Thankfulness Challenge: Fall

Thankfulness

It’s no secret, I am a spring/ summer girl. I love the warmth/ heat and the beauty it brings. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. But there is just something about fall. Matter of fact I love almost all things fall. There’s only one thing I can think of that makes me really REALLY not like fall as much as spring and summer- THE COLD!

But as I dit here staring at the beautiful upstate New York mountainside I can’ help but feel a sense of coziness. It’s my favirite kind of fall day. it’s GRAY which mean the fall colors just seem to POP even more than normal. I love rainy days to begin with but rainy fall days where ist is still warm enough to go jacketless and the leaves are in full color and still on the trees is one of my all time favorite things.

I really am thankful for fall and the reminder that there is a season for everything. and fall reminds me that sometimes there is a season to give things up JUST like the trees give up their leaves..  And yet there is no garuntee that those leaves will come back over the last few years we have had some trees die over the winter months for whateverreason.

Sometimes we have to say goodbye or set aside something that we once loved for whatever reason. I am ina season of letting go of somethings. i have no idea of I will ever pick them back up again and that’s ok. Somethings are just in the “stuff” catergory. and somethings I should havenever picked up to begin with. Like helping with something I don’t really enjoy or something that is seemingly changing directions and purpose. Somethings are distractions and somethings could be a way of life. All things that require much prayer.

Now don’t go wigging out on me because We aren’t moving and we aren’t changing ministries! AND I am not stopping blogging though as you all know this was something that I have laid aside for a season.

And just like Spring is a season for new growth fall is a time for pruning back. it’s when we weed out the dead plants in the garden and we prepare for next spring. we plant bulbs that will pop up after the winter’s deadness.

Here are a few other things that I really enjoy and am thankful for

  • pretty leaves
  • apples with caramel
  • hot apple cider
  • baked goods
  • pumpkin spice EVERYTHING
  • hayrides
  • bonfires
  • cute boots
  • cozy scarves
  • ALL the smells of fall

And that is just to name a few. It’s the simple things we need to practice in thankfulness.

So it’s your turn:

What are you thankful for in this Fall season oR whatever season you happen to be in right now?

For more of my Thankfulness Challenge posts click here.

Fall
BLESSINGS,
Mary

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Write 31 Days-Day 5- Esther’s Influential Attribute :Faith

Faith

Yesterday we discussed Esther’s Willingness.  She was willing to do what was right and as we see by the end of the story she was blessed but more on that Later!  Today we will see that Esther’s second attribute that really influenced others around her was her Faith.  And this REALLY piggybacks off of the attribute of willingness and really they all do.   Faith is a choice. Transparency is a choice. Persistence is a choice. Action is a choice and we ALL know that being crazy and making the seemingly illogical CRAZY is a choice!!

Missing BUT Still Present

Ya know what though as we get deeper into the book of Esther we realize that there is a person not yet mentioned in this book.   Do you know who it is?  It’s GOD!  But just because God isn’t mentioned in this book does it mean God isn’t there?  NOPE!  God is ALWAYS there, even when He is not acknowledged, or talked about.

The {Faith} Struggle is Real

As I look back over the Bible and I take a deeper look into the people’s lives who are documented in it’s pages I see a pattern.   I see that they ALL struggled with their FAITH!!  EVEN JESUS did but more on that in a second.

So What is FAITH?

A few years ago I wrote that on the very first page of this super cute journal I had purchased- and then I promptly lost the journal.  That was the only thing written in it.  Fast forward a few YEARS later, I was organizing my book shelf making room for new books and there neatly on the shelf was my journal.  I opened it up and chuckled because of the question. I set it on the table  and I was determined to use it for my summer/ camp journal.   The next morning I opened this thing of beauty and I was reading my devotions ( I was reading through the book of HEBREWS). when I started Cjaper 11. My mouth fell open.

Hebrews 11:1 gives the definition of faith, as clear as crystal it says, ”

Faith is Confidence in what we hope for.

