If God is your partner, make your plans BIG - D.L. Moody

How Big is Your God?

D L Moody Quote

There is a lot to be discouraged about in this world. We don’t have to listen to the news long to hear about wars, violence, destruction, and every sort of evil. Instead of focusing on the negative, today I’m choosing to focus on God. I hope you’re encouraged as you join me in celebrating our God.

Stuart Hamblin captures it well in his song, How Big is God?

Though men may strive to go beyond the reach of space
To crawl beyond the distant shining stars,
This world’s a room so small within my Master’s house
The open sky’s but a portion of his yard.

How big is God, how big and wide is His vast domain
To try to tell these lips can only start,
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart.

As winter chill may cause the tiny seed to fall
To lie asleep till waked by summer’s rain;
The heart grown cold will warm and trod with life anew
The Master’s touch will bring the glow again.

How big is God, how big and wide is His vast domain
To try to tell these lips can only start,
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart.

Here are some more encouraging quotes:

“Everyone who believes in God at all believes that he knows what you and I are going to do tomorrow.” C.S. Lewis

“THE STATE OF YOUR HEART DICTATES WHETHER YOU HARBOR A GRUDGE OR GIVE GRACE, SEEK SELF-PITY OR SEEK CHRIST, DRINK HUMAN MISERY OR TASTE GOD’S MERCY.” Max Lucado

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” Joseph Scriven

“ONLY GOD CAN FULLY SATISFY THE HUNGRY HEART OF MAN.” Hugh Black

“Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” Thomas Jefferson

“THE WORSHIP MOST ACCEPTABLE TO GOD COMES FROM A THANKFUL AND CHEERFUL HEART.” Plutarch c. A.D. 100

“There are three stages in the work of God: impossible, difficult, done.” J. Hudson Taylor

 

Beauty is God's Handwriting

 


When you need encouragement

 

Phil 4,8

Sometimes we just need to step back from our every day life and take a deep breath. Some days we need encouragement, a fresh perspective. If that’s where you are today, this post is for you.

1. Take time to read God’s Word and let it nourish you. Here are some of my favourite passages:

  • Psalm 37
  • Isaiah 40
  • Matthew 5
  • Romans 8
  • Philippians 4

2. Take a walk outside and enjoy the beauty of creation. Here is some of the beauty I found on a recent walk around our property.

 

Bean sprout
Miracle of new life displayed in a bean sprout

 

Bluebells
Fragile beauty of bluebells

 

favourite pathway
A favourite pathway of mine

 

3. Read encouraging words. Here are some blogs I find encouraging:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Do you have other things you do when you need encouragement? Share them with us 🙂


My God Love Story

bandaged heart

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.”

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I’m enjoying another Proverbs 31 online Bible study. This one is based on Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Am I Messing Up My Kids? … and Other Questions Every Mom Asks. This week we’ve been studying the section titled, This is All I Have to Give. For our blog hop this week we were given three topics to choose from:

  1. My God Love Story
  2. Favorite Ways to Relax and Refill
  3. This is All I Have to Give

I would have found it easy to write about topic 2, but God told me I needed to share my God love story with you. So here goes . . .

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to feel weak, or flawed, or broken. In contrast, God’s Word says:

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” I Corinthians 1:27

For the past year, God has been taking me through dark places, allowing things to happen to me and my family that I would never choose. I haven’t been happy with God. These dark places hurt. They’ve shown me things about myself I didn’t want to see. These places have left me weak, flawed, and broken, utterly dependent on God. Most people have no idea of what I’ve been going through, because I haven’t been at liberty to share. I’ve had to trust God. And, surprise! He’s been faithful (actually, that’s not such a surprise, is it?!)

In June I attended the Write Canada conference in Ontario. I thought I was going to learn more about writing and to spread the word about InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. God had other plans. He wanted to demonstrate His love to me through complete strangers who love Him.

Two women hugging

The first “hug” came through two ladies from Alberta who shared a hotel room with someone they’d only talked to on Facebook. Instead of having to pay the full cost of a hotel room, I only had to pay 1/3. Not only that, but these ladies shared from their hearts about the dark places God has lead them through. It was as if God was saying, “You’re going to make it. Hang in there.”

The second “hug” came through a pastor from British Columbia who prayed over me for no reason other than that God placed it on his heart to do so. He had no idea what I was going through, only that I was burdened.

The third “hug” came through a lady from Ontario. She has the same first name as me, grew up as a missionary kid like I did (but in a different part of the world), and has just finished going through the exact same deep dark place God is taking me through. We had never met before the conference. I went to encourage her after she asked a question during a session, and she started sharing with me about this deep dark place God had led her through. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She understood, because she’s walked the same rocky path I’m on. God used her to tell me, “There’s hope. You’re going to make it through to the other side. Trust God. He has a good plan for you.”

