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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 6 January 2019 –  FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – SPECIAL EDITION – NEW YEAR NEW WORD – RESTORATION

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – SPECIAL EDITION – NEW YEAR NEW WORD – RESTORATION

 

Each year, toward the end of the year for the past four years, Holy Spirit has dropped a word for the coming year in my spirit.

 

This year not so much. Always by September or October I’ve known my word for the coming year. But September passed, then October. Even November came and went, and I’d heard nothing of my Word. Fleeting thoughts, words—RECONCILIATION, COMPLETION, ADJUSTMENT—but none that really resonated in my spirit. I was floundering.

 

In truth, I’ve been floundering on all counts for months—since my last book in May, and my surgery in June if I’m honest. Recovery from both has been tedious, shall we say. While learning something new—using my knees in ways I’ve not been able for so long—I’ve also been rather lost without my writing. (And thus, no post for New Year’s Day.)

It seemed I wasn’t ‘hearing’ my word for the coming year. But that wasn’t entirely true. In fact, it was Tuesday or perhaps even Wednesday, I realized why I was so flustered—RESTORATION, my word this past year, is making a repeat performance. Co-starring RECONCILIATION, COMPLETION, and ADJUSTMENT. With guest appearances by FOCUS and DISCIPLINE.

While I’ve seen so many posting about the difficulty of 2018, and rejoicing to see the year end. I sat quietly in my little corner and marveled at how gracious Father has been to me during this past year. And, it seem, He’s not done yet. Is He ever? Done with us?? Isn’t He always reaching to us, drawing us, wooing us to His side?

 

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

 

What has this to do with Sunday Devotional? Seems the word of the year has become quite trendy. I’ve seen quizzes and an app or game to discover your word.

 

But for some of us, it’s not a silly thing at all. Rather, it’s a deeply spiritual thing. And for me, at least, it’s not even something of my own choosing. For me, it is an intimate promise from the Father.

 

This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19

 

Restoration is not mine to do or give. Restoration is Father God’s to give. It’s in His hand, it’s all in His hand. And I’ve claimed what’s mine, what He’s promised me. And now it’s time.

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Year’s Special Edition, 2019, New Year New Word,  RESTORATION, Alignment, Adjustment, Completion, Reconciliation; Focus, Discipline; Restoration, Breakthrough, Shift, Forward, Inhabit, Expectation, Rest

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 19 August 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – REST

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – REST

 

Come to Me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.  – Matthew 11:28

 

It seems I’m perpetually tired, and there are several reasons for that. For so long I believed if I wanted a thing done, I had to do it (not out of control, but out of fear someone would think me stupid or incompetent for asking for help, let alone delegating!)  Add to that the crippling depression I didn’t even know I suffered. Soul deep, heart deep.

 

Even after I was free from the depression, I still felt compelled to do.it.all. To prove I could. To prove my worth. It was exhausting.

 

Enter my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. The irony of RA, for me at least, is that while I do not believe Father “put this on me” to teach me a lesson, I do fully believe it is the result of what is tantamount to abuse—self-abuse, by way of pushing myself beyond limits. By not allowing myself any down time. By not letting myself rest.

 

On the seventh day, God rested.

 

Was He tired? No. Did He sleep? No. He neither slumbers nor sleeps.  Why then, did He rest?

 

He set the example for us. Rest, He says.

 

But do we? Do we truly rest? In Him? Do we seek Him, do we allow ourselves to slow down, to cease striving? Going? Doing? Too often we do not.

 

Come to me, He says. Be still, He says. Be still and know that I am God.  – Psalm 46:10

 

More than physical rest, He desires for us a rest in our soul, in our spirit. Peace that passes understanding. Assurance that He is, in fact, working all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)

 

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

 

Rest in Him. Lean on Him. Be still, and hear His still, small voice. Feel His breath upon your spirit, His whisper in your heart.

