Category Archives: Journey

Be Strong & Courageous!

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Ever feel like life is overwhelming? Look at Joshua’s life. He was one of those who went into Canaan to check it out prior to the Israelites settling there. He was one who trusted God would provide when the spies saw the giants in the land. Later Joshua had to lead the Israelites into Canaan – the land of the giants. Yet he was the one who had incredible courage and faith in the Lord.

Praying you are able to have that incredible faith today ~ Faye

Blessings Abound!

Lately I’ve been thinking often of the old song Count Your Many Blessings.

Count Your Many Blessings

I think some of this comes from looking at the beauty in the Autumn colors. What incredible blessings abound everywhere you look.

Some of you know that I have been dealing with a lung infection since mid-August. Yesterday I heard the good news that it is improving with medication. YEAH!

So I thought I’d share some of my abundant blessings lately:

Lung Infection Meds to help it improve it
Rheumatoid Arthritis IV drug has to stop No major R.A. symptoms without IV
Wearing a mask in public Most people very friendly and most are understanding
Can’t work at garden center Most of my work can be done from home
Fatigue from lung infection Family & friends who have given prayers, food, support & encouragement
Rich is retiring God has provided in incredible ways after 38 years at Rockwell
Rich is retiring He will be busy in his shop catching up on blacksmith projects
Rich is retiring He will work on my “honey-do” list
Rich is retiring Road trips, vacations, time at the lake, Bumpa & Ama time
Rich is retiring He will be around to process all the butternut squash, spaghetti squash, Delicata and acorn squash from the garden

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. [Refrain]

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. [Refrain]

So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. [Refrain]                                             ~ Johnson Oatman, Public Domain

May you enjoy God’s abundant blessings in your life as well ~ Faye

God’s Radiance Shines On Us

Radiant Glory sm

These are words many of us need as we go through every day life.

God’s timing is always perfect, and sometimes it is very difficult to wait for Him to show that He is fully in control of a situation. However, as I was reading my devotions this morning, and came across the quote above by Sarah Young, I was reminded how many times God has blessed me to see glimpses of His Glory to give me encouragement and hope.

I have recently been facing another health issue and so have had lots of time to reflect and spend time with God.  During that time He has blessed me with His presence often. It may have been “just the right song” at “just the right time”, or a perfectly timed email, card, text or telephone call. It may have been His hands working through someone to bring a meal or a smile as I walk the halls to another doctors appointment wearing my mask.  Whatever it was I am so grateful that God shines His abundant glory on us at the perfect time to fill my heart with His hope and love.

Praying God abundantly blesses you ~ Faye

Thank You Veterans!

Our granddaughter, daughter of two Air Force Veterans.

Our son has served in the United States Air Force since 1997.  I have 3 nephews in the military. Our son-in-law was in the Marines. My father served in the Army. We have many young people who have crossed our lives who are currently serving and countless people who have served over the years. We have seen first hand the sacrifices family and friends have had to make while their loved ones serve here in the United States and abroad. However, we count our blessings very much as those dear to us have not had to deal with major injury or loss.

Watching testimonials and tributes to those who have served particularly in recent years – young lives who have been dealt devastating injuries – physical and mental – I find myself in tears. As actors tell the stories of Veterans who have lost limbs, suffered traumatic brain injury, or deal with PTSD, my heart grieves for the altered lives each one of those men and women have to deal with. Their families and friends. Dreams shattered. Expectations unmet. Loss after loss. A “new normal.” The emotional scars. Surgeries. The residual loss of family and friends who can’t take the loss or the changes in the individual and walk out of their lives. And those who never come home.

What an incredible honor to live in a country where people are willing to sacrifice so greatly for their country and the freedom of others.

It is truly a blessing to know that God knows the number of hairs on our head and knows who each one of us are. He knows who the veterans are. He knows where our loved ones are. He knows what they need. He knows because He loves us so much He sacrificed His Son for our eternal life and freedom. He loves and cares for those who are wounded, lost and dying.

Praising God for the dedication and service of the men and women of this country. And REJOICING in His sacrificial gift so we may have complete forgiveness and freedom from our sins ~ Faye

Celebrating God’s Faithfulness to ALL Generations!

