In the Groove of Positive Attitude…Beth Farley

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Stepping out of our comfort zone is a difficult thing to do. There are many levels of doing something different but many of us are reluctant to make the change.

I’ve made changes in my life and right now I’m in the middle of a HUGE change. I’m learning that adjusting to change is all about getting into the groove of a positive attitude.

I’ll admit, it’s not easy but there are days where it just falls into place and that’s because I make the effort. In the process of trying to turn my negatives into positives, I’ve had to deal with the consequences of facing my faults. Who wants to face our faults; not I!!! The good news though is that once we are faced with negative thoughts, we can clearly see how we can change our behavior. Are we always successful? No! That’s why we need Jesus.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. Colossians 1:13

Often we can’t change the circumstances of our lives but we can always changes the inner perspective of the situation.

Never did I think I would be living in my son’s house in Houston, TX. Never did I think I’d be a freelance writer, hanging onto the very thread of life that’s been destined to me. I’ve been trying to memorize the following scripture and can’t help replace Egypt for Houston. LOL

Genesis 46:3,4 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.

I remember several months back complaining to a Christian friend that I hated the rain. We were driving down the road, headed to Bible study and I filled the car with several minutes of negative energy about the rain, the clouds and the gray gloomy look. When we pulled into the parking spot she said, “I have learned to love the rain. It brings new life and makes everything green and green is my favorite color.” That statement was HUGE to me.

I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. Genesis: 9:13 NLT

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The way we respond to life has a powerful impact on how our lives work for us. Lately my days operate on extreme emotional temperatures. When I operate on the negative circumstances of my life, I’m get lethargic, fearful, angry and frustrated. When I operate on the positives, I become joyful, compassionate and maybe even a little bit courageous. Have my circumstances changed? NO! But my perspective has.

Are you living on a steady diet of negativity? If so, try to change your negative thoughts into a positive. Yes, the clouds are gloomy and the darkness is depressing but I am getting into the groove of positive attitude and am learning how to dance in the rain-drops.

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A Bad Hair Day

 

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I didn’t wake up with a messy head of hair but after a disturbing phone call, my day became a perm-gone-bad kinda day! All it took was one ugly phone call to confuse me, irritate me and turn my day upside down. The worst part was I complained about it over and over again to my family. (Thanks for always being there) I did this all day long. The whining, pouting, and anger clung onto my marrow until I finally got still before the Lord.

The phone call put me into a state of feeling rejected. I felt like my feelings didn’t even matter; and that’s always been an issue with this particular person. I allowed the words to rule my emotions and send me into darkness.

During my quiet time with God, He reminded me that I don’t have to allow Satan or anyone to send me into distress. That is His favorite thing to do; attack us and cause us to function out of fear rather than faith.

How can we escape our bad-hair days? We can’t but we can come before the Lord and ask for help. In Matthew 10:14 Jesus spoke to His disciples saying, “Shake it off.” Basically Jesus is telling us to not let it bother us or keep us from what He has called us to do.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.

Matthew 10:14 NIV

Shaking it off is not so simple though, is it? It’s easier to stay in the pain than to fight for the freedom. But the fight doesn’t have to be so difficult if we would remember to just shake off the rejection and put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-18

Jesus also told His disciples not to be concerned about rejection, because in reality, people who rejected them were basically rejecting Christ Himself.

He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.

Luke 10:16 NIV

Do I still feel rejected? Yes, I do. Am I walking in rejection? No, I am not. Rejection does not have a hold of me today. So when I feel like a bad-hair day is coming on, I try to stop in my tracks, think about the emotion and get before the Lord with a can of hair spray so that He can groom my emotions.IMG_0126

Crooked Paths by Beth Farley

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When I was first faced with my kidney disease I was devastated. Asthma? I know that road. Allergies? I know that road. Depression? Oh how I know that road, but kidney disease? I do not know how to travel that crooked path. It’s been two years, two different doctors and I still struggle with the diagnoses, the various medications and the uncertainty of the prognosis.

This unfamiliar crooked path that I have been traveling for over two years now, has become incredibly difficult to walk. Why? Because my personal path has become disturbed and I am not in control.

