Posts tagged scripture
Heart of the Word: Ephesians 5&6

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Hello, friends,
How are you? Have you been enjoying our time in Ephesians?
The month of February has been a lot more hectic than I ever anticipated, but this study, along with a few other resources I've been using, have helped me stay steady in my faith and consistently connect with God. I started 2015 in a very disconnected and dry place spiritually, and I'm thankful that over the last two months, God has been slowly drawing me back to Himself and speaking to me through His word. I'm finding new rhythms and routines, each one breathing new life into my quiet time with Him.
Today, as we close out our first Heart of the Word study through Ephesians, I wanted to share a little bit about the resources that have been blessing me this month.  (And I apologize for the late post today, but like I said. This month. ::insert crazy face emoticon::) ;)

One of the biggest messages God has been speaking to me through all of the resources below is the reminder to remain steady and firm in my faith and trust Him in everything. He has been encouraging me to continue on the path He has marked out for me, leaving comparison behind and fully trusting in the plan He has. The reminder to be steady in my faith is such a good and timely one, because it's so easy to be shaken in the midst of the unexpected, or when life doesn't look the way we think it should.

But with His help, I am finding strength, steadiness, and a faith that allows me to live fully and freely for Him, knowing all of my unanswered questions and concerns remain in His hands.

He has also been reminding me of the importance of our thoughts and what we choose to focus our minds on. He has been showing me that I am continually being made new in the attitude of my mind, and that a mind and heart focused on Him brings LIFE and HOPE and PURPOSE.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. - Phil. 4:8

These resources below have helped me to intentionally fill my mind with His truth, His goodness, His promises. They have helped me focus on the best, not the worst, when I am tempted to worry, complain, or compare my life to others'. I hope they encourage you, too.

Heart of the Word Study

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I have loved having a book of the Bible to anchor myself in this  month. When I wasn't sure what to read, I could open up to Ephesians and see what God wanted to reveal.
As I read through the final two chapters this week, I was again reminded of the power of our faith. Ephesians 6:16 tells us to take up the shield of faith. I am so encouraged to remember that our faith is a shield, that there is power in remaining steady and firm in Him.
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The One Year Praying the Promises of God

Oh, this has been such a blessing to read each morning. I love the combination of scripture, devotional, and prayer. I have felt both empowered and encouraged to be reminded of WHO God is and what He promises.

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Wholeheartedly: A Devotional for Singles

This devotional by Natalie Metrejean has been infusing my season of singleness with new joy and fresh purpose.  I am digging into the scriptures and prompts with a hungry heart, excited for the Lord to continue to speak to me and direct my steps.
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I Am They album

And finally, this album has been a bit of a soundtrack to my days. It's another way I am reminded of who God is and all the ways in which He is good and faithful. One of my favorite tracks is Over and Over again.

I will find you over and over again, your love and your mercy begin, no matter how far, you'll find me where I am. 

And since FIND is my word for 2015 this song is pretty perfect for where I'm at.

Make a Way is also a favorite right now.

Wherever you lead me, I know you won't leave me. Wherever you call me, you will make a way. Wherever we're going, I will be holding to the promise You have made. You will make a way.

I totally recommend giving this album a listen. Crank up the sound, sing out loud, dance around...however you most love to worship. Your heart will be blessed for sure, and you will be reminded of just how good and amazing He is and how very much He loves you.

And now I'd love to hear what you've been learning and what life has looked like for you recently. What's God been teaching you? Where has He been leading you? Join the link-up below!

P.S. Stay tuned for future #HeartoftheWord study plans! And thank you for being a part of this first Heart of the Word journey with us!

God's Plan for You is Right on Time

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If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen this photo. It's part of a new 'lil collaboration I have going with one of my talented friends Kelsey of Pinegate Road. It's my words + her lovely hand lettering. And while it's not a fancy or complicated collaboration by any means, it's giving me lots of fresh inspiration for new stories to write and tell. (You can follow this collaboration on Instagram using the hashtag #aptdnotes.)

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow His directions, doing your best to find Him.  (‭Psalm‬ ‭119‬:‬ 1-2 MSG)

I've been thinking a lot about these verses lately and how it can be easy to take our eyes off the path God has for us. When I start comparing my story with others,' I'm tempted to veer off course and write things the way I think they should go. I wrestle with God over timing, circumstances, and the way my current season stacks up against those around me.

It's so easy to think someone else is living a better story than we are, isn't it? Or that because our story doesn't look as far along as theirs, something must be wrong with ours — or worse, with us.

But those thoughts are just lies that we believe.

And we don't have to believe them.

God's plan for us is right on time, and He will faithfully reveal each next step for us when the time is right.

The second part of those verses in Psalms does require action on our part, though. The writer of this Psalm is reminding us that we are blessed when we FOLLOW God and do our best to FIND Him. That means seeking Him in everything, asking Him for wisdom and guidance, and making Him a part of everything we do.

I find myself comparing more frequently and feeling the most dissatisfaction when I'm NOT seeking God regularly. And I think that's because when I'm not seeking Him and listening for Him in all I do, I can't clearly see the path He has marked out for me. Instead, I see the path that everyone else is on and what I think is missing or lacking in my life. I completely miss the opportunity to praise Him for what He's doing in my life and what is unique and special about the story He has especially for me.

I am so thankful that we can find Him in every season, in every chapter — in both the joyful and the challenging moments of our lives.

And even though I sometimes wrestle with some of my current realities, I take comfort in knowing that when I seek Him, He will continue to reveal the road before me and lead me step by step.

