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31 Days of Thankfulness (Days 1-6)

It seems almost unbelievable that

simply sowing seeds of thankfulness

could transform your life,

producing abundant joy, peace, and love —

but scriptures and studies tell us it is true.

Do you want to find out for yourself?

Beginning tomorrow we have

31 days leading up to Thanksgiving day.

So I challenge you to join us.

I’ll have a simple track for those whose time is short but who

want to be with us on this journey.

And I’ll have some going deeper assignments

for those who long to do that.

Either way, you will experience beautiful fruit

and develop a habit of gratitude,

grooming a good path for your feet by Thanksgiving Day.

Many of you have done this kind of thing before, some inspired by Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts.”

When she began her simple habit of writing down thanks,

she was amazed at the transformation in her heart.

A month in, her friends were noticing, telling her:

“You’ve changed.”

And so will we.

Neurology has discovered something happens to a person’s brain who has developed a habit of gratitude.

Jan Silvious explains why in this short clip.

 

And it will be such fun to do it together.

Every time you give thanks, it is a pinpoint of light.

Together we can make such beauty,

penetrating the darkness of our souls and worlds,

for the darkness can never stop the light from coming through.

Sunday: Get Ready, Get Set

  1. Will you join us? If so, why?
  2. Have you done anything like this in the past? If so, what, and how did it impact you?
  3. Ask God here to help you stay the course and to transform your heart.
  4. How did God meet you on this Sabbath day?

Monday: Day 1. Don’t Let His Mercies Fade From Your Heart

Repeatedly in Scripture God asks us to forget not what He has done for us. This will be our theme this week, for the Lord  not only gives us insight as to why we should remember, but also shows us what things are particularly helpful to remember.

Deut: 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 

5. Meditate on Deuteronomy 4:10 and articulate the main command.

6. With this same verse, list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us.

7. Telling our children what God has done for us helps us to not forget as well. Write down one thing God showed up magnificently in your life that you could tell your children or the next generation.

Going Deeper: Christmas is just two months away, so you might consider making a photo book of remembrances of God at work in your life to give to your children or grandchildren. I was inspired to make books for some of my grandchildren by my friend Twila who wrote the story of her grandson Henry’s miraculous birth. The doctors kept telling his mother Elizabeth she had miscarried and they needed to do a D & C. The Spirit told her not to do it. And beautiful Henry was rescued. Here are a couple of pictures from our books.

The Cover of Twila’s Shurrterfly Book for Henry
Page 1 of my book for grand-daughter Sadie
Page 1 of my book for grand-daughter Miabelle

 

8. If you do this, we’d love to hear about your plan!

 

 

Tuesday: Day 2: Remember The Day When You Stood Before the Lord at Horeb

10 Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” (Deut. 4:10)

In our women’s Bible study we were contemplating ways we could suffer for Christ besides persecution. One woman said that when we receive the discipline of the Lord, we are suffering for Christ. I think that is true, for it is painful to receive criticism, it causes us to suffer, but if we repent, then our lives glorify the Lord, for we are turning from our idols (idolatry is always the sin beneath the sin) to the Living God. God disciplines us to change us, and He does not want us to forget what we learned, lest we return to those destructive ways.

When God brought the Israelites before Him at Horeb, He had some stern things to say to them, for they had forgotten His great deeds, turned to idols, and become stiff-necked. Let’s consider what happened before that day of a stern rebuke at Horeb. For these were things that God did for them that they let fade from their memory.

Parted Seas
Manna from Heaven

9. Name two big ways God showed His power and care for you that you do not want to let fade from your memory.

10. We are created to worship, so if we don’t worship God, we will worship something.

A. To what did the Israelites turn to when Moses was too long on the mountain? (Exodus 32)

B. When we forget to give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, why is it we are then prone to idolatry?

11. Read Exodus 33:1-6

      A. How did God express His anger toward the people in Exodus 33:1-3?

      B. St John of the Cross put it this way: Our God is a shy lover. When He sees us in the arms of another, He backs up.

          Comments?

C. How did the people respond to God’s rebuke in Exodus 33:4-6?

12. What do you learn from these passages on why it is important to train ourselves to remember and be grateful to God?

13. Share a time when you repented as a result of the Lord’s discipline — and explain why it is important you remember times when He disciplined you.

 

Wednesday: Day 3: How To Overcome Grumbling

14. Read Exodus 16:1-3

      What were the Israelites grumbling about and what were they forgetting?

15. Read Exodus 16:4-8

A. What did God tell Moses He was going to do?

B. What reason do you think God had for providing manna for so many years? 

C. What did Moses tell the people in verse 8 and how could you apply this?

     16. Read Ephesians 4:28-29 

               A. What is the thief to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?

          B. What is the bad-mouthed person to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?

 

Thursday: Day 4: Watch and Reflect

 

 

17. What stood out to you from the above?

18. Name three simple things can you be grateful for right now.

Friday: Day 5: Practicing Gratitude

Challenge:Today, every time you start to complain, criticize, or grumble, replace that with gratitude. Also, from the moment you wake up to the moment you close your eyes for the night, continually give thanks to God for all the ways He sustains you, blesses you, and give you the fruit of His Spirit. Singing may help. Check in at mid-day and before bed and report.

19. Midday report — how have you done with practicing gratitude?

20. Evening report — how have you done with practicing gratitude?

Saturday: Day 6:

21. Do you feel you have begun to make a gratitude path for your feet? If so, share something about it.

 

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168 comments

  1. Sunday: Get Ready, Get Set

    Will you join us? If so, why?

    Yes! I have slackened my practice on thankfulness and I need a reset button. Excited to do this again.
    Dee, your timing is perfect. Jan Silvious’ short clip on brain chemistry is good fodder for an anticipatory set for my class tomorrow. We have started the nervous system and I hope to create an excitement among my students in their study of the brain. I can’t use the clip of course but it has prompted me to look into my notes about the happiness hormone. I plan to create a sheet and challenge my students to list one thing they are thankful for the next 31 days as well! I will also incorporate Ann V.’s quote. Thank you! There-there’s my first few thankfulness. J
     
    “Oh, Do That Again: Dopamine
    Gratitude begets gratitude, in part because it releases the hormone dopamine, the brain chemical correlated with reward, pleasure, and satisfaction. Once you have the feel-good benefits of gratitude, you’ll want to keep feeling it. I think of dopamine as the “Oh, do that again” drug that your body makes, and in this case, the more you’re grateful for, the more you’ll want to feel grateful. Gratitude interventions create a positive feedback loop.” https://goo.gl/sFhEcS
     

    Have you done anything like this in the past? If so, what, and how did it impact you?

    Yes. A sense of well-being and peace has pervaded and thankfulness helped me through a time of stress.

    Ask God here to help you stay the course and to transform your heart.

    Lord, that I may stay the course and you transform my heart this next 31 days.

    How did God meet you on this Sabbath day?

    I woke up and therefore thankful I am still alive J and God brought to mind “You are my people” and I was able to respond “You are my God.” Thank you, God.
     

  2. 1.  Will you join us?  If so, why?

    Yes, because I need to be reminded.

    Seven years ago, in the autumn of 2011,  a faithful and tender friend met me for coffee and handed me Ann Voskamps’ book One Thousand Gifts.   As I read it I wept,  for it was (and is) the catalyst for much needed heart adjustment.    Deep roots of fear had produced much grumbling and discontent and I was desperate for change.     As Ann encouraged I began a journal of gratitude in January of 2012 ~  slowing down and naming what I was (am) grateful for.     Ann says, “This pen:  This is nothing less than the driving of nails.  Nails driving out my habit of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo (gratitude).”

