As I mentioned in a previous post here, a my family has started a started a new blog for our ministry, PhillFamily Ministries. There will be at least three posts a week with short stories, audio encouragement, free printables, and digital materials. We have a lot of incredible content coming your way to help you keep your family plugged in and growing together in Christ. Check out our new blog here and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:8
Are you so caught up in the busyness of life and the world that you are forgetting to let your love shine? If we aren’t careful, we can easily get swept up in the day to day, overlooking and missing the most important opportunities to give and show the love of Christ. These moments are everywhere. And if there’s one thing we could all use, it’s little (or a lot) more love. Sometimes, spreading that love can be as simple as a smile. Let’s be the light that brightens and changes lives. And let’s make sure that everything we do and say, is done in love.
Dear Lord, let us keep our eyes and hearts open to these moments and remember why we were put on this earth. I pray that we can be a vessel of your love, shining bright for those who need it most.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:16
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. -Psalm 62:1
In God alone, is where true peace and security is found. Step out of the storm and rest in Him. Let Him be that shelter. For the rest He gives, is like no other. This peace seeps deep down into our bones deeply and completely. It’s not just surface-y. No, it’s the real deal. This peace and security cannot be found in distractions or at the bottom of a bottle. It cannot be found by running or in a bag of potato chips. This peace is found in His presence, and when we dwell in Him, we will experience this profound rest-a rest only He can provide. It can’t be shaken or moved. And no one can take it away. This gift is ours for the keeping.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. -Psalm 91:1
Sometimes it helps to switch up our prayer and praise routine in order to keep us growing and disciplined in our prayer time with God. Click on the links below to download and print my free daily “Praise, Pray, and Ponder Page”. I’ve created two different styles-one for men and one for women. Enjoy!
*These are for personal use only. Permission is not granted to sell my “Praise, Pray, and Ponder Page” printables.
Presence: It’s a hot topic in my world. In a previous post a few months ago, I mentioned that this theme was popping up over and over in my quiet time with God. About the same time that this word presence first made its presence, I wrestled with God regarding my addiction to caffeine. It was a tough addiction to shake. Having chronic illnesses that cause an abnormal amount of fatigue, it was easy to justify my coffee consumption. My Dr. was even on board with two cups a day. So, when I felt like God was telling me to lay off of the coffee entirely, I fought doing this. Then, my husband helped me to realize the reason. It clicked. God wanted me to slow down and stop busying myself-to be present in Him because that is what is most important. Caffeine, being a stimulant, made me feel more energized and in turn, more productive. It helped me to do more. But doing isn’t always necessarily the best or right thing. Deepening our relationship with our Savior and relying on Him for our strength, is though. The world will tell us otherwise. And unless our focal point is Him, it can be difficult not to get sucked into the doing and keeping up with the Jones’.
Busyness can be a distraction. It can divert us from what our focus really needs to be on. I was playing Martha, when I needed to be Mary. My priorities were backwards. I was trying so hard to do, that I was not really listening to how He wanted me to do. I was doing in my own strength, when what He wanted for me was to stay in His presence, depending on Him-not caffeine. With today’s technology, it’s too easy to become inundated with the portrayals on TV and social media showing us what life “should” be like. If we aren’t intentional, how quickly our eyes can wander from Him. Wandering eyes, can mean more worldly tasks added to our plates. And if we can’t slow down on our own, God will find ways to slow us down and remind us what really matters-our relationship with and dependence on Him.
He wants us to know Him on a heart level. In order to do this, we must get to know Him better. So, how do we deepen our relationship with Him? We must spend time in his presence. When we set the busyness and distractions aside, instead of our relationship with Him, and we walk with Him in each moment, seeking Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls, all else will fall into place. So, let’s slow down, look up and remember to send prayers and praises to Him throughout each day.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. -Jeremiah 17:7-8
Although it was a fantasy of mine, I never imagined we would actually land in Alaska. My husband and I were the ones who watched all the Alaska shows on TV dreaming of the day. Then, this past September, it happened.
During July of last year, we were camp hosting in Central Washington. We had been in temporary living situations since 2018, ever since being forced to leave our home and nearly all of our belongings due to toxic mold causing us to become extremely ill. We had camp hosted the previous year at the same beautiful campground and were given the opportunity again to live in a cabin off-grid while caring for three campgrounds over the summer. Our end date for camp hosting was September 9th and we hadn’t yet found a more permanent place to call home. With the few belongings we had accumulated over the past couple of years in tow and no leads, my anxious self was beginning to mull over the unknown. It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford a place or that there weren’t homes available, it was that due to becoming hypersensitive to mold and environmental toxins because of our previous exposure, our heightened sensitivities have made it difficult to tolerate modern housing and drywall. We found that we do best in log cabins. And these are kind of far and few between-except in places like Alaska. Alaska felt out of reach though, because I still didn’t have my passport. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the issuance of passports had slowed down tremendously.
We began scouring Craigslist and Zillow for possible cabin rentals all over, but were coming up dry. Then, God spoke in the most unlikely place. One sweltering afternoon as I fought off the mosquitos while picking up litter in the campsites and making sure fires weren’t left smoldering, God left a message, on a fire pit of all places, telling me to trust Him. I knew in that moment that all was well and He had us, that there was nothing to worry about. I didn’t have to jump ahead into the unknown, with my searching mind going into overdrive trying to figure out what we would possibly do, like I had so many times before. With a smile on my face, I could just rest, knowing He had it all taken care of, and He did. He had a cozy log cabin picked out for us planted right along a plentiful river filled with fresh salmon, here in Alaska.
