How to Have a Bad Day(click to tweet)

1. From the moment you wake, focus on yourself.

2. Repeat this mantra: “No one else could possibly appreciate what I’m going through.”

3. Complain often.

4. Dwell on every slight given you.

5. Relive old hurts again and again and again.

6. Refuse to forgive.

7. Guard against recognizing the unique beauty of each soul.

8. See only the faults and weaknesses of the people you love.

9. Keep “I told you so” ready on your lips.

10. Criticize often.

11. Set God’s Word far away from your eyes.

12. Cast aside God’s promises.

13. Hold your worries close to your heart.

14. Remain troubled for the length of a sleepless night.

15. And through it all, remember not to pray.

Worry Corrie Ten Boom(Click to Tweet)

This is a re-post & reminder to myself that attitude affects everything!
Hope you enjoyed it :)

May we continue to encourage each other on this awesome faith journey! Blessings, friends!

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His Treasure

Renee Ann Smith —  February 18, 2015 — 4 Comments

God's treasure

“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels.” ~Malachi 3:17~

“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

‘On the day when I act,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.’” Malachi 3:16-17

I love hearing that Jesus treasures me, don’t you? When He looks at us, He sees His jewels. Think of that!

May we continue to encourage each other on this awesome faith journey! Blessings, friends!

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Recently, a dear former student’s two-year-old baby boy was in the hospital for almost a month. The little guy couldn’t hold down food, and the doctors couldn’t pinpoint his problem. His suffering (so bad he sometimes needed morphine) broke the hearts of all of who love his sweet family.

His mom kept us updated by posting news & pics on Facebook. Even now that the boy is home, partially healed & happy, I find myself going back to one picture that spoke to me as profoundly as any sermon.

The image shows her tiny son—with his hospital gown and feeding tube and teddy bear—bowing his head over his chubby hands to say good-night prayers with grampy. What a champ!

Several years ago, a sweet girl in my Christian school’s fourth grade class was struck by cancer. We asked God why and pleaded with Him to heal her and cried after every bad report.

When it became clear she would not be healed on earth, her grieving parents tried to prepare her. To explain death, they used a metaphor of walking through a door to another room, where they wouldn’t be able to be with her for a while.

She shrugged and said, “I know. But Jesus is on the other side of the door.

Why would I be afraid of that?” Then she went back to her coloring book.

That Christian warrior in her fragile little girl’s body was more ready to face eternity than any of us could’ve possibly imagined.

These families’ testimonies remind me of a great story from Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee.

“There is a story of sweetness and beauty . . . It concerns a custom among the shepherd folk of the Alps. In the summertime when the grass in the lower valleys withers and dries up, the shepherds seek to lead their sheep up a winding, thorny, and stony pathway to the high grazing lands.

The sheep, reluctant to take the difficult pathway infested with dangers and hardships, turn back and will not follow. The shepherds make repeated attempts.

But the timid sheep will not follow.

Finally a shepherd reaches into the flock and takes a lamb and places it under his arm, then reaches again and takes another lamb, placing it under the other arm.

Then he starts up the precipitous pathway.

Soon the mother sheep start to follow . . .

And afterward the entire flock.

At last they ascend the torturous trail to green pastures.”

McGee used his story to explain the death of innocents. But I see it as a great illustration of how God uses children in His kingdom.

Their beautiful, childlike faith calls out to our stubborn, world-weary hearts.

And before we know it, we’ve followed those sweet little lambs right into the arms of the Savior—where we should’ve been headed all along.

Lamb of God Twila Paris

“I was so lost I should have died,
But You have brought me to Your side
To be led by Your staff and rod
And to be call a lamb of God.

Oh Lamb of God, Sweet Lamb of God.
I love the Holy Lamb of God.
Oh wash me in His precious Blood,
My Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.”

***Lamb of God by Twila Paris

Here’s a link to Twila Paris singing this song. If you have a moment, soak in the beauty.

May we continue to encourage each other on this awesome faith journey! Blessings, friends!

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A Whisper in the Dark

Renee Ann Smith —  February 11, 2015 — 18 Comments

Suffering Oswald Chambers

“When you are in the dark, listen & God will give you a very precious message.” ~Oswald Chambers~

(Click to Tweet)

“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight.
What is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”

~Matthew 10:27~

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

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the conductor.” ~Corrie Ten Boom~

“There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. You must tell them. They will believe you, Corrie, because we were here.” ~Betsie Ten Boom~

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” ~Helen Keller~

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
To be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
To the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
 You’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
 At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
Night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

Psalm 139:7-12

May we continue to encourage each other on this awesome faith journey! Blessings, friends!

