11Sep

A Picture of Serving Joyfully

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

What does it look like to serve our families with a joyful spirit?

I started this blog 2 years ago, and titled it “Serving Joyfully” because that is the longing of my heart. I believe the Lord called me to be a keeper of the home. And I want to serve my family–not begrudgingly, but joyfully. 

I still have that desire, but I have to be honest and tell you that I haven’t mastered this just yet. Some days, things remain undone that need to be done. Some days, things are done, but with a poor attitude. I am a work in progress.

I have shared here before that I long for a simpler lifestyle. I feel a constant tension between the longing of my heart, and this modern world I am living in. I have been reading this book, Amish Values for Your FamilyIt is a fantastic book and one that I strongly recommend. I have no connection to this particular book, except that I purchased it and have really enjoyed it.

Amish Values

 

Anyway, when reading it a few nights ago, I read a particular story about laundry day for this Amish family. Everything was done by hand, and the process took hours, and was done in all different kinds of weather–the hottest of days, and the coldest of days. The author even mentioned that in some winter days the water would freeze up between loads. Overall, the process seemed like such an awful chore.

After years and years of this hard work, the district decided to allow gas-powered washing machines. The man of the house offered to buy one for Christmas.

My response would have been “Yes!” I would probably be elated, and ready to throw a party.

But not the mother in this story. She said no. Her husband reminded her that the machine would cut the job in half.

Her response: “As I wash those clothes, I use the time to pray for each one of my children. That’s not time I want cut in half.”

Wow. Just wow.

So humbling to see that response, and compare it to what I know mine would have been. And it reminded me of how far I have to go.

This woman and her response are the epitome of serving joyfully. She had an awful, inconvenient, tiresome chore. She could have dreaded it, begrudged it, and focused on the negative. She would have had a crabby attitude that would rub off on her children, her husband, and her home.

But instead, she chose to serve her family, and her God, with a joyful and loving spirit. Such an inspiration.

The words from Colossians 3:23 are always so convicting to me, And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

The Lord is always there, and every single thing I do for my family, I should do joyfully, and heartily, as if I am doing it for Him…because I am.

Lord, I pray that you will give me a heart of love, selflessness, and service for my family. When I am in the midst of the mundane tasks of homemaking and parenting, I pray that the fruits of the Spirit would reign in my heart. I pray that I wouldn’t see chores as burdensome, but would instead have a heart of thanksgiving, and joy as I serve my family, and serve you through them. Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy that is new each morning. Amen.

Sharing my quiet time thoughts today with Good Morning Girls :)

Blogging-through-bible-with-GMG-button-300x300

 

 

04Sep

When All Else Fails…He Won’t

Perfect Peace

The word of God is powerful. It is convicting, encouraging, comforting, and alive. God’s word can meet us where we are in any moment to provide exactly what we need. If we will only come to Him through His word.

Last week, I shared the above image (minus the verse which I added later), on my facebook page and asked the community to share one word that comes to mind. The responses were so inspiring and fun to read!

This image kept coming back to me throughout the week.

I can just see an elderly women with this well-worn Bible in her hands.

It is well-worn because she has turned to God’s word in many times of need, and it has carried her through many trials. Times of grief and sorrow, fear and uncertainty. Death, despair, financial problems. Regardless of what you are going through…there is a verse for it. 

I have been visiting a new church over the past few weeks where the pastor has been talking about trials and hardships and how we need those times, for so many reasons. But we can only get the full benefit from them as we draw nearer to Him. I am not saying that we should only turn to God and His word in times of hardship. Absolutely not.

We should be in His word daily, for so many different reasons. But, what I am saying is that when those times of sorrow and despair come, His word is there to sustain us. God should be the very first place we turn to in such times–through prayer and reading His word.

When I saw this image, my word was “peace.”

Peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:6-7). I love the verse, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.” (Isaiah 26:3). It is so true. If our mind is kept on Him, focused on Him…we can’t have anything else but peace. 