We are all faced with life altering events at some time or another. Some are incredibly joyous while others are full of painfully disturbing.

     Our personal stories in life have a beginning, middle and end. We can’t get stuck in any one spot. If we get stuck in what we had, whether it be our health, marriage, job or loss of a loved one, we will never move into our middle time of healing. If we stay in the middle-time of healing we will continue to make excuses and never actually heal. What we need to be able to do is gracefully step into the ending of whatever has been holding us back from living our lives the way God intended for us to live.

Each crooked path will lead us to a glorious future with Jesus. There is a time, a season in our lives where we may have lost hope but there is also a season of laughing and dancing awaiting you.photo 2

Whether you are in the beginning or the middle of your crooked path, know that you can move closer to God if you allow Him to draw you near. He will show you things about himself, his character his love, his provision and protection. Your endurance will perfect your steps on your next path.

Proverbs 16:9…We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.

Each crooked step will build character, strength and faith!

Fridge, Friends & French-fries…Beth Farley

 

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I threw up my hands, looked up and said, “No more God! I can’t take any more!” It was a day of one disaster after another. By the time I actually sat down late last night, I wept. I wept in frustration and in joy.

We experienced a HUGE thunder and lightning storm yesterday. The bottom fell out and saturated us with 4 inches within 30 minutes. I mean this was a storm like I’ve never experienced before.

I was outside filming it on my cell phone when a violent crack of lightning hit. I felt it in my body, my cell phone was blinking and I screamed. I made a mad dash into the house. I was shaking so badly; but I was not the only one. My little dog was so scared it literally scared the poop out of her. (TMI?) She never has accidents in the house, but this storm was loud and tormenting both of us.

The raging storm lasted for over a half an hour. I didn’t think it would ever stop. I finally pealed myself from the couch and walked around the house to check for any damage. Sure enough, there was plenty.

There was a smoldering smoke smell in my sons room. The TV fried, the Direct TV fried and the internet fried. I quickly unplugged everything. I went upstair to my room and sure enough the TV up there was fried and Direct TV box  as well.

Before making a call to my son, I went to get some water out of the brand new fridge only to find that it had been hit as well. I ran extension cords all over the house trying and re-trying outlets; but to no avail. The fridge was shot. I heard a beeping noise in the laundry room. The washer had shut itself off because there was water dripping on the outlet. This is when my nerves started to fry as well. And to top it off, I had to miss my Beth Moore Bible Study group.

I had to break all of this news to my son who is on business in Alabama. I had to talk to several insurance companies, appliance companies but no one would allow me to make a claim because I am not the policy holder. Fair enough!

What a pity party I was having. Everyone knew my tragedy. Everyone knew my problems because I couldn’t just rest in God’s peace; no, I had to cry and whine to others. Does that make me a failure in God’s faith department?

Absolutely not; God tells us to get comfort from other wise men/women. Proverbs 17:17 says A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Let’s look at Job’s tory. He lost cattle, family and even his wife told him to “curse God and die!” Job 2:9. In his opening speech in chapter 3 Job begins to speak and curse the day he was born. I could just picture him throwing his hands up in the air as I did, saying, “What on earth God. STOP!”

What I really love about Job’s story though is the loving tenderness of his best friends. They came in along side of him and sat with him. They comforted him because they had heard of all of his tragedy.

Job 2:12: When they looked from a distance, they could barely recognize him. They WEPT ALOUD and each man tore his robe and threw dust into the air and on his head.

By the end of the day, my new church friend was able to get me a loaner fridge. My neighbor had brought me wings and French-fries and my ever-so-faithful friends from Missouri rallied around my phone sending me encouraging text messages.

After my little pity part; that lasted way too long, I was finally able to put things into perspective and see the beauty of friendships, a fridge and French-fries.

Job 1:20 Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying:
Naked I came
from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will leave this life.
The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away.
Praise the name of Yahweh.

