No! Not My Coupon Folder…Beth Farley

No! Not My Coupon Folder!!!securedownload-4

A few weeks before I moved to Texas my daughter gave me a crash course on extreme couponing. I took notes, clipped my coupons, browsed the web sites and became hooked. I didn’t think I’d become a “stockpiler” but guess what? I am. I am unemployed with very little means of money so this is a way of saving, BIG TIME. I only stock pile on things that we can use. Anything beyond that boundary is donated to the food pantry down the road.

I had an unsettling day this week. I was so distracted by the chatter in my head. I couldn’t settle down to my devotions or Bible reading time. I was bopping all over the house, trying to keep busy from my feelings. Have you ever been there?

There was one thing though that was pulling me towards sitting at the table; it was my desire to do my coupon clipping. I made a cup of coffee, started clipping and sorting and stacking. I began to feel peaceful and content.

Once this blissful task was done, which by the way, takes quite a bit of time, I went over to my desk to get my purple coupon folder only to find it wasn’t there. I went out to my car and checked under the seats, in the trunk and glove compartment. I retraced my steps for at least 45 minutes. My body was gripped with frustration and anxiety. I was frantically looking for my purple folder. All of the Sunday coupons were in that folder. I had not even redeemed half of them yet. I think I might have even spewed a few unnecessary words while in my crazy attempt at finding the folder.

Plopping on the couch and feeling deflated, I realized that I had been so engulfed in the tantalizing coupon folder that I kinda felt ashamed of my behavior. I had not done my devotions. I had not looked at my Bible. I had not prayed nor done any writing which God had called me to do. Why hadn’t I been as passionate about spending time with God this day as I had been about trying to find my coupon folder?

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been so engulfed in something that you just can’t wait to dig in? You know, the Sunday football game, your golf game, your pedicure, shopping or craft project; these are all great things and God wants us to enjoy them but we all know as Christian we need to find the balance.

John 10:10…A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. HCSB

One of the greatest things about being human is our tenacity. Life goes on. Sometimes worse for the wear, sometimes better for our efforts, but it always goes on. God takes these things, these daily distractions and files them under the category of “GRACE”.

We are human; He is ALL. We make mistakes; He fixes them. We get distracted; He pulls us closer.

There are times where you just have to drop the whole thing and start again. The purple folder is still missing but today I’m writing. Today I’ve spent time with Him and today…I set out for a new folder….

Psalm 96:1
Sing a new song to the LORD Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

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Coffee Shop Freak

One thing I miss about where I lived is the Starbucks across the street, the Barnes & Noble around the corner, and the Caribou House two blocks down, oh yea and the Panera that I often walked to. I am a coffee house freak. I love to unwind and hit the coffee shops to write. I love to write at home too but there is something about “people watching” that inspires me.

I finally found a coffee shop within just about five minutes from the house. It’s called The Daily Brew. I ordered a plain cup of coffee, read my magazines and looked at their newspaper stand. There were several free hand out papers for people who are new to the area. That’s me; new to the area!

Feeling a little down while sipping my coffee, I opened up one of the freebee papers. Fumbling through the many adds for either churches, spiritual guides and Christian businesses I stumbled upon the page that talked about God’s Mighty Names. 
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I came to Houston for many reasons, which I would rather not discuss at this time but one was to find my relationship with Christ. I don’t want to be religious but rather engaged in a relationship with Christ. I don’t want to focus on rules, the style or the performance of church. I want to be in a church that puts me in God’s presence. I want to be fixated on the presence, willingly offering what I have to offer, bond with not only the internal but external and thirst for more.

Although I have been writing about Christian matters over the last two years, I still hunger for more. I love being in the hungry mode because then I know I’m on the right track.

I want to get so secure in my walk that I am able to lean on the entire personality of God with absolute trust. I want to have confidence in His power and wisdom.

How about you? What are you searching for? Are you looking for a church home? Are you looking for a quiet retreat with Him? I’d love to hear about what you’re longing for.

I really like my new coffee-shop hang out. I love that it is filled with good Christian literature and that I stepped into it today as it not only fed my need for a caffein fix, but it fed my soul.

John 14:6…Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: No one comes to me but except through the Father. K

At the Cross: by Beth Farley

 

 

cross

Do you eve sit back and wonder what in the world God is trying to say to you? What lesson are you supposed to glean from this particular time of your life? I admit it; I do. When I start to think about situations I’ve been through or am currently trudging through, I have to try to put it all into perspective, think positive and remember what Christ did for me on the cross. What does the cross mean to you?

