And we Know…

Romans 8:28…and we know that God CAUSES all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Are you overwhelmed? MP900385327

This scripture is just one of many that bring me back – makes me centered in the times of feeling overwhelmed. Note thought that this is given for those who love God and who are called to His purpose. The question I would ask is, do you love God?

Could there be purpose in your trials? Yes; there is a plan and a purpose for everything in our past, present and future. God is the creator of all; nature and of us.

Not only is God in control of nature, but He’s in control of our lives. None of us chose our birth date or birth place. Nor did we choose our parents. We didn’t decide upon our talents or our abilities. God chose all of those details which makes us His. And…He did so with a purpose.

We do have freedom to make decisions, but we don’t choose the consequences of our actions; God does. Although God calls the shots; He’s not a dictator. He created us to have a free will because he creates and sustains everything.

The world may be telling you one way and God may be guiding you another. What way are you going to choose? Your problems do have purpose. God causes your daily junk to work for His glory. Not one thing in your life is wasted.

2013-01-04_10-28-01_122

O Sweet Jesus, take all of our trials to bring us into a closer relationship with you. May our stress cause us to become more dependent upon You. Amen.living by grace

Advertisements

Rocking Out With the Best of Them

            Sitting in traffic at the stop light I often notice young people bobbing their heads and rocking out. But when I scan the “rock-out, head-bopping” stations, I am confronted by the lyrics that are not at all pleasing to God’s ears. I want to rock-out and I want to praise God.

            What do I do? I blast my Christian Rock CD’s. I don’t There are times for my Praise and Worship music; times for my soft hymns and then there are times for the rocking’ out music. I am 51 and I can still rock out with the best of them. I just choose to rock out to my glorifying music.

            So now when I’m rocking out at the stop light, I turn it up, roll it down and bop my head. I love the feeling of rocking’ and boppin’ to glorifying lyrics. Now when I meet the youngsters at the stop light, I look over and nod my head to my music.

            What about you? Do you listen to the music that the youth listen to? Are you listening to music that goes against God’s lyrics? It’s tempting for sure. There’s a lot of fun music out there but we must be careful of those lyrics. What kind of example are we setting when we listen to songs that promote pre-marital sex, drugs, cuss words and downright dirty? I love a good dance beat but not if the words are not going to glorify God. I admit, I do struggle with this. But, there is so much good Christian music available to us that I have made the switch. How about you?

            What do you listen to? What do you listen to in the car when driving around with your children, grand-children, neighborhood teens? Share your thoughts with us today at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-Graceliving by grace

 

One Wednesday @ a Time

coffee

 

So many of us are recording our “thankfull’s” in the month of November. Some are posting them facebook, twitter or just in their own personal journal. I am the journal type. Yes, November we do our best to focus on the positive and give thanks always.

This year, I am challenging myself to increase my “thankfull’s” by “one” each day. For example today is the 14th so I will record 14 things that I am thankful for.

One of the things I wrote down today was the beautiful, HUGE hearted women I share every Wednesday morning with. I have the privilege of opening up my home to these ladies every Wednesday and dig into God’s Word and share my heart with them.women studying bible

What’s so amazing is I see so many gifts amongst the women and such seasoned women with great advice. I have been bless to open my home to teachers, encouragers, prayer warriors, technologists, vocalists, compassionates, bakers, maids and lovers of the Lord.

Yes, ever Wednesday at 10:00 my home becomes a house of worship. We cry, sing, laugh and pray. We cry but never give up. We cross our bridges holding hands and we become optimists who see the opportunity in every difficult situation.

We do not share the joy without sharing the sorrow. We do not see the sun without sharing the darkness. My home is God’s sweet place where we arrive at God’s peace on Wednesday at a time. I love you gals.

Experiences

women studying bible

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my experiences in my life have shaped who I am today.

What do you do when you have painful experiences that you just want to wash away?

