To Linger Still

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 “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4-5, NIV)

Father, You are worthy of my time and attention, of the greatest affections of my heart. You are generously kind in rewarding those who diligently seek You with greater glimpses of the beauty of Your heart.

Forgive me for my impatience, my Lord, when approaching Your throne of grace. Like Joshua at the Tent of Meeting, I want to be one who loves to linger in Your presence, leaving slowly and hesitantly. Father, this one thing I ask for and seek: to dwell in Your house all my days, beholding Your beauty and meditating upon Your Word. Lingering … lingering …

I want to go further still than enjoying the glorious place where You dwell. I love to enjoy the pleasures of Your presence, but I want also to seek after Your heart. I know there’s a high price that must be paid to enter the most intimate place, but time and effort I’m determined to give to find and know Your heart. I will linger, longer still ….

(taken from The Pleasure Of His Company by Dutch Sheets, page 172)

 

Today I am joining … Give Me Grace and Still Saturday and Sunday Stillness and Spiritual Sundays and Scripture & A Snapshot .

5: Of Encouragement, Contentment & Grace

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Guess what, you all? We made it to SPRING VACATION!!!! Not sure how you all feel about it but I am thrilled. The weather has been spring like, buds are on the trees, the woodchuck is out and about. So maybe, pour yourself a cup of coffee and get outside to read these:

1) Some days we think we can make only to find we couldn’t. In this post, we find a wonderful and encouraging lesson from a six year old.

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2) At times, it can be hard to watch others get what you have been waiting for. In this post, we find the wise advice, “When it’s not your turn, practice contentment.”

notyourturn-fullPhoto Credit: Mikaela Hamilton

 

3) Have you ever been looking for a sign? In this post, we will read, “Like the wind, grace finds us wherever we are and won’t leave us however we were found.

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4) There are times when we feel we have nothing left to give. In this post, we find the message, “He who is over all and through all and in all can handle all.”

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5) God blesses us so that we can bless others. In this post, we find three suggestions to help us become better at encouragement.

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Enjoy and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Love,

Joanne

 

Today I am joining … Recommendation Saturday and The Weekend Brew and Faith Along The Way .

 

 

Tomorrow

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I’m joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. All of us writing on that same word.

Today the word prompt is … Tomorrow.

One word and my thoughts began to roll. One word was all it took to uncover what lay hidden in my heart.

Worry.

Even though I had thought I was not a worrier, I am.

I worry about tomorrow.

I lay in bed and fall asleep worrying about what the next day will bring. Will I be able to handle it? Will tomorrow be better than today? Will tomorrow be more difficult?

I cannot even count the number of times I sat in church and our pastor had us recite, motions and all  … that neither height nor depth, nor anything at will ever be able to separate us from the love of God. I thought I was convinced and yet this morning seeing the word prompt I realized I had one doubt …

Tomorrow.

I thought tomorrow might be able to separate me from Him.

And the words came flooding back ….

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NLT)

Tomorrow – you are no longer the boss of me.

Appointment Book and Eyeglasses© Ryan Smith/Somos Images/Corbis

 

Today I am joining … Five Minute Friday and Faith Filled Friday and Fellowship Friday and Dance With Jesus .

Nobody’s Cuter than You

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Every once in a while, we need a good reminder as to the value of friendship. Women, being the more emotional of the two genders, can struggle greatly in this area of maintaining healthy relationships with one another.

978-1-4143-9748-1In her newest book, Nobody’s Cuter than You, Melanie Shankle shares about her best friend and the way in which they have managed to keep their friendship alive over twenty five years. In the reading, we come to realize, friendships, both short lived and long, serve purposes in our lives. They help us to become better versions of ourselves, teaching us to love better.

But they teach us even more ….

  • “Sometimes God brings relationships to an end as a way to move us along to where he has called us to go”
  • “Friendships are fragile and we need to handle them with respect and reverence.”
  • “Nothing will erode the foundation of a friendship quite like the resentment that builds from wanting what someone else has without even factoring in that maybe you have something they want as well.”
  • Friendship takes no joy in the pain of another.

I laughed and I cried as I read through the tales of friendships. At times, I closed the book and went back in time to friendships I had in high school and youth group. The book is an easy and enjoyable read. Melanie writes in a down to earth style sure to draw every reader in close.

The book is rich with quotes on friendship from others which added to my enjoyment of this book. I can highly recommend this book as it was like sitting with a girlfriend over a cup of coffee – it sank deep into my soul and did my heart good.