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The Hand of a Child

Renee Ann Smith —  February 9, 2015 — 7 Comments

“A child, more than all other gifts that earth can offer to declining man, brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts.” ~William Wordsworth~

So begins Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe, a classic novel I read with my 10th graders every year. It’s a beautiful story of a broken man’s redemption.

In the first pages of the book, Silas is betrayed by his best friend, rejected by his fiancée, and ostracized from his community. Believing God caused these hurts, Silas relocates to a remote village, where he believes God will never find him. There, he simply exists for fifteen years, becoming a lifeless, shadow of a man.

Then one New Year’s Eve, a golden-haired toddler stumbles into his hut and changes him forever.

You’d think the answer to Silas’s pain would involve closure or therapy or, at the very least, a makeover. (Though I think those things are good.) Maybe putting a beautiful woman on his arm or restoring his fortune would go a long way to making him feel valued. And, of course, a great career couldn’t hurt.

But, no, what heals the crusty old bachelor’s heart is a child. An innocent little girl that brings out all his best qualities as he nurtures, teaches, and cherishes her.

Even though Silas Marner is a fiction story, I can’t help but believe that it’s quite true-to-life.

For I’ve seen God fill needs that way, with answers that might look—to the untrained eye—like problems or burdens or mistakes. And I’ve seen God chose the unlikeliest heroes to step in and save a life.

God’s ways are not our ways, and His prescription for abundant life is filled with paradoxes.

In Matthew 18:2-5, “[Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’”

Christian Classics

Kids turn our focus towards the future.

Kids model the beauty of innocence.

Kids show us how simple faith can be.

May we live each day like children, who have entrusted our hands to our Heavenly Father’s sure grasp.

May we follow where He leads—without looking back.

“In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction.

A hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward.

And the hand may be a little child’s.”

~from Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe by George Elliot~

May we continue to encourage each other on this awesome faith journey! Blessings, friends!

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No Words

Renee Ann Smith —  February 4, 2015 — 14 Comments

prayer john bunyan

(Click to Tweet)

When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart. ~John Bunyan~

Troubled soul, are you without words today?

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.

He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.

For He knows us far better than we know ourselves.” ~Romans 8:26-27, The Message~

Amen.

May we continue to encourage each other on this awesome faith journey! Blessings, friends!

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My Faith Handle

Renee Ann Smith —  February 2, 2015 — 15 Comments

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~Hebrews 11:1, New King James~

Evidence is proof. Something which shows that something else exists. A visible sign of something.

Proof. Documentation. Corroboration. Not words I usually associate with faith.

How is faith evidence?

Maybe when it transforms an ordinary person’s life into living proof that Someone extraordinary exists . . .

Faith is when my sweet, young student—a girl who lost all hope when her mama died and feels like maybe it’s her fault because she didn’t believe hard enough—reaches out to her Heavenly Father one more time.

Faith is when a colleague—a dear woman who has labored for thirty-five years, bringing her mentoring team from high school to high school, watching her hair turn gray and body grow old and wondering why ministry has to be so hard—refuses to take the easy road of retirement but keeps on going for God into old age.

Faith is when another young student—whose biological parents gave themselves over to drugs and suicide and left someone else to pick up the pieces of their children’s lives—allows God to break the family cycle and begin a new heritage with him.

Faith is when my dear best friend—wasting away from her cancer, her swallowing and breathing compromised by tumors—drew a Bible on a piece of paper and used her last breaths to assure her loved ones, “No matter what happens to me, this is still true!”

The Message puts it this way, ““By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see . . . The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.

It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”

When we’re stumbling around in the fog of life’s troubles and we blindly reach out for something to hold onto and we feel Someone steady us, anchor us, enfold our hands in His—that’s the work of faith.

Faith Is Hebrews 11 Faith Chapter

Faith is a handle that helps us hold tight to the things we cannot see.

(Click to Tweet)

May we continue to encourage each other on this awesome faith journey! Blessings, friends!

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When God Bends

Renee Ann Smith —  January 28, 2015 — 12 Comments

Prayer Bible verses

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Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath. ~Psalm 116:2~

Like a tall, strong earthly father who lowers himself to his child’s level in order to give full attention to the smallest cry or wish;
from the heights, God bends down to enter my life and hear my woes and longings.

Let’s share this message far & wide today. God hears! God cares! Pass it on!

Thanks for joining me on this awesome journey! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created this graphic with an image from RGB Stock Photos and the effects and overlays at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

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