A few years ago, I started a gratitude jar on New Year’s Day. It was similar to a gratitude journal. I had written one thing I was grateful for each day and penned my experience on a small piece of paper. Then, I dropped it in the jar.
Well, each day whether it was morning or night, I would add something to the jar I was grateful for. I didn’t exactly collect 365 pieces of paper by the end of the year but I did manage to fill up the jar at least three quarters of the way.
On New Year’s Eve, I dumped the jar and all the folded pieces of paper scattered across my bed. I began to read all the things that I did or went through the whole year. I had a flood of emotions of how faithful the Lord has been to me. I acknowledged the richness that life has to offer despite the challenges and difficulties. I even forgot some of the events and activities that took place such as the funny moments as well as the unexpected surprises. it gave me a fresh perspective on how to approach life and how to appreciate every moment given to us.
When you shift your perspective, it can transform your attitude. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things as much as the bigger things in my life. When you change your perspective on how you look at your life, you change your world. As the saying goes, “Gratitude is all about your attitude.”
I’m sure we all have something to be grateful for as we finish off the last quarter of this year. Hold onto your faith and keep trusting the Lord for whatever you need in this season. He is faithful.
In the last days, there will be more confusion, chaos, deception, distraction, and corruption in the world because Satan knows his time is up.
The only thing left to be able to stand on will be the Bible to light our path. In fact, it should not be the last resort but the first thing we run towards for safety, protection, and security.
The Bible is our daily manual for life. It is the living word that sustains us. We simply cannot navigate through life without a spiritual compass. We need guidance and reassurance that there is one higher and greater that is leading, providing, and protecting us. Sure, many will believe that they are the product of their own success or failure. However, it’s the Lord’s will for your life that ultimately guides your path.
Just like water can be transformed into ice, steam, or liquid so can the one and only living God whose spiritual nature consists of the Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit (Ghost).
It is within the divine plan of God that lights our path, however, He gives us the option to choose whether to believe and follow Him. Every man or woman must pick up their cross daily and follow him freely. (Mark 10:21) No man can come to the Father but through Jesus Christ. (John 3:5)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth Him shall not perish have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
You cannot mix half-truth with the whole truth. You simply cannot water down the truth.
As the birth pangs continue to increase and grow and the sorrow, pain, heartache, and destruction magnifies, your soul will continue to cry out for truth, protection, hope, and security.
You may already be searching for truth and clinging to hope. The only true hope comes from the encouragement of the Word of God who is the Creator of Heaven and earth, the only true God who created and designed you in the womb. He knows everything you’ve been through and exactly what you’re going through right at this present moment in time.
God loves you and desires for you to have a relationship with Him. You may even have a relationship with Him but He desires a deeper intimacy with you. God is a jealous God. He requires your full attention. He does not want to compete with Facebook, Instagram, text messages, corporate meetings, or the latest sports event.
If you put God first in your life and make Him priority daily, He will not disappoint. The raw truth is in the scriptures. It is healing for the spirit. Start by picking up the Bible and ask Him to give you the wisdom to understand the words on the page.
The Bible is life to the bones so it cannot be read like a novel or a textbook but by meditating on small chunks of scriptures at a time. It’s like eating a really delicious meal slowly so you can enjoy each bite and savor the flavor and by allowing it time to digest.
Life is a process as well as growing with Christ. The Spirit of God will guide and teach you along the way but you must remain open to His calling. He has a divine plan for your life. You also can’t escape a life without struggle, pain, discomfort, rejection, and opposition. Jesus’s had the same types of challenges also.
In fact, those were the same exact issues Jesus faced in life and on the cross where he sacrificed His life for our sins. He paid the penalty for our sins. We no longer carry the same burden of sin on our backs. This is the good news of Christ. He arose from the grave and Jesus is alive!
As you draw closer to the Lord, your Spirit will also come alive. Your old man (old nature) will pass away and you will become a new creature in Christ. You will begin to desire what pleases the Lord. (2 Corinth 5:17)
Temptation will always lurk at your doorstep but the Lord can and will give you the strength to supersede the devil’s request. It’s a matter of will.
With the Lord’s power, you can fight and win! So, be not entangled with false doctrines or false prophets and mixed truths which equal untruths and no truth.
The one thing you hunger and thirst for is the God of the Most High. You may satisfy yourself by striving for status, fame, material objects, success, and money, however, all those things are temporary and fickle. They’re not stable nor secure.
You will continue to search and strive for something that quenches but never fully satisfies. As soon as you gain, you desire more and more leading to an unfulfilled life.
Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink, He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive. John 7:37-39
When you fail, you grow deeper into despair, anxiety, and frustration. It’s a cycle of emptiness. It’s a process where you grow weary, tired, and discouraged and it eventually leads to depression and hopelessness.
There is another way to this thing called life. Will you continue to be parched and dry or will you begin to drink from the well of everlasting life?
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures
17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
2 Tim 1:9
Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began
Let God be true, but every man a liar.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
As we enter a new year, it is refreshing to start again. When the sun rises, it promises us a new day to anticipate and expect positive changes in our lives. We gain enthusiasm and motivation to begin new projects, set new goals and even finish tasks that we didn’t quite finish last year.
On the other hand, you may wake up in discouragement, resentment, regret, worry or fear. You may not have the excitement or motivation to even get out of bed. You just want to pull the covers over your head and hide from the world because you just don’t want to deal with all the crap that life brings your way. It may feel it’s pointless to begin again because you have not seen the fruits of your labor or experienced laughter, happiness or joy in a long time. In every problem, there is an opportunity. We must see our problems with spiritual eyes.
In the Bible, it states, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalms 30:5
Whatever season you may be experiencing, you must remember that it is only for a season. The uncomfortable situation or circumstance you’re facing is not impossible with God. The foundation of the Word of God promises us that we are overcomers despite all the challenges and obstacles we face.
Subconsciously, it feels like the month of January seems to set off how well the year will turn out. We must constantly put our thoughts and perspectives in check. We may get anxious about what we will encounter in the New Year. It’s very easy to lean towards negativity, self-doubt and fear. Our mindset must be elevated so we can produce and achieve those anticipated goals, visions and dreams that we hold in hearts. We should enter a new year with clarity and a peaceful spirit. We can set the pace with our ability to control our thoughts. “Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ Jesus.” 2 Corth 10:5
It all begins with the choices we make each day. We must follow through in obedience. We should listen to instructions, take heed to suggestions and receive wise counsel when needed. The smallest steps can make a big difference in the final outcome. Do we allow the weather to determine our mood? Or, do we allow negative people affect our whole day? We have power over our emotions and behavior with what we allow to influence our lives. If you didn’t like how your year went last year or the year before, you can analyze what went wrong and try to change it.
Some things that happen to us is out of our control, but we can look forward with hope knowing that nothing in life remains the same. As long as we hold onto hope, we can overcome. “Let us glory in tribulation also knowing that tribulation works patience; and patience, experience, and experience hope: And hope makes us not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5
One more thing we should consider, we should not be overwhelmed with all the demands in life. Live in the moment. Live on purpose. Sometimes we just need to slow down. The constant flow of instant gratification and instant information at our fingertips destroys our ability to wait. We must learn patience. Learn to do what we can with the time that is given to us. We must learn to be good stewards of our time. “Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Heb 6:12