Guidance

 

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What are some of the ways you seek guidance? How can a Christian know he is making a decision in accord with God’s will?

As a woman who God has created me to be, I have a huge heart to want to help other women find their self-worth in Christ. I’ve been in the darkness so many times in my own life that I don’t mind sharing anything God gives me the heart to share.
But, I never want to share just MY own story or MY own opinion. I always want it to be according to what the scriptures say. I have had to learn over the years, and again as I always say, I’m not there yet, but I’ve had to learn how to make my decisions according to God’s Word not man’s advice.
If a friend is sharing how worried they are about a financial issue, I don’t find it wise to interject with my own hardships and start heading down the road to gloom and doom. However, I can remind them that I’ve had some financial issues throughout my whole life and God’s Word always reminds me that I am not to worry about anything, but instead in everything, by prayer and by petition with thanksgiving make my requests known to God. Philippians 4:6…
The words anything and everything are absolutes. They cover all cases. They allow for no exceptions. You don’t have to determine when you may and when you may not worry. You never have to worry. Thank you Jesus!
Thank you God that Your promising, never-changing Word tells us that we do not have to worry about anything. Forgive us when we do and help us to let all situations out of our control be placed in Your hands. Amen.

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Meditation Thoughts

Why is the word meditation shunned from some of the Christian faith? How can it be bad for us to release all of our negative energy and stress? We are even told to meditate on God’s Word. So what’s the big deal?DogMeditation

When we get deeply relaxed and into His presence there nothing that can go wrong. When I meditate I do not RID my mind of everything because that would mean releasing the Holy Spirit’s words in my mind; I don’t want that. I just release any negativity from my mind that is hindering me from living my life in love.

After I am relaxed I feel the fullness of joy in Him. I focus less on doing for God but rather become still and draw closer in a more intimate way, allowing Him to speak to me.

Jesus is the light of the World and His desire is to have His light shine within us. If we do not slow down and listen to Him, releasing the negative, how can we be that light? We live such busy lives but Matthew 7 tells us to keep our minds focussed on today. I don’t know about you, but that takes time and the only way I will do that is by meditating.

Nothing can separate us from His love. I read Matthew 8:24-25, Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. [25) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

If we desire to live our lives being reminded that God is our Rock; wanting Jesus’ light to shine within us, then we have to slow down and Meditate. Psalm 1:2 reminds us that on His law we will meditate. Psalm 19:15 says, I will meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.Holding Glasses over Bible

What stops you from meditating on God’s Word? Do you feel that you would be doing something wrong? If God’s Word tells us to meditate on Him, His laws, His precepts then I conclude that we should not be afraid to do it.

What are your thoughts?

A Loss for Words

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Writers Block? I can’t be the only writer on the face of the earth that struggles from time to time with what to write? I thought writer’s-block only happened to fiction writers. They can’t figure out their next plot or character name or where the story needs to take a drastic turn. NO! It’s happening to me, the lover of non-fiction. I don’t want to repeat what I’ve said a dozen or more times. So, what do you do?

Normally when I go to my local library I pick up my books. Usually pressed for time, I go in, grab my stash of books off the hold shelf, go to the self-check-out station and make my exit.

The other day I had some spare time and decided to browse the non-fiction section. I dashed over to my normal spot, the 242.00 Spiritual/Christian section. I have read most of the titles there so I decided to walk up and down and look at the subjects. Low and behold it came to me.

I could write about so many subjects. I looked at the knitting books and crafted a mini-story about the time my car was stolen with my brand new knitting needles in it. I looked at the gluten-free cook books and thought about how I could write about my own of how I dabbled with gluten-free cooking. I looked at the fishing books, reflected and silently laughed about the time, in one summer, I hooked my father’s hand and husbands eye with my mean cast. Yea, I’ll share that one some other time. I went to the etiquette section and starting plotting an article about how kids talk now compared to how I talked when I was a little girl.

Oh yes, there is so much I want to devour on those shelves. Walking down row after row of books allowing my fingers to caress the spines of different subjects gave me a spark. I looked around the thousands of books beyond the titles and I saw miracles everywhere. Clearly, it takes considerable research to pull off an informative article but perusing the library shelves reminded me that it’s a real treat to put together the puzzle of a story page by page and how blessed I feel to be given the desire and gift to do so.

Lord, I saw thousands of books kept in Dewey-decimal order for my fingers to touch, for my eyes to see and for my mind to digest. I thank you for my hands that they may write a story to bless someone or at the very least entertain them.

If you are a writer, what do you do when you have writer’s block? Come chat with us at Living by Grace.living by grace

Hello NIV

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There it was; way in the back of the closet. I had been longing to buy another NIV Life Application Bible but didn’t want to spend the money. (my old one bit the dust) I love the Bible no matter what version and currently I am studying out of the HCSB, but I was in desperate need of some life application last night.

I was having a “woe-is-me” pity party last night and instead of turning on the TV and doing nothing, I took advantage of the quiet house and dug into the book of James; not where I left off weeks ago, but from the beginning. I grabbed my journal and just wrote for ME.

