Perseverance

Perseverance is long obedience in the same direction. It is endurance based on an assurance or hope of something.

I heard perseverance defined this way at church last week and it really spoke to me. Persevering in life and in the faith means choosing a path or direction to head toward . At first, it might seem like the path of obedience is restrictive, burdensome, or a set of rules to be dreaded. But as believers, we can have such joy and freedom in the path of righteousness! It is not easy, and we will never reach perfection on earth, but just like the title of this blog, joy can be found in continuing the journey. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We can have joy because our righteousness was purchased through Christ’s death and resurrection. It is His righteousness, imputed righteousness, we stand in when we receive Christ as Lord. And it is God’s Spirit that empowers us to live a righteous life (Philippians 3:9)! Walking in righteousness draws us closer to Him and allows us to enjoy the benefits of our spiritual identity in our everyday lives (John 10:10). And finally, we can persevere in all that He has called us to because we have an assurance and hope. Not only have we been forgiven, but we have been given a future. No matter what life on earth brings, we have Christ for eternity. God’s promises remain faithful. He knows the beginning from the end, and ultimately has won the victory over all. What a hope!

” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

1 Peter 1:3-9

I’ve been thinking a lot perseverance this week. The reality of hope (the assurance, Christ in me and the hope of eternity), motivates me to persevere. For the past few years, I have chosen a word that means something to me to start off the new year. Last year, my word was steadfast, and this year, I think the Lord wants to teach me more about perseverance. I’ll try to keep you updated on my journey of persevering this year. Further up and further in!

Enjoy the journey friends!

In Him,

Laura

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Freshman Thoughts #2

The leaves are finally starting to show some color here in Texas! The season is changing and with it the world around me it seems. I’ve always found it intriguing how the leaves can be so very beautiful as they let go and embrace the change. I hope to be that way in my life! I feel like I’m in a state of constant growth, learning, and discovering right now. I didn’t move away from home this fall, but home is changing right before my eyes. Nothing ever stays the same, for better or for worse. It just is what it is! Right now, I’m learning how to do my best in college for the first time, and how to manage my time and commitments. I am growing in my decision making, discernment, interactions with people, and in my new friendships. I am discovering what is really important to me and the passions and gifts God has given me to develop and use. At times, I think it is all a little overwhelming. But one day, and one step at a time, I’m learning that my God has provided all I need (and much much more!). So, like the leaves finally starting to show a beautiful change, I cling to the hope that He brings beauty and meaning to my change as well.

Enjoy the journey!

 

Freshman Reminders

Before I started school as a freshman in college this semester, I wrote out a list of some things I wanted to keep in the forefront of my mind. I’d love to hear your thoughts/things you would add to the list!

  1. Go into the semester with a “senior” mindset instead of a “freshman” one. Have the perspective, wisdom, and courage that you did when you thought you had nothing to lose. Learn, live, and meet others with enthusiasm!
  2. We are here to please God and not men. Love others, but keep your identity in the right place.
  3. We are here to learn and everyone had to learn at some point. Even the smartest person should still be learning!
  4. Live in the light of Eternity. This world is not home..keep the main thing the main thing.
  5. Remember, it’s amazing how much you can accomplish when it’s asked of you!
  6. God is SO faithful! Abundantly MORE than we could ever ask, hope, or think He could be. Rest in that.

Freshman Thoughts

Life is so full right now-full of countless new experiences, lessons, friendships, and new thoughts to be had in this new season. Some days I feel like I could burst with all the ‘newness’! There are definitely plenty of new challenges to face as well. They can feel big and frightening, and fight for my perspective in the midst of the joys. But when I quiet myself before Him, I’m ready to face whatever comes. When the sun comes up again on a new day I put on the strength that He gives.

I’m also thankful that I’m not alone in this season! I’m surrounded with dear friends to face the challenges and share the new joys with. When we get together we each have so much to say because we are all learning and experiencing so much. Our times are filled with laughter and talk of dreams about the future. What a gift!

So while I’m a little overwhelmed at times, I’m so thankful. I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father, family, and friends to walk with me on the beautiful journey.

In Him,

Laura

Willow’s Growth

I was looking through an old journal last night and found a treasure!

