New blossoms on the apricot trees at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

What has God done for you today?

What has God done for you today? Are you paying attention? I don’t know why it’s so easy to overlook all the awesome things God has done and is doing for us. Maybe it’s because we’re foolish, silly, little people. Maybe it’s just me. But I can tell you that God has done amazing things in my life, and I never want to take that for granted.

New blossoms on the apricot trees at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

New blossoms on the apricot trees at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Psalm 52:8-9.

But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
    I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people.

The thing is, God deserves our worship and our praise without any of the personal interaction we experience from Him. He created the world. He created the universe. He created us. That’s enough to recognize Him and praise Him, but He doesn’t stop there.

He sent His Son to die for us, to pay for our sins so that we could have an eternal relationship with Him. Figure that in, and He’s worthy of our love and adoration ten times over. But He doesn’t stop there.

He takes a personal interested in our lives. He cares about what choices we make, what struggles we face, what challenges we overcome. He wants to play an active role in our lives, and all we have to do is let Him.

That goes beyond deserving our worship and our praise an d adoration. We don’t deserve any of that. We don’t deserve a love like that, but He invites us to accept it anyway.

God had does great things for me, and I’ll never stop thanking Him. What about you? What has He done for you? What ways has God made Himself known to you? What ways has God shown you how much He cares?

If you’re not paying attention or if you’re too focused on yourself, you might miss it. Trust me, the signs are there. Open your eyes and start looking today.

Friends - Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Saying “Thanks” isn’t the same as being thankful

How many of us have good things in our lives? And how many of us are good about recognizing where those good things came from? I’m part of the crowd that recognizes my good things come from God, but I’m not very good at actually saying thank you as often as I should. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because part of me knows that He knows I’m thankful already.

But there’s a big heart difference between feeling thankful and actually thanking someone.

Friends - Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Friends – Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Psalm 103:2.Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

I live a busy life. I’m always running around so crazily that I’m never sure if my head is still attached. I don’t know if I just get busy because I refuse to say no, or if I just get busy because life is busy. I can’t figure it out. But I should never be so busy that I forget to be thankful.

I have an awesome family. They’re nuts and silly and wonderful, and I don’t know what I would do without them. And even though sometimes I think we drive each other more bananas than we already are, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I have a job. It drives me crazy, and it’s making me turn gray. But it’s a job, and I can show you the things God did in my life to make it possible.

I have amazing friends from every walk of life, at every stage of life. Some old. Some young. Some in between. Some single. Some married. Some married again. Some with kids. Some without. Some very country … and others very Italian. =)

When was the last time I really stopped to say thank you?

When was the last time I stopped and praised God for bringing these awesome people into my life? When was the last time I stopped to thank Him specifically for everything He has done for me?

Thanking God for what He’s done is like prayer. He already knows that we’re thankful, just like He already knows what we’re going to pray. Asking God for things isn’t for His benefit, it’s for ours. Just like thanking God for what He’s done in our lives isn’t for God’s benefit either.

Praying to God gets us to the point where we recognize that we can’t make it through life on our own. Thanking God for what He’s done helps us remember that we didn’t accomplish things by ourselves.

The greatest, most awesome things in my life aren’t things I did for myself. They are gifts God gave me. And I want to be thankful for them.

So this is me taking a moment to say thank you.

It can be difficult to remember to do in the hustle and bustle and shuffle of everyday life, especially when you feel trapped by your circumstances. But even on the days when you feel cornered and alone, and you feel like all you’ve ever tried to do has failed, remember the things that God has given you. Make a list. Write it down. And you will be shocked to realize just how much He’s done for you already.

I always am.

God has given me everything I need and just about everything I want. And it’s not because I deserve any of it. It’s because He is good. And He wants to do good things for His children. And even on the days when He doesn’t give me the things I want, I want to be thankful for how He’s provided for my needs.

God is my refuge, my safe place, my biggest fan, my hero, and my best friend. He’s given me a beautiful home, a wonderful church, an amazing family, and supportive and hilarious friends. And He gave me a dream that He’s helping me achieve (slowly but surely).

And on the difficult days, He doesn’t leave my side. And that’s worth more to me than anything else because I know no matter how badly I screw up, I can’t screw up enough that He’ll ever give up on me.

In short … be thankful. Praise God. It’ll get your perspective right. And once your perspective is straight, your day will get a whole lot better.

Mountains and jungle and corn - Peten, Guatemala

If the rocks can’t help it, what’s my problem?

The earth is beautiful. It doesn’t matter where you go on this crazy little dust ball we call home, you can find something beautiful. Even if that beauty comes in the form of desolate deserts in the Middle East or the lush rain forests of South America or the savannahs of Africa, it’s still beautiful and amazing and totally beyond anything that we puny humans could have made.

Mountains and jungle and corn - Peten, Guatemala

Mountains and jungle and corn - Peten, Guatemala

Today’s verse is Psalm 98:4.

Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!

There are verses throughout the Psalms — throughout the whole Bible, really — that talk about how all of Creation is in a constant state of worship.

Trees, fields, flowers, birds, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars — everything that God made proclaims how awesome He is even though they don’t really have the ability to speak. So I find it ironic that the crowning jewel of God’s creation, the creation that is made like God and has been given a choice in the matter, refuses to give God the credit.

I am such a self-centered person sometimes. I get caught in the trap of thinking that God created everything for me. And that’s wrong. God didn’t create the world for humans. He didn’t create humans just so they could run around and have a good time either. He created everything for His glory.

God didn’t create the earth for me. He created it for Himself, just like He made me and everyone else. But God inexplicably gave us a choice. We can choose to serve Him or we can choose not to serve Him. We can choose to give Him glory or we can choose to live for ourselves. It’s up to us. Granted, we have to face the consequences of those choices, but that’s what it means to have a choice — accepting whatever consequences are associated with it.

But whether I choose to serve God and give Him credit and glory really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Yes, He wants me to. And, yes, He gave everything so that He could have a relationship with me. But when it comes right down to it, God doesn’t need me.

He doesn’t need me to worship Him. He has all of creation to do that. Creation can’t help it. The whole earth has been so marvelously stitched together that even the “simplest” of organisms is beyond our capacity to understand. The complexity and the creativity and the beauty is beyond mere circumstance and chance; the earth itself is evidence that God created everything. And if the rocks can’t shut up about it, what’s my problem?

If all of creation has no problem telling God how awesome He is, why do I hesitate? Why am I reluctant to worship Him for all the things that He is doing in my life?

I get so bogged down in all the everyday troubles and struggles of life that I forget sometimes what the purpose of living is all about. I forget what God has done for me. And I forget to thank Him when I should.

But when you get right down to the truth about it, God doesn’t need me to tell Him that He’s great. But if I can, it will change me.

If I can get my eyes off myself and my little insignificant life and focus all my energy and my intentionality on Him and His bigger picture, my life will change. My purpose will become clear. And my existence will not only have meaning now but will leave a legacy behind for others to follow.

Creation isn’t about us. It isn’t about us understanding how God did something. It’s understanding that some things are beyond our understanding. And it’s about giving God credit for everything because if we can do that, we can realize that life isn’t about us. It’s about Him.

And when we really wrap our heads around that, He can really start to use us.