Who Else Needs Revival in their Souls?!

Good morning!!

Who else needs a little revival in their soul this week?!  Anyone else need a pick-me-up and coffee isn’t quite doing the trick?

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Our boys have been sick the last couple of weeks with a croupy cough and congestion virus that has made sleep scarce and any kind of normal routine nonexistent.  You know what it feels like when life gets you rocked a little sideways and you slip into survival mode?  Yes!  We have totally been there.

As I sat on my bench this morning, opening my bible for the first time in days I read the words of Psalm 119.

I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.  Psalm 119:25 (NLT)

Yes LORD!  I wrote in the margin next to these words… I completely feel like I have been rolling around in the dust, trying not to get rolled under.  Anybody else know what I’m talking about?

Revive me by your word I prayed.

As I poured over these scriptures this morning and let them soak in deep the Father did revive me.  He is so faithful.

I am so thankful that we have the privilege to read God’s word.  I am so thankful for what the word of God gives us…

  • strength
  • comfort
  • perspective
  • encouragement
  • teaching
  • guidance

and so much more!!

I encourage you to read through Psalm 119 and let God meet you there…He will revive your soul too.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Pause and Reflect:  What has you in need of some revival this week?  I encourage you to carve out some time, even if it’s just a few moments, to dig into the scriptures and let the Father revive you through his word.

Pay it Forward: Share one of the scriptures you read with a friend, a family member, or acquaintance that needs some revival in their soul too!

 

 

Grab Hold of Our Helper and Our Shield

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O Israel, trust the LORD!  He is your helper and your shield.

O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the LORD!  He is your helper and your shield.

All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD!  He is your helper and your shield.

Psalm 115: 9-11

Good morning,

It was around midnight when the coughing really began to come on and it was becoming more constant than intermittent.  My body automatically rose from bed and walked across the hallway to our boys’ room.  Checking his oxygen level, I gave him more inhaler.

As I sat on the edge of his bed, my hand on his back, I prayed.  I prayed the very familiar, desperate words of healing over his body.

It seems that we try every earthly remedy to help him but the cycle continues to repeat itself.  I don’t know the solution, but I do know that we will never strop trying and we will not stop believing God for the healing to come.

On this Thankful Thursday I choose to worship because God is good, even when life doesn’t feel good.  He is faithful and His love encompasses us even when we are too tired to feel it.  He is our protection during the storm, our place of refuge.

He is our helper and our shield, and as hard as it can be, we must trust Him.  Trust Him with the right now.  Trust Him with the process.  Trust Him with the outcome.  Trust in His plan and His purpose and that He is working all together for good.  These are the truths that we must choose to stand on, even when we are tired and worn.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Pause and Reflect: What are you praying for and believing God for?

 

Pay It Forward:  Who around you needs prayer?  Reach out this week with a card or hug of encouragement for that person.

The Ones That Surround Us

I will thank the LORD with all my heart as I meet with his godly people.

Psalm 111:1 (NIV)

Happy Thankful Thursday!

How am I going to get it all done?

Words I have thought to myself as I’m sure you have as well. The pace that we live this life in most days is nothing short of a sprint. We cram too much in and then stress about how we are going to get it all done.

I have been guilty of this lately.  On top of all normal activities, harvest season has begun!

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As I pause to reflect on the past week my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for the people that the Father has put in my life to help and support me.

  • I’m thankful for my mom… she took five days out of her busy schedule to come up and help me with some canning last week.  As we spent time over snapped green beans and crushed tomatoes we visited from the soul, something that I desperately needed.
  • I’m thankful for a great phone call from my sister yesterday…sometimes I just need her strength to help hold me up and tell me that my head is going to stay above water and that I’m doing a great job, even when I’m unsure that I am.
  • I’m thankful for a great friend who stopped by and picked up one of our boys for football practice because I was still canning peaches and definitely not going to get him there on time.
  • I’m thankful for a text message of encouragement from another friend… she had no idea how much I needed that encouragement on a project I am working on and it came just at the right time.

The Father is always so good at knowing what we need, when we need it.  He places people in our lives to support us and encourage us at just the right time.

I am so thankful for the relationship I have with the Father and the relationships He is growing here in this season.

Blessings,

The Johnston’s

Pause and Reflect:

Think of the people who has been there to help you and support you lately.  I encourage you to take the time to reach out them and send them a message of thanks and let them know how much you appreciate it.

 

Pay it Forward:

Is there 3 people that you could reach out to and help over this next week? Even if it is just a word of encouragement, we all need it! Drop a text, a note in the mail, it doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective!

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.

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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

 

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?

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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

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

 

An Absolute Masterpiece

You are God's masterpiece

Good morning!

“Nothing short of an absolute masterpiece…” I thought to myself as I looked out over this body of water and gazed at the mountains before me.  “But that’s what you do Father, you make masterpieces.”

It’s so hard to feel like a masterpiece isn’t it?  This world tends to make us feel like we aren’t measuring up to its standards… But who set those standards anyways?

When we dive into God’s Word it tells us in Ephesians that we are God’s masterpiece, His workmanship, created anew (new or different in a positive way) in Christ Jesus.

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As we enter into relationship with the Father, giving him our heart, we are no longer bound by our sin, our mistakes, our past, our “old self”; but created new through the blood of Jesus to do the good things the Father planned for us in advance to do.

We don’t have to run the race of this world, be good enough, or measure up to its standards in order to feel like we are complete.  We just need to press into our relationship with the Father and follow His lead.

God is making us a masterpiece…day by day as we yield to his ways, his words, his teaching.  We can walk in confidence today knowing that we are His masterpiece.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

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