Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Benefits of Thankfulness, part 2

My heart overflows

Thankfulness Produces Satisfaction

by Jeana Gladstone

If I don’t focus on the things God has given and pause to express my thanks to him, then not only do I miss many of his blessings, but I put myself into a constant state of wanting.  Always asking, always desiring, always wanting, but never being satisfied with what he gives; never recognizing every good and perfect gift that comes from the Father.  

If I’m always asking, but never thankful, then I am not receiving from him.  There is so much he wants to give, but it’s not always the same as what I would ask for - his ways are not our ways.  How arrogant of me to think I know better what I need than the One who created my inmost being.  

If I’m always asking, not only am I not receiving from him, but neither am I giving to him.  My gratitude feeds him.  It satisfies him deeply.  He breathes in my praise; he drinks my expressions of thanks, and he is fulfilled.  Something in the heart of God is touched and made content.  

It’s like fruit to him.  The fruit of my lips becomes his food.  Mind boggling.  

At some point in our lives we’ve probably all been told to slow down and chew our food -  receive it with thanksgiving; savor it, carefully chew and swallow receiving nourishment - not just scarf it down.  In the same way we must learn to savor and carefully chew life’s blessings.  This is the only way we can receive fulfillment and satisfaction.  

Hebrews 13:15-16
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.  And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Proverbs 15:15
A cheerful heart has a continual feast 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.  Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.  Isaiah 55:2-3
At the beginning of this verse instead of first instructing us, he opens with a question - why?  The answer is implied.  Why would you do this; it doesn't make sense.  Why would you spend your time, energy, money, and labor on something that will not bring you fulfillment?  The human heart naturally seeks satisfaction.  He doesn't say there is something wrong with that.  In fact the implication is that the heart should be satisfied.  Interestingly he does not say: "You should not seek satisfaction and fulfillment - those things are wrong.  You should be a stoic, never experiencing pleasure."  No, instead he wants our souls to delight, to live, to be satiated.  The main point here is made by implication - you're wasting your time if you try to find that satisfaction somewhere besides what he offers us.  People seek satisfaction in all kinds of things - money, power, position, family, entertainment, as well as drugs and riotous living.  But the Lord is asking us to evaluate these things based on whether or not they truly nourish and feed the soul.  Does this cause my soul to delight; will this cause my soul to live?  
Listen, eat, delight.  Now he gives us direct commands.  Listen to me.  He has words that will cause our souls to delight.  The word of God in and of itself has power to give us life.  He again draws the analogy to eating actual food.  He says - eat what is good.  His words are truly good and good for us.  They are the "superfood" of spiritual nutrition.  And he says not only are they good for us, but, if we eat them, we will delight in them as in the richest of foods.  What he offers is a gourmet feast.  Why would you go anywhere else?
Again he implores: give ear and come to me; hear me - that your soul may live.  He is concerned for our well being.  He wants us to be healthy and to thrive, not just get by.  And right here, more than once, he tells us the secret, the key, the formula, the pattern, the way to abundant, prosperous, fulfilling soul life - Come to ME.  He is the way.  
So what would you rather?  Waste your time striving, working, and laboring for something that ultimately will not satisfy your hunger; or come to him and allow him, as only he can, to feed your soul with delightful, delectable delicacies that will cause you to flourish and be fulfilled?  
Eat what is good.  Your soul will live.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Table Makeover

Some of you have asked about my recent table project, so I thought I’d let you in on how I did it.  
First of all, I looked online here and here for ideas and inspiration on turning my drab table into a thing of beauty.  

I began by sanding with a medium grade sanding block.  Then the first coat went on.
Hope even got in on the fun.

I used Valspar Aqua Ocean 5005-10A.  Two coats with sanding in between.  

After the paint had dried, I distressed around the edges and select spots until I was happy.

When all that was finished, I took a cloth dipped in Minwax English Chestnut and wiped it on in small sections, then used the other damp end of the cloth and mostly wiped the stain off.  It gave it a beautiful, rich color.
I ended up doing more distressing before adding three coats of Minwax Water Based Polycrylic.

Love the finished product!  :-)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Benefits of Thankfulness, part 1

Thanksgiving Releases and Awareness of God’s Presence...
When I am mindful of what he gives and thoughtful enough to pay attention and say thank you, it positions my heart in a place of looking for him.  
My eyes are open to the next thing he might do, the next gift he might quietly leave - while he gazes intently to see if I’ll notice.
As I find these gifts and unwrap them, I feel his nearness, and I realize - he’s here now.
These little gifts are his signature, his “I was here” graffiti.  As I pass throughout the day looking for those trail marks, I find that I’m really looking for him.  And with each one that I take into my heart and return a nod, a prayer, or a sigh of thanksgiving, I think I hear him; the crunch of his stepping on a nearby fallen twig gives him away.  He’s very close.  He’s watching me.  He’s trying to see if I’ll discover all those love notes he posted along the path.  
Below is a song I wrote while pondering these truths...

