Friends Like Diamonds

It seems to me as if there’s something in the water around here-everyone seems to be getting into relationships, engaged or married! This past Friday I was blessed to witness and celebrate the marriage of a long time friend, Morgan, to a fantastic guy-her Mr. Right, Josiah. I’ve known Morgan since she was five. Now she has not one but two rings on her finger. One of my best friends, Michaela, is Morgan’s older sister, and the maid of honor at the wedding. Both of our ring fingers remain bare-but did that deter us from celebrating, dancing the night away and smiling until our faces hurt? Not one bit. I must’ve hugged Michaela a gazillion times Friday night and we just laughed. I am so grateful that I can laugh with all my friends, no matter what stage of life we find ourselves in. Each of my friends is utterly unique-like a unique facet on each and every diamond. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of them recently on the hands of my friends!

Romans 12:6 says, Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…

Through each of my friends, I have been the recipient of much grace. Each of our unique gifts only enhance our friendships, our relationships with family and everyone we come in contact with. What’s funny is that my dearest friends and I-we don’t even go to the same church. But we all serve, love and worship the one true God and further His kingdom in a myriad of ways. Each of our callings is different-but one thing remains the same, one reason I am eternally grateful to God for MOHL. As God’s daughters, our Christian walks are not meant to be walked alone.

Also like diamonds with many facets are the gifts we have that may have been borne through a difficult time or season in life. Diamonds are mined. Then pounded and broken. Then, slowly but surely, diamonds are refined until they gleam and sparkle in the light. Proverbs 17:17 says, A friend loves at all times, and  a brother is born for adversity. Those friends who have stuck by you in the heartbreaking times, the best times and everything in between? Our gracious God gave them to you so you could be drawn closer to Himself, so gifts and skills could be developed by His perfect plan.

I wrote in the back of my book to two such diamond-like friends, I am forever thankful for all you are, all you give, and how you love. Every person we ever come in contact with impacts us and is used by the Lord for His divine purposes, yes, even those no longer in our lives. But there are those you can count on for a lifetime, who have been there for you all along, thanks to the abundant grace of God.

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Friends Are Flowers

FriendsFlowersMOHL

 

I have no two friends alike. There are a scant few I’ve known for the same long amount of time. Others I’ve known for a comparatively less amount of time but am inexplicably close to. Each of my relationships-friends & family-has had their share of ups & downs. As all the beautiful flowers & even the bright dandelions in the yard now that spring’s finally sprung-each of our relationships, present, past & future-serve a purpose.

This purpose is God’s alone. One we may never be able to see, even looking back, until we reach Paradise. When I was younger, I wanted so much to have a whole big crowd of friends to do things with every week & be invited to their birthday parties & sleepovers. As I grew older & saw that many of the girls who went to school together every day were a little inclusive, my shyness morphed partly into being overly sensitive & feeling slighted at the littlest thing. All the while in these formative years I made friends in other avenues, wrote letters back & forth, made up stories & plays & make-believe. And I am blessed to say two of these friends I slightly took for granted at a young impressionable age I am still close friends with. And next year I’ll stand beside one as a maid of honor.

My friends & I  have had our misunderstandings & issues we’ve needed to air. For my long distance sisters, it’s increasingly bittersweet to not be able to visit or see each other in person for special events & moments. But because of each & everyone of my friends, I have been challenged. Encouraged. Embraced even across the miles. I’ve been taught. I’ve been accepted & loved for just who I am. My friends are the hands, feet & heart of Jesus to me.

Think back on the times of utter happiness & the heartbreaking times when your friends were there. When they spoke God’s truth to you even if you didn’t want to hear it but God spoke through them. If you have broken friendships in your past that left scars on your heart, thank God for how He drew you closer to Himself & how He brought your current heart-sisters into your life.

Thank our gracious Lord for those friends who continue to love you unconditionally continuously.
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Rejoice!

Rejoice!

Philippians 3:1 tells us that we are to rejoice in the Lord!

“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.”

If you are like me, there are days when it is difficult to rejoice. Perhaps your entire day has been difficult from beginning to end. Each and every thing you have tried to do has backfired. You were late on a project due, you burned your lunch, the car wouldn’t start, your favorite mug was dropped and shattered into teeny tiny little fragments of glass. You start to realize you feel a bit like that mug- shattered, broken, scarred, and burned by life.

