Inspire ~ A FMF Post

In the spirit of wanting to write more, I think getting back in the habit with the “Five Minute Friday” link up is a great way to start.  It’s been awhile so, for those who aren’t familiar with “Five Minute Friday”, it’s the day many other precious bloggers join to together to write about one word – for five minutes.

The link-up is hosted by over at the Five Minute Friday site.   If you’d like to know more about it, click here.

Today’s word is ……

Here goes….

What inspires me?  He does!!!

This man that God brought into my life just over 23 years ago and made me his wife almost 22 years ago.  It has been a journey but also a blessing.  He inspires me to be a better mom, a better wife, a better daughter, a better friend.  Most importantly, he inspires me to be a better follower of Jesus.

 

 

 

What inspires me?  They do!!!

 

These kids that God gave to me and my man. They are funny, talented, smart, loving and kind.  They, like my hubby, inspire me to be better than I once was.

 

 

 

What inspires me?  The many people that God has put in my life to help me grow.  My parents, my sister, my in-laws, my friends.  It would be a very long post if I added pictures of all the people that INSPIRE me. {smile}

And my  minutes is up…..but I am going to finish my thought because truly, this is the most important.

What inspires me?

The Word of God

It spurs me on to be more like Christ.  To pray more. To give more. To love in ways that sometimes are just beyond my own ability.

How about you?  What inspires you today?  I’d love to know.

Joy to You!

 

This post is linked up with others over at Five Minute Friday Please hop over and read what others are saying about the word “INPSIRE”.

Change is Coming!

So I’ve been a bit MIA for a VERY long time.  I didn’t want to be.  I didn’t plan to be.  The reality is that I NEEDED to be.  In October of 2015, our life as a family changed.  I wrote a little about that HERE in the 2016 Write 31 Days Series as I shared about the encouragement we received during a difficult time.  Anyway,  from October of 2015 until March of 2016, we really had no idea what God had in store for us.  What we did know was that we were leaving the place we were and looking to Him for guidance…for direction…for assurance that we were in His will.

Fast forward and it’s July 2017.  We have been in the place God sent us for a little over a year.  We love it here.  I mean who wouldn’t love these skies (on almost a daily basis)…

God is so faithful to take us to a place of beauty.  A place where we are constantly reminded of Him.

So back to my topic of change.

In our new hometown, things are different.  Not in a bad way.  Just different.

Our church family is different.  The size is different.  The ministry is different.  The people…well, they are beautifully different.  But their need for Jesus is the same.  Their need to be loved is the same.  I’m thankful that we are called to love and minister to God’s people.

Our school life will be different (this year).  We have home-schooled for 5 years.  I loved every.minute.of.it!  But here, it’s different. Our first year in our new hometown, I continued to home-school.  We are getting ready for the school year to start and this year, our son is headed to college and our daughter is headed to public school.  Both his choice a college that is 6 hours away from home and the decision to put her in public school were decisions made with much prayer.  I take neither lightly.

I know that I may get questions as to why we made the decision for public school.  I know that I may even be accused of not trusting the Lord in our home-school journey.  I pray that instead of questions and accusations, I find support and respect that we are doing what we feel the Lord is leading for our family at this time.

Let me repeat….at.this.time!!!

I have no idea if we will home-school again in our daughter’s school years.  I will be praying daily for God to make it abundantly clear to us what His will is.  And I trust that He will.

Other changes?  The Lord has been gracious to provide some exciting opportunities for me.  The first is work.  I am now working as a Virtual Assistant.  I am learning so much and am very excited about the journey that God has me on in this new endeavor.  The second is opportunity for me to volunteer at school, at church, and in the community.  I looking forward to seeing how God wants to use me in both this work opportunity and in ministry opportunities.

And lastly, a BIG change is relevant to this my little corner of the internet.  I am working on a new look and logo for Living My Portion.  I don’t have a date in mind to “reveal” these but I do hope to share them very soon. With the new aspects, I also have a renewed desire to share here more.  This is part of how I believe I can minister to others.  Another blogger that I have great respect for has inspired me to really plan what and when I will be posting to the blog.  I can’t wait to sit down and formulate a plan for my site.

I am changing.  Not just in my day to day responsibilities but my focus in ministry.  Although it can seem scary, change is not bad; it just makes things different.    My prayer is that I commit these changes to the Lord daily being willing to change more, or maybe even change back to what was before.

