Obedience. PERIOD

What a journey this is, reading the Bible in 90 days <— I. am. loving. it.

There’s so much “yumminess” from Genesis through Exodus, too much to share — but here are a few highlights…

I had questions. I couldn’t answer, like this:

“…but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” {Genesis 3:3}

Why was the tree in the middle of the garden?  That’s a fine detail, why was it in the middle?  How come it wasn’t on the side — God put what they were forbidden to touch smack dab in the middle!  Temptation right there…

…always. in. the. middle.

I gained new insight.  After Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God asked them,

“Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” {Genesis 3:11-13}

OH my goodness B L A M E…

…started in the garden!

Not taking responsibility for actions started from the very beginning.  Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.  It’s such a vicious cycle.  It’s ugly.  It’s an escape that leads to no where.  We are responsible for our actions.  We are called personally, individually to be obedient.  What we say and do, how we respond and react is our choice.  There is no place for blame.

I was reminded repeatedly of His compassion.  After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God disciplined them — there are always consequences for our behavior, good or bad.  But then, our amazing Father showed His everlasting character.

“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” {Genesis 3:21}

This is POWERFUL — even after they deliberately disobeyed, He provided for them, He clothed them.  Yes, they had consequences for their behavior, but He is still a God who loves His children. He is a God of grace and mercy, a God of second chances, a God who meets our needs.

I shed a few tears.  Our Father who desires us to choose Him, to seek Him first above all things, Who’s plans for us are for good, grieved and…

…had a heart filled with pain.

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. {Genesis 6:5-6}

These verses made me cry, as a parent I think I have a small glimpse into how He felt.  He created us with a free will to choose Him, seek Him, obey Him…yet we don’t.

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I could go on and share a whole lot more, but I won’t — the main “theme” that was planted in my heart this past week is OBEDIENCE <— we are ALL called and created to do this.  As I chew on this word, reflecting on it in my own life and looking at this with my children I see, life would consistently be good and full of bliss IF we were obedient. period.

But, we live in a fallen world that started in the beginning — we can only strive to be who God created us to be walking in grace, saved by grace.  My heart if full of gratitude…

Photo Credit:  Wisdom For The Future

 

Clarity

Yesterday I had an important meeting with my two assistants {cheerleaders, encouragers, accountability partners} — we met to brainstorm, define roles, evaluate priorities on projects, and to connect.

We had a flip chart on an easel, big sheets of paper hanging on the walls with the vision, goals, dreams, and lists written all over them by different colored markers so we could see the “BIG PICTURE” — it was creative and exciting…

…it was refreshing and fruitful.

During our time, we were given the special gift of clarity.  It was a WIN!

God opened our eyes to see how He was putting and is pulling pieces of the puzzle together — from the company, Keeping it Personal, to the book, Overcoming the Nevers, to The Refine Conference for Women – all…

…leading women to discover truth. embrace love. experience joy.

We laughed, we cried, we brain dumped, looked at everything in black and white {some color!} — and we had several “AH-HA” moments that fueled us with momentum to keep on with conviction and with purpose.

Clarity is found by stepping back.  Clarity is found through collaboration.  Clarity is found through obedience.  Clarity brings clearness and the picture into focus.  For us, clarity spoke confirmation from above saying, “You are on the right path, keep putting one foot in front of the other trusting all the details to me.

Are you seeking to find clarity in a life situation, a project, a relationship, or decision?  I encourage you to:

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

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The question for you to answer is:

When we share we testify God’s goodness, His provision, His strength, His love.  We overcome evil with good.  That’s what happens when share and look for the the gifts, the blessings, the victories…the wins.

Every Wednesday, I will write and share a win.  My hope is to encourage and inspire you, and to motivate you to do the same…pursue wins.  {Learn more about pursuing wins here}

Share with me and with others — What’s your win?  Leave a comment below or click here

 Photo Credit:  jennie-o {Creative Commons}

If you’re new here, sign up to receive free updates.  I write to encourage. inspire. reflect.  You can also get a copy of my book, Overcoming the Nevers.

Freedom

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell

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GRATEFUL for those who have served and for those who are…the priceless gift of freedom.

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FREEDOM is such a powerful word, it’s refreshing and promising. To maintain freedom we must work for it, fight for it.

Our government focuses on it, for us in America on a very large scale, many are enlisted to defend it for our benefit — but, individually we are responsible for our own “freedom” discovering truth…

…peace and grace.

How do we do this? Discover truth to free our minds so the peace of God will follow?

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind.. Three years ago, I was desperate to find emotional and spiritual freedom. I was able to experience this by intentionally digging into the Word, by personally reading the Bible daily…

…a priceless gift.

Today, Memorial Day, I’m joining a group of women who are reading the The Bible in 90 days. It’s a significant challenge for me as I have yet to read it completely, cover to cover — but I’m excited to start this journey and see what God has in store for me.

