I am quick to remind my children to say, “thank you,” in response to kindness. I am not a happy mom when they take the blessing and keep it moving without expressing gratitude. My heavenly father wants the same from me, a heart to come back and say thanks.
In Luke 17 we have the story of 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus and only one came back to say thank you. The others received their healing and went on their merry way. By not coming back to say thank you, they missed out on something of greater value than their physical healing. You see, when they first cried out for healing, they were at a distance because as lepers they couldn’t come close to others. However, the one leper who returned after being healed found himself at the feet of Jesus. His leprous state initially kept him distant from Jesus, but His heart of gratitude after receiving healing brought him to the feet of Jesus.
I have learned that having a heart of gratitude and coming back to say thank you, helps to pave the way to Jesus’ presence. Some years ago, I began a habit of waking up and jotting down in my journal ‘thankful moments’ from the previous days. I realize that the more I focus on saying thank you and praising God, the more aware I became of all that He has done. There are so many blessings I have overlooked in the past because I was more focused on what was wrong, instead of coming back to tell God thank you for all that He made right. Which of the lepers are you most like, the one who came back to say thank you or the nine who did not?
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Psalm 107:1 (NLT)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Not only did I want to present a perfect image for others, but I also wanted to present myself as perfect before God. I used to beat myself up when I would make mistakes, wondering if I would ever be able to get it ALL RIGHT, ALL THE TIME. God has had to remind me repeatedly that He knows that I am not perfect but that I am a work in progress. A work that won’t be completed until I see Jesus. The work that God is doing in me does not end the day that I accept Him as Lord, it is continuous! It’s not just any work that He is doing in me, it’s a GOOD WORK!
A good work that brings pride, jealousy, unforgiveness and all the like to the surface. I don’t have to lament because they are present but rejoice in knowing that they don’t have to remain IF I YIELD TO THE CONTINOUS PROCESS OF BEING PERFECTED. I love that God finishes what He starts, so I can be confident in knowing the work He started in me will be completed when I see Jesus. Take a moment and soak it in-talk about something to look forward to!
But wait, there is more! Ephesians 2:10, reminds us that we are also God’s masterpiece, a great work of art, God’s beautiful poem. I dare double dare you to daily look yourself in the mirror and declare, “ I am God’s masterpiece, created new in Christ Jesus for good works!” LISTEN, you better meditate on that scripture to knock insecurity back to the pits of hell where it belongs. Let the church say “AMEN!”
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
I am not perfect…surprise! In today’s lesson, I have learned that I don’t have to wear a mask of perfection. I quit my day job of trying to always present a perfect image. The song and dance was exhausting and certainly not worth the pay. The load was just too heavy to carry. Somehow, I became convinced that I needed to always present a perfect image to others, never willing to expose my flaws. The driving force to being perfect was pride, let’s just call it for what it is. I wanted to present perfect because I wanted everyone to think highly of me.
However, on my road to 40, the Lord has helped me to be more vulnerable and share my weaknesses, sometimes more than I care to. Many times, as of late, I come to the end of a conversation and ask myself, ‘did I just tell them all my business, with all the warts and wrinkles?” However, the more transparent I become about past and current areas of brokenness in my life, the more I see the power of God on display. When I am transparent, I realize that people are more willing to open up and share their areas of struggle with me, and I in turn am able to point them to Jesus, the PERFECT ONE! God’s grace is indeed enough, and His power works best in my weakness! No, I am not perfect, but I am clinging to the one who is in the process of perfecting me. How about you? Do you struggle with always trying to present a perfect image? Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I didn’t trust God. There I said it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is true. At the time, I didn’t realize that was the case, but looking back, that was exactly it. I would often blame my impatience on my impulsive personality but I realize that it went a lot deeper than that. My impatience came from a place of mistrust. I didn’t trust God would work on my behalf if a prayer took too long to get answered. I would then ditch the waiting on God scenario and concoct dead-end ways to answer my own prayers.