Before settling down, I had to clean out the closet in the spare room because our house is on the market. Low and behold, there it was; way in the back of the closet I found my daughters NIV Life Application Bible. Thank you Jesus that I didn’t have to buy another one but the biggest blessing was the words that leapt into my heart right off of the pages.

I was reminded in the beginning of James that the wisdom I need is in three parts.

  • First, I need practical wisdom…where I can overcome trials with God.
  • Second, I need divine wisdom; God’s Spirit lives within me to guide me right from wrong.
  • Third, I need Christ-like wisdom which means I am ultimately asking to be more like Christ.

If at first you don’t succeed, dive back in. I am staying in James some more today with the NIV Life Application Bible just because it is WISE for me to stay there until God tells me to go elsewhere. That’s wisdom!

James :1-1-2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith developes perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.

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I’m Done!

What is your way of showing others that you are done? Do you walk away? Roll your eyes? Hang up the phone? We all have our own way of communicating that we are done with something. It might be a hurtful conversation. It might be a diet. It might be a personality that we just can’t deal with.

With me, I have gone through different stages and different ways of showing I’m done with something or someone. When I was young and married I wanted to talk everything out. I wanted to just talk until I could talk no longer, until the conversation was done. When I went through a rough divorce my way of saying I was done was by yelling until I was hoarse. When I re-entered the dating world my way of saying I was done was by walking away or hanging up the phone.

I look back at all of the ways I dealt with situations that I didn’t want to deal with and I was never consistent. I hung up the phone. I sobbed. I argued. I walked away. I was not consisted because we can’t stay in a pattern that is not good for us. We can’t just throw up are arms and walk way from something when God wants us to stand firm and walk through it. We can’t just hang up the phone when God wants us to talk it out. We can’t just empty the tears and not learn from the pain.crying-woman1

What we need to learn is that every time you are tempted to be offended and upset, your faith is being tried. Whenever I find myself in a situation I can’t do anything about, I have found that a good way to cast my care upon the Lord is simply to say, “It’s yours God.” It has taken me a long time to get to that point and I’m not there all of the time.

I actually think that God tests us in ways that we don’t understand. He wants us to see His goodness and how well He takes care of us. In other words, if we are not satisfied with what is going on in our lives right now, maybe we should look back and let God show us how the ways we have conducted ourselves has affected what is happening to us now.

If we are willing to change from the previous conduct that is holding back God’s blessings, we can have greater victories than what we have ever had before.

Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house [of the Lord] lies in ruins? Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways and set your mind on what has come to you. You have sown much, but you have reaped little; you eat, but you do not have enough; you drink but you do not have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages has earned them to put them in a bag with hole in it. Haggai 1:4-6 AMP

Turkey in June?

Who ever said you Can’t Cook a turkey in June? I had a turkey in my freezer (no not from Thanksgiving) and thought I’d cook it. Most would say that’s a stupid thing to do on a very hot June day but I say, “Why not?” Why can’t we break out of the society mold and be different?photo

It’s that ole case of approval addiction that creeps into our lives when we are different. We want the approval of others with just about everything we say or do. I feel so badly for women who are overweight. I am one of them. I feel badly, because unfortunately men (sorry guys) want women to look like the models in the latest fashion magazine. I’m not that, never have been that and never will be that. People who can’t look at what I’ve got to offer on the inside will have to turn their head in a different direction. I may have thick thighs, flabby arms and a double dereire, but my heart is filled with love and joy and willingness to look past the outer appearance of others. Probably because I am overweight and insecure about that. I read the following quote:

Things happen to beautiful women. Things come to beautiful women. Material things, if you want them. Money and jewels and clothes and motors. Or things more real if you like; friends, sympathy, contentment. People seek beauty. If you are beautiful they will seek you, surround you, serve you. Love will come to you, a beautiful home, beautiful children. Fulfillment will come to you, meaning, a purpose in life.

There, I have dared to write them all down . These are the reasons you want to be beautiful. Are they not? Why do we bother to evade and conceal them? They are the truth. And, finer, more nature; and significant truths than govern half our acts and longings…Beautiful women live fully, intensely, superbly. It has always been so.
Dorothy Cocks,
The Etiquette of Beauty 1927

Isn’t that sad!!!

Beth 2014

So today, I am cooking a turkey on a hot June day. I accept being different from what others might do. I am picturing myself as a twenty-first century woman who gathers together with other women on the bank of a river for prayer. I picture myself as Lydia who had an open heart to receive what Jesus had for her.
Acts: 10:34 ….Then Peter began to speak, “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, (35) but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him. 

Focus on ME!!!

I’m sitting in this nice quiet space wrapping up my writing and editing the last lesson on the FOCUS Bible Study. As I’m forcefully banging at the keys of my NEW Mac I begin to get plagued with anger and frustration, as I try to figure out all of the functions of this computer. I am getting frustrated and ready to cry. In my very obnoxious pity party God spoke to me and said, “You need to re-read what you just wrote about putting your FOCUS on Me.”

 

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Oi! There’s nothing like writing a blog, an article or for that matter a Bible Study when God gets right in your face and gets a hold of your heart and emotions. Has this ever happened to you? Have you been engaged in something when all of a sudden He gives you the holy thump on the head?