Every Christian believer, it seems, has at least a basic understanding of the Cross. We know that the work of Jesus on Calvary is the bridge to God. But many of us tend to forget that a relationship with God without the cross is impossible, for without the shedding of Christ’s blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

The Cross of Christ is powerful. Just as eternal salvation can’t happen without the Cross, daily salvation can’t happen without it either. The Cross is not just a Biblical Story or an ornamental wall hanging. But rather, the Cross is God’s wonderful plan for our eternity and it is also His plan for a happy life for each believer.

Paul wrote in1Corinthians 1:18:
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. HCSB

The Cross has the power to take us through any situation we are facing.

Paul’s first letter to the Christians in the Greek City of Corinth was written to people who had miserable relationships going on. There was no peace for them and much pain. Paul said this:

When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. For I didn’t think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1Corinthians 2:1-2 HCSB

We like Paul, sometimes stumble through our day lacking speech or wisdom, maybe even direction and knowledge. There is one thing though that we can be confident in is that Christ was nailed to that cross for us. Only the Cross can bring us together with God. Only the Cross can bring us forgiveness and peace.
What is it that you need to bring to the cross? What is it that you already brought to the cross only to take it back again? I can’t help but close my eyes and think of the chorus to At The Cross.

At the cross, at the cross,
Where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away -
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day. 

Killing a Wasp with Oven Cleaner…Beth Farley

Killing a Wasp with Oven Cleaner

I was gripped with fear! With a cup of coffee in hand, I settled down on the couch to sink into my journal. I was all curled up in my favorite spot when something on the curtain caught my eye. What was it? The next half hour became one of the scariest moments I’ve experienced here, in this new place I now call home.

Have you ever been so gripped with fear that you began to panic? I have many times and this was no exception. There it was, a huge WASP hanging on the curtain. I don’t like bees, wasps or hornets because the few times I’ve been bitten or stung, I’ve had a reaction.

As I stepped toward the window, I knew I needed to get this wasp out. With a Quick faithful prayer, “Lord help me” I dashed to the kitchen sink, reached under and grabbed the can with the yellow cap. I furiously popped off the cap, and trembled towards my prey. I began to spray and the loud buzzing bugger wouldn’t die; it held on to the fabric. I then began to spray like a firefighter wrestling with a whopper of a fire. Finally, after a massive drenching, the wasp fell to the floor. Once I removed the killer wasp, I replaced the yellow cap onto the can only to notice that I just had annihilated the wasp with OVEN CLEANER!securedownload-3

1Sam 17: 45
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied”. (NIV)

Once everything was all cleaned up, I sat down and thought about the story of David and Goliath. When Goliath began closing in to attack, David ran to meet the giant head on. As he ran, he reached into his shepherd’s bag and took out a stone, placed it in his sling, and hurled it at the giant hitting him directly in the forehead. He used a stone, I used a can of oven cleaner. The moral of the story is that God was with us.

God rescued me from a very dangerous sting. Even thought I feared the wasp who had become my Goliath, I jumped into action with faith.

What is your Goliath that you are facing?

Psalm 121:2-4
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven & earth.
He will not let your foot slip
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. (NIV)

What assurance do you find in these words regarding God’s care for you?

God in the Nail Salon…by Beth Farley

nails

While tootling around this new huge city that I live in, I decided to go treat myself to a pedicure. Now, I don’t normally throw money around like that but let me tell ya, these feet were killing me and looking pretty bad.

I had been on my tired worn out feet for weeks non stop. With packing and loading boxes and then unpacking and putting things in their proper place; I’ve been overdoing it and my legs and feet were in chronic pain.

Not sure of where to go, I found the closest salon, which was right around the corner from the house, and parked myself down. First of all, the salon was beautiful as well as incredibly clean. I’ve been to some nail salons where it looked dirty and unsanitary, but this one was very clean and smelled delightful. I began to panic about how much it would cost though.

They called me back, made the temperature just right, turned on the massage chair and I began to relax. At that point it could have cost $100.00 and I wouldn’t have cared; Bring it on! I was just relaxing in this threshold of pure bliss as I received my hot stone foot massage.

