Tag Archives: Gratitude

Learn to Pray

Leran to Pray

Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under God, God's Will, Gratitude, Jesus, Joy, Praise, Prayer, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Thankfulness

2012 in review…Thanks!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for my blog. In this third year of blogging my views more than tripled! I am humbled by the response and grateful for everyone who has shared the journey!

Click on the link below to read the complete report!

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center for a performance. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Filed under Best of, Blogging, Gratitude

Thank you scandalous God…

Christmas prayer

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Emmanuel, God, Gratitude, Hope, Prayer, Religion and Spirituality

Cultivate Thankfulness

Definition: to prepare and use for the raising of crops; to loosen or break up the soil; to foster the growth of; to improve by labor, care or study.

Synonyms: acquire, develop, form.

We regularly cultivate things such as:

  • Relationships
  • Gardens
  • Health
  • Resources
  • Careers
  • Ideas

But have you ever considered what it would look like to cultivate thankfulness?

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. ~ Colossians 3:15-17 (The Message)

From what Paul mentions here, to cultivate thankfulness involves at least three things.

The first is the Word of Christ. The narratives of Jesus; the Bible; Scripture. And what great imagery Eugene Peterson uses here – letting it have the run of the house.

The second is to instruct and direct one another. It’s something we do together.

The third is to sing about it. Other versions refer to this as psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

I could elaborate on each of these elements but… I’m not going to; at least not now. But I will encourage and challenge you to wrestle with what all of this means by inviting the Spirit of God to bring it to life for you.

As we enter into another week of celebrating Thanksgiving, what better to occupy our minds than what it means to “cultivate thankfulness“?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Gratitude, involvement with the church, Praise, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Spiritual growth, Thankfulness

The origin of Mother’s Day (again)

For those who didn’t catch this last year.

We all know that Mother’s Day is a national holiday to honor and celebrate mothers and motherhood. But do you know how it all got started? Here is some of what I dug up. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

The first attempts to establish a “Mother’s Day” in the U.S. were usually marked by women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.

In 1868 Ann Jarvis created a committee to establish a “Mother’s Friendship Day” for the purpose of reuniting “families that had been divided during the Civil War.” Her desire was to create an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular.

There were a variety of regional events held in various states in the late 1800’s and Frank E. Hering, President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made the first known public plea for “a national day to honor our mothers” in 1904.

In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother Ann Jarvis, with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. A small service was held on May 12, 1907 in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia where Anna’s mother had been teaching Sunday school.

But the first “official” service was on May 10, 1908 in the same church, accompanied by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in the Wanamaker’s store in Philadelphia. She then campaigned to establish Mother’s Day first as a U.S. national holiday and then later as an international holiday.

Mother’s Day was first declared an official holiday by the state of West Virginia in 1910; other states soon followed. On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requesting a proclamation. On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

I doubt that many families today celebrate Mother’s Day to reunite sons who fought on separate sides of the American Civil War; but it does tend to be the one day that brings families together – for mom’s sake!

Not everyone had a mother worthy of celebration but if you did and if she is still alive – let her know how much you appreciate her!
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Family, Gratitude, Inspiration, Mother's Day

We did not get where we are on our own

Yesterday I blogged about our family packing up last week for a vacation to Florida. Our primary reason for going down was to see our oldest son who is working at Disney World as part of a college internship.

We spent three days at Disney theme parks, then a fourth day at Cocoa Beach and Downtown Disney (shopping stores outside the theme parks).

There were a few things that stuck out to me right away as good material for a blog post but I decided to ignore them and just enjoy being with my family.

It’s easy to get preoccupied and lose the moment. I’ve done that before with taking pictures or video. You get so focused on capturing the next pose that you forget to enjoy simply being with your family and taking it all in.

So I did a week of blogs before we left for Florida and just took time daily to respond to comments.

Then on the last day Susan mentioned that a certain event would make a good blog post and that I should blog about our trip. So I took a few minutes to jot down some ideas and then promptly put them aside.

Now that we’re home I want to do some blogs about our time in Florida because trips are a great source of new stories and it will be a great way to remember special moments of our trip.

