Gratitude, thankful, faithfulness, faithful, God’s promises, Jesus, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

His Faithfulness: Jesus is Our Confidence in God’s Promises

Faith means having confidence in someone else’s ability without proof. To be faithful means your allegiance is solid and persistent; true to your word. God gave us proof of His faithfulness to us by sending Jesus. 



An Incomplete Gift

For my mom’s most recent decade birthday (you know, 30/40/50…) I wanted to paint her an imitation of “365 Days of Happiness.” I purchased four rectangular canvases, acrylics, brushes, and sponges, then got to work. First, I coated each canvas with an ombré style base color to represent the four seasons. Once the background was dry I sketched the tree which stretches throughout the four pieces. Then I painted the tree and leaves on the middle two canvases.

At the time, my husband and I were working opposite schedules with all three of our children in school. In other words, I bit off more than I could chew and only ended up delivering two of the four canvases on my mom’s special day. I told her I would complete the final two prints by Christmas.

That didn’t happen.

Here we are, more than four and a half years later. So much life has transpired. I would say my faithfulness meter sank after the third year came and went without the completion of my masterpiece. Or perhaps it declined when we moved out of state. The two remaining partially completed canvases have moved with me twice now, and each time I come across them it is a glaring reminder of my failure to deliver on both the actual artwork and my word.

To be faithful means your allegiance is solid and persistent; true to your word. God gave us proof of His faithfulness to us by sending Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #faithful #faithfulness #Jesus #promises

Being Compelled

Recently one of my pals referenced something a mutual friend of ours says to her three-year-old son: We can try again tomorrow. Those five little words have sprung to mind often since I read them. It reminds me of this reassuring passage:

…his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22b-24, CSB

Regardless of current circumstances, God is a proven refuge, a sure fortress. As the year comes to a close, it feels natural to look back at how the Lord has worked through, sustained, and grown me. I am able to see how God is teaching me to view my failures and my sin properly, not through morbid self-introspection—which is just another form of pride, but with humility. He who began a good work will complete it. And I know I am safe and secure in His capable arms. No failure or sorrow or tragedy can pluck me from His hand. I am His own…and He is mine. God’s faithfulness is inexhaustible!

…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

2 Timothy 2:13, CSB

I get stuck in the sinful pattern of living for myself, unsuccessfully searching for tips, tricks, and methods to be faithful. Yet Jesus calls me to once again look at His example and to allow His love to be the method that compels me to a life of faithfulness.

For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15, CSB

Restoring Faithfulness

It’s easy to look at failure through the lens of finality. But Jesus totally disrupted that when He rose from the grave! Letting failure take center stage emphasizes self, not Almighty God. Sin is super sneaky, planting seeds of cynicism and self-justification.

But we are free to try again.

Only when we do so, may it not be in our own strength, but through the proven power of Christ Jesus.

The question no longer is: Can I do it? Am I able? Can I overcome my moodiness, my laziness, my sensuality, my grudges, and resentments? The only question is: Is Jesus Christ able?

Lion and Lamb by Brennan Manning

In the spirit of Advent, and a discipline that comes straight from the Spirit of God, I completed the paintings. When I looked the original up online to reference which colors to use, the site noted that the picture is on the cover of—get this—“INSPIRED Faith: 365 Days a Year.” I laughed out loud that it had faith in the title! I took it as an affirmation from God that now is indeed the time to follow through. Then I ordered the devotional to accompany the paintings!

The Purpose

While I have no idea how my mom will react, the hope of her appreciation is not what constrained me to finish the artwork. It was confidence in and gratitude for the God who started a good work in me. Joy, anxiety, growth, misfortune, disappointment, and resolution can all occur between the beginning of something grand and its completion.

But God never stops pursuing or working out His purpose in us.

For a moment in history He turned His face away, but He had compassion with everlasting love and sent us a Redeemer (Isaiah 54:8). Regardless of how others will receive it, it is never too late to exhibit faithfulness. The purpose of demonstrating dependability is to be Christ-like, not to show off some personal impressive skills. Clearly. It took me almost five years to deliver on a promise! Still, in a small way, I am able to replicate Christ’s devotion to the Father and to us by producing what I said I would.

