Moses tells the Israelites in Deuteronomy 29:4, “Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” The dictionary definition of perceive is “To become aware of directly through any of the senses, especially sight or hearing….”
As the Old Testament hero Moses describes the delights which await the children of Israel in the Promised Land, he says in Deuteronomy chapter 26, verse 11, “And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house….”
Those few words teach me several valuable lessons.
- Recognize every good thing. In other words, count my blessings.
- Realize from whom every good thing comes. It is God who gives me each one of them.
- Rest in His provision. All that comes from His hand is good for me.
- Rejoice; that is the command. Joy in my spirit, reflected on my face, is a way of witnessing to others – including my children – that my God is good. He has given me so much, not only meeting my needs, but providing pleasures just for my enjoyment.
For what “good thing” are you rejoicing today?
This post is linked to Motivate Me Monday at The Fifth Street Palace.
In the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Judges, we find the angel of the Lord rebuking the children of Israel for making leagues with the heathen inhabitants of Canaan. In the third verse, He states that because of their failure to remove these people, He will allow them to “be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”
In Deuteronomy chapter six, Moses addresses the children of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. In verses ten and eleven, he shares the blessings that await them: “And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land….to give thee great and goodly cities….and houses full of all good things….when thou shalt have eaten and be full;”
Verse twelve follows with this warning: “Then beware lest thou forget the LORD….”
What a tragedy it would be, amidst all the blessings in my life, to forget to give honor and praise to the One who provides it all. Yet how easy it is to let days slip by without expressing gratitude to God for His goodness.
Just as the Israelites would face many battles before they possessed Canaan, so I may be in the midst of a trial and, despite all I’ve been given, just not “feel” blessed. On those days, may my mind be filled with the truths that God’s grace is sufficient, my eternal future is sure, and His power is limitless.
As I apply this principle in my own life, I am to follow the command of verse seven: “….thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…” What a joy-filled home can be mine if I will not forget – and teach my daughters not to forget – to acknowledge all of our blessings and the God who has provided them!
Visit Nan at Mom’s the Word for Making Your Home Sing Monday.
As I navigated the zoo that is Walmart on a Saturday afternoon, I crossed paths with a woman wearing a shirt that said, “I’m not a nag; I’m a motivational speaker.” I had to chuckle as I passed, thinking how nice it would be if nagging could truly be interpreted that way.
However funny the saying may be, it certainly points out a truth that I need to evaluate in my own life. Am I guilty of nagging my husband and my children?
In another lovely reminder of the passing of time, I went to my doctor’s office last week for my annual checkup. As I sat in the waiting room, I scanned a newspaper article about young, successful business men and women. Each was asked to give a piece of advice that he or she had found helpful. The following saying caused me to put down the paper and meditate on it’s words.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” Erma Bombeck
How ironic that on that very day I had used another quote from Bombeck in my blog post. As I considered her words, I questioned how I was doing with the talent that God has given me. Am I daily seeking to use it (or them) in the way God would intend?
Each season of life offers a different challenge and, I believe, a unique opportunity to make use of our gifts. Am I to be encouraging someone else through a thoughtful note, serving in a particular ministry at church, doing outreach in the community? Especially as a wife and mother, am I using the abilities I have been given to build a home that would be pleasing to God?
Whatever my talents, I pray that I will use each of them in a way that would be pleasing to God and accomplish the work that He has set for me to do. Today may I unwrap the talent with which I’ve been blessed and use it for His glory.
Visit Tuesdays Unwrapped hosted by Chatting at the Sky.
My dad is one of the wisest men I know. Occasionally I have shared here quotes or advice that he has given me. His two most oft-repeated statements when my siblings and I were growing up were “Life is not fair” and “Attitude is everything.” Let’s just say that those words covered about every situation we encountered.
I am consciously passing those same sayings along to our children. There are never-ending opportunities to put them into practice. Case in point: On Saturday night, at a church carnival and cookout, one of my daughter’s got to go on a hay ride twice while the other daughter only got one turn. Sure enough, out of the mouth of the one who thought she had been shortchanged came the words “But that’s not fair.” All I had to say was, “And what would Granddaddy say about that?” While she may not have liked it at that moment, she got the point. Someday I hope it sinks in and that both of our girls will understand that, as much as we might wish it was, not everything that happens in life is fair.
