Lessons to be Learned…Beth Farley

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As I was leading a small study group last night I couldn’t help but be reminded that regardless of our circumstances we are going to experience days where we are just not satisfied with our lives.  This precious group was mostly younger men and women and last night, they taught me.

I thought I had to have all of the answers. I thought I had to be strong and courageous in front of them but boy was I wrong? I didn’t have the answers and I certainly was not strong; not last night. I was having an emotional day. But God immediately revealed to me that the purpose of my teaching was to grow along side these men and women.

So does leading others mean that we have to be fully satisfied with our own lives?

No, it does not. All we have to do is have an open heart and willing to be taught. It means putting our focus on God allowing Him the full control to do whatever.

If we have a day where we don’t like what’s going on in our lives, we still need to serve.

We also need to look back and ask God to reveal to us the way we conducted ourselves and how it may have affected what is happening to us now. We also need to surrender and allow change to happen. If we are willing to change from the previous and present conduct that is holding back God’s blessings, we can have greater victories. That means those that you may be angry with or unable to forge.

1 Timothy 2:1 ESV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.

We must not show partiality. This kind of behavior is not acceptable for those who desire to have a strong love walk. God shows no partiality so we should not either.

Please, do some soul searching and ask God to reveal to you who you need to pray over, forgive, be thankful for and possibly let go of.

Ephesians 6:10:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

Let’s talk about it at LivingbyGrace.living by grace

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Beyond I Do Bible Study Group!

This is going to be such a blessing Jen. You have helped shape me into a listening writing disciple. I remember once you asked, “Are you praying over your work?” How simple of a question…How huge an impact. Hope many of you will invest 30 days of your time to grow closer to God and learn to surrender all that you are to HIM.

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

BiblestudyinviteGood morning and happy Monday! I continually hear from readers how my debut novel has stretched their thinking in some area or challenged them to embrace a deeper level of surrender in order to grab hold of the abundant life Christ offers. I cannot express how encouraging it is to know my writing is being used by Christ to grow and strengthen His children! But perhaps the most encouraging comment I’ve received came from a fellow Living by Grace host and a dear friend, Beth Farley.

Last week she responded to a link I’d posted on Facebook, saying she’d tacked a key verse from my novel on her bathroom mirror to review it daily.

This touched me deeply and excited me to think of the divine adventure that awaits this precious sister in Christ. As I rejoiced on God’s mercy and grace, I wondered, what if we all spurred…

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Wheelchair Bound Blessings…Beth Farley

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Reclining in her wheelchair, we began to visit. Ten years ago her body was attacked by some sort of MS and within those ten years she went from braces and a cane to total-wheelchair-confinement.

With bones pointing out in all directions and heavy eyes, she smiles up at me and says, “I only have two pity parties a year and they’re bad.” I looked at her and said, “You are so special. Get some rest.” She reclined while did some house chores for her.

I sat for a moment and thought about what she had said. She only has two pity parties a year? I have two a week, and they are terrible! I can stomp, cry, crunch my face, say evil things all because a pair of pants don’t fit me just right.

There was a reason for me to be at that house. I thought I was there to bless her, but she blessed me and made me reflect on how good my life is.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us.

After my new friend awoke from her nap and I was feeding her, we visited about family, friends and faith. I asked her how she stays so positive in her situation. And she replied, “I cannot change the cards I have been dealt. As long as I can talk, I will pray, give thanks and help others with my words.” Wow!

Are you struggling to stay positive in your current situation?

James 5:13 ESV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.

I know how hard it is to find positive in your day at times. This assignment was a huge blessing; they all have been but this one for sure. She will always be in my heart and prayers. When I begin to have my own pity party, I will remember the wheelchair bound woman.

God Ordained Destiny…Beth Farley

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Sometimes I kick against my God-ordained destiny. The more I ignore His will for my life, the more disconnected with life I become.

But…What’s my destiny God?

     Through many circumstances I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am to write. I am also called to teach. Believe me when I realized that, I fought it for a long time, but when I teach God’s Word, it flows effortlessly ONLY because HE has equipped me to share my life.

I write every day. Sometimes it’s just in my journal but other times its on my blog or for an article assignment. I just like to share words that will hopefully encourage others.

It was not until I got sick a few years back though that I actually slowed down and began to seriously write. I started digging into the Bible more and asking God what to write about. After all, He is my writing consultant. He asked me to become completely transparent with my writing and I have done just that.