I’m so glad Jehovah didn’t give us an incomplete gift. Praise be to God for keeping His promise and raising Jesus to ensure our freedom! His faithfulness is a protective shield (Psalm 91:4). Hallelujah!

Praise be to God for keeping His promise and raising Jesus to ensure our freedom! His faithfulness is a protective shield. Hallelujah! Click To Tweet

To be faithful means your allegiance is solid and persistent; true to your word. God gave us proof of His faithfulness to us by sending Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #faithful #faithfulness #Jesus #promises

unsplash-logoScott Webb
gratitude, humility, humble, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, ministry

Humble: Accept the Thank You and Move On

Accepting gratitude for a job well done seems to be a hard thing to do. Our desire to be humble doesn’t mean that we can’t accept thank you without a qualifier.



“Thank you for staying late to help.” “No problem. It really wasn’t a big deal.” Even though I had to have my husband pick up my son from tae kwon do, change dinner plans, and cancel another meeting.

“That dessert is awesome.” “It’s just something I threw together.” Even though I had to make an extra trip to the grocery store, not go to the park to play with my little boy, and feed my family sandwiches for dinner since I had to baby sit the cake to make sure it didn’t fall.

“My kid loves being in your class. Thanks for all the extra help.” “It’s my job and I’m happy to do it.” Which I am, but it takes a lot of extra effort and time to text parents after school, put together meaningful assignments that help each child, and means I usually work from 7:30-5:30 everyday.

Maybe some of these situations sound like something you have encountered. Do you find yourself, like me, brushing off the compliment? I wonder why that is. Why can’t we just say “Thank you” and move on?

A Desire to be Humble

I have a theory that women have a predisposition to appear humble. Humbleness means we are gentle, cooperative and together therefore accepting a compliment that includes “thank you” is difficult.

But I submit to you lovely, humble readers that “thank you” is exactly what we should say and leave it there. Don’t diminish your work.

Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.

Proverbs 27:2, NIV

As long as you are not touting your own accomplishments, you should accept the gratitude of others. Let me ask you, do you want your daughter to brush off her accomplishments? Do you want God to brush off your accomplishments done in His service? Absolutely not. That sounds absurd doesn’t it?

As long as you are not touting your own accomplishments, you should accept the gratitude of others. Click To Tweet

Gratitude

God invites us to a life of gratitude and thanksgiving. He is so proud of us when we choose to follow Him and the path He sets out for each of us. Sometimes that involves baking a cake, making a meeting that was unplanned, or teaching His children. Saying “thank you” acknowledges the hard work you did.

Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you.

Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

These are cherished words in my heart because they show the partnership I have with my Heavenly Father. We are together in this world and He is always near. In a very real way I need to accept the “thank you” for both of us. And so do you.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV

Accepting gratitude for a job well done seems to be a hard thing to do. Our desire to be humble doesn't mean that we can't accept thank you without a qualifier. #humility #gratitude

The Take Away

This is something I need to work on. Recently I was talking about why I have such a hard time accepting “thank you” without a qualifier that makes it seem like it is no big deal. I think the need to be humble is part of it, but not all. Maybe some of it is because all the women in my life have made similar statements in the face of gratitude and I am following their example.

But I don’t want my children to do the same. I want them to feel proud of their accomplishments because we pray over them. We give thanks to God for His direction, we ask for help when things don’t seem to be going exactly right, and we give glorious praise when the course ends up being more wonderful than the bumps along the way. How can we not accept gratitude when He is part of the equation of our lives?

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Colossians 4:2, NIV

So in light of my new discovery, I want to ask God to help me be more accepting of the gratitude of others.

Dear God,

Please open my ears and heart the the thankfulness of others. Help me discern the difference between boastfulness and gratitude. Let me remember that You are a part of all gratitude and that in accepting it fully I am drawing closer to You and the path You have set before me.

love,

me

Accepting gratitude for a job well done seems to be a hard thing to do. Our desire to be humble doesn't mean that we can't accept thank you without a qualifier. #humility #gratitude


This is where the story changes…

mug, but God, coffee, tea

Annie Spratt