I’m Thankful for Forks

There is a long-held belief that you don’t really know something until you have taught it. Another common belief is practice makes perfect. Some simple sounding concepts, like thankfulness, take both.

The desire to teach my children things I thought I knew, taught me a depth and appreciation I may not have learned otherwise. Thankfulness was one of those things I leaned more about while teaching my children. Like most families it started with basic manners, say ‘thank-you’.

When my kids were young we would take turns during the prayer for dinner sharing one thing we were thankful for. I remember distinctly my kids mentioning things that may sound trite or insignificant, like forks. Sometimes I think they were stumped for an idea and other times they were just being silly. As a home school mom I lived in the spirit of teachable moments. Through a few open-ended questions, we all learned a little bit more about thankfulness.

This week I had the blessing of celebrating the birthday of my 2-year-old grand-daughter. When I think about people or things I am thankful for I realize they have some significance or value. My grand-daughter is no different, but what about forks?

Gratefulness verses Thankfulness

If you look up the definition of grateful and thankful you’ll notice they are almost identical. If I asked you if there’s a difference, you would probably say yes but not with a lot of confidence. If I asked you what the difference was you might find it difficult to articulate it. If I asked you the difference between a grand-daughter and a fork you could rattle off many things.

Gratefulness is an awareness of something you appreciate because of its value or usefulness. I can be grateful for forks, but the word grateful seems too weak an adjective for my grand-daughter. In fact when looking in my thesaurus under grateful the first word is thankful.

Why does Thankfulness feel stronger than Gratefulness?

To be grateful is the extent of our human ability to appreciate something’s value. Thankfulness is a spiritual term and with it comes the power of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Not once in the Bible, in any translation is the word “grateful” used. Thankful appears more than fifty times.

Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, be thankful to Him, bless His name.” (NKJV)

In Hebrew the words thanksgiving (towdah) includes the root word thankful (yadah) and both have similar definitions. It’s in the definition where the spiritual aspect becomes clear. They can both be translated into the word praise.

Some of the other translated meanings for thankful (yadah) is confess, thank offering, and cast out – like casting out your hands toward heaven in worship.

To be thankful is to worship. To thank God for His blessing, to confess His goodness, to praise Him for all He has done and all He is doing. It is a conscience declaration that you noticed God’s move in your life and circumstances.

Thankful for forks?

So when my son Nathanael said he was thankful for forks, I asked him why. The conversation over macaroni-and-cheese and fish-sticks was worship in a beautiful way. By the end of our discussion, which lasted through dinner, we had recognized God’s bounty for us. Our ability to…

  • eat without getting our hands dirty
  • enjoy being together
  • eating not starving
  • be in a warm home
  • live in a safe neighborhood

We thanked God for…

  • the people God had put into our lives
  • the people who worked to catch the fish
  • those who processed it.
  • the grocery store where we buy most of our everyday needs.

Every once in a while when the kids are over for dinner one will mention thankfulness for forks. We laugh and smile knowing how profound that statement really is.

Pray with me;

Lord Father in heaven thank you for all the blessing I see, and all the blessings I have let go unnoticed. Your love and mercy are all around me. Give me eyes to see more of what You have already given to me. Thank You for giving Your Son Jesus and the people You have put into my life.

In Jesus name, Amen

It’s Your Turn,

How does your family show their thankfulness? Have you had any family discussions like my family? Would you like to try it and come back and let me know how it went. What are you thankful for?

#Thankful #worship #ElayneCross #ejc

©2015, Elayne Cross

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Your Identity comes from being uniquely you.

Identity
I am unique, I am not you and you are not me!

Identity is a condition of being you and not me or any other person. God made you for right here, right now.

Uniquely Me – Uniquely You

In essence I am uniquely me and you are uniquely you and we are beautiful. How do I know? Because God doesn’t make any junk, only what is lovely and good. Life is messy; doubt and fear tarnish and distort what God made as good.