Have you had your own pity party lately? How did you work through it? Join us as we discuss this topic at living by grace.living by grace

Being Organized in God’s Plan…Beth Farley

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I’ve been here in Houston for six weeks now and I feel like I’m finally getting somewhat organized, not routine but certainly organized.
For a while I was living between two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a couch, twin bed and a queen bed. I was in one room, switched to another only to find myself sleeping on the couch most nights. I had stuff everywhere. Toiletries and dirty laundry were strewn about in various bathrooms.
I finally took a weekend, and I’m talking a whole weekend and got myself into one room with one bed. All of my clothes now hang in one closet. My boxes of toiletries are now strategically placed into the cabinets and drawers of one bathroom. I now know where the Band-Aids are as well as a pair of tweezers.
I think it took me a while to get unloaded and organized because I kept questioning my move to Houston to begin with. Am I doing what God wants? Am I really where God wants me to be? Did I miss something? I kept thinking I heard God wrong but through more recent circumstances, I know I am where I need to be; for my physical health as well as my mental health.
I know God is not the author of confusion but I also know that upsetting changes in our lives can possibly be God ordained. How do we really know if we are hearing correctly from God? How do we know if we are truly in His will and being obedient? I not only thought about these questions over the last several weeks but the very same question was asked in my Sunday school class by another woman. How do we know we are truly hearing from God?

We know we are on the right path when we feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is within us to guide and help us make right choices. Some say to follow your heart; I don’t agree with that. My heart is so wishy-washy that if I were to follow it, I would be in a whole world of trouble; which I’ve been many times in my life.

Spending time with God is so important. If we are not taking the time to really sit and visit with God, casting our concerns at His feet, then how are we going to know what to do when faced with a challenge? Would you tell a stranger all of your troubles and take their advise or would you take the advise from a trusted best friend? That’s what God is; your trusted best friend. Know Him and He will guide you.

Get to know God’s promises in His Word. There is so much wisdom and knowledge poured out onto the pages of the Bible by people who have been there, done that. Joseph, Mary, Noah, Moses, Sarah, Ruth, Naomi, Joshua, Elizabeth and so many more, who know first hand what it is like to follow the will of God under uncertain circumstances. Read the accounts recorded by Paul, Timothy and Silas, or Mark and Matthew…They had dark times and certainly times of uncertainty. Read their triumphant stories to help encourage yourself.

Knowing God’s will is probably the hardest struggle Christians have. Our hearts desire is to do His will but we don’t want to fail or make mistakes along the way. Guess what? We’re going to! That’s just life. We are human, God knows that, loves us anyway and will never leave us nor forsake us.

So, what’s holing you back from knowing God’s will  right now? Are you under a cloud of darkness? Are you struggling financially or emotionally or both? Get to know the Author and Perfecter of your life.

 

Beth

Baking & Breaking Bread…Beth Farley

 

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Baking Bread to Breaking Bread: My Thoughts on Communion

Those of you who have been following my Facebook page, have seen the pictures of the various types of bread I’ve been making. Some have been through the bread machine and others through the oven. In the last six weeks, my mid-life whatever-it-is has taken me back to my domestic 20’s and 30’s.

Some of the breads have looked a little misshapen but nonetheless, they have tasted great; all of them. The whole bread-making thing got me to thinking bout the various types of breads that are served during communion at church.

Some churches use wafers, nuggets of wavers, matzoh bread or real bread. Some churches even serve gluten-free bread. I was raised Catholic and was served wafers my whole life. The first time I had to pick from a real loaf of bread I was very uncomfortable. I felt like it was not the real deal because of what I was used to. Is it the element that matter? Of course not.

The body of Christ our Savior is represented by the host, wafer or loaf of bread. It resembles His body that hung on the cross and His resurrected body from the tomb.

I love the 9th chapter of Nehemiah where the Israelites assembled, fasted and prayed. They stood up and said, “Praise Yahweh! You God from everlasting to everlasting.” If you skip down to verse 14 and the first part of 15 you will see the great reminder of God’s provisions for them. “You revealed your Holy Sabbath to them and gave them the commands, statutes, and instruction through your servant Moses. You provided bread from heaven for their hunger; water from the rock for their thirst.”

Going back to communion again, Jesus is our bread from heaven. It is Jesus who goes to the Father on our behalf. He became flesh to die for our flesh. He is our Prince of Peace. It does not matter what kind of communion element is served or how often your church celebrates communion together. What matters is that you personally remember that the element resembles the Body of Christ.

