Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 412 of Giving Thanks - Guest Writer, Steve Wickham

In this last year, on many occasions, I have found comfort and great wisdom in Steve’s writing. His passion to serve our mighty God is apparent with every article and through every word. His words are truthful, simple and packed full of nuggets and AHAs. It is my honour to introduce him to you, and grateful that Steve agreed to write for Giving Thanks Daily. What a marvellous way to set out in the new year – to begin with a beautiful word from a wonderful friend.


Committing to Live with Reverent Passion
By: Steve Wickham

At times of inner and external complaint, it pays to consider there are millions who would gladly swap with us.  We’re inclined to forget this.  Re-committing to live afresh with reverent passion is one way to live thankfully for today and all days.    
And we need to be reminded every day.   

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Living at passion and reverently so,
Is a bit like an attempt at baking kneaded dough,
For growing the joy that emits rippled bliss,
Is just like a case of fear gone amiss.

As light engendered burns out the dark,
Life now finds us with a glint and a spark,
Rolls us down heaven’s grand lane,
Far enough away from hellish disdain.

Passion absorbed that powers us on,
Golden strides never seem gone for long,
Thankfulness churned and nothing felt rotten,
A humble good life never so forgotten.

Wise it is now to steady the gait,
A wondrous and stately closely matched mate,
Now it is with a reverent passion,
Teeth no longer experience past gnashing.

So we come now to a place that’s best,
A time that’s good for succeeding our test,
Willingness’s there and openness too,
Holds us sway for times held true.

Shining inner light bright as a beacon,
Complaints and fussing we’re no longer seeking,
Positive energy we shallowly wade,
Preciousness, precociousness we’ve now put paid.

Reverent passion now nothing else,
Brings us to joy if not nothing but stealth,
Focused, engorged, the life goads within,
We know now, it seems, how life’s to spin.

As we conclude this merry modest jaunt,
Passion and reverence—a holy little haunt,
Basic, intrepid, lost to the muse,
A battered reed we’ll no longer to bruise.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The idea is to live so passionately that positivity drowns out the negative; for the main part anyway.  Notwithstanding low times that bear themselves over our lives, we have the opportunity to grace our days with a more consistent power to live the good life.

More Reverent Passion, Less Fear
The joy enraptured in pure thanks squeezes out fear; they simply cannot co-exist.  The more light beckons upon our lives the less the darkness is able to take hold.  Then we’re found with a quiet, assured confidence that’s weighed accurately to humility, which is based in the fear of the Lord—which is the only power beyond fear itself.

Even though there are days when our passion evaporates, fear never gets the upper hand for long.  And as we look back over these horrendous days we’re thankful that the passion for good living returned so smartly.

With the Right Preparation...
We could complete that sentence with... we can achieve anything.
A reverent passion has compelled us to a place where we have two integrated virtues: preparation has delivered us an unexplained confidence in the surety of the good way, and we’re ready as we can be for testing; which is always coming.  We have power for the day so we can live safely for truth.  And our truth vanquishes fear.

With the right preparation, the mind’s able to sidestep more effectively the temptations to fear and sin that come into all our lives.

Management of this modus operandi is controlled from within.  Some days people see us interact these ways and they want to know how.  Every searcher wants spiritual composure.

The Reverently Passionate Thankful Person Cannot Harm or Be Harmed

“... a bruised reed he [or she] will not break.”
~Isaiah 42:3a (NRSV).


According to this prophesy of Isaiah—which can be seen as pointed at Jesus, the Christian viewpoint—there is a manner of living that neither harms nor is harmed.

Jesus might have been ‘harmed’ on the cross—and as a man almost certainly—but it can be seen by Jesus’ responses to taunts, beatings and universal shame, that he resisted with perfect effect any hurt bound for him.

Jesus was better than that hurt.

The wonderful confidence in this is, underpinning thankfulness—engendered by a commitment to live with reverent passion—can resist all temptations of complaint, submission to fear, and weakness.  This cogent truth only needs to be experienced once and we’re under way.
We can then employ and re-employ this method any time we choose.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.