Why?

     Because I am not the only woman that has been divorced. I am not the only woman who has experienced miscarriage or depression. I am not the only woman who has felt lost along life’s journey and I am not the only woman who has hurt deeply.

Beth Moore encouraged me to memorize 1 Cor 14:1 ESV

PURSUE LOVE, AND EARNESTLY DESIRE THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS

     Because my heart has been crushed to smithereens, loving is difficult for me. It was not until I meditated on that scripture that I realized pursuing love is in God’s strength not my own. We can achieve anything that God calls us to; even loving and love is a true spiritual gift.women studying bible

What I am learning is that we all will experience life-altering crises, out-of-control circumstances, or relatively normal bumps and blips. When we do we must neatly nestle ourselves under God’s wings and surrender into the spot He has reserved for us.

Oh Lord, help us to be conscious of the calling you have on our lives and equip us to pursue love through all of life’s blips.

Praying Gecko’s…Beth Farley

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A few weeks ago I wrote about my fear of the little gecko’s that often slithered about the house from time to time. Well, I have found that I cannot only catch them and release them back into the yard, but I enjoy watching them around the outside light at night.

After the front porch light has been on for about 20 minutes, they all start to migrate towards the heated light. There’s usually anywhere from three to six of them that hang out there every night.

Last night there they were; the gecko’s were gathered around the porch light. I which I was able to get a good picture of them because it looked like they were holding hands/claws and praying around the light. In my silly mind I believe they were signing praises for the warmth of the light.

I’ve had many opportunities to participate in a prayer circle. I remember when my children were young and we would participate in the annual “See You at the Pole,” which was a National rally that musters students to meet around their school’s flagpole to publicly seek God, pray, and read scripture and worship. I have been part of women’s prayer circles, “Mom’s in Touch” prayer circles, Cottage prayer circles and just holding hands with my family in a small intimate prayer circle.

Being able to pray in America is a huge freedom and blessing!!!

God listens to prayer and God works in prayer; even when you don’t know how to pray. When we pray to God we must understand that He is the Holy Creator, and Sustainer, of the universe. Our basic motivation in prayer must be for His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom.

Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus said:

This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come
your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us of our debts,
as we also forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”

Do you need prayer today? Seek Him…He will listen to you.living by grace

From Pedal to Port…Beth Farley

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I took a very humbling assignment today. Most often when God humbles me, I’m in favor of it but Sometimes I don’t. Then there are times I flat-out cry; today was one of those times.

I didn’t cry because I felt good about myself but rather I engaged in a very different experience. My assignment was only 10 miles away; no biggie. All I had to do was pick up a very kind elderly woman and take her to an appointment. “Sure, I can do that,” I replied to my Coordinator.

With Map-quest in hand and GPS turned on, I was on my way to arrive at her house by 1:45. After a ton of Houston traffic and only one wrong turn, I pulled into her driveway right on time.

She was waiting at the door with a panicked look. After quick introductions, I helped her lock up, get into the car and off we went. Up one ramp, merging onto another, I was trying to engage in conversation but found it somewhat irritating when she would start talking just as the GPS lady would direct me. I was white-knuckling it all the way there. What was supposed to take us 40 minutes turned into 55 minutes with construction and a gazillion stop lights.

We pulled into the valet parking and quickly walked into this HUGE hospital. She was sure she knew what elevator to take so I let her direct. When we got to the elevator she said she wasn’t sure. I pulled out my directions, got us onto the correct elevator. Up to the 2nd floor we went; took our right and then our second right.

FINALLY THERE!!!

     While she was filling out her paper work and I sat and took a deep breath, I looked up and realized we were in the chemotherapy unit of the hospital. She had to have her port taken out.

I hung my head. I felt ashamed for not listening to her and engaging. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, I just wanted to get us there on time. I had this sudden feeling of unconditional love for this woman. When they called her name, I looked into her green eyes and asked, “Do you want me to go with you?” I followed her back to have what she called a routine port removal. ROUTINE? Wow!

I was so glad that the nurse was running late because I was finally able to hear about her world traveling stories, her family stories, her history with Houston and so much more. She let me look at the port, touch it as she shared her story with cancer that started to attack her only six months ago.

