The Power of Community

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Good morning!

The last couple weeks have been completely unbalanced and unpredictable.  From the time changing, to a massive blizzard, to Qwade being in the hospital, to being stuck at home for 10 days for his lungs to heal, to broken computers and stolen bank information.  Seriously…sometimes there are no words.

Have you ever walked through a trying time?  When the hits just kept coming and you had to keep going or you might just fall apart?

As I called my mom last week to vent my frustrations about my brand new computer that mysteriously wouldn’t turn on anymore and that someone had stolen my debit card information and was trying to purchase things in Oregon (all on the same day) I told her, “I think if I don’t laugh I will cry”.

But as our family has walked through these couple of weeks the Father has shown us something that we really needed to see… He is showing us the power of community.  

There have been so many people step in to pray for our family and words cannot express how grateful we are.  We have had family step up and help with our other son, friends brought me coffee at the hospital (much-needed coffee), a nurse who helped me get checked out and watched Qwade while I waited on the pharmacy, a church family who wrapped their arms around us, and multiple other texts, cards, calls and support.

God has shown me just how much we really do need community…

  • people to love us and encourage us when life gets hard
  • people to celebrate the victories with us
  • people who pray for us when we can’t find the words to pray ourselves
  • people who hold our hands in their hands
  • people who sit and listen while we cry

There is power in community.  The power of Jesus.  And when we stand in unity as a community of believers there is no mountain that He cannot move.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Staying Pliable

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Good afternoon!

I spoke to a group of girls at a rodeo bible camp a few years back about being “pliable”.  (easily bent or flexible; yielding, adaptable, adjusting readily to change) At that point it was a new thing for me.  I was pretty set in my ways… I had done things the same way for so long and I knew the formula worked. When I met my husband he did things different then I did and he was always “suggesting” I try it his way.  But I didn’t want to try it his way…when I knew my way worked.

I had been having some trouble with my roping for some time and he was making all these suggestions; try a different bit, get up more over the front of my horse, my first swing needed more tip (pointing down) and so on.  But I wasn’t willing to try those things.  I mean after all, I had won a World Championship doing it my way.  (no pride there! ha!) And I knew my way would work.  However, it wasn’t working.

Anyone else set in their ways? Have you been doing things the same way for so long that the thought of change seems impossible?  I was completely there.  I had been roping for over 20 years…change at this point?  No way I thought.

But wow did God have a big lesson for me!  When we get so set in doing things a certain way we miss what He wants to do in us and through us.  I was so quick to shut out other’s suggestions (especially my husbands who had also roped for over 20 years) or input to change…when change was exactly what God had in mind for me.

How can we be so set in our ways yet attentive to the Holy Spirit?  When we say yes to the Father we are filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit and we get to choose whether we are going to do things the same way we have been doing them OR we get to listen to the Spirit of God living on the inside of us.

I was so stuck in doing things my own way I wasn’t attuned to what God was trying to do in and through me.  I was basically saying, “no thanks Lord, I will keep doing things my way”.  Have you ever said no thanks?  Unwilling to change or try something new, something that God was prompting you to?

God has so many good things for us…His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8) and when we are attentive to the Holy Spirit we can reach out and help whom God asks us to help, we can extend grace when grace is needed, and we can help the ones God has intended for us to help.  We can do the work that God has planned for us to do.  When we are fixed in doing things our way, we might miss the very thing He has for us today.

It was a hard lesson for me to learn…and I am still learning what exactly it means to be pliable to the Holy Spirit every single day.  To wake up with an open mind and an open heart to what He has and not just what I have planned.  His plans rarely look like our plans.

The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.  Isaiah 14:24 NIV

We want to encourage you to yield to the Holy Spirit working on the inside of you.  Stay pliable to His voice, His ways, His words and live open-handed.  We never know who or how or where we can be used by Him.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Real Genuine True Rest

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Good morning!

Submission.  That can be such a scary word.  It is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as the condition of being submissive (submitting to others), humble, or compliant.  When I think of submission I think of letting something go.

