"Thanks precedes the miracle." Over and over in the Bible this proves to be true.
"Thanks is what builds trust." "I God didn't with hold from us His very own Son, will God with hold anything we need?" "How will He not also graciously give us all things He deems best and right? He's already given the incomprehensible." "His strength is made perfect in utter brokenness.... We can give thanks in everything because there's a good God leading, working all things into good."
Feelings can lie... when we look back, we see Gods back... Wasn't that too His way with Moses? 'When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back." (Exodus 33:22 - 23). When it gets dark, it's only because God has tucked me in a cleft o the rock and covered me, protected, with His hand. In the pitch, I feel like Im falling, feel like God is long absent. In the dark my whole world shakes, cracking dreams. But maybe this is true reality: It is in the dark that God is really passing by. Our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest at work, forging His perfect right will... Christ is most present to us, then He will remove His hand. Then we will look. Then we will look back, and see His back.
Opening the hand to receive the moments. Trusting what is received to be grace. Thanks feeds our trust.
to receive a gift the knees must bend humble and the hand must lie vulnerably open and the will must bow to accept whatever the Giver chooses to give.
Expectations kill relationships - especially with God.
Whenever I am parched and dry, I must go lower with the water and I must kneel low in thanks. The river of joy flows down to the lowest places... Humility and smallness and receiving all as surprising grace and how this thanks has layers that lead deeper into the kingdom, lead deeper into my truest, fullest self, the one He intended.
God asks me to give thanks in all things (1 Thes. 5:18) because He knows that the feeling of joy begins with the action of thanksgiving.
I had thought joy's flame needed protecting... but palms curled into protective fists fill with darkness... the secret of joy's flame: humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control... let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because he only gives love and whisper surprised thanks.... and I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust. I can let go. I hadn't known that joy meant dying.
what could bring more happiness than emptying of self-will and being wholly immersed in the will o God for this moment? Joy - it's always obedience.
Jesus says - "They will be done is My own joy story, child, from beginning to end."
And I humbly open my hand to release my will to receive His, to accept His wind. I accept the gift of now as it is - accept God - for I cant be receptive to God unless I receive what He gives. Joy's light flickers, breathes, fueled by the will of God - fueled by Him.
Grace is alive, living waters. If I dam up the grace, hold the blessings tight, joy within dies.... waters have no life..... A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.... I am full of grace, my true birthright, I am blessed and couldn't I bless and couldn't this fullness flow on and on and on and this could be happiness? Take any opportunity given to let the fullness of grace flow on... This is my place, openhanded.
“It is impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear.”
“He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will cam all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
“Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are… a divine choice” He chooses His children to fully live! Fully live the fullest life: the astonished gratitude, the awed joy, the flying free.”
Who wouldn’t cower at the invitation to communion with limitless Holiness Himself?.... The shock of such a partner destabilizes us too much. The risk is too great, the discomfort so demanding. We much prefer to settle for a less demanding, less overwhelming meeting. Yet we are haunted by the awareness that only this overwhelming meeting gives life. Yes, God as partner shocks and I’m too ugly, spiritually, physically, too filthy, too low to be courted by God and He lavishes His love, the uncontainable riches, and can I trust His love and part of me is right anxious to flee.”
But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (1Cor. 6:17) “Mystical love union…”
Is there a greater way to love the Giver than to delight wildly in His gifts?
“Would a soul continually eye His everlasting tenderness and compassion… then it could not bear an hour’s absence from Him; whereas now, perhaps, it cannot watch with Him one hour”
but if the heart be once much taken with the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto Him.”
this is wholly restored when I want the God-communion more than I want the world-consumption.
“O my soul, thou art capable of enjoying God, woe to thee if thou art contented with anything less than God”
“Counting His graces makes all moments into one holy kiss of communion and communion comes in the common.”
Nothing will keep my hand from filling with His.
“The lover’s smile in the morning, the child’s laughter down the slide, the elders eyes at eventide: this is for you. And the earth under your feet, the rain over your face upturned, the stars spinning all round you in the brazen glory: this is for you, you, you. These are for you –gifts- these are for you –grace- these are for you – God, so count the ways He loves, a thousand, more, never stop, that when you wake in the morning you cant help but turn humbly to the east, unfold your hand to the heavens, and though you tremble and though you wonder, though the world is ugly, it is beautiful, and you can slow and you can trust and you can receive each moment as grace.”