My way is still dark, but I’ve been reminded that God loves me, because His followers have been faithful and obedient. He cares, and He will bring me through. In fact, I think He’s carrying me right now. I can almost see Him smiling down at me saying, “We’re almost there. Just a little bit further. You won’t believe what I have in store for you!”

I don’t know what you’re going through today, but God does. Let’s trust Him together. He really does love us, and sometimes He uses other people to remind us of His love.


Vision Statement ruthlsnyder.com

5 Steps to Crafting a Personal Vision Statement

Vision Statement ruthlsnyder.com

Last week in our study of Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray, we discussed work and were challenged to write our own vision statement. If you’ve never written a personal vision statement, try the process outlined below. If nothing else, you’ll learn more about yourself and what motivates you. Hopefully you’ll also come up with a statement that inspires and motivates you to be the very best you can be.

Step 1: Answer these questions

  1. How do you want to be seen in ten years?
  2. What do you want to be known for in ten years?
  3. What do you want your family to be like?
  4. What makes your heart sing?
  5. Who in your life will tell you the truth about yourself?

Step 2: Select key words

Go through what you’ve written and select words you’ve repeated or that are important to you.

Step 3: Read Other vision statements

Here are some sites you may want to visit:

Step 4: Write your vision statement

Jot ideas down and combine them in different ways. Play with different words. Try to capture the key themes you selected in step two. You may find one statement that you know fits, or perhaps you’ll end up with a few to choose from. Can you condense the ideas? Once you’ve written your vision statement, let it sit for a few days and then go back to it and see if it still resonates with you.

Step 5: Share your vision statement

Do you have people in your life who will give you honest feedback? People who know you really well and care about you? Those are the people you should share your vision statement with. Ask them if you’ve captured who you they see you as. If not, ask them for suggestions on how to tweak your statement so that it really fits you.

Check out this post: Mission and Vision Statements for more helpful information.

 

Need some inspiration? Here’s one of my favourite songs:

Here’s my vision statement:

“Wholeheartedly seeking God, then serving others with excellence through music, writing, and speaking.”

My life verse is:

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10 NASB)

I’d love to hear if this process helped you, and what your vision statement is.

Question 1: How do you want to be seen in ten years? Question 2: What do you want to be known for in ten years? Question 3: What do you want your family to be like? Question 4: What makes your heart sing? Question 5: Who in your life will tell you the truth about yourself? – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/#sthash.BetT3Zqq.dpuf
Question 1: How do you want to be seen in ten years? Question 2: What do you want to be known for in ten years? Question 3: What do you want your family to be like? Question 4: What makes your heart sing? Question 5: Who in your life will tell you the truth about yourself? – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/#sthash.BetT3Zqq.dpuf

#MapIt: Understanding Zephaniah 3:17

Zephaniah 3:17This week in our Proverbs 31 Bible study using Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray, our key verse is Zephaniah 3:17. The NIV version is above. Here are some other translations:

“Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.” (The Message)

New American Standard Bible (NASB):

 “The Lord your God is in your midst, A [a]victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy, He will [b]be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

a. Lit A warrior who saves

b. Or with some ancient versions, renew you in

“The Lord your God is with you, a Powerful One Who wins the battle. He will have much joy over you. With His love He will give you new life. He will have joy over you with loud singing.” (New Life Version)

God is with you

Stop and think about it for a minute. The mighty, all-powerful God, who created the universe by speaking a few words, is with you. He is “omnipresent” – present everywhere. Psalm 139 talks about this in great detail and reminds us that God is in the heavens, the depths, on the far side of the sea, in the darkness, and even inside the womb when a baby is being formed. No matter where we go, we cannot hide from God, because He is there too. Hebrews 13:5 states that God will never leave us or forsake us.

God saves you

God is our mighty warrior who fights on our behalf and saves us. What a beautiful picture! Jesus Christ loved us enough to give up His rightful place and be born as a helpless human baby. He submitted Himself to the same restrictions and frustrations we face, yet without sin. He lived a perfect life and allowed His life to be sacrificed on the cross as the Lamb of God, so that He could save us and give us limitless life.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

One of my Bible School professors challenged us to “live beyond the comma” – allowing Jesus to save us AND living life to the fullest extent possible. Ted Dekker talks about the fact Jesus didn’t just save us from Hell; He also saves us from a meaningless life here on earth.

God delights in you

You make God dance with joy! He shouts because He’s so excited about you. You give God pleasure. You are His priceless treasure. He is like a lover who delights in you so much that He declares his love for you wherever he goes. You make His heart sing.

I’m amazed at our Father’s love. I’m grateful that He’s set me free. I serve Him, not because I have to, but because I want to, because it brings me joy and fulfillment and the opportunity to tell others about His amazing love.

