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

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

 

Overflowing with Thankfulness

Thankful Thursday!!

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, root and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  Colossians 2:6-7

Good morning!

I have really been thinking about the part of this verse that says, “overflowing with thankfulness”.   I truly believe when we live our lives in Jesus, we have every reason to overflow with thankfulness.

Even if nothing else we have ever hoped for, dreamed about or requested happens, we can live every single day in the overflow of thankfulness for what Jesus has already completed on our behalf.

So, as I sit here, heart full of gratitude, a few of the first things that come to mind are:

  • Jesus – my Savior, my Rock, my Friend
  • The gift of the Holy Spirit
  • Time Spent – I am so grateful for family and friends and memories made.  These past two weeks have been an absolute overflow of getting poured into and getting to pour out.  (But that’s a whole separate conversation for an upcoming blog!)

 

  • Our first successful camping trip of the season!
  • A trip to the swimming pool with the boys finally!
  • New haircuts, fresh giggles, and new spunk in the attitudes of our 5-year-olds…LOL

I am never ceased to be amazed at the Father’s goodness.  It overflows out of Him like the running river in these pictures.  He loves us hard, continual and overflowing.

What are you thankful for today?!  Share in the comments below!

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

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

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