Thankful Before (Questions to Consider: the Purpose)

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I’m not going to say there is a purpose to everything. That just seems so cliché and cold to say to the one who has lost a loved one or to the one whose marriage is falling apart or is living in the wilderness wondering if she will ever get out of there.

I don’t know the purpose to why bad things happen or God’s timing on things. What I do know is God can take everything we experience…every hurt, every painful thing, every dry time…and make something good from it. Every. Single. Thing.

Here’s the question: Can we thank him before we understand the purpose because, let’s face it, some stuff we will never understand this side of heaven. Can we thank him before we see the good that he makes from something bad?

Hard questions to consider for sure. But boy when we come to the place of being thankful in all things, it sure changes our perspective, our attitudes and our worship.

 Sunday November 12           Read John 11:1-43

 Monday November 13           Read John 11:1-16

Have you ever sent word to Jesus, letting him know (praying) about a situation?

Has his response ever seemed like he stayed where he was two more days? (A “delayed” response to your request.)

How did/does this make you feel? About the situation? Towards Jesus?

Tuesday November 14          Read John 11:17-37

 What was Mary and Martha’s reaction to Jesus when he “finally” showed up?

What was Jesus’ reaction to each of them?

Is it okay to be completely honest with how we’re feeling, sharing our disappointment, anger and grief with God (or even towards God)?

What “I AM” name does Jesus use here?

Wednesday November 15              Read John 11:38-43

 What does Jesus thank God for in verse 41?

For whose benefit and for what reason does he do this?

God hears our prayers. God answers our prayers. Sometimes his answers seem delayed but maybe it’s so everyone knows Who it was that was working in the midst of your request. Just something for us to consider.

Thursday November 16         Genesis 1:1-31

 Switching gears a little today. We saw in John 11:25 that Jesus is the resurrection and life, bringing the dead back to life. God is All-Powerful. His word can create something from nothing.

Spend some time today paying special attention to what happens every time you read And God said…

Consider this: Maybe you have something that seems hopeless and you feel helpless. A relationship that is dead. A job. A marriage. Etc. If God spoke into existence all that he did out of nothing, he can surely speak life and hope into your situation…that something that you lay at his feet.

Thank him today that he hears you and that he can speak life into whatever you are facing.

Friday November 17            Read Ezekiel 37:1-14

 Who does the setting in and leading around the Valley of Dry Bones?

All of us experience dry times spiritually. Often times it’s of our doing but sometimes the Lord actually leads into that valley. Verses 13-14 gives us a clue as to why.

We cannot know the beauty of the mountaintop if we’ve never experienced the depth of a valley. A valley is something meant to be gone through not lived in.

Listen for the Breath of Life to breathe into you.

Saturday November 18         Read Proverbs 18:21

 Our words have the power of life and death.

How do you use your words towards others?

How do you speak to yourself? Your family? Your friends?

This week has been one of thanking the Lord before we understand the purpose of the thing we’re going through. Can you thank him in the I don’t know why? Will you thank him in the I don’t understand the purpose? Can you thank him while in the valley of dry bones? Will you use your words to bring life to others and yourself?

I know it’s hard to be thankful in all things, in all situations, with all our words. But if we practice thankfulness before knowing the purpose, we will get better at it!

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons in Loaves and Fish

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My version of loaves and fish! Hey! This post is all about being thankful for what we have! 🙂

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. (John 6:11 MSG)

The need is great. The resources limited. The people are hangry. You are tired with very little left to give.

I’ve been there. Oh, it wasn’t on a hill but in my home. It wasn’t my belly in need of food but my soul. I was depleted, wrung out and I wasn’t sure how much I had to give to feed the need. What I did have sure seemed liked leftovers and not enough. You too?

When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do. (John 6:5-6 MSG)

The stretching of our faith doesn’t happen when we’re full and on fire. It happens when you have nothing left to give, the grief is great or you have no clue what to do.

Philip answered, “Two hundred silver pieces wouldn’t be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece.” (John 6:7 MSG)

Philip gets it. He gets being tired and not having enough…the disciples and Jesus had come up to this place to rest a bit. They had been serving and seeing miracles happen, healing and hope were given and people believed in Jesus.