We start in Genesis and end Labor Day, in Revelation. {99 days, a few extra given for grace} I’ll be sharing my reflection here on Mondays over the next few months.

I love this quote:

“We are never too old to study the Bible. Each time the lessons are studied comes some new meaning, some new thought which will make us better.” John D. Rockefeller

I’m looking forward to finding new meaning and new thought…betterment. FREEDOM.

If you’re interested in joining me and others, let me know…I would be honored to walk this road with you as we SHINE the lamp unto our feet.

He Hugged Me

I will not forget the day — Friday, April 20, 2012 around 9:00pm.  I received a phone call from my son letting me know he was on his way home from hockey practice.  So, I got out of bed, I know — it was Friday night at 9:00pm and I was already in bed {don’t judge}, and put my robe on.  I walked into the hearth room, sat on the couch, gazed out the window of the door at the driveway, and waited for him to come home…

…typical of what I would normally do.

When I saw the headlights of his dad’s truck approaching, I got off the couch, and opened the door to greet my stinky, sweaty, son.  As he approached me he smiled and said, “Hi, mom!” — then he. hugged. me.

This hug was an embrace — a tight squeeze — a wrap the arms around you and don’t let go for what seemed to be a minute, but I’m sure it was just a few seconds, kind of hug.  This hug was a blessing, a priceless gift.  This hug was given to me at the perfect time…

…this hug was a win. 

I’m assuming you might be thinking — what’s the big deal?  a hug?

I know, simple right?  For people who hug or for mom’s who get hugs from their children.  But for me, this was the first hug I’ve ever received from him and he turned 12 last week.

I’ve longed for this day — I’ve circled it with prayer — I’ve shed many tears — I’ve asked God, Why?

I got an answer several years ago, He shed some light into our lives after evaluations and assessments, SPD {sensory process disorder} and GAD {generalized anxiety disorder} — through this came awareness which brought me to acceptance…

…but it has been difficult.

I decided to focus on solutions.  I decided to search for knowledge and insight.  I decided to seek to understand.  To think of new methods that work for us to overcome, like our sign language:  thumbs-up = I love you {you can read about that here}

It was…just a hug, and I haven’t had one since.

But, it was an an answer to my 10 year prayer.  I know God is working in his heart, he is being transformed from the inside — I’m seeing positive change in other areas of his life too — I’m seeing other fruit develop.  The hug was a manifestation of what’s happening within…

…it was God showing me a win.

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The question for you to answer is:

When we share we testify God’s goodness, His provision, His strength, His love.  We overcome evil with good.  That’s what happens when share and look for the the gifts, the blessings, the victories…the wins.

Every Wednesday, I will write and share a win.  My hope is to encourage and inspire you, and to motivate you to do the same…pursue wins.  {Learn more about pursuing wins here}

Share with me and with others — What’s your win?  Leave a comment below or click here

 

If you’re new here, sign up to receive free updates.  I write to encourage. inspire. reflect.  You can also get a copy of my book, Overcoming the Nevers.

What’s Your Win?

It’s not always easy to see the good, especially when we are in the midst of a struggle or facing a storm in our life.  It’s not always easy to hang on, persevere, and press on when circumstances aren’t changing…

…they aren’t getting better.

I have whispered this little prayer many times, “God, show me a win.  I need to see a win.”  When we are caught up in our problems, dealing with people, difficult issues day in and day out — when the negative seems to outweigh the positive, wins can appear distant.

What is a win?

A win is a victory, big or small  ::  Wins are everyday miracles  ::  A win is a blessing, a gift, a kind word from someone at the perfect time  ::  Wins are hugs, fruitful conversations, smiles, and laughter

A win is overcoming an obstacle or learning something new  ::  Wins are surprises and coincidences  ::  A win can be healing of mind, body, or soul  ::  Wins are found on a walk, watching the sunset, or looking at the stars

A win is restoration in relationships, forgiveness, closure  ::  Wins are found in new beginnings, through change, and in endings ::  A win is acceptance, surrender, humility  ::  Wins are found in justice, rescues, and homecomings

A win is discovering truth, gaining new insight, knowledge, a spiritual awakening  ::  Wins are all things good  ::  A win is an answer to prayer  ::  Wins are all things positive  ::  A win is an accomplishment ::  Wins are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control  ::  A win is grace.

Wins are everywhere, we need to look for them.

We are called to actively pursue what is good and pure.  To do this, we must focus our thoughts, efforts, and energy not on negativity, sin, and the things of this world, but on things that honor our Creator…

…all things good.

I am choosing to “look for the good” and “count my blessings” — I am choosing to actively pursue wins no matter what the circumstance may be.

Will you join me?

Every Wednesday, at terijohnson.com, I will write and share a win.  My hope is to encourage and inspire you, and to motivate you to do the same…pursue wins.  The question for you to answer is:

Could you…would you share with me?  With others?  I hope so — leave a comment below or link up your “Win” post…it’s that simple, yet powerful!