Twenty minutes into my wonderful pedi, a woman sat next to me and we began to visit. She was so kind and very knowledgeable about the area. Come to find out she lives just a few block away. Who would have thought?

Sometimes God shows up in the strangest places or at times when we least expect Him to. God was spending time with us in the nail salon.

This woman told me about the neighborhood pool, the community face book page and where the churches are. Yes, A Christian! God had brought a Christian to the nail salon and she even gave me her name and contact information. That is an awesome God!!!

Not only did God bring a Christian to the nail salon who was willing to give me her contact information, but pedi package I chose came with an unexpected shoulder rub. What? Yes, while my feet were drying under the light, my shoulders were rubbed. All for $32.00! I let my head hang and repeatably thanked God for the pleasurable experience.

I will thank the Lord because He is just;
I will sing praises to the name of the Lord Most High.
Psalm 7:17 NLT

Where have you seen God show up unexpectedly? We’d love to hear your story.

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Bring on the Hospitality…by BethFarley

 

cookies

I offered to stay home today, (son’s house) because a new washer & dryer was being delivered. I found this to be a perfect time to do some writing. After starting on a draft to an article, there was a knock at the front door.

It was the delivery man. He said to me, “I am here to pick up your refrigerator.” With jaw dropping and eyes open wide, I said, “What?” He looked at me very serious and then cracked a smile. “I’m just kidding.” He proceeded to visit with me a little bit then got down to business. He unloaded the washer and dryer and hooked them up. When he was finished, I signed the paperwork and he was back to his truck and down the road.

After starting some laundry in the new washer, just about the time my thoughts for my article were coming together there was another ring of the doorbell. Being in a new location and no peek hole in the door I was hesitant to open the door but it rang again. I nervously made my way to the door, cautiously opened it just a crack only to find biggest smile ever and a plate of cookies on the other side.

Hospitality is a lost art. I remember the days when new people would move in and I did the same thing. I either brought them a baked good or just went over to introduce myself. Not too many people have the time or perform this lost art or rather MAKE the time to welcome someone new into their neighborhood.As Christians aren’t we supposed to be hospitable?

Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
1 Peter 4:9…HCSB

The smile behind the door with the homemade cookies stayed for a while and shared some conversation with me. She was the nicest person and I am very thankful for her true kindness. She gave me her phone # just in case. She gave me some tips about the community and offered to go with me to my first kidney appointment in Texas. Now that’s hospitality!

For my friends back home, thank you for praying for God to bring a friend to my doorstep; He literally delivered

Acceptance Chatter by Beth Farley

 

As I entered into a relationship several years ago, I thought my life would be blue skies; only filled with puffy, marshmallow clouds. I thought I would float right into my happily ever-after. Sounds naive, I know; but to my broken heart and body, this was my dream, it’s what I was striving for.

What I didn’t know about this imaginary picturesque dream was that I had tried to stay atop of everything; coasting above all of the muck. Eventually it overtook me and my white marshmallow clouds turned into black thunderous storms constantly bringing me turbulence. I found myself at the age of 52 in one of the greatest storms of my life.

At the first two months my focus on being good and following the rules worked for me. I received high fives and hugs. Once the curtains were hung, the non-acceptance began. I started to slowly spiral into an emotional pit.crying-woman1

Continual years of seeking approval I found that I was defining myself on what others thought of me. Was I saying the right thing? Was I wearing the right thing? Was I being helpful enough or being too helpful? The acceptance chatter was non-stop in my head.

Instead of drawing closer to Jesus, I allowed others to pull me away. I no longer thought about pleasing God but rather pleasing others. This though was not their fault; it was mine. I chose to put God to the side so that I could accomplish my acceptance mission.

I now find myself in a new chapter of my life. I have moved away from the negative and am trying to focus on the positive. I am taking MUCH quiet time to be with me and to be with God. I am finding my relationship with God to be so much more tender and loving because He didn’t give up on me.

God is love and He is alive. I may have been dying to Him but He remained alive in me. I just couldn’t find Him; BUT, He found me. You cannot fathom the depths of His love for us, nor can you imagine anything so insurmountable that He is not bigger still. Here’s the best part that I’m finding; He doesn’t change as I move closer to Him; my perspective changes and I see something I didn’t see before.

As we move closer to the Lord at any given time in our lives, He will show you new things about himself, his character, his love, his provision and protection.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps!