Difficult Times

James 4.jpgThere are many times in the life of a Christian that we go through difficult times, and sometimes it seems that at every corner we are being attack spiritual, and it is when we know that we are the words of James comes to my mind. James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you, as well as Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the Lord says; Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths; and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Instead of us running from our Lord we need to run as fast as we can towards him, to rest our tired soul. When we are feeling sad, Jesus wants us to anticipate feeling joyful again. This takes the sting out of our sorrows, because we know it is only temporary what we are going thru. Sadness tends to duplicate itself along the timeline-convincing us that we will always be unhappy. But that is a lie! Jesus is telling us to turn away from the lies we are hearing and to turn to him and more important to trust him and all that he has promised us. The truth is, all of his children have infinite joy ahead of them, reserved in heaven, guaranteed through-out eternity. No one can take this away from us, which is wonderful to know. While we are journeying towards heaven, our earthly path has many ups and downs. Through your down times are uncomfortable, they are not worthless. Pain and struggle can be highly productive when we trust Jesus in the midst of our sufferings. Our anguish is comparable to a woman enduring labor pains. Her suffering is very real, and she wonder how much longer she can bear this pain, and this is the way we truly feel at times. However, all this agony produces a wonderful result-a newborn baby. The memories of her suffering retreat to the background of her mind as she begins to focus on her child. While we labor through earthly afflictions we need to keep our eyes on the promised reward in Jesus, and the wonderful joy we do have in knowing him no matter what we are going thru.

Grace and Peace to you My Friends

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Grace

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I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, he delivered me from all my fears.                                                                                Psalm 34: 1-4

 Jesus comprehend you in all your complexity; he understands you with absolute accuracy: no detail of your life is hidden from him. Yet you need not be afraid of his intimate awareness, because he views you through the eyes of grace.

Should he look to you otherwise, through the eyes of the law rather than the eyes of grace, it could be terrifying to you. Unfortunately, you often view yourself that way, legalistically evaluating how well you’re performing. When you think about it, you realize how silly that is, because your performance will never be sufficient to meet His Holy standard.

Instead of focusing on your performance, come to Jesus and received his unfailing love. You are troubled by fear of failure, but his love for you will never fail,

Here is what he sees as he view you through eyes of grace. You look regal, for Christ has clothed you in his royal righteousness. You are radiant, especially when you are gazing at Jesus. You look lovely as you reflect his glory back to him. In fact, you delight him so much that he rejoices over you with shouts of Joy! 

Because he is infinite, he can see you simultaneously as you are now and as you will be in heaven. The present view helps him with you on things you need to change. The heavenly vision enables him to love you with perfect, everlasting love. The best way to see through the eyes of grace is to gaze through the lens of Jesus unfailing love. As you persevere in this practice, you will gradually, find it easier to extend grace both to yourself and others.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Eileen

 

Anointed By The Father (Guess Blogger)

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“You have been given an anointing, a special touch from the Holy One. You know the truth…Let the good news, the story you have heard from the beginning of your journey, live in and take hold of you. If that happens and you focus on the good news, then you will always remain in a relationship with the Son and the Father.” 1 John 2:20 & 24 The Voice Translation
There are many days that I feel damaged. Furthermore, I feel like I don’t measure up. I hear the lies on repeat like a broken record not good enough, unworthy, and unlovable. Life is chaos. I start my day well meaning and focusing on God, but somewhere along the way I get side tracked. Before I know it, I am consumed with anxiety and overwhelmed to the point of tears. In those moments God can feel so far away. How do you handle moments like these?

