Tag Archives: faith

Keeping a Blessings Journal

person uses pen on book

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”(Philippians 4:8, KJV)

Many times in the Old and New Testaments God urges (and sometimes commands, as in Joshua 4:5-7) us to remember His blessings and what He has done. King David had many low moments, but came out of them by remembering God’s mercies and blessings to him and Israel. Remembering how God acted in the past gave David renewed faith and courage for the challenges ahead.

Some years ago I began keeping a blessings journal. I bought a 4″x6″ notebook and recorded blessings—like the time I was driving and almost caused an accident (the “almost” is the blessing part), the time I was standing outside a local store, waiting to cross the road, when I felt something brush the back of my leg. I thought it was a bug. Instead, it was the tail fin of a 1960’s-era car! I could have been run over! But I wasn’t hurt at all. I wrote about other events that “almost” happened and would have been disastrous, but they didn’t happen—blessings to me.

I wrote about things that did happen, like getting together with friends. Just last fall two of my friends and I went to a nature reserve and walked on one of the trails. We meandered around, listening to the birds, watching the fish in the pond, and enjoying each other’s company. Then we went to a restaurant to eat. My friends didn’t realize it, but that day was the day before my birthday. I knew I’d be working on my birthday, so I hadn’t planned anything, but just being with my friends was celebration enough.

I keep my little journal in my purse. I look at it when I have a few spare moments—on break at work, or even right before I go to bed. It reminds me of the many times God has blessed me. Taking just a few minutes to reflect on God’s goodness to me helps me combat worry and anxiety. God does not change; He has helped me before, He can help me again.

Resources: Psalm 63 and Psalm 142, among the many psalms David wrote, are especially timely.

©P. Booher

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Life Issues

God in the Darkness

A couple months ago the pastor of the church I attend suggested reading and dwelling on Psalm 139. Since then I’ve been reading and re-reading this Psalm. It’s one of the passages that’s been drawing my attention lately.

The writer, King David, asserts God’s knowledge and interest in him. He says that he cannot flee from God’s Presence, no matter where he goes, he finds God there. He writes, “If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Psalm 139:11,12, KJV)
These verses provide comfort to me. They tell me that even though dark, uncertain circumstances bother me, they do not bother God. He knows where I am, and what I am feeling. I can cry out to Him and know that He knows and cares, and will act in some way on my behalf. The darkness is never too great for God, since darkness and light are the same to Him.

starry sky

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

A Sky so Blue, (new)

Photo Credit: Author

©P. Booher

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith Matters, Life Issues

Fighting a War Against Fear

“What if this happens?????? What if that happens?????? What happens then??????” What will I do??????”

These are the questions that popped up in my mind often, even in little situations. You know what’s behind those questions? FEAR. Fear nearly drove me crazy; I mean to the point of losing my mind. What was worse was I knew I didn’t have the answers for those questions.

Last year, after a bout with painful, limited mobility, and depression, I finally said I’ve had it. I couldn’t take any more of the barrage of questions in my mind, or the heavy feeling of responsibility, so—I gave them to God. (I pictured myself giving a huge, car-sized box of fear, anxiety, and blackness to Jesus) I told Him, “Lord, I give this to You. I can’t handle it.” I pictured Him taking the heavy box as though it was a light feather. He said, “Trust Me. It’s OK. I can take it.”

Since then, when FEAR attempts to make an entrance and take over my mind, I picture a soldier standing guard with a spear. The soldier growls, “Don’t even think about it.”, and lunges at the fear-thought, which hastily retreats.

I thank God I don’t have the fear/panic cycle anymore. I’m free, and it’s such a relief; I can just live my life, and let God handle the “What ifs?” etc. He alone is big enough to do it; I’m not.

If you are in the middle of a fear cycle, consider doing as I did. Tell God you can’t do it anymore; give it to Him, and see what He does.

