I have had an unusually busy week. In fact, the word CRAZY might be an appropriate choice. I have been gone from my home office for the past 4 days, so has there been time to write. Ummm, NO!!
I wanted to offer you something that would speak into your life on this October Friday. There is nothing better than the eternal, unchanging, ever-appropriate Word of God. These words from The Word are descriptors of our God, our Father. I’ve chosen Bible verses to go along with them that I feel are wonderful uses of this attribute of the Father. I pray today’s post is a blessing to you. Feel free to Pin the images, or share them on social media.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
I don’t know about you, but all too often I find myself trapped on the merry-go-round of life, seeing the world as a spinning blur. You, too?
Today I want to take a few moments and encourage us all to bring the merry-go-round to a halt for a moment and look around us. But first, let me tell you what brought me to this point.
I am currently reading a book entitled Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy. In Roots & Sky, Purifoy chronicles the first year of the life of her family in a new-to-them home. There have been several passages from the book that have spoken intensely to my heart, and today I want to share one of them.
“We fool ourselves if we believe that life is the tedium of our to-do lists broken up by occasional highs, like a baby’s homecoming, and occasional lows, like that baby’s first terrifying trip to the emergency room. Everyday life is utterly extravagant. It is morning glories we did not plant. It is four children we did nothing to deserve. It is moonlight and starlight, rainbow-colored leaves and autumn rains. It is the shelter of trees, the songs of birds, and the enduring sight of a farmhouse on a hill. It is more beautiful than it needs to be. It is more meaningful than we can begin to comprehend.”
I will confess that quote hit me like a ton of bricks because I have a tendency to look at life as the tedium of my to-do list…everything running together, with occasional highs and lows. Rarely do I take the time to consider the everyday beauty of things that would not be considered a high, per se. The days I work as a pharmacist, I just pray to survive until quitting time. The days I am home doing my work as a bookkeeper and wife and author, I rarely slow down to consider the beauty within that day. Are you guilty of this, too? Please tell me I am not the only one?
Today is different. Today, right here with you, I want to consider the beauty that surrounds my life. AND, I want to encourage you to do the same. Here are a few of those beautiful, ordinary things:
- the hummingbird that flies up to my office window and peers in at me
- deer that wander and play in our front yard
- the mountains that surround me and speak life into my soul
- a husband that loves me unceasingly
- a hosta, planted by my Mother, in the base of a tree that returns every year, reminding me of her love
- a glorious sunset over the ocean
- a hug from a friend at just the right time
- the smell of freshly cut grass
- the love of the most wonderful in-laws a girl could ask for
- the privilege of entering God’s throne room any time I want and laying my requests before Him
- baby birds in nests around my home
There is so much beauty in my life, and I want to be aware of it, every single day. I want to be thankful for it always.
Now, it is your turn. Hop off the merry-go-round for a moment and ponder the beauty of the ordinary in your life. I would love to hear what you see. Please share in the comments about your beautiful life.
Thank you for allowing me into your life today. I count it a high privilege when you read what the Lord gives me to write. I will be taking a bit of a break next week, but will have a post on Monday that you will not want to miss. It will contain a GIFT FOR YOU!! So, please check back on Monday. Have a lovely weekend!
I blew it!
I messed up. Oh, it was not a big thing, but enough to make me feel like a failure. In life. In my marriage. In my faith.
I failed to have a servant heart.
I failed to love my husband well and serve him.
I was prideful and self-serving.
I thought speaking my mind on a matter would make me feel better…would make right something that I perceived as a wrong toward me. It did not. And I felt terrible about it afterward.
I am never more like Satan than when I allow pride to creep in and convince me that I am all that and a bag of chips; when I allow selfishness to engulf me.
We all blow it from time to time.
We all mess up. It may not be a big thing, but then again…it might. In life. In our relationships. In our faith.
You want to hear some good news, friend?
God is not surprised at our stumbles. Nor is He disgusted by them. When you and I have a heart that longs to please God; when we have a will and a desire to walk in His way, God is pleased even with our stumbles.
So, hear this friend….deep into the recesses of your heart…hear this:
You are not defined by your stumbles.
You are NOT DEFINED by your stumbles, any more than a 1-year-old baby is defined by its stumbling efforts to learn to walk. You may feel that your stumbles define you, but that is a lie from Satan. Do not believe it.
If you are a blood-bought follower of Jesus Christ, you are His precious treasure, His beautiful one, and His beloved. You are not your stumbles.