Recently our church celebrated 40 years of God’s faithfulness. Our church is a close-family church.  It has been very transitional over the years as 2/3rds of the members have moved on to other places. Yet it has always held a core family, care-giving feel for all who enter her doors.  Many people who have attended, especially in the early years were far away from their families, so Peace Christian Reformed Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa became their family and close friendships were formed. This was evident when many members returned for the anniversary, and people struck up conversations as if they had seen each other yesterday.  As I reflect on and reviewed some of the pictures, ones that I find truly striking in God’s faithfulness are the following:

The first one is very personal as it is my husband’s parents, aunt and uncle, cousins and our children and granddaughter. I am blessed to see four generations spanning eight decades worshiping together.  We have grown from each others’ faith.  Everyone in this group has personally seen God’s hand of caring, leading and unconditional love placed on them over the years. It is truly a blessing when a parent looks at the next generation and sees that they too are singing these words with meaning –

“One generation will call to the next, ‘Our God is good and His hand is strong!’ All of the world sings His marvelous acts, and we too, will add our voice to the song.” (Greg Scheer ©2006 Faith Alive Christian Resources).

The theme verses for the weekend were from Psalm 119:89-90 ~

Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures.

The next five pictures show what seeds planted and sharing God’s love and grace to others can do.  When God is at work and the people trust God’s leading, nothing can stop Him.  You see, Peace Church tried to start seven years earlier and after a time the Board decided it was not time to proceed with a church in Cedar Rapids. But with God continuing to give His vision and drive to a few people – Vacation Bible schools were held, and worship services met in a funeral home, library and Bowman Woods school until seven years later the Board approved and Peace Church was officially started.

When I look at the growth in numbers alone, I’m amazed.  But when I think of ALL the people who have been impacted by just one small church, many who didn’t make it back for the weekend, and all the thousands of lives touched through Vacation Bible school, Calvinettes/GEMS, Cadets, Sunday School, youth groups, worship services, preschool, DivorceCare, AA meetings and so many more – how unfathomable are His ways!  We don’t have to have the 4-step gospel presentation memorized to share God’s love and grace.  We just need to show God’s love and grace to others ~ God does the rest.  The numerical growth in these pictures didn’t happen from a few people doing everything, it happened because God was and is at work.

Each one of these people have faced challenges in their lives, some losing children others spouses or parents; some job loss others face continual health issues. The list goes on.  Life has happened to each of these people. There are times I know several of them (and likely most of them) have said – “Why God!” But they have not given up their faith. Because they know that all things work together for God according to God’s purpose.  He has a plan for each and every one of our lives. Through trusting in God’s leading and through the love, support and encouragement of our Christian family we face each new day with the ability to say Our God is Good, and His hand is strong!
Praying you will let God use you to touch a life today in incredible testimony to Him ~ Faye

Linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory

Soaring on Eagles Wings

Soar with Wings Like EaglesOne of my dad’s favorite bible passage has been Isaiah 40:31. So for sentimental reasons alone, it’s been meaningful to me. I think of it more often because November through March we are blessed with seeing eagles near the river. They are an amazing creature. They can soar without flapping their wings, or take off with just a few strong flaps of their wings, and they are quickly lifted on the air currents. Then they can dive straight down to the river or corn field for their prey. I’ve watched two of them doing their air dance as they mate and play with each other. They never seem to tire when they are enjoying being carried by the wind.

All of Isaiah 40 tells us of the secret of waiting on God, the anticipation and hope of His sending His Son to save us completely from our sins so that we may enjoy the glory of God. Verse 8 reminds us that God’s word will never fail, but it endures forever. Look, it has lasted for thousands of years giving guidance, comfort, encouragement and hope.

Whenever I need a reminder of who God is, verses 12-14 help give me some perspective:

Who else has held the oceans in His hand?
Who has measured off the heavens with His fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth
or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD?
Who knows enough to give Him advice or teach Him?
Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice?
Does He need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach Him what is right
or show Him the path of justice?

When I question what God is thinking, in time, in His perfect time, He reveals His plans. I’ve seen it time and time again. (I wish I’d learn, remember and trust Him more quickly.) Recently, God allowed me to see how even in His encouraging and prompting me to write this blog, He was preparing me for something else. It looks like I’ll be able to use some of the skills I’ve learned here with WordPress in my new job. If I had known I’d be taking on this project, I’d have been filled with a lot of stress and anxiety over it. But because God prepared me, in advance of this project, to learn the some of the WordPress blogging process, I’m even more relaxed letting things go to God in prayer. He’s had it all in His plan (Jeremiah 29:11).

