LOOK FOR BLESSINGS ALL AROUND!
For It’s There They Can Be Found!
“EVERY DESIRABLE AND BENEFICIAL GIFT COMES OUT OF HEAVEN. THE GIFTS ARE RIVERS OF LIGHT CASCADING DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF LIGHT. -James 1:17
“FOR JEHOVAH GOD IS OUR LIGHT AND OUR PROTECTOR. HE GIVES US GRACE AND GLORY. NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD FROM THOSE WHO WALK ALONG HIS PATHS.” -Psalm 84:11
This week while trying to decide what to share with you, my Bible Art Challenge was for James 1:2-19. There are so many great things in those verses but what leapt out at me was verse 17 from the Message Bible. It was such a visually stunning image of the Lord literally ENGULFING US with a cascade of Blessings! As I was painting, the colors began to BLAZE across the page, and I could just feel God’s immense Love and Blessings all around me! What a powerful reminder that God’s gifts are everywhere, if only we have eyes to see. I like how my sister, Candy, once put it. It’s like every day, God has a wheelbarrow FULL of gifts for us. Not only do we need to see and REALIZE that they are there, we need to be open to receiving them.
For example, how many of us race through our days, never even registering the exquisitely beautiful work of art that God creates for us each and every day, twice daily with sunrise and sunset? As you know, I Love color, and it just takes my breath away to see such AMAZING sunsets! (I’m not a morning person so I don’t do sunrises very often. But I do Love sunlight shining through my windows when I wake up in the mornings. It’s like God’s own personal hug to me!) I was going to find you an gorgeous sunset picture, then realized that even magnificent artwork and photos of sunsets are NOTHING compared to the REAL thing! So, PLEASE, go outside and share God’s creation with Him! It will Bless you both!
PRAISE THE LORD ALWAYS
Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. (A Blessing is also the term used for a group of narwhals, as I found out when me daughter adopted some stuffed ones of all colors! They certainly made her happy!) Some packages come in GINORMOUS ways- the birth of a child, the dream house that you have been saving to buy, the visit of a dear Friend. Yet there are SO MANY Blessings that seem almost minuscule to us. When you think about it, though, isn’t it sweet of God to give them to us? Whether it’s the parking space close to the store while it’s pouring down rain, or a hot cup of tea to start off our morning, our days are FILLED with TONS of little “I Love You!” notes from God. And He likes when we send Him “Thank You Notes.” Ever notice how the Bible is full of verses telling us to Praise the Lord, to thank Him for all He has done for us?
“IT IS GOOD TO GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, TO SING PRAISES TO THY NAME, O MOST HIGH; TO DECLARE THY STEADFAST LOVE IN THE MORNING, AND THY FAITHFULNESS BY NIGHT.” -Psalm 92:1-2
One thing I like to do is make Praise Lists, or write in a Blessing Book. It’s exactly like it sounds- I record things that I am thankful for. My husband, my kids, my health, those are always there, of course. It’s usually pretty easy to come up with10 things you are thankful for, maybe even 25. But what about 50? Or a 100 things to praise God for!?! Sounds impossible? Think you can’t do that? THINK AGAIN! Sure- list the BIG things, but also thank God for the things you think are small and unimportant. BECAUSE NOTHING IS SMALL IN GOD’S EYES!!!!! Remember, He knows the number of hairs on your head! He cares for the sparrows, and robes the flowers in splendor! And He DELIGHTS in YOU!!!!! Every aspect of you!*** That’s why I know it makes God happy when I praise Him for Dr. Pepper, roses, PINK and fairy gardens!
PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM
Maybe you’re in a rough place right now, though. (Been there; done that.) Sometimes it’s hard to get up and even make it through the days, let alone be grateful along the way. Yet it is in the Book of Psalms that you find many, many praises to the Lord. These “Thank You Letters” were written by David. Remember him? The one who slew a giant and won the war for King Saul? The same one who became friends with the king after calming Saul’s troubled spirit with music? Then Saul started trying to KILL David because he knew that David was to take his place as king.
Being turned on by your friend and king, being hunted to DEATH- those are not the best of circumstances. Yet David kept singing praises about God, and to God. Sure, there were times when he gave in to despair, or when he got angry and raged at God. (We all do; that’s part of being human.) But he could still praise God because he KNEW that God had ALWAYS taken care of him, and always would, even when there were many, many times that he could not see God at work.
“I WILL PRAISE THE LORD NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. I WILL CONSTANTLY SPEAK OF HIS GLORIES AND GRACE. I WILL BOAST OF ALL HIS KINDNESS TO ME. LET ALL WHO ARE DISCOURAGED TAKE HEART. LET US PRAISE THE LORD TOGETHER, AND EXALT HIS NAME. FOR I CRIED TO HIM AND HE ANSWERED ME! HE FREED ME FROM ALL MY FEARS.” -Psalm 34:1-4
God was there for David, and He is here for us. When my kids were little, we’d end each day saying 3 good things about our day. There were times when besides my family, the only thing I felt like thanking God for was for making it through the day. That’s okay. It also made me ponder what WAS good about my day.
Here’s my challenge for you: consider writing a Praise List or in a Blessing Book. If that seems too daunting for you, try at the end of the day to think of 5 things you can thank God for. (I know- the quota’s gone up!) Another option is to look back at your day and think about the good things that happened and what went well with the day. Those are God’s Love Letters to you!
I’ll end this post with a picture of one of my Special Blessings from God ~ a sunrise from my porch. YES, sunrise does happen even to me upon occasion!
Enjoy God’s Blessings! –BILLIE
“BUT TRUE PRAISE IS A WORTHY SACRIFICE; THIS REALLY HONORS ME. THOSE WHO WALK MY PATHS WILL RECEIVE SALVATION FROM THE LORD.” -Psalm 50:23
Paraphrased James 1:17 Picture inspired by journal from PaperandDust on deviantart, and a painting by Jimmy Lawlor on pinterest.
Psalm 34:1 picture from glorycardskjv.com
*** Luke 12:7, Matthew 6:26-30, Luke 12:27-28, Zephaniah 3:17, and Psalm 149:4
The Living Bible Paraphrased: Psalm 84:11, Psalm 34:1-4 and Psalm 50:23
The Message Bible: James 1:17
The Revised Standard Version Bible: Psalm 92:1-2