In 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 Paul understood this all too well when he struggled with bouts of depression. He admitted to God that he needed Him. “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.  We do not want you to be, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,” What a great scripture. Paul is sharing an experience and giving all of his faith and glory to God.

I am so much more encouraged when someone can relate to what I am experiencing and isn’t that the point of our experiences? We are to share them with those who are destined by God to hear us.  We must give God our experiences to allow Him to use us for His ministry.

The rough experiences that you’ve resented your whole life God has plans for. He comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:4. Looking back, are there experiences lurking around that are still stinging? Rest assured my friend, God never wastes any experience. Pay attention.

What experiences in your life has brought you into ministry for him? I’ve struggled miscarriages, divorce, death, bankruptcy, and many other things in life. I have come to peace with each of these experiences and have felt so blessed when I’ve been able to minister to others from these experiences upon God’s prompting.

Share your thoughts. What do you do with your experiences? Join us today on

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-Graceliving by grace

 

Beth

The Wayfinding Bible

Review on Wayfinding Bible

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…I received my free copy of the Wayfinding Bible and let me tell you, you will not want for anything with this new Bible. The Wayfinding Bible is so much fun to read and has three ways of following along.wayfinding bible

There is a user’s guide in the beginning. You can choose which colorful route you want to travel.

Blue…The Flyover – In 54 readings you’ll gain a chronological overview of the events of the Bible.

Green…The Direct Route – In 215 readings you gain a full perspective of the entire Bible and how it fits together, all in less than a year.

Orange…The Scenic Route – In 386 readings you’ll discover the depth and richness of God’s Word as you wind your way through well-known and not-so-well-known passages alike.

Holding Glasses over Bible  There are book introductions to help familiarize the reader with what the book is about. Then there is “getting your bearings” too. There you will find eight critical points along the way that you can stop, think about and review your journey. You may even want to stop and journal a little bit at that point. Yay! I’m the journal nut!!! There are historical markers, scenic overlooks and side trips which will highlight various scripture passages that will show you what the Bible has to say.

Because reading the Bible can sometimes be very confusing, the contributors came up with the Wayfinding concept. Wayfinding signs are designed by architects and urban planners to help people navigate their way around and minimize frustration. This same concept is applied here. If you just want to read this Bible without all of the added learning tools, you can easily do that as well, but you won’t want to miss out. There is just so much to discover. This Bible is in the New Living Translation. If I had five thumbs, I’d give it a five thumps up. Beth

http://goo.gl/9gpaol. book trailer

Ministry & Me

 

Have you fell in love with doing ministry? When I was about fifteen years younger I developed a love affair with ministry. I wanted to help out in every area of the church. Because of that love affair, I abandoned my first love, GOD.

Throughout my life I belonged to several churches and I did my part to help out wherever I could. After a while though I felt like I was wearing a neon sign that said, “I’ll do it.” I loved each and every committee I served on including the nursery but, all of the gatherings I had in my home; all of the car washes I helped the Youth with; and all of the other events I attended either serving inside or outside of the church drained me.  I had no energy to visit with God. I no longer hungered after God’s heart, I was too busy.

Friends, find your balance. While helping inside and outside of the church, please don’t sacrifice your intimate time with God; this will only lead to spiritual decay. Don’t cheat on Him. There are times we have to sit back, evaluate and know that it’s okay to say no rather than yes so that you can spend more intimate time with God.

Are we to be servants of God? Yes, of course. Are we to stray from Him? No of course not. If you are struggling with the balance and if there is a ministry to let go of, please be still and pray. Draw near to God and ask Him what to let go of to be able to spend more intimate time with Him.

Lord, I pray that if there is someone out there reading this blog and is struggling with where to let go in their ministry either inside or outside of the church that you would draw near to them and reveal to them Your desire for their lives. I thank you so much that when I turn left, You pull me back to the right. Amen.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 NIV

Have you recently had to let go of something in order to gain some more time with God? Are you struggling with letting go or saying “no” to some ministry? If so, we would love to hear from you. Come join us today  Living by Grace. Living by Grace