I’m being reminded daily that if I resist anxiety and WAIT EXPECTANTLY for God to lead me, I’ll discover strength, resources, joy, hope and unexpected blessings for the journey ahead. I am filled with God’s strength, renewed by His precious words, and encouraged once again to Wait Patiently for God.

Praying God lets you soar in the blessing of His strength ~ Faye

I am linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory.

Blessings of Encouragement and Grace

Enjoying God's Overflowing Blessings

Many years ago I went on a service trip with our church youth group to Neon, Kentucky. My RA had been diagnosed the previous year and meds were keeping things relatively under control. However, if I did anything strenuous my body paid for it the next day.  One of our side activities was a 3/4 mile hike to Bad Branch Waterfall.  I wanted to go because I love waterfalls.  I enjoy being with the teens so much. So, even though I knew I would pay for it, I went. 

Several of the group were encouraged to go ahead of me since I couldn’t keep up their pace. But about five, if I remember correctly, said they’d walk with me. One young, sturdy-built young man even said if I couldn’t make it, he’d be willing to carry me. So our little group hiked for over tree roots, down gulleys, and up inclines. There were times I was leaning on my cane to step down or pushing with my cane to get me up the hill. Never once did “my team” let me down or complain at the pace. They were the ones encouraging me to press on, even when I’d stop for a breather. We made it to the waterfall after one last steep incline. The rest of our group was climbing the rocks and messing around in the water.  When they saw I had made it, there was an enthusiastic shout, “Faye!”

My heart melted in gratitude. I can’t tell you how much encouragement can motivate someone, but I can tell you, that day the love, support, and kindness I felt from these precious young people encouraged me to go forward, keep trying to get to the destination, and not give up.

At that moment nothing felt better than standing under the cold waterfall. The water cascading to cool my sweaty body. But even more was my gratitude to God for the ability to make it to the waterfall and the loving kindness He blessed me with in “my team” of encouragers.

We all are blessed with encouragers in life.  Some are obvious, often parents, spouses, and friends. Some we have to look at little more closely to see.  Paul tells us we have the best encourager of all – God.

How abundant is His love for us! Ephesians 1:6-8

So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God showers us with His grace and kindness. He fills us with all wisdom and understanding. Through His love He encourages to press on in life and through the difficulties. Through the gift of His Son, He showers us with His abundant mercy and grace.

Enjoy the overflowing blessing of God’s grace in your lives ~ Faye

Contentment

I seem to be surrounded with this topic this past week from Bible study, to worship planning, to family questions. So thought I’d share what I think contentment means to me. A quote from Dr. Billy Graham reminds us that we can be content within, even when everything seems to be very difficult:

The happiness which brings enduring worth to life is not the superficial happiness that is dependent on circumstances. It is the  happiness and contentment that fills the soul even in the midst of the most distressing circumstances and the most bitter environment. It is the kind of happiness that grins when things go wrong and smiles through tears.  

The Apostle Paul says he has learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). Those words sound simple, but look at Saul/Paul’s life. He spells out some of many things that have happened to him (2 Corinthians 11:23-30 – imprisoned, beaten, left for dead, stoned, shipwrecked, always in danger, hungry, sleepless), yet later he says he’s learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

But is it always that easy? My nephew asked a questions this morning on Facebook, Why doesn’t God heal amputees?” There is no easy answer. God does what He decides in His timing. But when we rely on Him, we are filled with a calm assurance He is in control. He knows the bigger picture about what is best for us. Not necessarily what we want or desire, but what we need to help shape us into the person He wants us to be.

I think too often I focus on me, my pain, my discomfort, my fatigue. I don’t step back and look at the bigger picture – my faith has grown during my life, but it has really GROWN during the deepest trials.  I’m not content with the trial, but I am content knowing that God is with me. He’s living in me, guiding me ahead each day, giving me strength for what comes next.

My husband is a men’s quartet fan, and so we have listened many years to the Cathedral Quartet. Years ago, George Younce read this poem by Red Foley

 

Today, upon a bus, I saw a lovely girl with golden hair,
I envied her….she seemed so gay….and wished I were so fair.
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch; but as she passed….a smile!

Oh God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two legs. The world is mine!