 

To learn more about Steve, visit the links below.
My passion is encouraging people to become the best they want to be. I'm a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, FSIA, RSP [Australia]) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min).

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." ~Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

"Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it only leads to evil." ~Psalm 37:8 (NIV)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 411 of Giving Thanks

This coming new year will be a year of difference.  Isaiah 61 states “The Year of the LORD's Favor.”  And, as I ready myself to welcome in a new year, I know that last year has been a year of change and trusting God – that I have a purpose and that He completely has a handle on things, through this journey, I will continually receive clarity.


Jeremiah 29:10-13, says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (NIV)

I breathe easy knowing that it “is finished” by the work He did on the cross and the reward of heaven is mine with my simple acceptance of His gift; that gift that I personally accepted eight years ago. And, my life has been moving toward that heavenly dwelling ever since.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." ~Philippians 4:4-5

With all this said, you may look at what I say and wonder many things. “Is her life that perfect? Does she really have that much clarity? How can anyone have so much peace?” And, these are things that I ask myself on many occasions, and yet the peace I feel is not because I have a step by step guide to how my life will turn out, or know where each foot will be placed with each step. It is that all my steps have purpose and my only responsibility is to follow the perfect footsteps of Jesus.  What I have learned and gleaned from the lessons, the challenges, the storms and the obstacles of my life, I know one thing for sure at this juncture of my life, that all I have to do is, ask, seek, knock and it will be given.

So, how can I fail? How can I not know peace? How can I not trust?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~Matthew 7:7-8

In the past, I viewed “knowing God” as “having religion”, and only saw ‘what I had to do’ or ‘what I would have to give up’… Now, with my eyes wide open and in proper focus I can truly see – what He does every day, while understanding of the magnitude of what He has already done, I live my life doing for Him because He loved me first, and loves me now.

Now, I truly see what I have gained and am learning to see what I gain every day.  My responsibility is to listen – and act upon His instruction.


“And I, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, am being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” ~2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)

He is the beginning
He is faithful
He is trustworthy
He is love
He is life
He is perfect
He is everything
He is the end
He is God

Because He is who He is… I am encouraged.  I will live out my life doing His work of encouraging others, all because, He is.

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." ~Hebrews 3:13
"Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you." ~2 Corinthians 13:11
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." ~1 Thessalonians 5:11



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 410 of Giving Thanks

This morning the Lord filled me with peace for my life, and a letter and prayer for my friends. I wrote it and watched it appear on the page in our small group.

Then poof, it was gone. I would guess that the few friends who had read it were the eyes that it was for, and I am grateful that as my heart was poured out through words, that the Holy Spirit delivered them perfectly before my almighty God – and the prayer was heard for sure. And I was comforted with the thought, “there it is, God at work letting me know that He is in control.”

"God is faithful and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." ~1 Corinthians 10:13

And, just a few hours later, another friend, reposted the prayer and letter to my friends. And, again, I was comforted with the thought “there it is, God at work letting me know that He is in control.”

I am used to drastic change in my life. God started with changing my heart from away from Him, to being combined with His heart. I used to say "God's not for me... not your God anyway." Wow, has He changed how I speak, think and live. Thank You Father, Thank You Jesus, and oh how I am grateful that the Holy Spirit, God residing in me, is always here now. God is for me, always has been, always will be.

I have been very reflective of my life during this past three months, because so much has changed, and much more is changing. And, though the changes have been completely unforeseen and really un-wanted, from my old perspective, I know that I am, completely dependent and excited about the direction God is pointing me in.

“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!” ~Philippians 4:4-5

God is at work, and what a great body to be part of...
Lord, I lift my friends, my brothers and sisters up to You and pray that Your work in all of us will be the light to many. I pray for protection from the enemy; the lies, the doubts, the fears and hindrances that we recognize and do not recognize. I pray that Your mighty hand be upon Your children and that our words, actions and hearts reflect You greatly. Through hardships, uncertainty, illness and the harshness of the world we live in, I praise You and thank You that we have all come together. I thank You for the gift of friendship, fellowship and shared stories. I thank You that together we can encourage and be encouraged perfectly in Your name. I thank You that through our not understanding, Your plan is still at work. I pray Abba that we can be obedient to Your calling, hear Your instruction and heed Your correction. I pray that in this time of celebrating the gift You so lovingly and unconditionally gave, that we can be firm in our stance and wholly in Your will.

