Not At All – Changed My Life!

 

546647_10151137904338324_1766853137_n

 

He said, “Humility is not thinking poorly of yourself, it’s not thinking of yourself at all!” This sentence took a weight off my shoulders that I had been baring the majority of my life. A weight that would changed my life! For at least 42 years I had been carrying a weight on my shoulders and back of what humility was. I was gravely mistaken.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family and that is quite possibly where I came up with the idea that humility comes hand in hand with beating yourself up. You see at the age of 13 I thought that God would sooner forgive Hitler than forgive me. I know that God doesn’t play favorites but back then I didn’t have a well-developed understanding of grace. My family life didn’t have grace and mercy in it. So I understand why I didn’t grasp God’s grace because it was never displayed in my home life.

I now know that God forgives all that seek His forgiveness. Whether that be Hitler or myself or any other name you’d like to put in.

Sunday January 28, 2018, Reverend Curry Jr. spoke and said, “Humility is not thinking poorly of yourself, it’s not thinking of yourself at all!” When he said this it hit my sternum and went straight through to my heart. It was like my spirit came alive. Like I had been dead and was just called forth like Lazarus from the grave. My heart leap for joy! I don’t have to think badly of myself any more. I know longer need to berate myself every time I see or hear the word humble.

My countenance has completely changed. I’m being asked by everyone I see what has changed? I share this great revelation! That true humility is not thinking poorly of yourself but not thinking of yourself at all! Once you’re doing that you can focus on what is really important which is God and the things of God. That is what we are here to do. That is our purpose. To glorify God. What an awesome purpose to have! How great the Father is to give that to us! He could have glorified Himself. He didn’t have to use us. Yet He did. Aren’t we blessed!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

The Gift of Gratitude – A Short Story Part 6

Jack what are you going to do with what God has shown you today?” Stunned, “Janet, I’m not so sure I know what to do. You have been a very good wife to me and I’ve been I lousy husband and father to Julie. I just don’t know if what you have found is for me.” “Why? Do you think you are any worse than any other sinner on Earth that He died for? If you do think that you are too bad to be redeemed, let me point out that you are allowing your pride to get in your way and stopping you from receiving the most precious gift that was ever given to man” responded Janet. Jack replied, “How can I be sure that Christ could care for even me?” “Jack, it says in Romans 5:8 ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ That is how you can be sure that he cares for even you. The question is what are you going to do with this most precious gift? Are you going to reject it and in the process reject eternal life and all the blessings that go with it? Or are you going to accept this wonderful gift? With the acceptance of this gift comes blessings galore; love, joy, peace, gratitude for all that He has done for you and given you no matter how much that is. Jack you’ve lived a life of anger and bitterness and emptiness long enough don’t you want something better for yourself?” Jack’s heart ached worst than ever, “Janet, when you made your decision did your heart ache?” Janet responded tenderly, “Yes, Jack worst than it ever had in my life like it was crying out to God. That is when I knew I had to take the step to open my hearts door to the knocking of the Savior. Is that what you are feeling now?” “Yes,” said Jack, “I can hardly stand it.” Janet’s own heart beat with joy, “Then may I suggest you confess your sins and ask Jesus to become the Lord of your life. Thank Him for the gift of salvation that He gave you and promise to be obedient to His word.” “Lord,” said Jack, “I’ve never come to you before and I realize the folly of that. God I am so full of sins I hardly know where to start. Please forgive me for my cruelty to my family and employees and my pride, arrogance, materialism and ungratefulness. Thank you for sending your Son to die on the Cross for me and pay the price of my sins. I accept that gift and ask You to become the Lord of my life. I realize now I’m no good at running my own life. I need You. I promise to be obedient to Your word and will. Thank You for this evening Lord, for bringing Gab and Esther into my life and for giving me my family that I had taken for granted. Thank you for Janet’s sweet spirit all these years. Help me to be the husband she deserves. Make me into the father that Julie longs for. Amen.” “Oh, Jack, I can’t express how happy you have made me. I know that you have a lot on your mind. I also know that the two or rather the three of us can face anything with God. My sweet Jack, I’m so grateful that God took everything from us and used it to bring you to Him! I’d rather start all over again with all of us knowing Him than having everything and not having Him.”