I stopped to buy some candy. The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him. He seemed so glad. If I were late, t’would do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, “I thank you. You have been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you. You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes. The world is mine.

Later while walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play. I stopped a moment,
When I said, “Why don’t you join the others, Dear?”
He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear.

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears, the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go, with eyes to see the sunset’s glow,
with ears to hear what I would know….

Oh God forgive me when I whine.
I am blessed indeed. The world is mine!

After the poem, they would end with We Are So Blessed, by Bill and Gloria Gaither

We are so blessed, by the gifts of Your hand we just can’t understand why You loved us so much. We are so blessed, we just can’t find a way or the words that can say, “Thank You, Lord, for Your touch.” When we’re empty You fill us ’til we overflow. When we’re hungry You feed us, and cause us to know. We are so blessed, take what we have to bring, take it all, everything, Lord, we love You so much.

We are so blessed by the things You have done, the victories we’ve won and what You’ve brought us through. We are so blessed, take what we have to bring, take it all everything, Lord, we bring it to You. When we’re empty You fill us ’till we overflow. When we’re hungry You feed us, and cause us to know. We are so blessed, take what we have to bring, take it all, everything, Lord, we love You so much.

A lot of contentment is just about perspective. Take time to see how God is pouring out His abundant blessings on you today. Have you seen Him? Please share, I love His divine appointments, encouragements, acts.

God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye

Faith on the Journey

This is a week where the rubber hits the road – do I really believe in God being in control of all things?

Background:  Sunday morning my team is leading worship. The pastor is preaching on one of the 7 deadly sins – Laziness vs Zeal, or a passion to live for Christ out of gratitude for our salvation.  It’s also a Sunday where we will remember the Reformation by looking at the five tenants of the Reformed faith – Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Glory to God Alone.  God’s word tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.” or as said in the NIV – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

This week is one of those weeks where what I say I believe has to become reality. I’ve learned of a 30 year old wife who has been diagnosed with bladder cancer; a 50 year old friend who just found out she has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma; a friend’s dad had a failed surgery on his heart and the doctors are looking for new options; many friends struggles with relationships with family members; the flooding in Bangkok, Thailand is affecting a couple I know. It just seems like everything is coming in waves. Life is full of disappointments, dangers and the unknown. So each day has been spent in a lot of prayers for others. Tonight I went for a walk in a nature setting and just prayed to God about my friends. What a privilege we have to share intimately with God our heartaches. Each day comes with its abundance of problems, but when we put our FAITH in God, each struggle is shared by Someone who is much bigger than you or I.

Faith is the confident assurance, the conviction that God is going ahead of us on our pathway of life. He knows what struggles we will face ahead. He is preparing us for what we will have to deal with in the future. We need to have the confidence that God knows what is best for us, and He loves us so much.

So this is a week where I need to rely heavily on my faith in God otherwise life would be so overwhelming.  I rely on Paul’s words in Romans 15:13

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

What an incredible blessing to have the assurance of what we hope for so much so, that we will be filled to overflowing by the Holy Spirit.  By the way, while I was pouring out my heart to God, I asked Him to give me some evidence that He was hearing me (sometimes He is silent and I have to trust that He keeps His promise to hear me), but today He blessed me by having two friends come along that very private path. They listened and encouraged me in a way that only God could have done.

Enjoying God’s abundant blessings of hope, joy and peace ~ Faye

 

The Transforming Process

I talked yesterday about being transformed at Christ’s return and in our daily walk with God. This morning I was challenged with a situation where my attitude needed to be transformed by God because anger, bitterness, frustration were some of the things that were taking control. God’s timing is always perfect – this morning  was no exception when I was reading 1 John 3:4-8. John talks about being pure when God dwells in us and being sinners when we let Satan have a foothold. I definitely needed to have some transforming work done on my attitude.

My husband’s hobby is blacksmithing. He’s shared with me the process that happens to form metal through fire.  Iron and steel can be formed into something when they are really hot. First he has to have something in mind and creates a design.  Whatever he makes, it is always a one-of-a kind object, even when it’s laid over a pattern.  Then he has to prepare the fire. He adds the coal, cleans out the clinkers that won’t burn, and uses the blower to breathe oxygen into the fire to bring it to the temperature he needs.  He watches the flames as they change color and knows by that color when the fire is at the temperature he needs for the type of metal he is using.