For several years now I have been writing about a character named Willow. In my stories she is portrayed as a tree, but the analogy is that of a young girl facing challenges in her daily life. It was so special to come across this entry again as I find myself in the same circumstances. Hope you enjoy!

“Willow had seen many seasons, and had for the most part eagerly embraced them. She hid under her branches and held tightly when the rain and floods came… and at last, the cold winter winds seemed to visit her less and less. Willow felt as if her whole being was beginning to thaw.

Beauty everywhere was in bloom and coming back to life. Yet somehow, Willow felt afraid. She almost wished that winter wouldn’t end. For in winter, all she need do was stand. She had stood and took the harsh winter cold, and waited patiently as her roots soaked up the rain. But now, willow felt fear. Now, it was time to grow again. She wasn’t sure how to grow taller and bear new and beautiful leaves. Willow did not know what would make her stronger and help her become all that she had hoped to be.

But as the warmth of the sun shone on her, a joyful thought came with it! The sun was shining warm and bright as it had before, but she had never felt it this way. The way it moved across her with the passing day, the way it hit her that day was like never before. Willow had grown. It was then that she realized that she had grown and would grow, for it was what she was made to do. And with her roots in the ground and her face towards the sun, she would continue on.”

Among The Wildflowers

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I belong among the wildflowers…

With the sun on my back and the breeze blowing through my hair.

With the movement of every muscle,

And in every twitch and chain reaction, I rejoice, I’m alive!

Yes, with the flowers I bloom- in the hope of a fresh season,

And the anticipation of new colors.

Their beauty is simple and asks for no applause.

They stand unique but united in their purpose.

Lord how I want to be like the flowers before you…

Brave, beautiful, and full of life.

I belong among the wildflowers…

Weathering The Storm

This post was written by a guest blogger and sweet friend of mine! I think it’s a great encouragement and challenge to us we abide in Christ and journey with Him through our days. Hope you enjoy! Thanks again for sharing, friend 🙂

The other day as I sat down with my cat and picked up my book that I’ve been trying to finish for so long. The words on the pages leapt out at me, as I realized what the author was saying. And, it really hit home for me. Yes, I know!  It’s a lot of reading, but keep going…it’s totally worth it! 🙂

“Actually the tree that day had not been cut down but struck by lightning which had ripped off one leg of its Y shape and sliced a huge area out of the trunk of the sycamore. This had happened in early winter and I had thought the tree could not survive such an amputation, so I was greatly surprised now in early spring to see it covered with its beautiful green foliage as of yore. It was alive and lovely as ever, despite its massive “surgery.”

I wandered on to the edge of the wood, from which I looked over our little hamlet of Boreland, thinking of other trees which had suffered in winter gales. The first was in my first church at dear little Moorton – to be accurate a very large white lilac tree which we were sorry to lose for it was our only white one – and there it lay, broken completely, its roots sticking up in the air. I kept meaning to clear it away, but never got round to it, and was glad I didn’t for it taught me a lesson. When spring came, the fallen bush was covered, as always in beautiful blooms, even though lying apparently dead. How had this come about? I looked more closely, poked about in the ground, cleared away some earth, and found one solitary root still going into the ground, and drawing up from the earth enough sap and nurture to supply the whole plant. It was beautiful as ever, even though now recumbent.

The other tree was even more amazing. It was the main branch of an old gnarled plum tree at Aldermouth, a tree which annually had a huge crop of the most delicious Victoria plums, and the branch lay on the ground seemingly broken right off.  But yet when spring came, the branch blossomed…and I looked at it in wonder. How could this be? I examined it carefully and found just one bit of bark still attached to the parent tree, and through that tiny channel, food and water was flowing, and in due course there was a magnificent crop of plums.

The lilac and the plum, and now the sycamore, were still doing their job…and looking beautiful and fruitful in the process. How could they do it? I was reminded of Jesus’ words: “Abide I me and I in you. So shall you bring forth much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.” The damaged trees were still abiding in the roots.

