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?

Freedom (2)

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

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 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

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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