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His Power is Made Perfect in Weakness

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Good morning,

We like to be tough, don’t we?  Afraid of showing weakness, we tend to push through the hard spots in our lives, head down and feet continually going.

I can do this to a fault sometimes.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I think there is a time to push through, to be strong, to hunker in.  But to be honest, I’m not strong enough for all that life has thrown at us lately.  I’m tired.  I’m weak.  And mostly I’m sad.

Those can be such scary words to say out-loud, or even to myself.  But they are true for this season.

I have always taken pride in being strong, being firm, being able to “take it”; that is all that life throws my way.  I’m definitely not one to “boast gladly about my weaknesses”.

But the Father has really laid it on my heart over the past few weeks that it is okay to be sad.  It is truly okay to feel the pain that sometimes life carries.  For it is through this pain that I have leaned more heavily upon Him.

psalm 18 2

I am starting to realize that it isn’t so much about me being strong, but about Him being strong in me.   When I fall apart, He is the glue that holds me together.  He is able to calm my soul in the storm and be my stronghold when everything around me is spinning out of control.

I’m learning it is okay to take refuge in my God and to just be still.  To let Him be my shield in a world that is uncertain, unfair, and uncontrollable.

So instead of always being strong, I’m going to take a step back and let His power rest on me.  I’m going to let His strength be shown in my weakness.

What about you?  Where can you allow God to be strong in your life?

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Constantly Praise Your Name

Thankful Thursday!!

O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name.

Psalm 44:8 NLT

Good morning!

I have been spending quite a bit of my morning reading time in the psalms… well I say morning, but with it being summer it seems like it is hardly ever morning!  This week the boys have had swim lessons, so I have been getting my reading in while watching them splash in the water.

I love the musical language of the psalms and the real, honest, heartfelt words of the prayers that are recorded.  They encourage us to be open and passionate in our praise and thanksgiving to the Father.

This week I am thankful for:

  • Amazing swim teachers and fun in the pool
  • The beginning of harvest out of our garden
  • VBS and all that it does for our children
  • A great birthday and all the love poured out by family and friends
VBS
VBS!!!

What are you thankful for today?

Blessings,

The Johnstons

May We Never Forget

Deuteronomy 20 4

Good morning!

As I was reading along in Deuteronomy (one of my favorites) this morning Moses was telling the Israelite people once again to “not be afraid, the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, is with you!” (Deuteronomy 20:1)  He goes on saying “Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them (their enemies).  For the LORD your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” (Deuteronomy 20:3-4)

Let’s not forget who goes with us into battle.  Whether you are battling an illness, a job, a relationship, your future, money issues, or whatever it might be – do not lose heart, or panic or tremble.  God is helping you fight your battles today!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

In Everything

Philippians 4 6

Good morning!

Some weeks it can seem as if we are trudging through life, hit by the hard reality of circumstances beyond our control.  Maybe it’s a medical diagnosis, maybe it’s loss, maybe it’s job related or family issues.  It can be so hard not to carry these circumstances around with us, carry their heaviness in our souls.

As I searched the scriptures today, I read these words from Philippians,

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.  Philippians 4:6

So, on this thankful Thursday, we are not going to focus on our hard circumstances, but on the One to whom we pray.  

Today I am so thankful for the power of prayer. (Mark 11:24)

I am thankful that God hears us. (1 John 5:15)

I am thankful that He already has the answers to every question we have.  (Matt 6:8)

I am thankful that He has a plan even if I don’t know what it is. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I am thankful that He is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6)

I am thankful for a Savior who bears our burdens and that we can lay our heaviness at his feet.  (Psalm 68:19)

What are you thankful for?

Blessings!

The Johnstons

 

 

 

Lift Your Eyes

Psalm 121

Good afternoon!

I’m sure you have heard the saying – “when it rains, it pours”.  And it has sure felt like that around here the last couple of weeks.

As I spent some quiet time this morning on my bench out front, this psalm came to my mind.  As I opened my bible and read the familiar verses, I let it soak in deep.  It was like salve to my aching heart.

We all go through tough times; we all deal with struggles.  I pray that these words soak in deep to your soul today as well.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you – the LORD is your shad at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.  Psalm 121

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Freedom Was Never Free

Good morning and Happy 4th of July!!

There are so many things to be thankful for today as we celebrate freedom.  Freedom and independence that has been fought for, died for, and bought with a price.  Freedom was never free.

Freedom… What does that word mean to you?

