Being Thankful for my Hands

 

hands of hope

 

I am an advocate of loving seniors. I am a insistent on giving them all I possibly can give. It’s the gift that God has given me and I cherish it.

Back in my early 20’s I became very involved in volunteering at a local nursing home. As part of my home-school-curriculum with my children, we would visit the elderly twice a month. I wanted my children to learn that it’s okay to become older; to have wrinkly skin and be in wheelchairs. I wanted them to know that one day they will be a precious senior in a wheel chair also in need of someone to listen to their stories.

As my family moved around and my professions changed, I never stopped engaging with the elderly. In one form of another, my hands and heart have been fixated on serving them. I have worked as a Certified Nurses Aide in nursing homes; worked for the library facilitating out-reach programs for seniors and have gone door to door singing to seniors at Christmas time. They truly have my heart.Alzheimers_friend_zpsea9b8729

Recently I created a picture of hands in my collage circle class and while pondering over the picture I realized that I am so very thankful for my hands. I am so thankful that I have the hands and heart that God has given me to help the elderly. I am so thankful that my hands can do the things in which God would like for them to do. I am so thankful that I have the tender loving hands that will reach out to any needy senior that I can. I am so thankful that although my hands get struck by eczema at times, they still continue to do all that they can to bring joy to a senior.

We all have our ministries. We all have a desire to help someone in need. Sometimes we use our gifted hands to help others and sometimes we just fold them together in prayer for others.

Look at your hands today. Is there someone that needs you to reach out and touch them?

My hands will continue to deliver the stories that God has asked me to write. My hands will continue to help my favorite elderly friends for as long as I can.

Thank you Lord for my hands.Thank you that you have given me the very tender spirit to help the seniors in need. I pray that I will always be able to look use these hands for your glory.

Have a very blessed Thanksgiving and remember, your hands were created to help others.

 

Looking Beyond…Beth Farley

christa kay's picture beyond

Picture by: Christa Kay; Topsham, Maine

What do you see beyond this branch? A friend of mine took this picture and right away I felt the urge to write about my clouded vision and how I can become too self-dependent. How about you? Can you look beyond your situation and cling to God?

Sometimes we just have to look beyond what’s in front of us to see God’s provision. Sometimes there is a world of  love, peace and forgiveness beyond what we are capable of seeing. When our vision becomes blurred, we will indeed miss the beautiful-rhythmic-flowing-waters designed by God’s hands.

Unlike many, I like when the trees are bare so that I can survey what’s beyond them. When I lived on a farm in Kansas, I would take long walks through the cold timber observing what lurked beyond the bare trees. I was reminded of God’s love while gazing upon the deer tracks, the beaver dams, the bird nests, the flowing brook and the frosted grass. It was quiet…still…pretty…and while spending time just observing God’s wonderful works, I would be reminded to look beyond what was in front of me.

Why is it that we have a hard time seeing beyond what’s in front of us? Are we afraid of what might be lurking about, possibly being a threat to our own self-dependence? Are we afraid to rely on what we can’t see? I know at times I am, but I also know that during those times, God is trying to break me of my own self-dependence so that He can bless me.

Look at Genesis 32. Jacob faced a crisis. He was returning to the land of Canaan in obedience to God, but that meant he would have to face his brother, Esau, whom he had cheated 20 years prior. Jacob wanted to push this situation away. Do you experience times where you want  the problem to be pushed away. Jacob begins to wrestle with God in vs’s 22-32.

That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the fork of the Joabbok. After he had sent them home across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched and he wrestled with the man. Then the mans said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Skip to verse 31: The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.

I have wrestled with God during times of my life where I have limped towards my victory. How about you?

God answered Jacob’s prayer for protection from Esau. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Do you struggle with God and situations? Look beyond what is in front of you.
I have learned over the years that when I cling to Him during the good and the bad, He will allow me to see beyond my issues. How about you? Won’t you cling to Him so that you can see beyond your problems?

Our greatest victories come out of our greatest defeats.

What’s My Part, God?