Some resources for fighting fear—please note: the Bible has a lot more.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6, KJV)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV)

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  (James 1:5, KJV)

“Casting all your care upon him;  for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7, KJV)

Jesus defeating fear in His disciples: Mark 4:35-40, KJV

©P. Booher

 

2 Comments

Filed under Faith Matters, Life Issues, Tips to Avoid Stress

A Different View of Accomplishments

pen calendar to do checklist

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

My idea of a to-do list used to be like the one pictured above. Sometimes it still is. I still write a list, and some days I accomplish quite a few items. Most of the time the items on the to-do list spill over into the next day, or even the next week—or two.

In the past year or so my idea of accomplishments changed. It broadened to include not only things you see on a list, but also things you can’t see, like victories over discouraging  thoughts and worries. Recently I engaged in a fencing match with the thought, “Your life isn’t worth much.”  You can read about that battle here. Last week or so I boxed with the impression, “You’ve fumbled badly in your work, your finances, and every area of your life.” Then a picture flashed through my mind of falling flat on my face. Not something to give a person confidence, is it?
I prayed, and once again, Faith came to my rescue, saying that I haven’t fumbled badly, and even if I have, God can and is willing to help me. I’m not alone.

These interior victories show me the most meaningful accomplishments aren’t ones you can cross off a piece of paper. They are ones achieved inside you.

micaela-parente-YGgKE6aHaUw-unsplash

Photo Credit: Micaela Parente, Unsplash

Resources:

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24, KJV)

“Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.” (Psalm 60:12, KJV)

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Life Issues

When I Feel As Though My Life Isn’t Worth Much

Earlier today the impression entered my mind: “Who are you to think you’re anyone special?  Your life isn’t worth much.”

At first glance circumstances agree: I am just one of six or seven billion plus people on this planet; lower sales after Christmas means I am working fewer hours on my retail job, so don’t have a sense of productivity/ worth there; I don’t have a boyfriend or husband who can lift my spirits. Even the weather got in on the act. The sun shone dimly through an overcast sky, so it was gloomy inside, even with lights on.

I prayed about that impression. Immediately Faith kicked in and said, “No! Your life is worth much because God loves you and created you. He sent His Son to die for you. You are valuable.”

God reminded me that the earlier impression of low worth didn’t come from Him; those were not His words.

After this, I called a relative who, like me, wants to put more emphasis on spending time with family. We agreed to meet tomorrow.

Then I spent some time outside (being in the fresh air always raises my spirits) feeding the birds, and raking leaves for mulch. It was cold, but I was helping the birds, doing something productive, and I could always warm up with a cup or two of tea back inside. As I raked leaves, the sun shone a little stronger, and beautiful blue sky appeared on the horizon.

Lastly, I am writing this blog post for anyone else who hears those words, “Your life isn’t worth much”. I am writing to tell you not to believe them. You are valuable.

©P. Booher

 

3 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Life Issues

Reflections for This Writer’s Heart

person uses pen on book

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23, KJV

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”  Psalms 19:14, KJV

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  Philippians 4:6, KJV

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8, KJV

Keep going, don’t give in and don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

Till your own field; keep your attention on your own work; you have enough to do with that!

Don’t be distracted by what someone else has, does, says or whatever. That can lead to envy, jealousy, bitterness, gossip, and resentment–even of friends. Those attitudes will affect your creativity, big time, both in quantity and in quality.

Cultivate faith and be led by that, rather than fear.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Writing

Diving Into A Sea of Books–Deeper Waters–Immersed in the Life-Changing Truth of God’s Word

divers-underwater-ocean-swim-68767.jpeg

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

Deeper Waters–Immersed in the Life-Changing Truth of God’s Word by Denise J. Hughes is a guide to Bible study unlike any other I’ve read, mainly because of the honesty of the writer. Denise is a Bible study teacher and at the time of the writing of the book, an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University. She admits the doubts she faced in her relationship with God as she grew up due to heart-wrenching difficulties that hit her family. She doesn’t give any of the phrases Christians often say, such as “Have faith in God”, which sounds good, but when rough times hit, don’t offer anything to hold onto. She does write about how God brought her back to Himself.

Denise takes the life of Ezra, a scribe who lived hundreds of years before Christ, as the pattern for the kind of Bible study she sets forth in Deeper Waters. As scribe, Ezra copied and wrote records. Denise emphasizes the importance of writing down Bible verses–ones that speak to you.

