Friday, June 23, 2017

Gifts

I believe in gratitude. A grateful heart blesses. I try to make it a regular practice to share the gifts I've been given, sometimes sharing weekly or monthly.

You can never give God enough praise - every gift is from Him.



Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. James 1:17

So, I'm indulging my love of listing and sharing 5 recent gifts:

1. God always comes through! The Hubs and I have reached that stage in life when it seems every time you turn around, some piece of equipment breaks down. Breakdowns can cause a strain on our fixed income. No one knows our budget better than the Father. I ask Him for help each time things look bleak. He always enables Jim to fix the problem or provides in some way to get the job done. Recently, we've had three problems crop up:


  • The mower needed a pulley - Jim found one for less than $25 and was able to fix it himself.
  • The a/c quit working correctly. Thankfully, we have a maintenance agreement that covered the problem - and two room a/c units that were able to keep the house reasonably cool until the big one gets fixed.
  • The biggest problem of all - a sewer problem: A new toilet didn't take care of the issue and the various things Jim tried were to no avail. It looked like a call to Roto-Rooter was in our future. (House calls in our neck of the woods are VERY pricey!) After prayer, the idea came to Jim to ask the village water department to borrow their heavy-duty snake (much bigger than the one we own). They lent it to us and it got the job done.

Sometimes, God answers your prayers by giving you ideas!

2. Family events:  Birthdays and holidays such as Mother's and Father's Day are wonderful blessings from God. Getting together to celebrate strengthens family bonds and makes parents' hearts joyful! Beginning in May and going through July 8, we have 7 family events ... and grandbaby #3 is scheduled to arrive the first week of July making 8 celebrations. 

Which is why I'm thankful for ...

3. Rest: I've had a few more opportunities for rest lately and I definitely count them as blessings. Of course, it's the most fun when you can rest at one of the beautiful areas found in our region.




There's just something about the blues and the greens found lakeside that is restful.

4. You guys! I've got the to-do list down to nothing!
If all goes as planned, Friday will see the last item on the list done. I'll start Monday with a clean slate. Oh, of course, there is always a drawer or cabinet that could be arranged but nothing pressing. Love the feeling of accomplishment.


5. Quote of the week: I love sharing the gifts of wisdom and insight I have found in my readingYou can never go wrong with a Max Lucado quote:

"Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” -Max Lucado

And that is a wrap on the Journey. What's been happening in your world? I'd love to know! Feel free to leave a comment and share.

~~~

I'm linking this post up with the awesome group of bloggers at Friday's Fave Five. You can meet at Susanne's space, Living to Tell the Story. I'm also linking with Arabah Joy's Grace&Truth and Crystal's #FreshMarketFriday communities. Because everyone needs to know when God gives gifts.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Faith-Shaped by the Word and Experience

Sometimes, you just need to remind yourself of what you already know. I've had some difficult weeks where it is tempting to just withdraw from people and worship God on your own. Anybody ever have those same feelings?

However, I know God values His people greatly. "He chose one man of faith, Abraham, and created God's people from him." I believe He expects all faith-walkers to live in faith TOGETHER.

Today, I'm recalling a post written a year ago about Abraham and faith. It reminds me faith grows by the Word and by past experiences. I'm renewing a call to be in the Word and to remember His faithfulness.

Care to join me?



Something that has impacted me greatly was a simple question asked by a dear old saint leading a bible study one time:


"What do you think is the one quality God values in us above all others?"

Several people offered answers that basically boiled down to loving God and loving others.

He agreed love was important but he said, 

"Faith is what God's looking for. He chose one man of faith, Abraham, and created God's people from him."

The bible tells us in three different places that Abraham believed and God counted it as righteousness - which means right standing with God. Because of his faith, Abraham also earned the title of "Friend of God."

I don't know about you, but I think it would be awesome to be a BFF of God!

Let's talk about what faith is. Here are two scriptures I think is key:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV
If we could see what we were hoping for, then we really aren't using our faith.

Of course, the most important thing to have faith in is the fact God exists!


And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 ESV

The bible tells us each has a measure of faith. It also tells us we can pray for increased faith.

Let's talk about how faith can be increased.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I've found in my own life that two things shapes my faith - the Word and experience. 

The more I'm in the Word, the more I hear the Word preached, the more my spirit grows into a woman of faith. When I hear the truth about God's love for me, His attributes and characteristics, my faith grows believing He is who He says He is, and I am who He says I am. I won't know those things if I'm not in the Word, though!

The second thing that shapes my faith is my experiences in life that prove to me God is always there with me. When you've walked through the valleys of mental illness in the family, infertility, job loss, natural disasters and come through on the other side, you can testify to God's presence and deliverance.

I can never be persuaded that God does not care, because my experiences tell me He does.

I invite you to study His Word. Seek Him with your whole heart. He promises to be found by you when you do. If you do these things, I guarantee your faith will grow.