Paul calls us to set our minds on things above, and not on earthly things. That is the only guaranteed way to have peace in this life. Because the trials of this world are so small compared to the greatness and glory of God. When we focus on Him and His glory, and trust in His sovereignty, and know that we are held firmly in the palm of His hands, no matter what hardships and trials come our way…then we are kept in His perfect peace.

Because no matter the trial, He is there. He is still on His throne, and “it is well with my soul.”

When all else fails, He never will. And we can rest in that. 

 

15Jul

When Life Feels Like a Struggle {With a Free Printable Verse}

When Life is a Struggle

Sometimes, life just feels like a struggle.

Some struggles are bigger than others, but the ones we are in the midst of can feel overwhelming to us, regardless of what they look like to other people.

Maybe you feel like you’re bending under the weight of financial struggles. Or maybe it’s some sort of addiction. Or problems in your marriage.

Maybe you are like me and struggling with food addiction, weight problems, depression and anxiety.

Maybe you’re like my friend and suffering through a broken marriage. Or my other friend who just lost her dad.  Maybe cancer is your battle.

Whatever the battle…sometimes it just feels too big.

There are literally hundreds, thousands of positive, encouraging, and empowering verses full of life and promise in God’s word. A couple of weeks ago, a reader shared this one with me and it really spoke to me.

Therefore, I will look to the Lord.
I will look to the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.

Do not rejoice over me, my enemy.
When I fall, I will rise.
When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.
-Micah 7:7-8

These verses are so powerful!

You see, while these verses are talking about a different enemy, you and I have an enemy as well. He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. He is prowling around like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is ruthless.

And he rejoices over us when he sees us in that pit of despair. When he sees us looking around at our circumstances and feeling downtrodden, he knows in that moment, he is winning. He may not have our soul, but he is robbing us of the abundant life Christ has to offer us.

These verses have become a bit of a battle cry for me.

I told you I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred video, and one of the cardio exercises on level 1 (yes, I’m still on level 1) is punches. I have this passage up on the wall, and it’s a reminder to me. It’s my mantra as I’m pushing myself through the workout.

Punch.

Do not rejoice over me, Satan.

Punch.

You won’t win this battle.

Punch.

When I fall, I will arise. Not by my strength but because of the Lord almighty whom I serve.

Punch.

When I sit in darkness…When you think you’ve won because despair threatens to overtake me…Don’t you celebrate too early. Because the Lord will be a light to me even then.

Punch.

He will not win.

No matter what your situation is today, I pray that you can grasp on to these words of power, truth, and hope. Look to the Lord and He will hear you. When you fall, he will raise you back up. And when you sit in darkness, He will be a light to you.

This has been such an encouragement to me as I have memorized this passage, that I created this printable for you as well. This will print as an 8 x 10 picture.

Click here to download your Free Printable

Micah 7 250px

 

22Jun

What is your foundation?

This post contains affiliate links.

What is your foundation?  This article leads us to look toward Him, even in times of trial.

My husband and I have started a new tradition lately. A couple nights a week, after the boys are in bed and everything else is taken care of, we watch an episode of Little House on the Prairie. We’re still on season 1 and a few nights ago watched an episode called “The Lord is My Shepherd.

In the first half of the 2-part episode, Charles and Caroline lose their newborn baby boy. It is a heart wrenching scene. Once they both realize their precious baby boy is in the arms of Jesus, Charles crosses the room to his distraught wife, puts his arms around her and pulls from the only comfort he can. He starts to quote, “The lord is my shepherd. I shall not want…”

1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

-Psalm 23

And as the episode drew to a close, there they stood, crying in one another’s arms, quoting these words of life and comfort, in the midst of death and trial. I sat there with tears streaming down my cheeks. Not entirely surprising since I tend to be weepy at on-screen tragedies. But this time it was different. It was self-evaluation that brought on my tears.

Do I have that kind of faith and foundation?

Most of us will automatically say “yes, of course I do.” But I wanted to dig deeper. Do I have the kind of faith that turns to Jesus first in times of tragedy and discord in my life? I’m afraid if I’m being completely honest, I don’t know what my answer would be.

Jesus speaks of the house built on a strong foundation, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25).

