Praise · Thanksgiving

Lie and Praise

I have a love/hate relationship with the Auto-correct on my cell phone.  When I want it to correct a misspelled word, it often does, and I love that.  However, it doesn’t read my mind and it often makes assumptions at times that aren’t always right. It can be very frustrating! I know I’m not alone in this.

Recently a friend was texting about whether or not she would be able to attend our church’s Pie and Praise service this week.  However, her auto-correct fixed the word Pie to what it assumed was correct.  So she let her friends know she wouldn’t be attending the “Lie and Praise” on Tuesday night!  I laughed until my sides hurt over that one!

However, the more I’ve thought about it, the more convinced I am that her auto-correct may have been right after all!  Oh, I’m sure no one who attends a praise service would purposefully lie about their praise, but there’s a way that I see myself not giving honest praise to my God.  Here’s what the next part  of Psalm 103 tells us to do:

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Don’t forget all His benefits!!  I lift my hands and say, “Thank you, Lord!”  This past Sunday after praying and thanking the Lord for His benefits, I marched out the door, went to church, and when someone asked me how I was, the first thing I told them was that I had a migraine!  What?!  Could I have not shared at least three things God had done for me instead?  What about all the parts of me that felt great, thanks to my God who holds this body together?!  But no, I turned my praise into a lie by not sharing God’s blessings and goodness with that person! I’m thankful for the conviction of the Spirit of God, because I was able to get it right with Him when I confessed it!

Isn’t it easy to praise one minute and complain the next?  God has done so much for us, but if we praise Him one minute and gripe and grumble the next, we’re really lying instead of praising.

I’m asking the Lord to help me to attend the Pie and Praise instead of the Lie and Praise – not just at church this week, but every day of my life!

Do you find yourself praising or grumbling today?  Let’s remember all His benefits and praise His name! No lying!

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Fall · Family life · Husband · Marriage · Thanksgiving

Being Intentionally Thankful in November

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Happy November Eve!  There’s a reason I’m posting a second post on this October 31!  Read on!

As we stare into the beginning of this month in which we celebrate

Thanksgiving,

I thought it might be a good idea to think about how we can maximize being thankful for these thirty days!  It’s too easy to jump into Christmas mode and only give a nod to being grateful for all God has given us in His grace.   So, let me share a few practical ways you can focus on being thankful starting today!

  1. I’ve signed up to join Revive Our Heart for the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge.  You have to sign up before November 1!  So I’m posting my blog a day early so you won’t miss out!!  This will help me to really be intentional in being thankful!
  2. Show your family gratitude.  I’m re-doing something I’ve done in the past to show my husband know how grateful I am for him.  I drew this simple tree on the bathroom mirror.  Each day I’ll add a leaf stating one reason I thank God for him.  The first year I did this my husband said he was going to Lowe’s to buy a bigger mirror!  It made me smile, because I knew it had hit a chord in his heart.  I love him too much not to let him know exactly why!thankful tree
  3. Chalkboards are great ways to express daily thanks.  Set one on the counter of your kitchen and each day have your family write another thing for which they can give thanks.
  4. Or you could draw a tree on a chalkboard, like my bathroom tree and add leaves of thanks, like below.
    chalkboard thankful tree | NoBiggie.net - love this!
  5. Keep a thankfulness journal in which you only write your thanks – no requests.

Let’s be intentional every single day this month to be thankful to the Lord…He is the Giver of everything and He deserves our praise!

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Family life · home · Husband · Love · Marriage

Chipped Cups and a Thankful Heart

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There’s a routine that happens in our house several times every day – perhaps it looks similar at yours.  It’s the washing and cleaning up after a meal. Most people don’t relish scraping lasagna off dinner plates, deciding which Rubbermaid container will hold the remains of the tossed salad, getting all the dishes into the already-full dishwasher or cleaning out the drips on the oven floor, but it all must be done.  The blessing of these tasks at my house is that I never work alone.  My thoughtful husband works alongside me until the towel is folded over the edge of the sink and the kitchen light is turned off.  It sounds like a pleasant scene, doesn’t it?  It truly is, and I try to thank my spouse often for his diligent efforts to help me with this daily chore.

But I haven’t always been the smiling spouse and happy housewife during this task.  As ungrateful as it sounds, there have been times when I’ve corrected him for the way he was handling the dishes.  He’s a big guy with big hands, and my dishes have often cringed under the force of being picked up or set down in a not-so-gentle way.

Of course, it was my duty to tell him, right?

Only if I wanted to crush his spirit about helping, when he could have been off doing any number of far more important things than washing my “riches.”

Only if I wanted to hush the chatter we had been having while we worked side by side in our sudsy love.

Only if I wanted to make him feel like my son instead of my husband, my leader, the head of our home, and the provider of the very home in which we were working.

Only if I valued my possessions more than a happy marriage.

But I did it and I regretted it. I confessed it to my God and to my hard-working, strong husband.

I decided after that that it was far better to work together, each of us happily humming, talking, teasing, laughing, and loving, than to be doing this triple-day duty by myself just so I could keep my dishes – my riches – without any nicks.

