Gratitude for Others - 28 Day Joy Challenge – Day 2 – Purity 1058
Purity 1058 06/02/2023 Purity 1058 Podcast
Purity 1058 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a view “Along the River” that features bright orange flowers in the foreground, and a mirror like reflection of the green trees and the blue sky above on the surface of what is presumably the Hiawassee River, somewhere near Murphy NC, comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this oasis like scene yesterday on social media.
Well it’s Friday, thank God, and although I have things to do today. I am appreciating the oasis like splendor of my last official day of this Memorial Week vacation that will provide me with the time to get them done. As I have walked through this week that has been a combination of rest, work, and learning, I have come to the conclusion that “time off” is an illusion as even in the most laid back circumstances there are inherent needs and responsibilities that need to be addressed if we seek to maintain any semblance of balance and peace.
While we are free to choose to “do nothing”, we are not free of the consequences of “doing nothing” as the impermanent nature of this world requires that we be diligent in paying attention to the things and systems that surround us that need regular maintenance and care to operate as they should. As much as I was rejoicing over the silence that I found in Nemorod cabin just a few days ago, noting the lack of the sounds of lawn mowers, I am facing the fact that I will break the silence around my house down by the River today as I will choose to mow my own lawn, preferring to keep my lawn short and my chore less taxing but more frequent, rather then letting the grass grow thick and long making the mowing more challenging.
I also will be choosing to get an oil change even though the mileage isn’t quite to the limit yet because I would rather do it now rather than trying to sneak it in after work some day next week.
Yeah, time off is an illusion to some extent because we are called to be good stewards to what the Lord has provided us with, and we experience negative consequences when we don’t “do what is right.” This principle extends to our homes and things, and even our bodies. If we overindulge our flesh with too much food or too much rest, we begin to suffer under the weight of our own bodies or from the weakness that results from a lack of physical exercise. So even though it was my “week off” and I made some compromises on my food choices in the spirit of “vacation”, I have continued my normal exercise routine and have righted the ship of my food choices knowing that the occasional indulgence may be allowed, it isn’t wise, and it shouldn’t be repeated for long. So no more ice cream (why does a half gallon cost less than 2 pints?) and no more large buckets of popcorn at the movies, for a while anyway.
And similarly, we don’t really get any time off from our relationships either. When we avoid people, or take people for granted, there are negative consequences – we feel alone, the enemy comes in to encourage our isolation by causing us to think on the negative aspects of other people, and we feel even more anxiety over reconnecting because we haven’t been exercising our social skills that may require patience and forgiveness.
So today I am encouraging myself and whoever gets this far in the message to be grateful for the other people in our lives. I know some people right now who are grieving the loss of loved ones. I know some who are suffering medical problems – some quite sudden and traumatic. I know some people who are struggling to make ends meet because of a lack of work or a sudden change of employment status. And while all of these people’s problems are different and highly personal, I believe all of them could benefit through the care and concern of others.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NKJV) tells us.
9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
We are called to love one another, and Solomon points out how we greatly benefit from having others walking with us through life to help us. And so we should be grateful for the people in our lives and seek to form wholesome and godly relationships with others in our lives, based on our mutual faith in Christ, if we find ourselves alone. Easier said then done I know, but God calls us to be loving, bold, and courageous so don’t give up hope of finding good relationships and don’t stop giving yourself to others who may need a friend like you.
Anyway, that brings us to our current series where I am walking through the 28 Day Joy Challenge, (https://4habits.org/) which is based on Dr. Marcus Warner & Chris Coursey’s latest book, The Four Habits of Joy-Filled People.
You can sign up for the 28 Day Joy Challenge for free and purchase a variety of books from Warner and Coursey on topic of Joy, by going to https://4habits.org/.
So let’s jump into Day 2!
Gratitude Jumpstarts our Joy!
Welcome to Day 2 of the 28 Days to Joy Challenge!
Just as with practicing a sport or instrument, we don’t start out as experts. The goal of this journey is not perfection, but rather to gain awareness and grow over time. If any of these exercises don’t come naturally or easily to you, that is okay. As you practice, you will grow!
Today’s Practice: Exercise 2
Today we will learn to use gratitude to jumpstart our joy.
- How This Exercise Will Benefit You:
Gratitude jumpstarts our joy and activates the joy switch in our brains. Spending time remembering the things we are grateful for retrains our brains to focus on life’s blessings versus life’s problems. The more we practice gratitude, the more we remember, see, and anticipate good things in life.
- Exercise Steps:
Identify a person you feel thankful for today and write out specific reasons and examples of why you appreciate this person. Then, take this skill to the next level and tell them how much you appreciate them. (If they are unavailable, practice with someone else.)
Have fun with this exercise. We pick up tomorrow with more joy practice!
I reviewed Day 2’s instructions last night to prepare myself for what I would be in for this morning, because I do intend to actually practice what they instruct and report on my experiences with them.
I had thought of a few people that I could be grateful for a variety of reason but when I sat down to do the practice this morning, I was moved to focus on my wife, TammyLyn, and to be true to the instructions on actually writing out “specific reasons and examples” of why I appreciate her. Also by blogging, and podcasting this – I will be faithful in telling her how much I appreciate her, but if for some reason she doesn’t read or here this message, I will be seeing her tonight and will have my little notebook of reason to present to her in person to let her know how much I appreciate her.
