Category Archives: inspirational

The Birth of a Story

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

I sure spend a lot of time clinging to my safety nets, for one who talks so often about living God’s great adventure. Although, I do eventually drop them, and take that next step, and then the next, though my hands might be clammy and my legs may quiver every step of the way.

This was me, when our family joined our former church for a week-long mission trip to El Salvador back in 2011. My biggest angst? I hated flying. I’ve gotten much better, but back then, every trip felt like torture. While the other passengers slept or read books or chatted with one another, I’d obsess. On every plane crash I’d ever heard of, on every bump or dip as we soared through the sky, on how high our plane flew and how long it’d take us to spiral to our deaths.

Ah, the joys of the writer’s…

View original post 717 more words

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under inspirational, Listening to God

Ditch the Labels

course-779764_1280made by God

As one of a kind human beings,  let’s stop using labels to put each other in groups.

A label only tells us one small part of who a person is.

I’m an introvert but still different from every other introvert.

I’m a white female but that doesn’t fully define who I am.

I’m American but that doesn’t reveal my soul.

Because I vote a certain way doesn’t mean I’m like all others who vote that way.

To say someone is OCD, autistic, ugly or beautiful doesn’t tell me who he or she is.

We are individuals. One of a kind souls wrapped in bodies unlike any other. Each of us is a wonderful miracle. Assigning you a label doesn’t mean I know you. To know each other we must communicate, listen, understand and love. We need to look for the exquisite colors He put in each soul. Some of us hide them well so we need to be willing to take as long as we need to see.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;” Psalm 139:13-15 (NASB)

Father, Please help me to take time to see your unique design in each soul. Help me look for your fingerprints all around. Help me let go of labels and judging others without knowing them. Please love others through me and help me to see how much you love each thoughtfully created human being.

Most of us have the tendency to judge others based on appearance or an obvious label.(often one someone else has assigned)

Together let’s determine to know who each person is inside and show them God’s love.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NASB)

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)

*It’s estimated that throughout all of history, approximately 100 billion people have existed on earth.

fingerprintpsalm 139-456486_1280

Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

 livingbygracepic

 

Leave a comment

Filed under creation, God's character, God's purposes, inspirational, Psalms, relationships, self-image

Who Will Lead Us?

IMG_worry2ndedited6057

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. . .. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. — Psalm 146:3, 5 (NIV)

Injustice and violence fill the world. We hope that the next election, or leader will have the solution. My heart is gripped by fear and sadness when I see terrorism and oppression increasing. I want someone to rescue us and stop the evil. Yet, no matter which leaders are in power, evil grows. True, a wise leader is preferred over a foolish or evil one but we cannot place our hope in any mortal.

I find peace when I put my hope in Jesus. At a young age I trusted in Jesus Christ and believe He died and came to life again so that I can live with Him forever. We can find peace when we remember this world is temporary, as we talk to God, and meditate on truth:

Proverbs 19:21 “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” (NLT)

Daniel 2:21 “He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings…” (NLT)

We trust He is in control and that He will be with us no matter what happens.

Dear Father, thank you that you are sovereign over all. I place my trust in you alone. Our hope is in you! Amen

My hope is not in politicians but in the Lord God!

 

livingbygracepic

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christianity, Faith, God, God's purposes, hope, inspirational, Jesus, peace, personal, Psalms, trouble, trust, United States

Someday

IMG_someday6826

Someday I will paint a picture

with warm and vibrant colors.

Someday I will write beautiful words

that will dance in a person’s soul.

Someday I will write letters

to those I love and

tell them what they mean to me.

Someday I will learn how to play beautiful music

that comes from the depths of my heart.

Someday I will tell people

what God has done for me.

Someday I will teach my child

all the lessons that are in my heart.

Someday I will let my light shine

as God wants me to.

Someday…….

When is someday?

When will that be?

How long have I waited for that day to come?

If someday does not become today,

it will not ever come.

Today I will….

What will you do today?

 

livingbygracepic

Leave a comment

Filed under giving, God's purposes, hope, inspirational, Listening to God, Obedience, personal, poems, serving, wisdom

When Depression Knocks

silhouette-68957_1280

When the darkness comes, reach for the light.

“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.” Psalm 34:1 (NLT)

I tend toward the melancholy.

Awhile back I was struggling more often than usual with the temptation to depression, a lack of joy, and an oppression of the spirit. I know there are many others who struggle with this and I want to share what helps me most.

(To clarify: I’m NOT talking about chemical imbalance and I’m not discussing clinical depression here).

I’m talking about a feeling of sadness that comes for no obvious reason. Feeling gloomy or unhappy sometimes in spite of having things go well in life. It might be unexplained or it might come because of sin and suffering in the world or because of my own failings and weaknesses.

When I fall into this kind of depression, these choices help me the most:

  • Singing praise to God out loud. Spending time alone with God and singing praise songs to Him is powerful. There’s more power in singing out loud but listening to praise music is also healing.
  • Prayer. Our greatest resource. We can tell God exactly how we feel. It’s important also to confess our sins. We can tell Him what we desire Him to do in our lives. If I feel powerless to pray, I pray the Psalms. Some that have helped me: Psalm 37, 34, 32, 23, 27, 40 and 42 but any of the Psalms are helpful.
  • Reading and meditating on Scripture. Reading God’s Word is essential. Quoting Scripture out loud helps to focus our minds on the truth. “For the word of God is alive and powerful…” Hebrews 4:12a (NLT) His Word is supernatural and meditating on its truth can bring peace and calm to our souls.
  • Resisting isolation. When I feel depression coming in my spirit, often my first temptation is to isolate myself and shut others out. This only makes things worse and amplifies the darkness. Reaching out to someone we trust and can share our hearts with will often drive the dark feeling away. I’ve found that the more I keep my negative thought patterns to myself, the stronger they get. But time and time again when I share those thoughts, just saying them out loud to someone exposes them as lies.
  • Keeping a balance between physical exertion (exercise/work) and rest. If we go for a period of time without doing anything that requires physical exertion, it can lead to a depressed feeling, but if we’re always on the go and never take time to rest, that also can leave us depressed. We need balance.
  • Remembering we are in a war. We’re all in a Spiritual battle but those who seek to get closer to Jesus will meet the enemy head on. Satan will attack anyone who follows Jesus. Peter warns us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT). However, we overcome him through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, our testimony and prayer. (Revelation 12:11) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