 

ID-100157377

 

Becoming a Christian means that we put our trust and faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We believe that He died for our sins, meaning, He took the weight of the sins of the world and hung on a cross. Three days later, He rose from the dead and He now lives within each one of us through His Spirit. When we become a Christian, we also leave our sinful life behind and walk with Jesus.

If God is willing to enter our hearts, what’s our part in pleasing Him?

  1. We need to accept His unconditional love for us. He loves us not matter what. It’s never too late to say you’re sorry and turn your life around.
  2. We have to be willing to do for others and not boast about it. By this I mean that when we become a follower of Jesus, we think of others first and help them where they need to be helped. BUT…we do not boast about it.
  3. We also have to be willing to forgive others. In forgiving others, we are showing God that we accept His grace and mercy; so we too will pour out our forgiveness on others.

I visited a knitting group the other day and thought about how St. Faustia asked God to grant her the grace of conversion to as many souls as the number of stitches that she made on a particular day with a the crochet hook. (Diary, 961) That’s a lot of conversions. She prayed through faith and did not boast when a soul was won over for Christ.

Are you praying for the lost? Do you find yourself boasting at times?

Join us in the conversation today as we discuss what it means to you to be saved?

 

livingbygracepic.jp

 

 

MY GOD!!!

 

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Six allergy shots, two blood tests, negative kidney test results and told that I can’t eat the foods I crave all within a week is…crying-woman1

 NOTHING

compared to those who are mourning the loss in Paris. It is NOTHING compared to those who have just lost a loved one or NOTHING compared to someone who has just lost their job or their home. It is NOTHING to compared to those who struggle to retain a thought or for someone who is drowning in a deep dark hole. It is NOTHING compared to a divorce. It is NOTHING compared to those parents who are watching their children die of cancer or NOTHING compared to parents who have just lost their child to Sudden Death Syndrome or NOTHING compared to those who have watched a family member take their own life.meditating

 BUT

Does it mean that God doesn’t care about my problems? Does it mean that He loves me any less or any more than others? Does it mean that I will have a long climb up and He won’t be there taking each step with me? NO!

MY GOD2013-01-04_10-28-01_122

My God is with the people in Paris. My God is with the ones who have just lost a loved one. He is with the one who has just lost his home or her house. He is with the one who struggles to retain a thought and one who is in that deep dark hole. My God is with the parents that grieve the loss of their child and He is with all of us who are hurting.

MY GOD IS WITH ME and HE IS WITH YOU!!!MH900409444

Fresh Flowers From God

fresh flowers

 

Fresh Flowers for You, My Love!

Being in love with God evokes the feelings of receiving fresh flowers from a loved one. Recently I received a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers and not only did it make me feel warm and loved but it made me ponder Christ’s love for me.

Are you in love with God? If so, how do you show it? We all receive a gift from time to time. As the holiday season is quickly approaching us, I can’t help but reminisce on Christmas’s past, when my kids were young. Their joyful looks while opening packages was priceless. I believe that is what Jesus does when another person turns their lives over to Him; he is joyful.

When God receives our souls he reminds us that:

He is the branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life. (John 15:1,5)
He reminds us that we are a friend of Jesus. (John 15:15)
He also reminds us that we are justified freely by grace. (Romans 3:24)

That’s more than a bouquet of flowers, that’s the whole flower tree.

Short and simple…Be thankful for His love for you and show others your love for them.20150717_185259-2

Sex in the City vs Jesus in the City

l_4aa6232261e860862bf1b4cdbab31187

For several years, I idolized the cast of four woman from the very popular, hit TV show, “Sex in the City.” As a writer, I mostly favored Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, because she had an incredibly glamorous newspaper column, with thousands of female followers each week, staying glued to each word she wrote. However, with each one of the ladies, Samantha Jones, Charlotte York and Miranda Hobbs, frenzied a certain style and conviction. They each strutted a certain strength and although their convictions were based around sex, drinking and drugs, at the time, I didn’t mind it; as a matter of fact, I loved when they would get together and gossip about their sex lives, or lack thereof. They appeared so empowered, so strong, so victorious and so committed to each other. Sad to admit, I was a Christian as I watch this series season after season.

