The Word is My Life
Thursday, December 13, 2018
My Words are life to those that find them . . . . Prov. 4:22

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October2018 Cultivating a Grateful Heart

From My Life’s Journey                                                                               October, 2018

Topic: Cultivating a Grateful Heart

Father, in the name of Jesus, I bless those who read this ministry letter. I pray that they remain encouraged in all. From deep within their souls, I pray that they will bless the Lord as King David did.  He said, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” May they all look over the expanse of their lives and acknowledge that they have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13). May their hearts be content in knowing that God has indeed been good and His mercy will endure forever (Ps. 107:1). May they be filled with gratitude, thankfulness, and praise! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

This month, we look at another foundation of the faith - having a heart of gratitude. I am thrilled the Holy Spirit gave me this topic for this month. Why? Because I have served God long enough to see that He really does have a good plan for my life (Jer. 29:11), and I can be thankful in all things.  Friend, rejoice knowing that God saw you when you were yet unformed and laid out all your days before there was one (Ps. 139:16). Living righteously for Him with a heart of gratitude will reap reward and favor. Think on the leper’s gratitude in the book of Luke. Of 10 lepers who were healed, only one returned to say thank you. Because of his precious heart of gratitude, Jesus extended more healing power to him. In Luke 17:19, in addition to being physically healed, Jesus declared him whole (saved). Gratitude brought greater blessing into this leper’s life.

Instead of gratitude, often we take much for granted. Many assume things that are going well will continue to do so - for example, a boss will continue to grant promotions, health will continue to be abundant, or friends will always remain faithful. Instead, may we be full of praise to God from whom all blessings flow rather than man. In God, we have a continual wellspring of life even in the dark times and in the lowest valleys. Just this morning, I ministered to a dear woman who will today allow doctors to unplug her husband  from life support. He is a true believer and a teacher of the Word. We shared a sweet rejoicing that today he will be with Jesus in heaven - free of pain. Apostle Paul reminds us: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"  (1 Thess. 5:18).  

Be comforted, my friend, in knowing that God weaves the joys and pains of life into a beautiful story - the story of your life. And He makes all things beautiful in His time (Eccl. 3:11).

The poem The Weaver (author unknown) says it beautifully:  

My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me,  

I cannot choose the colors - He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I, in foolish pride,

Forget He sees the upper and I the under side.

Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly

Shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful in the Weaver’s skillful hand

As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares - nothing this truth can dim.

He gives His very best to those who leave the choice with Him.

God never promised our lives would be free from obstacles or adversity, but instead, He promises to use every obstacle to fulfill the very purposes He has planned for our lives (Rom. 8:28; James 1:2-4). In the Old and New Testaments, God says that valleys will be filled and exalted (Is. 40:4; Luke 3:5). You will be amazed - what was once a place of weakness can become a place of strength!

In my life, I sincerely thank God for each person who has pierced me and for each situation that has left my heart bruised.  I can do this because I know God’s plans were put in place for me before these people and situations entered my life. Every battle for my destiny has already been won. It is on me to trust, obey, and be thankful. As we all grow in spiritual maturity, we move from being sidelined by life’s distractions to focusing on God’s path. Colossians 2:6-7 says, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Hallelujah!

If your life isn’t going in the direction you think it should, don’t consider yourself a failure. Instead, read about the life of Joseph in Genesis 37 - 50. He encountered much trouble; yet, God’s ultimate plan for him was to sit second only to Pharaoh and have a prominent role in Egypt. Yes, “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).  What appeared to be a “wrong path life” was the exact plan of God for Him. Personally, I’ve gone down some side paths in life and asked God to help me and redirect me back onto the main road. One day I realized the side paths were the main road for me. Praise God, I see this revelation through spiritual eyes!  All things were actually working for my good, are still working for my good, and will yet work for my good. The same, my sister in Christ, applies to you.

I will close with a powerful insight on gratitude from Jonathan Cahn, author of the Book of Mysteries. He says, “It doesn’t matter how  much or little you have on earth. What matters is how much thanks you give for what you have. The one who is rich in possessions but poor in thankfulness is, in the end, poor. But the one who is poor in possessions but rich in giving thanks is, in the end, rich … The greater your thanksgiving, the greater will be your life.” How true! Think on these things!

 

Ever onward, ever forward~

Iris Barrett, Ed.D. 

“The Word is My Life” Training Ministry