Category Archives: Gratitude

The Practice of Focus

MY sweet husband, in pain, says, “This is the worst day yet,” as he struggles to move. Then he begins thanking me for my care for him. That’s my husband: realize the struggle, but focus on the blessings in the midst of it.

The Apostle Paul of the Holy Bible encourages us to realize the importance of contentment in all circumstances (Philippians 4). One of the greatest aids to contentment when trouble screams for our attention is the practice of focusing on the blessings all around us, being grateful for the good that trouble seeks to rob from us. Learning to see the beauty in life and taking time to smell the roses helps us walk a life of contentment in the midst of pain.

Happy Anniversary!

I have had little time for writing of late, and I am pushing it being on the computer this much today, but I do not want to miss this day of anniversary.

It is four years ago today that I posted the first Pondering to this site. Darlene’s Ponderings is much older than that, having used several web servers through the years, and I am BLESSed by God to have input into so many lives through these posts. I am grateful for the things God teaches me, the comforts He gives me, and the gift of ability to put thought to words posted for viewing by those who read them. My continued prayer is to be of some help to you as you grow in your knowledge of God. And I so appreciated your posts and comments that help my growth and maturity.

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24.

This is my cry for you: that your boast is that you KNOW the Lord. It is the greatest pursuit we can possess in life. Everything our God allows us to experience has this as its ultimate purpose, that of teaching us more that we need to know with understanding about our God.

Desire for ever increasing knowledge of God is the heart of Moses who, known as the friend of God, sought to see God’s glory so he could have experiential knowledge of Him. God faithfully responded, telling him how to recognize it when he saw it, and giving him a glimpse of His reality with him. (Exodus 33 *vs 18-23)

Knowing God intimately as Father and expressing Him in His life was the experience of Jesus who lived to serve God and to make Him known. All He did was done only as He saw the Father doing it, and He counted the doing of God’s will as His most vital sustenance (John 4:31-34; 5:19).

This knowledge was also Paul’s boast as He “penned” Philippians 3:8-11 ~ my life verse, given in the Amplified as follows:

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. …[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him….”

It is our greatest pursuit and absolute most vital need: to know God in all His glory. He calls us to be His image bearers to the world. How can we hope to fulfill that call if we fail this one vital need: to feast ourselves in Him that we may know Him so that we may be like Him, bearing the image of His essence into our daily lives meant for His glory in making Him know to a world in need of their one true God.

That knowledge begins as we recognize the Christ who came to show us the Father and to make a way for us to know Him personally for ourselves. He is the way, the truth, and the life through Whom we come into the presence of the Father. God gives us His Word to guide us to His Light where we can discover His frame and grow in our knowledge of Him. And relationship with God through Jesus provides us His Spirit: the Teacher sent that we may know these things.

Jeremiah 15:16, NLT, says, “When I discovered Your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your Name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.”

Please pray for me as I pray for You that we will devour His words so we may have His heart and grow in our knowledge of Him. Only as He transforms our minds to take every thought captive to the sure knowledge and understanding of His ways and thoughts that are higher than ours can we be His lights: revelators of His essence as His image bearers to the world around us.

Happy anniversary and thank you to you here with me, some of whom have followed my writings longer than the four years of Ponderings home here on WordPress. Poor dears! You have struggled through my growth spurts with me, seen me flounder in my pursuit of Him, and stood with me through it all, rejoicing as He brought me to Victory. Thank you for your support.

And thank You, Lord. I am forever grateful for Your growing my understanding and walking around mountains with me, sometimes too many times to count, but always proving faithful to never leave nor forsake me as I seek to follow and serve and KNOW You as Lord, Master, Father, King, Beloved, God of all, and forever faithful Friend and Champion. You are Lord!

 

A Trust that Breeds Gratitude

“Trust {lean on, rely on, and be confident} in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, trust also in Him and {He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass} ~ Psalm 37, NASB {AMP}.

God began instructing my heart yesterday that fretting over the past is robbing me of now strength, joy, peace, gratitude to Him, assurance, and comfort.

I seek daily to follow God’s instruction to me for each days tasks and activities, and when I fret over things I did not do or things that did not go the way I thought they should, I deny the work of God in and through me in those things and I deny Him gratitude for the things that were accomplished. I forget that God is in control and can be trusted with my every step in life.

Do I fail to hear and obey at times? Yes. And the instant I realize it, I repent and change course. To repent means to lay the failure on the shoulders of Christ and leave it there with the One who sacrificed Himself for this purpose, that I may have true life and have it in abundance; then to press forward from there with the freedom of Christ to live a better life to His glory and crown. Fretting over failures repented is to pick that heavy load back up and be crushed by the weight of it.

The thing God is instructing my heart to realize is that when I focus on my failures, I fail to see the progress made in God’s work of reestablishing in me the image of God that Christ died to provide for me. Marsha Burns writes in this devotional written in the voice of God speaking to the reader:

“Look how far you have come! The difficulties that you have endured and overcome have instructed you and driven you to find Me in a more meaningful and concrete way.  Your days of trouble are not to be disdained; they are to be recognized as a necessary part of your growth process.  Don’t lament, says the Lord.  Rejoice for where you are now and where I will take you from here.”

With the passing of my Daddy and the struggle he was in with paranoia in his last years, it would be easy for me to focus on things I did not have strength to accomplish in my relationship with him. The sense of loss would be intensified and the weight of the sense of failure would throw me into depression and defeat. But God keeps reminding me how He has grown my trust and reliance on Him as Abba, Father. He reminds me of the freedom from a root of rejection that He has accomplished in me during the days of Daddy’s struggle. So instead of hurt and heartache over unfulfilled desires in my relationship with Daddy, I am filled with gratitude and awe toward my Abba who has helped me and done a work of grace in me, freeing me from the growth of a spirit of rejection to finding my acceptance in Him.

Jesus08We are continually being perfected. Looking back on days gone by is natural to us, but as a people for God’s own possession, when we look back our hearts need to settle with gratitude on the goodness of God that worked a plan through the time of struggle that has worked change in me, making me look and act more like the Father and less like the flesh of this world. When looking back, the question to ask is “what did I learn and how has it changed me?” We press forward from the pits in life with greater strength to persevere when our hearts are filled with gratitude for the work of God in our lives. And we find success in the journey when we remember the promise of God:

“I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” ~ Psalms 32:8.

And “your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it,’ when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left” ~ Isaiah 30:21.

Therefore, beloved of God, “Trust [lean on, rely on, and be confident] in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, trust also in Him and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. [Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass] ~ Psalm 37, NASB [AMP].