God knew I would need this reminder and He put it in the form of a proverb –

Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great riches and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 15:16

Yes, it’s better to have plates with a hairline crack, a bowl put in the wrong cupboard, or a set of eight glasses that only number seven now, than to have a perfect set of dishes without the comradery that happens when we work together with right hearts.

My dishes were my “riches” that proverbs mentions.  What’s yours? What form of perfection or higher standard comes between accepting gracious help or refusing it?  If your husband attempts to help you at home, do you appreciate his efforts, or do you demand perfection?  Do you accept his help, or ask him to go do something else so the task will be done the way you want it accomplished?  Maybe you need to remind yourself, as I had to do, of the blessing of a man who will be kind enough to offer a hand.  Think about whether you’d rather be sitting at home alone with your “riches” around you, or  living happily as one, with a little less “riches.”

I think many wives must come to grips with this truth.  So, if this rings true in your heart, know that you’re not alone.  Our sinful heart wants our way, instead of the wonder of a sweet marriage that comes when two people work together with happy hearts.

When it’s all said and done, what’s left of my dishes may only be chipped cups and splintered saucers, but if my heart is full of gratitude instead of grumbling, there will also be a whole lot of love that got splashed up in the soapy process.

That’s what I’m going for.

How about you?  What are the “riches” that are causing you to be demanding and critical instead of thankful for your spouse?  Ask God to help you exchange that criticism for gratefulness. Then smile while you sip your coffee from that chipped cup!

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Godly Character Traits

The Beauty of a Thank You Note

I recently saw a picture of myself from the 90’s and it made me laugh out loud.  The fashion statement in those days was the addition of shoulder pads.  They made my small frame look like I was trying out for some football team.   Not pretty.

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Some things like shoulder pads go out of style, but some things never do – like a thankful heart.  Gratitude is always attractive!  The means to display gratitude is another thing that will never be passe’ and it comes in the form of a Thank you Note.  Thank you notes are a special touch to demonstrate your gratitude for an act of kindness or a gesture of generosity.

That being said, let’s talk a little about when and how to write one.

When should we write a thank you card?

  • When you receive a gift.
    • Birthday
    • Christmas
    • Wedding/Baby Shower
    • Wedding Gift
    • Graduation
    • You get the idea…we get gifts often, and so a thank you needs to be sent…often.
  • When you have been a guest in someone’s home
    • For a meal
    • As an overnight guest
  • When someone has done a kind gesture
    • Helped when you were sick
    • Encouraged you
    • Done a task for you

What should a thank you note say?

  • What the person did
  • Why it meant something special to you
  • How it will be used (if it was a gift)
  • That you are grateful

It doesn’t have to be long, just include the essentials listed above, and do it promptly.  The saying that has stuck with me is,

Swift gratitude is the sweetest!

If you wait until 6 months after your wedding to send Aunt Betty a thank you for the place setting of your china, it’s not going to be received as warmly as it would have a couple weeks after your honeymoon.  So being prompt is key.

I receive lots of sweet thank you’s and it always means so much.  Just that the person would stop to write out their gratitude means a lot.  It’s a social skill that will never grow out of style.  Let’s all try to put on thankfulness and see how it embellishes our personal style far better than those 1990 shoulder pads did!

Are you an avid thank you note writer?  When was the last time you received one?

Lovingly,

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Christian Life

Forgiven Much; Love Much

On our wedding day, the clear June skies of the daytime turned to the typical evening summer pop-up storm.  After our seven O’clock ceremony was over and vows had been exchanged, we were to proceed to the fellowship hall, which was in another building connected to the church sanctuary by a sidewalk with a slight covering. The South Carolina winds had blown the rain steadily and forcefully, and the sidewalk had become a bit of a river.  My brand new husband saw the situation and realized that my wedding gown was in danger of disaster.  Without skipping a beat, he swooped me up in his arms and carried me safely to the dry floor of the fellowship hall!  A romanticist at heart would look at that scenario and say, “Now that’s sacrifice!”  They wouldn’t be far from the truth, but I believe sacrifice has a little more at risk.

Image result for image of woman pouring ointment on Jesus feet

Take a look at the woman in Luke 7:36-50, she came to pour out ointment on Jesus’ feet, spite the risk of the fears we mentioned earlier.  As she began to pour out the ointment, she began to weep, realizing the huge debt of her sin, and that this Man had forgiven her – of. it. all.
She had a dark past, full of stories and men, and ruined lives, I’m sure, but it was GONE.  Her tears thundered at His feet in gratitude, and her hair became the towel in which they were dried.

This story reminds us of a couple huge truths:

  1. Any sin is debt and we’re all sinners.  We are all guilty before a holy God.  We owe a debt we cannot pay, so Jesus stepped in and paid for it ALL with His blood.
  2. There is no sin too great for God to forgive.  None.  Every sin is covered, even those committed over and over.
  3. We now owe a debt of gratitude to our Savior.  With our sins covered, that debt is cleared, but how will we show our gratefulness?  With sacrifice.