~~~

I'm linking this post with the community at #TellHisStory.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rock of Refuge


So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Exodus 33:22

~~~

I love the story of Moses wanting to see God's glory. I'd love to see it, too, wouldn't you?

The thing is, we cannot bear the weight of the full glory of God - not in these mortal bodies!

So, God, who protects us in spite of our desires, put Moses in the cleft of a rock - and covered him with His hand, as He passed by, allowing him a sneak peak of God's retreating majesty.

This is a great example of a God who grants the desires of our hearts while also protecting us from those desires.

He's a good, good Father, you know ...

~~~

I'm linking this post with the community at Soul Survival. Currently, Donna is combining the link up with a series on Handling Depression Biblically. Check it out - she has great info.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Scenic Overlook #2 - Raining Kisses


Scenic overlooks are glimpses of scripture that open my eyes to something new, something not previously considered. I hope you will consider joining me to hear what I've discovered!



~~~

Who doesn't love the story of the Prodigal Son?


It's definitely one of the most comforting stories if you are like me and ever wasted your one beautiful life by using your money, relationships, resources, and most importantly, your time unwisely. 

Here's the line in the story that means so much to me:

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Luke 15:20 (NKJV)
Something stood out to me, this time around studying this passage: the part about the father kissing him.  The original grammar for the Greek word used,  kataphileĊ, means repeatedly kissing.

Without the Prodigal first saying he was at fault, the father ran (middle-eastern fathers in that day did not run!), grabbed his son and rained kisses on him.

This thought was so wondrous to me, I had to look up other translations of this scripture:

And he rose up and went to his own father. But while he was yet a long way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell upon his neck, and covered him with kisses. Luke 15:20 (DARBY)

 So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. Luke 15:20 (AMPC)
Everyone who has ever sat in on my bible study classes knows I think the word fervently means with a "white-hot passion." This was no lame peck-on-the-cheek!

Think about it, the Prodigal had to be dirty and bedraggled - probably smelling like pigs - but none of that mattered to the father. He was over the moon with excitement to have his son back.

I get a glimpse of the passion and excitement the Father feels every time a Prodigal comes back Home, from reading this one verse of scripture from the famous story.  

Earlier in Luke 15, Jesus tells us this truth:

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 NKJV)

Now, I know not only angels, but God himself, rejoices when a Prodigal comes home!

What's your favorite part about this story?

~~~

I'm linking this post with the community at #TellHisStory.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Morning Page: The Very Moment ...



The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast." Psalm 94:18 MSG

You don't have much time to yell for help when you slip.

Praise God, it doesn't take much time!

Once, we hit a patch of black ice driving home from work. We screamed for help and minutes later, found ourselves in a ditch where our little truck had rolled over, busting out the glass, allowing my long hair to fly out before rolling back on my tresses, pinning me securely.