Next he puts the metal into the depth of the fire. He also watches the color of the metal to tell when it is ready to be worked. Once the metal reaches the temperature he wants, he takes it out of the fire and puts it on the anvil, but that doesn’t shape the metal alone. Only when he lifts the hammer and starts to pound does the metal begin to give way to the shape it’s intended to be. But a blacksmith doesn’t just bang away at the metal. It is often a very gentle and intentional strike of the hammer to create the desired effect. After the initial hammer blows, slag begins to flake off of the metal.

What happens next is often like our walk with Christ, the iron being out of the fire begins to get cold and won’t form easily. The blacksmith can actually hear, as well as feel, the change in the temperature of the hammer’s ring on the metal and anvil as the metal cools. So he puts the iron back into the fire to heat it to the color needed then brings the iron to the anvil and hammer again. This process is repeated many times before the desired shape occurs. After the forming process, the remaining slag is brushed off. The metal is set aside to cool, or is quenched to cool more quickly. Depending on the use of the formed metal, a wax coating may be added after it is allowed to cool and then rubbed in to bring out the color of the steel and bring a soft luster to the finish.

The blacksmithing process reminds me of what God does daily in our lives to transform us to be like Him. It’s a long process and it’s not easy, it takes work, fortunately He is patient. Often God takes us to the heat of the fire. He’s always there watching the heat of the fire and the metal to make sure it’s just enough and not too much. Then He begins the process of gently shaping us by the pounding of the hammer. As we are gradually shaped into what He desires us to be, He has to regularly brush the remaining slag off. He inspects us to see how we are growing to be like Him. Occasionally He has to quickly cool us off so we don’t become too brittle if we are too hot.

What a wonderful heavenly Father we have who lovingly takes us through the fire, but won’t let us be consumed. He molds, forms and shapes us to what He wants us to be. How much more quickly it would happen if we would willingly surrender to His molding hands.

God’s abundant blessings come from Isaiah 43:1-3a as an encouragement as well as Psalm 139:13-14

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the One who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Celebrating God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye

I love God’s sense of humor!

So I’ve started this writing/blog thing and I made it clear, it wasn’t what I was planning on doing. Last night I was reading a devotional on Hannah, which I figured I’d use for my Weds Bible study, but God had other ideas. As I read the article it showed how Hannah sought God’s will – she poured out her heart and she boldly requested His involvement. Well believe me, that’s what I’ve been doing the past few weeks, asking God, “Is He really sure about this venture?”. When I was at the end of the reading, it was like God was confirming for me, “Yes,” because the author wrote — “The truth is, it’s possible that we have been singled out so that God can reveal Himself to us in a new way.  Unanswered prayer does not mean prayer refused or ignored. It may instead indicated that the Lord is at work on a much larger scale than we can know or imagine, becuase He indeed (here’s where I broke out laughing), ‘is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think’ (Ephesians 3:20).” God used MY verse!  Needless to say, He got my attention. [Ginger Garrett, In Touch, October 2011]

However, He wasn’t done. This morning I was flipping through my day calendar [Reflections from the Heart of God, Roy Lessin] reading a few days because I was behind about 9 days. I think God intentionally had me miss the past 9 days until this morning because He KNEW I would still need the confirmation.  So, Oct 5 says, “God is leading you on a prepared pathway and will perfectly lead you into the plans He has for your life. Take each step without concern about where the path is taking you. He has gone ahead of you like a scout who has already checked out the trail. Nothing that is ahead will take Him by surprise!” The next day was from Deuteronomy 31:8 – “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” GREAT CONFIRMATION. But I’m still arguing with Him, “are You really sure about this?” Crazy, I should know better than to argue with God’s plans.  The next day said, “For each STEP that GOD ASKS YOU TO TAKE today there will be GRACE, for each DECISION there will be DIRECTION, and for each TASK there will be STRENGTH.”

I’ve been asking God how I should fill my time over the past year and a half and God’s decided to do it in a way that is out of my comfort zone, but where I can share how incredibly every day He does bless us abundantly. He has shown me He will walk with me, in fact, He’s been there ahead of me making sure the way is clear for me if I follow His leading. How precious a God we serve. The final page of the calendar said, “You may not know all the details of your journey or clearly seewhere the trail is leading, but God will always give you enough light to take the next step.” Rejoicing in God’s timing and humor!

God’s richest blessings,

Faye

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