In reading my recently reviewed book, Muthering Heights, I recalled another piece of advice that my dad shared with us. I found this suggestion in the book as well and believe that it is so helpful. In life, make sure that you always have something that you can look forward to taking place.
In a big picture way, this could be a future activity for which you’re planning ahead. For example, in December we are taking our girls to see the play “A Christmas Carol.” In preparation for this, we are reading the book aloud at night and talking to them about what we’ll be seeing. The girls also know that we hope to take a trip to Disney World some time next year and we all enjoy discussing that possibility.
However, on a smaller scale, I think it is great to have something to look forward to each week. Whether it’s a family activity or something just for you, it brings a little spark to life if you know something enjoyable is just ahead. It could be an hour of shopping time alone while your husband or a friend watches the children. How about taking half of nap time and sitting down to read two chapters of a book and refusing to feel guilty about all of the housework that’s not being accomplished? Maybe it’s a scheduled date night with your husband, a mom’s morning out program or a surprise picnic outing with your children. However small it is, make time to put something on your calendar each week that you can look forward to.
So what am I looking forward to this week? Helping out at the girls’ school on Friday morning, then doing a bit of shopping by myself before picking them up that afternoon. That’s why I’ve been ironing like a mad woman this morning and will try to get ahead on my other chores during the first part of the week!
Do you enjoy the anticipation of upcoming vacations and holidays? Are you able to fit in a small activity during the week that you enjoy? I’d love to hear about it!
For the last several Wednesdays, I’ve been mentioning the fruit of the Spirit that are given in Galatians 5:22-23 and how we can teach and demonstrate those to our children. My first thought about today’s topic was “What exactly is gentleness?” One of the definitions I found described it this way: “Considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender.”
There is certainly enough in those few words to keep me growing for many a day! Do I show consideration to others in my actions and speech? As always, starting at home is often the first step since, strange as it is, I often seem to be more considerate of strangers than my own family members. Am I being kind in the words that I speak to my husband and children? Is my heart tender to their hurts and the feelings that they share with me or am I too preoccupied with my own problems to really care?
Living this out at home also applies to our children. What a great thing if we accomplish the task of having them be gentle toward their siblings! Few things touch my heart like seeing one of my children show kindness either to a family member or a friend. Just last week, my eight-year-old showed some maturity in the way she treated her sister and a friend. Then this morning, with no prompting, my six-year-old took her sister’s breakfast dishes, rinsed them off and put them in the dishwasher for her. While there are always struggles and challenges ahead, to think that just a seed of the teaching and training may finally take root is so rewarding. Thank God that His Holy Spirit can work in us and through us in spite of our many failings.
“The way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.” – Indian proverb
“It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others.” – Joseph Addison
“Isn’t it strange that its easier to be gentle with the feelings of people we care less about than those of our children, whom we love so much?” – Stephanie Martson
“Lord, give us the wisdom to utter words that are gentle and tender, for tomorrow we may have to eat them.” – Mo Udall
” A gentle hand may lead even an elephant by a hair.”- Iranian proverb
I recently heard someone say that longsuffering relates to how you deal with people while patience is how you deal with things or circumstances.
How interesting that I should be writing on this particular fruit of the Spirit today. Longsuffering is not what I displayed earlier this week when finding that the girls had purposely covered themselves with mud while playing outside. Admittedly, the consequence they received of having to clean themselves up was just, but my attitude toward the situation could have been much better.
As wives and mothers, the opportunities to display longsuffering and patience before our families are many. God is so longsuffering with me and I pray that I will continue to grow in this area, allowing Him to work a work in me.
Colossians 3:12-13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
“Patience is the companion of wisdom” – Saint Augustine
“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” – Barbara Johnson
“Regardless of how much patience we have, we would prefer never to use any of it.” – James T. O’Brien
“Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in one ahead.” – Bill McGlashen
photo courtesy public domain pictures