The Lord is so much bigger than our circumstances. He tells us that we are to rejoice in Him, no matter what.

Oftentimes, the Lord will bring us to the end of our strength, so that we can more fully rely on Him, and on the blessed peace and calming strength found only in submission to His will. He wants us to open our eyes past our circumstances here on earth, and to focus our thoughts on our relationship with Christ Jesus and the glorious reunion yet to come when we are taken up to heaven to be with Him! <3

Psalm 119:18 - “Open my eyes, that I might see, glorious truths from your law!”

We are to rejoice when it is easy. When everything is going absolutely perfectly, and nothing could be better.

We are to rejoice when it is hard. When we are at the end of our rope. When everything in our life is going crazy and spinning out of control.

Philippians 4:4 - “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”

We are to rejoice in the Lord always, no matter what. God is our Abba Father, and we are to find our strength, our peace, our identity, our everything in Him. When we focus our eyes on the things of the Lord, we will find joy. The perfect joy that is found only in Christ. We will find ourselves rejoicing. Rejoicing that the Lord is our Saviour. Rejoicing that the Lord is our Redeemer-King. Rejoicing that He chose to save us, rather than condemn us to a life apart from Him. Rejoicing that there is a great hope to be found through Him.

My dear sisters, will you join me in rejoicing in the Lord? <3

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Sweet Hymns of Joy {Sunday Specials}

by Meghan
The holidays are out in full force & I have to say-one of my favorite things about Christmas is the giving. The blessing of giving gifts to friends & family & volunteering is immeasurable, but oftentimes year in & year out I find myself getting overwhelmed. The money, the time, the extra activities on top of the usual weekly busyness for me & my family all fry my brain. When this happens, I’m reminded I’m human-& how much God’s given me to thank Him for. Most importantly through every day & season but most especially the holidays-He is to be our joy & strength.
There are some Christmas carols & hymns we can sing by memory-but what if we really took the time to listen & lift our voices in thanks to God who loved us enough to give His own Son? Would our my outlook be changed on the holiday hustle & bustle to really shine a light to the world who watches? An old song from a classic holiday old movie, White Christmas, encourages us to count our blessings instead of sheep. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Thanksgiving precedes Christmas. 
While God calls us to living a life of daily gratitude & praise, this holiday season is a special time to re-focus in again on the Giver of all gifts. In accordance with MOHL’s Live It challenge this year-let us do so & let our lifesong sing to our Lord. He gave us the Light of the World so we may not walk in darkness-but in the light of life. Take a few moments, count some blessings & sing the Christmas hymns below. Be blessed this Christmas!

{1 “Hark the Herald Angels”} Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

{2 “O Holy Night”} Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord!
Their name forever praise we.

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How To Not Let This Thanksgiving Pass You By

by Rachelle

When I wake up in the morning, I am my own favorite person, and I want what I want when I want it. Often in life, this translates to my own tradition of ambition and over-achiever-it-is. But other times, it’s just plain selfishness.

I want to do better on that front.


Because the plain truth of it is when I look back on this last year, it’s not the amazing uni experiences I’ve had, the GPA I kept by grace, or the editing business I’m proud to have launched that I count as the biggest blessings in my life.

It’s the people I’ve met, the prayers I’ve prayed (whether answered at this point in time or no), and the words I’ve received. It’s how God has worked in my life to teach me about His love and His compassion, to humble me, to guide me to trust Him as I stare down graduation next year.

But sometimes the busy blocks the better thing: being thankful for what He’s done and remembering that He’s still rocking this huge plan and purpose He has for me.

What I’ve done is a pile of ashes compared to the fiery trail He is forging-and that’s something I want to be thankful for every single day. Will you join me this Thanksgiving?

