Give God the Glory

522072241_f26a5973aa_zWhen we do something well or endure a particularly difficult situation and come out still standing, who usually gets the credit? Do we openly give God the glory or do we let pride spring up and bask in the glow of any success or accolades?

In the Old Testament, when Pharaoh asked Joseph to interpret his dream, Joseph could have easily taken credit for his extraordinary ability to do so. Instead he said, “‘I cannot do it . . . but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’” (Genesis 41:16) Joseph gave God the glory. He acknowledged the source of his success in interpreting dreams.

When we experience success, do we remember that even though we may have worked hard or persevered or trained, it is ultimately God who grants success? It’s natural to feel a sense of pride in a job well done, whether in a task or weathering a life storm, but if we forget where our strength and abilities come from, then we rob God of his glory.

Let’s remember these words of David in Psalm 18:32-26:

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”

God is the source of our strength, the giver of our abilities, and the One who prepares our way. Let’s be quick to give him the glory he alone deserves. Let’s give God the credit!

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1

*What would you like to give God the glory for today? I give him all glory for any abilities I have with the written word. He always empowers, he always guides and provides!

*See also Deuteronomy 8:18

*Flickr photo by Matt McGee, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: To Those Paying for Our Freedom


Sometimes we take our freedom for granted here in America. Most of us have been born into the every-day freedom we enjoy, and we forget that freedom for many around the world is a luxury.

We need to always remember that our freedom has come and continues to come at a cost. Our right to freedom here in the US is, in fact, a great privilege purchased for us by all of those who have fought to defend and maintain our nation as a free nation.  Freedom is not to be taken for granted.

So to all of those past and present who have served and sacrificed so that we all might live in the land of the free—thank you! We honor each one, from our nation’s dawning days right up until today.

We are indebted not only to those who have served or are serving but also to their families who are indeed their co-servants, the ones supporting them and loving them and willing them to come home. The ones weeping when they don’t. We honor you. We don’t take you for granted. You have our gratitude and greatest respect. May God’s richest blessings be yours!

“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2

*What are some ways we can honor those who serve?

*Flickr photo by familymwr, Creative Commons License

Attention to Detail – What a Difference It Makes

5644919777_2c2b2233a5_zWe’ve all heard the phrase it’s in the details. Over the past few years, I’ve seen this principle proved true time and again. Yes indeed, attention to detail makes all the difference.

Attention to detail is the common denominator that makes a conference successful, a party fantastic, or wedding celebration amazing. In fact, I’d say attention to detail plays a significant role in making any event truly outstanding.

For example, I’m sure months of careful planning went into making the Maranatha Christian Writers Conference I attended in September the excellent conference that it was. Also, our daughters’ wedding celebrations shone as brightly as they did because we gave meticulous thought and attention to a myriad of details for months leading up to their big days. After Kristin’s wedding, I actually received a note from one of her bridesmaids telling me how much she enjoyed the wedding weekend and how the attention to detail made everything perfect.

Attention to detail makes all the difference in creative endeavors as well. Writers bring stories to life through vivid details they’ve carefully selected. Artists work on a piece until the details are exactly what they want and just the right effect is achieved. Musicians perfect their techniques and dynamics until the sound we hear transports us. These creators’ attention to detail moves their work from ordinary to extraordinary.

The Creator of all creators provides the example above all examples. His attention to detail astounds any of us who take the time to notice the intricate details and workings of the natural world around us. Our very bodies display his amazing handiwork as well.

In addition to seeing God’s detailed care in all of creation, we also see through his Word that details are important to him. Consider the specific instructions, including exact measurements, that he gave concerning the building of the tabernacle as well as the specifics concerning its contents (as one example, see Exodus 25:31-40 for details about a lampstand). Yes, God gave attention to details.

Let’s think of our lives today. What is crying out for our attention to detail right now? Possibly an event, a job, or a creative endeavor, or maybe our health or a relationship with a loved one or with the Lord? Are we willing to devote the time and effort to make these things truly shine?

Let’s move from ordinary to extraordinary. Let’s strive for outstanding. Let’s give attention to detail.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

*When have you seen attention to detail make all the difference? What awaits your attention to detail right now?

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 17th post and sign-up is to the right. Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 13. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Hey Paul Studios

Midweek Morsel: God Sings Because of Us!


Did you know that God sings? This past January, one of the devotions in Journey, Lifeway’s daily devotional magazine for women, reminded me of this wonderful truth. It wasn’t first-time news to me, but like with so many other truths, it had slipped from my conscious thoughts.

An image of God singing may not fit the mental picture you have of him, but think of it this way: As we worship God, most of us are inspired to sing. Because we love him, we want to express it and many times spontaneously burst into song. Or sometimes some of the songs we know perfectly express the things we want to say to him and so we sing them. Other times, God makes us so joyful with the blessings he showers upon us, we can’t help but sing to him and because of him.

Likewise, we—as God’s precious and chosen children—bring him so much joy, he, too, bursts into song. Sometimes a song may express his heart for us in the perfect way. Or sometimes we bless him with things we say or do. Sometimes he probably can’t help but sing. And all because of us. Amazing, huh?

“He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17b

*Go ahead and take a guess—when do you think God might have most recently sung because of you?

*Flickr photo by ShotHotspot

Blown Away by Talent

Do other people’s talents sometimes blow you away? I’m amazed at those with artsy/craftsy talents. Yep, the talents I don’t have :)

This Christmas I was once again in awe of gifts my daughters made. Kristin and Kelli have both learned to knit in the past few years, and Kelli, among other things, is even teaching herself to sew, thanks to the gift of a sewing machine from her sweet hubby.

Kristin surprised me with a gorgeous knitted scarf that could rival any found in the quaintest of  shops to the nicest of department stores. She also knitted the most clever little “sweaters” for clear ball ornaments and gave some to all the ladies in our family. She made red ones as well as gold ones and white ones with sparkles. Absolutely adorable.

And Kelli? She outdid herself this year by making a dress for Kristin. This amazed us all because she completed her first sewing project just one year ago.

At first, Kristin thought the dress came from Gap because the inside tag was a Gap tag. Kelli then pointed out that it was a top from Gap to which she had added a waistband and gathered skirt. Such a fun surprise and so creative!

If I sound like I’m bragging, I guess I am :) I don’t know where my girls got their craftsy creative bents. Definitely not from me. Maybe that’s why I’m so blown away when I see their finished projects. I love watching this side of my girls blossom.

When I stop and think about it, I do indeed know where Kristin and Kelli got their varied talents. The Author of all talent gave their gifts to them—and to us all—very generously.

God gifts each one of us in numerous ways, doesn’t he? I may not possess the artsy/craftsy talents my girls possess, but I do have other talents. God has given me the ability to write and to sing, to encourage and to teach. I’m not a great cook, but I’m a pretty good little baker when the occasion arises. I can also plan and organize the heck out of whatever needs planning or organizing :)

What about you? I know God has gifted you as well—and I’ve been blown away by many of you and your talents time and again. After all, we are all God’s workmanship, and nobody blows us away like the Creator of it all!

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

*What talents has God blessed you with?

*Here’s the pattern for the knitted Christmas ornaments above.

*My photo

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!