I challenge you that next time you partake in communion, reflect on Jesus being your Mana from heaven. I challenge you to ask Him to forgive you of your sins and then to feel cleansed.

Christmas Holly by the Swimming Pool…Beth Farley

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When I see a pool, I think of hot temperatures, sun, splashing and BBQ. When I see Christmas Holly, I think of the cold winter with festive decorations. I think of holly sitting in a pretty Christmas table centerpiece. I just don’t see them together but there they are in my son’s back yard. In one corner of his yard there is a beautiful palm tree. Along the fence there is some pretty lavender, but growing right next to the pool is a sprig of Holly. I just don’t get it.

Some things just don’t make sense to us in this life. Why do we have cancer, drunk drivers or child pornography? Why do we have pork-belly spending, lying politicians or cheating spouses?

What can we do when things just don’t make sense? Three months ago I was living in Kansas City, MO; today I’m in Houston, TX. Two years ago I was 35 pounds lighter and very healthy. Today I’m bloated and fighting a kidney disease.

When we just don’t understand the twists and turns in life we can easily lose our faith. We just have to hang in there and keep on keeping on. God will turn the bad into good.

In Genesis 50:20 there was a boy named Joseph. He stood firm to the promises God had for him. Nothing in his story outweighs the presence of the evil brought on by his brothers. They left him for dead. But through God’s faithful plan, Joseph’s dirty torn robe became a robe of many colors in the Palace. What was intended to destroy God’s servant turned out to strengthen him. What his brothers meant for harm, God turned to good.

We live in disarray! Families fight, co-workers steal and wallets are empty. These are part of Satan’s logic; to destroy, kill and rob us of every morsel of happiness. Things happen that are horrible but we don’t have to give in or give up. God will turn it around.

God is the Master builder. He redeemed Joseph and delivered him from his evil brothers. He can do the same for you and I. No problem is too big to fit into God’s precious hands.

What’s a Jesus Whammy? By Beth Farley

Last week I cut down the bamboo.This week, its back. What in the world? I should have known. Growing up we had a bamboo tree that no matter what we did to try to kill it, it came back; and when it returned, it spread. I remember my dad even trying to burn the sucker down; but to no avail. It came back.

Why didn’t I listen to my son and have the landscapers figure it out? I remember getting injured during my own attempt at removing it as well. As stated in my previous blog, I not only cut myself but I was incredibly sore the following day.

I felt a Jesus Whammy last night before going to bed. Do you know what a Jesus Whammy is?  It’s what I call an incident when you know you should have done something His way and yet you took control and did it your way. We know better but we do it anyway.

Let’s take a look at the all-too-famous Biblical woman who took matters into her own hands; Sarah. She had all kinds of riches but had no children. She somehow lost her faith in God’s plan.

Sarah was a loving and loyal partner to her husband Abraham. They started their lives together in Ur, Babylonia (Modern-day Iraq). God had promised to make a great nation of Abraham and as a loving loyal wife she was obedient and submissive.

As the years passed, she wanted a baby so badly and was unable to conceive. God promised her a child, but she became impatient with God’s plan and faithless. She took matters into her own hands. That’s a Jesus Whammy!

She weakened and told her husband to sleep with her Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar. That was another Jesus Whammy. Hagar eventually gave birth to Abraham’s firstborn son, Ishmael. Much anger and jealousy rose within the two women. Sarah became jealous because Hagar had the firstborn son and Hagar was angry at the way Sarah treated her.Genesis 21:8-10…The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son Whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

God was faithful even when Sarah was faithless.

Sarah had trouble believing God’s promises to her. She attempted to work problems out on her own, without consulting God. She also tried to cover her faults by blaming others. She was a woman of faith who was human. When the times got rough for her and emotions were all over the board, she made a mistake. That’s another Jesus Whammy!

Sarah’s story is told in Genesis 11-25.

How often do we do this ourselves? We think we have a better plan like marrying somewhat that we are just not equally yoked with or putting a purchase on a credit card when we really know we can’t make the minimum monthly payments. The thing here though is that God responds to our faith even in the midst of our failure. Isn’t that the best news ever? We can be forgiven and put right back on the journey that leads to Jesus. I don’t know about you, but that makes me just want to shout a loud AMEN!!!

