Sunday, November 3, 2013

Taking a break...

Hello readers and friends, 

It's the Sabbath and I'm thinking about how to find refreshment in the Lord, and in all areas of my life.  I'm surfing through blogs I like to read because that's so refreshing, right??  Not really.  Reading blogs can be helpful, but oftentimes, looking at blogs and social media can make me envious, exhausted, and feeling badly about who God has made me in Christ.  Not exactly the best recipe for a restful Sunday!  

I was also reflecting that though I enjoyed writing most days in October for the 31 day series on praising God, it sometimes felt forced.  Not coming out of who I really am.  Doing something like this should not be an obligation, but a source of joy and refreshment.  So with the holidays coming up, I'm going to take a break from blogging.  I want to focus on serving my husband, friends, family and church, and also taking care of myself.  I want to encourage you to take the pressure off of yourself in areas where you are doing something you don't need to be doing.  Who are you trying to impress?  Who am I trying to impress?  

"Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ." Galatians 1: 10-12 (MSG)

I'm not sure when I'll be signing back on, but whoever you are out there, find comfort in the grace offered by Christ to you.  "For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9 

This holiday season, let's all find ways to accept the GIFT of GRACE from God.  Not only for our salvation, but in every area of our lives.  

By Grace,


Ruth

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Praise for Lessons Learned

It's been a lovely month with you here, reflecting on ways to praise our Savior.  This was my first try at the 31-day blogging adventure, so forgive me for not showing up every day.  I enjoyed the push to write more often, however!  In the process, I was able to find grace to look past my circumstances and towards Christ.  Being a bit melancholy by nature, it can be a discipline to see life positively at times.  What a hope and comfort to know we can look to our Savior in praise, despite how bleak a season of life may appear.  There is also much joy in knowing that God uses all circumstances for our good and His glory (James 1:1-12 and Romans 8:18-37).  Nothing is wasted!

What lessons have you learned this month? Are you able to praise God for the lesson, or does your heart still feel tender?

Also, try the links below for a couple of 31-day bloggers I've enjoyed this past month...

Holley Gerth: 31 Days to a Happier You
Ann Voskamp: Missing Him: 31 Days of Calling On Jesus

Blessings on your weekend!


Ruth




Thursday, October 24, 2013

Praise the God of Rest {Day 24}

Hello friends.  Can you imagine quiet music, no one pulling for your attention, an afternoon nap...wishful thinking?  It may not have happened for you today, but God can provide the rest your soul needs, even in a moment.  Praise Him for the soul-rest He promises, even in the busiest of days.  You don't need an hour alone to know the Rest of your Savior.  He says to come.  Bring your tired, weary heart, and pour it out to Him, even as you go about your daily tasks.  He will lighten your load and carry you through the trial in front of you.  

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  - Matthew 11:28-29






Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Praise the Provider {Day 22}

Unexpected Christmas blessings.  Last-minute mission trip funds. Rent. Groceries. School loans paid. Fees waived. Hospital bills covered. Perfect apartment just on time. And the list goes on.... I've been in some pretty tight spots, and never cease to be amazed at the ways God has provided for me, now us.  And yet, I can still slip into fear when it appears like something might be lacking.  More often now, it's not as much that there are huge material needs, but my heart is still learning contentment (Phillipians 4:11-12).

Can you sing 'Blessed be Your Name' regardless of your circumstances?  I often sing it through tears, but sing with with me, brothers and sisters!  God doesn't ask for perfect hearts, but He does ask us to come, to praise, to confess our weakness.  He will provide all the rest (and more)!

Philippians 4:19: "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Praise Him for Difficult People

You might choose going to the dentist rather than praising God for difficult people.  Both can be pretty uncomfortable!  Praising Him for the difficult people seems crazy, right?  But God tells us to thank Him in all circumstances....to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds (James 1).  Trust me, I am not speaking from a pedestal concerning this topic at all.  I have a hard enough time loving people that are kind and supportive!  God tells us to love our enemies, to pray for them (Matthew 5: 43-48).  But to praise Him for those people?  That's quite a stretch.  When I take time to praise God for the difficult people in my life, I'm acknowledging that He is in control, and that the relationships I struggle with are for my good....planned and sent my way by the loving hand of my Father.  When I praise God for these people I am reminded that God has compassion for them, but also for us as we walk through the trial.  He is not distant but is attentive to our cries for help (Psalm 34:18).  Praise Him as the One who has endured every manner of trial and temptation, and yet continued to love (Hebrews 4:14-16).  He has the strength we need to continue loving and serving the difficult people in our lives.

(Important note: Keep in mind, of course, that if you are in a physically, verbally, emotionally or spiritually abusive relationship that is definitely not something that God wants for you!  Please seek help and safety for yourself. The 'difficult people' I'm referring to in this post are those who make our lives unpleasant or difficult but do not constantly belittle, mistreat, or harm us.  That is a hard line sometimes, so pray for discernment, please.)

I hope this video is encouraging for you....Don't lose hope in your journey to love the difficult people in your life.  If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)!?  Chris Tomlin, Our God is Greater:





Video about difficult relationships by Tenth Avenue North, Losing:


 




















Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Praise the Friend of Sinners {Day 16}

Connecting with Jesus as a friend has been one of the most comforting things I've experienced. But He's not a pushover friend. Or a flatterer. Or a drain. He gives and empathizes and listens and encourages. He will cheer you on when everyone else has gone home and remembers the things that no one knew to remember. He's been there and back and can walk with you through it too. Do you know this Friend that sticks closer than flesh and blood? The Friend that gave it all, just so He could walk through life with you and call you friend? Praise Him for being the perfect friend and you will see that He is more perfect than you already know!

By Grace alone,
Ruth

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Loved by God {Day 15}

What if we lived out of the knowledge that we are 'loved by God' and not by how well we felt we were doing in our various roles?

Friend, God says we are His children, precious and honored in His sight, chosen in Him, bought at a  price, a chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, a people for His possession.  We are His creation and we are heirs to the Throne with Christ.  (1 Jn. 3:1, Isa. 43:4, Eph. 1:4, 1 Cor 6:20, 1 Peter 2:9, Col. 3:12, 1 Cor 6:12, Eph 2:10, Rom 8:17)

Let's ask God to redefine how we see ourselves.  Not as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, church members, or by our various jobs first of all... but as beloved daughters of the Most High God.