I know it is easy, but, don’t wish away a season.

I am not sure where or who taught Dottie and me to not wish away a current time in our lives. It could have been when our children were little and as her Mom shared with us “the hours of the day now crawl, but the years will fly by”. Or was it when we moved from the “physically tiring” stage of life into the “emotionally exhausting” time of having teenagers? 😀 We have all had them haven’t we? Think about time or times where you couldn’t help but say, “once we get through this or that trial or ideal, things will be much better?” If you are like me, several come immediately to mind; including my bout with Guillain Barre and now 9 months of Covid19. So, As we enter into the last couple weeks of Advent, remember the waiting is to be intentional. A time to reflect and prepare ourselves for what God wants to do with us through His son Jesus.

Christmas reminds us we have a loving Father and a wonderful counselor who wants the very best for us. It doesn’t start tomorrow or in the future, it starts right now. We have a choice, every day, to give him thanks. And with a heart of thanksgiving, we realize that no matter what we face, God doesn’t just work to change our situations and help us through our problems. He does more. He teaches us in those moments to prepare us for what lies ahead. He changes our hearts so that we might become better. This 3rd Sunday of #Advent2020,
take time to stop, wait patiently, and expectantly to celebrate the tiny baby who God allowed to change the world. May we prepare our hearts so that we receive Him in love and then go out to serve with hearts full of compassion. This is a time to reflect on the fact that the Mighty God and Prince of Peace has that same compassion for us.
How do we not miss out on what God wants for us right now? Try not waiting 364 days each year for Christmas or Thanksgiving to say thanks and give gifts. Instead, have a thankful heart and the Christmas spirit every day so that you have no regret on how you spent a season no matter what came your way. After all as Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly put it, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift..That is why it is called the Present.”

During this Advent Season, as you wait, work on Making your Present Perfect by keeping God in every moment of your day.

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Advent….Another season of waiting

2019 was a year of waiting to recover from Guillain Barre Syndrome (www.CaringBridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie. Little did I know that 2020 would bring a new kind of waiting; the all clear from Covid19. Although I am physically well and have accomplished my 180 goal stated in this link http://thankfulinallthings.com/tag/transformed/, the doctors have me self-isolating as much as possible. They say that is the best course of action given my compromised immune system because Covid19 can result in Guillain Barre as well. Singer Christopher Cross had that exact thing happen https://youtu.be/aeEe9W8wayw back in March. Along with all of you, we wait for a vaccine that will hopefully allow us to return to our normal lives again sometime in 2021.

Waiting for recovery in 2019 and Covid19 to be brought under control in 2020 has made the season of Advent more poignant for me. Why? Because it is also about waiting and waiting is never easy. I guess that is why they say “patience is a virtue.” 😀 God’s chosen people had been waiting for a Messiah for a lot longer than a couple of years. God’s son, Jesus, had been prophesied hundreds of years before in Isaiah 7:14. Here is a link to 44 prophesies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament. https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/swisscottage/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2014/11/44-Prophecies-Jesus-Christ-Fulfilled.pdf

One such prophesy shares about the servant, the messiah for whom they were waiting.

Isaiah 42 goes on to say what the people could expect upon His arrival.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

Ponder this question on this 2nd Sunday of Advent. For what or for whom are you waiting? Is it something temporal in nature like improved health or the end of Covid19? There is no doubt I have found both are worth waiting for with expectant anticipation. Yet this Christmas season, try waiting on God to show you how He wants to renew your life. There you will find the everlasting Hope that was promised in Isaiah. The hope that comes from God who loved us enough to send His Incarnate Son to live amongst us. Wait on Him friends and watch how he will bring justice to this broken and bruised world that feels like at any moment could be snuffed out like a smoldering wick. Joy to the world, The Lord has come. May we each receive Him personally as our King. When we do we can remain Thankful in All Things.

Thanks for reading my thoughts on what it means to wait during The Advent season. I can be reached by email at michael@mrg7175.com Please subscribe to the blog if you want to get email notifications when new content is posted.

There will be others!

