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. 


If you look….There are silver linings everywhere

“What positive difference will I make in the world today” was written above my desk. It was one of the first goals I set when in 1983 I started my real estate career. I have been struck time and time again by people coming up or writing to me saying things like: “Thank you for sharing your story”, “you are an inspiration”, “my faith has grown because of the example you have set for the rest of us”. These type of comments have buoyed me up and continue to encourage me along the way like people along a road cheering for you as you run more than walk a 5K 🙂 William Barclay wrote, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. … It is easy to laugh at man’s ideals. It is easy to pour cold water on the enthusiasm. It is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. I try to keep in the forefront of my mind, “By God’s grace, with His strength, an with His Mercy”. As I have written before, I am humbled that I have been given the privilege to cheer on others who have faced or are facing adversity in some way. Had I not been knocked down by Guillain Barre, this opportunity to make a positive difference would not have been possible.

As I look back over what has occured, I can’t help to see what I will call silver linings. There are so many examples but let me include one that just happened this week. I became better friends with someone from college during my stay in Rehab. He made sure to be at my PT sessions every Friday to cheer me on the road to recovery. This past week we saw each other at the gym and he introduced me to a friend who he had told about what I had gone through. I now have a new friend. The two of us found ourselves in a place to encourage an employee at the gym. None of this happens if GBS hadn’t brought my Friday friend back into my life in a significant way. The wonderful result in this journey through adversity is that I am even more grateful than I was before getting sick. As I try to answer why, the primary reason is that I know that God loves me in a way I didn’t know it before.

Good old Merriam Webster defines silver linings in this way, ” a consoling or hopeful prospect…” The bible talks about all things working for good. Greg Laurie expands on this thought. “God promises that He will work all things together for good. He doesn’t say He will make a bad thing good, necessarily. But He says that good will come despite the bad thing.” The good that has come from the bad thing called Guillain Barre Syndrome is the silver lining, the glimmer of light that God continually provides for me through others.