How about you?  Is God calling you to a change in your life?

Joy to You!

 

 

The Words of My Mouth

When my son was just a little guy, he spouted out a curse word in the middle of Walmart! I was mortified.  I quickly looked around to be sure that no one I knew heard my sweet boy’s words.  15+ years later, I still am not sure how he knew the words most less how to use them in context.

As soon as we got home, I made him eat butter….(which may seem strange but he literally gagged at the taste of butter back then).  After a spoonful of butter and a good explanation from me as to why we don’t use words like that, I went to the Bible looking for a verse that he – and I – could memorize to remind us that our speech should honor the Lord.

This verse has been one that I have never forgotten.  Since he was around 3 at the time, I simplified it for him but I can assure you that over the years, I have reminded him of our learning the meaning of this verse.

Recently I have been reminded of the importance of this verse.  I try not to be careless with my words but sometimes, well…it just happens.  God’s Word tells us that our words are to encourage and lift others up.  The old saying about stick and stones – I just don’t believe it.   But did you know that it’s been around for a very long time? Since 1862!! That’s 155 years of taunting on the playground.  I’m blown away.  Here is the other thing that got me.  It is reported that it first appeared in The Christian Recorder which was a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Here’s what Wikipedia (I know, please don’t judge me) says about the phrase, “The rhyme persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.”  But it’s just not true. Words hurt!

I just have to say it again…..words HURT!!

Psalm 64 is a plea for protection from an enemy, from the wicked.  But verse 3 speaks the truth of what is on my heart here.  It says “…bitter words like arrows,”.    And when they pierce us like an arrow and forgiveness is sought and given, there are times that those hurtful words are like a branding on our brains and on our hearts.  I have four words that haunt me.  For over twenty years now, these four words have effected me.  And not in a good way.  Because someone who, at one time was very important to me, said something hurtful I struggle with self-esteem. It’s a hard truth for me to type out loud.

I love what Proverbs says about our words.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

~ Proverbs 16:24 ~

Isn’t this what we should strive for?  Giving “sweetness to the soul” of those we love? Of course, there are times that truth, that is hard, must be spoken.  But God’s Word addresses that too!  In Ephesians chapter 4 when Paul is preaching to the church at Ephesus, he shares that “speaking the truth in love” helps us grow towards Christ.

I’m on a journey in this life.  I am not perfect but I praise the Lord for laying things on my heart that I need to give attention to.  The words of my mouth are something I need to pay more attention to.  I need to let my “yes be yes” and my “no be no”.  I need to use my words to give “sweetness to the soul” of others.  And if there are hard things that need to be said, I need to say them “truthfully in love”.

Until next time……

Joy to You!

 

 


Would He MARVEL at me? (and my word for 2017)

It never ceases to amaze me when I find something in Scripture that I have never seen before.  At some point in my 40 something years, I have read the passage three, four, five + times, but this time…the words hit me differently.  I am just finishing up a study in Luke and that’s exactly what happened when I got to chapter 7.  The passage that got my attention is found in Luke 7:1-10.  It’s the story of Jesus healing a Centurion’s servant.

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

I’m a bit of a word nerd so when I a particular word catches my attention, even if I think I know what it means, I look it up.

MARVEL ~ to be filled with wonder, admiration, or astonishment, as at something surprising or extraordinary

Which definition of MARVEL do you think best describes Jesus in this passage?  Was He astonished at the faith of this man?  Maybe He was filled with wonder at the simple faith shown by the Centurion!  It’s on my list of things to ask Him when I get to heaven. {smile}  Reading this made me wonder if Jesus is ever filled with wonder because of my actions, words, or attitudes?  Or maybe He is astonished…even saddened by my display of selfishness and lack of faith?