Freedom (2)

I’m sure there are lots of different opinions of what freedom means and why it matters.  But for me, the word freedom means so much, it’s hard to put words to.

It’s about sacrifice.  It’s about love.  It’s about humility.  It’s about giving.  It’s about selflessness.  It’s about the laying down of One’s life.

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  When he had said this, he breathed his last.  Luke 23:44-46

As Jesus died, He shed his blood for our freedom.  His blood poured out so we could stand in unity with the Father, free from the sin and bondage that held us captive.  Those chains that hold you down, they are broken in the freedom we gain in Jesus!

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17

Freedom has continued to be bought and paid for by the shedding of blood and sacrifice of those who have served our country well.  We get the opportunity to choose.  We are not forced as slaves have been forced.  But in our own personal opportunity…what have we chosen?

Are we choosing to embrace our freedom to serve others?  Are we choosing to give of our lives, our time and our resources to help where it is needed?  Are we choosing to use our freedom to enhance or to hinder others?  Are we choosing to use our freedom, that was bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus, to help a world in need?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

Let us stand firm.  As a country in the midst of turmoil and as individuals in the midst of struggle, let us not be burdened by the yoke of slavery, but instead step out in our freedom and rise up.

Let us rise up to bring comfort to the hurting.  To bring encouragement to the depressed.  To serve the Father with every good gift He has given us to in turn serve a world that is in need.

As we celebrate today, enjoying the festivities, let’s ponder how we are truly using our freedom.  The freedom that was gained through the blood of Jesus and the freedom protected by our military heroes.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

When Life Bombards Us

 

Good morning!

Anyone else feel absolutely bombarded by life lately?!  I know, I know, it’s summer right!! But along with swimming pools, T Ball, bike rides and frog catchin’ there is still work, chores, cleaning, etc. that needs done.

I totally feel like life has been controlling me lately instead of me putting life together in a planner.  LOL

But when we get bombarded and overwhelmed with all the activities that make our worlds go ’round I am learning that as long as my heart is grounded where it should be…everything else will work itself out.

There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.  1 Samuel 2:2

There is no one else in the whole world that will ever fill our hearts like the Father does.

There is no other Rock that will ever be firm enough to hold us when life bombards us.

So, as we all dive into the second half of summer, let’s plant our feet firmly on the Rock, keep our eyes on Jesus, and our hearts set on His Word.

Blessings!

The Johnstons

Give Thanks Always

Thankful Thursday!!

Good morning!

What a week it has been!  Since last Thursday it has been a roller coaster ride around our house.  I got super sick with a sore throat and body ache thing and had to cancel a family trip, we have had a family member in the hospital for an unexpected surgery, a scare with my old man Mr. Bud (my horse since I was 8 and lifelong companion), and some family turmoil with jobs, etc.

To say it has been a week is an understatement!  But this is what I know…

We don’t just practice thankfulness in the good times, but also in times of trial.  Because when we look closely, we can see God’s hand in everything.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

I am grateful this week for:

  • an unexpected accident that led to a huge blessing in the health of my father-in-law
  • God’s hand at work in ALL things
  • a new diet plan for my old man to aid in his nutrition
  • a husband who always steps in and provides support when I tend to want to fall apart
  • the power of prayer

It’s easy to praise God when everything is going great and going as planned, but I believe it is during the difficult times that the Father invites us to trust him more and to draw close.

What are you thankful for this week?

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Our Necessary Quiet Retreat

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You are my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.

Psalm 119:114 MSG

Good morning!

In a world full of distraction where do we go for a quiet retreat?

As a mom to young children it seems like every direction I turn there is something calling out to me; piles of toys, dirty dishes, spilled milk, laundry baskets overflowing just to name a few.  It’s even hard to go to the bathroom by myself, with calls of “mom!!” coming through the door.

Some days our assignments are overwhelming.

Some days our jobs are hard.

Some days it feels like we are regressing and not gaining.

Some days we struggle for air as we can’t seem to look up over the mess of it all.

But throughout this journey I have learned that as I press into Jesus, He brings my quiet retreat.  It doesn’t mean that we have to follow a set of “rules” or wake up before our children to get our bible read.

It is in the freedom of relationship with the Father that we find our quiet…

It is when we call out to Him in the middle of the mess, in the middle of the dishes, in the middle of the laundry stacked high and the never-ending clean up.  It is when we open up our hearts, our lives, and let Him be in the center of it all.

He alone will bring us quiet retreat…and He alone will renew our strength.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

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