You would think this an easy read–
Nope. A struggle most of the way– but totally worth it.
“That’s what I was struggling out of nightmares to reach, to seize. Joy. But where can I seize this holy grail of joy? I look back down to the page. Was this the clue to the quest of all most important? Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo–the table of thanksgiving. I sit there long… wondering… is it that simple?” pg. 32
We all know that as believers we should be living a thankful life, counting our blessings as a natural overflow of a repentant heart. But IS it “natural”? IS it simple?
Nope. Truth is, this struggle seems to be a constant battle… our old sin nature takes over, and we give in to self-pity, greed, covetousness and envy. I, for one, would love to kick the old serpent in the pants every time I find myself focusing on the wrong things. Is it really “the devil’s fault”?
Nope. He may tempt us with dissatisfaction, but the truth is painfully clear: just like Eve in the garden, we are responsible. We are accountable for those places we allow our hearts to go and our minds to drift toward.
This past Christmas my sweet sister-in-law (Thanks, Denise!) gifted me the book, One Thousand Gifts–A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, and a journal.
I have never been good at keeping a journal– but THIS I could do…write down ONE THOUSAND BLESSINGS over the course of the next year. Pages and pages of blessings! Focus on the positive. As my pastor husband reminds us, “Our gaze should be on our Savior, while our glance is on the problem”. Retain a heart of gratitude despite circumstances. Not always easy though, is it? When we say, “Jesus is all I need”, but live in constant pursuit of something else, it’s time to get our priorities back in line with TRUTH.
Every time I read someone else’s story, I am reminded of my own. God, in faithful love, met me right where I was. I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I was lost. Uncertain. Afraid.
I can remember when I was old enough to understand what Jesus had done by dying on the cross for me. I knew that I needed forgiveness and that He was the only one that could offer it. I knew that the life He had planned for me was the right path to follow. I also knew that I was incapable of knowing the right path to take apart from Him.
That’s why Jeremiah 29:11-13 is one of my favorite passages of scripture!
When I made the decision to surrender my life to Him, I also knew that I would fail. Did that change MY resolve or HIS faithful love?
NOPE! Today I am thankful for forgiveness. Restoration. Redemption. That’s what the cross is all about. The cruelty of it reminds us of the cost. The victory of His resurrection reminds us of the promise.
“I begin the list. Not of gifts I want but of gifts I already have… This writing it down–it is sort of like… unwrapping love.” pg. 45
And so–I’ve started my list, and have to admit that I’m smiling. It’s going to be a good year. A hard one with a heart-wrenching event looming. But God’s grace will prevail and those gifts He’s already promised–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control will win in the battle of my mind.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
No question this is a good read, and I’d love to share it with one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment on the webpage and you’ll be automatically entered to win! Winner will be notified on Good Friday, March 29.
What a great way to celebrate this Easter season–with a renewed commitment to focus on God’s blessings!