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?

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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

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

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

 

 

 

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