Heart Choices: 2012-01-15 -->

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My Hope is in You

"My Hope is in You" is a song that has touched my heart this week.

Aaron Shust sings it and when I heard of his story it became even more special.  He and his wife have a young son with a serious medical condition.  On KLOVE radio I listened to some of his story.  Recently they had a second child and just learned that he also has special needs.  Aaron and his wife are clinging to Psalm 62:5.

Psalm 62:5

Contemporary English Version (CEV)
5"Only God gives inward peace,
   and I depend on him."

Psalm 62:5

New International Version (NIV)

 5 "Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
   my hope comes from him."

Whatever challenge you are facing,  I encourage you to place your hope in God.

I'm linking up with Amy for Then Sings My Soul Saturday.

Blessings and love,


I Have Joy

Little Debbie
I have joy!

Joy is different from happiness.  It's easy to be happy when life is good and things are going my way.

But joy isn't dependent upon life circumstances.

Bonnie of Faith Barista asked us to share about the word "JOY" for this week's Faith Barista Jam.

As a little girl, I remember singing a song that went like this:

I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.
I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Down in my  heart to stay.

That joy is there to stay because I have Jesus in my heart.  His Spirit lives within me.  Now that's something to be joyful about, don't you think?

During this season of my life, there is much uncertainty.  I don't even know where I'll be living in the next six months.

It would be so easy to fret about this.  I have to admit there are moments when I'm tempted to become anxious but then I remember that God is trustworthy.  As I look back over the past few years, I've found Him to be so faithful and He is always with me.

I can wake up each morning knowing that His presence is with me.  I am never alone.

As a kid, I loved to read.  I would check out Nancy Drew mysteries from the Lindenhurst public library and go home each Saturday to begin my reading.  I had the tendency to take a peak at the last page to see how it ended.  I know that's not what you're supposed to do but that's what I often did.

Well, I already know the end of my story.  

The NOW may not be fully revealed to me and so I must trust God along the way.  But my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life and I am so grateful.  I don't say this as a boast.  I am humbled by this.  So, no matter what happens along the way I can rest easy knowing that God loves me and has a plan and purpose for my life.

That's a reason to have JOY!

Galatians 5: 22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit.  And the second one listed is ...JOY!

That's something I cannot manufacture myself.  No amount of affirmations I recite can generate this one.  No positive thinking can instill this one.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit!

That is a gift of God as I dwell in His presence allowing Him full access to me.  Who wouldn't want to have that kind of joy?

Blessings and love,


A Renewed Mind

Our quote this week for "In Other Words Tuesdays" was chosen by Living for God.

"Without the renewed mind, we will distort the Scriptures to avoid their radical commands for self-denial, and love, and purity, and supreme satisfaction in Christ alone." ~ John Piper

This is a quote I totally agree with.

  • Many people have studied the Scriptures.
  • Many people have much head knowledge of the Scriptures but not heart knowledge.  
  • Many people can quote certain verses.  
  • Many people can take a verse of Scripture out of context to suit their own agenda.  
  • Even Satan knows Scripture and distorted it to try to tempt Jesus.  (good luck with that)
Romans 12:2 says: "Do not conform any  longer 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."

As I surrender more and more of my life to Christ, He changes me from the inside out.  I don't need to try to be good.  I don't need to try to do more good.  

As I study the Scriptures in context, my mind is being transformed by the Holy Spirit.  His desires become my desires.  It's like hand in glove. He works in me and through me to impact others.  My outward behavior changes slowly as I grow in Him.  

Do I have it all together?

No way!  After all, I still have my human flesh to contend with.  

But praise God.  

As I learn to give it ALL to Him, I am learning to live this Christian life in the power of His Spirit.  That's called maturity.

What are your thoughts on this quote by John Piper?  I'd love to hear what you have to say.  Or you can link up with Living for God and share your post with us.

Blessings and love,


Distracted While Praying

Laced With Grace
Do you get distracted when you pray?

I have to admit that at times ...I do.

I begin by praising God for who He is.  I thank Him for what He has done.  I acknowledge my trust in Him.  But as I begin to get into my time of intercession, suddenly my mind wanders to my to-do list or something flashes through my mind that I forgot to do.  Before I realize it, more time has gone by and I have to get ready for work.  To continue reading, please link over to Laced with Grace.

Blessings and love,


Everyday Blessings Through a Child's Eyes

Counting my every day blessings makes me smile!  As I think back over my week, it's fun to recall simple blessings.

It can much too easy to get in the habit of remembering what went wrong.  Instead, why not make the choice to focus on the blessings of the week?  And then always remember to ...give thanks.

There's something beautiful about looking at the world through the lens of a child.  This week, Heidi taught the three year old children about the concept of melting.  We began with frozen popsicles and gave one to each child.  We took them outside in the sunshine.  The popsicles began to melt and the children were able to paint a picture with their popsicle.  They loved it and were so proud when we hung their art work outside our classroom door for all to see.  Every time they passed by their masterpiece, they would point to it and smile.

Here they are sitting in the sun as their popsicles melted and they quietly painted.

Take a look at those socks with the X's and O's.  Aren't they the cutest?  I get a kick out of the different shoes and socks.  Since the children wear uniforms, these items allow for some creativity and uniqueness.  Notice the flower in Anika's hair.

The children know how to write their first name but recently we've been working with them on writing both first and last name.  Max is working very diligently as he learns the letters in his last name.

Our letter of the week was "M".  Maya is searching for a hidden "m" in our poem.  Again, check out the flower in her hair and the cute socks and shoes; love them.

I had to include this family photo of Jake getting a haircut.  Jake's mom is married to my cousin Rod.  Jake looks so much like the Sumstad side of the family.  He's too funny with his unique expressions!

Sometimes it's good to look at life from the eyes of a child.  They do have a unique perspective.  And I tend to smile more and more ...

#316 The simplicity of a popsicle changing shape
#317 Watching the children delight in painting with their popsicle
#318 Holding Anika's hair bows as I help take her sweater off over her head and then she always asks me to help put her bows back in her hair
#319 Observing the children learn the letter "M" and recognize it in words and sounds
#320 Seeing a child learn to write their complete name
#321 The smile of a child when they get a sticker for good manners
#322 The cutest expression on the face of my cousin's son during a haircut
#323 Noticing the family resemblance in Jake

I love looking at the world through the eyes of children.  What a blessing it is!

Are you counting your everyday blessings?  I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience.

Blessings and love,

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