It has taken me awhile to figure out what I wanted to post this week. I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have the desire to sit down and write. Many thoughts and topics crossed my mind but for different reasons, I ruled them out. It finally dawned on me a couple days ago that I was having a hard time being thankful. How can one post on a blog about being thankful in all things when you don’t feel thankful?
Gratefully, I came across this devotional thought from my friend Tom. “One of my “Thanks” this year is finding my Joy in God. ” The joy of the Lord is my strength,”  Neh 8:10. This crisis makes me go deeper into my relationship with the Lord, and the deeper I go the more thankful I am for him.  This  trial has me seeking him constantly, where he becomes, “my joy and my delight.” Ps 43:4.
My friend’s words stopped me from focusing on the sadness of knowing there would not be 35 family and friends (pictured below) packed around tables for Thanksgiving. It provided another lesson learned that adversity makes me lean in and go deeper in the trust I have for the One who created and wants only the best for me. Proverbs 23:18 reinforces this affirmation by saying, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”


If that wasn’t enough, Facebook reminded me of a prayer I wrote last Thanksgiving.
My Thanksgiving poem-

Gratitude for which I strive

Instead of stress eating me alive 

The world wants us to never be content 

Achieving much, asking what’s next. 

So on this another Thanksgiving Day

Lord I ask that my heart does stay 

Focused on you and all that You give

Abundance abounds and in that thought I’ll live

So my encouragement to you is this simple exercise. Stop focusing on what you don’t have, where you can’t go, or who you can’t visit. Instead, take the time to look around you and take in all the abundance you have in your life. Once you have gotten yourself refocused with an attitude of gratitude, find some ways to bring thankfulness into others’ lives knowing this season will indeed pass and another Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. I can’t wait to celebrate it with the folks pictured below 😀


missing Maggie and Caroline

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Thoughts on how to remain thankful

Bruce Pulver shared how he thinks of the word Hope. That led me to respond this way.

Bruce Pulver
“HOPE.
Have
Overwhelmingly
Positive
Expectations”
My response/add on
Having Hope allows us to remain
FOCUSED
Focused
On
Creating
Unbelievable
Success
Every
Day

Having this kind of mindset allows me to make the most of each day so I, by God’s grace, can be a better person tomorrow. Another way I look at it is with the two words RISE UP which comes from the verse Isaiah 60:1-3

60 “Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. For see, darkness will cover the earth. Much darkness will cover the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His shining-greatness will be seen upon you. Nations will come to your light. And kings will see the shining-greatness of the Lord on you.

God calls us Each and every day to RISE UP/P
Resolved Intentional Striving for Eternal things. W Unbelievable Purpose/Passion. Over this past month or so, I have been trying to live out Gregory Boyd’s Exhortation to live out my life knowing “God is in the Now” and when I do it makes the [Present Perfect] (the name of his book)
When I can stay in the moment it pushes away all the distractions, discouragement, and challenges so that I can live a life of gratitude. It is not that the adversity disappears. The story of Peter walking on the water In Matthew 14:22-33 illustrates this very point. The storm was raging while he was out there. It wasn’t until he took his eyes off of Jesus that he realized the wind and the waves. When he did, he immediately sank. Isn’t that just like us. When we start trying to do things on our own power the stuff comes flooding back in leaving us discouraged and defeated. We just need to choose to remember that God loves us and that is all that matters. When We go out into the world virtually or in person with that thought process it is much easier to be thankful and as Miles McPherson encourages, strive to honor those who cross our paths.
How do we stay in the Now? Here are a couple things I have done.
1) I have set a reminder on my phone at 6am, 9am,noon, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm. It comes up at BSKIG. Be still and know that I am God. When I see the notice, I stop and recite The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. I try to add things into both that bring up things that are going on in my life at that point in the day. An example is below.
2) I try to commit to honoring every person I encounter whether on the phone, via zoom, or in person. A quick prayer, “Lord, let me honor this person in this interaction so that they might see You in my conversation with them”

These simple things have helped me greatly in remaining thankful during these mind boggling times. I hope they will in some way help you as well. If it has, please forward it to others and ask them to subscribe so they can receive an email when Impost new content. You can reach me via email at michael@mrg7175.com.

My Quarantine version of Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

As I navigate the lonely paths of Covid19, The Lord will be my guide and His presence is all I need 

Whether I think it is needed or not, I will use this time for rest and quiet reflection. 