You were compassionately and thoughtfully created by your Holy Father. He anointed You for a calling unlike anyone else’s on the earth. He has confidence in you to complete the calling on your life with His help. He anointed You, sweet sister setting you apart as His daughter. Jesus traded heaven for earth to suffer an incomprehensible death so that you could be with Him for eternity.
He called You good the day He created You. In Him you are righteous, sanctified, and holy. You have received a special touch, a kiss from heaven, from the Holy One. He sees the beauty He placed in your heart. Beloved. The apple of God’s eye. Forgiven, He has made everything You know the truth, moreover, you know the good news. Allow it to continue to grow in your life. Let the roots be strengthened and be made new. This will be evident to all. Life in Christ isn’t easy, as you know, but it is worth it. He will equip you for the journey providing for you in each moment.
Guard your heart against the enemy and His lies. Be intentional in strengthening Your relationship with Christ. Never forget where your identity lies.
Abba, Daddy,
I feel inadequate to serve You. Unworthy and unequipped. I can see the lovely gifts You have graciously given others, but I struggle to see my own. You know I am damaged from living in a fallen world. I feel like my flaws are listed on my forehead at times. I desire to keep You first in everything I do yet I quickly lose focus.

I feel inadequate to serve You. Unworthy and unequipped. I can see the lovely gifts You have graciously given others, but I struggle to see my own. You know I am damaged from living in a fallen world. I feel like my flaws are listed on my forehead at times. I desire to keep You first in everything I do yet I quickly lose focus.
My heart’s desire is to serve You though I feel as though I have nothing good to give. I surrender my little gift knowing it is more than enough in Your mighty hands. Equip me to serve You in amazing ways. My confidence is purely in You. I know You are faithful. You are the source of all I need.
Help me to take time to pause. To breath in the chaos and simplicity of everyday moments. Enable me to give the people in my life the very best. Help me to invest in others. Allow me to bring them closer to You. Allow me to freely give as I have freely received from You. Help me to love when it is inconvenient for me. Mold my heart to reflect the beauty of Yours.

I cherish Your living and holy Word. It is more valuable than money or earthly pleasures. Sweeter than the finest cuisine. Help me walk in the way you commanded. I desire to be obedient. Please give me a deeper understanding of Your word. Let me desire Your Word more day by day.
All Honor, Glory, and Praise belong to You now and forevermore.
Amen.

 

Masterpiece Are Made In The Mess (Guess Blogger)

My table

This is one of my favorite things I have around the houses.

I love this table!
I am not really sure why I like it so much. Maybe because it is meant to look a little messy and I don’t have to make it look clean.

This little table that sits next to my easel and reminds me that in the mess the masterpiece is made. Some of these paint spots came with the table some are mine. I am messy when I paint. I pay attention to what I painting and little else.

1523041064787_753498546_b301479b.jpgWhere I am today

Today I feel like a mess. Emotions are swirling around. We went to the park and I anticipated my kids running around enjoying the sprinklers. Instead, my son took one look at how many kids were there (it was Saturday and it was full) and sat down. I kept hoping that after a while he would get up and go play with his sister, but he never did.

I was hoping to take my younger ones to a nearby VBS this week while my oldest is at camp. But at the park, I was reminded of all that is going on right now in our life.

If I take Jonathan to a VBS he isn’t going to talk (just like at school). This will make it difficult for the VBS teachers. Then there is Grace, she doing well in a class but still needs extra help and someone to watch her more than other 9yrs old require.

I feel like that is asking a lot of people. I am their mom and part of that means taking care of them and all their different needs. At our church is a little different. It is our church family and I am close by. But how can I ask that of someone else?

I also don’t want to make Jonathan’s anxiety worse. VBS is only a few days and there isn’t much time to get used to it like school.

So, I’m seriously rethinking going to a VBS next week.

As I do this it kinda hurts. I know this what life is like for us right now. But this is still hard. It breaks my heart that I have to consider these things when taking my kids to VBS and today I’m a little sad.

I feel like a mess right now and I really don’t understand why all this is a part of our life.
~ What may look like a mess to us is God working ~

As I sat down to write this blog this verses came to mind. I can’t say it’s one I wanted to think about right now but it is one that I need to focus on.

Know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its perfect work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:3b-4

Today is hard but I will trust that God is at work. What looks like a mess to me is Him working. I believe God will bring a masterpiece together. I will cling to His promise that He works all things (even the hard days) together for good (Romans 8:28).

~ In the mess of the table, the masterpiece is made. ~

When I am the one painting and making the mess I love it. I have a vision in mind and I know it will be beautiful when it is finished. But I don’t often like the mess in my life.