“Real friendship requires effort. But there is nothing as precious in life as a friend who knows you and love you in spite of yourself.”

 

****Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I am disclosing this as required by Federal Trade Commission.

Today I am joining … Booknificent Thursdays and The Book Nook and Literacy Musing Mondays .

Fragile and Cracked

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I have been thinking about perfectionism a bit these last few days. Most of us have a desire to do things well, or at least with excellence. Yet not any of us do all things with perfection.

Perfectionism stakes its claim on us by making us feel we are not enough. It makes sure we know we never will be either. The word, “perfectionism”, sounds like it should have a positive connotation but if we dig deeper, we find the hidden ugliness it truly masks:

  • Perfectionism has nothing to do with doing the best you can. It actually keeps us from doing our best. In order to avoid failure, we don’t do at all.
  • Perfectionism does not help us to improve ourselves either. Perfectionism does not look to help improve but rather is looking at what others will be thinking about us.

Perfectionism >>> “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” (dictionary.com)

Did you notice it is a “personal” standard? We do it to ourselves. But it does not stay isolated to ourselves as Brene Brown explains:

Perfectionism never happens in a vacuum. It touches everyone around us. We pass it down to our children, we infect our workplace with impossible expectations, and it’s suffocating for our friends and families. Thankfully compassion also spreads quickly. When we’re kind to ourselves, we create a reservoir of compassion that we can extend to others. Our children learn how to be self-compassionate by watching us, and the people around us feel free to be authentic and connected.
(The Gifts of Imperfection, page 61)

We must come to the place where we realize we will never be perfect. We all are flawed. All in need of grace. Paul explains it this way:

“We have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NLT)

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We’re all fragile. We’re all cracked. And that’s OK for it is the very means by which His Light shines through our lives.

Those cracks show the world that in spite of our imperfections, He loves us.

Those cracks remind us that although we ourselves are imperfect,

the Perfect One resides inside of us.

Photo Credit: © Harald Walker/Westend61/Corbis

Today I am joining … Thought Provoking Thursday and Woman 2 Woman and Everyday Jesus .

Small But Large

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They say our hearts are about the size of our fists. Looking down at my fist, I realize how small a heart can be and yet it is vital to life, to being alive.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

In another version, the heart is called the “wellspring of life” meaning it is the starting point of everything else in life. Our hearts are the source of all our creativity, courage and conviction.

All that I am is residing right there in something as small as my fist.

In order to make a fist, we must clench our hand tightly closed. Positioned as such, nothing can either enter or leave my fist. I am stuck with what is enclosed in the center of my fist.

How often do we live with our fists clenched? We hold onto insecurity, anger, jealousy and resentment.

Yet Christ calls us to live another way – open hands. Open hearts.

It is then our hearts can be filled with gratitude …

Gratitude >> “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” (as per google)

Interestingly, it has nothing to do with what one possesses or not. It is an appreciation, an expression for kindness received. Our God is kind to us each day – with each breath we take in, the sun rising, the wind we can feel on our face, the comforting sound of rain.

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:7, NLT)

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Our hearts may be small but may they be large on gratitude.

What are you grateful for today?

 

Today I am joining …. Tell His Story and Three Word Wednesday and Wedded Wednesday and Women With Intention and Wednesday Prayer Girls .

On The Tip Of Our Tongues

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There are so many books and posts written about success – how to define, find, achieve, hold, and enjoy it. So many ways to view success can make it difficult to know the truth about success.

One thing remains true – God desires for His people to be successful so perhaps He is the One to best help us understand the concept more fully.

Moses has passed away. Joshua is going to step into shoes which are mighty big and difficult to fill. God knows Joshua is the one to lead His people into the promiseland but is fully aware Joshua has hesitations. God Himself gives Joshua instructions for success:

  1. Know what God has spoken. “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6). It will take courage to live out our purposes.
  2. Obey God’s Word. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7). Obey His Word with deviation.
  3. Speak God’s Word. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” (Joshua 1:8). God desired for His Word to be the very words which Joshua would speak, both to himself and to the people, every day.

God commanded Joshua to think on, speak out and live by God’s Word. Meditation means repeating the precepts of Scripture, talking about them while we ponder how to best apply those very precepts effectively to our lives.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you; O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May we know, obey, and speak God’s Word.

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Today I am joining with …  Testimony Tuesday and Unite and True Story and RaRa Linkup and Life Giving and Intentional Tuesday .