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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Blue Meditation

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I’ve been in the hospital for about five days now. I’ve been here assisting with decision-making, supporting family members and generating laughter into a sometimes stressful situation.

I am now very familiar with this hospital. I know where all of the coffee stations are, the bathrooms are, and where the cell-service hot spots are.

I have been walking the same route every day; down one hall, over to the next hall, down two flights of stairs and back up. I walk it several times a day.

Yesterday, for some reason, I chose to walk a different path. Not sure of where I was, I glanced over to my right and saw a sign that read, “Meditation Room”.

Trying to be discrete, I quietly peered into the room. I looked around at the cobalt and aqua blue glass. The pieces were crafted into intricate patterns. It was breathtaking. The other wall was made of neutral shades of stone and wood. Below the stone stood a peaceful bird, boldly standing on a rock.                                                                                         FullSizeRender-24

As I sat I became aware of the sound of calming waters being piped into the room. It sounded like a babbling brook cascading over the rocks. I closed my eyes, and I pictured myself standing alongside the bird. Calmness and tranquility flowed through my body. I became unaware that my outside world was a bone-chilling, wind-gusting below-zero-day. I had also forgotten as to why I was there.I stayed in the present moment for much more than a moment. I didn’t allow my mind to wander to the numerous questions I had no answers to. I didn’t worry about my relationships, my career path or my broken heart. I didn’t worry about my health or the health of others.  I stayed in the NOW.

I think everyone should invest in the practice of daily meditation time. If I were able to design my own home, I would construct a  small meditation nook.

As Christians I ask, are we supposed to stay in the now? Are we supposed to meditate? Some say that meditation is not the right thing to do; meaning you are not supposed to rid your mind of your blessings or your thoughts of the heavenly Father.

Some Christians state that when we meditate, we are creating empty space and with that we may be allowing Demons to enter; Demons like empty spaces because they’re easier to fill. And…is meditating the same as worshiping a false god? I don’t think as Christians we should be that dogmatic on the subject. There are indeed gray areas and ultimately, the question of meditation is one that you will have to decide and only decide between you and God.

The benefactors of meditation are good.

  • Meditation helps us not to worry about what is going to happen tomorrow. Scripture also instructs us not to worry about tomorrow…(Matthew 6:34)
  • Meditation helps us to keep our body and mind well. Scripture instructs us to keep our bodies as a holy temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • Meditation helps us to stay positive. Scripture tells us to be positive. (Proverbs 17:22)
  • Meditation helps us remain cheerful. Scripture instructs us on how to be cheerful.(Ecclesiastes 3:12)
  • Meditation helps us be a better whole person. Scripture instructs us on how to be a whole person. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Meditation helps us to remember our blessings. Scripture instructs us to count our blessings. (Psalm 118:1-18)

In my opinion, my kind of meditation is good. It allows me to be positive, keep cheerful, focus on being a better whole person and more importantly it helps me to place uncontrollable situations into their proper place. When I settle myself down to meditate, I am able to re-count all of my blessings.

What do you think about meditation?

Where are your thoughts?

Do you meditate and if so, how?

Enough is Enough!

When is it Enough?
As I think about the word enough, I ponder the significance of it in my life. Enough…What do I think about that word? What do you think about when you say enough? Who determines when it’s enough?

I’m fed up! I’ve devoted enough time towards some relationships and circumstances in my life. I’ve devoted enough time to…Well, I really don’t know if I have, come to think about it. Do I have that control? Do we have that control to decided when enough is enough?

Enough… I can’t stop exercising. I can’t stop my spiritual practices. I can’t stop loving my children and family, church and community. I can’t stop protecting the earth nor stop obeying the law.

Enough… I can say enough when something is not acceptable. I can say enough when you’re hurting me! I can say enough to your rules and religion.

When its time for me to walk away from a situation, I now walk away from it. Even if the situation is via phone call, texting or other social media. That’s when I shut down and allow my mind, my body, and my conscience to feel okay with enough!

I think about the obedient man, named Moses. He led the Israelites to the Promise Land. Do you think he ever said enough is enough God? I know the Israelites did! How many times did they not believe that there was even a Promise Land? Moses willingly gave up a luxurious life as a price to live among his own people as a slave (Hebrews 11:24-25) to encourage them. But he knew that their afflictions were not enough.