So, today, I am choosing to celebrate this particular part of the road I'm on, this part of my journey. I am choosing to look around at where I am with gratitude and with eyes that can see and appreciate beauty. And I am choosing to live with hope for what's ahead, for all of the twists and turns and bends that I cannot yet see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calling All Dreamers: Amber of Beautiful & Beloved

Hi, friends! I have been loving this Calling All Dreamers series so much. Each woman's words have blessed and encouraged my heart — and I hope yours, too. I'm excited to share the next post in the series today: Amber of Beautiful & Beloved . I've been so very blessed to connect with Amber. She has a soft, sweet spirit, and her words are always so lovely and encouraging. Welcome, Amber, and thank you for being here today! :)

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I never fully understood the meaning behind this verse before.

I was never as full of dreams and desires as I am now.

I know that when I am with God, when I am trying to walk with Him and talk with Him, when I am seeking a relationship with Him, I begin to dream.

Big

Huge

Scary

This dream could not possibly come true without God's hand working ALL the things

Kind of dreams.

That is how I read this verse.

When I am delighting myself in the Lord

He will fill my heart with incredible desires and wild dreams.

Then HE will make them happen.

And when He does, I will point back to Him, and give all the glory to the one who deserves it.

The one who makes dreams come true.

The one who plants desires, and shines upon them so that they might grow.

The one who delights in me and I in Him.

Thankful to be dreaming with a Big God in my corner.

In awe of the desires that He has given me.

And excited for His will to be done.

Keep Dreaming Big with Jesus friends,

His good work in you is just getting started!

In Love,

 

Hi!  My name is Amber and I blog over at Beautiful & Beloved where you can read about beauty & love, God's grace & God's word, chaos & creativity.  I am the mother to 4 kids ages 5 to 9months and I am married to a handsome military man.  I am hoping to open my own boutique very soon so I am no stranger to God sized dreams and I am beyond delighted to be sharing with you all today!

Calling All Dreamers - Guest Post by Ashley Beaudin
Hi, friends! So happy to be sharing the next in the Calling All Dreamers series. Do you all know Ashley Beaudin? She is the beautiful heart and soul behind Overcome The Lie and The Story Project. I so appreciate her heart, and I know you will, too! Thank you for being here today, Ashley! :)
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Plans, Discipline, and Dreamers

I have been thinking, as I usually do, and maybe some would say, a little too much. But I enjoy it. I enjoy the beauty of processing life, wrestling through what I am feeling and dreaming about how to move ahead.

One thing I am really good at is making plans, and one thing I sometimes am not so good at is following through with those plans. If you have hung around me long enough, you've probably noticed it.

I cope through life by making a plan. 

When I see something that I do not like in my life, maybe something I am struggling with, or something that feels out of control, I get out my pen and my paper, and I write out how I will change it.

But the thing is I never actually do the plan.

But why? Why do we get stuck in making plans without any life change?

I think sometimes making plans can deceive us that if we write it out or if we think about it long enough, it equates to actually doing it.

How many of us read magazines, books, and articles on eating healthy, but can't seem to put down our can of Coke?

How many of us listen to sermon after sermon talking about faithfulness in the secret place but struggle opening up the Bible?

How many of us watch movies, read books, or like a Facebook statuses about fighting poverty, but can't seem to stop for them on the street or go visit them where they are?

I am convicted. I am so convicted.

At the core of this beating heart is a dreamer. Dreamers see life with colours and words and ideas. They would go anywhere and do whatever it takes, because they do not see what everyone else sees; they see potential, possibility, and a promise. Like a wild horse, full of passion and enthusiasm, they find beauty in the chase.

My dreamers and my wild horses, pause with me, and breathe.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in our pursuit that we forget we are worthy of pursuit, too.

And discipline is not your enemy. I know sometimes it feels like it is when all you want to do is shout from the rooftops and run free, but it actually makes you better.

Disciplining yourself is not punishment — it is recognizing how valuable you are. 

We have to stay close to His staff and His rod, not just one or the other. It is His staff that reminds us that we are His, but it is His rod that keeps us safe and from wandering. (See Psalm 23. Like right now. Actually go look.)

We need our dreams. We need the passion and the hope that you bring. You are the poets and the prophets, ushering in the wind of God to our dry bones. So dream big and dream wild.

But remember reality. Look in its windows and in its doors and see the faces and the numbers. Remind your heart that you are worth pursuit; you are worth discipline. And that plans don't happen just because you wrote them out.

Plans happen when you get up every morning and when you start being faithful. 

This is something I am hearing in every corner of my heart today and maybe I just wrote this for me. But I am soaking this in and letting it change me. Changing how I cope and approach and respond.

Maybe discipline and faithfulness are like the harnesses of dreams and passion, not because they hold back but because they lead and protect. 

And I know there are some days when I wake up and my passion needs to be protected and needs to be led by the hand. Because I don't want discouragement to have a chance.

Not a chance.

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Ashley Beaudin is a 24-year-old freelance writer, visionary, and speaker. She is the editor and writer of The Story Project and the founder of Overcome the Lie. You can hang out with her some more at www.thestoryproject.org

Refreshed

BeRefreshed Lately, I've been finding refreshment in the sunshine, in the spring-scented air, and in His Word, His truth, and His promises to me.

I also recently came across The Message translation of Ecclesiastes 9:7-9, and it is such a vibrant reminder to live fully each and every day.

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes — God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don't skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Ecclesiastes 9:7-9

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Here's an incredible hand lettered canvas of that inspiring verse by Lindsay Letters.

Hope you seize life today — and live colorfully and praise-fully!

P.S. What do you think of the blog's new look? :)