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The Essentials-January 16, 2023

As we look ahead in 2023 what are some of the essentials in our makeup that will lead in the right direction?

Monday Morning Devotion-January 16, 2023

The Essentials

Keep on asking and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking and you will find.  Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks finds and to everyone who knocks the door will be opened.      Matthew 7: 7-8

            Some people complain because God put thorns on roses.  Others praise Him for putting roses among thorns.  So, which are you?

            Truthfully, I think most, if not all of us, have a little of both of those attitudes in us from time to time. We’d like to think of ourselves more as appreciating the beauty of the rose than being turned off by those prickly thorns on the stems.  Still, we don’t live in a perfect world and there will be some things that just don’t work out like we had hoped they would.  Then, the temptation is to complain.  That is an attitude that can take over if we aren’t careful. 

            There are some people out there---not you of course---that can always find something to complain about.  However, when it comes right down to it in life, there are always two voices competing for your attention.  The voice of faith and the voice of defeat.  The thing to remember is we have a choice.  We can choose which one of those voices we will pay attention to.  Sometimes neither one of these potential choices is one that we really prefer.  But it is essential to remember that you do have a choice.

            At times I feel trapped when I don’t know where to go next with a book, an article or a speech I am working on.  I do have a choice. I can moan and groan and find something else (this seems like a good time for a nap) to do or I can go to my office, turn on the computer and put my fingers on the keys.

            Pastor Joel Osteen says: “Don’t talk about the problem.  Talk about the process.”

He tells the story of a man who died in extreme poverty even homeless and living on the streets at one time before he finally found a run-down apartment to live in.  After the funeral his relatives went to his shabby apartment and gathered up his belongings.  He had a painting on the wall which they sold in a garage sale.

            The person who bought the painting took it to a local art gallery to learn more about.  They discovered it had been painted back in the 1800’s by a famous artist and was extremely valuable.  It ended up selling in an auction for more than three million dollars. The man had lived in extreme poverty his whole life without realizing what he had.  He had a choice.

            Realizing what you have is another essential in life.  God created you to flourish.  Maybe you should just take stock of all that you do have.  Not just material things, although you might want to take a closer look at your artwork, but all those intangible ones as well as the tangible things you possess.

            To get the most out of your life it is essential sometimes to step out of character and examine your life.  I do that sometimes.  After failed marriages and unsatisfactory relationships in the past The Lovely Susette and I still marvel at how God put us together.  It’s almost like He said;  “OK are you two through messing up?  If so, I have just the person for you and the time is right to put you together.”  Last month we had our 20th wedding anniversary.

            God works in mysterious ways.  There was a mayor and his wife who were riding on a float during a parade and waving at the folks lining the streets.  The mayor spotted a guy standing on the curb in his work clothes, grease and oil on them and realized it was his wife’s former boyfriend.

            He said, “Just looka there honey if you had married him, you would have been working at a gas station.”  She whispered back: “No if I had married him, he would be the Mayor.”  Recognizing what we have and why we have it is an essential. 

            When thinking about your life, how blessed you are and recognizing future blessings that are coming your way even though God has made them look different from what you were expecting. Here’s a mini list of things to ponder:

1) Remember you always have a choice.

2) Be aware of what you have.

3) Know that God never gets discouraged and he works in mysterious ways. 

4) Slow down so you don’t hurry past a blessing.

5) Don’t let anger take control.

6) Forgive, forgive, forgive.

7) Welcome it when God sends a helper to change your mind or actions

8) Don’t let a difference of opinion come between you and another.

            I think you’ll find that each of those “essentials” has a place in your life and recognizing them leads to a better life.


Prayer: Lord, there are many essential things in our life that are gifts from you.  Help us to recognize and honor these.    Amen!



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