Thankfulness

 

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Psalms 23:5
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anoitest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Some people never find satisfaction in the things they do have, but spend their entire lives wishing for things they don’t have. They are never happy with where their lives are going, they feel empty in their relationships, and therefore they find it impossible to give thanks for the many blessings they have been given.

As Christians, we are people of praise. Every prayer we offer unto God should acknowledge the many wonderful things that He has done for us. Only a blind person can deny the beauty and splendor of this world. God gives good things to His children, and we should be thankful for all that we have.

Prayer: Lord, I cannot believe how much I have been given. Help open my eyes to the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Make me thankful, Lord. Amen.

~Wisdom from the Psalms

He is with us always

Christians who center their lives around the glorious promises of God find themselves blessed beyond all expectations. To live in the knowledge that Jesus is always with us. When His presence is the focal point in our life’s consciousness, all the pieces of our life fall into place. As you gaze at Christ through the eyes of your heart, you can see the world around you from His perspective. The fact that He is with us always only makes every moment of our life so much more meaningful. 🙂

~ Jesus Calling: Devotion, January 28 …Matthew 28:20; Psalm 139:1-4

How the Debt Snowball Method Works

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Lets start 2014 with a Bang! Eliminate those debts! 🙂

When you were a kid rolling a snowball in the backyard, the best way to do it was to pack some snow into a tight ball, then start rolling it through the yard. Your snowball would become a snow boulder much quicker than it would if you just built it up by hand. That’s exactly how the debt snowball method works.

The debt snowball is perhaps the most life-changing Baby Step you’ll experience in your total money makeover. Once you’re on Baby Step 2—that means you are current on all your bills and have your $1,000 starter emergency fund saved up—list your debts smallest to largest by amount owed. Don’t worry about interest rates. We don’t care if one debt has a 2% rate and another one has a 22% rate.

Now it’s time to make progress.

Pay minimum payments on all of the debts except the smallest one then attack that debt with a vengeance. We’re talking gazelle intense, sell-out, get-this-thing-out-of-my-life-forever energy. Once it’s gone, take the money you were putting toward that debt, plus any extra money you find, and attack the next debt on the list. Once it’s gone, take that combined payment and go to the next debt. Knock them out one by one.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have the following debts:

  • $500 medical bill ($50 payment)
  • $2,500 credit card debt ($63 payment)
  • $7,000 car loan ($135 payment)
  • $10,000 student loan ($96 payment)

 

With the debt snowball, list the debts in that order (remember, ignore the interest rates). Start by making the minimum payments on everything but the medical bill. For this example, let’s say you find an extra $500 each month by taking an extra job, slashing your lifestyle to nothing, and going crazy. That’s very doable.

Since you are paying $550 a month on the medical bill (the $50 payment plus the $500 extra), that medical bill won’t even last a month. Now, take that $550 and attack the credit card debt. You’ll be paying $613 on the plastic (the freed-up $550 plus the $63 minimum payment). In about four months, wave bye-bye to the credit card. You’ve paid it off!

Now we’re at the car debt. Punch that car note in the face to the tune of $748 a month. In 10 months, it will drive off into the sunset. Now you’re on fire!

Once you’ve gotten to the student loan, you will be putting $844 a month on it. It will only last about 12 months. After that, Sallie Mae better get used to living somewhere else, because you’ve kicked her out!

Thanks to your hard work and sacrifice, you have paid off $20,000 in debt in only 27 months using the debt snowball! Congratulations!

The point of the debt snowball is behavior modification. In our example, if you start paying on the student loan first because it’s the largest debt, you won’t see it leave for a while. You’ll see numbers going down on a page, but that’s it. Pretty soon, you’ll lose steam and stop paying extra, but you’ll still have all your debts hanging around.

But when you ditch the small debt first, you see progress. That one debt is out of your life forever. Soon the second debt will follow, then the next. When you see that the plan is working, you’ll stick to it. By sticking to it, you’ll eventually succeed in becoming debt-free!

The only time you might make an exception to the debt order is if one of the debts is to the IRS. You do not want them in your life, so it would make sense to move a tax bill up in priority. Once it’s gone, proceed with the debt snowball like normal.

By the time you are paying on the bigger debts, you have so much more cash freed up from paying off the earlier debts that it creates a “debt snowball” effect. You are putting hundreds of dollars a month on your bills instead of a few bucks here and there. You build momentum, which changes your behavior and helps you get out of debt and stay that way.

