Try ~ A Five Minute Friday Post

It’s Friday again!  Time just seems to fly by, especially in the summer.

Today is the day that I join together with other bloggers 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 ……And GO……

When I think of the word “try”, I think of my mom asking me to taste a different vegetable or food.   I wasn’t brave growing up.  As a matter of fact, I’m still not very brave when it comes to new things.

I’m a word nerd so I really wanted to know how the dictionary defines “try”.  There are two that stuck out to me:

to attempt to do or accomplish

to endeavor to evaluate by experiment or experience

The first goes with my mom wanting me to taste cabbage or liver ~ yuck!  The second took my heart and mind to one of the Psalms that I learned years ago.  Psalm 139:23 says,

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

This verse has been included in many of my prayers over the years.  When I am upset or hurt…when I am nervous or anxious…when I want to head in a new direction, I pray these verses.  I ask the Lord to search me, to “try” me so that in the end I know that whatever I am headed into is with the right heart and motive.

STOP (As usual, I have a little more to say)

Whether “trying” laser tag for the first time or “trying” to start a prayer group at my church, I believe that the Lord wants us to “try” new things with the end result being to bring glory to Him.  I also know that there is another definition of the word that means “to test”.  Yes, we are tested sometimes by the Lord.  Not knowing that today’s word would be “try”, I wrote about being refined earlier in the week.  That kind of being “tried” leads to refinement.  It’s all necessary.  The new stuff and the hard stuff.  It’s not always fun but can always be glorifying to God.

Until next week…

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 “TRY”.

Refined

Think back to when you gave your heart and life to Christ.  Did you think that it would be easy?  I was 7.  I hadn’t really known struggle or hardship.  At least not what REAL struggle and hardship is.  I sort of floated through life and honestly, I didn’t even understand what it meant to truly live the Christian life.
Fast forward to college and it was more of the same.  School was hard; I have to really study to make good grades.  I was away from home for the first time and I knew no one at my college when I first got there.  I had my heart broken for the first time, both of my grandmothers passed away my Senior year, and time management was hard.  I thought, in my early 20s brain, that these things must be what people meant when they said that life would be difficult sometimes.  After college, the level of difficulty in life waxed and waned.  There was job loss, my father’s cancer and death, more job loss, financial pressures….
You get the idea!  It really never seems to end.  I have a precious friend who says the difficulties in life are just sanctification and refining.  Since I’m 40+ years into my walk with Christ, I know that she is right.
And the fact that scripture tells us that He refines us also confirms it.  In Jeremiah 9: 7, the Lord says:

“Behold, I will refine them and test them, …”

And in Zechariah 13:9 we find these words from the Lord:

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

Here’s the good news.  The result of this “refining” is shared with us in Malachi 3:3 where it is said that those who are refined “will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.”  I love that.  He refines me and out of it comes righteousness in my life that I can offer back to him.

I have no idea the amount of refinement that needs to be done in my life.  But I trust that the Lord knows exactly what I need.  I am being pleasantly surprised that in the testing, in the refining, I find myself a little stronger…a little more brave.  I know that it is His steadfast love holding me up…giving me courage.  Such a blessing!

Sometimes it’s the little refinements that make the most impact.  That might seem crazy but it has proven to be true in my life.  As mentioned in my last post, life in our house is changing.  This changing is proving to be a refining process for me.  I pray that I can offer praise to the Lord for the difficulties as well as the victories as we go.

Until next time.

Joy to You!

ALSO:  As I am tweaking the look and feel of my site, some things are a little odd.  Please bear with me as I am editing and adjusting in preparation to change the look of my blog in the near future.  Thank you in advance.

Community ~ It’s What Its All About

I’ve been sharing in this little corner of the internet since October of 2011.  I started this blog for me.  Seems kind of selfish, doesn’t it?  My intentions were not selfish.  I wanted a place to journal our homeschool and ministry journey.  I didn’t really expect people to read it.  I mean, I’m not a professional.  I just love to put my thoughts down.

When I first started, I mainly wrote about our homeschooling.  I remember hearing about “linking up” to a post somewhere else in the internet where others could see my link, go to my blog, and read about us.  I thought it was pretty cool.  And so, I “linked up.”

Over the next few years, I blogged about homeschooling and begin to share about our family, ministry, and the things that the Lord lays on my heart to share.  And then, in 2014, I signed up to be a part of the Write 31 Days challenge.  Through that challenge, for 3 years now, I became part of a beautiful thing.

community

So what is community?

A society of people, having….common interests…

This is part of the official definition, and it is correct, but there is so much more to it!  In my opinion.

For me, community is one of the reasons God created it.  A better word for it might be fellowship.  We were created to be together.  To live life together.  To love and support one another.  To laugh and cry together.  To hold each other accountable.

You get the idea.

Being in the Write 31 Day community has been such a sweet time for me.  We even have a Facebook “community” for those of us who participate in the 31 day challenge.  We share stuff.  We pray for each other.  We are cheerleaders for each other – in the good and the bad.