2016 is officially over.  It was a hard year.  I would not be truthful if I said that I am glad for the difficulty, however, in all honesty I can say that I know that God never left me.  He was with me and my family every step of the way.  In the midst of the hard stuff, I put a piece of paper on our refrigerator.  I explained to my family that we needed to fill this paper with things and people that we are thankful for.  thankful

I cannot tell you what this simple exercise did for our family.  Of course, if you have ever read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp you are familiar with the concept of counting the gifts in life.  Sometimes those gifts are hard.  As I have been considering the past year, I kept thinking of the Centurion and Jesus.  I kept thinking of what it would be like to have Jesus MARVEL at me.  But I also began to realize that not only do I need to practice an attitude of thankfulness for ALL things, I need to MARVEL at the world around me.  We moved to KY in April and I have never seen such beautiful skies.  Almost every day, I have the opportunity to MARVEL at what the Lord is doing.

marvel-word2017

So in 2017, I am going to work hard to find things that fill me with wonder…things that astonish me (in a good way)…things that I can truly admire.  I have a page in my planner dedicated to the word MARVEL.  As I find these things, I am going to make a list.  I’ll most likely add them to our 2017 Thankful board too.

I’d love to hear in the comments if you have a word for 2017.

Happy New Year! and Joy to You!!


 

 

Contentment ~ A 31 Day Post (day 27)

31encouragment

Back on Day 16 of this series, I quoted missionary Jim Elliot.  It’s my favorite quote in relation to ministry because it reminds me that I need to be 100% present wherever God has me.  I ran across another quote by Mr. Elliot that hit me hard.   It reminded me of an exercise that a dear friend and his wife challenged my husband and I to do just after graduating from seminary.

longing-slay-living

After my husband graduated, we were wondering what God would do with us next.  He was serving at a small church at the time.  We loved…and I do mean LOVED…the people there.  We really didn’t want to leave but wanted to be sure that we were in God’s will.  And, I can admit now that I wondered about full time ministry.  Surely God didn’t take us 7-1/2 hours from family for the previous 4 years to only serve part time.  I had to repent on that one.  And I did.  But I still had a longing to be closer to our immediate family.

Back to our friends.  He was and still is a pastor in a nearby city to where we were living.  He and his wife are precious friends that listened and counseled us on ministry, parenting, and more.  We were discussing our “what’s next?” with them and he challenged us to really search and study what God has to say about contentment.  I didn’t really want to do this because, well, I didn’t want to find out that my heart’s attitude was just flat out wrong.

But you see, as I studied, I learned that my longing even just to search for what might be next was definitely slaying my appetite to live life to the fullest.  I was missing out on things and people that God had right in front of me.

Paul has a little bit to say about being content in the New Testament.  In Philippians 4:11, he says:  “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

We were not in need.  We lived in a perfectly lovely house, were serving a wonderful congregation of people, had awesome friends,…you get the idea.  Our situation was good.  And yet, I was not content.  Timothy says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain,  for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”  ~ 1 Timothy 6:6 – 8 

I had food and clothing, and the things I listed above.  When studying this verse on contentment, I had to really look at my personal walk with the Lord.  I had to evaluate if my attitudes were in fact godly.  And I had to consider how my attitudes (and actions) were perceived by and/or effected others.

Y’all, it’s hard to take that look at yourself.  But I did it!  And you know what, the Lord allowed me to see all the reasons He had given me to be perfectly content exactly where I was.

Even though this didn’t apply to that time in my life, I would be amiss if I didn’t share Paul’s writing in Corinthians on contentment.  2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  Paul is such an amazing example of being content.  He understood that our life, changed by Christ, didn’t always mean we would walk an easy path.  I’m beginning to feel like a broken record during this series but then again, I feel like I can’t be reminded enough that God will never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5 ~ another contentment verse.)

Life happens!  We can’t avoid it.  Not the bad.  And not the good ~ of course, we don’t want to avoid the good.  Times are tough.  I could run a tangent on the state of our country but I vowed to never walk the political road here so I won’t.  But there are issues that can cause any of us to loose sleep.  Here’s the thing:  God loves us and calls us to Himself.  He asks us to follow Him in obedience.  Sometimes He asks us to do hard things.  He always asks us to trust Him and to be content in Him and His plan.

Until tomorrow…

Joy to You!


Measuring My Faith ~ A 31 Day Post (day 25)

31encouragment

What is FAITH?

If you look in the dictionary to discover what it is, you will find things like:

confidence or trust in a person or thing…..belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion…..the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.

The word FAITH appears in the English Standard Version of the Bible 475 times.  It’s important.  We learn that in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School when we are very young.  We know that God is FAITHful to us.  And we know that part of being a follower of Christ means that we are FAITHful to God.