    I entered # 2,218 into my gratitude journal last night.   I wish I could say that my habit of discontent has vanished.   It hasn’t.  I wish I could say that I write in this journal every day.   I don’t.    But I’ve learned how pausing to be grateful can displace my fear and discontent and is such a beautiful way of bringing my thoughts captive to Christ.

    Last month my oldest granddaughter turned nine and one of my gifts to her was a gratitude journal.   She has watched me record in mine and knew what it was all about.    A few days ago when I was visiting them she ran to get her journal to show me what she had recorded in her precious third grade writing.

    So, thank you Dee for this life-giving reminder and challenge.    It is much needed.

    For any of you who have not seen this four minute youtube video with Ann Voskamp entitled Figuring Life Out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhOUaszMGvQ

  3. Nila, I so love your personal examples here. And what a gift you are giving to your granddaughter. Also love the thought from Ann. “This pen: This is nothing less than the driving of nails. Nails driving out my habit of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo (gratitude).” I will write this on the front page of my new gratitude journal.

    1. This quote is on the front page of my journal as well, Dee!  It is from page 49 of Ann’s book One Thousand Gifts.  

      Also a couple other of her insightful and life-giving words are on the front page of my journal:

      * Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.

      God holds us in the untamed moments.   (And for me, choosing gratitude stills my restless, untamed heart and I sense his holding.)

      1. Beautiful clip from Ann Voskamp Nila…thanks!

    2. * I’m sorry, Bing!   I meant to address that remark to you!   I am always grateful for your presence on this blog.   I  am participating mostly in the shadows but so glad that Dee keeps directing and encouraging us.

      1. It’s OK, Nila. I am glad that you put these quotes. I gave away my copy of the book but hoping I can get another one.

  4. Sunday

    1.  Yes, I will be joining as I realize in the circumstances of my life right now how important it is to be thankful.  Because our home is unlivable, we’re living in an RV – my focus needs to be how thankful I am for the friends who loaned it for however long we need it.  This past month has not been easy and being a realistic person I know there will be more trials in the future, so it will be good for me to be intentionally thankful to my God.

    2.  No, I haven’t done anything like this in the past.

    3.  Dear Lord, I ask for  Your help to stay the course in being thankful each and every day and may my heart be transformed.

    4.  God met me on this Sabbath day the moment I opened this blog.  Again, God’s timing is amazing!  Jan Silivious hit it in the nail when she said that fear and thankfulness can’t be in our brain at the same time.  “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1Thessalonians 5:18

    1. Sharon, can’t help but think—you down south living in an RV is what a lot of northerners up here dream of doing during the winter months & retirement!  😉

  5. 1. Will you join us? If so, why?

    I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for anything. I need to learn to express gratitude on a daily basis.  I’ve always wanted to begin a gratitude journal but never followed through. My life circumstances aren’t my ideal. Sometimes it’s difficult when I realize my monthly take home pay is what I use to take home in a week. But, I know from past experiences one day things will be better and I do have many, many daily blessings for which I am thankful.

    2 Have you done anything like this in the the past?

    No

    3. Ask God here to help you stay the course and to transform your heart.

    Lord, because I want to draw closer to You, I know distractions will try to steer me off course. Keep me on this path of gratitude and change me from the inside out.

    4. How did God meet you on this Sabbath Day?

    If I were to pick a theme for today it would be “There’s No Place Like Home.” This morning I attended Homecoming Services at Union Baptist Church where I attended from toddlerhood until I left home for college. Two songs that were sung by The Conrads, the gospel group who sang before services began, were about Heaven, our true Home. Then, the sermon was from the book of Ruth chapter 1. Naomi returned home to Bethlehem empty. She had lost her husband and two sons in Moab. Her dreams had fell apart and nothing went like she expected. BUT…”Naomi had a kinsman” and God restored Naomi’s future to her through Boaz and Ruth. I could so relate to the message. Until we see Jesus face to face we are “home” when we’re in the Presence of God.

    Yes Dee, I do live in the South. After living in Georgia for 28 years, I moved back to Geneva County, Alabama where I was raised. I’m located in the Southeastern corner of Alabama. I reside 70 miles Northeast of the Florida Panhandle where Hurricane Michael came ashore.

    1. Tammy, your #4 has me transported right smack in the middle of your Sunday morning service.  The way you describe it, well, that’s the way I wish our worship services were here.  It sounded so God-honoring & intimate.  Instead, I was sitting in my ‘mega’ church with the band banging & clanging away, music blaring off the ceiling rafters.  It has been really difficult for me to find a church home here…and yet, there are times when I am “surprised by joy” there.  I also know it’s not about me, but about honoring God in His house.  Something I need to be thankful for, instead of grumbling & griping!?

      One (quiet!) chorus we sang that I just love is…” in my Father’s house, there’s a place for me, I’m a child of God, yes I am!”  It makes me emotional when I sing that over & over, getting down deep into my bones.

      When my husband & I drive down to Destin, FL in the winter, I wonder if I could just stick my arm out the window & wave to you Tammy as we drive past your house ha ha!  I’ll bet it’s not that far from the truth!  When you mentioned the pecan orchard last week, I thought of that–we pass several of them on the way down there.

      1. Wendy I must confess I struggle when I listen to Southern Gospel Music because I have developed a taste for Contemporary  Christian and its my personal preference.  I do love the old hymns though and as I sat listening I thought about how the music is honoring God and He’s the one who created music.

        When you are in Destin FL you will only be 100 miles from me.

  6. 1.  Yes, I will join because I know it will be both fun and good for me (and for everyone who comes in contact with me!)

     

    2. I’ve never done a study on it, or a journal, though I do think of myself as more grateful than complaining.

     

    3.  As I prayed to be consistent, it was as though God told me that gratitude isn’t really about me. Gratitude is about the ability to see what is really true.

    That excites me. The idea that complaining and moping keeps us from seeing the truth about ourselves and our world, and how God is at work in both. I’m all in for seeing truth!

     

    4.  God met me today in at least a dozen ways by 6 pm! Most of the ways are simple things, and I only skimmed the surface. This isn’t even a stand out day. But it is what He is like for us every single day of our lives.

     

    Dee, I don’t know if you care, but there is a 4 for today, and another for tomorrow….

  7. Yes Hurricane Michael affected us with a lot of rain and high winds. We were on the west side of the eye wall so our area was spared much devastation. We had no power or water supply  for two days but I’ve gone through hurricanes before so you just wait for power to be restored. A family member brought over his generator so cell phones could be charged and coffee could be made. When my stepmom would get anxious (she has dementia and other health issues) i would encourage her to find something to be grateful for. It was hard though losing all the food in the freezer and refrigerator but food can be replaced. Daddy and my stepmom aren’t believers so I try to demonstrate the love of Christ more than I talk about it. Daddy’s goats took shelter during the storm but his trio of geese enjoyed the storm. They  walked out in the rain all day. Sorry, I get carried away talking. Thank you for asking.

    1. Tammy, I like your thoughts about Home as well. Glad that you are there for your Dad and step-mom. I smiled when I read about the trio of geese enjoying the storm. Now, can we Christians have a goose attitude too in the midst of our storms? I am reminded of James 1 Consider it pure joy when you face trials…

    2. You really do paint pictures with your words, do you know that?  Love the ‘picture’ of the geese out in the storm, no fear!

