was in control but it was hard.

A friend came to see me and offered to read the Bible to me. That made a huge impact on me. When I could I vowed to start reading my Bible every day, I had the time. I haven’t missed many days since. Missed days tend to be bad days so I remember to do it first thing.

Struggling to live in a nursing home I learned so much about God and his ways. I had a Chaplain that was on fire for the Lord, telling us all about Jesus changing her life and always doing things, miracles, for her like he was her best friend. I wanted more.

I started reading every book about God I could get my hands on. We would take trips to Savers and I would bye books for $2.00 and many. I had so many trials in my life but I wanted more of Him. After a perfectly tuff time where I had been in the hospital for a while and was unable to read my Bible I committed to praying every day to get more of God.

The more I got, the happier I felt, and the more I wanted. I would sit and listen to praise music out on the back patio where I was alone. I also prayed a lot and sang hymns out there. It felt good. I had no trouble doing this I just loved doing it.

That’s when I started going to the church. Man it felt so good and I was hooked.

Just to be around people who believed like me and loved me. Singing in church was so alive with passion. They talked about going to camp for a whole week. So I tried it. That was the closest I think you could get to heaven here on earth.

I mean here I am with only Christian brothers and sisters, in the mountains, for a whole week, doing and being with God 24/7. Awesome.

These things have made me so happy. I truly am happier than ever before in my life. Jesus now is my very best friend and some day I’ll go to be with him forever. But right now I just want to be in his presence.

The happiest place I’ve ever known.

Complete Joy

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:11. NIV

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”. James 1:2. NIV

Joy! The Lord wants us to have a full and abundant life full of joy. In everything. The good and the bad. And he says he has told us how. None of us wants to struggle in this life. What Jesus is saying in John 15 is that if you keep my commandments you will remain in my love. Just as Jesus kept his father’s commands and so remained in his father’s love. Then his love will remain in us. It’s there for us to have we just need to accept it in faith and live in it.

The problem is we have learned to accept our feelings and they are not always true. We need to take every thought captive. To do this we need to make our mind do what we know is true and change our patterns of living. We need to start forming new habits.

In life we have control over our happiness. The first thing I do in the morning when I wake is thank God for the new day he has given me. Then I start my prayers. The first declaration I make. Sets my day into action. “This is the day you have made for me and I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I don’t care how I feel. I first agree to make it rejoicing.

My mind already is set on joy. I keep going though as I pray thanking God for so many things going on in my life . As I start my day and choose joy I need to act in it. As I eat I thank him for hot coffee, crispy bacon, fresh fruit. I remain grateful I know he is always directing my steps and in control and this gives me peace.

I know everybody has mundane and routine things that they must get done and don’t necessarily enjoy. Cleaning, laundry, walking the dog, grocery shopping and bills. You need to have joy in those areas too. It will take a mind set.

For example.: cleaning “ Hey God thank you for my home, my apartment that I have to clean. You have blessed my with kids even though they make messes. Those I clean up after. I love them .

Laundry: I love folding my loved ones things as I note who wore what where.

How big they are growing. Even if you are single those clothes can bring back happy and joy filled memories if you look.

Walking the dog can be a wonderful time to talk to God and reflect on the world around you. As you do it over and over you are training your mind differently to see things differently.

Every minute does not have to go perfectly but you can find things of joy in every minute if you try. I have a friend who grumbles through his day thinking about every less than perfect situation with a frown on his face. Someone asked him how his day was and he thought hard. Well ok I guess. He had not even noticed. I would rather live in joy.

When someone asks me that I say blessed and smile big. I know God is in control and he loves me that makes me smile. Even bills don’t upset me because he helps me to have the money to pay them. He will provide. I will trust in him.

Now as trials and hard times come my way I am already ahead. I am leaning on him and trusting him and his goodness to see me through. I take delight in him so I can delight in where he sends me. He is in me and helping me in every situation.

When I do something wrong whether in thinking wrong or doing I am quick to tell God I am sorry and others to if God shows me. Then I don’t dwell on it. He forgives me.

He always forgives us no matter what it is.

I had an experience this morning that goes along with this. God has been working on me with trusting and I needed to be up for an appt by 10:30 to be picked up. No one came to get me up and it was almost 10:00. I was nervous but I felt God say trust me. Someone finally came and I was ready by 10:20 then my ride was late at 11:00 apt time God said trust. So I relaxed. When I got there they had to cancel on me.

I immediately thought God has other plans for me. I wonder what? I didn’t fret or get upset I just smiled. I know his plans always prevail even if I don’t understand. When I got home it was lunchtime, I was famished. Everything went like clockwork all afternoon. Amen!

Have a joyful day and God be with you!