Sunday, April 22, 2018

The hungry soul...

I have a fitness app on my phone on which I keep track of my exercise and eating.  It gives me access to helpful tips as well, and one of those tips was that if you are actually hungry then you will be willing to eat a piece of fruit or some veggies. It said that if you're unwilling to eat something healthy, then what you are experiencing is not true hunger.

Our small group is studying the Sermon on the Mount.  How many times have I read through Matthew chapters five, six and seven and picked out the tasty bits of what Jesus said, but turned my nose up, so to speak, at the tough parts?  I really love the part where Jesus tells us to not be anxious and reassures us of His provision and care for us.  I even have that part memorized!  But, then there's that part where He tells us that anger in our heart towards our brother is equal to murder and must be dealt with swiftly and not harbored. That part was a bit more difficult for me to swallow.

I think there are two things that make the "hard sayings" of Scripture hard for us to swallow.  The first one is mentioned in Proverbs 27:7. Our soul is so full on the junk food of this world that we aren't hungry for truth. However, when it comes to God's Word, a truly hungry soul isn't a picky eater.  For example, I know a brand new Christian who decided to start in Genesis and read straight through the whole Bible.  He doesn't understand it all and has lots of questions, but he is truly gobbling it all down like a man who's starving. The second thing that I believe causes us to reject the "hard sayings" of Scripture is our lack of intimate knowledge of and trust of the Author.  When we don't trust God's love, the goodness of His heart, and the kindness of His intentions for us, then we don't trust that when His Word says something difficult for us to swallow, that it is actually for our good. In my opinion, if we are truly spiritually hungry, and if we are truly trusting God, then we will learn to love, not just the sweet, comforting, reassuring parts of God's Word, but even the corrective absolutes that this world and our soul find so distasteful.

still following,

Friday, April 20, 2018

How to Live a Well-Watered Life

It's been a wet spring where I live in the Midwest. As a gardener, I'm enjoying the beauty of God's well-watered creation while it lasts, since summer is usually marked by drought. The tulips are marching in glorious procession, opening their faces to the sun. Their well-watered leaves and blossoms sing praises to God.

Maybe when you think about being well-watered, you think about self-care. So many of us women don't rest enough, piddle around enough, or pamper ourselves enough. Yes, most of us need more self-care to feel well-watered and productive. As important as this is, a chapter in Isaiah defines well-watered in a different way.

Turn to Isaiah 58 and slowly read those 14 verses. 

Here's how God tells us to live a well-watered life:
  • Loosen the chains of injustice
  • Set the oppressed free
  • Share food with the hungry
  • Provide wanderers with shelter
  • Clothe the naked
  • Minister to your own family
  • Stop blaming and slandering others
  • Honor the Sabbath

He promises if we do those things, we will be like well-watered gardens. We will find joy in the Lord. Our needs will be satisfied, and we will be strengthened and healed. 

God wants us to have well-watered hearts so we can minister to others. He will fill us up so we can pour love and kindness into the world.

Don't let this list intimidate you, friend. I have ideas for how we can seek these goals in creative ways.

Our well-watered hearts will pour God's love and kindness onto others.

Like you, I'm busy with work, family, church, and my home. At this time in my life, I can't go on a mission trip, add an orphan to our family, or organize a fundraiser. But we don't have to do something big to make a giant difference in God's kingdom. Our small offerings count just as much.

Let's look at simple ideas for each of these points:
  • Loosen the chains of injustice--give a monthly donation to foreign missions, like Mission India or Food for the Poor
  • Set the oppressed free--Adopt a child from Compassion or World Vision
  • Share food with the hungry--donate to your local food bank
  • Provide wanderers with shelter--host a traveling family
  • Clothe the naked--take a load of outgrown clothes to Salvation Army or the women's shelter
  • Minister to your own family--cook a Sunday dinner together, play board games, or walk outside
  • Stop blaming and slandering others--pray before speaking, and certainly before posting on social media
  • Honor the Sabbath--slow it way, way down (and enjoy a book!)

Pray about which one of these points God wants to apply this week. Let your soul feel refreshed by His living waters as you participate in a new activity.

As a well-watered garden, you will be a source of life and peace for everyone around you.

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from

Discussion questions:

  1. Other than your church, which ministry do you support with time or money?
  2. What practical step will you take today to minister more effectively to your family?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Made By God {Giveaway}

By: Jenifer Metzger

For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.
Your works are wondrous,
and I know this very well.
Psalm 139:13-14

I think this verse is something we need to remind ourselves of often. We need to remember that we were made by God, on purpose, for a purpose. To help us remember this important truth, we have partnered with Dawn Pelletteri from Designed for More Jewelry to bring you a beautiful giveaway!