I wrote a blog yesterday about anger. Here is a fine example of someone who has the right to be angry. What was I angry about today? I have forgotten and I don’t care. This was God’s reminder to take advantage of every happy moment we encounter.

     Ephesians 2:7 Amplified … “He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in {His} kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Wherever we are, this can be the best time of our lives. Let’s get out of the Debbie Downer mood and embrace the day.

Shake off Your Anger…Beth Farley

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Aristotle says, “Anyone cane angry; that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way, that is not within everyone’s power and that is not easy.”

In Mark 3:5 Jesus was angry…Let’s take a look…After looking around at them with anger and sorrow with the hardness of their hearts, Jesus told the man, “Stretch out your hand,” so he stretched it out and his hand was restored.

Jesus was angry. He was angry at the attitude of the people while he simply was there to heal this mans paralyzed hand. He had the right to be angry. His anger was justified and was at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way. WE ARE NOT able to do that. Sometimes we lash out at others when we are angry with ourselves. We just don’t have control over our anger.

     Sometimes I have an attitude worse than a pre-teen with raging hormones. I find it easier to be angry at times than to deal with the pain. Please say you do as well!

     I don’t want to have an angry attitude. I would much prefer to walk by the “Fruit of the Spirit” Galatians 5:22-23. I just simply can’t do it though without God’s help.

What can we do, what can I do, to shake off anger and not let it control us?

1. Confront the anger and ask yourself, How much of this situation is in my control? Hopefully we’ll see that none of it is in our control at all. We always have the choice to make decisions and sometimes the results are a direct consequence of a bad decision made but, we can only grow from the experience; not control it. All things work for good for those who Love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. Roman’s 8:28
2. Be thankful for the good that is happening in this day. I lost my home in Missouri, but I have a safe roof over my head in Texas. I am divorced but I have three grown children that I adore more than anything. In everything, give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

3. Let it go! I just finished a six-week study onto he topic of letting things go. Letting go of control is one of the hardest things for me to do. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Instead of longing for God to change the trajectory of your life’s storyline, look for his face as you cry out for help.

You can’t change the weather but you can take an umbrella!   victory in Jesus

What Does it Matter?…Beth Farley

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What does it matter where we hang our clothes or how we display our shoes? What does it matter where the spices are or if the silverware drawer is organized?

I have a new friend that has some difficulties with her daily routine. She is the most precious woman but there are some things that just don’t matter anymore. I don’t know if that is necessarily a bad thing. I observed the way her husband gazes into her eyes with love and the way her dogs love on her unconditionally; that’s what matters!!!

I think she’s got it right!
We have it wrong!

If I could take back all the times that I unnecessarily organized something or cleaned out the silverware drawer just to have it messed up within a day; I’d re-think my efforts. This new friendship has done just that; it has made me rethink about what matters and what doesn’t.

What would I do instead?

I’d spend more time with God and meditate.
I’d journal more.
I’d sit and listen to the world around me.
I’d spend more time with family.
I’d share my love more.
I’d watch the elderly hold hands on the park bench and smile.

I’d be more conscious of what’s important!

I’d give the Spirit of God permission to be my eyes and ears!

Question

What matters to you? Is it your silverware drawer being messy or …

Jesus said: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me; watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

I’d love to hear your thoughts about what matters most to you and how you achieve that?

living by grace

A Wall-hanging…Beth Farley

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As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord.

A picture with the scripture, As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord hung in the entry way of my old home. As soon as you walked in, there it was. It simply was a sign that mirrored my heart. I wanted others to know that although I may fail, my heart’s desire is to serve the Lord.

My picture now hangs in my bedroom. I am living with my son and lets just say that he wasn’t digging the flowers. As I was looking at it this morning I was so thankful to my son that I have a home to live in.

I like the ESV version of Joshua 24:15…

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

This scripture does not say that we will always succeed at serving the Lord but that we should not find it evil to serve Him. The house also does not mean the structural building you live in; it means your heart.

Joshua took a bold stand to serve the Lord regardless of its popularity. (Numbers 14: 10)

In our culture,we naturally assume that achievement is the natural path to happiness; get on it, do the work, and enduring a baleful journey of our indefinite years. We eventually arrive at bliss but find that there is an emptiness within. That’s because we forgot to serve others. We forgot to give of ourselves. We forgot to choose whom we will serve.

What does the scripture say to you?