Five Ways to Truly Give Thanks

1) Make it not about you. It’s not about the fuzzy feelings or even a list of what you’re thankful for, it’s about worshiping the One responsible for every good gift. Do take the time to say thank you this Thanksgiving. To help, here’s the link to my favorite thank-you song: Alive by Natalie Grant (I dare you to not cry).
2) Make it really not about you. Hug someone; smile at a stranger; bake something; do a chore for someone you love.
3) Find a child, watch their eyes sparkle, and pour into them, even if it’s only complimenting that little miss on her pretty hairbow or calling attention to that little mister’s strength. 
4) Do make a list. Count to 1000 Gifts.
5) Journal or paint or design or sew or cook…use your gift or talent to bless another and remember to give glory to the One who made you-and loves you more than you could ever know.
Do you plan on using these five ways to not let this Thanksgiving pass you by? We’d love to hear about it! Tell us in a comment below, tag us on Facebook, or use the #thankfulness and tag us on Twitter!
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Thankfully, there is always something to be Thankful for!

It’s true! There is always something to be thankful for. In fact, when we stop and tally everything up, there’s usually more to be thankful for than there is to gripe about. :D Besides, feeling thankful for your blessings sure beats feeling depressed over the downside of things. :)

So what am I thankful for this year? Well… many things! But I think I’ll just share the top ten in this post. So here they are:

~My Family
I have such a sweet, amazing, wonderful family! I feel like we’ve grown much closer this year than ever before. We are spending more time together, and we are all growing and maturing in the Lord. Mom, Dad, Mark, Steven, and I have all made precious memories together this year.

~God’s Provision
In May, my dad started his own landscape business. He has always worked for a boss before, and he was not sure how he would like running his own company. Since May, we have continuously been provided for and taken care of, and Daddy and my two brothers have been working together on jobs, and Daddy has more time to spend with us, his family! He loves it. And I am so thankful! :)

~Our new Church Home
On Mother’s Day, we started going to a new church in town instead of driving an hour away each Sunday morning. The people welcomed us in and made us feel so loved. God has shown us that this is the place we need to be, and I am thrilled to say that we will be joining as members tomorrow morning (Sunday). :D

~My sweet Friends
I have a few dear real-life friends that bless me very much, but I am also so grateful for the friendships I have formed online with so many sweet young ladies! My fellow authors here on MOHL, especially, have been such amazing supports and comforts to me. Rachel, your constant and faithful friendship has been a huge blessing to me, more than you will ever know. I love you so much! :) Sarah, you do such a great job organizing us all here at Meditations of His Love! I don’t know what we would do without you! :) Jessica, your posts are always great, keep up the awesome work! Melinda, I always feel inspired and uplifted when I read your devotionals. Rachelle, the posts I’ve seen so far from you have been so spiritually refreshing! I look forward to getting to know you even better! :)

~Inexplicable Peace
As I think I’ve said before, sometimes it makes no sense to be at peace. We’ve gone through some tough things this year as a family. But the Holy Spirit is always with us, comforting, refreshing, and bringing us peace that can not be explained. I am so thankful for this sweet blessing of the Lord.

~Health
I am thankful that God has blessed me with health. I have no diseases (besides getting the common cold every few years- :D ) and except for the five or ten extra pounds I wish I could somehow melt away, I’m in very good shape! ;) I thank God for giving me great health.

~The Gifts and Abilities God has given me
My talents and abilities have been such useful tools for me this year! I’ve been able to design websites for my family’s various businesses, photograph a baby dedication and sing in the choir at church, crochet blankets for several friends, and many other things that would not have been possible if the Lord had not granted me the gifts and abilities in specific areas. I am just so thankful for this! :)

~Fall Colors
Fall has been very pretty this year, despite the hot summer we had. I love looking at the gorgeous palette of glowing reds, oranges, and yellows of the trees all around. I’ve enjoyed it very much! :)

~Crochet
I’ve really gotten into crochet this year, making four afghans and several other little projects. I find it a very soothing and relaxing hobby, especially when I put some praise music on while I crochet! :) I am thankful that I learned this art! :D

And the greatest thing of all… God himself.
Oh, what would I do without my precious Lord and Savior? He is so good to me! God, I love you! Thank you so much, for all these things and everything else that went unmentioned.

I hope this post was encouraging for you today! :) What are you thankful for? Feel free to share in the comment section.
Hugs,
Julia

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With a Grateful Heart, I Count my Blessings!