  • Letting go of control
  • Letting go of anxiety
  • Letting go of sadness
  • Letting go of anxiousness
  • Letting go of anger
  • Letting go of always trying to fix things (relationships, family, children, etc)

We tend to want to hold some back…some of our anger, some of our forgiveness, some of our control.  But all that partial release brings is stress.  Or, we let it go only to pick it up again.

I am learning that we only find true rest in total submission… When we lay everything down at the feet of Jesus and submit all to Him we will find true rest.  Easier said than done…but anyone else in need of some real, genuine, true rest?  Let’s work at it together!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Finding Joy in the Little Things

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Good morning!

Finding joy in the little things…When I look at the smile on this boys face as he sips full strength juice it makes my heart smile.  As I sat on my bench watching him I began to think about all the things we already have, all that Jesus has already done, to bring a smile to our faces.

It seems that most of the time we tend to focus on the things we don’t have.  We plan, we strive, we set goals, and we work hard.  All good things!  It keeps us moving forward, but it also keeps our focus on things we don’t have yet.  And if we aren’t careful we become dissatisfied with where we are.

Let’s not forget to remember all the things He has already done for us.  It is so good to stop and look and think and smile.  Smile at the gifts He has given us.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

When Life Runs Crazy

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You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Psalm 139:5 NIV

Good morning!

Sometimes our days can run out of control.  We catch ourselves coming and going and backtracking and unsure of how we are going to get to where we are headed.  Let’s be honest, sometimes we can even lose track of exactly where it was that we were headed in the first place.

I love how the scriptures talk over and over about Jesus going before us and being behind us but I especially love here in Psalms 139 where it says You hem me in...it’s personal.  It shows us that His love surrounds us all the time, and that He cares deeply enough for each one of us to hem us in when we need it.

Let’s pause and take a few deep breaths today and let Him hem us in.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Encourage One Another

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Good morning!

This has been a tough month for a lot of people… everyone we seem to talk to lately has been sick or they have sick kids.  As parents with young kiddos we know it can be rough.  That is why we need each other!  God built us for relationship…

-that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.  Romans 1:12

You will not have to look far this week to find someone to encourage.  Grab coffee with a friend, dinner with family, or even a phone call to reach out and let someone know they are not walking alone.  We are blessed when we can bless others.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Let Your Light Shine

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Good morning!

We have the most beautiful, thick frost covering everything here this morning.  It’s been a cold, humid, gloomy kind of morning…and then…the sun peeked out from behind the darkness to show itself in all its brilliant ways.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

No matter what we face today, let’s shine the light of the Father through our words, our actions, our entire atmosphere.  There is always someone watching that needs a little light shined for them.

Have a great day!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Let Someone Know they Matter!

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Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

Good morning!

Showing others love and faithfulness goes a long way.  What’s that saying?  Actions speak louder than words.  That is true when it comes to love and faithfulness.  Sometimes you have to show people…not just speak it.

Who can you show love and faithfulness to today?  Reach out by sending a card or a note.  Let someone know that they matter!

Have a great day,

The Johnstons

You Are Loved

We love because he first loved us.  1 John 4:19

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Happy Valentine’s Morning!

This day can be extremely special for some but it can also be extremely hard for others.  But instead of focusing on the love of our earthly relationships, the love we share with others, I want to focus on the One who first loved us…

We can only love others to the best of our understanding of what love is.  The scriptures tell us that;

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NIV)

Very familiar verses…however if we truly understood them and put them into practice this world would be a different place.  But my favorite part of this familiar passage is the part that comes next –

Love never dies.  Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit.  We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete.  But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.  1 Corinthians 8-10 (MSG) 

When Love arrives…we will be complete.  Only Jesus can complete us.  His love is incomprehensible… a love so deep we couldn’t even begin to understand it.  His love for us never fails.  Jesus loves us like no one else can and that in itself is worthy of our praise today.

So! Let’s feel as loved today as we truly are, right where we are, exactly how we are.

Blessings,

The Johnston’s

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