Gratitude makes the heart happy

Have you ever spent time with a person or family that are going through a difficult time?    I have at certain times, and always try to help in some way with either an encouraging word, a prayer, some cash or even food items.

A few weeks ago a friend and myself went to visit a family going through a very challenging time in their lives.   We did not know them, and  were asked to visit  as they needed some prayer and hope.    It did not take long to figure out what their main problem was.

We were with this family for over five hours with prayer and guidance, and not one time did we hear anything positive come out of their mouths.   When we asked them to give thanks to the Lord for something, anything, nothing could come out.  We received blank looks.

It´s important to find the good in all circumstances and give thanks.

The last part of Luke 6:45 says   For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Their hearts were filled with frustration, disappointment, heartache.  I am not minimizing their current situation, but giving thanks  is vitally important.

If the worse comes out of our mouths constantly, the enemy takes advantage of that and then we don´t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We had to explain to watch their words and begin declaring victory. With their words, they need to begin to turn the tide. With their words they need to give thanks, to praise the Lord, and listen to worship music.

This brings me to the season we are in where we celebrate life.  The life that Jesus gave for us, his death on the cross to take our shame, our sins, our guilt and give us eternity in heaven with Him.

Living in a developing nation has his drawbacks in many areas, but there is always something to be thankful for, and I look for it.  If I look for the bad, I will find it.  If I keep looking, I will find more bad things to complain about.  But I choose to look for the good.

Look for something to be thankful for, even in the small things and begin to praise and thank the Lord.  What we have is salvation, and that alone deserves our praise.

One thing I am thankful for, the view from my home.

The view from my house

 

What I learned leading a growth group

As a believer in Christ, we are called to serve.  When you think of serving, what comes to mind?  Is it serving in church,  outside of the church, or helping others?  Perhaps it could be all three, or more.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to serve as an English growth group leader for our church.

The course was in Spanish, and I discovered that I had to translate the entire study over to English, which took quite a bit of time to do. Serving is sacrificial, meaning you give something up, mainly time.

I did something different and out of my comfort zone, in doing so, I discovered several things about myself.

I can lead a growth group, study and learn the material to relate it back to the group effectively.

The Lord deposited examples to share with the group as I lead, examples that I had long forgotten about that were relevant to the topic.

I made new friends!  I love meeting new people.

We enjoyed the food that each one brought to share.  Food is always welcome.

The group would like to continue to meet, even after the course is completed since we all get along so well.

I also learned my weaknesses, and now I can work on those areas to strengthen them.

The gift of service is directed towards groups and organizations.  With every gift, there are dangers to consider, such as:

  • Some Christians with this gift have the propensity to assume the ministry tasks of others, which makes these people co-dependent.
  • Those with this gift are sometimes rather shamelessly taken advantage of by others.  Not good.
  • People with an eye for spotting ministry opportunities and actively seeking to meet existing needs often judge those who are not able to do this.  This is what is called gift projection, you project your gift to others and expect them to do the same.

Yes, the training was long, yes, I did take time to learn and commit to leading the growth group, but it was also stretching and enriching for me.

After all, isn’t that whats life is all about, stretching, learning and growing? Life is not about staying still.

What have you agreed to do to stretch you?  Share it in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.