 

Rest, and be refreshed. Rest and be restored. Rest, and know that you are His.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Rest, Matthew 11:28 – 30, Psalm 46:10

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BLOGWORDS – 15 January 2018 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – CARRIE SCHMIDT

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – CARRIE SCHMIDT

 

 

Soul Restoration
by Carrie Schmidt

 

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘restoration’?  Thanks to Chip & Joanna Gaines, I bet a lot of us think of a home restoration. And shiplap.

Maybe you think of an old photo that was damaged but has now been repaired. An old clunker car now gleaming like new. Or maybe a reputation being restored after it’s been dragged through the mud. A family reunited, old wounds slowly healing, forgiveness and grace extended. A season of life best forgotten, now redeemed in the Hands of your Savior.

In preparation for this post, I refreshed my memory on Robin’s beginning of the year post about restoration. And you know what? That little stinker took ALL the Bible verses on restoration! 😉

I nearly despaired, y’all.

BUT WAIT! I found one… one that sneaked by her, one that nearly sneaked by me.

It’s a little phrase tucked away in the most familiar Psalm in the Bible – “He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:3, NIV)

I think so often we rush over that part. At least I do. But let’s camp here for a minute.

In the context of the Psalm, this phrase is reflective of Jesus as our Shepherd. As the One who leads us beside still waters. And then the One who leads us in paths of righteousness. And right there in the middle – between the peaceful water-sitting and the righteous walking – is the restoration of my soul.

Do you notice anything about the first part of ‘restoration’?

 

How about the word REST?

 

While ‘restoration’ is Robin’s word for 2018, ‘rest’ is mine.

I’m a busy gal. I read a lot. I blog a lot. I do freelance writing for a couple of magazines. I have a part-time job that becomes full-time depending on the time of year. I have family responsibilities, too. When do I rest? Not often, I gotta admit. I sleep, sure. When I’m not caught up in a book. But resting? When I ignore the responsibilities that are demanding my attention and just sit at the feet of Jesus? Or even just sit in a relaxing bath? It doesn’t happen very much.

But I know it needs to. After all, He leads me beside those still waters so that I’m in a position to allow Him to restore my soul. Because, you see, walking down paths of righteousness, doing stuff in Jesus’ name, won’t be effective long term unless I have embraced the rest He offers before the path, during the path, and after the path.

Why? Because I’ll burn out. I’ll become cranky instead of grace-filled. I’ll become anxious instead of embracing the peace that passes understanding. I’ll be doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons. And while Jesus leads me to the still waters, I’ll be trying to figure out how to build a bridge and move on to the paths of righteousness. Soul restoration? Who has time for that?!?

Can you see Him bemusedly shaking His head at me? Or maybe at you too?  (rem: oh, yesss…. )

For such a little phrase, it sure packs a punch. “He restores my soul.” When was the last time you let Jesus restore your soul? When you let Him renew your strength? When you made time to just rest in His grace?

And while we’re asking questions and shaking our heads at each other, what do those still waters look like?

I think ‘still waters’ can take many forms. What brings me peace may send you into a panic. And vice versa. But there are a couple of consistent trademarks.

  1. Time in God’s Word.
  2. Time worshipping God

Notice the key word there? Yep. The worst four-letter word I know. TIME. There’s never enough of it, is there? And that’s why ‘sacrifice’ is also a key step in soul restoration. Because Jesus can lead us beside the still waters but if we don’t take the time to notice them and let them nudge their way into our soul? There won’t be much restoring going on.

A sacrifice of time – with Jesus, by the still waters – will put you well on your way to that renewal of your soul. Even if you just sit there with Him, letting His Presence wash over you. Even if you just put on a playlist of songs that point you to Him … and maybe sing along. Even if you just read one verse and reflect on it all day. Because you’ve given Him your most precious commodity – time – He will give you restoration of your soul.

Are you weary? Are you overwhelmed with life? Would you just love a nap? I’m with you. I get it. And so does Jesus.

Do a quick google search for ‘Jesus went away by himself’ and you’ll find a bevy of Scripture references that show us that He made soul restoration a priority. Don’t miss that. JESUS made soul restoration a priority. The Son of God. The One who was there when the world was spoken into existence. THE Word. He knew how important it was to REST. A rest from labor, yes, but it always involved prayer. His time of rest was intentional – to restore His soul.