So that my soul can be refreshed 

As He guides me where He wants me to be used bring Glory and honor to His name. 

Even though I walk

 through the valley of people wearing masks

I will fear no evil,

He gives my faith confidence so that I can go or do wherever He feels the need to send me. 

 Knowing even in self-isolation you are with me and won’t forsake me. 

Like the shepherds’ rod and staff, your Word and the Holy Spirit will teach and comfort me. 

Even in the midst of my adversity, You will abundantly provide all that I need so that I will it be afraid. 

Like an anointing, You will bless and protect me from whatever evil that wants to prey on me. 

You will fill me with your spirit so that cup of love you want me to share overflows. 

I count and trust on the contentment of your love for as long as I am to live.

This assurance brings joy knowing that I will be welcomed and will forever dwell in the house that you went and prepared for me. 


Acknowledging the tension between Sadness and Gratitude

How could this picture bring about sadness? Doesn’t everyone look like they are having a good time? I mean you are on a dock looking at boats on a beautiful day with family. What could be better? The gratitude part for Dottie and me says, “we are blessed to get away to a beautiful place with those we love. Nothing brings us more joy. So where is the sadness? The sadness is what isn’t pictured here. It reminds me that my son, his wife, and three kids weren’t with us leaving a huge void. Not being the one to pull the wagon conveys Dottie and me having to stay socially distanced because of Covid19. There is not one picture of us and our grandkids because we couldn’t even be inside, hug them or have them sit in our laps.

Scripture like the one pictured above remind us of this tension. No matter what comes our way, we can remain “Thankful in all Things” because God made tensions like these for our own good. This tension and others like “out of adversity comes strength”, “letting go allows God to do His thing”, and “peace in the midst of turmoil” are used to strengthen our relationship with God. Our creator who is always with us in the good and the bad. Like the footprints in the sand poem, God is always there. We just sometimes forget to look for Him.

Kellie Balarie prays- “God, help us. Where we are weak, make us strong. Where we are wavering, help us lay our anchor down. May we find strength through knowing you hold us. We no longer need to be held down by the world’s claws. May we believe you are so believable we see your hand in our everything.”

May we seek contentment in everything whether it produces Gratitude or heart felt Sadness. Jesus tells us how in John 15:10,11.
“Keep My commandments and no matter what remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” I pray the same for each of you who read this blog.

For the story of how this blog got started, go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can reach me by email at michael@mrg7175.com

How do I remain Thankful in all Things?

I wrote a while back about having read Jon Gordon’s book, The Garden. It was a short book that I read on Sunday afternoon sitting by the water at Smith Mountain Lake. As mentioned in this podcast, https://www.thebrianbuffinishow.com/the-garden-with-jon-gordon-225/ Jon wrote this parable like story to help folks deal with the fear and anxiety in their lives. The uncertainty in our world today makes the book even more relevant today.

It has been a month since I read The Garden. Little did I know God would use it to once again. Teaching me to remain thankful in all things and remain positive even when what is going on in the world makes me feel otherwise. I was on a Zoom call the other day with some of my oldest and dearest friends. (Side note- 6 months ago, who had even heard of Zoom? 😀) The conversation turned to having an attitude of gratitude and whether it can make a difference. Studies like this one show people that stay positive and optimistic. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier Studies like this one prove what God has said all along. He wants us to have an abundant life (John 10:10). Psalm 91:2 teaches that even in the midst of trying and difficult times we can say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” In fact, later in the book of John. Jesus says, “He wants His joy to be in each of us so that your joy may be complete.”

I am sure many of you are experiencing your own personal trials and challenges these days. If you have been following along you know my journey through adversity, like what you are facing, has not been easy. We all have to find our own way through it. Here are just a few thoughts on what has helped me.
1) I know that God is with me. As the song, Do it again says, “He has never failed me yet” https://youtu.be/0B_lnQIITxU

2) As Jon Gordon writes in The Garden, I have to fight the distractions of my every day life so that I stay resolved in remaining positive versus succumbing to discouragement.
3) Find ways to be outward focused by serving others. This allows you to break out of just thinking about you and how you wish your circumstances were better.
4) Strive to make every moment matter. Frank Laibach writes, “ Practicing the presence of God is the secret. Paul said “pray without ceasing. In everything make your wants known to God.” As you are led by the Spirit of God you realize you are a child of God“

It is not easy to do. I have recently set up my phone to remind me every 3 hours to “Be Still and know that He is God”. I forget. I get distracted even when I stop to recite The Lord’s Prayer and/or Psalm 23. What I can say is when I do stop and remind myself, my life gains the right perspective and allows me to remain “Thankful in all things”.