Later, reflecting on this experience, I was so thankful God heard our cries. Yes, our truck was permanently crinkled, my hair was shorter and I sported several bruises, yet our most precious possession, our daughter, had nary a scratch on her!

My advice, the minute you feel on shaky ground, physically or spiritually call out to our merciful God. He has an endless supply of mercy.

~~~

I'm sharing this post at Testimony Tuesday.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Scenic Overlook #1


Today, I'm introducing a new feature on the Journey. If our Christian walk is a journey, then it stands to reason along the way, not only will we encounter fantastic views physically, but spiritually, our eyes will be opened to something we have never seen before.

Scenic overlooks will be glimpses of scripture that open my eyes to something new, something not previously considered. I hope you will consider joining me to hear what I've discovered!


~~~

Anytime I see something about walking the Way, or anything relating to a Journey, I take notice. (After all, I'm all about the journey!) I came across Isaiah 35 on a day filled with doubts and fears swirling through my mind. 

I make it a practice to do some scripture writing on my lunch hour. As I gathered my things to go eat lunch in my inner sanctum, otherwise known as the church library, I whispered a prayer.

"God, I really need to hear from you now! Please give me a nugget of wisdom from Your Word."

The scriptures to write out that day were scheduled to be Isaiah 35:3-4 which basically says, "Do not fear ... He will come and save you!" 

"Thank you, Lord! I am so ready for you to come!"

I try to read things in context, so I went to Isaiah 35 and read the whole thing. These verses stuck out to me:


Isaiah 35:8-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
8 And a highway shall be there,and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there,nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

Isaiah 35 is ultimately about God's restoration after the battle of Armageddon, but the Messiah has made a way for His children to walk from their sin to His holiness in the here and now. Those who follow in His Way will be safe walking there.



Two new things I saw here:

"Even if they are fools, they shall not go astray." Even if I make a dumb decision, I can't get lost! 

"No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast" When the enemy tries to scare me into thinking he is a lion out to destroy me, he can't touch me if I'm walking the path of the redeemed.

I think God answered my noon-time prayer.

~~~

I'm linking this post up with the community at Soul Survival.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Morning Page - What I know ....

I’m thinking of advice writers often get, “Write what you know.” I don’t know who said it, but I feel like I picked up the idea from watching The Walton's television show and their John-Boy’s struggles with writing.

So what do I know? What is different about my journey?
What I know best is "hanging in there."




I've yet to find a person who doesn't have their share of struggles. In fact, sometimes it seems there are some who have monumental piles of burdens.

Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed it is good to stop and think of the less fortunate. It could have been me. We often ask, "Why me?" when troubles come our way. The truth is, "Why not me?" We live in a fallen world and trouble can come our way at any time.

In my time here, I've dealt with alcoholism in the family, infertility, job loss, mental illness, poverty, becoming the bread winner, wayward children, death of loved ones, betrayal, hurt ... well, you get the idea.

No one lives a storybook life.

J.D. Johnson, a homespun sage from a few miles down the road, once said, "What I know wouldn't fill a very big book."

The thing is ... it's my book. Even if what I know does not equal a heavy tome making the best seller lists, it's still my story, my truth.

No one can take that from me - I'm the only one capable of trashing it ... or sharing it.
I choose to share. Perseverance is really what I know best, and my advice when trouble comes your way is to get into the Book.

Read, read, read until you find a scripture that speaks to your situation. Then meditate on it, camp out on it, dwell on it night and day.

The promises of God are sure. He cannot lie. If He said it, it is as good as done. There are many many scriptures to stand on, but today I'm sharing one that encompasses them all.

If you are a child of God, this is for you, because you are the called:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I know God has a plan. His plan is good.

Don't give up.
~~~

And that is what is on my mind this morning ... what's on YOUR mind? I'd love to know - leave a comment and share.



I'm sharing this post with the communities at Arabah Joy's Grace&Truth, and Crystal's #FreshMarketFriday.