Great and mighty Father, we give our days to You; past, present and future and pray that in the coming year, through our work in You, that many will know that it is because of You that we live a life of gratitude and joy, and in our humility you are glorified. And, we come to you mighty God confidently because of the shed blood of Jesus - we pray earnestly. Amen.

This coming new year will be a year of difference.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 409 of Giving Thanks - Guest Writer, Tymothy Longoria


Hello all you blessed ladies and gentlemen in Christ. This day, I have been prompted by the Spirit to engage you all in a brief but very poignant part of my story. My testimony, for I am a very thankful man. 

Why? What do I have to be thankful for?

So, so much.

My name is Tymothy Alex Longoria, of Spanish and Greek heritage and I have a quote. Spanish, Mexican and Greek blood make me who I am. The blood of Jesus makes me who I want to be." I have been married to my wonderful wife Jennifer for almost 11 years. My two children Jubal and Araceli are an amazing blessing from the Lord and I am speechless in regards to them. 

When I was 14, my aunt, (my mother's younger sister) began inviting my parents to her church. After a time of pulling and tugging, my mother eventually accepted the invitation, taking my sister with her, and a short time later, my father attended as well. 

Of course we know, they weren't responding to my aunt's invite, but rather Christ's. They in turn invited me for quite some time... all the while refusing, "This is lame. These people are weird" was my attitude. 

They even had a rally outside of my house! Talk about embarrassing!

They would go to church and I would stay home. Then a month before my 15th birthday, my abuelo, my father's father, passed on. I heard my father speak at his wake and saw how he kept his emotions in "check."
I started allowing myself to see my father in a new light; my father had a huge bible opened up to a different proverb each day; I started allowing myself to see how happy my little sister was with her new "Christian" friends. I told my stubbornness to move aside for a moment, and one day, I went with them to church.

BUT!

I didn't go in, I stayed in the car! As the usher walked over to me,I said to myself "oh, please." And he said to me, "Hey you wanna go in?" I politely shook my head and he responded by saying, "Later on" Yes, to myself, “later on. Later on I'll go to church. Later on”, was my typical response.

Later on came... and I finally walked in. It was like the churches I had been to as a kid. It got real loud, real quick. "Whatever," I told myself. Men and women were dancing around like they were crazy. I believe some described them as being "brainwashed." But, the more I went, the more they reached out to me, the more I saw they were being brainwashed! 

Their minds HAD been washed, by the blood of Jesus! It wasn't just a feel good, emotional thing! Something, someONE had changed them!

Testimony after testimony I saw; I heard; and I knew. So I walked over to the alter. "Lord, be real in my life!" I shouted from within. 

I prayed that prayer over and over. 

Then, the unthinkable happened. I became one of the weirdos! I became heavily involved. I sang to Jesus. I sang for Him. I found my voice. Literally, I learned to play guitar. I made a life-long family there. I met my future wife there! Eventually, I moved from my parent's home into the church home, for a year. And those same "radical" men, the one I said "Oh, please" to became my brothers. I would wake up EARLY and go outside to sing "coritos" little chorus's, like "Power, power wonder working power in the Blood of the Lamb!" and read the word and studied and prayed and studied and prayed. 

He called my name way before all of this transpired, of course, when I was four, according to my mother. I would walk around the house saying, "Thank you, Jesus." :)

I had bible teachers, preachers. I had music mentors. I was a blessed kid. If any man boast, let it be of the Lord!

...and now, 16 years later I still pray, "Lord, be REAL." 

Paraphrasing what I heard a television pastor say, “Jesus has shown up over and over in my life. He reveals HIS destiny to me! He showed me where I could go. If I continue to walk in Him, it wasn't me who walked in to that church. I mean physically I did the walking, but God in me took over that day. And, I have faltered, since then I allowed my stubbornness to cloud His vision. And, a journey that should have taken eleven days, took 40 years. But…. 