My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for the Lord’s mercy and grace which I, undeserving, have received in abundance this year. :-) Truly, God is so good to me!  I am going to “count my blessings” which I am grateful for today.

~His love and mercy (never ceasing, rich and free!)
~The glorious truth of His Holy Word
~I am His Princess, His daughter!
~The Victory of Jesus that He gives me every day (it is just mine to take and use!)
~His EVERLASTING promises, full of comfort and encouragement
~The farm where I live (and the cows, dogs and chickens… :-)
~My family!!!
~New friends…
~…and old friends too
~Trips to Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Kentucky, and Missouri
~Lessons from history :-)
~Tea and teacups
~The book of Psalms
~Hebrews 10-13! :)
~The ability to praise God through writing
~Good books
~Every trial and test God sends me to refine my faith

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
        you have loosed my sackcloth
        and clothed me with gladness,
    that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
        O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
(Psalm 30:11-12 ESV)
“I will bless the LORD at all times;
        his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
    My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
        let the humble hear and be glad.
    Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
        and let us exalt his name together!”
(Psalm 34:1-3 ESV)
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
        and his courts with praise!
        Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
(Psalm 100:4 ESV)

“My Maker and my King,
To Thee my all I owe;
Thy sovereign bounty is the spring
Whence all my blessings flow;
Thy sovereign bounty is the spring
Whence all my blessings flow.

The creature of Thy hand,
On Thee alone I live;
My God, Thy benefits demand
More praise than I can give.
My God, Thy benefits demand
More praise than I can give.

Lord, what can I impart
When all is Thine before?
Thy love demands a thankful heart;
The gift, alas! how poor.
Thy love demands a thankful heart;
The gift, alas! how poor.

O! let Thy grace inspire
My soul with strength divine;
Let every word and each desire
And all my days be Thine.
Let every word and each desire
And all my days be Thine.” 

~Words by Anne Steele


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Living Thanksgiving

Dishes are passed around the table. Smiling and laughing, my family talks and eats. Hours of work have gone into this meal. The meal itself may last only about fifteen minutes, but that trivial detail doesn’t seem to matter. Being together, working beforehand to make it all happen, breaking bread together, and working together afterwards in the warm kitchen to store leftovers. Spending all day with my beloved family. It’s idyllic.
When I think of Thanksgiving, I often think of the Norman Rockwell painting. (It especially seems to fit in my mind because when I stand at the end of my grandma and grandpa’s long dining room table, there’s a window at the other end just like in the picture.)

I love Thanksgiving.
The food. The family. The fun.
This Thanksgiving season, I am participating in 40 Days of Praise. Every day I am forced to put aside my problems and preoccupations, and think of something I am thankful for. As I post what I’m grateful for on Face book, it never fails that my mood is lighter afterwards and I continue to think of more things I am thankful for throughout the day.
Thanksgiving is creeping up on me quickly. Soon the day will be gone, the turkey eaten, the leftovers safe in the refrigerator. The 40 Days of Praise will also come to an end.
What, then?
This Thanksgiving, I am resolving to be a little more thankful…all year round.
I want Thanksgiving to be much more than a holiday. Rather I want it to become a way of life. I want to practice ‘an attitude of gratitude’ all year long.
This year I am thankful that I don’t always get my way. For then I know that the way of One much wiser than I has triumphed.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9
I am thankful that though it is hard to leave it some mornings, I have a nice warm bed. So many don’t.
I am thankful that when I don’t get to spend as much time on the porch swing as I desire, I have a God who listens no matter when or where I call to Him.
“Before they call I will answer;
   while they are still speaking I will hear.”
Isaiah 65:24
I am thankful for my job, the opportunity to pursue higher education, and a dream that burns within my heart.
I am thankful that when I feel spent, the Lord is my refuge and my resting place.
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
I am thankful for inconveniences.
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” -G.K. Chesterton
I am thankful for the opportunity to hone this craft.
“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” -E.L. Doctorow
On the special day swiftly approaching and all year round, I want to be living thanksgiving!
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My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness

Written by Miss Rachel


Sometimes this time of year…when we ought to be so thankful and praising the Lord for all He has done and is doing in our lives…I’ve sometimes had trouble being able to really “feel” that in my heart. Our family has had many trials both physically and financially over the years. As much as I know that He only is the One who is able to help me in everything and especially help me through tough times, my heart has not always “been in it”. I’ve had to work a little on my attitude even this year, though it’s not been too difficult recently, just because it seems hard to remember God’s faithfulness and blessings to me. Satan would love nothing more than to have me forget about Whom I love most and Whom I am to be thankful for. He tries every day to steal my joy from me and keep my thoughts on things of this world. The thing to do is, spend your time reflecting on

I thought maybe some of you might be having some of the same struggles this year too. So instead of sharing a list of things for which I am so thankful for here, I thought I’d share some verses of praise, worship, thanksgiving, and glory to our great God and King. :) I pray they will strengthen, encourage, and bless all of your hearts today.

As a note…it’s not about the thanksgiving feast, it’s not about what you have or what you don’t have…it’s about the year and how God has worked things in your life. Whether you’ve had a good year or a difficult one, God is the only one who is worthy for our full thanks and praise. :) Even in the most difficult times in my life, I have still seen Him at work in my life and blessing me. He wants and desires us to thank Him. He is worthy of our praise and thanks. And all the time…not just at thanksgiving. ;)

“O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” ~Psalm 8:1

To God be the glory, *great things He has done*;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that *all* may go in.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the *promise of God*;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He has taught us, *great things He has done*,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Chorus:
*Praise the Lord*, *praise the Lord*, Let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, *Let the people rejoice*! O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, And *give Him the glory*, great things He has done.

“Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and *give thanks* at the remembrance of his holiness.” ~ Psalm 30:4

“I will *bless the LORD at all times*: his praise shall *continually* be in my mouth. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us *exalt his name together*. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” ~Psalm 34:1,3,10

“In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.” ~Psalm 44:8

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: *make his praise glorious*.” ~ Psalm 66:1&2

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with *thanksgiving*.” ~ Psalm 69:30

“I will *remember* the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. …who is so great a God as our God?” ~ Psalm 77:11-13

My Heart is Filled With Thankfulness
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow’r upon my heart.
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev’ry promise is enough
For ev’ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev’ry thought is love.
For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.
My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music

I don’t know about you…but I feel much better now. :) It all melts away when I remember how glorious, wonderful, merciful, gracious, loving, and powerful my God and King is and how much He has done in my heart through the years! :D What a wonderful gift it is to be able to sing, pray, and worship Him each day…may I not forget that. :)

“I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.” ~ Psalm 104:33

I would suggest if you have been struggling with “feeling” thankful lately, that you open your bible up to the Psalms or even something like Romans or Ephesians or Philippians. :) Spend some quiet time in your bible and with the Lord. Pray, listen to some soft music that speaks of all that God does and is. I assure you, you’ll then be able to have the right spirit and heart for worship and praise and thanksgiving. :)

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” ~ Psalm 51:10

Happy and blessed Thanksgiving dear sisters in the Lord!
~Rachel~

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My Thanksgiving; Sarah H.

I am so thankful for the amazing year God has given me. The year before seemed so slow, so full of heart ache while this year has been busy and full of joy. Thank you Father for the reminder that you are with me in the good times and bad and that you love me no less when I am hurting and sitting at home then when I am out doing great things.

Thank you for the amazing opportunities you have given to me this political season. For the volunteer work you gave me the energy and the skills to fulfill, with the favor you granted me with the campaigns, candidates, and convention overseers. Thank you also for the continuing opportunities that you have supplied through my work.

Thank you for the progress you have helped me make in my writing this year. I can hardly believe that one of my writing projects is coming toward completion. Thank you for many people that you have surrounded me with that have been willing to read my book and help me make it better.

Thank you for Jessica and Rachel and their daily encouragement to me. Thank you for Rachelle, who had brought so much enthusiasm to this blog. Thank you for Melinda and Julia for all they have contributed here and in my life. Thank you for the dear readers that read this blog and leave sweet comments that lift us up.

Father God, I want to thank you most of all for showing me this year the power of your love for me and others. I pray that this thanksgiving, you will remind me and all those here that we have so much to thank you for.

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