Ready to work your own debt snowball this year? We’re here to help. Here are four ways we can help you get to where you want to be.

 

~ CREDITS TO: http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-the-debt-snowball-method-works?et_cid=2994329&et_rid=0&linkid=

Dating Someone Else Even Though You’re Married

This Man Is Dating Someone Even Though He’s Married. Sounds Disgusting, But I’m On His Side.

 

Jarrid Wilson is a husband, pastor, author, and blogger. And he has a confession that has everyone talking lately. You’ll see why below.

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On Jarrid’s blog post titled, “I’m Dating Someone Even Thought I’m Married,” he writes:

“I have a confession to make. I’m dating someone even though I’m married.

She’s an incredible girl. She’s beautiful, smart, cunning, strong, and has an immensely strong faith in God. I love to take her out to dinner, movies, local shows, and always tell her how beautiful she is. I can’t remember the last time I was mad at her for longer than five minutes, and her smile always seems to brighten up my day no matter the circumstances.

Sometimes she will visit me at work unannounced, make me an incredible lunch, or even surprise me with something she personally baked. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be dating someone even though I am married. I encourage you to try it and see what it can do for your life.

Oh! Did I mention the woman I am dating is my wife? What did you expect?

Just because you’re married, doesn’t mean your dating life should end.

I need to continue to date my wife even after I marry her. Pursuing my wife shouldn’t stop just because we both said, “I do.” Way too many times do I see relationships stop growing because people stop taking the initiative to pursue one another.

Dating is a time where you get to learn about someone in a special and unique way. Why would you want that to ever stop? It shouldn’t. Those butterflies you got on the first date shouldn’t stop just because the years have passed. Wake up each day and pursue your spouse as if you are still on your first few dates. You will see a drastic change for the better in your relationship.

When it comes to any relationship, communication and the action of constant pursuit is key. Nobody wants to be with someone who doesn’t want to pursue them whole-heartedly.

I encourage you to date your spouse, pursue them whole-heartedly, and understand that dating shouldn’t end just because you said, “I do.”

– Jarrid Wilson

~credit to http://www.viralnova.com/married-and-dating/

Change me, Lord

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It’s a new year, it’s a new season,

I pray that my heart, will be more like Christ

Change my heart Lord, when I get so blind,

Keep me accountable, when I get stuck in the ugliness of this world.

It’s simple to pray and ask that the Lord to change someone else’s heart,

But only to find out, that it was me who needed the changing.

Anger and bitterness often times cloud my view when I pray,

God says, “hold on child, it’s you who needed the disciplining.”

So here I ask again, change my heart Lord, change the way I pray,

And begin every prayer with, “Change me, Lord.”

I want to start off the year 2014 with only your blessings. In Jesus’ name, amen.

~Happy New Year to all the bloggers out there! May this year brings you lots of new perspectives, God blessings and a willingness attitude for God’s purpose. 🙂

Blessings,

Sue

~picture is not mine and credit to Proverbs 31 Ministries.

The Power of Assumptions

nice_flowers_2-wide~picture isn’t mine.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Assumption, we all do it all the time and it’s costly.

The assumption battle is one I have fought most of my life. I’ve questioned friends’ motives, assuming they were against me. To avoid being hurt, I’ve detached from relationships with no valid reasons.

Perhaps you’ve fought the same battle?

Your friend didn’t sit with you in Bible study like she usually does; she must be upset with you, so you avoid her at your weekly meetings. Another friend is invited to several parties you aren’t; obviously the two of you are drifting apart, so you don’t reach out any more. Your sister hasn’t responded to your text and phone messages; she must have found another friend in whom to confide, so you stop calling her.

It’s easy to assume others are upset, have “more important” friends, or are too busy for us when their behavior changes. Anger and hurt can well up in our hearts and we may pull away from friendships in order to protect ourselves. There is a danger in assumptions: they can destroy relationships.

Before we know it, even without proof, what we assume becomes our truth. Our misguided feelings lead to misguided thoughts, which cause misguided responses. The result: ruined relationships.

Living under the havoc of assumptions isn’t the way God intended it though. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). Looking at the last part of this verse, we see God gives us the ability to think, reason, and understand.

Through Christ, we have a mind that is well balanced and considers things in context. Our sound mind is stronger than our feelings, but we have to give our thoughts time to catch up with our emotions. A good way to do this is to pause and think clearly about the conclusions we’ve made.