      1. Wendy when I was in college my English professor told me I could write well but I lacked discipline. I confess I wasn’t as good a student as I could have been then but now I am more mature and am able to appreciate constructive criticism. I do enjoy writing as a hobby and have taken a writing workshop led by Georgia author Janisse Ray. As a result of my attending that workshop a song was written by a teenage girl who had  attended the writing workshop with her mom.  At the end of the video she posted on YouTube she wrote these words: Inspired by Tammy Luccioni. So, yes I know I can paint pictures with my words but I don’t think about that when I post. I just answer the questions with what comes from my mind and soul.

        1. Oh my gosh!  That’s impressive!!  Keep writing!!

    3. I like this conversation about the geese enjoying the storm….of all things! And Bing saying we all should have a “goose attitude”! We had a cat, Mowzer, who liked to go out on the front porch and watch a thunderstorm; he wasn’t afraid of the storm!

  8. I will join! I wrote a blessing of the day in my journal for one and a half years. I started to eagerly look forward to how God was going to show Himself to me (bless me) each day. These are some of the blessings of the day God gave me: breath to smell the flowers, clouds, a chickadee singing in the trees on a very cold winter day, being able to brighten someone’s day with a smile, talking to a stranger in line at the store.  I started to appreciate all the “little” things God does for me each day. It was a very personal way that He spoke of His love for me. This in turn, caused me to grow closer and more intimate with Him. 
    I have a written reminder of how much God loves me to read on those days when He feels distant, when everything seems to be going wrong.  

  9. Tammy, I love your stories also…I’m sure u are a shining light to your Dad & Step-mom!

    Dee, great topic! I will try & be in as much as I can. I love the idea of cultivating gratefulness, & I believe it is God’s will for us.  🙂

    I keep a journal but mostly for pouring my heart out to God. However I have gone back many times & responded to answered prayers. I will start a gratitude journal now 🙂

    Yes, I have asked the Lord to help me stay the course, & to be changed.

    Today, I was blessed at church to worship & pray with my dear fellow believers. Then the Lord refreshed me as I walked in the beauty of Fall along Lake Michigan & in the ravines. The beauty of nature always touches my heart & turns my thoughts to the majesty of our God!

     

  10. 1. Will you join us? If so, why?

    Yes. I miss and love you, He is here, and I always need to be encouraged in my crazy busy world with my family. I can easily look at things that aren’t going right.

    Also, a sweet friend who is a silent blogger here f.b. messaged me a few weeks ago asking if I was alright and that she missed me here. The sweet encouragement I needed. He is good!  I planned to come back after the study I am helping lead..but decided since this week is our last I would come back earlier than planned. 🙂

    2. Have you done anything like this in the past? If so, what, and how did it impact you? 

    Yes. It was here with you all and it did exactly what Jan Silvious says..it was health to my bones.

    3. How did God meet you on this Sabbath day?

    Well, this was on Saturday but my oldest son’s heart might be softening, slow but softening! He came up to me with a question he had in Romans 1 about morality vs. idolatry. He felt since idolatry was the issue how could I say anything listed was wrong. He got this from some place online. Just to give context 🙁 . I asked if he would read Romans 1 with me and we read it in context which totally took him by surprise-so I was able to shift the topic to our sin nature and the Gospel and gave Gospel answers. 

     

    1. What sweet encouragement, Rebecca!

    2. Hello, Rebecca. Thank you for the story about your son. Glad you are hear. Health to our bones-yes, that is gratitude.

  11. Thank you for this thankfulness devotional:)  How lovely to dwell on God’s goodness, no matter what our circumstances are at present. A place of peace and joy.

  12. 4.  The command in Deut 4 is twofold. Learn to revere God, and teach that to the next generations.

     

    5.  We can keep from forgetting what God has done by revisiting it. Read about it, tell about it, think about it. Develop traditions or special times of remembering, like anniversaries or holidays that are all about what God has done. ‘Sing and make melody in your hearts’, especially gospel truth. By some verses in my Bible, I have a date. When I come to those verses in my reading, I remember how God made them real to me through circumstances in my life. Gives me a chance to thank Him all over again.

     

    6.  God changed my inner anger to peace. That is something I could tell younger people about.

  13. Dee,   I really like this idea of producing a book for my children and grandchildren.   Can you please guide me (us) as to how to go about this?   Did you use  Shutterfly or something like that?     Also any other practical advice about how you went about this project would be greatly valued.

    Thank you.

  14. 4. Meditate on Deuteronomy 4:10 and articulate the main command.
     

    God tells the people to gather so He can tell all to spread the word – His Word from one generation to the next.

     
    5. With this same verse, list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us.
     

    We can tell stories, we can make known that we are studying the Bible, we can sing songs, and we can take our families to church.

     

    When my mom passed a few years back, we had to go through her things and split them up. My mom loves to cook and bake and had many recipe clippings from many sources (back in the days with no internet). Another things she had was many books on many topics; she was an avid reader. Among all these books, magazines, and general mass of articles, quoutes, and clippings, I have found note cards of bible verses, prayers, and thoughts of my mom. They are handwritten on notecards or pieces of paper, and remind me of her. They are also reminders of God. One prayer I keep on my mirror is this: “Some days God, I want to throw in the towel. Grant me perseverance and  strength to carry-on,” or something along those lines. She is encouraging me even though she isn’t with me anymore.

    1. How sweet, Laura. Sometimes I hear my Dad’s singing voice and “see” His unique posture when he was in bed reading a book. My Mom is still alive and she would tell me she is praying for  me and my family whenever I do a video call with her. And she would always cry and tell me she loves me. Our Moms are the best. 🙂

  15. Hi Dee. I attended the woman’s conference in Columbus, Ga.

    I would like to participate in the 31 days of Thankfulness.

    Sally Turner

    sblturner@gmail.com

    1. Sally I’m so glad you shared you live in Columbus Ga. i live about 3 hours from there so I can make the trip to hear and meet Dee.

  16. So glad I saw this early today so I can participate in the 31 days of Thankfulness.  I so need to get into a daily routine of studying God’s word and becoming more thankful.  What a profound statement that fear and thankfulness cannot exist together.  There is such a need in our world today for that message, and I hope I can share how thankfulness changes me with others.  I have not done anything like this in the past.

    Sunday was filled with family and guests at our dinner table, and the words my husband shared before our meal were reminders of how God has been in our lives and will always be present for our every need.  Blessed by family!

  17. Monday

    5.  Never forget what God has personally taught you – what you have learned through your obedience and share it with the next generations, so they may fear God as well.

    6.  We can write down our memories, take pictures/videos, share and speak of them with our children and grandchildren.  Be intentional in sharing God’s faithfulness and pass on what we’ve been taught/learned through God’s Word.

    7.  One Christmas we were driving to eastern Oregon to visit my parents.  It was dark and cold…we hit a black patch of ice and the car was headed right for a huge boulder on the side of the road.  We stopped within inches of hitting the boulder but it wasn’t the brakes that stopped the car it was as if the car was pulled to a stop.  I really believe it was God’s hand of protection!  I would also share that not only was I and their father praying, but I know their grandparents/great grandparents were praying as well.