Are you living beyond the comma, or are you still hungering for God’s limitless life? Ask God to reveal His love to you in a new way. Then, be prepared to be swept off your feet by the tidal wave of His love. Jesus loves YOU!


#Snapit: My Favourite Place to Study

My Favourite Place to StudyBy the time you read this post, I will be flying across the country to Guelph, Ontario, in order to attend Write Canada. One of the prompts for this week’s blog hop with the Proverbs 31 crew was, “Share a picture of your favourite place to study or write.” This chair is situated in a corner of our dining room, between two windows. I usually come downstairs just after 5 a.m. to read my Bible, pray, and get some writing done before the rest of my family gets up for the day. This chair is my private sanctuary where I sit with my Bible, books like Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray, and my iPad. It’s a place where I can turn on the light without disturbing anyone, and also easily walk into the kitchen to grab a cup of lemon water or Rooisbos tea.

When I read, I enjoy sharing what I’m learning by participating in these blog hops, posting pictures, and sharing on social media. Here’s a quote I highlighted in my book this week:

“Jesus is the living water; He alone gives us His life for our life…so that we can live the life we could never live …” #quote D.L. Gray click to tweet

I also like to sit in this same chair to write. My iPad allows me to write without the distracting bells and whistles (notifications) I have on my iMac computer. For more information on my works in progress, check out this post.

What about you? Where do you like to read, study, and or write?

share a picture of your favorite place to study or write – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/#sthash.0YpgMzOu.dpu

From orphan to adopted: Marinate on that!

Right now, God the Papa says, "I want to adopt you as My child." Will you let Him?

I’m being challenged by the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study using Derwin L. Gray’s book Limitless Life. Chapter four of the book is titled, From Orphan to Adopted:

“We roam through life lost, looking for a love and identity that no human, no job, no amount of money could ever provide. Our Papa in heaven is the only One who can provide us with the love and, ultimately, the identity we have been created for—a child of God.”  Derwin L. Gray

In this chapter, Derwin discusses how orphans feel anonymous, abandoned, and afraid. Then he goes on to describe three keys to “taking on the new label of ‘Adopted'”:

  1. Embrace the Friendship of God
  2. Accept and Imitate the Forgiveness of God
  3. Accept the Adopting Love of God

Throughout the book, Derwin presents important ideas that are highlighted in boxed areas titled, “Marinate on That”. Here’s an idea that’s marinating in my mind and soul:

” . . . did you realize that whatever we magnify, we worship? And whatever we worship, we resemble? If we wallow in self-pity, we will become more pitiful and limit our lives. If we stay in Jesus and meditate on what He’s accomplished on our behalf, we magnify His great work, and as we do this, we worship Him. The result is that daily we are transformed into His image, releasing His limitless life through us.”

This week a counselor pointed out to me that I’m living in the shadow of bitterness over some things that happened to me in the past. People I respected and trusted betrayed me; people who are brothers and sisters in Christ. If I focus on the hurt and betrayal, I will continue to be bitter, and in the process I will lose out on God’s best for my life. Instead, Jesus wants me to focus on HIM. I don’t need to live in the shadow of bitterness any longer. I am choosing instead to live in Jesus and meditate on what He’s accomplished on my behalf:

  1. Jesus died for my sin (I Cor. 15:1-10)
  2. When I confess my sin and forsake it, Jesus forgives me and cleanses me (I John 1:9)
  3. Jesus loves me (John 3:16)
  4. Jesus wants the best for me (Jeremiah 29:11)
  5. I will have hard times in my life, but Jesus will walk with me through them. (Isaiah 43:1-4)
  6. No matter what, Jesus will NEVER leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5,6)
  7. Jesus is trustworthy; He will not betray me (Psalm 34)

Are you living in the shadows? Will you join me as I step out into the glorious light of Jesus Christ and revel in the love and delight of God the Papa?


God delights in you

Zephaniah 3:17 #Snapit: a Big God

I love the image (#Snapit: a Big God) this verse portrays. First we are told: God is with us. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas time – Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus came in a form we could relate to and confined Himself to our limitations. However, the verse goes on to remind us that God is our mighty warrior who saves us. At Easter time we celebrate not only the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, but also His resurrection. God fought the greatest battle of all time on the cross and defeated Satan. God is strong, He is mighty to save, but He is also gentle. He delights in us! Even with all our foibles and failures, God DELIGHTS in us. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, our mighty warrior, God looks at us and sees Jesus. We are covered with the righteousness of Christ. God no longer has to rebuke us, because we are clean. Instead, he rejoices over us. We make His heart sing.

No more labels, only love!

http://http://youtu.be/j1rptZB0ydQ