Tonight I attended a class that preps me for the LSAT (law school admissions test) that I plan on taking in June. As I walked out of class tonight I had the urge to thank my teacher, who after a long day of work drives straight to the college to prepare us for the LSAT. While he was erasing the whiteboard I said a quick "thank you" which caught him off guard. He hesitated and then responded with a smile "Uh, you're welcome!" I returned the smile and left.
It was on my car ride home that I had a realization. I don't offer thanks, or gratitude, to others nearly enough. Sure, when I grab my coffee from the school baristas I always quickly say "thanks" and move on with my day, but that's practically second nature to me by now (I get coffee a lot okay, cha girl needs her caffeine). It’s the friends who are always there for me, my parents, my siblings, and my professors who I do not thank enough.
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15
As Christians we are called to be thankful. When we let Christ become the center of our lives, we are drawn to thankfulness. Extending gratitude helps to make others feel appreciated. When someone does something out of their way for you it's always nice to acknowledge their kindness.
Gratitude for those around you is essentially gratitude for God.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
With everything we say or do we are to give all of the praise and thanks to God. Afterall, without Him we would not even be here. He created us and He will sustain us. We are nothing without God, so we owe Him the utmost gratitude.
Quite a few times throughout my life, whether that be for church or school, I have been asked to keep a journal of things I am thankful for. As cheesy and cliche it may seem, I think it is such a great way to grow in gratitude. By creating a list and actually writing down what/who we are thankful for, we are forced to recognize them. It helps genuine gratitude to become apart of our daily life.
So, it is my challenge not only for you, but also for myself, to extend more gratitude to others in your daily life. If this means sitting down each night and adding to a running list, go for it! It could also mean picking one person each day to call or text to let them know just how thankful you are to have them in your life. Or even make it a goal to thank someone every day for something they do for you. This could be someone who opens the door for you, your professor, a coach, or the barista at the coffee shop you go to daily.
Extending gratitude is spreading kindness and we all know this world could always use some more of it!
♡ Melanie ( awalkwithchrist.weebly.com)
I can't even begin to tell you how many time I have heard the phrase "new year new me" leading up to this new year.
New Year's resolutions are made. People make empty promises of leaving bad habits behind and to create better new ones. We vow to start living our lives differently as soon as the clock strikes 12 as if the clock really does control our lives.
The slight movement of two hands run by a battery can cause us to change the direction of our life. Crazy, right?
While those around you are planning and attempting to implement changes to create the ultimate versions of themselves, God remains the same. He remains constant.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
He always has been and always will be God.
Isn't that amazing? God's power will never falter, His knowledge will never end, His wisdom still the same.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive with Christ- by grace you have been saved-" Ephesians 2: 4-5 (ESV)
God's love is never changing.
Yesterday, today, and to eternity God's love continues. He always has, and always will, love you!
God's love for you is not dependent on whether or not you create this perfect version of yourself through New Year's resolutions. Of course, God wants you to be the the best that you can be, however He will not love you any less through your struggles. He loves you through your brokenness, your weakness, and your slip ups.
Even when we feel unlovable, our God still loves us.
"For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations." Psalm 22:28 (ESV)
Through the rough times, God is still in control. Through the great times, God is still in control.
While Trump is president, God will be in control.
When Washington was president, God was in control.
Before the world was even created, God was in control.
And when this world comes to an end, God will still be in control.
I think we sometimes forget who has ultimate power over everything here on earth and in heaven.
"He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!" Deuteronomy 32: 4 (NLT)
God is a righteous God. He is just in his doings and always faithful.
There are things that have occurred in the past that we may not understand as well as things that will happen in the future that we won't understand. It is so important to have faith in God's righteousness. He is in control and we must put our trust in Him.
God's righteousness endures forever.
As we enter this new year I encourage you to not loose touch of who God truly is. Have faith in our not so new God who continues to make us new.
Happy new year fam,
♡ Melanie Nelson ( awalkwithchrist.weebly.com)
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen,” (Ephesians 3:20).
This verse started as a wedding verse for my husband and me when we were engaged. It was something we were going to print on our wedding program and have written in calligraphy on a sign at the reception. It was a thought and a theme. But now, it is so much more.
When you read the verse very slowly you see the word abundantly, not average or just enough, but abundantly. In some translations the word used is immeasurably. When we chose this verse for our wedding, we thought it was a good verse because we were just starting out and had our lives ahead of us (we still do), but we did not take it for what it really means.
For something to be immeasurable, it means it cannot be measured. It’s vastness is so great that it cannot be brought down to scale to be measured. God is immeasurable and He wants to work in our lives immeasurably more than we ever could have thought of. He is all powerful, all mighty, and all knowing. So, think about it, if something cannot be measured, why do we try to figure it out? Our minds cannot figure out something that is so great it cannot be measured. So dear sister, why do you keep trying to figure out God’s plan for you? This verse states He wants to do far more abundantly than all you could ever ask or image, so I encourage you to stop trying to figure out God and stop trying to get ahead of His plan. Where you are in life is exactly where He wants you to be. And He is going to take your dreams to your destiny. Just keep seeking Him and keep swimming in His truth because He is a God of movement, and He is moving you further and further into all He has for you because He is going to do immeasurably more than all you could ever think of.
By Jessica Calhoun
I am convinced that suffering for the Lord is the most difficult thing to do, second to fighting the will of God. Everything within my human, sinful heart wants to go against it. I want to find a shortcut instead, any means of escape, but I cannot. There is no shortcut around the will of God, you either do it or you don’t. So where does that leave me? To suffer for God.