     

    1. God’s protection! Amen to that, Sharon.

  18. I think this study will be good for me, as I tend to be more of a pessimist than optimist.  I did start a gratitude journal years ago, back when I was a ‘faithful’ Oprah talk show fan; there was a phase when she devoted a lot of time & energy into that topic.  I stuck with it for a while & then sort of lost interest.  But I remember I actually had to really think about what to write, some days.  That strikes me as odd, somehow.  I mean, how could I / can I miss the endless number of ways I can be thankful, every single day?

    Along with that, I bought one of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance books, “A Daybook of Comfort & Joy”.  Sarah was a guest speaker on the show, talking in depth on the topic of gratitude.  I don’t know her background, if she’s a Christian or what; some of the content I think goes off in a direction I don’t agree with (kind of the Marianne Williamson genre).  But a lot of it is just excellent.  I just went downstairs & pulled the book off my bookshelves, & in flipping through it thought this was good:

    “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  (Melody Beattie)   (while this is really good, at the same time you can see how some of this could be viewed as slightly new-agey…which was my problem with some of the content–focus on me vs. focus on God)

    8)  I love the photo of little Miabelle, so precious.  In fact, she reminds me of one of those little Precious Moments figurines!

    I started a book two summers ago for one of my grandkids, telling the gospel story in my own words, beginning with creation.  I tried to write it in a way that she would understand, using my own language & a little bit of humor here & there.  But I got sidetracked as usual, sigh, & there it sits, unfinished.  I hate that I do that.  I start something–in this case, important–and don’t finish.  I wonder why.  Maybe now that summer has turned into fall & soon fall into winter, possibly I can get back to that project & finish it??

     

    1. Oh, Wendy! You, too? I have probably a half a dozen projects that I have put on hold. I pray for us to get on track on these things if we are meant to finish them.

  19. Sunday: Get Ready, Get Set

    Will you join us? If so, why? – Yes I will join. I am in a funk right now and need my heart and mind happy again.
    Have you done anything like this in the past? If so, what, and how did it impact you? – Our church’s ladies bible study did Ann’s book a while back but it was at the time when was losing a lot of my family to death and I just could not find the happy place in my heart.
    Ask God here to help you stay the course and to transform your heart.- Lord I need your help to show me again how happiness and gratitude look. How it feels to be joyful. Help me to stay focused this time so others can see the joy you can give us. In Jesus Name, Amen.
    How did God meet you on this Sabbath day? – My husband and I lead a life group and we met yesterday and were freely able to discuss our lesson. We had all but two people there and had great learning going on

    1. Julie, I understand the “in a funk” feeling. I get there periodically and often can’t pinpoint why. I do know that some of those times were when I have overworked and am tired. The wonderful thing about God is He meets us where we are at. Even when we are “in a funk”. Praying for you.

    2. Julie here’s a gift specifically for you and your “funk”.

      ”I wonder why it is that we find some days so much more oppressive than others, for no apparent reason. Is it growing pains-or spiritual trial? Once they’re over, the world looks quite a different place.”

      Dietrich Bonhoeffer

      1. Thank you Tammy. This is a great reminder to focus on what is to come. I will have to write this down and keep it handy.

  20. 5. The command is to remember wilderness events and teach them to future generations.

    6. ….list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us.

    When i was i  my midforties I participated in a Beth Moore study (can’t remember which one) and one of the assignments Beth wrote in the study was to write out a timeline of the good events God had brought about in my lifetime. I need to do that again since its been 10 years..got some new good events to add. When i lived in Georgia I put in a binder mementos from conferences I attended and other various activities I participated at church. On Dee’s Bible Study Friends Secret Facebook page my testimony I shared at church in 2014 is available to read. I’m journaling again my ponderings, quotes, prayers, and encouragement. A special memento I have from my years in Georgia is a photo of me and my mother with the late Billy Graham’s daughter Ruth. She spoke at a fundraising banquet for the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. And, finally, I’ve begun a gratitude journal.

    7. Write down one thing God showed magnificently in your life that you could tell your children or the next generation.

    I’m not a mom but I am an aunt and a great-aunt.My answer

    may not be what Dee had in mind but  I’d like to share a “special gift” I gave a nephew when he graduated high school in 2009. What I gave him was wisdom I had gleaned from two life experiences which affected me deeply.

    I drove my nephew to a cemetery and showed him the grave of a dear classmate who had died of cancer when he was 22 yrs old one semester before graduating college. Joe never got to fullfill his dream of being a lawyer. I can’t remember everything I told my nephew but I wanted him to know sometimes our dreams don’t come true.  We left from there and I drove to another cemetery and showed him the gravesite of a 13 yr old boy who died in a car accident as a result of a decision my brother, my nephew’s father, made when he was 16 yrs old. Kevin and I sat together every Sunday in church and he would tell me he wanted to marry me when he grew up. I was 5 yrs older than he. The first thing his mom said to me when I went to visit her and express my condolences was, “Now you two can’t get married.”

    What God has shown me is a root of bitterness toward my brother had taken hold in my heart and I needed to pull it out or I would have no joy and peace in my future. So, I did just that. What happened all those years ago was an accident. Yes, death separated me from a very good friend but I have the hope I will see him again. I no longer harbor any anger toward my brother and to be honest I didn’t realize I had ill feelings toward my brother concerning that incident until it surfaced recently. At 16 we were all inexperienced drivers and he thought he could make a turn in time but instead was hit and the car he was driving flipped. In a couple of years my brother’s oldest grandson will be old enough to drive and I hope he will be willing to listen to advice from me, his great-aunt or he could very well repeat family history.

    1. Wow Tammy.  Powerful.  I’m sure being there physically & telling the stories had a much greater effect than you just telling it in a normal setting.  So good.

  21. 8. Name two big ways God showed His power and care for you that you do not want to let fade from your memory.
    My education-I finished my nursing school through the hard work of my mom (my Dad was chronically ill around that time) and the generosity of other people
    Once when going back to the Philippines- being so sick en route and finding a business class seat for myself when I only paid coach and was able to rest; thinking my Mom was dying when I arrived and finding out she overlooked a much needed medicine and got well as soon as she received several doses.
    Lessons of humility while going through a rough time with a student and her Mom last school year.
    And many more.
    9. We are created to worship, so if we don’t worship God, we will worship something.
    A. To what did the Israelites turn to when Moses was too long on the mountain? (Exodus 32)
    Golden calf.
    B. When we forget to give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, why is it we are then prone to idolatry?
    I start to think that I did it my way (Frank Sinatra on the mic) and self sits on the throne of my heart.
    10. Read Exodus 33:1-6
          A. How did God express His anger toward the people in Exodus 33:1-3?
    He told them He will not go with them as they enter the promised land.
          B. St John of the Cross put it this way: Our God is a shy lover. When He sees us in the arms of another, He backs up.
              Comments?
    He has given us the free will to choose. Though He draws us to Himself, He waits on us to His invitation to come away with Him. (Song of Solomon)
    C. How did the people respond to God’s rebuke in Exodus 33:4-6?
    They mourned and took off their ornaments.
    11. What do you learn from these passages on why it is important to train ourselves to remember and be grateful to God?
    It does not take very long to be seduced by creature and created things. And we start taking God for granted.
    12. Share a time when you repented as a result of the Lord’s discipline — and explain why it is important you remember times when He disciplined you.
    I got sick as a result of overwork. I felt that my sickness was a result of feeding my idol of approval. I did not want to say No and wanted to prove I can do as much as the next person. Being bed-bound for a time made me realize I cannot do it all and I need to repent of my pride. Nowadays, when the ugly head of approval/significance threatens to overrule, I think of that time of illness. God prompts me to pause and to pray for His leading and guidance instead of pushing forward on my own.

