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

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

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday!Good morning!

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  I love that saying.  When your going gets tough, what gets you going?  We all need motivation and encouragement along the way because some days the struggle is real.

So let’s share some of our favorite quotes, scriptures, songs, etc. to encourage one another!

Click to listen to my “go to” motivational song!  Anytime I need a little push this is where I start.  And I follow it up with this scripture:

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  – King David (Psalm 16:11)

When we get in His presence it is there we will find the fullness of joy, and when we find joy in Him we find our stride.

So please share what gets you going!  Let’s encourage one another today.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Finally Friday!

Boys tree

Good morning!

It’s finally Friday!! I don’t know about y’all, but this week.  Shew!  Coming off of Mother’s Day and celebrating all the gifts that encompass being a mom had me on this high, so to speak.  And then this week has just been one of those weeks.  One of those parenting weeks that has just been hard. You know the ones, when your children seem to fight and whine more than play and enjoy? And I felt my mood slipping from joyful to cranky in a hurry.

By Tuesday I felt like the week had already run me over already and I was desperately clinging to any strings left of my patience.  (Which, by the way, I didn’t get a hold of)

As I sat this morning in some time of prayer I read these verses out of Psalm

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.  Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant… Psalm 86:15-16a

The Father always knows exactly what we need to hear when we need to hear it.  He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness.  He is completely whole.  And for that I am so grateful.  He had already extended me the grace I needed and renewed my soul to continue on this good fight of parenthood.

In the next breath I prayed for His strength.  Not just any strength, but HIS strength. I don’t know about you, but we need every ounce of His strength we can get on this parenting journey.  It is not for the weak of heart.  And in the very next moment I felt Him speak to my heart… “It’s yours”.

Isn’t it amazing that we get to serve a God who is with us?  All the time He hears us, He loves us, and He is our Rock. He is behind us and there to encourage us and strengthen us when we turn to Him in our times of need.

Where do you need Him to provide you strength right now? Ask Him… He is always listening.

Blessings,

The Johnston’s

When Words Aren’t Enough

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Good morning!

I am just loving these longer days!  You?  I love that the sun rises early and floods the earth with its presence.  As I stand out admiring the view of colors there is a peace that comes.  A unique stillness so inviting to praise Him in the moment.

I continue to water the flowers as my heart searches for words.  But sometimes words just don’t seem like they are enough.  They don’t quite seem to express my gratitude for all He has done.  I smile as the words of David come to my mind:

I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.  Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.  Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.  Psalm 145:1-3

Wherever you are today, stop and take a moment to praise Him.  He is so worthy of our praise.  And if you can’t seem to find the words…don’t worry, He knows what’s in your heart.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Emotions Are Draining

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Good morning!

Anyone else get tired of riding the waves of their emotions?

I know I sure do. Even though my feet are planted firmly on the Rock my emotions seem like they are on a roller coaster ride sometimes.  One that goes up and down and all around and I’m not sure where to get off at.

Anyone else feel that sometimes?  Like you stand firm, stand firm, stand firm, and then whoosh!  Here they all come at once.  I am so glad that we don’t have to live by our emotions.  We must choose to stand on the truth and not let all the emotions we’ve built up on the inside scoop us up and take us on that ride.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not really into roller coaster rides anyway.

As I was doing some studying this morning and looking back over some verses I have written out (my go-to scripture cards) I read Isaiah 30:21:

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.”

When our emotions run away with us we don’t have to let our feet go with them.  We can stand firmly on the truth that comes from God’s word even though our emotions rage within us.  The more I read, the more my perspective started to shift from myself and the circumstances surrounding…to Him.

His Word brings us hope, brings us joy, brings us truth in the midst of whatever it is we are walking through.  And maybe more importantly it keeps our focus on Him.  And when we focus on Him, there is nothing we can’t handle.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Live Life Full

3 Crosses

Good morning!

Easter is always a humbling experience…it can work in our hearts to align them with a love that is unimaginable.  It is out of this love and Jesus’s experience on the cross that we are able to receive freedom in this life.  What Jesus did for us,  how He loves us, and the ultimate sacrifice He gave for us is what brings us hope every single day.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

It is this hope in Him that brings freedom.  Freedom to live life full…

  • Full of the Holy Spirit
  • Full of love
  • Full of forgiveness
  • Full of grace
  • Full of purpose
  • Full of joy
  • Full of peace
  • Full of anticipation as we wait for Him

Let’s use this Holy Week to remind us of what Jesus did for us so that we can live life full.  Full of Him.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

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