Years later, when I came to my senses and stopped watching this show, I realized that I and other women were valued for so much more than our sense of style, our sex lives and even our professions. My life, is valued for who I am in Christ. Even though I still value my sense of style and my strength as an independent woman, I am also aware that my independence depends on God’s will. Being dependent on God doesn’t make me less of an independent woman. It makes me feel stronger in my own skin because when I’m walking by His will or guidance, I can hold my head high knowing I’m walking the right way, the proper and moral way that He has called me to be.

Today while thinking of this sitcom, I began to write a fictitious television script in my head; “Jesus in the City.” I would  have a cast of four beautiful women who also walked the streets of the city with heads held high. With each step they took, they were not walking with sexy legs showing or cleavage hanging about for others to gawk over, but rather, they walked with accountability and proper moral standards. Rather than going to bars and talking about their sex lives, they would go to coffee shops and hover over the latest clean fiction. Oh, I would make sure that they would still share their deep personal secrets, but not to brag or gossip but rather to pray and glean wisdom from each other; just like Mary and Elizabeth did in the Bible. Just as Elizabeth recognized the unique blessedness of Mary because of the child she was bearing, these four fictitious women would consider themselves blessed because of the joyful friendships they shared.

Would my version of “Sex in the City” be in the top ratings? Probably not! It would not be popular in the homes of the average standard families. Unfortunately, it might not even be popular in the homes of Christian families. Why? Because we’ve lost touch with what is important to mimic for our younger gals. We’ve forgotten that our bodies are made for our mates eyes only. We’ve forgotten that we are not valued by our size, our status or even our profession. We are valued for being women of God. That’s the highest standard ever.

We’ve forgotten that being a Christian woman does not mean a dull, boring life; quite the opposite. We can still chat, share a meal, laugh and pray with one another. We can still turn to each other in times of need and our lives don’t have to be flaunted about over a table at the bar.

Okay, my confession though. I’d still love to be that independent female newspaper columnist that other women would desire to follow, but until God directs my footsteps in that direction, my blog will have to do for now.

Ladies, value yourselves for more than your appearance; for more than your accomplishments or even profession. Value yourself because you are a child of God and He loves you so very much so.beth 3

Ugh, What is Your Will Lord?

th panic

We all experience times where we struggle giving up our will. Some of us possess a stronger will than others but none-the-less, we all struggle giving in to someone or something. But, what if it’s God on the other end of the struggle? What if He’s asking you to give up your will for His will? Not as easy, is it? (Hopefully not)

No other sacrifice can compare with a perfect and whole-burnt offering; an offering of our will. Saint Faustia was directed to be a continual sacrifice and to always do the will of the Holy Reverent Father. He also directs us to do the same thing, but what if we just don’t understand what His will is for us? How can we avoid the confusion and know its His will leading us or our own?

  • First of all, we can stay connected by petitioning God for understanding. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.(1 Thessalonians: 5:16-18) Prayer brings everything to fruition. I pray all of the time. I don’t necessarily pray just in the morning or night. I most often will pray when feel the urge from God. It could be idle at a traffic light, waiting on a meal, or walking through my neighborhood. Find your own opportunity to chat with Jesus
  • Secondly, I recite the Lord’s Prayer; not by just mouthing the words, but rather by reciting it with all of my heart and allow His poetic words to soak into my soul. (Matthew 6:9-13)
  • Last thing I do is wait. Ugh, no one likes to wait. I want answers now. I want to know now what to do, but sometimes I have to be still and know that God is on His throne directing my life.   Be still and know that God is God. (Psalm 46:10) We have to know by faith that He has our best interests at heart.  He will never direct us down the wrong path, however, we may have to walk though some murky water first to get to the other side of the problem. God uses many forms of His artistry to work on my stubborn heart; He will do the same for you.

At times God will allow me to walk through the valley of the shadow of death(Psalm 23:4) for His namesake. I don’t consider them trials or spiritual tests. I consider those times to be times of Jesus beaconing me to crawl closer.   It’s really about the heart more than it is about the mind. I can be determined to do what God asks of me but if my heart is not into it, my actions are void. My desires will speak louder than His will.

How about you? Experiencing a battle of the will?