When we share we testify God’s goodness, His provision, His strength, His love.  We overcome evil with good.  That’s what happens when share and look for the the gifts, the blessings, the victories…the wins.

My win:  Friendship.  Today I had the opportunity to start my day taking a walk with a friend.  We don’t see each other often, because of our busy schedules, but I called her out of the blue and she was available!  We talked, laughed, listened, spoke truth into each other’s lives, shed a couple of tears, hugged and went about our day.  Our 1 hour, spur of the moment, get-together was a bright spot in my day, a blessing.  I needed friend-time this morning, we both did.

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Please join me!  Got questions?  Leave a comment below or email me here.

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

 
 

If you’re new here, sign up to receive free updates.  I write to encourage. inspire. reflect.  You can also get a copy of my book, Overcoming the Nevers.

Lets Pray for our Children

Will you join me starting March 1 in praying these 31 Biblical Virtues for your children?

Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Click –> here to learn more!

Take Action

IF you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.  IF you don’t ask, the answer is always no.  IF you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

Taking action in ALL things is key.

Do you ever find yourself circling the same mountains — wishing things could be different, but they are always staying the same?  IF so…the answer is:  take action doing something different to get a different result.

NOTHING in life comes easy…there is always a journey that needs to be taken to get to another place — along the way we learn, experience, and become more of who we were created to be.  BUT…we must decide to take action and be intentional every day putting one step in front of the other.

What is preventing YOU from taking action?  What are the stumbling blocks in-your-life that are tripping you up?  To discover those things that are keeping you in the same place takes action too!  You must search to discover truth.

What action can you take now — to move forward?

Visit Keeping it Personal for FREE resources and other tools to encourage and inspire you!

Photo Credit:  hope4broken

The Words I Would Say

I love music.  There are so many songs that have inspired me over the years.  There are so many songs that can instantly capture my mind, bring it to another place, another time.  I’m sure you can relate to being “taken-away” to a past memory, an earlier age, an experience, or a relationship.

Most often, for me, it’s the words — the lyrics of the song that sink into my soul…

…that leave a footprint.

Today this one inspired me. encouraged me. brought a SMILE to my face.  I’ve heard it many times, but cling to the chorus tightly…

These simple truths…

  1. Be strong in the Lord
  2. NEVER give up hope
  3. You’re gonna do great things
  4. God’s got His hand on You
  5. Don’t live life in fear
  6. Forgive and forget
  7. Don’t forget why you’re here
  8. Take your time and pray

These are the words I would say.

These words are a reminder.  These words are affirmation.

These simple truths are for YOU and for me!  You can listen to the song, The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets here.

From one simple life to another, come find peace in the Father — BE encouraged.

Photo Credit: Zupao

 

Ignored, BUT not forgotten

My last post here was November 15th…I haven’t forgotten about this space, really I haven’t…

…its just been ignored.

The picture a day, project 365, that I worked on in 2011 started out FUN FUN FUN, until it became something I had. to. DO. DO. DO.  That’s what I had been sharing here, just a picture and a reflection EVERYDAY.

What happened?  why did I stop?  I had to eliminate something from my life and that’s what I chose.  YES…I kept taking the pictures, I just stopped posting them here.  I was falling behind, couldn’t keep up with all of my irons-in-the-fire so I decided to ignore this space.

Now…a few months later — I’m back.  With a renewed spirit and a desire to write. to share my thoughts. to expand.  SO that’s what I’m going to do — share in this space.  No more project 365. No more attempting to post each day.  No set schedule.  No rigid plan or theme or writing schedule to adhere to.  Just sharing when I feel compelled – I will just write…

Today I am so grateful for these gifts…

the sun shining
Fay who prayed with me
Jill who’s helping me prepare for our Valentine’s Day party
Rebekah who has taken over The Refine Conference blog
my parents who lovingly look out for my best interests
the experiences that are refining me

Yes, it was was ignored, BUT not forgotten — What are YOU grateful for today?

Water Cycle

{Photo 319/365}  He jumped in the car after school, it was the cutest thing in the world.  He said, “Mom, when it rains it’s NOT because Jesus is crying…when it rains it’s NOT because He is sad at the world.  I know why it rains!!”  A smile covered his whole face, I could tell he was excited about what he learned today in school.  When we got home he couldn’t wait to show me his science text book that explains the Water Cycle.  He said, “See mom? See?  The picture?  There’s water and lakes and puddles — then the water evaporates — then the water falls from the clouds that’s precipitation, that’s the rain!!  It’s not tears — I figured it out…the rain is not God’s teardrops.”  I captured this on video…it’s priceless — one of my favorite gifts of being a momma is watching these guys learn and grow.  Wow…what a GREAT gift!