Getting Back on My Bike…Beth Farley

May Is National Bike Month

20150410_133627
Have you put off doing something because you were afraid? Has an event left you crippled in fear? Recently I purchased a bike. It’s a plain-ole bike. It has no gears, no hand breaks and has fat tires. I describe it as a one-speed-old-lady-bike. For years, I was afraid to get back on a bike. Where did that fear come from? It came from an incident I had when I was a child.

I have never been the greatest biker. I’ve always had some issues with equilibrium therefore making my balance off kilter at times. On one occasion, I remember showing off, riding my bike and courageously taking one hand off of the handlebar. I thought I was hot-stuff. I looked back and yelled to my brother, “Look, one hand!” When I turned forward I crashed into a parked car. It hurt and left a lasting fearful impression.

Where does fear come from? I believe fear stems from past frightening experiences. I also believe Satan would like nothing more than to trip us up and make us feel captivated to our fears.ID-100105900

There are specific things that may cause our fears to become phobias. I recently found a four page list of phobias in a magazine and was shocked to see how many applied to me at one point or another in my life. We may feel as though every courageous step we take forward, we fall two fearful steps behind.

If you were to take an inventory of your life, where would your fear gauge be? Are you closer to a10 where your fear can’t be shaken; unstopped or unyielded? Or are you closer to a 1 where your fear is listless, lifeless and stagnant?

How can we change our fear gauge from a 1 to a 10?

First of all, we should face the fear. I finally faced my fear of getting back on a bike. In Isaiah 41:10, God tells us, Fear not, for I am with you. I recited that over and over again the first time I got back on a bike and wobbled down the street. I recite that scripture every time I feel like fear is trying to take over me. It’s a small but powerful scripture in times of fear.

Secondly, do some self examination. Sometimes my fear is a result from an unconfessed sin hanging around in my live. Maybe you have done something evil. Maybe you wrongfully hurt someone’s feelings or judged someone by their appearance. There were times in my life where fear was trying to manifest itself in my soul and I had to get down on my knees and pray for help.

Thirdly, take action! If you can’t shake the fear, seek help. Go to your Pastor, or a good friend or trained counselor to help you. Proverbs 24:6

Lastly, try reciting the Serenity Prayer every day. There are things that we just can’t control and need to let go of.When I recite this prayer, there is a cleansing surrender that comes over me.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 

We can work through any fear. I have experienced many fearful circumstances. Health issues, divorce, deaths, financial ruins, etc.; God has been there through every fearful situation.

Psalm 23:4, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear, whom shall I be afraid of.

What does fear do to you?

How do you conquer your fear?

Let’s chat while I host on livingbygracepic.jp

Advertisements

Sabbath or Nap?

Is honoring the Sabbath Day just a church thing? Is it a family day thing? Do we just honor it on Saturday or Sunday? Some think Sabbath time is nap time. What do you think?

ID-100162372

While growing up, especially during Lent, every Friday around 4:00 we were instructed to come in from playing to reflect on all that God had done for us. It was a time of rest and meditation. As a child, this was torture. I wanted to be outside frolicking with my friends. But, now, I look back on that time and cherish the memory that my mom instilled in me. Take time to rest and be thankful to God for all that I have.ID-100260588

Now that I’m into my 50’s, I regretfully admit that I am not always consistent with the concept of keeping the Sabbath holy.  How about you? Are you forgetting to keep the Sabbath holy? Do you forget to reflect?

Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

The Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 teaches us four things:

  • How are we commanded to keep it? Holy
  • When are we commanded to keep it? 7th Day
  • How are we commanded to keep it? Resting and reflecting.
  • And why? To reflect on God’s goodness and blessings.

If we work all week long, cram in house work around our office hours, and try to schedule in activities either for ourselves, spouse or children, how much time do we have left for the Sabbath? Question

It is impossible for me to take a whole day off from my job as I am a live-in care giver 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. I have a very special friend that I take care of. He has Alzheimer’s and he and his family depend on me. I am very fond of him and enjoy working for him, but, if I don’t find time in my day for a mini-Sabbath, I will end up be filled with resentment, anger and darkness.

So how do I honor the Sabbath?

Almost every day, I slip upstairs for a short span of time, sit before His feet, reflect and journal. I cease all working and reflect on God’s goodness. It is never at the same time nor for the same length of time, but when the opportunity arises, I drop everything and seize the moment.   DogMeditation

God commanded that the seventh day be observed as the Sabbath. A glance at almost any dictionary or encyclopedia will show you that Saturday is the seventh day of the week, while Sunday is the first day of the week.  The seventh day according to God’s calendar is—and always has been—the Sabbath day. Although we have modified calendars through the centuries, the seven-day weekly cycle has remained intact throughout history. The days of the week have always remained in their proper order, with Sunday as the first day of the week and Saturday as the seventh. So, does this mean that you can’t observe the Sabbath any other day or even take a mini Sabbath? God wants our  attention and dedication any time we can give it.