  22. 7.  I’ll have to pray about doing a remembrance book. On one level, at the present time I just can’t add anything more to my schedule. But on another level, maybe it would be a good thing for my oldest grandson. Maybe for his birthday in March. Lord, You show me the if, the why, and the when of this.

     

    8.  Two big things from God I don’t want to let fade. The road to receiving Him, and His breaking generational sin in my life.

     

    9.  We must worship something.

    A.  The Israelites made a golden calf when Moses was too long gone.

    B.  We start to look at what we don’t have and then give way to envy or lust or gossip…..fill in the blank. That’s what happens when we don’t give thanks. It makes us prone to idolatry.

  23. 10.A.  God expressed His anger at the people by saying He would keep His promise of the land for them, but deny them His presence.

    B.  God doesn’t want to see us in the arms of anyone or anything else. I’ve been there. Times when I didn’t want to obey. He told me that was up to me, but if I choose to disobey, I would feel a distance between us. Sadly, there have been times when that is what I chose. I regret it deeply. Yet it is hard for me to imagine living a life where I was so obedient that I never caused a distance to happen.

    C.  The people were distressed and mourned. They even out away their baubles, their ornaments.

     

    12.  The people grumbled about being hungry, talking and thinking about the variety of foods they used to have.  They turned a blind eye to everything God did in bringing them out of Egypt. The ten plaques, the crossing of the Red Sea, the destruction of Pharoah with his army, and the healing of the waters at American.

  24. That should have read at Meribah, not America. Sigh.

  25. Meditate on Deuteronomy 4:10 and articulate the main command.

    To remember what the Lord did so they can teach their children.

    6. With this same verse, list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us.

    1. Write it down in a memory journal

    2. Share with others including children as often as God allows

    3. Ask God to help us remember when we forget

     

  26. 6. With this same verse, list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us. 
     

    Remembering the past times that were hard and we made it through.

    Be close to God in my pain.

    Tell my kids about Him.

     
    7. Telling our children what God has done for us helps us to not forget as well. Write down one thing God showed up magnificently in your life that you could tell your children or the next generation.
     

    I always seem to go back to this story, but that’s because it is quite remarkable to me. As my dad laid on his deathbed when I was 13, I   heard God speak to me. He talked to me and said that even though I didn’t have an earthly father I would always have Him as a father.

  27. 9. Name two big ways God showed His power and care for you that you do not want to let fade from your memory.

     

    When my husband and I are in financial need He always comes through for us.

     

    When I was having my babies it felt so lonely except that He was with me through it all.

  28. Tuesday

    9.  Two big ways God showed His power and care for me…

    1.  The day I received Christ as my Savior – my father led me to the Lord when I was 6 and I can remember it like it was yesterday.

    2.  The day I was baptized by my father-in-law.

    These two men allowed God to use them to show His power and care for me in a mighty way!

    10.  

    A.  The Israelites turned to a golden calf to lead them.

    B.  When we forget to give thanks to God we’re prone to idolatry because being thankful is a big part of worship and when our circumstances become our focus we tend to panick and turn to what we can control or what gives us affirmation…

    11.  

    A.  God expressed His anger in telling Moses He wouldn’t travel among them to the promised land because if He did, He’d surely destroy them.

    B.  I think what St John of the Cross says goes right along with what God did in Exodus 33:3.

    C.  The people responded with mourning and none put on his ornaments, but only after God told Moses to let them know they were a stubborn and rebellious people and if He were to come among them He would surely destroy them.  Therefore, have them take off their ornaments so I know what to do with them.

    12.  It’s important for us to train ourselves to remember and be grateful to God because an ungrateful heart in remembering what God has done causes a chasm between God and us.

    13.  A time God disciplined me was in my early twenties when I was living my life for me.  God allowed an event to take place that I believe was His discipline.  I will always remember this because it was a place in my Christian walk that I never want to be again.  Have I slipped into that? Yes, but I’m quickly reminded why I don’t want to stay there!!

  29. 13.A.  God told them He would provide bread for them each day, and for the following month, meat.

    B.  God did this for 40 years as it says in Deut 8:2-3, to teach them that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word of the Lord. And to show them what was in their hearts.   We know now that the Word He was speaking of is Jesus.

    C.  Moses told the people they would know it was the Lord because the food would come to them miraculously. He also pointed out that their grumbling, while directed at Moses, was really against Him.

     

    14.A.  Ephesians says the thief is to stop stealing and start working so that he can give to those in real need.

    B.  The bad mouthed person is to put a cork in it and only say what benefits other people according to their needs.

    1. Mary, I laughed at the word picture of a cork in my mouth. Gratitude today really helped me put a cork or a muzzle in my mouth.

  30. 15.  What stood out is that gratitude flows over to become blessing. How true! Just feeling grateful makes you also feel blessed. When my mother was in the nursing home and it was stressful for me, my husband and I spent two hours in the car just going back and forth with things to thank God for. We never came close to running out. It replaced the stress by a long shot, and is still a treasured memory.

     

    16.  Three things I can be grateful for right this moment. Central heating, indoor plumbing, and the internet. It is a true blessing to have this blog and all you precious sisters!

     

    we are going on a trip later today to NC and will be at the Cove in Ashville. I’ll be able to read along, but I doubt I’ll have any time to add more. But I look forward to feeling grateful the whole time!

    1. Mary, enjoy your time in Asheville!

    2. Love your #15 Mary.    re your #16– I was reading my book last night, “Caroline”, a fiction story based on the Little House series.  As I was reading, it just struck me, how difficult their lives were.  They worked incredibly hard, from sunup to sundown.  Just reading how Caroline had to do the wash (a huge, back breaking ordeal) made me feel thankful for modern day conveniences like water coming from a tap, a laundry room with a washer /dryer etc–things we totally take for granted.

      Can you write & tell a little bit about the Cove when you get back?  I’ve always wanted to go there.

  31. 9. The two events I’m going to share took place during the years I lived in Georgia.

    One afternoon, as I was driving through a neighborhood, a car ran the stop sign right as I was approaching. Unseen hands took over at the wheel and manuvered my car so fast I couldn’t believe I had actually went around the car instead of hitting it.

    One Sunday night at the convenience store where I was working a man entered the store, walked to the cooler, and selected a soda. As he was paying for his purchase he remarked it must be hard for me to attend church when I work on Sunday. I replied that i was always able to attend one service. When he stepped to leave he stopped and said these words to me: “The Lord has sent me to tell you He has heard your prayers.” And then he exited the store got into his car and left. No one but God knew I had been going to church after I got off work around midnight to pray. I was attending a small country church at that time and all adult members had a key to the church.

    These two events occurred over 25 yrs ago and they remain fresh in my mind as if they happened yesterday.

    1. whoa Tammy, gives me goosebumps.  “Angels unaware!”

  32. 5. Meditate on Deuteronomy 4:10 and articulate the main command. – We need to be in front of God’s Word so we can hear what he is telling us to bring down to our offspring so they have a chance to learn as well.
     
    6. With this same verse, list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us. – Stay in His Word, gather with other believers to continue to be held up, write down what you learn so your children and their children will also have knowledge. 
    7. Telling our children what God has done for us helps us to not forget as well. Write down one thing God showed up magnificently in your life that you could tell your children or the next generation. – How he brought me through the time of being a single mom. He was with me and covered me the whole time. No real bad came to me and my boys.