(I confess, I don’t know exactly how that worked with Jesus. I’m a blogger. Not a theologian. Lol.)

If you get nothing else from all my ramblings today, please get this: When you sacrifice time to sit beside the still waters (figurative or literal) with Jesus, HE RESTORES YOUR SOUL. Guaranteed. Every time.

Rest and restoration so often go hand in hand. So go ahead. Get some rest. Your soul will thank you.

 

What about you? Where do you most need rest in your life?

GIVEAWAY: One commenter will win this cute ‘He Restores My Soul’ mug from Seeds of Faith Designs on Etsy. (US only. If for some reason mug is no longer available when winner is selected, a comparable substitution may be made with winner’s approval.)

 


Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat. She blogs at

 

http://readingismysuperpower.org

https://www.facebook.com/meezcarriereads

https://twitter.com/meezcarrie

https://www.pinterest.com/meezcarrie/

https://www.instagram.com/meezcarrie/

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Carrie Schmidt, Rest, Restoration

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 1 January 2018 – NEW WEEK NEW YEAR – SPECIAL EDITION – RESTORATION

NEW WEEK NEW YEAR – SPECIAL EDITION – RESTORATION

 

Looking back a bit, taking inventory of sorts—and snickering at how simplistic and basic Robin’s Nest was in the early days.

 

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line… Zechariah 4:10

 

On setting goals.  I’ve never done the whole New Year’s Resolution bit.  Attempted it a few times, because it was a challenge, and I felt obligated.  To prove I could do it.  Gauntlet thrown and all that.  (1 January 2015)

 

Somewhere toward the end of 2014 Father gave me a Word for ’15. I had never heard of a Word for the year until somebody shared on Facebook what their word was for the coming year. In the twinkling that I read that, without even the intrigue of the idea, without even a moment to consider or wonder what my word might be, Holy Spirit spoke it to me: FORWARD.

 

 

For the record and upon reflecting, my Word for 2014 was:

 

SHIFT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLlRp8yYpwk

 

It surely was true. Everything in my life began to SHIFT in 2014. And Father nudged me forward in 2015 into what I now see as my present. I went into 2014 just beginning to write, I started my blog and released my debut novel, Tessa. And that beginning gained momentum in 2015, and moved me FORWARD, fully vested in this thing called writing.

 

EDIT: As I read through this post this morning, the first day of 2018, Holy Spirit spoke to me about 2013. My Word that year, even though I was unaware, was COURAGE. I graduated college, and although it wasn’t my planned career, I embarked on my writing. And I addressed an issue within my nuclear family. At first, that looked like I had destroyed my family. But it was a bedrock issue, a cracked foundation that had to be exposed and rebuilt. Now, four years later, the new is under construction and restoration is forming.

Oh! The degree? Interior Design. While I may not be working in that field, I can always do concept work. I have my degree and no one can take that away from me! And the writing? More solid than ever!

COURAGE

 

True to His nature, Father once again gave me my Word for the New Year before I even gave it a thought or consideration, INHABIT.

 

 

Cool thing about this banner—I had a vision a few years ago of this exact castle in which the castle was mine. Imagine my utter astonishment when I saw a photo of the actual place! Even the terrain was the same, and the sea beyond!

 

This past year, 2017, has been a year of EXPECTATION.

 

So many things, so many years, waiting, waiting… And last year (end of 2016) Father told me this was a year of EXPECTATION. And I’ve seen things begin to turn. Big things, heart things, things I’ve longed and yearned and prayed for. The tide is turning, the dawn is breaking.

 

So this year, 2018, is RESTORATION.

 

Lies kept me from the fullness of God’s Word. From the promises that He has given to His children. I peruse old journals and I can track my history, my growth, changes in my thinking. Learning who I am. I can see dead leaves falling away and new growth breaking through. I think of all the things I’ve lost and gone without, all the promises I’ve read and wondered when it will be my turn.

 

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. Joel 2:25

 

There’s been a LOT of years, a LOT of things the locust has eaten. A LOT the enemy has stolen.