Right now, I’d like to cheer on one of my fellow 31 Day community friends.    This is my friend Susan.

susan

Susan is a writer with a passion for HOPE.  She has a new 40 day devotional for the Lent Season.

40-days-lent-kindle_cover

While I have not had the pleasure yet to go through all 40 days of Susan’s Lent devotional, I have had the privilege of reading an excerpt and it is just beautiful and thought provoking.   If you are looking for insight into “the people, places and events of the Passion,” I encourage you to grab hold of Susan’s book and come to know more about our Lord and Savior and the journey He walked to the cross.  You can purchase the book through Amazon HERE.

Before I go, I’d love to share a little more about Susan with you….

Susan is Mom to three adult children, Mimzy to two fantastic grands, and Other Mom to several others!  Today, she enjoys blogging, writing short devotions and short stories from her home in the Appalachian Mountain Range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern North Carolina, which she shares with her husband of thirty-plus years, Lowell, and their beloved dog, Sam.  

She can be found musing several times a week at hopehearthome.com

Her life purpose: “That I may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” ~ Colossians 1:10

Her life vision: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth.” ~ 3 John 4

So this thing called “community”  is something special to me.  The Write 31 Days community is not the only one I am a part of.  I live in community every day with those in my hometown…those in my church…those that I know through homeschooling….ETC.  The Lord created us to fellowship and do life together.  I pray that you are as blessed as I am with beautiful community.  With them you have something special!

Until next time…

Joy to You!

 

Unabated Vigor ~ Not Your Typical Valentine’s Post

During my morning quiet time with the Lord, for a few months now, I’ve been camping out in the Old Testament.   First I was in Deuteronomy and now I am in Joshua.  These two books are full of the confirmation that we have a promise keeping God.  I love Deuteronomy 37 where Moses goes “from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, …opposite Jericho.” (Deut. 34:1) and the Lord shows him all the land that He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

In verse 4, the Lord tells Moses that he will not enter this promised land.  And in verse 5, Moses died.  I wish I could remember the first time I learned that Moses didn’t make it to the promised land.  I imagine that I probably felt disappointment for him.  I mean, he’s the one that led the people for all. those. years.  He’s the one that faced Pharaoh.   He’s the one that was chosen to write the 10 Commandments on tablets of stone.  To me, Moses is pretty special.  So I wonder, was he disappointed that he wouldn’t reap the benefit of his efforts?

Verse 7 actually gives a little clue to how Moses reacted to not making it to the promised land:

deut34_7

Being the word nerd that I am, I wanted to be sure that I understood the meaning of “unabated.”   According to dictionary.com, it means:

with undiminished force, power, or vigor

That led me to being double sure I knew what “vigor” means.  Again, according to dictionary.com, vigor is:

active strength or force…healthy physical or mental energy or power; vitality…energetic activity; energy; intensity

So here I am, reading about Moses not reaping the benefits of his proverbial sowing.  AND THEN God’s Word tells us that Moses died with power, active strength, force, vitality, intensity.  He died knowing that he had received his inheritance.  And I personally think he was probably very satisfied.

This has me wondering if I would be?  My human, and sinful, nature desires a reward when I’ve worked hard.  I’m not one for fanfare but a subtle pat on the back goes along way with me.  I venture to say that there’s a little of that feeling in all of us.

Anyway, what does all this have to do with Valentine’s Day?  Hang with me – please – I promise I’m getting there.

As I have been studying Joshua, I have marveled (my word of the year) at the keeping of God’s promises.  He is ever faithful!  He was to His children as the crossed the Red Sea, the dessert, took Jericho, and more.  And He is faithful to us today.  Once we get to Joshua 22, the land that God promised to Abraham has been divided among the tribes – the promise fulfilled – and the people were settling in.  Challenges still arose and that’s not really that surprising considering all the grumbling in the desert.

One of the verses I underlined in chapter 22 is verse 5.  Joshua gives these instructions to the Israelite’s as they settle in:

joshua22_5

Joshua could’ve just said, “be like Moses.”  But he spelled it out.  He reminded them of the commandments.  He reminded them to walk…and keep…and cling…and serve….with ALL their heart and soul.  These qualities – to me are a beautiful explanation of the “unabated vigor” that Moses had.

I often cruise along in my Christian walk.  I wax and wane in my Bible reading and prayer time.  But this!  This is how I want to be.

So as Valentine’s Day comes to a close, I am just plain blessed.  God gave me the most wonderful man to be my husband.  We’re into our 23rd year of Valentine’s days (22 of those married).  And we have 2 beautiful children.  The stores are full of cards and flowers and balloons.  Facebook and Instagram are full of Valentine wishes and dates and gifts.  In our house, every day is full of love that is just plain special.  Some years we pull out all the stops for Valentine’s Day.  Some years we don’t.  This year, we chose to celebrate as a family.  And I’m really good with that.  But I began Valentine’s Day reading Joshua 22:5.  I began my day reminded of the love that I am to have for my Heavenly Father and the promises that He still keeps today for me.