AND

Assurance about what we do not see.

!!!!

Esther’s Faith

Esther had confidence and assurance that God would fulfill the promises made throughout  the Old Testament.  Promises that He would protect His People the Jews.    She, though it was hard, trusted that she was put into this place  for such a time as this.  To be  the one used to save an entire nation from another Man ruled by his pride and anger.

But Esther had to battle through doubts and fears.  She knew that if she entered the kings presence with out being summoned, she would more than likely meet her demise much sooner than she had hoped for. And what good would that do her OR her people.  And yet she had to make a choice to trust God or Trust logic. to have faith that God would do what He said He would do.

Jesus’s Faith Struggle

Now before you go excommunicating me for hearsay, let me explain.

Jesus didn’t’t want to die!  Three times we see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane toiling and struggling asking God to “Let this cup pass from me”. Matthew 26:39-46.NIV. In this passage He tells his disciples that He is greatly distressed and overwhelmed with sorrow and he asks them to keep watch and Pray with him.  I can’t even imagine how much more sorrowful he was when he found them sleeping THREE times!

In another Gethsemane account we are told that Christ was so anguished that He sweat great drops of blood Luke 22:41-46.

And in the end as this passage says the angel of the Lord came to Him and strengthened Him. and in the end He surrendered His will and says ” Not my will Father But Yours.  The struggle to trust God for His best not ours is what REAL FAITH is all about.

The Hall of Faith-Hebrews Chapter 11

Basically this chapter is a reminder of who God used and how.  They are a pretty Wiley group too.  They were not perfect.  they had stained pasts AND presents.   And the underlying  2 things about each one of them

  1. they were willing
  2. they had faith that God was who He said He was and He was going to do what He said He was going to do!

Hebrews 11:32-38 Msg

32-38 I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . . Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

WOW!!!

The  “OTHER” Choice

I have been rather clear that each one of these attributes is an active choice.   You have  two options: Be willing or unwilling.  Have faith OR DOUBT!!! and let’s be honest EVERYONE struggle with doubt! And everyones doubt looks different.  Sarah Laughed when she was told she was going to have a baby at 100.  Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus had raised from the dead though Jesus had promised it on multiple occasions

Doubt is often used by Satan to keep us from influencing others.  

Doubt can be caused by many things.  It can come from people.  Or it can from our hearts, when we let questions  (Like Eve) roll around about God’s goodness, his love for us.  Did He really sayThat?  How can He love me??   We all do it but how do we chase the doubts out?

3 Practical Steps to chase out Doubt

  • Learn who you are in Christ- memorize these post the Scriptures  and place those answers Scripture in prominent places as constant reminders as to who you are are in Christ!
  • In her book Loving God with all Your Mind Elizabeth George recommends taking Philippians  4:8-9 and asking yourself questions based on this passage.  So ask yourself is this TRUE?  -Say that God is not with you during this trial.  Your answer should be No because God says He will never leave us nor forsake us in TWO places! Deuteronomy 31:6 and then the author of Hebrews encourages the Hebrew believers He is writing to reminding them of what is written In Deuteronomy in Hebrews 13:5 &6.

 PHILIPPIANS  4:8-9. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

  • PRAY.  this is not just some pat Christian answer.  This is  our biggest defense against every temptation we face.   This can be as simple as “God help my unbelief”.  Or it can be a fall to your knees, crying out to God,Eat Carpet type of prayer.  No matter what it looks like you cannot overcome this doubt alone.  You NEED God’s help.  Who better to help you break down your doubt THAN the very person in whom your faith struggles!

These three steps have become my hope renewers when my faith falters.   God has used these three things to bring healing to my people pleasing heart and has brought me to a place of understanding that I answer to Him.  Putting aside when others let me down and claiming the promise that HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME OR FORSAKE ME helps me to realize that He is the ever constant LOVE in my. life that  has NO conditions tied to it!

Let’s Chat:  How about you?  what doubts has God broken through? oOR is currently breaking through?