Posted in gratitude, theology

A Morning Filled with Gratitude

By Elizabeth Prata

I’m so grateful the Lord gave me His Son, His faith, His mind, His future, His eternity. I am grateful He knitted together a ministry for me to perform that is deeply satisfying. The past two days have been heavy with mental depth and research and writing and prayer. I’m exhausted, but today I have been deeply fulfilled with the recent work.

I’ve been forgiven of my sins, I’ve been washed by His blood, I’ve been given a hope and a future. I’ve been given a ministry. Life is so good.

And then this morning I go out to do some errands. Not a lot, just haircut, return library books, bank, and deliver a bag to the food bank ladies. As I drove up the road and saw the wet recent rain laden vegetation, sparkling flowers, green trees against a blue sky, I was grateful all over again. These are scenes I enjoyed this morning as I went on my little jaunt. The Lord is so good to create beauty, lushness, rain, clouds, sky, …all of it. I hope you have a wonderful day.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
(Psalm 7:17)

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Posted in gratitude, thanks

Begin the work-week with thanks, and be glad

Father God thank you for the rain. Thank you for the refreshment from the skies of your bounty, and even as the rain drops fall I am reminded of the Living water that is Jesus. He refreshes and renews all the time, not just the ground but the soul. He who drinks of His water will never be thirsty again. (John 4:13).

Thank You for the beautiful creation, which will be greened after this refreshment. But even as its current beauty is marred by the curse of sin, I long to see Your creation in its full glory. Today I am grateful for the pastures and the rain and the beauty, even so, I know I am seeing through a glass darkly. On Your day I will see everything clearly. (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I go back into the world this morning but I am not of the world. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Posted in gratitude, praise, thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time when we traditionally celebrate the blessings we enjoy in life. Many families have a tradition of sitting around their table and each guest or family member saying what they are thankful for.

I’m thankful for my salvation. For that to be possible I am thankful for the Holy Spirit drawing me to Jesus. For that to be possible I am thankful to Jesus for obeying the Father and dying on the cross. For that to be possible I am thankful for God who created all the world and who is so Holy that His son obeyed Him and took all the wrath that was destined for me on that cross. I am thankful He revealed Himself to us and that  we have the privilege of prayer, the Word, the gifts, the fruits, and eternal life. I am thankful for the promises of prospering us in the regenerative process of growing in Christlikeness, for treasures and rewards in heaven, for the promise of rest and peace.

When we attend the marriage supper of the Lamb, sitting at the banquet table, we will be rejoicing. Now, the time after the rapture when we are presented as a bride, and the time of the Tribulation when we are having our purification and our rewards at the Bema Seat, and the time of the Millennial Kingdom when the marriage supper continues…and the final huge celebration at the New Heavens and the New earth after the old one is melted in a fervent heat…I don’t know if there will be actual food and actual table. I think there will be but I don’t know. So we go forward thinking of this as a celebratory rejoicing in heaven in our real, glorified bodies but unsure of if there will be food actually.

So when we are rejoicing in the Spotless Lamb after the rapture at the Marriage Supper, we will be thankful for His blood-bought purchase of us, for sure. We can personally thank our ministering angels. We can shake the hand of the saints from the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Esther, John the Baptist, David, Jeremiah… we can see God and live! What gratitude we will feel, for He created every good thing. Gratitude is a good thing and we will be experiencing it perfectly and fully!
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Posted in gratitude

Time for Gratitude

I wrote this on my Quiet Life blog and I really don’t like to repeat content, but I think it is important to stay focused on not only the time, it IS near the end, but also the blessings we have in this time. No matter what the circumstance of our lives, the one constant is Jesus and the blessings He gave us and the blessing He is to us. Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25) sang while chained in the lowest prison. They sang. Times are dark but there is always something to be grateful for that the Lord hath provided. When we are joyful and content even in hard circumstances, and express that joy in gratitude to the Savior, people listen as the prisoners and jailers listened to Paul and Silas. It makes an impression. I was moved to write about my blessings and put them on the secular blog, but the blessings stem from Jesus and therefore I am doubly grateful. I appeal to you, find something to be grateful for and thank the Lord. Then do it publicly. Here is what I wrote:

It’s the end of the year. I mean the Georgia educational system school year. We start in August and we end in May, a month’s difference than the school year I was employed by in Maine, which was on a September to June schedule.