THANKFULLY and sincerely when we call out to Him, saying, "YOU! It was always YOU!" He doesn't tarry! He does not hesitate to give you all of Him. I am now 31 years old, give thanks daily for the overabundance of mentors and counselors I had all those years andgive thanks daily for His perfect will. As my father says, "Once He gives you something, He won't take it away." I accepted my calling as a writer.

“for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” ~Romans 11:29.

And great and wonderful things are happening for me. All thanks to God. And yes, even  through the weirdos refusing to compromise and surrendering their lives to Him.

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” ~Proverbs 11:14

Today I would like you to look back and reflect on who have been yourcounselors? Who brought you to Christ? We pray and bless them.

Be blessed all and make '11 the best year of your lives... so far!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 408 of Giving Thanks

All weekend I was confronted with the coming of a New Year; and, traditionally, like most Americans, that is a time of setting goals and making plans to reach them. As this the New Year approaches, many thoughts come into my mind. What will I do in this coming year? Is the question really, “What will God do in this new year with me? How will God use me? Am I doing the right things? And, the biggest question of all for me right now is “What is my purpose?”

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ~Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Last year I was planning something totally different than this year. I had been on a journey that seemed to be “right on track”, I had everything “in order” and things were “moving along nicely”. And, somehow things have changed; I am on an entirely different path. And, no matter how hard I try, I cannot quantitatively figure out how things changed so quickly and drastically. All I can say, is God happened.

There is a part of me that longs to mourn the change, or the loss, but God has done a work in my heart, and there seems to be no need for that. Not yet, or not now anyway. I can only get through my day because of the mighty presence of God. Thank You Lord for providing the Holy Spirit in me, so that I can have a direct line to You every day, all day and every moment. What a wonderful assurance I have.


“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go (and He did go), I will send him to you.” ~John 16:7

Today, as I reach out to God, I speak His name and immediately, I am comforted. All my failures and all my dreams that did not come to fruition seem to be distant and not so important any more. There is, in that place, a renewed spirit of adventure in me. So, I will ask again, “How will God use me and What is my purpose?”  Whatever you have for me Lord, I am assured, that…

I
A M
N O T
A L O N E

In the times when failure overwhelms me, lack of direction or loneliness takes over, it is important to remember that He came in body, only to leave in body, but remains in spirit…the Holy Spirit.

Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:30-33

I can find relief in His presence and a mighty peace before His throne. At any moment, of any day, I can be with my creator. And, He is there whenever I need Him, all I have to do is call to Him.

“Look at this: look Who got picked by God! He listens the split second I call to Him.” ~ Psalm 4:3

‎"With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”" ~Psalm 91:16

Let us all know that we have God on our side. How awesome is that?

If I am down – all I have to do is look up and He will lift me to Him.
If I am alone – I just call to Him and I will be in His presence.
If I am afraid – I just ask and He will go ahead of me.
If I am in the dark – His light is perfect and readily available to me.

The New Year is a great time to celebrate, and every day is a day to revel in God’s victory in my life... there is so much God has given me, and all is available to you.

KNOW THIS. He is waiting for you to call on Him for help. You have never been alone, and He desires you to know that He is the one that can relieve that stress. He already did the work, you just have to believe that the work was done on your behalf. There is an amazing truth and power in the realization of that.

What does that mean?

For me I know that I cannot live a life worthy of God on my own, alone. So, He requests that we invite Him in. Allow His presence to take away the loneliness and give all the strength required to live this life.


"God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life." ~John 3:16

"My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.  Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.  See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in You.

"Deliver Israel (ME), O God, from all their (MY)  troubles!” ~Psalm 25:15-22

I am grateful for the outstretched hand of God – total access, 24/7 to the mighty God, creator of the universe, lover of me.

Shawn Delia Boreta

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I love people. My life has been spent seeking new friendships and helping others. God's gifting is being worked out into His plan for me. I am excited to share insights of His leadings and lessons.