My reaction is much like Philip’s when I’m tired. I can only see the vast need and not the Provider standing right in front of me. The last thing I want is to be stretched in my faith. Can’t you just fix it already, Jesus? Because I’m in no mood and I have no clue.

 We see the impossibility of making a way instead of the Way Maker.

One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.” (John 6:8-9 MSG)

 I get Andrew too. There always seems to be a but in my offering to Jesus.

 I know You can fix this but…

 I know You can help me but…

 I know You can feed this need but…

 I know You are my refuge and strength but…

 I know You can do all things but…

                            …that’s a drop in my bucket for a problem like this.

 Anybody?

Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.

He doesn’t scold. He doesn’t criticize. He doesn’t reprimand. He shows them what can happen when we place our “not enough” in the hands of “more than you can imagine.” Needs are met. People are fed. Souls are at rest.

Jesus showed the disciples (and us) what happens when we give thanks for the drop in the bucket …God can use it to feed the masses (or your family or simply you.) He meets your need.

When we give him what we have, he gives us what we need but not always what we want. Wait, what?

I wonder what the people thought they were going to get when Jesus raised the bread and fish in thanks. They had just witnessed miracle after miracle so he could have easily turned those loaves and fish into T-bone steaks grilled to perfection, a baked potato loaded with sour cream and butter and a decadent chocolate dessert!

He spoke more than that into existence for goodness sake!

For example: I can give him a broken relationship and I need him to fix it. I know how the need should be filled (of course!)…I want him to fix the other person. Instead he gives me peace through the storm…something I desperately need. That peace then becomes something I want. Something that, oddly enough, satisfies that need deep down in my soul even though I didn’t get exactly what I asked for.

When we give him what we have, he gives us what we need and that becomes what we want….all ate as much as they wanted.

When we give thanks in the not enough, it becomes more than enough when put in the hands of More Than You Can Imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

Have a need? Lift up that loaf and fish, thank God before he provides and see what happens!

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

Thankful Before (Questions to Consider: the Provision)

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There is always something to be thankful for…

 We hear this mantra a lot, especially this time of year and it’s true. There IS always something to be thankful for. Even in my toughest seasons I could muster up something for which to give thanks….some days it was that I opened my eyes or had breath…but it was something.

It’s also pretty popular to take each day in the month of November and write down what you are thankful for. Lots of social media posts give a shout out of thanksgivings. Nothing wrong with that since there is always something to be thankful for.

 But what if…

There are several times in the gospels where we see Jesus give thanks not for something but before. He prays and thanks the Father before the provision is given, before the prayer is answered, before the cross is experienced.

Wow! Talk about upping the thankful game!

Do you have something you’re praying about? Do you have a need that you’ve been on your knees over? Do you long for a breath of fresh air and new life in a relationship, job or maybe even yourself? Is there a season of life you know is coming that’s going to be tough?

Maybe you’ve been begging and pleading for answers with nothing but silence. What would happen if we began to thank God ahead of time for answering our prayer? What would happen if, instead of begging, we asked and immediately began to be thankful before the answer was obvious?

What have you been praying for? What answer do you need? Ask for it, pray about it then everyday from now until the end of the month thank the Father before he answers. I can’t wait to hear what happens!

For the rest of this month we will be looking at those three encounters, learn from them best we can and challenge ourselves to be thankful on a whole different level.

Let’s get started with this week’s readings and questions to consider:

Sunday, November 05       Read John 6:1-15

Simply read the encounter and ask the Lord to give you fresh eyes to see and ears to hear what he would have for you.

Monday November 06       Read John 6:1-15

Think about the different reactions to the need that was in front of them…

Philip said…

Andrew said, here is this but…

The little boy did…

Can you relate to any of these when there is such a great need in your own life or when Jesus asks you to do the (seemingly) impossible?

Tuesday November 07               Read John 6:1-15

How many loaves and fish did the boy have to offer?

Was it enough on his own?

Was it enough when given to Jesus?

Was does this tell you?

Wednesday November 08          Read John 6:1-15

How many loaves and fish does Jesus have when he gave thanks? (I know…duh!…but hang with me.)

