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

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

 

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

Dear Father

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When I was born you held me.  As I grew you guided me.

When I was scared you protected me.  When I was excited you would hug me.

When I needed guidance you shared wisdom with me.  When I felt alone you stayed with me.

When I wandered away you kept your eye on me…never letting me out of your site.

When I felt hopeless you held my hand.  When I doubted you encouraged me.

There have been days I have messed up, ran away, felt ashamed.  But your love never wavered.  It stayed steadfast, strong, relentless.

You have loved me with an everlasting love.  A love that is undeniable and constant.  A love that never fails, never gives up, never fades.  We don’t have to earn it, we don’t have to work for it, we don’t have to prove ourselves for it.

A love so amazing…

I personally have been blessed with an amazing earthly Father, whereas, some may not have been so fortunate to have that same experience.  See a father’s love comes from our heavenly Father. People here on earth attempt to replicate this love but it can only be perfected by our heavenly Father.

A love so perfect it is impossible to describe.

There is no other love like the love of a father…for it comes from the Father.

With Love,

The Johnstons

 

 

 

What Are You Thankful For?

Thankful Thursday!!

Good morning!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like since summertime hit our schedule has doubled in speed!

This week I am so grateful for:

  • sprinklers going and wet swim trunks on the floor
  • growth in my garden plants finally
  • water balloons and swim goggles
  • round hay bales to climb on
  • nice horses to teach our boys

 

Our summer is starting to be full of late dinners, less sleep, and more fun!  I love getting out of the regular “routine” and living life full of adventure.

What about you? What are some things you are thankful for today?

Blessings!

The Johnstons

What Are You Magnifying?

What are you magnifying_

For your Maker is your husband – the LORD Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.  Isaiah 54:5 NIV

Good morning!

What are you magnifying in your life?  You know…that thing you can’t stop thinking about. We can magnify the Good or we can magnify the bad…

It is easy to get swept up in our current problems and let our minds roll over and over trying to figure out an answer or make a plan as to how are going to combat it, or try to figure out how we even got here in the first place.  A few things that get magnified in our lives are

  • Health Concerns
  • Special Food Diet
  • Exposure to allergies, chemicals, and germs

But as we let our minds run wild with thoughts all we are actually doing is magnifying the challenge we face.  We take our situation and make it bigger and bigger and bigger in our minds until it becomes all consuming.

Do you have something in your mind that you are magnifying?

Is our situation bigger than our God?  The God of all the earth?  The one who laid its foundation and binds up the waters? 

Not likely.

Instead of magnifying our current situation friend, let’s magnify God.  Let’s lay down our anxiety at His feet and lift our eyes to Him. Let’s start making Jesus bigger in our days and step into the peace that comes with trusting Him in and through ALL things.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Where Do I Belong?

we belong with Jesus

Good morning!

Have you ever wondered where you belong?  Do I fit with this group or that one?

I just want to encourage you today that no matter what you belong with Jesus.  There is always room for you at his table.  He is welcoming and kind and the word tells us that His steadfast love will never depart from us.

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.  Isaiah 54:10

Friends may come and go, relationships fail sometimes, but we can stand confident that there is nothing we could ever do to make the Father not love us.  He will never leave us nor forsake us…His promises are true.

If you are wavering today, feeling unsure about where you fit in or where you belong, know you belong with Jesus.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday!!

Good morning!

Can you believe it is Thursday already?  This week has flown by full full of fun and fellowship time with our great family from Oklahoma.

A few things that come to mind for me today are:

  • Relationships built
  • The gifts that God has given us
  • Great visits with old friends
  • Hearts poured full with the Father

What are you thankful for today?

Blessings,

The Johnstons

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