Psalms 8:3-5- “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, {4} What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? {5} For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.”

Sabbath is about attitude.

Deuteronomy 6:5- “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Does God want us to dread the Sabbath? No! He wants it to be a blessing. But if we don’t have a love relationship with Jesus, we’ll be watching the clock. When the Sabbath approaches, we’ll be thinking, “Oh, heavens! I’ve got all this stuff to do. Is it Sabbath already? Now I don’t have time to do it.” That’s not the attitude God wants us to have. It’s as if the Sabbath is a burden rather than a blessing. It means we need a change in our hearts and attitudes.

I believe that it is the Devil’s plan to erode us with convictions regarding how we honor the Sabbath. He would much rather trip us up on the details on how, when and why so that we falter from spending ANY quality quiet time with Him.

God said, there is holy time. What did He mean? The word “holy” means something “dedicated, set apart, or consecrated to God.” And it’s clear from the Bible that some things are holy and should not be profaned or treated as common. Our Sabbath time with God should not be treated as common time. 

What does my Sabbath time mean to me?

My Sabbath time is a time of delighting and rejoicing in God.
My Sabbath time is a time for meditating on a scripture or two.
My Sabbath time is a time for asking for forgiveness.
My Sabbath time is a time of prayer.
My Sabbath time is a time of healing.
My Sabbath time is a time of resting in His love.

What does your Sabbath time look like? I would love to hear from you as I am hosting the discussion on Living by Grace; a Facebook community.livingbygracepic.jp

I keep my Sabbath time in perspective, when I don’t get all bogged down with the “do’s and don’ts.” I try very hard to practice the Sabbath commandment regularly so that the Spirit of the Sabbath commandment is genuine, holy and sanctified.

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

Playing 2nd Fiddle…Beth Farley

As_the_Fiddle_Plays_Wallpaper_hrjo8

http://www.scenicreflections.com.

 

What does Playing 2nd-Fiddle mean? In all of my searching, each definition states the same thing: It means to be a less important role than someone or something.

I heard this term quoted recently in a conversation about a relationship. “I didn’t mean to make you feel like 2nd fiddle,” was said.

We all have been in that position where we have felt less than first priority. Maybe it was when you were playing sports in school and you didn’t kick the wining goal but you gave the pass. He got the praise, you got nothing. Maybe your co-worker got recognition for something you suggested; she got the praises and you got nothing. Or worse off, maybe in your current relationship you have felt like 2nd fiddled, less than others, or down on the bottom of the priority pole.

I’ve have been working hard at my relationship with God and earlier this week I got to thinking about how I make Him play 2nd fiddle in times of my life. I can get so caught up in doing life, that God becomes low on the priority pole.

As a Christian writer, I’m in the Word quite often but that does not mean that I don’t stumble and fall or forget that God is at the top of my Spiritual pyramid. I just forget to show Him how important He is.

In Haggai chapter one, The Temple was the focal point of Judah’s relationship with God, but the people got their priorities all messed up and they were not putting God in first place in their lives Hg 1:9, “You expect much, but see, it turned out to be little, what you brought home I blew away. Why?” Declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.” (NIV)

Fall is upon us. New ministry opportunities are beginning. Bible Studies are on the rise and new Sunday School classes are under way. These are fantastic tools tat can help us to keep God top priority. But, if we don’t make our own personal relationship with Him even more important than we will certainly be making God 2nd fiddle.

Is God at the top of your priority list or are you making Him 2nd fiddle in your life?

Join us in the conversation at Living by Grace a Facebook community.

living by gracehttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-Grace

 

Cutting Down Bamboo

securedownload-8

Today I took on a huge task. I promised my son I wouldn’t do it; but I did. I cut down a bamboo tree. Not only did I cut it down but I cut it with a huge kitchen butcher knife.
My son instructed me to get an estimate on having it cut down. But, stubborn me, I figured I could save him some money and get some exercise at the same time, so I did it my way.securedownload-14

I walked into the back yard and thought, “How hard can this be?” I changed my clothes, grabbed my work gloved and kitchen butcher knife. I hacked and chopped, pulled and snapped the branches then loaded ix bags worth of bamboo. Then I hauled it all down to his driveway for the trash men to pick up.

Four hours later, two skin abrasions and sweat pouring down my face and back, I finally came to a kick-in-the-pants conclusion; I should have listened to my son. Today I am very sore and am finding it very hard to move around.securedownload-10

I do the same thing with God. He instructs me to do something one way or not to do it at all, but I, in my own stubbornness, do it anyway. Been there? Just frustrates me when I know I should not have fast food and there I am in the drive thru of a fast food joint. It’s a never ending process with me; with most of us.