God can use any portion of scripture to speak directly to you and into your life. He calls you:

  • Beloved – Colossians 3:12
  • Child – John 1:12, Ephesians 2:19, Ephesians 1:5
  • Friend – John 15:15
  • Workmanship – Ephesians 2:10 Ephesians 3:19, Philippians 1:6,
  • Chosen – Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 1:4 and 11
  • Heir – Colossians 1:12, Titus 3:4-7
  • Anointed – 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 1 John 2:20
  • Blameless – 1 Corinthians 1:8, Romans 1:12, Ephesians 1:4 and 8, Colossians 1:14
  • the Righteousness of God – 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Citizen of Heaven – Philippians 3:20
  • Member of the Body of Christ – 1 Corinthians 12:27
  • the Temple of God – Ephesians 2:21, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Ephesians 2:22
  • His Instrument – Colossians 1:12, Ephesians 6:4, Ephesians 5:21,
  • Light To the World – Matthew 5:14, Ephesians 5:8-9, Act 1:8
  • Protected – John 10:28, Philippians 4:7, 1 John 5:18
  • Victorious – 1 Corinthians 15:57, 1 John 5:4, Romans 8:37
  • Set Apart – Ephesians 1:13
  • Blessed – Ephesians 1:3
  • a New Creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • and much more.

Notice God does NOT call you ANYTHING negative!

This is my list to remember: copy it, use it, add to it, make one for yourself!

  • Stop calling yourself what God does not call you.
  • Stop remembering and thinking about the sin God has forgotten.
  • Stop allowing your past sins to stand in your way, repent and move on
  • Past sins prevent you from doing something now because you let them.
  • Stop saying negative things about yourself
  • Stop saying negative things about your family and those you love

Negative words can kill. They kill things like courage, confidence, and self-worth. They can kill trust and connection in relationships. I want the things I say to and about those I love to encourage and inspire not fester doubt.

Speak to and about yourself with life affirming, encouraging, and positive words

Proverbs 18:20-21  20 With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. (NASB)

Ezekiel 37  Read about a valley of dry bones that came alive when Ezekiel spoke life

Proverbs 15:4  A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit. (NASB)

Listen to what God is telling you.

God can use other people; Christian believers or not to speak to you. God can use music and times of Worship to stir something within you. God can place events, circumstances, and signs that seem to catch your attention. When God is speaking, it is always associated with a sense of peace, calm, and the ability to complete it. A feeling of dread, gloom, or overwhelming burdens are not from God. If you are not sure, ask God. I think He was the first one to say there are no stupid questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Fear is from satan, God says to come BOLDLY to the throne, you can’t be bold and afraid at the same time.

Pray with me;

Dear Lord,

I forget how much You love me. Help me to remember. Open my eyes to see what gifts and talents You have given me. I have a story that is uniquely mine full of wonderful opportunities from a loving God who desires to call me friend. Thank You for drawing me to You. Thank You Lord for putting me here at this time; Show me how You see me. Teach me about the person You made me to be.

In Jesus name, Amen.

©2015, Elayne Cross

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7 Elements of Balanced Prayer

Knowing how to pray doesn’t always come naturally.  Jesus taught us how to pray then said not to pray in repetition. Here are 7 elements of balanced prayer to use as a guide. Every prayer doesn’t need all seven, but all seven elements should be used in balance.

Thanksgiving is the first element because it’s the Key to the Kingdom.

  1. Thanksgiving: Psalm 100:3-4 … we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name.(KJV)

If we desire to be in the courts, then the throne room, we must first go through the gate.

The next 6 elements of balanced prayer can be derived from the Lord’s Payer

The disciples were so intrigued by Jesus prayer life that they asked Him to teach them to pray, from that we have been given the Lord ’s Prayer. (Matt 6:9-13, not an exact quote based on KJV modified by me) This is an example Christ gave to His disciples, His inner circle, who would instruct others and establish the church.