Pray and ask God to give you a more-willing-heart… to be a whole-burnt offering which is the offering of your will.

20150614_144541

Between Many Worlds

20150717_185259-2

Love endures long-suffering and is patient and kind.

Do we feel like we’ve been long-suffering and not sure why? Are there people out there that provoke us or intentionally test us? How fast do we get distracted when trials come our way?

I have forgotten how to endure long-suffering for Christ. I usually take matters into my own hands and try to manipulate them, faster than God wants.  I run out of patience for the situation and rather than wait upon God’s direction; I move forward with my own.

So, how can we endure long-suffering, (i.e. a job-loss, financial ruin, failing health, family difficulties, marriage issues) for Christ’s sake?

Let’s define long-suffering.

(Verb) To be patient, long-suffering, to bear with, to be long tempered. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament) It also goes on to say that, “Long-suffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation, which does NOT retaliate.”

How many times do we feel in our heart that we just want to get even? I know I’ve dealt with people who have intentionally tried to rob me, or take advantage of me and people who have humiliated me whom I’ve loved dearly.

Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit, and if we are to live by the fruit of the Spirit, then we obviously can’t obtain self-restraint on our own. God is the perfect example of self-restraint. There are several accounts in the Bible where God would have been justified to intervene hastily, but didn’t. 1Peter 3:18; Genesis 18:20; Genesis 15:16 are just a few examples.

 

We can also endure if we remember how to live by Luke 6:31:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto You.

  • Husband irritating you? Try to ignore the irritation until you can calmly talk about it with him. Then treat him the way you would want to be treated.
  • Job draining your life? Re-evaluate why you are working where you are working and treat your fellow employees as you would want to be treated.
  • Family drama got you down? Do unto your family as you would like done unto you.

Don’t be the cause of difficult situations.
Don’t add fuel to the fire.

I went through a time where I briefly lost my ability to be kind; every quirk drove me nuts. Every hateful remark put another dagger into my heart which left me to wonder where my ability to love had gone.Question

 

I just wanted to retaliate. I now know exactly where it went; it got caught between many worlds.  It got caught in the world of being cheated on; the world of being lied to and the world of inappropriate finger-pointing. I lived “lost-and-angry” for way too long.

Jesus’s words in John 16:32 reminds us that we do not suffer alone. We do not have to  endure finger-pointing alone; back stabbing alone or dagger digging alone.

What do you think about suffering for Christ’s sake?  Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

John 14:20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in Me, and I in you.livingbygracepic.jp

My Loss of Luster

Beth, I want you to detach..Jesus recently whispered those words into my heart.Bible_paper

Have you needed a break from life but didn’t quite know how to detach?

I’ve had a tarnished heart over the last month or so and I finally had to just get-out-of-town to detox and allow myself to become clean.

When you think of the word tarnished what do you think of? I think of “flawed” or “blemished.”

It was not by chance that I read one of the daily reflections from the Diary of St. Faustina where God spoke to her about detaching herself from all creatures but more importantly, detaching from herself!

It made me ask myself, “Beth how can you delight in the love of God with a pure love when you are so full of yourself and so concerned about what other’s think?”

What exactly is the definition of tarnished? According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, it means: Lose or cause to lose luster, especially as a result of exposure to air and moisture. Discolor, rust, oxidize, corrode, stain, dull and blacken. I tend to lose my luster especially when I am exposed to others that are rusted as well.

That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling in my heart.
▪ loss of luster
▪ discolored ▪ rusted
▪ oxidized ▪ corroded
▪ stained ▪ dull
▪ blackened

Once I finally identified with these feelings, what did I do with them? I began to detached from each feeling…I began writing and soul-searching. I began to allow God to speak to me through meditation, quiet and writing.

I then found the urge to honor the glory of God. I began to cry out with enthusiasm and fidelity to my wonderful Lord. I began to seek the blessed Prince of Heaven with holy joy and finally regained my zeal for His grace.

How about you? Are you feeling oxidized, rusted or corroded with guilt or sin? Do you lack luster for the Lord?ID-10083723

Oh Lord, How beautiful you are. O Lord in heaven, cover me with your protective armor so that I might not become dulled or blackened in heart again.