Moses spoke to the people all that God had given him to speak. The people needed to be reminded of their conduct that led them to their tedious wanderings and strengthened their obedience. He had not said enough yet! We too are brought through many situations in order to understand the advantages of obedience.

God eventually said enough though! The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.” Deuteronomy 1:6

God tells us when to stay and endure and when to say enough and move on. The problem is that we often don’t know if we are saying enough or if God is.

beth new pic     My God knows when I’ve had enough! He knows when I need encouragement and strength. He knows when I am struggling with some self-esteem issues or battling with some depression. He shows me when I can move on.

So when we sit down and reflect on the word enough, reactivate your meditation time. Think about what you’ve had enough of. Throughout life it is necessary, from time to time, to stand back, become silent and redefine, reevaluate, and experiment, over and over again, with what we know or what we think we know. It is only then that we will know when we’ve had enough.

I was in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time: I Will not Rewind.

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How do we know if we’re in the right place or wrong place? How do we know if the place where we are, right at this very moment, is in the proper timing?

Think about these sayings:

1) Being in the wrong place at the wrong time
2) Being in the wrong place at the right time
3) Being in the right place at the right time
4) Being in the right place at the wrong time

I have found myself to be in all four of these circumstances during various stages of my life. I’ve met people just at the right time and have been in places just at the right time.   I’ve also met people at the wrong time in life and have been in places where I should never have been.

  • The wrong place at the wrong time could be like being somewhere you should not have been and the timing was all wrong.
  • The wrong place at the right time could mean you just got lost and yet you got lucky.
  • Being in the right place at the right time could possibly be the perfect harmony between our intent and the outcome.
  • Being in the right place at the wrong time could mean that you were following directions properly but possibly landed in disaster.

Hebrews 11:4-38, known as the Faith Hall of Fame, shows us many examples of people being in any one of these scenarios. Able, Enoch, Moses, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Rahab, Joseph and many more were trying to be in the venue of God’s choosing. They were afflicted and yet endured. And, through all of it, they were placed exactly where they were called to be; the dwelling of God’s choice.

Sometimes we get a little lost along the way and find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time but by the grace of God, we are removed from that spot and planted into the locality of God’s choosing.

How do we know if our current premises is right or wrong? All we have to do is have a little faith, faith of a mustard seed (Luke 17:6) knowing we’re under God’s guidance and love.

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I won’t rewind. I will have faith moving forward knowing that I am getting closer to being at the right place during the right time; in perfect harmony.ID-100227891

How about you? Where are you right now? Are you in the right place at the right time? If so, how did you get there? Please share. If not, how do you think you can make changes in order to be there? Let’s talk about this today and tomorrow as I am the host on Livingbygrace.livingbygracepic.jp

Can’t Buy Me Love

Beth Farley:

Valentine’s Day will be very different for me this year. For those of you who are married, think about these questions Jennifer asks. Is it all about you?

Originally posted on Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud:

ID-100122426 Photo by David Castillo Dominici taken from freedigitalphotos.net

This Valentine’s Day, do you find yourself pouting, fuming, frowning, maybe stomping around a bit? Or have you begun to place catalogs strategically throughout the house… opened to a particular page… with a certain necklace or bracelet circled in red?

Because it’s all about us, right??? It’s all about what makes us happy, what we desire… what we DESERVE!

Or is it? Today author Karen Jurgens challenges our thinking, encouraging us to go deeper.

 Can’t Buy Me Love

By Karen Jurgens

Love. The pink hearts and red roses on Valentine’s Day come around each year to remind us. Isn’t finding love and happiness one of our ultimate quests in life?

Valentine heartWe’re born into it. Oozing love, parents lavish hopes and dreams on their precious newborn sons and daughters. The kind of love that is strong enough for a lifetime.

So how does that…

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My Window Time…Beth Farley

Are you hanging out with God lately and if so, how? How do you spend time with Him?

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 People would say that I’m crazy because every night since the beginning of January, I have been opening up my window for just a little bit before closing my eyes.

Before dozing off, I lay on my stomach on the bed I occupy, put my chin up to the artistic window sill and inhale some deep cleansing breaths. The arctic cold air gently blows onto my face. I can hear the needles of the pine trees swish in the frigid night breeze as I inhale some deep breaths. I watch the snow falling onto the roof or when we have clear nights I gaze at the stars twinkling above. As I ritually lay there with my little dog, I am in total peace and surrender. I thank God for the day I’ve just been blessed with and ask for the continued peace and strength to tackle what might lie ahead.