My Guillain Barre Syndrome Story can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can contact me via email at michael@mrg7175.com

What have you learned from the Covid19 Quarantine?

My Quarantine version of Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
As I navigate the lonely paths of Covid19, The Lord will be my guide and His presence is all I need
Whether I think it is needed or not, I will use this time for rest and quiet reflection.
So that my soul can be refreshed
As He guides me where He wants me to be used bring Glory and honor to His name.
Even though I walk
through the valley of people wearing masks
I will fear no evil,
He gives my faith confidence so that I can go or do wherever He feels the need to send me.
Knowing even in self-isolation you are with me and won’t forsake me.
Like the shepherds’ rod and staff, your Word and the Holy Spirit will teach and comfort me.
Even in the midst of my adversity, You will abundantly provide all that I need so that I will it be afraid.
Like an anointing, You will bless and protect me from whatever evil that wants to prey on me.
You will fill me with your spirit so that cup of love you want me to share overflows.
I count and trust on the contentment of your love for as long as I am to live.
This assurance brings joy knowing that I will be welcomed and will forever dwell in the house that you went and prepared for me.


Quarantine is hard. I started writing this Friday. What happened to TGIF? Hello! Who else finds themselves asking, “What does it matter that is the weekend? It is another day just like yesterday and the day before, and the day before.” I then ask God, “in the midst of all that is going on, how am I to remain, “thankful in all things?”
A friend’s family recently spent a week on the eastern shore of Virginia for what I found out was their annual spiritual retreat. I loved the idea of it yet realized, that is something I have never intentionally done for an extended period of time. The key word I realized was intentionally because my circumstances have now provided two recent seasons of spiritual retreat. Last year, Guillain Barre Syndrome stopped me in my tracks physically. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrieThis year my Covid19 self-isolation due to my GBS compromised immune system has provided another 5 months of elongated down time for introspection of who I am before God. I read Isaiah 40:31 differently this week. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.

Notice it says those who WAIT. Webster defines wait this way. “stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens” or “a period of time used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen.” I am sure all of us in some way or another are experiencing the angst of waiting. I hear folks say all the time, “if I just knew when this would all be over it would be so much easier to manage”. Yet wait in this verse means something much more. The Barnes bible commentary unpacks it this way. “The word rendered ‘wait upon’ here (from קוה qâvâh), denotes properly to wait, in the sense of expecting. The phrase, ‘to wait on Yahweh,’ means to wait for his help; that is, to trust in him, to put our hope or confidence in him. It is applicable to those who are in circumstances of danger or want, and who look to him for his merciful interposition.“He refers to those who were suffering a long and grievous captivity in Babylon but this phrase is applicable also to all who feel, because of this uncertainty, that they are weak, feeble, guilty, and helpless.” God says wait and trust in Me. Waiting does not mean doing nothing, Barnes continues, “It does not imply inactivity or laziness, it implies merely that our hope of aid and salvation is in him – a feeling that is as consistent with the most strenuous endeavors to secure the object”. “What are you doing while you wait? Will you look back when (please Lord) this is over with a feeling that you used this time of waiting well?

There are so many stories out there of people who have done extraordinary things in periods of time out. Shakespeare wrote King Lear,’ ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ as London reeled from the foiled Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and an outbreak of the bubonic plague the following year. Paul wrote the epistles Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon from his Rome prison cell. Isaac Newton discovered gravity during an 18 month quarantine. I recently watched Glenn Lundy http://Www.glennlundy.com interview Joe Buckner who spent time in prison. He shared he had no idea that his journaling during his confinement would turn into 2 books and help him become successful in business.https://yorkathleticsmfg.com/blogs/loversandfighters/beautifully-savage-the-joe-buckner-story

It is up to you. You can succumb to feeling sorry for yourself wishing that things could be different or will you wait on the Lord? When we do, He promises to “lift you up with a renewed strength. Allowing you to soar high on wings like eagles. You will go out ready to serve without growing weary” even if it is from the confines of your home using Zoom, phone or mailed hand written notes. You might even drop curbside pick up things on people’ porches.