You Put it There for Me
Something, something’s pulling me forward
Giving me an expectancy
Something, something’s pulling me closer
Opening my eyes to see
Maybe it was just the song of a thousand birds in the trees
Maybe it was just the sun lighting up the sky at sunset
Maybe it was just the voice of child singing so purely
But I know whatever it was
You put it there for me
You put it there for me to see
A gift for me to hold
You did it so that I would know
You’re just that close
And I see your beauty
And I hear your voice
And I feel your presence
All around, all around me

~ Jeana

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jesus Is Lord

The Lordship of Christ is not just a creed, not just a cute little phrase to tack onto the end of a lull.  What are the implications of these words for my life?  What does it mean that Jesus is Lord?  What is the significance of this truth?
If He is Lord, who, therefore am I?  I am his subject.  I am his servant.  I am his steward.   And yet, at the same time, He has made me a co-heir with him.
I bow.  I confess. I give him precedence in all things.  I honor.  I worship.
When the disciples encountered his authority over nature, they cried out in amazement - who IS this man?  And Peter begged him - depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.  
Everywhere Jesus went he changed the equation.  And yet he did not rule by force.  The One Being in all the universe truly deserving the service of mankind came instead declaring: I did not come to be served, but to serve...
Meekness and majesty.  
God in humility.
The King becomes a servant, thereby empowering his subjects and giving them a life they never could have obtained without him.  
His Lordship is a quality he possesses with or without the acknowledgement of humans.   He doesn't need us to recognize him as such for it to be so.  He is secure in being who he is.  If we submit to him as Lord, then we ourselves benefit.  But even if we don't, he won't force himself upon us.  He'll just go on being the Lord until the Day of reckoning.  Then, on that Day, the acknowledgment of his Lordship will come from each one who has borrowed breath from him, but the benefits will no longer be available.  
I choose to bow now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

God as God

"We want to know Him as He reveals Himself, not as our unassisted human hearts or the world define Him." - Bob Gladstone
Reflections on a Revelation of God as God...

I need to know God as He really is, not as I imagine him to be.  Not as someone else has told me he is.  Whose word could I trust?  Whose experience could be an infallible witness explaining him perfectly?  
And yet... God is perfectly revealed in Christ.  He is the exact representation of him.  That which is unseen is seen in Christ.  
Don't you know me, Jesus asked Philip, have I been with you all this time and you still don't know who I am?  This his response after Philip exclaimed, "Show us the Father!  And it will be enough for us."  Seems like an admirable request, one coming from the depths of Philip's captured heart.  But Jesus gives him a mild rebuke - how could you ask that, don't you know who I am?  When you've seen me, you've seen the Father.
So getting to know Jesus = getting to know the Father.   He has declared him.  This is the mystery and the significance of the incarnation.  
God is revealed in his word.  When we read the word of God, divinely inspired by him, we are beholding a true reflection of who he is.  This is our standard of measurement for every other revelation.  If we think we receive something about God and it doesn't square with what he has already said, then we know that our "revelation" is somehow flawed.  God doesn't contradict himself nor does he change like shadows that dance around in the dark.  
God desires to reveal himself to me.  He longs for me to know him.  He wants to pull back the curtain and show me a little more of his goodness, his mercy, his compassion, his glory.  He knows I'm weak and can't absorb more than a small fraction of it at once, but still he desires fellowship with me.  He wants to break into my world and have me recognize him.  He wants me to learn to hear his voice.  He wants me to be searching the Scriptures for words to live by, lifting my voice in worship throughout the day, sitting at his feet pouring out my worship perfume.  
I want to know him as he is.  So many images have been created in the name of God, so many icons, so many avatars impersonating him.  People, ideas, false gods, fantasies, theories, all pretending to be THE God of the universe.  Yet there is only One true and living God, One way to eternal life, One Creator of all things.  Who is this God and what does he say about himself?
Gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.  
The only way I can truly experience God is by revelation.  My heart has to be drawn and he has to open my eyes.  Otherwise I cannot know who he really is.  Jesus said no one could come to him unless the Father would draw him. So I need God to have God.  I need God to even begin to desire God.  Everything begins with him.  From him, to him, and through him are all things - to him be the glory forever.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Even with all the amazing gifts of love each day, they are actually reminders of greater things to come. 
It's as if we're on an expedition finding gold. But all the flecks we uncover - as wonderful, beautiful and exhilarating as they may be - are indications that the Mother-load is out there still unrealized
“Open my eyes to see the wonderful mystery of love” - when I receive a gift of your love here, help me to lift my eyes to the Giver who is smiling at me with love whispering, "There's more where that came from; indeed, much more than you can imagine... Just wait till you get here." have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Hebrews 10:34

#53 New beginnings with new mercies for each new day.
#54 Chocolate covered pretzels