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Stuff I've been thinking about lately...

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Gratitude Will Change Your Life!

I’m a huge fan of gratitude. It’s kind of my theme word, if I were to have one. Sarah Young wrote a great line in today’s entry from “Jesus Calling.” She said (in God’s voice): “Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our Love-relationship.”

Awesome, right? How can you be truly grateful and still hold onto expectations of what you think you deserve to receive? You can’t live your life fueled by gratitude and still be arrogant and selfish. Here are some ideas of how I think gratitude changes a person.

1) Gratitude Makes A Person Happy
You can’t say thank you and really mean it without having a smile on your face. I dare you to try it! Of course, if you don’t really mean it you won’t have to smile. The truth is, it’s impossible to be grateful and unhappy. Unhappy people are driven by fear, bitterness and misery. Happy people are driven by gratitude.

2) Gratitude Makes A Person Humble
Saying thank you reveals the inner thoughts: “I’m not the source of this blessing. It came from somewhere outside of me. It’s not my fault this good thing happened.” It gives credit where credit is due. A lack of humility says: “I did it, I’m responsible for this.” Gratitude continually points at others, and God, instead of yourself.

3) Gratitude Makes A Person Hopeful
Similar to how an optimistic person is always looking for the good in things, a grateful person is always looking for the blessing in things. Every person you meet and every circumstance you encounter is an opportunity to be blessed. Everyday is a new opportunity for something beautiful to happen. It’s an opportunity to rejoice in your Love-relationship with God, as Sarah Young puts it. I love how Eugene Peterson writes it in Romans 8:15 of the Message saying life as a grateful person is “adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘what’s next, Papa?’ kind of attitude.” A grateful person lives hopeful of continued blessings.

I’m curious how you think gratitude changes a person? I look forward to hearing from you…
MARK

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What Makes A Hero?

The end of spring, beginning of summer, is always a huge time for sports. With the end of hockey and basketball, baseball getting into full swing, and of course, the recent excitement over soccer’s World Cup, the world is watching sports—and its players. I’ve always been fascinated to get to know some of my favorite players, especially if they are believers. That’s why I found the book “True Heroes of Sports” to be so interesting. It’s a collection of inspiring essays about different athletes and coaches, and what makes them tick.

The book talks about how being a hero is more than just about athletic ability, it’s that something more that only a few possess. It has to do with character, integrity, perseverance, and discipline. To me, it’s about heart.

I’m a big baseball fan, so I immediately flipped to the chapter about St. Louis Cardinals all-star, Albert Pujols. It talks about how he became a Christian following his wife’s lead. And his conversion gave him a profound sense of thankfulness and helps him keep perspective in the midst of his great success.

“The Lord gave me this talent and ability to be in this position,” Pujols says of his faith. “If it wasn’t for Him, I don’t think I would have been here today. Everything we have right now comes from the Lord. All the credit for the success I’ve had with the Cardinals is going to Him, every single at bat.”

“I think there are some people who look at me and say, ‘Oh man, you are awesome,’ They look at me like that, and I say, ‘Hey, I’m trying to follow my Lord Jesus.’ That’s who I’m trying to represent every day I step on the field when I cross the line. I know there are 35,000 – 45,000 people watching me play, but at the end I’m only playing for the Lord.”

A great man, with a great story. And a fantastic book for any sports lover in your life.

Blessings on you, as you swing for the fences!

Mark

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Time To Remove Some of the CANT’S and NEVERS From My Life

I just accomplished something I’ve never done before. And I’m feeling really good about it. I never thought I’d be a runner. And really, I’m probably not. But I did just complete my very first, without ever stopping, 5K up and down Hillsboro Rd.

See, just a couple of weeks ago, I decided to sign up for an adventure. It’s called a Half Marathon, and I’ll be flying up to Chicago in the middle of September to do it. But until then, I’ll be training here in the heat of Nashville. Training for something I most likely vowed to never do sometime in the past.

It’s easy to get to a certain time in life and say, “Oh, I surely CAN’T do that…” or “I NEVER will do that…” or how about, I’ll “NEVER be able to do that!” I want to remove some of the CAN’TS and NEVERS from my life.

I’m in an interesting season in my life when I’m faced with several very huge challenges in front of me, and I’m not exactly sure I’m going to be able to pull them off. One of them is this 1/2 marathon. Another is working to complete the Pilgrim Man CD project. The third thing is a movie role I was just invited to tackle. It’s going to challenge me to act at a level I’ve never had the opportunity to approach before now. And right now, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do it. I think maybe I can…but I’m not sure. The half marathon? I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it without taking half a day. Or without passing out. Or wimping out. And the CD project is forcing me to take my creativity and my passion to a whole other level. My goal: create a CD that only Mark Smeby could create. Anybody can make a CD, but nobody else could ever make a Mark Smeby CD. I think I can do this…but I’m not sure.

Read more →

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Need A Little Patience Today?

Thanks so much for visiting our blog! We hope it’s a place of blessing, truth and encouragement for your week. Set your bookmark and come back often to see what we’re up to!

Have you had a chance yet to read any of Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling?” This is an amazing devotional that is changing the way people hear from God. Yes, it’s really that profound! I believe it’s because Sarah wrote her devotionals in the voice of God, so what you read is like God’s speaking right at you, usually about something you need to hear! Don’t you love how it works that way, that whenever you’re going through something in particular, God always finds a way to speak right to your heart? God knows the innermost workings of your heart. The things you would never think about telling another person. He knows. And he cares.

For example, the word of the day, week, or even month for me right now is….patience. I know, it probably is for you too! Check out what Sarah wrote for us to hear from God from the June 21st entry:

Wait patiently with Me while I bless you. Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind. I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be. For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life. Time can also be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind. Learn to master time, or it will be your master.

Though you are a time-bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness. As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish. I will bless you and keep you, making My Face shine upon you graciously, giving you Peace.

It’s this kind of beautiful, inspirational writing that continues to set me right, restoring my focus on Jesus, the ultimate source of life.

Blessings to you!

MARK