Who knows. Maybe you will write a book, a blog people read 😀, or invent the next greatest thing. What I can tell you is just commit to making a difference and your part of the world will be better for it. If you do nothing else, the time you spent waiting on the Lord will have been time well spent. It’s not too late. As in another place in Isaiah, wait and listen for “the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And be willing to say, “Here am I. Send me!”

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Loving your neighbor is more important than ever

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Loving your neighbor while distancing

Social distancing is wreaking havoc on us individually and in how we go about loving our neighbors. We were made to be in relationship so to back up, like a turtle pulls his head into his shell, is so contrary to how God wants us to live. Jesus said in John 10:10 that “he came to give us an abundant life” and later in John 15 encouraged us in this way, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” I don’t know about you who are reading this post, but I can say feeling an “abundance and a joy that is full” is not easy to do these days. I wake up many days thinking, “another day, just like yesterday, and the day before. It is magnified as I see so many people enjoying family vacations and, because of my compromised immune system, we cannot. There is a daily choice to be made. Do I slip down into discouragement or choose to make the day a positive one by finding creative ways to love my neighbors? I have found that having a mindset toward acts of service keeps me from allowing my circumstances to defeat me.

The commandment to Love my neighbor literally means to go out and care for those nearby. This moves the exhortation not just to those who live nearby who may look like us or have the same type of lifestyle, but who come nearby as we move throughout our the day, physically or remotely. As I have shared before, even wearing a mask can be a way that we love someone who comes into our proximity. Bishop Claude Alexander in his sermon, https://livingontheedge.org/coffeebreak/july-2020/ says like the Good Samaritan, we need to be willing to not go around an uncomfortable situation. Instead, be called forward so that we go through and into that place. That way we can get close enough to see, feel, and understand what is happening, why it occurred. Bishop Alexander shares that “Seeing, feeling, and understanding will make us realize we must do something about the situation”

When we are moved to make a difference, what does it look like to love our neighbor? The practical application will look differently for each one of us and that is OK. One thing is for sure though. It starts with us getting out of our own comfort zone and entering into a place where we have never been before or haven’t been motivated to make the time. The first step for the Good Samaritan was to see what had happened. He then felt the person’s pain which made him understand he needed to do something. That something cost him physically, (he walked while the injured one rode on the donkey), financially (he paid for a room and for his care, and his precious time ( he cared for the man and then came back later to see if he was OK. What starts with being open to see and responding to others who have a need or just need encouragement. Here are links to three different ministries that started with people like you and me who got shaken into action. https://charlottesvilleabundantlife.org/ https://movementfoundation.org/ https://peaceprep.com/ I share these to show what amazing things can happen when people make the choice to love their neighbors.

Luke 10;36.37 answers the question, What does it mean to love your neighbor? When the expert in the law answered that the one who had mercy on the person who was robbed, Jesus simply answers, “go and do likewise“. As I thought about this blog post this week, this jumped in to my head. What if our love for each other was as contagious as Covid19? I am guessing your life will be filled with the abundance God promised and you will find yourself full of joy. Let’s go out this week and find out. 🙂

How could this year be seen as worse than last year

If you have been reading this blog since the fall of 2019 or following my journey through adversity Via www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelGuthrie, you know that an immune system disorder led to a syndrome called Guillain Barre. It left me unable to move for 17 days and gave me the “opportunity” to be in a rehab facility while I regained my strength allowing me to walk out and go home 43 days later. March-June of 2019 were pretty much lost. So, why would I say 2020 has actually been worse than the same time in 2019?

Dottie and I were struck the other day that we have lost the same 4 months this year because of a completely different type of adversity, Covid19 aka The Coronavirus. I have found myself discouraged and on edge in a way that Is not normal for me. I am sure the pandemic has some you feeling the same. This discouragement and angst oozes itself into all aspects of my life which results in a sadness that has led me to ask why? Dottie’ answers, “It is the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect with Covid19. Your bout w GBS was different. Once we knew you were not going to be put on a ventilator, we had the confidence that although it would take a long time, you would get better. We have no idea where the pandemic is taking us and what will be its long term effects.” I find myself fighting this realization but at the end of the day, she is absolutely right. Whether one wants to say this is not a big deal or that it is being over blown by the media, the fact remains no one knows the long term effects of the Coronavirus be it physical, psychological, or economically.

