Goals · New Year

Why I Can Be Thankful for 2020

In early January 2020, my husband and I went away for a day and a night to plan for the year. Tucked away in a secluded place, we scheduled each month’s activities, ministries and leisure times. I even had the audacity to write them in my planner in INK! I knew that the Lord would allow what He desired to come to pass…but I am pretty sure I was expecting most of what I planned to happen the way I penned it. Of course, it looked much different than we had carefully mapped out.

Am I bummed about that? In no way.

Were there disappointments? You bet! Here are some of them…

65th anniversary party
Beach vacation
Attending the Ladies Prayer Advance
Speaking at The Wilds for Ladies’ retreat
Easter services/events
Going to Dollywood Amusemen
t Park in Pigeon Forge
Thanksgiving with my parents

Christmas services/events

Like you, that’s just a sampling of cancellations, but when I look back on 2020, I learned so much that I don’t want to forget, and I experienced things I want to praise the Lord for. Here are some of those things…

  • Greater times in the Word and prayer. He taught me so much about trusting Him, not worrying and relinquishing my plans to His perfect will as I spent time with Him.
  • Having a real life visual of James 4:13-17 and seeing the folly of making plans and holding them too tightly.
    Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
  • A greater appreciation for gathering each Sunday at church. Once the doors opened again, my heart was overwhelmed at the blessing of being WITH my brothers and sisters in Christ. Zoom was nice, but it felt so wonderful to be together as a church family.
  • Creative opportunities to serve others. Delivering loaves of bread and cinnamon rolls, making “curbside visits”, sending cards, and having Zoom cooking classes were a few ways the Lord gave me the chance to serve others.
  • The Lord taught me that His plans and His ways are greater and higher than mine. He brought other times of rest than we had planned. He gave different kinds of fellowship and encouragement.
  • A reminder that we are living in the last days. The last days began right after Jesus’ resurrection, and we’ve all been looking for Him to come in each of our lifetimes. Does that mean He isn’t coming? Hardly. It means we’re another year closer to standing before Him face to face. If He doesn’t come while we’re alive, we are each one year closer to the time of our own death. That means we need to be ready. The pandemic has reminded me of the evil that will prevail during the tribulation and how gullible people will be when the anti-Christ comes swooping in to “rescue” them in their desperate situations.
The trip to the beach was not really cancelled; it was delayed, but it came at a perfect time…because God knew when we would really need it!

 Psalm 85:8I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

I didn’t enjoy some of the hardships of 2020, but it would be foolish of me to be derogatory and curse the year when the Lord taught me so much. Will I dare to return back to the folly of my “old ways?” I don’t want to be the same when this whole trial is over. Do you?

Whether 2021 is full of blessing or trial, I know this…God will be faithful…and we’re one day closer to seeing Him. Are you ready?

Happy 2021!

Coronavirus · gratitude · salvation

Why Coronavirus Inconsistencies Make Me Grateful

I think I’ve shaken my head out of confusion and disbelief more in the last few months than in my entire life.

The reason?

Inconsistency.

It’s centered around the Coronavirus, of course (because isn’t everything these days?).

  • You may not sit inside…Of course we serve inside but you may not sit outside!
  • Only half capacity in store…Only 7% in stadium!
  • Church may not meet…Half the building may be full.
  • Masks are required at all times by everyone…Most of the staff have masks pushed down below their nose.
  • No one may stay overnight at the hospital with a patient…We can make allowances for you to stay.

I could go on, but I think you get my drift. It’s not as much what we have to do, but how inconsistent all the rules are that make this a season of frustration and confusion.

This frustration made me sit recently and think about how thankful I am that my salvation is rock solid. It is all based on Christ Who never changes and on His Word that is forever true! I never have to wonder if He has changed His mind or if there have been new guidelines added as to how to get to heaven! It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Realize I’m a sinner on my way to hell.
  2. Understand that Christ took my place on the cross to reconcile me to God.
  3. Accept Christ as my personal Savior.

All that will never change. Why?

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8

What peace that truth gives! My daily life goes on with a grateful heart. Christ lifted the rules (the law) and saves us by grace!! How blessed we are!

So in reality, I can be thankful for the inconsistencies because it makes me realize once again what a wonderful gift my salvation truly is!

I’m done ranting about the Coronavirus…until I start ranting again. Just kidding. I really am asking the Lord to help me to remember the grace-filled life I get to enjoy for ETERNITY and be thankful instead!

Maybe this reminder will give each of us something to share with others when we start to shake our head again. The world needs to know of our Savior Who is ALWAYS full of grace, and that never changes!

gratitude · summertime

Pictures of Summer

Perhaps you’ve heard the line, “When this you see, think of me.” What do you see that automatically takes you to summer? Maybe it’s the 100 degrees on the thermometer outside your window accompanied by 100% humidity, but I mean the good pictures, the things that make your heart happy!

It IS hot right now, but there are too many good things we can’t overlook. I’m asking the Lord to give me a heart of thanks in both this season of the year and in our world. That means we need eyes that look for the blessings and a mouth to speak it.

So here are a few of my summer blessings in picture form today!

Flowers!
Summer chalkboard drawings
Homemade ice cream!
Morning walks in the country

What blessings of summer are you seeing with your thankful heart today?

Refresh your attitude by choosing to give thanks – even when it’s hot as blazes!

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:

Image result for psalm 103:2

 

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!

Denise Signature 150 px

Fall · Family life · Husband · Marriage · Thanksgiving

Being Intentionally Thankful in November

grateful

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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