A thought occurred to Jack, “What about the fire and you and Julie? Are you grateful for that as well? How could you be grateful for that?” Disbelief and anger were surfacing in Jack at the thought of this. Janet tried to calm him, “Jack, I won’t deny that it was awful and has been terrible painful and I wish with all my heart that it had only been me that had been burned and not Julie. But I trust God and His wisdom I know that even in this He has a plan that will work to good. If this is what it had to take to get your attention I gladly pay the price and although I wish Julie wasn’t affected by this I know her heart for you well enough to know that she would gladly go through anything to have the family she now has. Please Jack see the good in this, if the fire had not happened you may have not lost the business which in turn brought you to God and to me and Julie. In this we can be grateful for all that has happened because the end product has brought wholeness to our family. Jack, don’t beat yourself up over this. I beg you to do your best to see the master plan in all this – we have the family Julie and I have been praying for continually.” With tears in his eyes, “Are you sure that you and Julie won’t hate me for the rest of our days for the consequences of my hard heart?” “Never!” responded Janet with her own tears, “We love you! Apart from God you are the love of our lives! Plus we wouldn’t be living His word if we didn’t forgive you. For in Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says, ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, you Father will not forgive your sins.’ Plus my joy is too great at having the husband I have been longing for.” “You can truly be grateful for this?” asked Jack. “Yes, my love, God has given me the gift of gratitude. I pray that you find that same gift.” Responded Janet her eyes shining in the dawning sun. “It’s a lot to take in” he admitted, “but I am getting there. I can say I’m grateful for you, Julie and the wholeness I feel in my heart, I’m grateful for your forgiveness. Hum! I guess I could say that I too have found the gift of gratitude. I love you so much Janet thank you for being so patient with me and for praying all those years that this night would one day come.” “It has been my pleasure and the joy of my heart to pray for this night. God is so good and I’m so grateful!”

“Father, another humbled and grateful heart.” says Gab, as he goes down the hospital hall and disappears.

By Joy Dara Stephenson

The Gift of Gratitude – A Short Story Series

Jack was a hard man. He everything he did was done with great determination, ambition, pride, and confidence (to the point of arrogance).  It was hard to be Jack’s employee, it was, hard to be his friend, but, it was even harder to be his wife and daughter.

Jack was also a very successful man. He owned a very up scale trendy restaurant that was heading for franchising in numerous states across the country. He wore all the best designers in clothes, shoes, & jewelry (only the finest watches for him). He made certain that his very beautiful wife wore the best of the best (to complete the appearance of the perfect wife) and that his daughter was the most stylish of any child anywhere that they went. Yes, Jack was a successful man and that success meant the world to him. He wore it on his sleeve for the entire world to see.

If you were to ask Jack if he was a happy man, without a thought he would have said yes. But if he had truly stopped to think about the question I’m not sure he would have known the answer. For in truth with all of his pursuits all he truly felt was empty. This was not a feeling he acknowledged or even allowed himself to feel. But deep down in the deepest of his core that was all that was there a, hallow, lonely, empty, nothing. This did not bother Jack; he was a man of action not feeling, a man of accomplishments always making improvements to an already high end, high class and perfect model…or so he thought.

One day while opening up the restaurant for business he came across an odd man with a twinkle in his eye. The man questioned, “Are you grateful for all you have?” Jack replied, “I’ve done well for myself.” Not truly caring but something about the man made him feel compelled to ask, “Why do you ask?” The man replied, “Because gratitude is the blessing of a humble heart.” And the man proceeded to go his way. Likewise Jack continued on with his day, thinking nothing of the encounter.

Jack received a phone call from a policeman. He was calling to inform him that there had been a fire at his house. The policeman told him that he could see his wife and daughter at the hospital and that he should get there fast. The doctors had said that it didn’t look good.

When he arrived at the hospital Dr. Thomas Logan informed him that both his wife and daughter had received extensive burns over their bodies and that it would be touch and go for a while as to whether or not their systems could take the shock of the injuries. If their bodies could handle the next few days things would look hopeful. Thinking ahead, Jack ask Dr. Logan, “When would they be able to get constructive surgery and just where are their burns anyway?” The doctor went on to explain that his wife had been burned over 80% of her body and there was just so much that they could do. It would be a long, painful process and that her body particularly her face would never be the same. His daughter had been burned over 75% of her body and would most likely never have hair on her head again and the reconstructive surgery for face may fair better than his wife’s but not by much.

Because of a spark from an electric cord on their Christmas tree. Jack’s ideal life had been crushed in less than an hour’s time his perfect home and belongings lay burnt to the crisp with nothing but ashes to show for all his hard work and success. Worse of all his beautiful wife and adorable daughter where now horribly disfigured creatures, wrapped like cocoons never to be seen again as they had once graced is arms. Something inside him cracked. Could it be the impenetrable wall he’d worked so hard all his life to build was loosing its strength? Time alone would tell.