The Holy Spirit spoke this to me on 7/13/18— “Gratitude is the key to fulfilling your destiny. Being grateful opens up doors of blessing.”

Gratitude is define in google dictionary as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. 

Apparently the topic of gratitude is popular among the world of positive psychology research.  One researcher defined gratitude as an emotion that is typically evoked when one receives costly, unexpected, and intentionally rendered benefits, and is thought to play a key role in regulation the initiation and maintenance of social relationships” (Forster et al., 2017). The social aspect of gratitude was touched on by a theologian who said: if we acquire a good through exchange, effort or achievement, or by right, then we don’t typically feel gratitude. Gratitude is an emotion we feel in response to receiving something good which is undeserved” (Lacewing, 2016). Research is also finding that being grateful has health benefits. A study in 2015 found that heart failure patients who kept gratitude journals showed reduce inflammation, improved sleep, and better attitudes greatly reducing their symptoms of heart failure in just 8 weeks.

Wow, the power in being thankful! Gratitude takes the focus off ourselves. It reminds us that life is precious. I love both of the above definition because they describe the “undeserved favor” or “grace” we receive when we ask Christ into our lives. We were bought with a price (purchased with a preciousness and paid for) 1 Corinthians 6:20. When we practice being grateful, we are meditating on things that are good. This is what followers of Christ are instructed to do.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever, is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things (center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart).

This scripture reveals the power of meditation and the benefits of intentionally thinking on good things. Yes, you can choose your thoughts. The practice of giving thanks lifts our spirit and brings with it feelings of peace. Not only does gratitude lift our spirit, but it can bring healing to our bodies. This is no surprise. God has already told us this promise in His word:

Proverbs 17:22 A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing but a broken spirit dries up bones.

A happy (grateful) heart releases tranquilizing hormones that produce feelings of harmony with others. One such hormone is atrial natriuretic factor.  Remember that the bones are where our blood and immune cells are made. A broken spirit is a depressed, stressed, negative, fearful, or anxious one and this continued state can bring on physical illness. Being grateful or being thankful is a practice or something we choose to do. Centering our mind on things above will eventually implant them in our hearts (For as he thinks in his heart, so he is. Proverbs 23:7). Words have power whether they are spoken or thought. What are you meditating on? What are you grateful for? Write down all the things you are grateful for and begin to think on these things. Practice this daily and watch the doors of blessing fly open!

Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honey comb, sweet to the sous and healing to the bones (body and immune system)

Love: The Beginning of Wellness

About a week ago, I had some thoughts about love that I would like to share with you. We have been talking about fear and how it affects us emotionally and physically. I am convinced that fear and condemnation are at the root of illness. Fear is an unpleasant emotion that stems from the belief that someone or something is dangerous or a threat. Fear causes stress and more than 87% of illness is stress related. Condemnation is an expression of strong disapproval or the action of condemning someone to punishment. Condemning thoughts and words have tremendous power. Condemning thoughts come from rejection of self and others. Often times, if we are critical of ourselves, we are also very critical of others. So what is the answer to overcoming fear and condemnation? The answer is LOVE! I think that love is the foundation in which we can live a prosperous life. Love empowers us to go forward and to live life to the fullness. All of us need and want love. Love produces security. When I know I am loved by someone, then I can trust that they have my best interest at heart. As imperfect people, we do not love perfectly. We try but often times we fail. The only love that doesn’t fail is the love that comes from our Creator. At our very conception, He put His spirit in our bones and created us in His image (Ecclesiastes 11:5 AMPC). You are not a mistake but have been created in love, to be loved, and to love others. God did not choose our parents but took a piece of himself and placed it in you and me. The devil knows you were created in the image of God, so he comes to destroy your identity. He tells you that your worthless, unloved, or not likable. He tells you that you are sick or powerlessness to change your life. All lies! You are not pitiful or powerless. When we believe the lies of the enemy, we live powerless and fearful lives. When we believe that we have been created with divine purpose, deeply loved by God, and that He has our best interest in His heart, we can boldly live life to the fullest. To live boldly, we must believe Him(God) and His Word over the lies of the enemy. Love is at the foundation of living a healthy life. Loving ourselves, loving others, and loving God brings about the peace that surpasses all understanding. This peace is promised to those who believe in and trust in Christ who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). In receiving Christ, we receive incomparably great power, the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God (Ephesians 1:19-21). Without further delay, here are my thoughts on love:

Love doesn’t change with the wind. Love doesn’t require that I change in order for me to receive loved. True love, loves me even when I am not lovable. True love transforms me. True love and acceptance empowers me to be different and to rise above circumstances. Love is not manipulative. If I have to perform well to be loved, then that love has conditions and is not love at all. Perfect Love changes me from the inside out. Love transforms a broken-heart and sets the angry heart free. True love never fails. People and religion have conditions that have to be met before I can be loved. Conditions such as I must pray the right way, or give enough money, or bring the right gift to be loved. Christ only requires that I bring myself to Him and believe in His love for me shown at the cross. True love is found in Christ. He is the only one who laid down His life for me and who gives His love freely.  He doesn’t change with the wind but remains stable and fixed, unmovable. His love is so radical that many can’t grasp it. Why would someone die for me? What kind of love is this? In any relationship there is give and take. In relationship with Christ, He gives me righteousness and takes all my sin. He gives His love freely, I only have to receive it. What? No dance, no begging, no money exchange, no special prayer, just turning to Him and saying “yes I want this Love.” Christ only requires me to believe in Him and allow Him to show me the way to the abundant life. He does not force me because that would not be love but manipulation. In relationship with Him and accepting His radical love for me, I desire to listen to Him because He has my best interest in His heart. His goal is to transform me into His image. What is that image? It is the image of sacrificial love and none of self. Jesus was not selfish or rude. He loved unconditionally and in His presence people were forever changed, forever loved, and never forsaken. Love has a price though. Laying down my life for others requires sacrifice but brings so much joy. Sometimes, people will not receive my love or reject me as they did Jesus. They will step on my heart. The only one who fully understands me is the one who created me and loves me. He knows everything about me and loves me anyway. He will not let me stay the same. His love changes everything. His love is healing. He is the great Physician. Love is at the root of healing and wholeness. Come to Him today and let Him transform you with His love. Healing starts with setting our hearts and minds on the only one who can truly heal us and set us free from fear and condemnation- Jesus.