When an assumption rears its ugly head, simply take a moment to ask if this assumption is consistent with your friend’s normal behavior. If it isn’t, this would be a good time to ask a few more questions: Is my friend okay? Have I done anything to hurt her? How can I pray for her? Do I believe the best before assuming the worst?

Repeat the pause until the assumption passes. The result: positive relationships.

Ruined relationships can be prevented and assumptions can be put to rest when we stop and focus on our thoughts. God has blessed us with a sound mind to surrender to the truth and not allow our imaginations to run wild.

Before the power of assumptions ruins a relationship in your life, pause. Settle your emotions and consider what you know to be true about your friend. Take a moment to pray for her and plan how to reach out to her. She might just be struggling with her own assumptions that you could help her clear up!

Dear Lord, thank You for empowering me to overpower assumptions. I commit to believe the best before assuming the worst, and to not allow my emotions to jump to conclusions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Would you like to bring the message of this devotion to the women of your church? Click here to find out more about considering Wendy Pope as your next retreat / key note speaker. And be sure to visit Wendy’s blog today as she shares how she overcame the power assumptions had on her life.

Trusting God for a Better Tomorrow Bible Study by Wendy Pope, available in a printable download, Kindle, Nook, and hardcopy.

The I Am His medallion necklace is a great reminder that we belong to Christ and His truths are ours to hold on to! Click here for more information.

Reflect and Respond:
What power have assumptions had on your life?

Reach out and make an attempt to reconcile with someone with whom you made an assumption.

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)

Philippians 2:4, “Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.” (GW)

~Credit to Proverbs 31 Ministries

Love for the enemy

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      When Jesus tells us to love our enemies, He Himself gives us the love that He demands from us.

   In Africa I visited the cell of a young man who was sentenced to death. His hands were chained and his dark skin had many red wounds, caused by lashes. Behind me stood three soldiers. The cell was absolutely empty; only a plank on the floor and high up in the wall a very little window. The prisoner looked very healthy and strong. The tragedy that this man had to die overwhelmed me.

I sat down beside him and prayed for a word from the Lord. “Have you ever heard of the cross of Jesus Christ, where He carried the sins of the whole world, also your sins?” He nodded. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, that He will be your Savior too?”

“Yes, I love Him, but I have not always been faithful. Politics have taken up my time and attention completely, but now I have brought all my sins to Jesus. He has forgiven me. If I may live any longer, then I will serve Him with all my life.”

“Have you forgiven the people that have brought you here, who have your death on their conscience?”

“No, I hate them.”

“I can understand that. I will tell you one of my experiences. During the war in Holland, I helped to save Jewish people, because Hitler wanted to kill them. One day a man came to me who told me that his wife had also helped the Jews and that now she had been arrested. ‘She is in the police station and probably she will be put to death. Now there is a policeman who is willing to let her escape, if we pay him six hundred guilders, but I have no money,’ he told me. ‘I can help you,’ I said. ‘Come back in an hour.’ In the meantime I collected all the money from my friends and all I had myself, and it was exactly six hundred guilders. I gave it to him to save the life of his wife. But he was a betrayer. His wife was not arrested at all. The enemy had told him to find out whether I helped Jewish people. So this man thought that at the same time he could make some money out of this situation. He went home with six hundred guilders in his pocket. But five minutes later the enemy came and my whole family was arrested. Later, when I heard that this man had betrayed us, hatred came into my heart, just at it happened with you. I had given him the last money that I had. But then I read in the Bible that hatred is really murder in God’s eyes (Matthew 5:21-22).

“How glad I was that I knew what I could do against hatred. ‘The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin…If we confess our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7,9). I brought my hatred to Jesus. He forgave me and cleansed my heart with His blood. After the war this betrayer was sentenced to death. I wrote to him: ‘What you have done through your betrayal caused the death of my 84 year old father, my brother, his son, and my sister in prison. I myself have terribly suffered through your fault, but I have forgiven you everything. This is just a very little example of the forgiveness and love of Jesus. He lives in my heart; that is why I can forgive you. Jesus will also come into your heart and will make you a child of God. Confess your sins to Him. On the cross of Calvary He has finished all for your sins and mine.’ Later he wrote me: ‘I have prayed: “Jesus, when You can give such a love for the enemy in the heart of someone who follows You, then there is hope for me.” I have indeed confessed my sins to Him. Now I know that I am a child of God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus.’

