Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Song of Praise


     He sat there on the grape vine singing his song. The overripe grapes still hanging on the vine, free for the taking. The Bluebirds had their fill and left just moments before he landed, now it was his turn to eat.

      I used to watch the birds more often. Busyness has crowded them out of my time and replaced the watching with working. But there are things within the working that are worth watching...and there are songs being sung there too. People being fed, blessings being picked from the vine of God's love; daily manna feeding His children just as surely as He feeds the birds. (Matt. 6:26)

      It's not so much the watching in life that matters, but the seeing. Not merely watching the happenings around us but seeing God revealed in them, working in and through them. Touching lives, providing nourishment, and listening patiently for our songs of praise to rise up as "thank yous" for His many blessings. For eyes to look upon the fruit growing on the vine and acknowledge that His hand is opened to us.

      So much of the time I think we see what isn't there...what we don't have, when God has poured into our lives blessing upon blessing. Are we watching days go by or are we seeing all that He is doing within each moment? If we intentionally look, we will see.

      Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, but really, today is thanksgiving, yesterday was thanksgiving...and every day! Our lives should be a song of praise to Him from where ever we sit ; on the vine, the couch, or office chair, as we reach out to take the abundance he offers us. The birds know this, and He has made us so much greater than birds.

1 Thess. 5:18

Friday, November 16, 2012

Who is that Woman in the Mirror?

(I'm sharing this again since the theme is Thanksgiving. First published on Laced With Grace)

The sacrifice that honors me is a thankful heart.

Psalm 50:23(CEV) 

I was listening to a praise song as it sang, “Give thanks with a grateful heart…”

A grateful heart?  What exactly does that look like? The question kept popping up in my mind.

      I know what an ungrateful heart looks like. I’m sure we can all think of that person who seems to always find something wrong with most everything…the “cup is half empty” sort of person who walks around with a dark cloud hovering overhead. But what does the person look like who truly has a grateful heart? Is the sun always shining above her…does she always have a smile on her face?

      Not only do I want to recognize her when I see her, but I want to be her. I want to look in the mirror and say, “There she is!” I’ve been intentional lately about practicing gratitude, and I must say, it does not come natural for me. At first I thought I needed good reasons to be thankful, like my day going smoothly, things going well with my family, friendships, and such. But when they didn’t go so well, and I made myself thank God for them anyway, something wonderful happened…I became truly grateful for them. Not because of what they were of themselves, but because of what God was doing in the midst of them…and what He was doing in me.

      Many times what we practice with our lips becomes embedded in our hearts – whether good or bad. We start believing what we hear ourselves saying. The more I looked for reasons to be grateful, the more I saw. Things I never thought of as blessings started looking different. I started seeing that the world is filled with blessings in disguise. They are only visible to those who look for them.

      I keep going to the mirror hoping to see that grateful woman looking back at me…and some days she does, other days she forgets… or is lazy.  A life of gratitude has to be intentional, it has to be practiced and lived out on purpose. It’s not easy, but it is possible…if it weren’t, God would not ask us to do it.

“…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

How about you? Are you seeing that grateful woman (or man) in your mirror?