“One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving”
― Amy Carmichael

Jesus tells the Pharisee that she, who had been forgiven much, loves much.  We see that by her demonstration at Jesus’ feet.
How much do you and I really love Jesus?  Are we willing to give even when it will cost us?  Oh, we may be happy to serve when it’s convenient, or easy or something we love to do, but what if it gets us out of our comfort zone?  What if it’s dirty?  What if it’s risky? Are we willing to pour it all out?  That is the true demonstration of how much we love.

As we consider all that Christ has covered for each of us, may we be willing to give and serve Him in a way that is sacrificial because we love Him SO MUCH.

How are you regularly demonstrating sacrificial love for Christ?  How do others know that you love Him so much?

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Encouragement · joy

It’s Christmas Again Today!

Christmas is over, and sometimes it can be a bit of a letdown afterwards, right?  But wait!  What if we considered that we have so much to be thankful for every single day?

Someone posted the best little video on Facebook this week that was a reminder of just how much we have, and how thankful we should be for all the little things every single day. It’s too good not to share with you all!  It’s less than two minutes long, but it’s powerful.

Here we go:

So now, look around you and consider that everything is a gift from our loving God, and be grateful and celebrate the joy of it all!

Merry today!

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Christmas · eternal · Family life · Women's roles

How to Stop Wifely Christmas Grumbles

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In a favorite episode of Andy Griffith, Aunt Bea goes out of town for a few days.  While she’s away, Andy and Opie TRASH the house while living their bachelor days in her absence.  When Andy tries to make Opie understand that their mess might be upsetting to Aunt Bea, Opie recalls the words he’s heard his great aunt say, and  what he thought she might say when she returns to find the disaster –

Land sakes alive!  Look at this mess; just look at it!  If it weren’t for me, this house wouldn’t be fit to live in!

Most wives can probably relate in some way to that scenario.  We dust, shine, mop, vacuum, and pick up – only to have to do it all again after the family has “lived” in it for a day!

But then we add into our busy worlds one word – HOLIDAYS -and we find ourselves with even more responsibilities than Dollywood has Christmas lights!  It can be really easy to fall into the “Aunt Bea” mode and mumble under our breath and complain about the holiday tasks that fall into our already full laps.

Our mumbling might include statements like:

I have to shop for the gifts, purchase the gifts and wrap them.

If I don’t schedule a time for our annual Christmas card picture, it never would happen!  Then I have to address the cards, seal them. and get them to the Post office.

I have eight different kinds of cookies to bake because everyone will expect them, and of course no one helps make them or clean up the mess, but they sure are there to eat them!

Then, of course, I have to buy the gifts and wrap the gifts!

If I left the tree decorating to my family it never would get done either!

Let’s face it – the whole Christmas celebration is up to me and I’m about worn out!!!!

It’s about that time that you can hear, instead of words, the honking sound, like Snoopy’s teacher:

 

No one wants to listen because of the terrible “sqwaking” that’s coming from our lips.

How do I know?

I’ve been there.

I’ve sqwaked.”

I’ve complained.

I was wrong.

Okay, so much of the doing of Christmas is up to us as the female in the home, but the attitude and heart with which it is done can make it either sweet or spoiled. How might we spoil it?

  1. Negative talk about our husband.  This is simply wrong.  He is the head of the home and is to be honored. Eph 5:33  Would we rather take on that responsibility?  I wouldn’t!  That’s a load every single day – not just at Christmas.  Let’s let our husband lead, and let’s you and I help make him the best leader by lending a hand with all our feminine ways.  That includes:
  • Planning
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Purchasing
  • Decorating
  • Wrapping

2.  Not doing our work to glorify God.  I Cor. 10:31  If we work ourselves to death and do it with a wrong attitude we shouldn’t be expected to be rewarded in heaven.  We got our reward – everyone’s pity (and maybe their distance from us, too!).  Let’s do all we do as unto the Lord.  Oh, that we would make our efforts like the precious gifts brought to the Christ child by the wise kings!

3.  Having an ungrateful heart.  A thankful spirit will be grateful for the:

  • Family we have to serve – I know some wives who have gone to heaven this past year.  Their families will be missing them this Christmas.  You and I are here; let’s make our families glad!
  • Health with which we can serve – This can be taken in an instant.  Be thankful you can walk, work, and think!
  • Provision for the cards, gifts and foods to prepare – Everything we have is a gift from God, and we have far more than most!
  • Reason we are celebrating!!!  Don’t lose the focus of this celebration; it’s all about Christ!

Maybe we need to do as I suggested yesterday and simplify our Christmas; make it a little easier on ourselves!  Our families would probably be fine with a little less decor, baked goods and gifts if it would mean we are sweeter and more fun to be near!

Have you been muttering under your breath?  Ask God to forgive you, then when you get up off your knees, ask your family’s forgiveness, too.  Start the day over with

  1. No more husband bashing,
  2. Work that glorifies God.
  3. A thankful heart.

Watch and  see what a difference it will make in your Christmas preparations!

Who’s with me?  

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