  33. 10. We are created to worship, so if we don’t worship God, we will worship something. 
    A. To what did the Israelites turn to when Moses was too long on the mountain? (Exodus 32) 
     

    The golden calf

     
    B. When we forget to give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, why is it we are then prone to idolatry?
     

    We forgot God to run to something that seems to be closer and more accessible at the time. We are easily swayed and satisfied quickly. We are selfish and impatient.

     

     

  34. 12. Read Exodus 16:1-3
          What were the Israelites grumbling about and what were they forgetting?
    They were grumbling about food. They forgot they crossed the Red Sea and that God provided water for them.
    13. Read Exodus 16:4-8
    A. What did God tell Moses He was going to do?
    He was going to rain down bread from Heaven.
    B. What reason do you think God had for providing manna for so many years? 
    To test the Israelites in their gratitude quotient. Will they take God’s blessing for granted as the years go by. That whatever God provides is sufficient for my well being. That which I long for would never satisfy but God’s provision always will.
    C. What did Moses tell the people in verse 8 and how could you apply this?
    God had heard their grumbling and he will give them what they are asking for-meat to eat and all they want to eat. I should be careful what I asked of God because He might give it to me and because it was of my own accord, it will never satisfy.
         14. Read Ephesians 4:28-29 
    A.   What is the thief to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?
    To stop stealing and starting working with his hands to help others who are in need.
    B.   What is the bad-mouthed person to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?
    To stop any unwholesome talk and replace it with what is beneficial to others.

  35. 11. Read Exodus 33:1-6 
          A. How did God express His anger toward the people in Exodus 33:1-3? 
     

    He told them to leave and that He would not be with them because He was exasperated with them for their behavior.

     
          B. St John of the Cross put it this way: Our God is a shy lover. When He sees us in the arms of another, He backs up.
              Comments?
     

    Reminds me of SOS….
    C. How did the people respond to God’s rebuke in Exodus 33:4-6?
     

    The people mourned and didn’t adorn themselves. They stayed this way from that point on.

  36. 10.  A.They turned to idol worship even though the LORD had commanded them in Exodus 20:23 to not make anything to be with Him-gods of silver or gods of gold they were not to make for themselves.

    B. When I forget to give thanks to God I take center stage as I bow down to adulation that rightfully belongs to The One True God. Why am I prone to idolatry? SELFishness-I am a human creature therefore I am my own worst enemy.

    11. A. God told the Israelites they could on to the Promised Land but He was going to shun them for their own protection because He was so angry He was considering killing everyone.

    B. Maybe He backs away from me when  He sees I am not being exclusive with my love.

    C. The Israelites responded with mourning and obedience.

    12. If I don’t train myself to remember and be grateful to God bad fruit will grow on my tree-apathy toward the suffering of others, bitterness, impatience, lack of compassion, rudeness, ungratefulness.

    13. The Lord used our Dawn Reppuhn Spencer to bring to my attention that I need to carefully consider the words I choose to post publicly on social media. When I read Dawn’s private message inwardly I went into defense mode. The prevalent attitude among Native Southerners is, “No outsider tells us how to live”. I had to stop and realize, foremost, I am a child of God-a follower of Jesus Christ. My spiritual identity overrides my Southern heritage. So, I calmed down inwardly and asked our God what words I should use in my reply. These are the words I said to Dawn, “Thank you for your advice.” . I can’t stop being a Southerner but I can put away old habits.

    It’s important for me to remember the times God disciplined me He was showing me I  belong to Him for He only disciplines His children.

    1. I don’t know what this means (#13), but let me tell you Tammy, I have thoroughly enjoyed & appreciated your posts/comments/stories on this blog!!  Don’t stop!  You are doing a fabulous job!  I am feeling grateful for you being here on this blog!

      1. Wendy I don’t mind telling you the background story. We had a rare snowstorm last winter in SE Georgia (where I was living at the time) and after I had cleaned 4 inches of snow off my car, the layer of ice on my windshield, and had discovered my all my car doors were frozen shut I posted the following comment on Facebook: I never want to see any more cottonpicking snow. In her pm Dawn pointed out that the word cottonpicking is a racist term and I need to choose another word in its place. Upon reflection, I see her message was indeed a disciplinary action from God. As Susan said what I do and what I say is to reflect the attitude of Christ. I appreciate your comments about my writing. Really, the compliments are a gift to God because I can do nothing without Him.

        1. I’m thinking that, up here in the north, snow can actually look a lot like a whole gob of cotton fluff, everywhere your eye lands.  Unlike you, I love, love it—it’s like a pure, white blanket that God laid out upon the whole world around me.  It also makes me think of the song “Whiter than Snow” & the verse that corresponds with it.  Even though it can be a mess at times, in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful things God created!

  37. 1. Will you join us? If so, why?

     

    I’m here for the long haul…..when I’m absent, I miss our rich studies together and our fellowship!

     

    2. Have you done anything like this in the past?

     

    I believe we’ve done this practice of giving thanks right here….I also once tried to do a “gratitude challenge” – it was hard for me to keep up with it. I need this in my life always. I can tend to be a ‘glass half-empty’ kind of person, focusing on what I want that I don’t have.

     

    3. Ask God here to help you stay the course and to transform your heart.

     

    Lord, please help me to not grow weary in giving thanks, to see You in the everydayness of my life, even in the most mundane of circumstances, and please transform my heart as I practice giving You thanks.

     

    4. How did God meet you on this Sabbath day?

     

    For the past few weeks, a few of us from my Sunday fellowship class have been meeting at a local Panera at 8am, an hour before our class. While all of us don’t necessarily “click”, meeting each week is helping us to get to know each other better, and a couple of times it has been just me and another lady, Sherrie. It was Sherrie’s idea to do this as she, too, has felt that we need to try to develop deeper connections with one another.

     

    5. Meditate on Deuteronomy 4:10 and articulate the main command.

     

    The Israelites were commanded to never forget the day that Moses summoned them to Mount Sinai and God gave them the Law. It was there they learned the fear of the Lord and they were to teach their children to fear Him too.l

     

    6. With this same verse, list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us.

     

    Write them down so we won’t forget – in a journal, in my Bible, on a little notecard that I keep. Tell our stories of what God has done for us to others.

     

    7. Write down one thing God showed up magnificently in your life that you could tell your children or the next generation.

     

    After my daughter was born, I had some scary health problems. I had to go to the ER with some symptoms that included chest pain; I didn’t think it was serious but my doctor insisted I go. I was feeling anxious and afraid, and waiting to be seen with my eyes closed and saying the verse from Isaiah over and over to myself: “For I am the Lord God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not be afraid; I myself will help you.” Suddenly I felt a warm hand on top of mine and I opened my eyes and it was my dad. My husband had stayed at home with the children, my neighbor drove me to the ER to drop me off, and my husband had called to tell my mom and dad and they came down to the hospital. I felt like my heavenly Father took hold of my hand through my earthly father’s hand; it really touched my heart in a deep way.

  38. 9. Name two big ways God showed His power and care for you that you do not want to let fade from your memory.

     

    One was a time when I was suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally, especially with fear. I went to a luncheon with friends, and our host read from a devotional that made me think it was a message from God, just for me. It was about fear. I hadn’t told anyone but one woman what I was going through. Afterward, I shared it with our host before we left her home. A few days later, I received a letter in the mail from her along with a page from a book with a verse and short devotion on fear. She told me in her letter that she had kept this page securely in her purse for a few years to help her with her fear; that night after we’d been at her home, it ‘somehow’ fell out, and she felt impressed she was to send it to me. I felt like God Himself had sent me a letter in the mail.