But how do I measure up?  This 31 day series has been an outpouring of my heart sharing things I’ve learned in my walk with the Lord over the years.   Over the last year, I’ve learned that sometimes my FAITH is not as strong as I know it should be.  Oh, I can talk the talk.  But sometimes when it’s just me and God, I’m have to admit that my FAITH waivers.  I doubt and so I tell Him so.  I let Him know that I just don’t understand.

I love the devotions found in My Utmost for His Highest.  Over the past year, I wrote down a few excerpts from the book.  Take a look at what Oswald Chambers had to say about FAITH.

..the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven to us as trustworthy in our own minds…Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him – a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.”  The highest and greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is – “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.” (Job 13:15)

Let me clarify that I do not feel “slain” by any means.  But I do have things that have crossed the journey I am on that are just hard to swallow.  I’ve thought a good bit about Chambers’ statement, “…God’s character must be proven to us as trustworthy in our own minds…”  Why, when we know so much about God, would we need His character proven to us?  And more importantly, why do we need it proven over and over again?  It’s like we get it, and understand it, but once we are through one obstacle we need that proof all over again when the next thing comes.  Being reminded 100, or more, ways that God is FAITHful should be enough.   Kind of reminds me of the children of Israel!

I’ve mentioned the website Love God Greatly before in my writing.  In one of the studies that I did through their site, I came across the statement, “How we act reveals what we think about God…”  It’s true.  If the gospel has changed our hearts and minds…if we believe that God is who He says that He is…if we have confessed that we have FAITH in Him…then our actions should reveal that. 

I titled this post “Measuring My Faith”  because I’ve been really looking at and thinking about it a lot lately.  I have FAITH.  It’s part of the core of my being.  But is it seen in and through me by those around me?  I had a Sunday School teacher once that said, “you may be the only Jesus that others see.” (I’m not sure who originally coined the phrase.)  Though I didn’t fully understand that in the 4th or 5th grade, today, I do.  My faith, and how I live it out, reveals who God is to me.  That’s in good times and bad.

How about you?

Until tomorrow…

Joy to You!


 

 

Days..Places..Circumstances: A 31 Day Post (day 5)

31encouragment

Do you ever ask “WHY?”

Why did this or that happen? … Why is that person stricken with an illness…that may take their life? … Why doesn’t this person or that person like me? … Why did God provide this job over that job? … Why live in this city instead of that city?

You get the idea!  And probably have your own list of WHY’s.  We all do.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I wrote on Sunday…how God plans for us. My friend “D” was telling me once about a situation that they were dealing with.  She had been talking to her aunt about it and her aunt said something very profound,

if we knew the (His) plan, we’d mess it up.

“D” went on to say that, in retrospect, she knew her aunt was right! She shared that she had wanted to help God out.

“Imagine that?”, she said. “Us feeling the need to help God!”  Then she reminded me that our Heavenly Father loves us and provide the best…HIS BEST…even when we doubt!  Isn’t that good news.

Earlier this year, I read Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson.  In the book, Sally delves into what it means to live intentionally.  She talks of bringing order to chaos – and couldn’t we all use some order!  She shares her own life experiences in a way to help the reader see that God is, in fact, in control.  My favorite quote in the book is this:

day-place-circumstances

No matter what we are going through.  No matter where we are.  God is in control!  That is a blessing and just pure refreshment to my soul.  And even better news is that I can’t mess it up!!

So what do I need to do in the midst of difficult days, OR while perched in difficult places, OR knee-deep in difficult circumstances?

I trust.  Isaiah 26:3 is a favorite verse.  You may know it, but I just have to share because someone surely needs this encouragement from the Lord.

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts You.

Trusting is hard.  Especially when nothing seems to be going right.  I have to remember that it might not be going “right” in my mind, but God doesn’t goof.  He’s got it!  No matter how big or small “it” is.

Do you know that things not going our way are sometimes the best places to see the goodness and mercy of the Lord?  Writer and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa Terkeurst,  says “Sometimes our greatest disappointments today will set us up for God’s greatest appointments tomorrow.”

Profound words.  Valuable words.

Let me clarify that I’m not in any way disappointed with the path that God has taken me on.  I’ve been surprised because…well, I had my life planned and…..well, He had other plans.  There have been things that have happened over the years that were disappointing but ultimately, I can see God’s hand.  Sometimes it’s hindsight – which I can testify really is 20/20!

Until tomorrow…

Joy to You!