Luckily, we already “practice appreciation” for one another by letting each know how much we love one another and how we appreciate the things we do and the people we are to one another quite regularly. And there seems to be no limit on how much we each appreciate reporting and hearing these things to one another.
But just because we do this on the regular doesn’t mean that I am going to neglect doing today’s Joy Challenge in earnest!
SO this is straight from my scribbled notes (unedited -mostly)
I am grateful for you because (this was actually added as I more or less wrote a list) of your:
· Tenacity – You never gave up on me when you felt you “needed me in your life” even though I was unsure, fearful, and resistant to the idea, even though I felt drawn to you the moment I first saw you.
· Faith – Your faith in Christ is genuine and “the evidence” was there and real.
· Determination – While I think you were prone to perseverance, endurance, and acceptance because “it was what it was”, you increasingly seem to have become determined in pursuing the things you need to accomplish and realizing your full potential.
· Care – You care for your kids, your pets, your students, me, and others in countless selfless ways, putting the needs of others above your own.
· Love – I have never felt loved for, like the way I feel loved by TammyLyn – I feel joy in her presence as I feel like I am the “sparkle in her eye” and she seems genuinely happy to be with me.
· Character – She may not be perfect, but since I have known TammyLyn, she has done what is right and stood for righteousness, isn’t ashamed of it, and will even suffer because of it at times.
So that is my cleaned up version of my notes. After compiling the list, I am obviously very grateful for my wife, but I also recognized that of the other people I had thought of as other possible people to be grateful for in this practice – I noticed that they had the same attributes. In varying degrees, the people I could think of to be grateful for were also: tenacious, determined, caring, loving, and faithful people of character. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of people I could think on that had these qualities are Christians as they reflect the One they are called to follow: Jesus Christ.
And for those of you out there that may be struggling to think of anyone you can be grateful for let me suggest you make friends with Christians but also you remind you of the friend you have in Jesus.
As much as these joy exercises will lead us to try to increase our joy through the things around us, let’s not forget that True Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and it is not contingent on positive circumstances.
TammyLyn could change. She could become bitter and angry. She could lose her mental facilities and forget who she is. She could and will someday die. So if my joy in life is only based on her, I am setting myself up for real disappointment.
However, God doesn’t change and our relationship to Him through our faith in Jesus Christ is sealed for eternity. If I am worshipping TammyLyn more than the Lord, I got something really wrong. I am worshipping the “created” over the Creator. That’s Idolatry and that’s a sin.
While we should be grateful for all the people, places, and things in our lives, we need to remember that they have all been provided to us from a tenacious, determined, caring, loving, God who defines what a righteous character is.
So thank God for the people in your life, show them appreciation because they may not always be who they are now or be present in your life, but remember that when you have your faith in Christ, you are never alone and can be grateful for God.
For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT2)
24 ‘May the LORD bless you and protect you.
25 May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
26 May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.’
Today’s verses are the “Priestly blessing” – delivered from God to Moses, to Aaron to be give the people of Israel a “special blessing” and it relates God loves for His people and when we speak it, it relates our selfless love for others.
Instead of asking for “what we can get”, this prayer selflessly directs the Lord to bless others with His grace, His favor, and His peace.
I love how the Lord arranged to put this before us on the day we are practicing gratitude and appreciation for other people in our lives! It’s as if He is giving these words to us to bless those we are grateful for, and really there is no “as if” about it. He did give us these words to bless those we are grateful for!
So thank God for the people you are grateful for, and let them know about it too, and while you at it, use this “priestly blessing” to prayer for them as well!
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3)
A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit
6 - The Holy Spirit During the Old Testament Ages
In Relation to the Nation Israel
Let us next observe the relation of the Holy Spirit unto the nation of Israel. A very striking and comprehensive statement was made by Nehemiah, when he reviewed the Lord’s dealings with His people of old: “Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them” (Neh. 9:20). He was, until quenched, upon the members of the Sanhedrin (Num. 11:16, 17). He came upon the judges (Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 15:14), upon the kings (1 Sam. 11:6; 16:13), and the Prophets. But note it is a great mistake to say, as many have done, that the Holy Spirit was never in any believer before Pentecost: Numbers 27:18, Nehemiah 9:30, 1 Peter 1:11 clearly prove otherwise. But alas, Israel “rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit” (Isa. 63:10), as Stephen declared, “Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51).
That the Holy Spirit indwelt saints under the Legal economy is clear from many considerations: how otherwise could they have been regenerated, had faith, been enabled to perform works acceptable to God? The Spirit prompted true prayer, inspired spiritual worship, produced His fruit in the lives of believers then (see Zech. 4:6) as much as He does now. We have “the same Spirit of faith” (2 Cor. 4:13) as they had. All the spiritual good which has ever been wrought in and through men must be ascribed unto the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was given to the Old Testament saints prospectively, as pardon of sin was given in view of the satisfaction which Christ was to render unto God.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts
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These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ), her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge
“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).