  1. Praise: Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name

Praise is an adoration of God for His attributes, the characteristics of His name, and facets of His character. The One True God, Our Redeemer, The One who Provides, Righteousness and more.

  1. Supplication: Your Kingdom come Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven

Supplication claims what He has already willed. When God speaks He creates, He decrees, He establishes. Supplication is about aligning our will with His and working with Him to bring it to reality. We ask, “God let me help You  bring Your plan to my family, my community, my church.”

  1. Petition: Give us this day our daily bread

Petition is asking God for our personal needs. By doing this we recognize our total dependence on God and fully trust that He will supply.

  1. Confession: Forgive us our sins

Confession clears the way for our prayers to be heard. The life we live is a slow transformation to be like Christ – we are not there yet. It is not necessary to repeatedly confess old sins, once confessed they are forgiven. If we continually sin in a similar fashion we can pray for help and strength to stop. The Holy Spirit convicts us individually so what I am feeling convicted of is not the same for you. This is not about comparing to others or judging with respect to another, it’s you and God – no one else.

  1. Intercession: As we forgive those who sinned against us

Intercession is pleading the cause of others; Jesus on the cross and Stephen as he was being stoned. When you can praying for those who hurt you with the full desire for their good and blessing, then you have fully forgiven. It is surrendering; For-I-Give them to God for His discretion, which is always to be saved and transformed. This is primarily for you not the person you are praying for, although God doesn’t ignore them either. Interceding is a powerful tool in your toolbox.

  1. Protection: And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen

Protection is a request for help. It reminds us of two things, we don’t war against people but the evil one, and that our heart is willing but the flesh is weak. Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life are all very strong pulls but far inferior to God’s Kingdom and God’s will. One way I seek protection is asking God to close the doors that I think look good as a solution or option but may not be His best for me. I want His best. God is most passionate about free will, so we must be mindful to seek His will if we want His best.

Pray with me;

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank for listening to me! You are so good to me. I hear people pray and I think, I not good at this. Send the Holy Spirit to encourage me and nudge me to practice. Forgive me for not praying more and for being envious of others. Bless the people who have prayed for me and in my hearing that I was envious of, listen and answer their prayers. We all want to have our prayers heard and answered. Thank you for reminding me that I am Your child and You want to hear my voice. I may ask for things that are not good for me, give me wisdom and faith to accept Your no. The Bible says You have plans for me, I want those plans to happen. Keep me from temptation to derail Your perfect plan for me. I love You and want to know You more.

In the name of Jesus, Amen

(Based in part on Balanced Prayer from Discipleship 1 by Nicholas and Leona Venditti, an INSTE Bible College Certificate Program)

©2015, Elayne Cross

It’s Your Turn:

When is your favorite time to pray? Do you notice these elements in your prayer time? Will this help you feel more confident about your prayers?

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A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember 

This is a day I will remember for its significance, this first post. It’s not everyday you decide to open your life to the world and allow anyone a look inside.

I am not alone, my Jewish friends are getting ready to begin Rosh Hashanah, which is the beginning of the year 5776 and a time of remembrance. Blessed is the Lord God of the Universe, may He bless us with a new year, sweet as the fruit of the tree and blessed with His goodness.

Memory is a special thing. We can look back and see how far we have come, and remember life’s experiences. The last year has been a journey I will share with you in the coming days and months.

Today is a day I am going to try to intentionally remember, I am publishing my web site and presenting myself to the world in all my human beauty and mess. My name is Elayne Cross, child of God, servant of the Lord, wife, mother, teacher, friend…

I hope you find nuggets of hope, inspiration, and courage as you allow me to share with you.

© 2015, Elayne Cross

It’s Your Turn;

What special person or even did you think of today? Did you see something that reminded you of someone? Did you hear kids playing and it reminded you of a time when…?

 

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