My first observation is that we had help getting to Florida.

Of our four vehicles the newest is 15-years-old and our van, the vehicle we would use for such a trip, is 20-years-old. Since we don’t have a vehicle we trust to go that far (1000 miles) and we couldn’t afford to fly, we borrowed my father-in-law’s Honda van (pictured above).

As we soaked up all the sun and fun of being in Florida we were keenly aware that we did not get where we are on our own. And the same is true in our journey with God.

Stop and reflect for a moment on where you actually are in your journey and who has played or is playing a significant part. The older you are the longer the list will be.

Some encourage. Some comfort. Some teach. Some push. Some pray. Some challenge. Some inspire. All play a part in our journey.

We did not get where we are on our own!

Sharing the journey is not an optional pleasantry, but an essential necessity. It’s a God-designed part of our journey toward maturity in Christ.

Who has played a part in your journey? How can you thank them? How can you pray for them? What are you  waiting for?
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P.S. – Thanks for the use of your van Dad Howard!

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Family, Fellowship, God, Gratitude, Loving others, Morphing, Relationship with God, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth

Do it again!

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.

It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” 
– G.K. Chesterton

Thank You Lord, for the gift of this day!

Thank You Lord, for being strong enough to exult in monotony!

Thank You Lord, for doing it again!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Christianity, God, Gratitude, Thankfulness, Wonder

Start with “thank you”

It’s common practice to teach your kids to say ‘please’ and then ‘thank you’ when they have requests. But with God, things are a little bit different. God has already lavished on us more than we could ever fully comprehend.

  • New life. ~ John 10:10
  • Freedom from condemnation. ~ Romans 8:1
  • The Holy Spirit to dwell in us. ~ John 14:15-17
  • Transformation to become like Jesus. – 2 Corinthians 3:18
  • The promise of eternity with Him. ~ Revelation 21:1-7

So instead of approaching God with a “please”, let’s begin with a “thank you!”

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ~ Psalm 100:4-5

With God, ‘thank you’ should always come before ‘please.’ The first thing out of my mouth in prayer and worship needs to be praise for who God is and what He has done.

As Steven Furtick puts it: “If you thank God for everything before you ask Him for anything, it makes you realize you deserve nothing.”

Look again at the model prayer in Matthew 6. Jesus teaches us to first address God and then offer up our request. This serves to remind us that life does NOT revolve around us but around God.

It’s impossible to be self-absorbed and God-conscious at the same time.

So whether its gathering with other believers in larger worship services or fellowshipping with God on your own…

… start with “thank you.”

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Filed under Gratitude, intimacy with the Lord, Praise, Prayer, Worship

The best of 2011 and a “Thank You”

There goes another year! Mom was right, “the older you get the faster time flies.” As my second year of blogging wraps up I’m grateful for everyone who has shared the journey and humbled that my audience has nearly tripled.

The adventure of blogging is still a bit strange and mysterious to me. For example, of the Top Ten blogs from 2011, listed below, the number one blog is actually from last year! Go figure! Anyway, here they are in case you missed them the first time around.

1. My issue with Christmas cards – click here

2. Hannah’s socks – click here

3. Neighbors sign peace deal to end feud – click here

4. Friday Funny! ;-)click here

5. What does your billboard say? – click here

6. Don’t give in to shallow praise! – click here

7. Black Friday advice from Maxine – click here

8. The Real Jesus – click here

9. Uniquely You – click here

10. Why is it called “Good Friday?” – click here

Thanks for sharing the journey and Happy New Year!

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Filed under Best of, Blogging, Christmas, Good Friday, Gratitude, Humor, Jesus, Just for fun, Loving others, Peace, Praise, Serving

Thanksgiving quotables worth pondering

Sure it’s another Thanksgiving, but are we really thankful? May these quotes stir your heart and deepen your sense of gratitude as they did mine!

“You can’t be grateful for something you feel entitled to.”  ~ Steven Furtick

“Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world: It is not he who prays most or fasts most, it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.” ~ William Law

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ The Apostle Paul – I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing the journey!

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Filed under Contentment, Gratitude, Thankfulness