One particular morning I was feeling the darkness. I read my daily devotions and meditated on His truth. Later, I remembered about praising God. By choice, not by feeling I began to sing praises to Him. I put on praise music and exercised while praising Him. I poured out my heart to Him. He lifted me from the pit (Psalm 40)!

Some experience depression that goes beyond what they can deal with by themselves. It may even be caused by a chemical imbalance. At those times, it is important to seek help from a counselor or a doctor. There was a time when my depression became so persistent that I went to a counselor for some months. God used her to help me tremendously! There’s nothing wrong with needing help. God created us as beings that need each other.

May God give grace and peace to anyone reading this who is suffering from depression or persistent sadness. Please use it Lord. Use it to bring them closer to you. Please shine your light into their darkness.

Please comment below if you need prayer to get through a season of depression. He loves you with an everlasting love!

IMG_8115Psalm145

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

livingbygracepic

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Bible, depression, Devotional, Faith, Glory of God, God's love, hope, inspirational, Jesus, personal, praising God, prayer, Psalms, struggles, trust

Would I Get In The Wheelbarrow?

IMG_8115Psalm145

“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” Psalm 145:8-9 (ESV)

This is LORD God we serve. Gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love! He is awesome and He IS good to all. We accept that by faith. We have to trust His sovereign wisdom. His mercy does cover us.

“Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” v. 2-3

The message of trust keeps coming to me. Yesterday Joshua Huntoon, a local youth pastor, gave a message on faith. He used the illustration of when Charles Blondin pushed a wheelbarrow on a tightrope over Niagara Falls. He pushed the wheelbarrow over, then he pushed it with the wheelbarrow full of cement. The story goes that he then asked the crowd if they believed he could push it with a man inside. They yelled, “Yes!”. When he asked for a volunteer, no one was willing.

I can say “I believe” he can do it but would I get in the wheelbarrow?

With Jesus, getting in the wheelbarrow shows I believe and know God is trustworthy and good and not that I am “pretty sure” He is trustworthy.

It struck me that when I believed in Jesus as a child, I got in the wheelbarrow. That means I let Him take me where He wants me to go. That means I will trust Him no matter what. That means No. Matter. WHAT happens, I trust. The Centurion was praised for great faith because he got it that Jesus was Sovereign God, above all, and had the right and power to command all things. If I am not trusting, if I am fearful or doubting, than I doubt His power, I doubt His goodness. But v. 9 says, He is “good to all.”  He is “kind in all his works” v. 17. “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” v. 18 When I call on Him in faith and belief, He is there.

Thank you Father for being the awesome God you are! Thank you LORD God Almighty that you are awesome in power. You are Holy and Good. You are Kind and Gracious. You are Near and you are Merciful. You are abounding in steadfast love. I worship You. I bow before you. I give to you all my heart and soul. I will praise your name forever!

vintage-948413_1280

livingbygracepic

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Bible Study, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, God, God's love, hope, inspirational, Jesus, trust

He Also Made the Stars

milky-way-923801_1280

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

“…He also made the stars.” Gen 1:16b

The first recorded words of God are, “Let there be light.”

Light is everything. Without light there would be no life. Light gives us warmth, shows us the way, protects us from danger and keeps us alive. Sunlight is essential to physical and mental health. How could light just appear? How can it be explained other than the Creator spoke it into existence?

Then in verse 16 a simple statement, “He also made the stars.”

He made stars beyond what is possible to count. He made stars that stretch into a universe of which there appears to be no end. Stars that inhabit galaxies beyond count. Wonders we can’t imagine.

Oh, by the way, He also made the stars.

That alone should bring us to our knees before Him, to our faces in worship of this powerful God who also made the stars.

sun-465936_1280

I take so much for granted. Light for example. I take it for granted the sun will come up each day. I take it for granted that when I flip a switch the light comes on. This is a gift from a holy God.

I talk to Him each day but do I remember this is the LORD God who made the stars, who spoke light into existence and who took dust to make the miracle of a human being?

How can I ever come to Him casually?

He is amazing! He is worthy of my praise and worship. He chose to reach down and save my soul. He chose to send Jesus to earth to live and die for those who had already rebelled. Words cannot express what I owe Him.

This God who “also made the stars” loves each one of us with an everlasting love. He thought of us before He ever said “Let there be light.” He thought of us and knowing we would choose to sin and rebel against Him, decided in advance to send Jesus to live and die for us so that we can live with Him forever. He made it possible for us to come to Him even in our sin. We can come boldly to His throne anytime of day or night and talk to Him, give Him our petitions, praise Him, and worship Him.

Father God, You are worthy of all my worship, all my heart and soul. I stand before you in awe of your majesty and power. The invitation to come directly to you and talk to you is an indescribable gift. I love you LORD. I want your will to be done in every part of my life and who I am. I worship you my Creator and my Lord!

May we come to Him in worship every day throughout the day!

Originally published for Takin It to the Streets – Omaha.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under creation, Devotional, Faith, Glory of God, God, inspirational, praising God, prayer, worship, worshipping God