So, I’m sitting in church yesterday listening to a really good sermon on work and our attitude about work. Pastor Rex reminds us that whatever we do, we should do it as if we are working for the Lord. And do it for His glory. Great reminders!
Then in his conclusion, he puts up the scripture from I Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” And into my mind pops a picture of me eating a piece of chocolate sheet cake on Lane’s birthday, the day before. I’m picturing myself enjoying it immensely and hoping that is an example of eating for the glory of God! LOL!
Somehow, I don’t think this is what Paul was trying to communicate in that verse, but that is where my mind went.
(By the way, this is not just ANY chocolate cake. This is the moistest chocolate cake I have ever had! Don’t even ask me how many sticks of butter are in this recipe!! My daughter, Kristen, calls it the “heart attack waiting to happen” cake. As long as you don’t eat the whole cake yourself, you should be good, right? The question is: Can I be disciplined enough to only eat a serving size? Hmm…. Inquiring minds want to know…..)
Maybe my mind goes to food more easily because I have to be conscientious about what I eat and how much of it I eat. Maybe that makes me more grateful for the good food I do get to eat!
Speaking of food, before I get too far into this, I should give you an update of where I am in my “Go, You Chicken Fat, Go” journey.
- Still on the journey.
- I’m on Day 56 and have only missed 3 or 4 days of 30+ minutes of exercise! I think that is something to celebrate!!
- I have lost 1.5 more pounds, for a total of 5.5 so far.
- The loss of inches and increased muscle tone is what is most noticeable.
- I’m very determined to keep plugging away at this!
- And lastly, I promised to post a picture of me in skinny jeans at the end of the 60 days, so be looking for a post from me later this week:-).
Back to the sermon and the chocolate cake……then I started down the rabbit trail of thanking God for the gift of chocolate cake, (and yes, that is truly a gift!), and the other good things He gives to us and allows us to enjoy, and that led to “every good and perfect gift”…….
….And now I’m blogging about having an attitude of gratitude!
An attitude of gratitude for every good and perfect gift. And who do those good and perfect gifts come from?……Our good, good Father!
Included in those good and perfect gifts is the gift of life itself.
I believe every day is a gift. A gift of life to be lived.
And every day I have a decision to make. How will I use this new day?
Will I use it to bless someone else?
Will I use it to grow and learn?
Will I see it as an opportunity to do something good in the world?
And will I seize that opportunity?!
Yesterday I seized the opportunity to encourage a neighbor who is battling cancer for the second time. I actually haven’t even met this sweet woman yet, but I have met her daughter. Through her daughter (and a delivery of chocolate chip cookies), I now know where she lives, have her cell phone # and have been able to text with her several times.
I haven’t actually experienced a cancer diagnosis myself, but I have had three close family members who have (my mother, my father and my late husband). I know it is a struggle to stay positive, to keep hoping for a cancer-free life, to stay calm in the midst of the uncertainty. I’ve watched it and struggled with them. Prayed with them. Cried with them.
As I have observed my family members wrestle with the reality of their mortality, I have learned to appreciate every day I’m given even more. And I have learned to be grateful for every good and perfect gift God has given me!
So, here is what I texted my new friend yesterday:
“I know nothing of your faith journey, but my hope is in God’s promise of eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for my sins. And that is the only way I can have peace and hope in the midst of life’s struggles and challenges. I know my name is written in the Book of Life and whether I live to be 100 or die tomorrow, I will be with Jesus and God, the Father, for eternity!”
My prayer is she knows my Jesus and has her hope in eternal life with Him, too.
My dad lived and died embracing Jesus as his only hope for eternal life. And he made the most of every day God gave him on this earth. In fact, he was still making notes for articles and devotionals he wanted to write three weeks before he died of urethral cancer. He told us, “I didn’t think God was going to take me this soon. I still have so much I want to accomplish.” (He was 87!)
Dad squeezed everything he could out of the gifts God gave him. Didn’t waste a bit! He lived according to the Bible verse “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23.
And my dad lived a life of gratitude for all God had given him. He knew “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father….” James 1:17.
Following my father’s example, I’m going to practice/make it a habit to “see” the good gifts I’ve been given, to name them, be grateful to God for them, and use them for the glory of God.
While attending the Discipled by Jesus Summit at our church in August, I was reminded that unless we “look” for the gifts, the things Jesus has done, we will focus on the negative, or at the very least, simply not appreciate all God has given us.
If we are truly Jesus’ disciples, we have to put on our “spiritual eyes” and pay attention! Now I’m practicing my new vision and looking for the “good and perfect gifts” God is giving me every day!
Let me be clear. By “good and perfect gifts,” I don’t mean every little thing my heart desires. Most of the good and perfect gifts are not tangible, can-put-my-hands-on-it kind of gifts.
“Good and perfect gifts” are often the talents He puts in you, and the way you see Jesus working in and through those closest to you. They may be ways God is revealing himself to you or ways He is working for your good. They can be physical gifts of provision, too:-).
Examples of “good and perfect gifts:” an encouraging word from a friend, an unexpected hug, a surprise card or note, an answer to prayer, a hummingbird outside your window. These are all gifts God gives us to remind us of His presence all around us, His love for us, and His desire for relationship with us.
It takes practice and intentionality to “see” these gifts. Today, I’m starting a Good and Perfect Gifts Journal. Do you want to join me? Do you want to practice using your “spiritual eyes” with me?
TODAY, I’m starting a gratitude habit. Dare I coin a new word and call it a Grab-It?! I’m going to “grab” these daily gratitudes to document God’s good and perfect gifts. Using my new Good and Perfect Gifts Journal, my goal is to capture and record at least 3 “good and perfect gifts” each day. Just think of how many I would have by September 3 next year. 1095!
So here is my Grab-it list of “good and perfect gifts” for today:
- Uplifting conversation with my lifelong friend and prayer warrior, Vickie S.
- Delicious fruit smoothie after a long, hot walk
- Enjoying a funny movie with Lane and great friends, Jack and Nan-lots of laughter!
The greatest gift God gives us is the gift of life itself! I don’t want to waste this precious gift! So, I need to put on my “spiritual ears” and listen for God’s direction on how He wants me to use each day He has gifted me.
And how do we best listen?
Practice being still every day.
Listen for God’s direction and get busy using every day for good!
I can do it!
You can do it!
Don’t waste a minute of your precious life!!
Thank you, Jesus, for the precious gift of life! Help me to “see” your gifts every day and use the gifts you have placed in me to bless others. You are the great Gift-Giver! And thank you especially for chocolate sheet cake!! 😉
In Jesus’ Name, Karen Renae
P.S. Please post a comment listing “good and perfect gifts” of your own you would like to share. Do this as often as you would like:–). We would be blessed to read them!!