     

    God was with me when my mom passed away last year. Certain things the hospice nurses told me (and they were believers) I kept in my heart and they helped guide me the last night my mom was alive. I felt God helped me to know the right things to do and He gave me a lot of time with my mom in the three days she lived after her stroke; time to talk to her and tell her things I wanted her to know, time to read her favorite poems to her that she had memorized since high school. I believe, though she was not conscious, that she heard me. I thank Him that she was peaceful and did not appear to be in any distress.

     

    10. We are created to worship, so if we don’t worship God, we will worship something.

     

    A. To what did the Israelites turn to when Moses was too long on the mountain? (Exodus 32)

     

    An idol in the form of a golden calf, that Aaron made from melted gold. This, they declared, was the “god” who brought them out of Egypt. Aaron also built an altar so they could sacrifice to it.

     

    B. When we forget to give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, why is it we are then prone to idolatry?

     

    I can fall into worshipping the good gifts God has given me, like my children, instead of thanking Him for my children and keeping them in the proper perspective: God is the Giver, children are His gift to me. When I leave Him out, my children become my ‘gods’ and I place them before Him. They become my identity and I begin to rely on them to meet my needs that only He can.

     

    11. Read Exodus 33:1-6

     

    A. How did God express His anger toward the people in Exodus 33:1-3?

     

    God told Moses to take the people to the land He promised to their ancestors, but God Himself said He was not going with them. He said if He were to go, He would likely destroy them along the way because the people were so stubborn and rebellious.

     

    B. St. John of the Cross put it this way:  Our God is a shy lover. When He sees us in the arms of another, He backs up. Comments?

     

    Hmmm….in the Exodus passage above, God did “back up” as in He said He wasn’t going with them, but being so angry that He felt as if He might wipe them out doesn’t sound like a “shy lover” to me. Another example would be in Hosea 1, where God’s people “put on her earrings and jewels and went out to look for her lovers but forgot all about Me, says the Lord.” The next verse says “But then I will win her back once again….” Again, I don’t see “shyness” here, but God pursuing her.

    I can also see how “shyness” could be thought of as when we are in the arms of our idols, God may be silent and not easily found by us; He may discipline us and make us experience the consequences of our sin. Left to ourselves, we may not be able to break free from the arms of our idols; He has to awaken us to what we’re doing, to draw us back to Himself. I don’t know – I always see God as the initiator, the one who pursues. He may “let me go” for a season, but He won’t abandon me because He promises not to.

     

    C. How did the people respond to God’s rebuke in Exodus 33:4-6?

     

    They went into mourning and took off their best clothes and jewelry, because God had told them to remove them.

    1. Susan, I agreeed with your view of shyness but after looking up the word it can also mean “slow or reluctant to do something.”  Maybe this is what St John had in mind??  I don’t know…just a thought.

      1. That’s a good thought, Sharon…..he’s probably right….that’s why his quotes are still known and repeated!

    2. Susan I love your response to St. John’s of the Cross quote. You express your thoughts beautifully.

  39. 12. What do you learn from these passages on why it is important to train ourselves to remember and be grateful to God?

     

    In my human-ness, I have a tendency to forget, to begin to think, “What have you done for me lately?” Shame on me. Forgetting God can lead to experiencing the loss of His blessings in my life, when He would gladly like to bless me, loss of fellowship and intimacy with Him, trading a feast with Him for crumbs under the table – my idols are cheap substitutes. When I am ungrateful, I am a poor reflection of Him to others. Being ungrateful leads to pride, idolatry, and a sense of entitlement.

     

    13. Share a time when you repented as a result of the Lord’s discipline – and explain why it is important you remember times when He disciplined you.

     

    I repented the night the Lord made me see my sin of spiritual and emotional adultery – against Him and against my husband. I had been miserable for weeks. Although one of the worst times in my life, it was also one of the best times because I heard Him speak to my heart and it showed me that He cared enough about me to turn me around. Remembering even His stern discipline reminds me that He loves me that much to not let me go my own way.

    1. Love this, “ when I am ungrateful, I am a poor reflection of Him to others.”  Now that is convicting!!

  40. 9. Name two big ways God showed His power and care for you that you do not want to let fade from your memory.

    Just two? 🙂 (Besides the moments I recall clearly He cared for me as He was wooing me before I gave my life to Him-so many!)

    – I will never forget an unwise decision my husband was considering and he was dead set and I was concerned. I desperately asked  God to change his heart. That very next day he came home and said he changed his mind because God wasn’t giving him peace. So clearly God.

    -This sticks out in my mind. Has for a LONG time because even though it was small, it was HUGE. As a new believer and a single woman I went to our church picnic at a park. I had to park pretty far away and walk a while through the grass (it was about an acre and you can’t trace your steps back). I tied my only car key to my shoe-lace because we were going to play sand volleyball. When we were getting ready to go home I looked down at my shoe and my key was gone. Instead of fretting as I was walking and looking for I couldn’t find it and I walked a while, I asked God to help me find it. Right after I asked him I turned around, looked down and there it was. I knew it was Him for there was no way I would have found it.

    1. Rebecca, love your stories!  Esp the key story.  It reminds me of how many gazillion times I’ve asked God for help in the ‘small stuff’ and over & over again He has ‘magically’ made something appear or happen (even though I know there is absolutely no magic involved).  It makes me feel so undeserving of His love, that He would care to answer such trivial prayers.  But the timing of  it is so perfect, I feel it just has to be Him.  I’ll be stewing & fretting over something & then a little voice whispers in my ear, “Have you asked Him yet?”  Shortly after I do that, so often, the prayer is answered.  “Ask & you shall receive…”

    2. WOW! It is so cool how God works in our lives. So awesome Rebecca your husband was listening to the Lord’s direction.

  41. 10. We are created to worship, so if we don’t worship God, we will worship something.
    A. To what did the Israelites turn to when Moses was too long on the mountain? (Exodus 32)
                         Other gods. (idols of comfort and control)
    B. When we forget to give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, why is it we are then prone to idolatry?
                        When I forget to give thanks I start trusting in other things, or the things I should be thankful for, to satisfy me.

     

  42. Wednesday 

    14.  They were grumbling against Moses and Aaron for bringing them out to the wilderness to die of hunger rather than dying by the hand of the Lord in Egypt where they sat by pots of meat and ate bread til they were full.  It’s interesting to me that they preferred to die full as slaves rather than hungry as freemen and in reality both by the hand of the Lord!  Does our thinking become irrational when we’re inward focused rather the Godward focused?

    They were forgetting all that God had done for them – the plagues, the Passover and the parting of the Red Sea!

    15.  

    A.  Gold told Moses He was going to rain bread from heaven.

    B.  The reason God provided manna for so many years was in the evening, to remind them that the LORD had brought them out of the land of Egypt and in the morning, so they would see the glory of the LORD.

    C.  Moses told the people that the LORD will provide because He’s heard their complaints against Him – Yes, against the LORD, not against us!

    In applying this to myself, it’s a good reminder that when I complain or grumble…I’m doing it against God!!

    16.

