52 Weeks 52 Verses: Guard your heart

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Proverbs 4:23

So many times we throw our hearts into relationships, our jobs, our music, our families and friends. We tend to throw our hearts into the things we are passionate about, the things we believe can get us ahead in life. We throw our lives into the latest craze, into the things that we want, the things we treasure in our lives. The things we store in our heart helps to determine the choices we make. We must remember to guard our heart against the things of this world and offer it freely to the Lord and no one else. Our hearts are fragile, the things we throw our heart into will determine the course of our life. We need to fully give our heart to God, He knows where are life is headed, He knows what is best for us! Guard your heart against the temptations of this world and give it all to God.

 

-Elle

One Year through the Bible

I’ve always tried to read through the Bible from beginning to end, it just always became overwhelming (Especially once you hit Leviticus and Numbers!)   A friend of mine has mentioned having the same problem so we decided that we are going to help one another to be accountable.

Below is a link to the Reading Plan we are using, it is broken down my days/genres rather than trying to read from beginning to end and we want to invite you to join us!

Into Thy Word Bible Reading Plan

If you would like to join us in this challenge please leave a comment below so we can be praying for you, if you want a weekly e-mail of the Verse breakdown send an e-mail to OrganicShoes@gmail.com and every Saturday we will send a list for the next week!

Hope you can join us! God Bless!

 

Today we are starting in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 1-2

 

-Elle

 

 

Have you ever read through the whole Bible? How did it change your relationship with God? What was the most challenging part? Did you have a reading plan or just work from beginning to end?

You are who you are for a reason!

You are who You are for a reason.

You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious and perfect unique design,

Called God’s Special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You’re JUST what He wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones He chose,

And no matter how you may feel,

They were custom designed with God’s plan in mind,

And they bear the Master’s seal.

No, the trauma you faced was not easy.

And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that into his likeness you’d grow.

You are who you are for a reason,

You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.

You are who you are, BELOVED,

Because there is a GOD!

– Russell Kelfer

 

I needed to hear this today, maybe you did too!

-Elle

Constantly Craving By: Marilyn Meberg

We’ve all experienced, sometimes we are more aware of it, and other times not as much, but we have all wanted more. No matter what it is, more food, more money, a better job, a better relationship, the latest technology, the newest model car, we always want more and are never content with what we have currently. Marilyn Meberg addresses the want in her book Constantly Craving: How to make sense of always wanting more.

Meberg takes the time in each chapter addresses a topic of something we have all craved happiness, romance, contentment, time, purpose, and meaning, each day there is something we feel we are missing in our lives. This book is an amazing reminder that we will always be craving more until we find a relationship with Our Savior and go to Him to find what we are looking for. Meberg tells us how even though we may not realize it we are craving more of God, we are craving Heaven, we crave Eden, we want God more just sometimes we miss the mark and believe there is something else that will bring us contentment.

I really enjoyed this book, this book is not like all the other books on this subject, Meberg uses her own life as examples to times she has wanted more and has only found peace in God. This book is challenging and causes you to refocus your energy and realize what you are truly craving, not things of this world but only what God can provide.

I received this book complimentary from the publisher Thomas Nelson through the BookSneeze Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

-Elle

Being Content in Singleness

A close friend and I were discussing being single and content today and I really loved his perspective

“…Until I learned that God wants me to be content and satisfied no matter what. I.E Even in singleness. Now when I’m tempted to feel unhappy/discontent, I start praying. I thank the Lord for the beautiful (handsome) and amazing wife (husband) He has for me, and then I tell Him that no matter what, with His help, I’m going to be content. I tell Him that I’m happy NOW, and that I’m not going to have ANYTHING be an idol in my life. Not even something I don’t have yet”

 

-Elle

 

Interesting Article

For the Gals: 8 Principles for Dating  – This website also has a lot of great, interesting articles.

Fearless, the story of Adam Brown

52 Weeks 52 Verses: I Run to You

“I run to you, God; I run for dear life. Don’t let me down! Take me seriously this time! Get down on my level and listen, and please—no procrastination!”

-Psalm 31:1, The Message

I love this verse. I often feel like I am running after God, sometimes I am not sure what path to take which way to turn, but as long as He is my goal than everything is going to be alright. He is my focus, the one I look to for comfort, support, love, answers. At every turn, He is there, no matter how quickly I think I’ve made a decision He is still there watching over me, guiding my steps, picking me up when I stumble and ultimately fall flat on my face.

The fact of the matter is, although I see myself always running towards Him, I don’t have too. God is not someone who is trying to evade me, He is not trying to get away from me, in all actuality most of the time He is running after me, when I make choices without asking Him, when I take turns that I know are not the best and that He would not want me to take, He doesn’t go and hide, or wait until I find my path again, He chases after me, holds on to me and never lets me go, no matter how hard I may try to push Him away.

The best times though aren’t the days He is running after me, or the times I feel I am running after Him, but the days we are running with each other. When just like a little kid I am jumping into each of His footsteps staying with Him and following Him. In those moments when my life can shine His love through me, when people can tell there is something different about me just by the way I act and respond. Those are the best days. The ones where I am following Him to the path that He has set before me, when I can show people what the love of our Father truly means.