This new journey of mine is about my actions and listening to the heart of God before making decisions. I believe I cared too much about this bamboo task. Hear me out. Sometimes a person can be over-caring; especially women. I over cared too much that I put myself in danger. I took on a responsibility just because of my ego and to help my son. He knows my physical limitations and that’s why he said, “No mom.”

God puts boundaries all around us. His boundaries help create mutual balance in our lives. They help us keep ourselves accountable for our actions. There was a boundary set yesterday and I crossed the line. God has planted me here for a time to write, slow down, soul search, seek a forgiving heart and move forward in my life. In Ecclesiastes we are told “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven,” (3:1) Had I taken the time to relax, write, and do as I was instructed to do, I wouldn’t be so sore and tired today.securedownload-15

Today, I will stop struggling with having to slow down and stop taking on huge tasks when I’m still recovering. I will let go of my belief that I have to do everything because I am not paying any rent. I will replace it with the belief that I can walk this journey in ease and peace.

Have you crossed a line lately? Did you take something too far? Did you step over God’s boundary?

Psalm 78:1 O my people, hear my teaching, listen to the words of my mouth. NIV

living by grace

No! Not My Coupon Folder…Beth Farley

No! Not My Coupon Folder!!!securedownload-4

A few weeks before I moved to Texas my daughter gave me a crash course on extreme couponing. I took notes, clipped my coupons, browsed the web sites and became hooked. I didn’t think I’d become a “stockpiler” but guess what? I am. I am unemployed with very little means of money so this is a way of saving, BIG TIME. I only stock pile on things that we can use. Anything beyond that boundary is donated to the food pantry down the road.

I had an unsettling day this week. I was so distracted by the chatter in my head. I couldn’t settle down to my devotions or Bible reading time. I was bopping all over the house, trying to keep busy from my feelings. Have you ever been there?

There was one thing though that was pulling me towards sitting at the table; it was my desire to do my coupon clipping. I made a cup of coffee, started clipping and sorting and stacking. I began to feel peaceful and content.

Once this blissful task was done, which by the way, takes quite a bit of time, I went over to my desk to get my purple coupon folder only to find it wasn’t there. I went out to my car and checked under the seats, in the trunk and glove compartment. I retraced my steps for at least 45 minutes. My body was gripped with frustration and anxiety. I was frantically looking for my purple folder. All of the Sunday coupons were in that folder. I had not even redeemed half of them yet. I think I might have even spewed a few unnecessary words while in my crazy attempt at finding the folder.

Plopping on the couch and feeling deflated, I realized that I had been so engulfed in the tantalizing coupon folder that I kinda felt ashamed of my behavior. I had not done my devotions. I had not looked at my Bible. I had not prayed nor done any writing which God had called me to do. Why hadn’t I been as passionate about spending time with God this day as I had been about trying to find my coupon folder?

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been so engulfed in something that you just can’t wait to dig in? You know, the Sunday football game, your golf game, your pedicure, shopping or craft project; these are all great things and God wants us to enjoy them but we all know as Christian we need to find the balance.

John 10:10…A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. HCSB

One of the greatest things about being human is our tenacity. Life goes on. Sometimes worse for the wear, sometimes better for our efforts, but it always goes on. God takes these things, these daily distractions and files them under the category of “GRACE”.

We are human; He is ALL. We make mistakes; He fixes them. We get distracted; He pulls us closer.

There are times where you just have to drop the whole thing and start again. The purple folder is still missing but today I’m writing. Today I’ve spent time with Him and today…I set out for a new folder….

Psalm 96:1
Sing a new song to the LORD Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

http://www.livingbygrace.co

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-Grace

living by grace

 

Quietude

 

What does Quietude mean? It is the state of being quiet; tranquility; calmness; stillness. It’s origin 1590-1600.  I was drawn to a book at the library yesterday called Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality by J. Brent Bill. I was drawn to it because of the word silence. I have such a hard time practicing silence. A group of ladies in my neighborhood come together one night a week and meditate for 15 minutes to a guided meditation tape. I was very apprehensive at first because I thought it was going to be a hokey-pokey religious thing, but it was not. It has turned out to be one of my most favorite times of the week. It is a time where I totally surrender to God. I empty out all of the bad things from my day, release all of the bad thoughts and just am still.shan and alex

How do you embrace silence? We are all so busy in life and when it’s time to wind down, we turn on the television and slump onto the couch, or open up a good book we’re reading. Those are winding down tools, not silence tools. When was the last time you really sat down and became silent so that you could listen to God? We often talk to a pastor about a situation or talk to a trusted friend or read the Word of God. Those are all good, but being silence has its own distinctiveness.  When you practice the art of silence, God reveals His presence. He grants us insights, guidance and spiritual wisdom.

How do you practice silence? Do you practice silence? Share with us today as we are discussing quietude/silence/tranquility/calmness.