For today’s lesson, I have learned to be patient and wait on God! When I don’t, the results are often a hot mess! Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds me that I must trust in the Lord with all my heart. Not some of my heart, but all of it. In all of my ways acknowledge Him-not some of my ways but all of them. Are you seeing a pattern here? God is really into this TOTAL surrender thing. After I have surrendered my all to God, I must then learn to be patient and allow Him to direct my path. The directing may not come as quickly as I would like or in the direction I want to go. However, I must learn to trust that God’s timing and wisdom are always the best option for me. How about you? Do you find that you are impatient or is it easy for you to be still and trust God? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths.
I have some breaking news to share with you. Ready for it? Here it is, we all make mistakes! We have all done things that we are not proud of. That’s a fact! But, what do you do when the mistakes from your past seem to constantly haunt you and you struggle to live in the here and now? What happens when past sins are constantly on replay in your mind and the shadow of your past is always present. I am very familiar with the mental torment, the regret and the shame attached to past mistakes.
However, one of the things that I have learned on my road to being forty is that I AM FORGIVEN SO I MUST FORGIVE MYSELF. I don’t have to carry my baggage from the past into my future. I don’t have to live condemned. IF (and this is a big IF here) if I come to God and sincerely repent, He forgives me (1 John 1:9). If God has forgiven me, I must also make the choice to forgive myself. The scripture tells me that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus(Romans 8:1) and that I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)! The game changer in all of this is JESUS! He makes it possible for me to unload all of the burden and shame of past sins, but again I must first come to Him. I love how Jesus is about making all things new, so on my road to being forty, I have made the choice to join Him in this newness movement. I am living in the reality that I AM FORGIVEN! How about you? Do you find that you struggle with receiving forgiveness from God and yourself for past sins? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you. Below are some scriptures to encourage you in this area.
“I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.
AAs far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
1 John 1:9
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
I have big news, great news, exciting news! On April 28th I will be turning 40! I am not at all mourning the fact that I am getting older. Ok, let me keep it real, maybe I am a little upset that I don’t drop the pounds as fast as I used to and that if I eat what I shouldn’t it seems to show seconds later. Let’s just say my age and my metabolism are not best friends. But other than that, and some other interesting side effects that comes with getting older, I must say that I am totally embracing this turning 40 thing! Why? Glad you asked….I was going to tell you even if you did not inquire. I can reflect on my life and see how much growth has taken place. Yes, I have more learning to do, but I am going to celebrate all that God has done in me and all that He has taught me. I have learned many lessons that has helped me to lose my life while at the same time finding it in Christ. It has been a ride, let me tell ya! But I am tasting freedom in overwhelming doses. I have been in super reflective mode, as is my custom around my birthdays! This year, I decided to share those reflections with you, yes you! For the next 40 days I am going to share 40 lessons I have learned on the road to turning 40. Of course, I have learned more, but these are the most pronounced as I reflect on my life.
The most life changing lesson I have learned on my road to being 40 is that I am loved by God! Sounds simple I know but I must confess that there were times in my life where my actions proved that I did not believe this to be true.
Times when I
shrunk back when I should have stood up
doubted when I should have believed
put up what I should have put out
Feared when I should have been confident
Settled when I should have demanded more
Compromised when I should have yielded to conviction
All because I didn’t embrace the unchanging truth that I am loved by God. I am just so overwhelmed with emotions when I really think about how much He loves me. It used to seem like such a distant love. However, the more I surrender to God, the more personal His love becomes. Perhaps it’s because I am more intentional about sitting and listening to Him speak to me. I am hearing these messages of love that I seemed to have missed. It wasn’t that He wasn’t telling me before, I just couldn’t hear Him because of the competing voices in my head. Surrender seemed to have fine-tuned my hearing and my heart. I am getting a deeper revelation of His love and it has brought a new level of confidence…not arrogance…there is a difference. There is something about knowing I am loved by the creator of the universe that pushes me into my purpose with my head held high. I know I haven’t fully grasped His love for me but I am starting to get it. How about you? Do you know and live in the reality that you are loved by the creator of the universe? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you. Below are some scriptures to mediate on to remind you of this love. See you tomorrow as I share lesson #2 on my road to turning 40!
Psalm 13:5-6 (NLT)
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.
“…I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”
1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.