This world is a storm. There is an enemy lurking, and this life is just one big storm that will beat you down. The rain will come. The streams will rise. And the winds will blow and beat against you. Is your foundation strong enough to stand it?

The truth is there is only one foundation strong enough in these times–God. Our foundation has to be Him.

How do I get that kind of foundation?

My friend Jennifer Kennedy Dean wrote a book called “The Power of Small: Think Small to Live Large” In that book, she says this: “Once praise and thanksgiving have become your norm, then when life’s big hurdles and hurts come along, you will respond to them from a whole different place….When the big events seem to come out of nowhere and throw your whole life off balance, you will have been trained by all the small events when you learned to keep your eyes on the provision instead of the problem.”

The foundation in Jesus’ parable wasn’t built when the storm came. It was already there. 

So, how do we do it? How do we get the kind of foundation that leads us to Him in all circumstances?

We start small. We start now.

Read the word. His word is alive. And it is life to a Christian. Read it. Memorize it. Hide it away in your heart so that when you are crushed by this world, that is what comes out. It will be a comfort to you and an inspiration to those around you.

Praise Him. God is good and He deserves your praise in good times and in bad. In good times, praise him. In bad times, praise him. In lean times, praise him. In blessed times, praise Him….just keep praising and giving Him thanks. And if we do that, then as Jennifer says, that will be our habit.

It will be what comes most naturally if we foster it.

A friend shared this quote on facebook:

Big waves against the rocks

The words of Charles Spurgeon are filled with so much wisdom. I want that kind of faith. God’s word tells us that we should rejoice in our trials. I want that kind of faith and trust–always, no matter what.

And the way to get it starts now. By trusting Him with the small things, and filling my heart and mind up with things of Him and His word instead of the world.

02May

Free Christian Books (lots of them!)

Great free eBooks from great publishers and authors | Serving Joyfully

Photo Credit

I’ve been listing free books periodically over on my facebook page, but there are so many great ones right now that I decided they needed their own special post! I will try to keep this page updated, so please let me know if you see something that is not free.

Disclosure: I have not read all these books, but they come from reputable, Christian publishers. Also, many free promotions are limited time, so please double check prices before checking out. However, many of them have been free for months and I will try to keep this page updated as well as I can. This post does contain my affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase my family may receive a small portion at no additional cost to you.

Note: You do not have to own a kindle to get these free books! You can use the FREE kindle app from Amazon, or even read right in your browser. However, if you are in the market for a kindle, Amazon is having a special deal right now and you can get one for just $49.

Fiction

Click each cover to go to that particular book and get it FREE for your kindle! Regardless of when these are added, I double check them to make sure ALL on the list are still free. I am just sorting the newer ones first for those who have already seen the list.

Newly Added 8/22/14

Free Book First Dawn Free Book The Preachers Daughter Free Book The Pursuit of Lucy Banning

Newly Added 6/29/14

Free Book Appalachian Serenade free book Chasing Sunsets free book flabbergasted  Free Book Heart's Awakening Free Book Michal  Free Book Scent of Lilacs

Still Free

free book waiting for summer's return Free Book Treasures of the North Free Book Paradise Valley Free Book Out of Control Free book Love by the Letter  Free Book No Place for a Lady Free Book Once upon a Summer Free Book In the Company of Secrets Free Book Daughter's Inheritance free book daughter of twin oaks Free Book Daughter of Joy Free Book Candle in the Darkness Free Book Angels watcing over me  Free Book A Heros Promise Free Book An Untamed Land  Free Book Fairchilds Lady Free Book Miss Meriweathers Marriage Free Book Passion Most Pure Free Book The Captain of Her Heart Free Book The Edge of Light Free Book The Gentleman of Her Dreams Free Book The Heart of Thornton Creek Free Book The Meeting Place  Free Book Too Close to Home Free Book The Choice  Free Book Secrets Free Book Picture Perfect  Free Book Christmas at Pebble Creek Free Book Courting Kate Free Book Home to Pebble Creek Free Book Inescapable Free Book A Home in the West Free Book Distant Dreams

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