Dawn says, "The idea for my jewelry line 'Designed For More-Made By God' came from my booklet 'Designed For More: Design the life you were meant to live.' My passion is to create an awareness in girls and women that God designed them for more. The jewelry line was created to inspire and motivate each girl/woman who purchases a necklace, bracelet or key chain that - you are 'unique' and one-of-a-kind, you are not a copy or a duplicate of someone else. You are God's Masterpiece and are Designed For More!"

Dawn creates beautiful necklaces, bracelets and key chains with the message "Made by God." These double strand necklaces are 16/18 inches long. The shorter strand says Designed for More and the longer strand says Made by God. You can get red, blue, or clear beads. The necklaces are beautiful! Perfect to give your tee shirt and jeans and dressier look, yet still perfect for your Sunday best.

Each necklace comes boxed with a Daily Affirmation. This affirmation will remind you each day that you are special and extraordinary, not average, custom made, one of a kind, and tells you to hold your head high knowing you are a daughter of the King, God's masterpiece, and designed for more.

To shop the Designed for More shop, click HERE.

Dawn has given us three beautiful necklaces to giveaway to three blessed ladies. To enter to win, complete each task in the rafflecopter below.

**To enter to win a bracelet from Designed for More, head over to my blog HERE.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Be still and rest in the Lord...

I came home from four wonderful days away at our youngest daughter's in-law's little cabin on the Umpqua River feeling much better from the weariness I'd been struggling with.  Two days after we arrived home we got the news of my husband's spiritual mentor's death, and four days after that news of the death of my oldest niece. I'm currently feeling a bit like a deflated balloon-unable to pump myself back up to normal.

Psalm 37 is one of my favorite Psalms. Today, verse seven really spoke to me.  It gave me permission to just rest and lean on the Lord during this time. It brought to my mind the picture of holding a baby or toddler. Once they begin to rest in your arms, and perhaps even fall asleep, they become dead weight. They are no longer helping to support themselves, instead all of their weight is resting on you.

I'm not very good at allowing myself to be weak. I think that because I grew up without a strong emotional support system in my family, I became a bit of a "I'll just pull myself up by my own bootstraps" sort of person.  Decades of being in full time ministry and learning to be there for others without a lot of expectation of reciprocation has probably fortified that mindset. But sometimes things happen and you just don't have it in you to pull yourself up or to push yourself through it. Perhaps God allows us to come to the end of our own strength on purpose. I love it when one of my grandchildren rests in my arms, when they quit fighting the tiredness and just give in and rest. Maybe God is longing to hold me like that, to bear all the weight I've been carrying. I think it's time for me to quit fretting about the fact that I'm not feeling quite like my normally capable self.  I think it's time for me to just be still and to let myself rest and lean on my loving, understanding, trustworthy, strong and capable Father God.

still following,

Friday, April 13, 2018

How to Keep Asking, Seeking, and Knocking

How to keep asking, seeking, and knocking in pursuit of your God-given dreams.

What hidden dreams are tucked away in your heart? I have a few, and I'm sure you have one or two that haven't been realized yet.

It's easy to think old dreams have died. But many dreams are God-inspired, and you need to look at them carefully before letting them go.

Have you held these dreams since you were a little girl? Maybe you dreamed of being a writer. A teacher. A singer or a dancer. Do your dreams seem silly to you now, or does uncovering them spark hope in your heart?

When you decide to pursue your dream, it's good to put Jesus' words from Luke 11:9 into action:

Asking, seeking and knocking require faith. They require trusting that God will provide answers, and that He has a master plan for your life.

God cares about your dreams. He will help you them a reality as you ask, seek, and knock.

Notice that God first tells you to ask. Pray consistently about your dream for 30 days, continuing to open yourself to God's will. Write your prayer requests in a journal, and make sure to record the answers. You will see progress if you keep asking, because the Holy Spirit will be working.

Keep asking, seeking, and knocking to pursue your God-given dreams.

How to keep asking, seeking, and knocking in pursuit of your God-given dreams.

Living in the age of internet access makes seeking easy. Research your dream and look into ways to pursue it. Perhaps you can sign up for a course, join a Facebook group, find a new job, or track down a mentor. Keep seeking by using a search engine, and you will be sure to find inspiration.

It takes courage to knock on the door of your dream. Knocking is a challenge because you have to put yourself out there. It's when you're sending the email, making the phone call, or driving to the meeting. But if you've taken the time to ask and seek first, knocking won't seem as intimidating.

If the first door is closed, keep asking, seeking and knocking some more. God will show you how to make your dream a reality as you are persistent, obedient and accepting. 

An adventure awaits you...start today by asking God to help you pursue your dreams.

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from

Discussion questions:

  1. What is your longest-held dream?
  2. What will you do this week to move forward in pursuit of your dream?