Priceless Treasure: God’s Word Sustains You

God’s Word Sustains Me

The fact of retirement starts to become real as I see Instagram and Facebook posts of former colleagues putting up bulletin boards. Not me. For the first time in thirty-five years, I don’t need to struggle with butcher paper, welcome signs, supply lists this year. Some people wonder if boredom may become a problem. I don’t worry about that; I never needed work for my reason to get up and go. The priceless treasure of God’s Word, the one and only thing that truly sustains me I have with me at all times.

Instead of racing out the door at 6:30, I sit at my desk with my coffee cup, Bible, and computer for a leisurely morning with Jesus. I don’t have to watch the clock; instead I can spend as much time as I want. Reading. Meditating. Talking to my Lord. Listening.

Sustains

Currently, I’m doing a study on the Names of God. This week the focus is on shepherd. And the passage I read is familiar, Psalm 23. I can say the words without reading them in my Bible. But I don’t rush; I savor each word.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

The Good Shepherd Sustains All My Needs

Retirement does bring some unknowns. Especially as we prepare to leave the family and friends who have sustained us for all of our married lives. As I read the familiar words, He reminds me of Who He is and sustains me.

The Lord is my shepherd. He cares and provides all I need. That includes my physical needs. I can rest in the assurance that He will take care of everything. No matter what happens in the uncharted water of retirement and moving, I don’t need to worry.

Most importantly, He restores my soul. Because of Christ’s love and care, I am on the path of righteousness. It’s only through Christ that I am righteous, washed clean. But I must follow Christ; I can’t go off on my own. The sheep listen for the voice of the shepherd and follow Him. When I follow the shepherd, His goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life, and I dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

That promise alone sustains me.

God’s Word sustains you, too. Spend time with Him, mining the priceless treasure of Scripture. What favorite Scriptures sustain you-in good times and hard ones? Let the Truth of His love wash over you as you spend time savoring all His Word holds.

Linking this week with Glimpses of Beauty, Monday Musings, Inspire Me Monday, Ra Ra Linkup, Trekking Thru, Tell His Story, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light

Three Ways to Get Inspired

Van and I spent four days in Arizona looking at our in-construction new home this week.  The daily pictures my sister-in-love faithfully sends show every detail of the work completed, and inspired us; we wanted to walk through the rooms and see for ourselves.

More importantly, a friend suggested we write a favorite Bible verse as a couple on the beam over the doorway to our new home. “You’ll know it’s always there,” she said. We loved the idea and chose several verses to write throughout the house, but didn’t make it in time. Instead, we decided to write our verses on the foundation. And we knew if we didn’t get there soon, our opportunity would vanish.

We spent an afternoon together, taking turns writing verses on the foundation of the house and praying each one together. Once we move in, we hope to regularly read the verses in each area and pray we faithfully live for God in this home He provided us.

Sometimes we all could stand a little help getting inspired instead of being stuck in a rut or feeling discouraged. But you don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike out of nowhere. Seek it in these three ways.

Ways to Get Inspired
  • Read and pray God’s Word. Nothing inspires like reading God’s Word. We can find direction, His promises, and evidence of how He faithfully works in our lives without fail. Ephesians 5:19 tells us to encourage one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making music in our hearts to the Lord.
  • Take good advice from friends. Van and I loved the idea of dedicating our home to God and His Kingdom. First, we spent time individually choosing verses we wanted to pray. Then we shared those verses and prayed together. While we may have put up a plaque somewhere in the house, we didn’t think of making the Scripture part of the its foundation. Thank you, Karen Lochte for your idea.

Get Inspired

  • Read books, articles, blog posts. As we get ready to move, we’re thinking ahead to a new community. I have a stack of books I’m reading to give me ideas about reaching out to the people in my new neighborhood. Because I want to glorify God, I’m finding inspiration in books like The Turquoise Table by Krisin Schell as well as her blog and Craving Connection from (in)courage. I look forward to meeting new friends on my front porch.

We all need to get inspired sometimes. What helps you be inspired? Leave a comment sharing how you get inspired.

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Dance with Jesus, Counting My Blessings

Focus on I Love You

My eyes focus on the line of kids walking down the aisle. It didn’t take long for me to find my daughter.  Once she took her place on stage, I saw her scan the crowd, looking for us in the sea of faces. People stood in the aisles and sat in chairs, cameras ready. They waved and yelled out the name of their child, hoping to get their attention.