God help me remember that I am your Masterpiece

My Prayer

Father, thank you that on hard days like today I can come to you and pour out my heart. You know that from my point of view I don’t understand why things are the way they are in my life. But, even when my heart is breaking I will trust you. Help me to remember that in the testing my faith is made stronger and that I am your masterpiece. Thank you for walking every step of this life with me.
~Amen

https://godsstoriesofgrace.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/materpieces-are-made-in-the-mess/

Thank you Crystal

 

Come Into The Light (Guess Blogger)

Good Morning Everyone I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you Don Merritt:

Don Merritt (that’s me) is just a regular guy who has had a half-century of living life. I’ve had experiences that are quite normal and typical… and some that are less common. I’ve been busy for a long time in activities that range from politics to writing to running a business I am finished ghost-writing for others and writing things from a purely technical point of view; it’s my turn to write about the things that are really important in life: God, hope, faith, understanding and encouragement for others. It’s my hope to do so in a way that you will find interesting, unusual and non-threatening… and at the same time challenging.

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This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-7

Earlier we looked at the introduction to this letter, and here, we enter the first section of the letter which begins at verse 5 and continues through 2:14. This section is given context in verse 5: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. Thus, this section is all about John’s declaration of light versus darkness, and it contains comparisons and contrasts.
Before we take a look at it, keep in mind what John wrote in John 1:4 “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” All through the Gospel story, John used “light” as signifying the presence of Jesus, contrasted with “darkness” denoting His absence. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at our text. After proclaiming that God is light, John gets down to his explanation claiming that if we claim to be in fellowship with God, but walk in darkness, we lie, and are not in the truth. This is a rather easy statement to understand, for if we are in darkness, then we aren’t in His presence, and if we aren’t in His presence, we couldn’t possibly be in fellowship: There is no half-way.

The contrast is that if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship… because we are with Him in the light. If we have this fellowship in the light of His presence and truth, then His blood purifies us from all sin. The reality of the statement is that we can’t be in fellowship with Him until our sins have been forgiven by His sacrifice on the cross.
Sometimes, we may walk a ways in darkness, and by this I mean that we may stray from time-to-time. John doesn’t suggest that our errors kick us out of fellowship as we will see a little farther through this text, but that there is a way to return to the light of His presence, by confessing our sins., as we see in the next paragraph:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10
I think we all would agree that a claim by any one of us to have never sinned would be little short of crazy. John seems to think it’s worse than that− all have sinned, but take heart, for there is a way out, confess your sins and He will forgive; this is our covenant promise. There is simply no need for us to wring our hands and carry around a burden of guilt and shame before God, for when we confess our sins (acknowledge them) He will forgive; we have His Word on that.

https://lifereference.wordpress.com/

 

He Calls Me Beautiful (Guess Blogger)

Today I would like to welcome Jennifer: Today, I am a stay at home wife, dividing my time between taking care of our home, directing church outreach, and blogging about life lessons, joyful living, and Christian values. When I’m not writing, I am typically curled up with my husband, binge watching Netflix, drinking caramel coffee, or snuggling our two cats, Basil and Mocha Rose!
Welcome to our married life! We’re so glad you have chosen to join us as we laugh and cry together in this amazing life adventure!

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Some of the links on this post are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something I have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running and keep it ad-free! Please check out my disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!
“You are beautiful. I know, because I created you.” – God.
I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to get caught up in the everyday of our lives. I get so focused on the here and now… on my curves and rolls, on the unmade dishes, on our current situation in life… that I forget to step back and remember just what a miracle this life is. It’s easy to thank the Lord for the obvious blessings in our lives. I thank him daily for an amazing husband. I thank Him for J’s job and our home. I thank Him for our kitty. I thank Him for what He gives, but I rarely thank Him for the miracle of life that He gave me or for the amazing relationship I can have with Him. The fact that the Lord of the universe wants to love and care for me deeply and intimately still overwhelms me to this day. I’ve never deserved His love and grace, and I never will, yet He still offers it. he still pursues me. He still wants me and calls me His beautiful one.