The second reason for 2020 being worse than 2019 will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. It has been the subject matter of several blog posts here. I MISS MY PEOPLE 😀. We are not made to travel this life alone. Jesus knew it and that is why he sent the disciples out in twos. “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” ~ Luke 10:1 We need others in our lives to keep us uplifted when it is so easy to fall into despair.

There is also the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” My recovery from Guillain Barre was indeed a group effort. Friends spent the night with me in the hospital and in rehab. People brought us lunch every day. I had so many visitors that Dottie had to, lovingly but fiercely, become the gatekeeper so I would get my rest. I was in a bad way but throughout the ordeal and even after we came home, we had people cheering and encouraging us along the way. 2020 is harder than 2019 because this is a fresh and different kind of adversity. I am sure that many of you are struggling with the pandemic’s “shelter in place” in some of the same ways. GBS without a doubt was the biggest challenge I have faced in my life. The difference this year is I don’t have the people around me as I did last year. Dottie and I are fortunate to have each other but it is tough going through this pretty much by ourselves. Like us, You are tired, lonely, and Frustrated. Asking, “When will this ever end?” You are longing life to get back to normal. I am grateful that Jesus says in Matthew,  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Picked this one because i wish I was at the beach 🙂

Reading through Proverbs in June teaches God want us to wait on Him. Be patient. Trust that He already knows the outcome of the Covid19 story and as this song reminds us, He has never failed us yet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_lnQIITxU When we do Isaiah 40 lifts us up knowing “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength”. I will look unto the hills, to the One who loves me, for rest in my soul and a renewed strength. How bout you?

Have you found this blog helpful? Please subscribe so that you can get email updates when new material is posted. You can also reach me at michael@mrg7175.com

For Better or For Worse?

I love the show Family Feud. Steve Harvey makes me laugh. What do you think about when you see this question? On the Feud, there is no doubt the #1 answer would be marriage. These days however, the question challenges me in my relationship with Dottie but also, will I be a better or worse person when my life after Covid19 begins. Dallas Willard writes in his book Life without Lack, “It is not pretense we need, it is understanding.  A life without lack his faith in God and in God‘s full capacity and willingness to meet all of our needs and more.” The three words “willingness to meet” jumped out at me. Do you want your relationship with God, your spouse, significant other, friend, co-worker, etc.,to get better? If so, there has to be a willingness to meet. A decision to stop walking your own way and turn toward the other. These are trying times. There is such a temptation to crawl up into a ball saying, “let me know when this is all over” versus having an attitude of “what can I do today to make myself better”along with the relationships I mentioned earlier. Thankfully, God already knows how we would feel while being sheltered in place with the uncertainty of the Coronavirus. Could it be that is why He had Paul write those letters from prison? How bout the words He gives us in James 1:2-5.

Do you want your life and the way you relate to others to be better or worse? Then follow advice of James. Look for the joy in your life even when you face whatever trials that come your way. Lean into knowing God promises that this season of adversity will produce perseverance. Look back and recognize how you have persevered already in these last couple months. Allow it to encourage you onward. James says, “perseverance will make you more mature and complete, lacking nothing” My take on this statement is I will be stronger in the Lord because I chose to turn toward Him in this time of trouble and found that He provided all the peace and freedom from fear I needed. Finally, we all lack wisdom and are asking, is there anyone we can we trust to give us the right answers in this incredible season of uncertainty? The answer is found in what James wrote and also in Proverbs 3:4,5.

Let’s all commit to being better not worse. Ask God into the dark and self-centered places in your heart. James promises “God will give generously to all without finding fault,.” When you receive this generosity, turn your caring heart toward each other asking how can I serve? Wonderful things will happen when we have a willingness to meet. You will become better and so will those around you.

Know that I am grateful for all of you. I look forward to hearing from you. Please subscribe to www.thankfulinallthings.com and comment there or email me at michael@mrg7175.com