God will never run away from you. No matter what. No matter what you think you have done that would not deserve His love, there is nothing that can chase Him away. Accept His love, embrace it, and start down that path alongside Him to the life He has prepared you for that will lead you into eternity. Remember, God will never let you down.

-Elle

Craving Connection

“All human beings crave the emotional intimacy that comes with friendship. We are not created to live in isolation from one another but to experience connection. That inborn need to connect drives each of us to seek our persons who seem inherently wired to understand us, support us, and even delight in us. That sense of kinship causes us to feel recognized and validated, no longer isolated.”

-Marilyn Meberg

Right now I am working my way through Marilyn Meberg’s Constantly Craving, it has been such a great book that looks at why we are always wanting more, why we are always craving something bigger than what we already have. In her book there is a whole chapter devoted to needing more friendship and it put to words something I have always felt. I crave friendship. I crave connections.

I’ve been one to joke more often than not that ‘I need more friends’ or that ‘we can be real friends now’ after hanging out with someone outside of work or church or an organized function which was the only reason I would see these people.

Two years ago I moved to a brand new state where I only knew maybe 2 or 3 people before the move, I started completely fresh, telling myself that this move would be a great new start, I could redefine who I am, I could make tons of new friends, I could find a church to get planted in, I could do what I wanted to do (Don’t worry, I prayed long and hard about this move and even questioned God on if this is where He really wanted me).

Many times I put myself in a box, the biggest box I lock myself into is the introvert box. I know I am an introvert and sometimes I allow that to define who I am and unfortunately I get stuck in that rut. Growing up I had (and still have) the 3 best friends in the world (I may be slightly biased…only slightly though), now being in a different state, and on my own, I realize how much more I crave to be around people, how much I crave friendships, not just any friendships but deep friendships that I can be myself with the good, the bad and the crazy.

On those days when I feel down and alone and isolated I realize that for me that is one of the biggest footholds the devil has in my life, he finds ways to bog me down, tell me I can’t make friends, that I will always be alone, that the few friends I do have won’t always be there.

We were never called to be alone, we are social creatures, we were made to be with other people, to share in a community, to experience life together.

I’ve learned I can’t let those thoughts into my head, they get a hold of me very quickly and when I let them in the enemy works his way in to convince me that I don’t want to be around anyone, I don’t want to be a part of my community, I don’t want to go to church and be with people, I don’t want to connect or talk to anyone but the truth is that’s the opposite of what I need!

I need that community! I need people in my life! People that will uplift, hold me accountable, call me out, laugh with me, accept my goofiness and help me to grow! At the same time I want to do that for others! My relationship with Jesus is not nearly as strong as in those moments when I can share who He is with others! When I can worship Him as a community of believers and I can study with others. It adds richness to my life, it strengthens my faith. It’s time to kick the devil out! To not let him into my mind and tell me I am alone. Even when I feel like I am alone, I am NEVER alone, Jesus is always by my side and His relationship is the one I care most about, I want Him to be my best friend, to know everything about me, to challenge me and push me, to strengthen me. Unlike anyone else He will only ever do what is best for you, nothing He does has a hidden meaning, or is for someone elses gain.

-Elle

Downfall By: Terri Blackstock

The Covington’s have already been through a lot and have faced many trials through the Vicious Cycle and Intervention cycle, Downfall picks up with the family in Atlanta, Georgia where the family is attempting to have a fresh start. Emily is doing well in school, Barbara has a new job, Lance struggles in school with the adjustment. As Emily tries to continue on with her life after getting past her drug issues she gets pulled into another murder investigation.

After a bomb is placed on Emily’s car and two woman turn up dead, both with possible connections to Emily, her world is once again turned upside down. Worried that no one will believe her will she turn back to the drugs she once craved when not knowing which way to turn?

Downfall was a pretty good book, not one of Blackstock’s best, it took a while to actually get into the book, but towards the end I was able to get into the story more.

 

I was provided this book complimentary from Zondervan via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

-Elle

52 Weeks 52 Verses: My Heart is Confident!

“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!”
-Psalm 57:7
It has been a crazy few weeks which explains my being AWOL lately. I started a brand new job after almost two years of searching and was incredibly excited, that is until I started. After a week I was not sure if I would make it in a law office, it was nothing like what I expected, after the first week I chalked it up to having to learn so much and being overly sensitive. After my second…and third week having spent each day trying not to cry or make any rash decisions I was not sure what to do.
It’s my fourth week now and things are slowly getting better…in a way, it is hard to explain, the office I work in is a very negative atmosphere with lots of yelling, a friend told me that maybe this is where God wanted me to be for now, to be a light at the office. Trust me when I tell you, that is not what I wanted to hear, I wanted to hear it was ok to start looking for a new job and to quit as soon as it came along. However, afterwards I realized that he was right and my thoughts were purely selfish focusing on what I wanted and not on what God had planned for me. The more I realize that I am supposed to be in this office the better things start to be. I am confident that right now I am in the right place and although at times I find I need to pray myself to get to the end of the day, my prayer life is getting stronger, and I am relying fully on God to get me through and count this job as a blessing. On the plus I am memorizing a lot more scripture to help me get through the days.
Sometimes we don’t want to see that we are placed in certain situations for a reason, and even though I struggle with this job and wish that this is not where God wants me at this moment I will still sing His praises because His plans are way better than anything I could have imagined.
-Elle