Knit Together
It is easy to forget that we are not here by accident. There was no explosion of atoms that suddenly became you. You did not suddenly decide one day to walk upright and speak intelligently. You were not a mere accident, an “oops” resulting from an unplanned moment of intimacy. The Heavenly Father was diligently at work, setting forth a plan for your life. In Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord declares that He knew you before He created you, and He set you apart for a very special purpose. Before you were even conceived, much thought and planning went into who you would be. In Psalm 139:13-14, the author reveals that the Lord knit him together, a carefully crafted being. He praises the Lord for being “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The word fearfully here does not mean timidly. The Hebrew word used here for fearfully, yare’, means reverently or awe inspiringly. Like an artist, He lovingly designed every intricate aspect of you down to the finest of details, including the tilt of your nose, the slope of your eyes, and the arc of your arch. He wove together your DNA to create the unique and beautiful woman you are today.

The idea of being delicately knit together is one that resonates with me. The planning and design going into each creation is critical. What type of fibers do I use? How much fiber to use? What color combinations? Will my project be practical or merely decorative? How long will it take to complete? Do I need a pattern? I don’t know how many times I have had to tear apart my knitting and start all over again, wondering why I’m even attempting something so complicated, because of a single dropped stitch along the way. God definitely does not need a pattern and absolutely does not make mistakes. He certainly does not drop stitches! The thing about knitted items is they are made from one single strand fiber, looped together in an intricate pattern, to create a something greater than itself. That strand by itself is weak, but once knit into a beautiful design, it is suddenly quite strong. It is durable. It stretches and adapts. It is versatile. It can be made of the most basic wool fiber, rustic and tough, or as airy and soft as mohair. When it comes to the Lord’s knitting, no pattern is ever the same. We are as distinct as the snowflakes. Like Psalm 139:14 declares, His works are wonderful!

Masterpiece
Have you ever looked at something so breathtakingly beautiful and wondered how it can possibly exist? The first time I experienced the Northern Lights, in my Midwestern backyard, I was dumbstruck. Those dancing green lights in the sky were unlike anything I had ever beheld. In that moment, reverence and awe filled my heart for the Creator and reminded me once again, just how big the universe really is and just how minuscule I am in it. Over and over again, the Scriptures reveal the masterpiece that is the Lord’s creation. He Himself proclaims His creation as “good.” This is the same God who spoke the cosmos into existence, who numbered the stars in the sky and knows them all by name. He is the same God who feeds the sparrows and waters the lilies of the valley. He makes all things beautiful in His time. (Eccl. 3:11) His creations sing His praises and give Him glory, yet it is Man that He set apart, distinct from all other creatures. It is Man that is made in His image. Man is His ultimate masterpiece. How can the God who speaks complete solar systems into existence love someone as small and insignificant as me?

King David also pondered this question. In Psalm 8:3-4, he asks, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” The Hebrew word for mindful is zakar, meaning to remember, to mention, or to think on. It is easy to get caught up in this life and forget that the Lord not only made us, but takes the time to dwell with us, and more profoundly, dwells in us through the Holy Spirit. David used the Hebrew word paqad, “to visit”, implying more than the polite occasional guest, but to seek, to want, and to enjoin to. We are set apart, above all of creation, to be companions to the Living God. Isaiah 43:7 declares, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” He goes out of His way to pursue us. He showers us with blessings and shows us His love and His thoughts for us. “How great are your works, oh Lord, how profound are your thoughts.” (Psalm 92:5) Like a groom thinking on his bride, the Lord’s thoughts are always turned back to us.