There are times in life like that, don’t you think? We are jogging along happily when suddenly a gale gets up, often without warning, and hits us. It may be a gale of illness whisking us to hospital for surgery. It may be a gale of bad news, perhaps a youngster we love kicking over the traces, going the wrong way, getting into trouble, causing us terrible worry. It may be a storm of sorrow, perhaps the loss of a parent or life’s partner or someone very dear to us, perhaps a life-long friend. The wind can get up very quickly and flatten us, and it is not always predicted by the Met Office! But if we can learn the lesson of the trees and stay attached to Christ, we can weather the storm; we can still be beautiful for God and others like the sycamore or lilac, and still be fruitful, like the plum, still, come what may…abiding.”

Dog Collar Diary by Alexander Cameron

Come what may, you can still be beautiful and fruitful for God during your highs and lows through Christ our Savior. He is our Redeemer and stronghold, remaining steady through this hard journey called life. So when a storm comes your way, do not be discouraged. Stay rooted in Him, because He loves you and will carry you through these times.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

 

Close to His Heart

While I was babysitting a few days ago, I started thinking about the little seven-month old I was holding. He can get so upset sometimes, especially when he’s tired or hungry. But when I wrap him up and hold him close to me,  he begins to settle down and even rest his head on my shoulder. With this posture he can feel the rise and fall of my chest and hear the steady rhythm of my heartbeat singing him to sleep. He is peaceful and content to rest on me.

Oh, that I would be like this with my Savior!

Seeing this little one made me think about my posture towards the Lord. I can become so upset sometimes when I’m weary, fearful, or hungry for spiritual food, but I so easily forget where my peace and contentment are found.When I’m close to my Savior’s heart, I become aware of how sovereign and constant He is. When I’m close to His heart, my perspective begins to align with His and my heart begins to beat in His rhythm instead of my own. And when I’m close to Him and chose to trust Him I can rest.

I’m so thankful for His character and for the lessons He teaches His children through everyday things.Enjoy the journey with Him!

In Him,

Laura

“You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you”

Isaiah 26:3

“Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37

 

“You’re going to be okay.”

I few nights ago I was alone at home and found myself facing worries, doubts, burdens, and fears. In the battlefield of my mind, I started to become discouraged and lose my perspective of hope. Then as I tried to lead my thoughts out of this pattern, it seemed like the Lord just said, “No matter what happens with all of this,You’re going to be okay.” I took a deep breath and  thought for a minute. Then I unlocked my phone and went to YouTube to look for some encouraging worship music. As I did this however, a song on the recommended channel caught my eye-“You’re Gonna Be Ok” by Bethel. Seeing that and then listening to it for the first time was another sweet conformation from the Lord that He sees me and He cares about my future in Him. He is so tender and compassionate to us!

So, while we don’t know what the future holds, or the outcome of our circumstances, we do know our God. He knows and holds the future, He keeps His promises, and He loves us. He has good in store for His children in walking with Him. And in walking with Him, we learn to let Him define what is truly “good” and “OK” in our  lives.

All of this leaves me knowing, I’m going to be okay. And so are you! Okay, and in fact, joyful, hopeful, and resting in Him, no matter the circumstances.

Enjoy The Journey,

Laura

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13

Psalm 16

The Lens of Truth

Early Morning Thoughts…

I woke up this morning and the room was blurry. I deduced what the various shapes and objects were around the room because I see them so often . But this got me thinking…As I lay in bed praying and thinking about the day ahead, I started to realize that I needed my glasses if I was going to see clearly and navigate through the day.I might think I could see things enough to get by, but the truth is, with my own eyes I would fumble, trip over things, and maybe even miss important things altogether. And at the end of the day, my eyes would be tired from straining so hard to just see the outline of what was really in front of me. I certainly wouldn’t want to leave the familiar surroundings of my house and venture out either.

How much more does this thought apply to my spiritual life!? In the same way, my spiritual eyes need the lens of God’s truth. I might make it through my days, but with my own limited perspective, I will miss things, fumble through loving others and pursuing righteousness, and trip over my sin. And because I’m not seeing clearly what is in front of me, it would be far to easy to stay stuck in the comfort of familiar surroundings instead of stepping out to where He has called me. But God is gracious in the way He reveals His truth to us. Sometimes it is hard to take in, but I believe His ways are best-and what we would choose if we could only see things the way He does.

Let us enjoy the journey as we walk in the light of His truth, friends!

Psalm 119:160

“The sum of your word is truth,
    and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.”

Ephesians 6

 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth,”