Would you take a moment, wherever you are, to repeat aloud with me:
I AM NOT DEFINED BY MY STUMBLES.
I AM DEFINED BY WHO I AM IN JESUS CHRIST!
Say it again:
I AM NOT DEFINED BY MY STUMBLES.
I AM DEFINED BY WHO I AM IN JESUS CHRIST!
Say it until you believe it. If you have to go outside and shout it over and over until the neighbors think you have lost your ever-lovin’ mind, then go shout.
If the will to walk is there, God is pleased even with our stumbles. Believe it!
If you needed to hear this today, I would love hear from you so I can pray for you. Leave me a comment or email me at [email protected].
Linking up this week with Jennifer Lee for #TellHisStory.
Welcome to Week 4 of
The Loft ~ A Wednesday Link-Up!
Come on up!!
You will find my Week 4 post and the linky tool near the bottom, but first, may I remind you how The Loft Link-Up works?
The Loft is a place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.
Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.Then, Wednesday morning at 5am EST, the link goes live, and for 5 glorious days you can link up your post on that week’s topic. The linky will close at 5pm EST on Monday.
Each week’s gathering will be much like a group of friends sitting around a table at a coffee shop having a chat about a specific topic. So it will be at The Loft. Please make sure the post you link-up pertains to the chosen topic of the week. We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.
Listening is a lost art. Especially in the blogosphere where everyone wants to be heard. At The Loft, we know that listening is rewarding and rich… surprisingly so. Please do not link and run. For every link you leave, please visit at least two other links.
1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic.
2. Listen twice as much. If you leave one link, visit two.
3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or hashtag in your post and social media so we can find each other.
4. Write like Jesus would write. We are a Christian link-up. Offensive or inappropriate posts will be deleted. No questions asked.
5. Be pertinent. Our heart is to build community and intimacy, and our means to do that is to build each link-up around a single topic. Please make sure your post is on topic.
Today’s Topic: “Favorite Psalm”
There are so many of the Psalms that move my heart. I really like Psalm 3, which includes my life verse, Psalm 3:3 (NIV).
But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
Psalm 51 is also one that holds a tender place in my heart, especially verse 10, which I pray for myself very often.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Heaven knows that my heart is far from pure. To be sure, I can say with the apostle Paul that I am the chief of sinners. Every day I ask the Holy Spirit to break my heart over whatever is in my life that breaks His Holy heart. My desire is to stand before God with a heart that is confessed up and pure. Recently, my Bible study girls and I talked about the importance of coming to the Lord’s table for communion with a clean heart. Do you? Before you partake of the bread and wine, do you search your heart, confess your sin, and make right any wrongs that you have committed? I fear most of us approach the table with a casual attitude, as if we were attending a barbeque. Friends, that is wrong on a dozen different levels, but alas, that is another subject for another day.
If I have to chose my favorite Psalm, however, I am going to choose Psalm 139.
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O 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.
Seriously, where do I even begin? This Psalm reminds me that God knows me…inside and out, upside and down. He created me, He loves me, and He even likes me! There is nowhere I can go that He is not already there. He knows that I am anxiety ridden at times. He knows my heart, and how desperately wicked it can be, yet He loves me anyway. He is willing to test and try me so that I become more like Christ. He never grows weary of my stuff, and that is way more than one can expect of any human being. He knew my days long before I took my first gulp of earth’s polluted air. When I feel alone, I am not….He is there with me. He hems me in — surrounds me, is my rear guard and goes before me.
This Psalm is a living testament to the love of our wonderful God. When I take the time to read this Psalm I feel incredibly loved and cared for by my Father in heaven.
Next week we will be sharing about: July 1st (Week 5) Topic: “Best Vacation” (we would love to hear all about that vacation that lives forever in your heart and memory. what made it so special? where did you go? who was with you? do you have a picture or two you can share from that wonderful time?)
I hope you will plan to join us each week at The Loft
Now, it is time to link-up your post on your FAVORITE PSALM!!
[inlinkz_linkup id=535796 mode=1]
This week, we are pondering our legacy….what we leave for those who come behind us. I am blessed to be able to share some compelling legacy stories here in this space. Today it is a blessing to share Amy Boyd’s legacy story with you. Let me tell you a bit about Amy first:
Amy Boyd is a girl who lives in the grip of God’s grace. Her heart is to stitch together her past with His forgiveness to show the beautiful life He designed. The scrapes of her personal journey as wife, mother, writer, speaker, and Bible teacher are ones that illustrates the faithfulness of God in the midst of challenges. Amy lives in Alabama with her high school sweetheart, Mike. Her two grown children, Anthony and Samantha, make her so proud every day. // You can read her blog, Living in Harmony at www.amypboydspeaks.com // Follow her on Twitter at @amypboyd // Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/amypboydspeaks.