But it doesn’t have to be completely agonizing. The amazing thing about suffering is that we have the choice as to who gets the glory. Will it glorify me? The perpetrator? Or will it glorify God? Will we use our agony, persecution, and anguish to glorify the Lord? Will we let Him use our broken and hurt circumstances to receive all the praise and honor?
Don’t get me wrong, this is not an easy feat. What we suffer is not something to just laugh about or write off, but it is something to point us toward and give us a source of hope. This takes meditating in the Word, praying often, fasting to deny our human selves, and worshiping and praising our Creator. We can find a bright side to all this doom and gloom, and we are allowed to have bad days. We are allowed to cherish our pain, but we are also allowed to give our pain to God, because He wants us to. Your pain can turn into His glory.
An example? Jesus. He came to the Father face to the ground, sweating blood, and terrified of what was to come. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will… My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done” (Matthew 26:39, 42). Wow. Jesus really does know what I’m going through, because He went through it all Himself. He had to humble Himself through this prayer and gave us a clear example that God’s will is much more significant than ours. We cannot take the shortcuts – even Jesus asked about it – and the answer was clear: no, His will is greater than mine. He must increase and I must decrease (John 3:30).
Have you been betrayed, lonely, sick, abused, hurt, persecuted, or all of these? Well, there is Good News: Jesus.
Jesus is here to turn your circumstances into the glorification of God. And now we have the choice to choose joy and glorify Christ in our sufferings (Philippians 1:29 and 1 Peter 4:1-2). We were given a disclaimer from the beginning that to follow Jesus Christ, we would experience suffering for His name (Luke 21:12 & Mark 10:29-30).
Experiencing this pain can also give comfort to others. Like the old saying, “you never know what another person is going through.” When we confess what we are going through, your brother or sister might be having the same problems – and your hope in Jesus might help him/her to see our Lord in all the suffering, too. In 1 Peter 5:8-11, it says to be on guard because the enemy will try his hardest to attack us when we least expect it, but take heart because we are not alone. Not only do we have Jesus, but our brothers and sisters in Christ are going through the same thing! We are all fighting this together!
And I’ll be real with you, it’s not easy. Like I said, there are no shortcuts and everything within our human nature repels this. However, when you suffer, you can call on His name and receive His assurance and comfort – “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
Take heart, my sister – you are not alone. Not only are we all suffering with you, but our Lord Jesus is suffering with you, too. So let’s give Him the glory together.
By Emma Rabalais
Self-Confrontation: We run away from it because it’s scary. Because we want to believe that we are so much better than everyone around us. We are a selfish, narcissistic people by nature. That’s a consequence of a fallen world. God never wanted us to be this way but it was all changed with one bite of a fruit. And now we have to deal with the repercussions.
I’ve always prided myself on being compassionate and caring more for my friends than myself. Mistake number one: Don’t pride yourself on anything. We’re supposed to be humble. That’s a lot harder than it sounds. Yes, we are supposed to be compassionate and selfless and love the way God loves and see people the way He sees. But if you are bragging, or constantly telling yourself that you haven’t done anything wrong because you feel like you are more compassionate or selfless than others, you are just as much in the wrong as anybody else. That’s where I’ve failed. I’ve made myself believe a big lie. I tell myself that my anger with other people and the problems I’ve had to deal with our not my fault. Have you ever felt that way?
I’ve had to confront my own ego in the past couple of months. My own misgivings. I am not a perfect person. I am not a perfect friend. I am not a perfect wife. I am the result of a fallen world. That all sounds harsh and I promise I will be a little optimistic at the end of this so just hang in there with me.
A few months ago, I thought my anger at a friend was extremely justified. This friend has made mistakes. Caused conflict. And on and on and on I went justifying my own anger. BUT, then I changed my tune a little. And I was then angry with God. Yikes. I was angry that there is so much conflict in this world. Everywhere we turn there is conflict, sin, and anger. There is depression, anxiety, and turmoil. There is chaos and honestly, it’s really hard to see past all that sometimes. So I was angry with God.
Isn’t it ironic that when we start blaming other people and God, that He has a way of turning it all around?
Enter this quote: “The world doesn’t need any more finger-pointers. It needs more people to honestly point out their own sins, and humbly point up to everyone’s Savior.”
That hurt, and honestly when I read that quote, I prayed and begged God to remove it from my memory. Because, “God, I know what that quote means and I really don’t think that’s what I was supposed to read. Where’s the quote or the verse that says I am justified in my anger? That I have every right to be mad at someone who has done me wrong?”
It’s not there. I’ll tell you that right now. It’s not. So don’t go searching for it.
So I am not angry with my friend and I am not angry with God. Those are just cover-ups for the fact that I am so angry with myself. For making myself believe that lie of self-justification.
Alright, optimism time!
We are a selfish people. We are a sinful people. That’s because we are not perfect. There has only been one perfect man to ever walk this earth. His name is Jesus. Messiah. Emmanuel.
He gives us grace. Even when we don’t deserve it. The mercies of God won’t ever fail. We can strive to be compassionate, and selfless. God just wants us to show up and try. But even when we fail, He will be there to catch us in His unwavering grace and mercy.
So I’ve come to realize that sometimes it helps to think that people aren’t being difficult, maybe they are having difficulties and maybe there isn’t a need to show anyone how great we are and how right we are. We only need to point to the One who mends all our brokenness and all our shame and all our anger.
By Bethany Davies