It only took a moment before I saw her face light up. She found us. I kept my eyes on my daughter with my arm raised high, my fingers in the I LOVE YOU sign.  She flashed I LOVE YOU  back. Now she was ready to begin. Continue reading “Focus on I Love You”

Prepare In Order to Persevere

Swimming is the one kind of exercise I’ll do. It helps me keep my weight and my stress under control. And I need to get back in the pool. Soon. Almost the entire month of January is gone, and I have done no swimming. Because I haven’t prepared. No swim bag with towels, suit, or goggles. I can drive to the gym, but I can’t swim if my swim bag is on the floor of my office. If I really want to swim, I have to prepare.

Prepare to Persevere

If I really want to persevere through the challenges each day brings, I must prepare. I can’t wait until the unexpected happens and then react, I have to be ready. All. The. Time.

Just like there are specific things I need to be ready to swim, I can prepare in specific ways so when things don’t go according to my plan, I persevere.

  • Immerse myself in God’s Word. Memorize it. Meditate on it. When I don’t know what to do or how to do it, God’s Word speaks to me. Encourages. Teaches. Keeps me going. Keep His Word in front of me. Live it. Breathe it. Know it. Believe it.
  • Pray. When my eyes open and my  feet hit the floor. On my way to school. Before anything comes out of my mouth. Pray for help. The right words and tone of voice. When all seems too much to bear, take a minute and pray.
  • Keep reminders of how He’s worked in my life before. Look back at all the ways He’s shown His goodness and love in my life before. Remember His trustworthiness and faithfulness. His grace and mercy. God never fails.
  •  Rejoice with singing. Listen to worship music and sing it all day long. Make it the background of grateful joy in my soul, overflowing into my day. Helping me persevere when the noise of my surroundings threaten my peace

If I’m going to swim, I must prepare. And I must prepare to persevere and stay the course God sets for me.

 

Prepare to Persevere

Linking with Intentional TuesdayTestimony Tuesday, RaRa Link-up

Hope for the Journey

In every social media, I create a “public profile,” where in a few sentences I list key things about myself. Each one, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and my blog, say basically the same thing. The one from my blog says it best: I am a child of God traveling in uncharted waters: going places I never expected. I’ve been married to the best man I know for thirty-seven years. We have two daughters, both grown; the oldest is in heaven with our Savior. We are also blessed with three grandchildren who are the source of endless joy. I teach seventh grade English and History, love to read, bake cookies, and spend time enjoying the beauty of God’s world. My life journey is different from the one I envisioned, but I am learning to both receive and give His grace as I trust God to take me where ever He wants me to be.

The last sentence, “My life journey is different from the one I envisioned,” explains why I write now. Each time I think there is a little glimmer of shore, God turns the boat. It’s like being in the desert, following the Pillar of Cloud and Fire. I have no choice but to trust God and go wherever He leads.

Way too often I behave like the Israelites, discontent, whining, ungrateful. I look around me, at my circumstances and obstacles, and I want to give up.

That is when God works in ways I don’t expect. He doesn’t change the circumstance. In fact, frequently it gets worse. Fog obscures the uncharted water. It is easy to pull the blanket of fog closer, but God always, without fail, makes HIs Presence known.

He puts His Word in my thoughts:

“Do not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

He reminds me of Bible stories where people suffered far worse things than I, Job, Joseph, Paul, and kept going. I read Hebrews 10-12 and marvel at the hope and perseverance of “the cloud of witnesses,” and realize

He is working all things according to His good and for His purposes.” (Romans 8:28)

He encourages through people I love and who love me. Their encouragement comes in first listening and then giving me wise counsel and often a perspective I didn’t see, especially when I am trapped in the fog.

As an introvert, reaching out to others is hard for me. Taking steps of faith and moving out of my comfort zone into (in)RL and the IF gathering has brought me new friends to help me. My husband, bless him, recommended I find an accountability partner while I am stuck in a thick blanket of fog right now. Thursday I meet with someone I’ve known for years, but never gotten to know well. She came to both the (in)RL and IF gathering I hosted. She is a “Woman of Wisdom” (thank you for that phrase, Robin Dance), a natural encourager, and knows about teaching, my current area of struggle, hurt, and confusion.

Another good life-long friend, who I spent little time with over the last several years, and I reconnected, also through (in)RL and the IF gathering. She too can help me navigate the uncharted, foggy water I am in right now.

The Bloom book club selection, Pursue the Intentional LIfe inspired and encouraged all by itself, but when I add the rich conversations both on the blog and the Facebook page, I am reminded that I share similar struggles with Christian women throughout the world (see 1Peter 5:6-11). New friendships, virtual ones, are made.

Encouragement comes from God’s people, placed in my life in a variety of ways.

In my mind I plan my course, but the LORD directs my steps” (see Proverbs 16:9).

I am encouraged, more ready to stay the course. Even in the unrelenting storms, I know Jesus is walking on the water, coming to rescue me.