When have you taken a different path or changed a plan when you knew it might not be the right thing to do? Come visit with us at Living by Grace with  your thoughts.

Bethliving by grace

Gecko’s and Laughter

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So my friendly neighbor came over this afternoon with a Coke in one hand and some fun cookie cutters in the other. I love when she just pops over. She always has a huge smile and a kitchen gadget to share. She is the reason why you are seeing more baked goods on my Facebook page. I’m re-charged about cooking and baking again.

How did God know that I needed her to stop in this afternoon? He had a greater plan than just sharing conversation and cookie cutters. While showing me the cookie cutters a few fell onto the wooden floor and rolled under the big round chair. So, I pulled the chair out only to scream “Eek!” as I tried to hop onto the chair. She just laughed at me and said, “Here, grab my coke and get me a paper towel.” I ran to the kitchen, grabbed what she needed, handed it to her and hopped back onto my safety zone, the couch.

She gently got the little 1 inch gecko onto the paper towel and brought it outside. Once the critter was released and the door was shut, I was able to come down off of my safe spot. I’ve seen these little guys outside and they really don’t bother me but inside??? Um, that’s a horse of a different color.

After a good hearty belly aching laugh, we proceeded to visit for a spell.

She has since gone back home and as I was working on my book, I had to take the time to reflect on this funny incident. Had she not come over, I would have found that little critter at some point, possibly in a shoe, which that thought kinda grosses me out or worse yet, my dog might have gotten a hold of the thing and … Oh I don’t want to think about it!

God always shows up at the right time. It can be at a Bible Study, during a meeting, a church service, or when sipping coke with a friend. God knows our every need. He knew I would have freaked out if I were home alone. I might still be on the couch! Remember, I’m not from here. I don’t know such things as gecko’s. He also knew I needed a good laugh and some friendly fellowship.

God provided for the physical need and the emotional need as well. He is sufficient in all areas of our lives.

Isaiah 40:31
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint

Are your walls crumbling around you? Beth Farley

 

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Foundation Malfunction

My house is on the market and what a nightmare it has been. After months of keeping the home in tip-top shape, we finally had a solid offer. I was elated UNTIL: the inspector said the support beam in the crawl space had caused a foundation malfunction. Under the advice of our Realtor we hired a licensed foundation contractor to give us an estimate on the repair job. We knew that if your foundation is not firm, the whole house could collapse.

As I crawled into bed that night I got to thinking about the house and how I’ve been living in it for eight years. I have trusted this house NOT to crumble. I have trusted it with family and loved ones. Then, I thought even deeper about my own foundation and where I put my own trust.
Christ is our solid foundation. Our promises are based on His truths. In

1 Corinthians 10:7-11 we are instructed on how to stay far away from temptations in our lives. In other words, don’t allow your foundation to crumble around you.

 

Vs.7…Do not become idolaters…No problem for me!
Vs.8…Do not commit sexual immorality…No problem for me!
Vs.9…Do not test Christ…Again, no problem there either.
Most of us would say our foundation in Christ keeps us far from the Idolatry, sexual impurity and the testing of our Lord.
Vs.10…Nor Should we complain as some did. OUCH! That one is a little harder for most of us. I am quick to complain and grumble when things are not going my way.
Vs.11…THESE WERE WRITTEN AS EXAMPLES AND WARNINGS.
We have so many temptations coming at us in so many directions. How can we stand firm on God’s promises; His foundation?
Vs.12…Whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. Sometimes our problems can cause us to become plagued with temptations. Wrong temptations warn us that we are standing on the wrong side of the house.
Vs.13…God is faithful, He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are. With our temptations He will also provide a way out.

After several days of not being able to rest properly due to our foundational issues, the inspector finally came in and gave our home a clean bill of health. The official report said, NO STRUCTURAL-FOUNDATIONAL ISSUES.
We can receive the same report from God. Stay in the Word, pray, continue to confess your sins and believe. Christ will never shift, move or crumble.