End of year usually means reflection on the past and reviewing hopes for the future. I substitute taught in this system for two years and this year I got the permanent job. It has regular hours, medical benefits, and is clean work. More importantly, it’s with kids, my calling and first love. It was a miracle that I got this job last July in a tight economy with many qualified applicants. I am grateful for it and count it as a blessing.

Best of all, I work in a school system run by people I admire and respect. I admire my principal who is a woman of great skills, passion for children, and integrity in her work. She is loyal to employees, but fair, and has high standards. I enjoy that she is approachable and that she runs a tight ship. She is also a Christian. What else can an employee ask for? Nothing.

I enjoy that the Superintendent is a moral man, a Christian who is also a man of great skills, has integrity, and is fair with high standards. It is important to me that I am part of a system that is run by people I respect. It is a terrible thing to be embarrassed by your boss. Rather, in my case, I have people whose example I strive to live up to. This is a blessing.

The school year beginning was a scary one for me because it has been 21 years since I was employed as an employee. I have either run my own business or have freelanced most of my life. But the people I work with are tremendous. I enjoy all my colleagues. They are good people! They are local moms and grandmoms, community members in this small community with whom I go to church, and see at the library, the Rec Department, the store. They are friendly and warm. They welcomed me, a stranger, into their fold and I am grateful to know them all. It is a blessing to like the people you work with.

After school today, the last day, I went grocery shopping. I value that I have a good, locally run grocery store just two miles from my work, and that quality, affordable foods are offered there. This is rare these days, that I can not only afford food, but I have access to GOOD food. I really love that a local family owns the store and they are civic minded. I would frequent their store even if it was not close, for this reason. I am grateful that I have good food in my fridge. I just finished scrambled eggs with fresh tomatoes, toast, and home fries. That’s more than a lot of people get in a week.

I am really grateful that I have a solid bible-believing church to go to. This is rare these days. It is helmed by a wonderful pastor who is loving and friendly but also extremely knowledgeable about the bible and preaches with a passion and love for Jesus that just makes you love Jesus more. I enjoy the folks at my church and in my Sunday School class, who again, welcomed me into their world lovingly and openly. They have helped me when I needed help and I know they are there for me if I need help again, as they know I would help them too. It is a blessing to really like the people you worship with.

I am blessed I live in a place like this:

It is my back yard. I’m not homeless, and I don’t live near a quarry, or a garbage dump or live in a place like Tijuana or Calcutta. The Lord gave me a beautiful, peaceful place to dwell when I am not at worship or work. What a blessing.

No matter the tumult in the world, I am richly blessed in my sphere and I know it. Summer itself is another blessing. It is glorious around here, and just 4 miles down the road is a State Park with a river to swim in and a waterfall to enjoy. Thank you Lord for the riches you’ve given me, and I am grateful.

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Posted in end time, end time. prophecy, gratitude

A grateful heart will remain unshaken

Where I stand as this year draws to its close: I stand on the Cornerstone of all creation, because the mercy of Jesus has saved me. Gratitude fills my heart and my life with the blessings He has delivered to me, first fruit of which is that precious salvation. He Who is the fount from which all beneficence flows, in His mercy accepted my piteous cries for forgiveness and smiled upon my soul, bringing light and peace.

He continued to bless me by installing the Holy Spirit within me to rely upon as my guide and teacher. He allows me to grow in His light and remain upon His paths by sending me wisdom as I read His Holy Word. He gives me earthly fulfillments- I am not hungry, I am in a warm home, I am clothed and I am employed. I learn from Paul who said to the Philippians, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:11-13)

Contentment no matter the circumstance is truly a gift. Do you have a grateful heart as this year closes? The end time is a period when the Lord is shaking heaven and earth, and we see what remains. “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:26-19). In the meanwhile, here on earth, He is shaking loose governments, mountains, economies, hearts…so what remains? Believers! The Kingdom is within us and we must not be shaken as the the end time warnings continue to deepen. Gratitude and contentment in the midst of terrible circumstances is key to remaining unshaken. Paul was unshaken, content in all that occurred. So was Abraham Lincoln. The basis of Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation was gratitude to the LORD. Notice how his decree began, not with a listing of current troubles, and if any man had a right to complain it was Lincoln. But the proclamation began with gratitude toward the Lord for blessings. Lincoln begins:

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.”

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

“In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three…”

Friend, you are of the Kingdom – the Kingdom that will not be shaken! My prayer for you is that your heart is filled with gratitude for all things, no matter the circumstance. “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Col 3:16)

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