In fact, you are cherished…. yes, YOU are cherished by the Creator of the universe, who delicately placed each individual star in the cosmos. You were chosen, sought after, and called. You were bought with a price, the blood of His perfect Lamb. You are His precious child, adopted into the Royal Priesthood, not a step, foster, or half child, but a full heir with His Holy Son, Jesus, and a daughter of the Most High King. You are dearly loved, unconditionally, beyond any human comprehension, a love from which you cannot be separated. You are His beloved, and He takes joy in you. You were made in His image, meticulously knit together in the womb, and anointed, set aside for a holy purpose. You are God’s workmanship. He calls you holy, righteous, and blameless. He adorns you in His robes. You are broken, yet He transforms you and makes you into a new creation. You are complete in Him. You are His servant, His bride, and His temple. By His grace, you are justified and sanctified. You are not merely an unworthy dust speck in the vast cosmos. He calls you His friend, for you are His.

https://thenewlywedchronicles.com/he-calls-me-beautiful/

Spread the Love

 

 

Sunday Mornings (Guess Blogger)

I would like to welcome back Crystal Russell back as our guest blogger today.

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Sunday Mornings
On Sunday mornings we have a special time of prayer before everything gets started at church.

A group of women gather together to pray.

We pray over the Word that the pastors will bring, the Sunday school teachers, and everyone who will be attending that day.

“for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” – Matthew 18:20

Promise from Jesus
I often think of this verse when I think of our prayer time.

We can (and should) prayer on our own but I also think that is important to gather together for prayer as well.

We have this promise from Jesus.

Why would we not gather together. He tell us He will be with us in a special way when we do.

The prayers of the early church opened the doors of a prison for Peter (Acts 12:5-10).

It makes in difference in our lives today too.

One of the blessing of learning to pray with another is the rich friendships I have gained. My most trusted friendships are with friends that pray with me.

A Challenge
I challenge you to spend time in prayer
alone, with a friend, with a group.

Prayer is our most powerful weapon.

We need to use it.

My Prayer
Father, thank you for the privilege I have in prayer to come into Your Holy presence. I stand in awe of you as my God and Creator. If that weren’t enough, and it is, when I come before you I get to call you Father. You call me your beloved daughter. You hear every world I pray and when I have no words you know the cry of my heart. Thank you Jesus for your promise you gave us that where two or three are gathered you are with us. Prayer is powerful, may we (your church) be faithful to come before you and use it.
-Amen

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay (Guess Blogger)

Welcome Back Victoria

Featuring an Ann Voskamp devotional video.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8
Worn. Drained. Over spent. Bone tired. Every waking second consumed with endless tasks. Sinking. Stressed. Drowning in appointments, work engagements and family obligations. Battling your own body- perhaps your own mind too. Battle after battle back to back with no time to recover.
Not okay. It is okay to not be okay to be in dire need of rest in the Saviors arms. Take time off from the chaos to reconnect with the Source of Life. Pour out your heart to Him, sweet friend.
“It’s okay to not feel okay because you have One who made you His one. You have One who left the clamor of the ninety-nine, to find you, remind you, remake you, rename you, and release you. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel because you don’t judge your feelings; you feel your feelings—and then let your emotions — move your toward God. You may feel ready to just forget what you’ve done, but you have one is who more than ready to forgive you. You may feel ready to just give up — but you have one who is more than ready to give you Grace. You may feel like you aren’t enough — seen enough, liked enough, heard enough, wanted enough, loved enough — but you have One who is an even greater Lover, an even greater Advocate, an even greater Friend, an even greater Savior, than you have ever imagined Him to be even when your love for Him was most on fire. Whatever the story is today, it is abundantly okay. Because the Writer of The Story has written Himself into the hardest places of your story and He is with you and He is in you and He is for you and He will not leave you until your story is made into abundant and amazing and forever glory.” Ann Voskamp

 

Lord,
I have neglected my time with You. I have become consumed with wordy things, things that are quickly fading. I am over burdened and over spent. I am drained from trying to take control over things, make things okay, and do it all. I try to appear like I have it all together which is so far from the truth. Oh Lord, I need You now more than ever! Give me rest. Renew my bone weary soul. Remind me of who I am in You. Remake me to reflect Your heart. Give me the courage to pour our my heart to You. Let every breath move me closer to You.
Thank You for all You have done for me. I praise You for knowing me fully and allowing me to pour my heart out to You. Thank you from the depths of my soul for Your grace. Thank You for loving me where I am and reminding me that I am enough. Thank You for writing my story and allowing it to bring honor and glory to Your Mighty Name.
Amen