One thing that bothered me was the way her family’s story was scattered throughout the book. Although Denise probably did this to illustrate the particular point she wanted to make in that chapter, writing this way threw me off a bit.

To her credit, the author never takes a self-righteous, patronizing tone. Instead she writes as a guide who’s been through turbulent times.

If you want a guide to Bible study which also acknowledges that life and the walk of faith is not always smooth and easy, read Deeper Waters.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Diving Into A Sea of Books, Faith Matters, Life Issues

Diving Into A Sea of Books–You’re Not Alone–Daily Encouragement For Those Looking For A New Job

divers-underwater-ocean-swim-68767.jpeg

As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

You’re Not Alone, subtitled, Daily Encouragement For Those Looking For A New Job, by Richard Malone, is a helpful, useful book of meditations for those in the uncertain world of job changes. The book came about during the author’s own period of  unemployment when he looked for a devotional book and couldn’t find any.

Each day begins with Scripture, Mr. Malone’s writing, and then a short prayer. Mr. Malone points out that many of the people in the Bible dealt with a variety of situations that could bring on the powerful emotions a job loss carries with it–anger, fear, the desire for revenge, loneliness, and others. The author shows that God helped all those people, and He is more than willing to help people who’ve lost their jobs, for whatever reason.

At the back of the book Mr. Malone lists many books on the subject of work and handling emotions related to job loss.

Comments: This is the only book I’ve found so far which links unemployment and Scripture, and shows the help God offers through faith. While compassionate in tone to the job hunter, Mr. Malone also is realistic about factors that come into play in employment. He emphasizes that overall, no matter what, God is still here, and can be trusted. Given that a person cannot be sure of job “security”, this book is a valuable resource. To me, it’s a “treasure”. I want to start a job-search/support group in the future; this is one of the books I plan to use in the group.

©P. Booher

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Diving Into A Sea of Books, Faith Matters, Life Issues

It Takes Faith–A Word About An Empty Tomb

“…the women…found the stone rolled away  from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”  (Luke 24:1-3) (NIV)

Although I didn’t go to church often when I was growing up, I knew Easter Sunday was the day Christ rose from the grave. I didn’t connect that fact to anything else in my life–it was just a “religious fact”.  Christ came; He died; He rose. The tomb is empty. That’s good–but what’s that mean?

Years later, that empty tomb–that knowledge I have by faith–gives me hope. The empty tomb gives me hope because Christ was (and is) too big to be held by it. If He is too big for that, He is certainly big enough to handle any and all of the problems I have now or ever will have. He is not at all bothered by any of my problems. He is not fretting about what to do. He has it under control!

The empty tomb gives me hope because it means Christ is living. If He is living, I can reach Him through prayer. I have access to all His comfort, all His kindness, all His understanding of me. He can give guidance, ease my fears, cancel my worries.

That is what the empty tomb means to me now. It takes faith.

©P. Booher

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Tips to Avoid Stress

Friday Photos–Do Not Despise the Growth You Can’t See!

markus-spiske-104913

Photo credit: Markus Spiske, Unsplash.com

Daylillies coming up out back

Photo Credit: P. Booher

 

The other day I was in the back yard, looking at a gentle slope of ground. Warm afternoon sunshine encouraged daffodils and daylilies to poke through the soil. I could see little shoots of green emerging beside tree roots, leaves, and bits of tree branches that had fallen over the winter.

I looked to the ground above the slope, and  wondered, “How much growth is happening that I don’t see? Surely other plants are pushing through the earth in other spots; I just can’t see them from my level.”

Then God whispered, “That’s like the growth inside you. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Don’t despise the growth you can’t see.”

God knows I needed that reminder. Other people seem to have it all together, whether emotionally, mentally or spiritually. I seem to lag behind, and I get impatient. But growth can’t be forced, whether in a plant or a person. The same as a farmer dare not dig up seeds to see if they are growing, I don’t want to continually fuss and fret about my inward growth. Both processes take time and faith.

“Who dares despise the day of small things…” Zechariah 4:10 (NIV)

©P. Booher

Leave a comment

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Friday Photos, Life Lessons