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My window time allows me the time to think about my wishes. It reminds me that if I run after something that is meant for me, it will be there because God has already placed it there for me to have. It reminds me to take peaceful happy steps towards my existence, and not arrive anywhere I’m not supposed to be.

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My window time reminds me that it is impossible for me to be doing what I am doing today, right at this very minute without God. I can easily become a huge mess without Him and to be honest, I NOW can’t wait to  spend time with him at the window.

I have been trying to sit with God for many months now and I have missed so many appointments with Him. The ones that I’ve attended in surrender, have been good, but lately it’s been rather difficult for me to settle myself down…

UNTIL MY WINDOW TIME!!!

Why has it taken me so long to find this tender spot with Him? Why has it taken me so long to want to visit with Him? These are the questions I will ask Him when we meet again, tonight at during OUR window time.

1 Kings 6:4 NASB Also for the house he made windows with artistic frames.

My Sloppy Soul…Beth Farley

If we were to have a lot of money in the bank, have a beautiful home and a couple of pricy vehicles in our driveway; we still might be suffering inside.

Investing in an intimate ongoing relationship with God helps balance us. I find it very important and necessary in my life. I can’t function without my relationship with my God. Its mine, not the churches, not my brothers, not my friends’…It’s all mine.

And may your hearts be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” 1Kings 8:61

Here are just a few of the people from the Bible that had to have spent much time with their God, in order to function in His will

Nehemiah was a man who silenced the Nay Sayers and did what they said he couldn’t do.
Then I replied to them, The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem. Nehemiah 2:20

Job was a man whose life and resolve was tested beyond imagination, yet did not curse God.
In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. Job 1:22
Joseph was a man who was completely devoted to the Lord even in times of injustice, betrayal, and temptation.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20
There is a refreshing, healing element of a Godly relationship. He guides us and loves us unconditionally. We need the support and love of God in order to love and support others the way He asks us.

With the recent changes in the dynamics of my own life, I have found it to be more necessary to take time out of my day to be still before Him. I need that time to nurture my sloppy soul.

Invest in order to be transformed. Surrender in order to be transformed. Listen in order to be transformed and pray to be transformed.

Becoming Aware of Our Shame…Beth Farley

Shame can be a powerful emotion. We have all felt ashamed of ourselves or even someone we love. Shame can cause dysfunction in our relationships.ID-10054806

What is shame? Shame is an authentic, legitimate felling of guilt; either we have said something wrong or done something wrong. But shame is not a no-win situation if we acknowledge it, surrender to it and make positive changes.

Acts 8:22 tells us: Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. Shame is not a sin but if we allow the emotion of shame to overtake us we will not receive God’s best for us.

What are the things that can cause us to feel shame?

We may feel ashamed when we have a problem.

We may feel ashamed when we make a mistake or we succeed.

We may feel ashamed about certain feelings or thoughts.

We may feel ashamed when we have fun, feel good, or are vulnerable enough to show ourselves to other.

When I am engaged in an unhealthy relationship, sometimes I feel ashamed just for being me. Is that God’s best? No!

Do we put shame on ourselves or do we allow others to put the shame on us? It can be both ways. I’ve felt shame when others have put me down and I’ve put shame on myself when I was unable to accept Gods cleansing forgiveness.

Learning to reject shame can change the quality of our life. It’s okay to be who we are in Christ.
We are good enough. Our feelings are good enough and they are feelings that do NOT have to control us. It’s okay to have problems and not be perfect; that’s whey we have Jesus.

Every day we have 24 brand new hours to wake up and accept what a precious gift we are and what a precious gift we can be if we let go of the shame of past mistakes.
Micah 7:19 ESV…He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Is there some shame that you might be hanging onto? Allow God to cast it into the sea.

Nothing New; Just a Reminder by Beth Farley

How easily I can talk myself out of going anywhere. I can hunker down under the blankets, in a warm comfy house, while the cold whips around me for days and not be bothered by it.

clock-watch-14489968Did you know there are 168 hours in a week?

Being hunkered down during the recent 2015 blizzard got me to thinking about how I spend some of my time.                                                            .

Am I productive? Am I giving of myself? Am I praying for others? Am I allowing myself some quiet time for meditation and pondering on my blessings?