“So you you see that Jesus used me to save the soul of this same man I had hated so much. Do you know that if you do not forgive, you yourself do not receive forgiveness? Jesus said: ‘For if you forgive other people their failures, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you will not forgive other people, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you your failures’ (Matthew 6:14-16). You cannot do that, neither can I, but Jesus can!” That same day, the prisoner sent a message to his wife: “Forgive my murderers. You are not able to do it, I am not able, but Jesus is able. If we are not willing, then we ourselves do not receive forgiveness.”

When Jesus comes and we have bitterness, yes, even hatred in our hearts, then we are not ready to meet Him with a clean heart: “Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, for he knows how pure Christ is.” (1 John 3:3).

In the time of the final battle, many will be filled with hatred, then we do not stand on victory ground. It is very easy to belong to the masses of people. It is one of the laws of the kingdom of God that men receive peace only if they are always ready to forgive unreservedly. We never touch the love of God so much as when we love our enemies. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). He does the job. Hallelujah!

~Corrie ten Boom

What if you lost everything

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This morning on my way to work, I was challenged by Pastor Chuck Swindoll, a pastor who airs his sermon on the KKLA 99.5 FM Christian radio station: What if you lost everything today? What if suddenly, you lost your health, your job and everything that matters most to you and you don’t know what to do. Everything, completely everything is gone in just a few seconds. What then? What now? What will you do? Who will you blame? Who will you curse? And how will you move beyond this devastation?

And so, here I go, I start to play an image in my head of HR showing up at my work place with a pink slip addressed in my name and a small Office Depot box to pack my belongings and quit the premises or else. Then, I started thinking of all my bills that will be left unpaid, the half-empty fridge that needs to be fed, my newly renewed cell phone contract because I wanted a new phone, not being able to tithe for church, Christmas presents that I won’t be able to buy this year and the list continues on and on for days.

I was like, “Oh, Lord, that’s a lot to think about.” I ask God, “What am I supposed to do and what will happen to me?” I started to panic and over think things that were unfounded and not true. Immediately, God stepped in into my thinking brain and halted all the crazy thoughts that were swimming in my head by whispering into my ears and saying, “Sue, in this life, nothing is for certain. Just keep doing what you’re supposed to do in My name, and I will continue to bless you.” I kid you not, I was a little scared that He spoke so loud and clearly in my ears. But I calmed down, stayed still and started praying. I surrendered all my fears and anxieties to Him in my prayers and accepted the promises that were spoken to me. Then, once I moved past my fears, God gave me His peace. His supernatural peace calmed my jumpy spirit and helped soothe my anxiety of not knowing what to do about my “what if’s.”

Encouragement for today:

Continue to praise God and keep doing what you’re doing that pleases Him. Be in constant fellowship with Him because only He is consistent and forever because our life can be snuffed out in any moment. Nothing is guaranteed in this world. Nothing is forever in this world. Only the Word of God and His promises are forever. Praise Him for thoroughness, for his provision and for His unexplainable peace that washes over us.

Love,

Sue

A truly thankful person

thankful defined

 

The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person. They have made a habit no matter what, to notice, pause, and choose.

Noticing something for which to be thankful no matter their circumstance.

Pausing to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God’s presence.

Choosing to focus on God’s presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.

Will we be a noticer? A pauser? A chooser? A person of thanksgiving no matter what circumstance we’re facing?

I find this truth about the power of thanksgiving over and over in Scripture. What was the prayer Daniel prayed right before being thrown in the lion’s den and witnessing God miraculously shutting the lion’s mouths? Thanksgiving.

After three days in the belly of a fish, what was the cry of Jonah’s heart right before he was finally delivered onto dry land? Thanksgiving.

How are we instructed to pray in Philippians 4:6 when we feel anxious? With thanksgiving.

And what is the outcome of each of these situations where thanksgiving is proclaimed? Peace.

Powerful, unexplainable, uncontainable peace.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

One of Webster’s official definitions of thanksgiving is: “a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness.”

I wonder how we might celebrate God’s divine goodness today.

I wonder what might happen if we decide in the midst of our circumstances today to notice, pause, and choose something for which we can truly be thankful.

Are you thankful today?

You can start today with this prayer: Dear Lord, will You help me notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today? Will You help me remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence? And will You help me remember to choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly? Thank You for the reality that being thankful changes everything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

~credit to Proverbs 31 Ministry