    A.  The thief is to stop stealing and use his hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.

    B.  The bad-mouthed person is to stop using abusive language and let everything they say be good and helpful, so their words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

  43. Good Morning I have not been here in such a long time. This place is special as are each who are here sharing and it’s a memorial in my life for the time I was here. Thankful for you Dee. I was contemplating a past discussion this morning in my quiet time and it drew me here and actually saw a question that relates as to how we can suffer besides persecution. A past discussion stating that the Lord does not punish us but I need to understand then Hebrews 12:5-11

    That can bring suffering. But suffering that yields peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

    Please help me understand as this causes me to think the Lord will use punishment (chastening) to teach and train us.

    Let me add I am thankful for the training I have been in which has been painful but I know is yielding peaceable fruit.

    Searching always for truth💕

    1. Good to see you here, Liz! Maybe the Message would help with Hebrews?

       

      “In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”

      ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:4-11‬ ‭MSG‬‬

      http://bible.com/97/heb.12.4-11.msg

      Glad you are here!

      1. Thank you Laura!!! Good to see You! That does word things well. I guess I get hung up on the definition of chastise which uses the word punishment. I have never considered punishment to be a “Bad word” I also consider it helpful for growing. I do understand why people would not want to use that word though.

        I do embrace His training. I want to grow and I am growing,

         

        1. I looked up the word chastise and see that it comes from a derivative of the word chaste…unadorned or basic, plain, simple.

      1. Even though you aren’t addressing this to me, boy this really speaks to my heart Dee.  Growing up in a very legalistic environment, we were taught that every time we messed up, watch out, God was gunna get us.  That warped thinking still hangs on to me too much, so I do appreciate your reminding us of the truth, the Real Truth, thank you.

      2. Dee thank you. Again I cannot get hung up on the words. I have recently started a Celebrate Recovery group for further healing from my past alcoholism and also abuse. One thing I heard last night that stuck is when we are analyzing things in our past to not get stuck on the bad. I have often been told I am too hard on myself. He also said we have to look at the good. I sense something new is coming in my life. I have made this commitment for further growth and already see such hope for new breakthroughs in perhaps my “warped thinking”

        I am so grateful for the Lords AMAZING LOVE that is so patient and kind as I grow. My heart sings💕

        I am thankful that although my husband and I have been separated for over 3 years we still can talk and share the love of our 9 month old grandson and I am still waiting on the Lord.

         

        I am so thankful for this healing process.

  44. 9. Name two big ways God showed His power and care for you that you do not want to let fade from your memory. – When I was a single mom, I would open my check book up to the Lord and yell to him, “do you see this Lord, there is nothing in here and I need your help”. And he never failed me, He always provided for me to make my rent and put food on the table. The 2nd thing I will never forget is how he spared my son Kyle while in Afghanistan. There were two times he would have been killed but he was pulled from the mission and the last time before he left there, he was injured, but the explosive he ran over was in a river bed, so I know that was God. He has a bad back, but I’m thankful he is alive and home. I will never forget what God has done for me in my life and those around me.

    1. Julie, I’m certain you were praying for your son when he was in Afghanistan….beautiful how God protected him.

      1. loved that part too!

    2. For all of us, Julie, thank your son for serving our country.

  45. 14. They were grumbling because they were suffering from hunger pains and they forgot, after only two months of freedom, God’s miracles.

    15. A. He told Moses he was going to provide meat and bread.

    B. God was testing their obedience to see if they would keep his covenants and laws. Also, it has been estimated that were 2 million people to feed so it was probably easier for God to provide the meal instead of the men trying to find food to feed their families.

    C. Moses told them God had heard their legitimate complaint and graciously provided what they needed. The Israelites should have had a different attitude..instead of complaining they should have been grateful and asked for God’s help.

    16. A. Stop stealing and work an honest job for personal needs and to be able to help others out of personal abundance.

    B. Don’t use corrupt speech. Speak words of kindness and wisdom. Use words which build up not tear down.

  46. 10. We are created to worship, so if we don’t worship God, we will worship something.
     
    A. To what did the Israelites turn to when Moses was too long on the mountain? (Exodus 32) – They worshipped gold idols shaped like a calf made from their rings.
     
    B. When we forget to give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, why is it we are then prone to idolatry? – When God isn’t center of our lives or in our hearts, the sin will be able to penetrate through. I was told once, that ‘satan is like a helicopter just hovering over us waiting to land’. We need to have our armor on to keep him out
     
    11. Read Exodus 33:1-6
     
          A. How did God express His anger toward the people in Exodus 33:1-3? – He told them to leave and go to the land that he promised them but he would not go with them because of how they were acting and he would possibly destroy them because of it.
     
          B. St John of the Cross put it this way: Our God is a shy lover. When He sees us in the arms of another, He backs up.
     
              Comments? – Ouch!!! Wow this really brings to light how God feels about us. The love he has for us will never end as long as we embrace him.
     
    C. How did the people respond to God’s rebuke in Exodus 33:4-6?  – They mourned and did not wear their ornaments.
     
    12. What do you learn from these passages on why it is important to train ourselves to remember and be grateful to God? – God will always be there for us, but he wants to see from us a loving and welcoming heart for him. We need to welcome him into our lives and follow him.
     
    13. Share a time when you repented as a result of the Lord’s discipline — and explain why it is important you remember times when He disciplined you. – When I think or say something about some that ends up not being true, I feel guilty and bad for even having my mind go there. It’s important that we remember His discipline so we can continue to work on improving in areas where we are still weak and need his guidance.
     

  47. 14. Read Exodus 16:1-3
     
          What were the Israelites grumbling about and what were they forgetting? – They were grumbling about Moses and Aaron and how they used to have an abundance of food and now are in the desert to starve. They were forgetting that they were no longer slaves, but free.
     
    15. Read Exodus 16:4-8
     
    A. What did God tell Moses He was going to do? – God was going to rain down bread from heaven so they could gather enough for each day.
     
    B. What reason do you think God had for providing manna for so many years? – So the Israelite could see that God is with them and will not let anything harm them.
     
    C. What did Moses tell the people in verse 8 and how could you apply this? – That they would know that it was the Lord who provided their meat to eat in the evening and their bread to eat in the morning because he heard their grumbling against him. This is a good reminder that no matter what we are provided it all comes from the Lord. He allows it all to be plentiful.
     
         16. Read Ephesians 4:28-29 
     
                   A. What is the thief to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior? – He is to stop stealing and work and do something useful with his own hands so he has something to share with others. 
     
              B. What is the bad-mouthed person to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior? – He must speak positive things so it will help others that may need to hear a word of encouragement and not mumble or grumble so it hurts those around us.
     

  48. “no matter what we are provided it all comes from the Lord” Thank you Julie for sharing this. I need to write these words down so I can remind myself when times are tough and my circumstances aren’t ideal. I will never forget what I heard a Chinese Christian say in a documentary. Every day she had to decide if she was going to have rice or vegetables for her midday meal. She couldn’t have both or she would have nothing to eat for her evening meal.

    Charles H. Spurgeon wrote that prosperity is an affliction. Being a Christian in a rich country is sometimes not so easy.

  49. 12. What do you learn from these passages on why it is important to train ourselves to remember and be grateful to God?
     

    Because we want Him with us and don’t want Him to not want to be with us??? Not sure.

     
    13. Share a time when you repented as a result of the Lord’s discipline — and explain why it is important you remember times when He disciplined you.
     

    I have apologized to God for not being in better touch with Him at times…getting caught up in my worldly troubles and not paying attention to Him. Thisjis jot good, as He is the reason we are here and what we are supposed to live for; to teach others about Him.