 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

 

I’ve been robbed because I let myself be robbed. I’ve blogged about it before. I write about it, for goodness sake! I’ve been robbed because… because I didn’t believe I deserved not to be. I’ve been robbed because I didn’t know I could fight it. I didn’t know how to fight it.

But now I do. (I’ve blogged about that, too. A lot!) And now, it’s time for REST and RESTORATION.

 

For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17

 

And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

 

res·to·ra·tion, restəˈrāSH(ə)

noun: restoration

the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.

synonyms:  repair, repairing, fixing, mending, refurbishment, reconditioning, rehabilitation, rebuilding, reconstruction, overhaul, redevelopment, renovation

 

Restoration is not mine to do or give. Restoration is Father God’s to give. It’s in His hand, it’s all in His hand. And I’ve claimed what’s mine, what He’s promised me. And now it’s time.

 

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

 

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

 

So I go into 2018 with great eagerness and anticipation, great hope and joy. Because RESTORATION. RESTORATION is mine this year.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pD2zIuiC2g

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Year’s Special Edition, 2018, Restoration, Breakthrough, Shift, Forward, Inhabit, Expectation, Rest

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BLOGWORDS – 25 September 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – LYNN BLACKBURN

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – LYNN BLACKBURN

 

 

I love writing conferences. Big ones, small ones. Near ones, far ones. I love attending them as a conferee and I love being on faculty.

 

But as much as I love them, conferences wear me out—usually by mid-afternoon of the first full day, if not earlier. (I once had something very close to a panic attack while in line for registration).

 

Over the years I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks—some self-care for the conference attending writer—that help me get the most out of each new experience.

  1. Recognize the need for self-care. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, arrogant, or anti-social. This is about survival. You’ve spent a lot of money and invested time and energy to attend this event and you owe it to yourself (and everyone who has sacrificed to help you be there) to make the most of it. You can’t do that if you’re walking around in a daze or avoiding conversations.

 

  1. Prepare for the conference BEFORE you leave home. You’ll feel more confident and less stressed if you’ve spent some time looking at the schedule and familiarizing yourself with the layout of the facility.

  1. Hydrate. Seriously. I mess this up every time. It isn’t until I realize my hands and feet are swelling and I feel parched that I remember how little water I’ve had. Conferences tend to be the kind of places where you consume a lot of caffeinated beverages and sodium laden foods. We underestimate how much we need to stay hydrated to be able to think clearly. Take a bottle of water with you everywhere you go!

 

  1. Give yourself permission to skip a session. I know you don’t want to miss anything, but just because you signed up for a class doesn’t mean you have to go. Sometimes what you need most is a nap. Or time in a prayer room. You might need to spend catching up with a friend. The conference experience is about more than how many classes you attend so don’t stress about it.

 

  1. Don’t fight your wiring, but don’t let it keep you from getting the most out of the conference. If you’re an extrovert and you loving being around so many like-minded writers, enjoy all the socializing. Just don’t forget to cement the things you’re learning in your mind. For some extroverts that might mean talking about what you just learned in a class with a fellow conferee. Or you could make a voice recording on your phone so you can get those thoughts out of your head so you won’t forget them. If you’re an introvert, take a break when you need to. Just don’t hide in your room so long that you fail to take advantage of the networking opportunities that exist between and after sessions.

  1. Get your rest. My conference motto tends to be “I’ll sleep when I get home” and I still do that if the conference is short in duration. But I have learned the hard way that if I’m attending a conference that’s longer than two nights, I need to be sure I get at least one early bedtime or skip breakfast so I can sleep in—or both. This may not apply to you if you’re under 40. 🙂

 

Are you a regular writing conference attendee? Do you have any tips you could add to the list? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

 

Grace and peace,

Lynn

 

Lynn H. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, Covert Justice, won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, Hidden Legacy, released in June 2017 and her new Dive Team Investigations series kicks off in March of 2018 with Beneath the Surface. You can follow her real life happily ever after at www.LynnHBlackburn.com and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lynn Blackburn, Writer’s Conference, Prepare, Hydrate, Rest, Self Care

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