Some of the most difficult resistance comes from ME. I can get such an attitude when I am trying to concentrate on something (mostly technology). When it doesn’t go my way, I can get very ugly. I’m not kidding you. Right in the middle of finishing up my study, that I’m writing for some very special women, I had to stop everything, take a deep breath and make a new confession. Lord, help me to put my focus on you and chill. I was caught up in the frustration and anxiety when God tenderly stopped me and gave me these positive words after my negative out-bursts!!!

Beth: “I’m never going to get this stupid thing,”
God’s Reminder: “I am healed by the stripes of Jesus” (Isaiah 53:5)

Beth:“Ugh! There’s no way I can make it through this study without loosing my mind.”
God’s Reminder:“God is making a way where there seems to be now way!” (Isaiah 40:4)

Beth:“I’m just too stupid to get this.”
God’s Reminder:“I’m created in the image of God; I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (psalm 139:14)

I’ve noticed that there are times in my life where I leave God’s rest when I think it’s my job to fix a problem or figure out the solution; however God makes me realize that He can handle this situation better than I ever could.

Jesus in the Glove

I don’t normally post a book review but I have to share this one with my friends and family who like to read clean fiction.

The Fight by Luke Wordley

 

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I first saw this book on the shelf in the Christian Book Store that I work at and thought it was a man’s book. After being asked to read the story, I was proven wrong.

First of all, if you want to hear a few trailers given by the author you MUST go to his website. His voice is amazing. He also has such a warmth and compassion in his journey in writing the story. It took him ten years to complete The Fight and the way he explains how and why he put it down is understanding to me as a writer myself.

The character Sam is a young troubled teenage boy who finds himself extremely angry when he looses his dad on a farm accident and his mom becomes unable to cope and uses alcohol to escape the pain. The only way Sam can deal with the pain is to fight. Ultimately his anger and fighting leads him to a boxing ring. There he meets a man named Jerry who has experienced many rough days of his own. Jerry is a man who reaches out to teens and ultimately he and Sam establish a relationship that takes all sorts of twists and turns.

I really appreciated how Jerry got right up in Sam’s face at times to remind him of Jesus’ loves and that he was given opportunities Jerry never had.

My heart raced during some of the fights. My heart sank with Sam’s mother’s sadness. My heart jumped for joy at the tenderness of a relationship between boy and man who both…Oh I can’t say, that will give it away.

As you all know I am trying to write more than just my blog and this author really inspired me with his love for the Lord and his diligence in keeping on the journey.
Beth

Triangle of Sovereignty

 

 

 

 

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How can we trust God if we don’t know the Character of God? I mean, we say we trust in Him but who are we trusting in? Do you know?

While teaching Bible Study this morning I was drawing an illustration of our Sovereign God. I drew a picture of a triangle, put Sovereign God at the top and put us underneath. I was trying to get the point across that God is at the top and we are under HIS covering. No matter what we do, what we say, what we are thinking or what we are going through, He is still Sovereign. We are under His protection and under His grace.

What does Sovereign mean? In 1 Chronicles 29:10-11 King David acknowledged God’s sovereignty? He said, “May You be praised, LORD God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity. Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all.” HCSB

That scripture gives us just a few examples of Sovereignty; Greatness, power, glory, splendor and majesty. What else would you say is a great example of God’s Sovereignty? I’d love to hear…

May you be reminded today that no matter how you are feelings, you are under His umbrella of sovereignty and grace.

Beth

Treats With God

 

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With everything you are doing in life, have you taken the time to decide what is next? I know we are supposed to live our lives day by day with God, but I also know that He perfectly designs our lives for our pleasure. What do you do if you are struggling with feeling that pleasure?

Have you ever served yourself a big heaping spoonful or two of 100% all FAT ice-cream then drizzled hot chocolate on top and topped it off with whipped cream? Of course you have; we all have. I enjoyed a huge bowl just a few weeks ago and as I got through every delicious melting mouthful of yummy ice-cream, I looked at the empty bowl and thought to myself, ”Do I lick it?” I didn’t want to miss a drop of the mouth watering yummy mixture, so I licked the bowl dry.

I am on week #2 of staying away from too much dairy and wheat and still go through the bouts of missing the yummy stuff. Yes, I crave every last drop even the licking-of-the-bowl goodness. As I was going through one of my “caving-into-the-craving-“ moments last night, I immediately asked myself, why don’t I want every drop of God in my life? Why don’t I desire Him as much as I desire the final bit of the most eye-opening dessert on the planet?

As I snapped out of my momentary trance, I immediately got out my journal and my Bible and began reading in 1 Timothy 6:6…But godliness with contentment is a great gain. HCSB Then I went further to read vs 8…But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

When I am not in God’s Word daily or not listening to His guidance, I am so tempted to cave into something that is not good for me. It might be gossip, anger, pride or even being unable to forgive to the point of hatred.

RESOLUTION: I do solemnly resolve to embrace my current season of life and spend more time with God. I will resist the urge to walk away from Him when He’s talking to me.