Some days I march into my routine like an artificial mechanical agent. I forget to pray. I forget to  pay any attention to the things that matter in life or the blessings that I have. How about you?

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I am not preaching to you; I am reminding you and when I remind you I am most certainly reminding myself. When I ponder back to TIME, I think of how I need to rearrange and prioritize so that I will use it wisely.

There are three places in 1 John 2:18-20 where the Apostle John uses phrases that indicate that he was not teaching something new, but rather reminding them of something they already knew.

1 John 2:18…
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrist’s have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
1 John 2:20…
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[a]

1 John 2:21…

I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.

Time can pursue us and become our enemy or time can pursue us and become our friend. Jesus knew it was just a matter of time before his execution on the cross. How did He spend his limited time here on earth as a man? He preached; He touched hearts; He healed; He loved; He welcomed; He taught; He dined; He dealt with evil spirits, he prayed and spent time with His Heavenly Father.

How will you spend your time his week?
Are you encouraged to spend time with God? If so, can you encourage others?

What is your method of spending time with God?

Let’s talk about it today as I host on Living by Grace.livingbygracepic-jp

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Where is Home? Beth Farley

While walking my little dog yesterday I breathed in the fresh air and appreciated every crisp step I took. I had been cooped up in the house for a few days and getting out lifted my spirits.

Both my dog and I bundled up. We took our normal trail around the neighborhood both knowing what path she would walk and where she would stop.FullSizeRender-16

When I said to her, “Okay Peek, Let’s go home,” she looked at me with confusion.

I immediately understood her confusion. You see, we’ve been in three different states within the last seven months. Along this journey I’ve found myself asking God, “Where is home?”

Sometimes following God’s plan takes us to places where we never thought we’d travel.

A year ago I hated the cold; now I love walking in it. A year ago I hated the snow; now I feel a calm peace about it. A year ago I was drowning in my life, now I’m coasting the surface. Now I take my life day by day and try not to hang back in my sorrow. I see life differently here.

I do have pain and I do cry my way through life at times but it’s okay to voice my tears. God is asking me to breathe in my suffering and exhale my “God given” light. We all go through times of confusion and during those times God has no expectations from us other than we stay closely connected to Him because when we do, He helps us sound our way through this life and shows us who we truly are in Him.

GOD SAID:

“Beth, it’s okay to be you. Be easy with yourself; you are healing. If you are still reacting to your confusion, let it be known that I am always here with you.”

Psalm 122:7:
“Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” ESV

I believe 2015 is going to be a better year. I have faith that God will be working in me and through me so that I can feel a sense of home. I will have less confusion as I grow in Him.

How about you? Are you feeling a little lost? Are you on a path that you didn’t think you’d be on?

Come and join us as I host the topic today at Living by Grace.livingbygracepic-jp

How about you? Are you feeling a little lost? Are you on a path that you didn’t think you’d be on?

Come and join us as I host the topic today at Living by Grace.

Being Present in Prayer…Beth Farley

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I caught sight of the most beautiful icicles hanging from the roof this morning. I sipped my coffee and watched as the sun reflected off of the ice creating prisms on the window and wall.

The glory of the masterpiece God gave me this morning was priceless.

It was a breathtaking display.                                      FullSizeRender-14

I got to thinking about how God put a woman on display in Proverbs 31. She was of gracious beauty! She was priceless. Her character reflected her love for God.

Let’s take a look at verses 10-31.                                                                                              FullSizeRender-15

This woman was a wife and she was of noble character. She was worth more than rubies and she lacked nothing of value. She would bring no harm to others. She got up early and worked for her family before they arose and opened her arms to the poor and needy. She had strength, dignity and wisdom. She was priceless.

I asked myself, am I a woman of noble character? Am I woman who has value? Am I opening up my arms to the poor and needy? Do I have wisdom?

Being in the presence of God’s beauty this morning caused me to meditate on and journal about the word PRESENT. By this I mean that I have to be present while spending time with God. I can’t be a woman of noble character or a woman of wisdom or a woman who gives, without being present in our time together. I can’t have FAITH if I am not present in my prayer time. time. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

SO THEN…………

How do we please God? By being all that He has called us to be.

And how do we achieve that? By being present with Him.

How about you? Are you of noble character?

Are you priceless and full of wisdom?

Are you truly present while praying to God? Join me today as I host on Living by grace.livingbygracepic-jp