How often do we think we don’t have enough so we don’t offer what we have?

Thursday November 09              Read John 6:1-15

What does Jesus do as soon as he gave thanks?

Do you trust your Father enough to hand him what you have (measly as it may seem), thank him for it then “distribute” it to help feed others?

Friday November 10                  Read John 6:1-15

Think about an area that you have a need, something that your resources simply are not enough on their own. Don’t think about just money but about relationships, jobs, contentment, health etc. Write it down.

 

Saturday November 11               Read John 6:1-15

Spend today simply thanking him for the provision from yesterday’s area of need. Each time it comes to mind, thank him for the provision. Each time you catch yourself worrying about it thank him for the answer.

The same God who turned the measly into the miraculous is the same God you are asking today. The same God who fed the masses on a boys’ mere meal can take your not much and feed the need.

What if we prayed like Jesus, thanked like Jesus, trusted like Jesus and served like Jesus…before.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November Calendar with an Attitude of Gratitude

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There’s lots of cliché’s that surround having “thankful” be the theme for November. I mean it is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving…giving thanks for family and friends, food and fun, oh and of course God and his goodness. And while it’s not rocket science, it does make a difference when you purposefully set your mind to be thankful. (If you rolled your eyes, huffed and puffed or shook your head…maybe you need it the most…just a thought. 😉

I have been researching and reading lots of verses on words like thanks, thankful, thankfulness and thanksgiving and I’ve discovered something: It’s hard to be angry and thankful. It’s hard to be discontent and thankful. It’s hard to be prideful, hateful or arrogant and be thankful. It’s like thankfulness is a light that outshines the ugly in us.

Maybe you’ve had a tough year and the last thing you want to do is be thankful. For what? you may be asking. Maybe you’re angry at God or the holidays are hard or you’ve lost someone you love. I get it. I also know that it is in those moments, when it is the hardest, that it is the biggest blessing as well.

According to Amy Morin from Forbes magazine, gratitude is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life. She goes on to give seven scientifically proven things an attitude of gratitude does which includes improving physical and psychological health, increases mental strength and empathy, better sleep, and decreases aggression (Lord knows we could use that in the world about now!).

What do we have to lose?

Here is your calendar of scripture reading. Simply click the link and the calendar will be downloaded to your device.

November

Because of the busyness of the season, I wanted to keep it simple so there will either be a handful of verses to read or we will hang out in the same passage for the entire week with questions to consider each day. You can choose to read more or the entire chapter if you would like. You can choose to write out the answers to the questions or simply think about them throughout the day. You can choose to do any of the activities listed…or not. Every Sunday you will get your questions to consider for that week.

So grab your Bible and journal and let’s get started! I thought we could do a little warm up these first few days and stay in the book of Colossians where there is something about thanks in all four chapters. (All questions are based on the NIV version of the Bible so some words/wording may be different.)

November 01: Read Colossians 1:1-14

~ List 3 friends you are thankful for.

~ List a person who has been your “Epaphra’s”

send them a note of thanks.

~ List 3 friends you will pray Colossians 1:9 over for the month.

 

November 02: Read Colossians 2:1-12

~ What is Paul’s purpose? (verse 2-3)

~ Does someone you know need encouraged today? Do it!

~ What are we to continue in verses 6-7?

~ Is your thankfulness overflowing? Attitude check here.

 

November 03: Read Colossians 3:1-17

~ There is much to be thankful for in these verses…

~ Write out/ponder on as many as you can…for example…

I am thankful for…verse 1 that I have been raised with Christ.

 

November 04: Read Colossians 4:2-6

~ Lots of “be’s” in these…

be prayerful, watchful, thankful, wise, graceful…

lots of questions to consider…

~ Which of these “be’s” do I struggle with the most?

~ How do I act towards “outsiders”?

~ Do I make the most of every opportunity?

~ Is my conversation seasoned with salt or simply salty?

I want to hear from YOU! Either comment on the blog directly or join the Facebook page Kim Wright Writes. What was one takeaway from this weeks readings?

Happy Thanks Giving!

Fiercely for you!

kw