Years after becoming a Christian I continued to wrestle with the sins of my past…those sins that wounded others, and even hurt me. My bad decisions replayed in my mind day after day like a Vine video. Even today, decades later the chains of past sins still had a hold on me.
Hadn’t God forgiven me? I had confessed my sins. I begged for Him to pardon me. His word promises that He would.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”(1 John 1:9).
If I believed His word why couldn’t I accept His forgiveness?
I desire from the bottom of my heart to believe David was writing about me in Psalm 32:2:
“Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”
Yet I struggle to feel and accept the truth that God offers amazing grace to wipe away all my sins. His eraser makes it as if those bad decisions never happened. I don’t think I am the only one that has trouble accepting this hard-to-grasp truth. Complete forgiveness sounds all good and well, but the depth of human faults make it difficult to believe a holy and perfect God can forgive us. His Word tells us over and over that God does not count our repented sins against us. How do I, how do you begin living in the truth of His forgiveness?
First move we need to make is to confess our sin: to ourselves, to others if necessary, and to God. When we bring our sins out of the dark (because God knows them anyway) and into the light it opens deep honest conversations. Conversations with the Lord that removes the ‘I’ll be found out’ fear.
Next step is to know the truth, the full truth and plant it deep in our hearts, minds and souls. The more we study the Bible the more we will see that God teaches how an unaccepting heart can be changed and softened to accept His forgiveness. Following are just a few verses showing the truth of a loving God whose desire it is to transform our lives through the grace of His forgiveness.
My old is gone; because of Jesus Christ I am new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV 1984)
My master is grace, not sin. “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14 (NIV 1984)
My Savior, Jesus, has set me free, therefore I am free. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NIV)
My God doesn’t condemn. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NIV)
Are you still carrying a heavy chain of sin that God’s forgiveness has already unlocked? It is time to stop living shackled by regret. Are you ready? Today you can stop exchanging the freedom of grace for the bondage of unbelief.
Thank you, Amy, for this beautiful, encouraging story of grace. Please let Amy know how much you enjoyed her post.
If I told you that I had a sure-fire way to amp up your prayer life, would you be willing to try it? Well, I’ve got it, and I shared it with you in this post. I’m choosing a different Psalm each day, and reading it with the goal of finding things for which I can praise my Jesus.
Recently, in Psalm 16 I found MUCH for which I can praise Him. Today, out of that Psalm, I offer you 4 reasons to praise Him.
God gives me the perfect portion.
I like to eat, but often my ‘eyes are bigger than my tummy’. That was my Mom’s way of saying that I put more on my plate than I can eat. When the table is spread with so many yummy foods, it is easy to take out more than we can eat.
In life, it is easy to allow our eyes to drift toward someone else’s ‘plate’.
She has more followers than I do.
Her speaking calendar is full and mine is not.
They have a nicer house than we do.
She always has the latest mobile device.
When my eyes and heart drift toward the portions that God gives other people, I fall into discontentment with my portion. In this Psalm, David tells us that whatever circumstances God has allowed into our lives is exactly what we need at that moment.
My lot is secure.
The Hebrew word for ‘lot’ means pebbles used for systematically making decisions, portion (thing assigned by casting lots). I like to think of it in this way. If God is casting lots in order to assign me circumstances in life, He is always going to roll a “double” for me. Whatever He allows will be for my good and His glory.
God sets boundaries that are for my good.
Boundaries are good. Everyone needs them, and God is the master boundary setter. He knows the big picture of our lives, and knows where the boundary lines need to be drawn. Whatever boundary lines God sets for me will be “in pleasant places”. God doesn’t set restrictive boundary lines just to see me squirm or be miserable. He sets boundary lines because He knows what is best for me and because He wants to see me take full advantage of the ‘delightful inheritance’ that He has for me.
I have an inheritance.
My inheritance is not only in heaven. Sometimes I forget that. Part of my inheritance….a very important part of it….is right here, right now. Having the Holy Spirit living inside of me to lead, guide, counsel, and teach me is the BOMB. He makes me wiser than I could ever be without Him. But you can only have the Holy Spirit if you have made Jesus the Lord of your life.
So, there you go. Four reasons to praise God today. Now, go get your praise on, friend!