Philippians 4:8

I remember one harsh winter, where I saw social media posts everywhere about the snow that we were getting. A couple of the posts said, “someone please stop shaking the snow globe”, and, “whoever is praying for snow, please stop!” and so on…you get the idea. And I remember thinking about some of the years prior to all the snow. They were not so snow filled if we got any snow at all. Everyone was so upset. Everyone wanted snow because, “it was winter and we should have snow! The kids need to go out and play in it” … And then we finally got it, but everyone wished for it to go away.

I get it, extremes are hard to deal with. The road conditions were not great…we were not prepared with enough salt for this snow dumping. But it really was not that bad. It seemed like a normal winter after having so many light winters for our region. 

I loved it! My kids loved it; and even though my husband did most of our shoveling, he was so happy to have some snow.

The discontent of our society is ringing its bell loud and clear… We want what we don’t have. When we get it, it’s not good enough; and we either want rid of it or we want more. Right? I guess I always realized that our society is pretty discontent in general, but that particular example really showed me how spoiled we are. It was ugly and I didn’t like it.

I’d like to think that  I am not part of the discontent, but it really made me do some self evaluating. I might not say it out loud and plaster it all over social media, but sometimes the thoughts run through my mind just like everyone else… “can’t life just be different or better?” Ouch. Just because I don’t say it out loud doesn’t mean I’m not just as guilty. My ungrateful thoughts are just as poisonous to my heart and to others.

I decided to really try to pay attention to my gratefulness and ungratefulness, and realized that I did have an ungrateful attitude toward some things. So I prayed about it, and asked God to help me change. But I also know it has to be my choice to be grateful or not.

God will help us and guide us to make the right choice, but He won’t force us.

This means I personally needed to know when I was thinking or speaking out of the wrong heart. So I talked with my husband about it. My husband loves me. He’s not just any old person who might point out my shortcomings to hurt me. I trust him for his help, and I asked him to help keep me accountable. But because he can’t read my thoughts, that part is up to God and me. Anyway, since my thoughts produce what I say, I thought I could use extra help. He would lovingly let me know when I started to sound like a spoiled brat (on any level). Because I would rather know sooner than later if I’m in any way less than thankful for anything. It’s easier to pull a weed when the roots are still shallow, you know?

Guarding our thoughts helps make sure nasty weeds don’t take root at all. Our thoughts are so important because they are not merely just thoughts. Our thoughts become who we are inside and out.

Proverbs 23:7a   For as he thinks within himself, so he is….

Luke 6:45   A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

There is the proof that our thoughts make up who we are. We really need to make sure we truly take our thoughts captive.

2 Corinthians 10:5b …we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

And when we don’t know we have a problem, God helps us.

Psalm 139:23-24   Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

If “taking EVERY thought captive to make it OBEDIENT to Christ” is what God’s Word teaches us; then we also need to know what the Bible says our thoughts should be  so we can change them and follow in obedience.

Philippians 4:8    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

1Thessalonians 5:18   In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  

Here are answers for us! In order for our thoughts to obedient to Christ, they must be thinking of things that are excellent, praiseworthy, pure, lovely, admirable, and thankful. When these things take over our thoughts and our heart, our entire attitude and outlook is changed. There isn’t any room for the negative, complaining thoughts.

I was at a seminar several years ago, and the speaker was amazing! He was full of life and energy, and he gave wonderful messages, but honestly I don’t remember much of them. What I do remember is one phrase that he said, and it sticks with me to this day. I say it to people all of time…probably to the point where they might be sick of me saying it, but it’s perfect! He said that we can “COMPLAIN & REMAIN OR PRAISE & BE RAISED”.  Wow! These words are still profound to me.

I tell you now, that I do not want to be stuck in a hold of discontentment. No, I will not be stuck in discontentment because of my own disobedience and lack of control over my own thoughts. I don’t want to complain and remain; I want to praise and be raised!

So whenever I start to feel ungrateful, or whiny and complainy; this phrase pops up almost immediately without fail. Usually I choose to praise and give thanks, and my heart is lifted. But sometimes I give in to an ungrateful attitude. I don’t get very far, and it doesn’t last very long. Either my husband intervenes, or I can sense God basically saying, “that’s enough, look at everything you have to be thankful for”. How can I fight against that? He is good!

So today, I urge you to look at the positives in each situation you face, and take life for it’s blessings. Choose to NOT verbalize your complaints, and choose to NOT give them any time of day in your mind. Change your thoughts by looking for the positive in everything. Give thanks, and Praise and be raised!

I thank You for this day; for this life that I am part of. I thank You for your beautiful creations, the sun, snow, and rain. Thank You for each moment and situation of my life, and for all of the blessings big and small. Help me to see the beauty in all things, in every situation…even if I don’t understand why. Help me to remember that You are love and You are good. I am so thankful for You in my life this day. I love You and praise You, my Lord and creator. Amen.

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