Because I’m Happy

Renee Ann Smith —  April 22, 2015 — 7 Comments

Happiness Joyce Meyer Bonhoeffer

“It is impossible to be both selfish & happy.” ~Joyce Meyer~

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“Happiness is not only a hope, but in some strange way, also a memory.” ~G. K. Chesterton

      “When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because each adds fuel to the others’ flame.”
~Augustine~

“The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.”
~C. S. Lewis~

“Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.
Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
Put yourself aside & help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
~Philippians 2:3&4, The Message~

You’ve added to my happiness by stopping by today! Blessings, friends!

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On Happiness

Renee Ann Smith —  April 20, 2015 — 11 Comments

Happiness C S Lewis Bonhoeffer

“It was when I was Happiest that I Longed most.
The Sweetest thing
in all my life has been the Longing to find
the Place where all the Beauty came from.

~C S Lewis~

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When I consider the state of the world, the peril for Christians, the suffering of friends and family who are ill, I find myself doubting God’s call to anything that touches on the dreams of my heart. How can I lay before God any requests concerning personal happiness when chaos & despair characterize so much of the world around me?

Yet personal dreams persist. Should I silence them once and for all? I look for wisdom among the Christian men and women who dealt with similar issues in years gone by.

One such is Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), a brave young pastor who stood against the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany. When his friends criticized him for falling in love and becoming engaged while a prisoner, he wrote the following comments in his letters concerning reaching out for happiness in the midst of trouble . . . 

“When I consider the state of the world, the total obscurity enshrouding our personal destiny, and my present imprisonment, our union—if it wasn’t frivolity, which it certainly wasn’t—can only be a token of God’s grace and goodness, which summon us to believe in Him. We would have to be blind not to see that.

When Jeremiah said, in his people’s hour of direst need, that ‘houses and fields [and vineyards] shall again be bought in this land,’ it was a token of confidence in the future. That requires faith, and may God grant it to us daily. I don’t mean the faith that flees the world, but the faith that endures in the world and loves and remains true to that world in spite of all the hardships it brings us . . . 

It was then always very clear to me that a person could take this step as a Christian truly only from within a very strong faith and on the basis of grace.

For here in the midst of the final destruction of all things, one desires to build;

In the midst of a life lived from hour to hour and from day to day, one desires a future;

In the midst of being driven out from the earth, one desires a bit of space;

In the midst of widespread misery, one desires some happiness . . . 

And the overwhelming thing is that God says yes to this strange longing, that here God consents to our will, whereas it is usually meant to be just the opposite.

We need not despise happiness simply because there is so much unhappiness.

We should not arrogantly push away the kind hand of God because God’s hand is otherwise so hard. I think it is more important to remind one another of this in these days than of many other things.”

So all good gifts come from God & should be treasured. We dare not turn them away.

This practical wisdom from one of God’s humble servants changed my perspective. I hope it encourages you today! Blessings, friends!

**I gathered my quotes from a wonderful biography: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. You can check this book out & grab a copy for yourself at this link!

bonhoeffer erix metaxas

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Putting on Humility

Renee Ann Smith —  April 15, 2015 — 16 Comments

Humility C. S. Lewis

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“Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”
~C. S. Lewis~

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.” ~Colossians 3:12,13a~

This practical wisdom from one of God’s humble servants changed my thought-life. I hope it encourages you today, friends! Blessings!

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C S Lewis Miracles(Click to Tweet)

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
~C. S. Lewis~

God is not shy in telling us how He feels.

He makes it known that He loves & will never leave us and that every good gift comes from Him. He will supply all our need, and we are engraved on the palms of His hands.

In case stating these truths in words is not enough, He writes His message on the skies, with each rainbow and sunset, and through the arc of history, each time men sacrifice for their brothers and good defeats evil.

He “hems us in behind & before” so that His grand universe is not so scary. But such “knowledge is too wonderful for me” & I cannot understand it, much less trust it. I refuse His invitation to view His majesty & shut myself away in small, safe spaces.

I cannot quite believe that my God lavishes His love on me. Surely, He must mean it for someone else . . . that other woman who is braver or prettier or more talented . . . not just plain, ordinary me.

And so He finds another language, the language of miracles, to woo my heart to Him. He brings His grand message right down to my everyday life—where I can’t miss it.

He takes on the form of a man and uses His Son’s hands and words and heart to show us that He shares our concerns & joys & sorrows . . .

And that He is happy to harness the might and power that keep the stars in place and hold back the oceans to feed us & free us & give us life.

May we continue to strengthen each other for what lies ahead on this awesome faith journey. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created this graphic with an image from Unsplash and the effects and overlays at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
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In Over Your Head

Renee Ann Smith —  April 8, 2015 — 11 Comments

Isaiah 43 In Over Your Head

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~Isaiah 43:2-4~

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    It won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    All of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    Trade the creation just for you.

I love knowing that God’s my personal lifeguard, don’t you? Maybe we can even let the promises in these verses make us be brave.

May we continue to strengthen each other for what lies ahead on this awesome faith journey. Blessings, friends!

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Easter reminds me that God’s way of repairing the broken or righting a wrong or showing compassion may not look the way I expect it to.

Yet I know my Father’s heart. I trust that even when He does not hold back tragedy and suffering, they pass first through His nail-pierced hands before they come to us.

In this way, He tempers them.

He takes the sting from whatever He allows into our lives and allows us only a drop of the bitter cup He drank for us. And like an earthly father who forces a child to swallow awful-tasting stuff for his or her own good, even administering this medicine grieves His heart.

As John Piper writes . . .

“What was the meaning of the darkness at noon and the rending of the temple curtain?

Was it not God’s clothing his world in the color of grief and rending the garments next to his heart?

‘It was the will of the Lord to bruise him’—but not without pity, not without grief. ‘As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him. He knows our frame, that we are dust.’

The nails and spear and rod and crown of thorns did not feel like pity.

Neither do intravenous needles, respirators, tubes down your throat, and hand restraints.

All the more reason to remember that God reigns and that as a father his child, so he pities us.”

“You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” ~Psalm 56:8~

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God Pities Us John Piper God's Pity(Click to Tweet)

May we continue to strengthen each other for what lies ahead on this awesome faith journey. Blessings, friends!

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Corrie Ten Boom Life

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The measure of a life is not its duration but its donation. ~Corrie Ten Boom~

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. ~generally attributed to Winston Churchill

It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving. ~Mother Teresa~

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. ~Amy Carmichael~

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. ~Charles Dickens~

May we continue to strengthen each other for what lies ahead on this awesome faith journey. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created this graphic with an image from Unsplash and the effects—especially posterize—and overlays at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
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Future Corrie Ten Boom

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Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. ~Corrie Ten Boom~

Corrie Ten Boom(Click to Tweet)

In darkness God’s truth shines most clear. ~Corrie Ten Boom~

Are you looking ahead with dread or wrestling with some powerful unknowns today? I’m grateful God uses those faithful ones who have gone before us to light our path along the way.

Though I’ve never met Corrie Ten Boom, she has taught me invaluable life lessons. And each year as we study The Hiding Place, she teaches my students, also!

Here are some older posts I wrote about her—just in case you need some extra encouragement today.

Corrie Ten Boom: Praise for Weak Things

Corrie Ten Boom: The Strongest Force in the World

Corrie Ten Boom: Just in Time

Corrie Ten Boom: This Too

Corrie Ten Boom: Right Feelings Follow Right Actions

May we continue to strengthen each other for what lies ahead on this awesome faith journey. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created these graphics with images from Unsplash and the effects—especially posterize—and overlays at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
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