So this isn’t a typical train of thought for Valentine’s Day but it’s what the Lord laid on my heart.

I hope that you had a wonderful day with your special someone. And I pray that every day you love the Lord with “unbated vigor.”

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!!


 

 

He’s In Our Midst

My 31 Days of Encouragement from the Lord series is over.  And I’ve had a little break.  I’m ready to see what the Lord would have me share here in my little corner of the internet.  A few years back, I did what I affectionately called “Monday Meditations”.  These were lessons I learned during the sermon on Sunday, verses the Lord had brought me to during my quiet time, or simply things I had on my heart.  I’m giving them a go again.  I’d love to hear what the Lord has taught you on Sunday or the previous week.

Mon_meditations_revdI’ve been working my way through Psalms for some time now.  My process is to read the passage, list attributes of God that are mentioned, write down verses that stand out, and then I pray those verses back to the Lord.  One morning last week, I was in Psalm 74.  The Psalmist is asking the Lord to remember His people and then he describes destruction of God’s sanctuary.  He speaks of the people of God being treated badly.  He pleads for God to destroy the enemy that is reeking havoc on the temple.  Then in verse 12, he says:

Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

I had to read that one again.  I’m burdened by so much that goes on in our world today.  I don’t want to list events or details but the bottom line is that there is much to be concerned about.  And I certainly don’t want to go down the political road, but our nation needs prayer right now for the election tomorrow.  Psalm 74:12 gave me comfort.  A reminder that He is still on His throne…in control.  He calls us to Him.  We just have to answer.  He compels us to pray.  We just have to obey.

A few weeks ago, one of the high schools in our town held a “Fields of Faith” event.  It was sponsored by the school’s FCA group.  They held it on a Wednesday night and invited all churches to bring their youth there for service that night.  There were over 250 kids, and a handful of adults, on the field that night.  I listened to high school students lead worship and share their testimony about who God is in their life.  It was very encouraging.  I felt the presence of the Lord on the field that night.  I left there wondering what would happen if these kids really stood up for their faith.  What difference would it make in our city, county, state?

Later that day, I saw a video come across Facebook.  I love the song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman.  This video is Matt and his band playing in Times Square.  I was brought to tears watching thousands of people worship the Lord.  I can only imagine that the presence of the Lord was felt right there, in the middle of Times Square.

As I’ve thought about both scenes for a few days, I’ve considered that I don’t give enough consideration to Him being in my midst all the time.  Not just in the walls of the church.  Not just at a concert.  Not just on a football field when teenagers are praising the Lord.  And not even in Times Square.  He’s with me all the time.  I want everything in my life to be based on being in the presence of the Lord.

How about you?  I’d love to hear how you have experienced the presence of the Lord in your life?

In the mean time…

Joy to You!


 

Bracelets and Flamingos ~ A 31 Day Post (days 28 & 29)

I’ve spent the last 27 days writing about the great encouragement that I received over the years from scripture, quotes, Facebook posts, texts, emails, etc., etc.  Back in April of this year, we packed our home and hugged our friends goodbye.  Before we left, I received 2 gifts that have continued to bring me encouragement on a daily basis.  My friend M gave me flamingos. Not the stick in the ground kind but rather the sun powered kind.  Their wings flap when they’ve been in the light for awhile.  She also bought herself a set.  And a few sets for me to share with others. {smile}

flamingos

Her reason?  As a prayer reminder.  She said that when she sees the flamingos, she will pray for the new ministry that we are in.  AND when I look at them, in turn, I will pray for their family.  Pretty good trade if you ask me.  I shared the wealth and gave flamingo sets to several sweet friends.

The other gift I received was from 4 ladies in our homeschool group.

bracelets

These bracelets are now among my favorite accessory for a few reasons.  One – I just love them.  Two – I adore the friends that gave them to me.   I use them as a prayer reminder too.  When I wear them, I think of my friends and say a prayer for them.  Now, I’ll admit that I don’t do this all the time but I do frequently.

I share these because I am acutely aware of how important friendship is.  Once you leave good friends behind, you really have an opportunity to see the blessing of those friends.    Charles Haddon Spurgeon had this to say about friendship:

Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life.  Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend.

There is so much truth in Spurgeon’s words.  I know that the difficult times of my life have been more bearable with the friends that God has blessed me with.

One of the most beautiful accounts in the Bible is the friendship of David and Jonathan.  If you’re not familiar with it, take some time and read 1st and 2nd Samuel.  These two books tell us of the deep friendship between them and how it changed their lives.

The blessing of friendship is perhaps one of the greatest gifts that Lord can give.  I’m guilty of sometimes taking my friends for granted.  Or shutting them out when I think that they don’t need to be bothered with my junk.  But what I always discover is that they want to walk the easy and hard roads with me.

Because of our time in ministry and living in several different places, I am blessed to have friends all over the place.  My life is forever changed by the precious women that God has placed in my life.  I pray that you are experiencing that blessing too!

Until tomorrow…

Joy to You!


 

  

31encouragment

Thanks for joining me on this 31 day journey.