See, my husband had been inquiring about cabin rentals in several states: Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, New Mexico, Colorado, and Alaska. He wasn’t receiving any responses after reaching out. Since my husband works remote and I homeschool, we were free to go just about anywhere God opened a door. And so we prayed that God would open a door. But, we continued to wait. As the days inched closer to September, heading to our dream state was looking slim. Then, my birthday came in August and to my surprise, my new passport had shown up! It was quite the birthday gift! Shortly thereafter, my husband received a call with a rental offer. The one door that opened was this current cabin we are in, here in The Last Frontier. With a rental agreement in hand, we were allowed to cross the Canadian border into Alaska during a pandemic. It was a long trek, but we made it safe and sound, by trusting that this was where God wanted us. It was in this period of waiting, that we grew in our faith.
While it’s not always easy to have faith during seasons of waiting, we can be sure that choosing to trust Him is always the right decision. So, when we are unsure about what the future holds for us, let’s remember that even in these uncertain places, we can still trust our Heavenly Father. It’s in these times of waiting, that we hold fast to Him, not letting our faith waver. Instead we lean in closer, remembering to always be in His presence, aware and expectantly waiting for Him to speak because He might just surprise us in the most unexpected of ways!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. -Psalm 143:
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” -Exodus 33:14
The word “presence” has “made its presence” (pun intended) in my Bible reading numerous times lately. In fact, I read the Bible on the YouVersion app and I often take screen shots, circling words and verses that stand out to me. Going back through my phone, the words “present” or “presence” appeared at least twenty-five times in my readings in the past few weeks. God’s voice is loud and revealing here. He has been telling me that I need to be in His presence at all times, and now I understand part of the why.
Recently, I’ve noticed my energy dipping during times of stress and anxiety. And in thinking about “presence”, I realized how little time I actually spend in the present. My head is always spinning. Because I’m my own worst critic, I am all too guilty of looking behind me and holding onto the weight of my mistakes. As someone who wrestles with anxiety, I’m also guilty of looking forward-worrying about tomorrow. I find it very difficult to remain in the present, but that is where God is calling me to be.
Presence is the place where joy is found. Being present is being fully alive in each moment. It’s also where the peace is. And, it’s where rest is. It’s where we are right now, not ruminating over our past failures or anticipating what might happen next week. These both are exhausting and empty today of it’s energy and joy. It is the regrets of yesterday and the stresses of tomorrow that take up so much space in my mind, physically and emotionally wearing me out.
God is calling me to be present in Him, present with my loved ones, and present in life in general. When we walk in the presence of God, we are allowing His spirit to guide and shape each moment as we trust Him. We can’t walk in His presence if our thoughts are in the past or on next week. When we are present, we let go of the past and the future, and walk with Him, instead of looking behind or trying to get a sneak peek at tomorrow. Being present in Him, is about trusting and walking with Him through each moment as it comes.
It is when we live in the past or jump to the future that we actually miss out on the “now”-on what’s happening right in front of us. Therefore, let’s give Him yesterday and throw Him our worries about tomorrow so we can live right here, right now in Him. Let’s rest in His presence by fixing our eyes on the One who gives us peace and joy that the world cannot give. And let’s be present for those standing before us in this moment.
Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence. -Psalm 140:13
Running on fumes with nothing left to give? I have definitely been there. But, we have a Source available to draw strength from daily. Let’s see what the Bible says about getting our strength from God:
1. Seek His presence continually
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! -1 Chronicles 16:11
Are you all out of give? Then look to the Lord and His strength. His Word says to seek His presence-not just sometimes, but always. How can we keep going if we aren’t filled up? We must be in the Bible and in His presence, filling up on His Truth, in order to have the strength to continue running this marathon called life.
2. He helps me
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. -Psalm 28:7
God is our helper and our protector. When we run out of strength, we don’t stop trusting. Instead, we remain faithful-with a joyful heart, while continuing to praise Him, and being confident that He will help us.
3. God arms with strength
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. -2 Samuel 22:33
He is the One who supplies strength. And He is our Replenisher when we run dry. To avoid getting parched in the first place, however, let’s make sure we are intentionally connected to Him at all times, so that we are getting the proper nourishment and walking in His strength. Because like a branch cut from it’s source that withers and dies, it is in this place of disconnect, that we too, get weak and thirst for our Source.
4. God will be with you wherever you go
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
For we need not fear, because our strength is right here beside us, at all times. God commanded Joshua to be strong. This wasn’t a suggestion. And it’s not a suggestion for us, either. Just as God walked with Joshua leading the tribes across the Jordan river, so will He walk with us. By putting our confidence in Him, knowing that He is with us at all times, we can be strong and bravely traverse the rivers put on our path.
5. Be strong in the Lord
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. -Ephesians 6:10
Paul doesn’t say to be strong in the flesh. We weren’t made to walk in our own strength. We were made to walk in God’s. And we do this by putting on His armor everyday before entering into battle. In this way, we can stand firm in Him and in His Truth.
6. I can do all things through Him
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13
Even the hard things, we can do…through Him. They may not be easy, but through Him, they are possible because nothing is impossible with our God. Our God can do the unimaginable, and so can we-with His help.
7. God is the strength of my heart
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:26
Our bodies are wasting away with each day that passes and our minds and hearts may fail us, but God never will. We can rest securely, knowing we have everything we need in Him. He is enough and always has been enough. We can put our faith and trust entirely in Him, holding onto His eternal promises. And holding onto the promise of eternity can give us that extra strength to keep going and finish the race strong.
8. A wise man is full of strength
A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, -Proverbs 24:5
The Bible says that Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and Proverbs 24:5 states that when we are wise, we are full of strength. Wisdom and knowledge give us power. And this knowledge and wisdom come from the Lord, as well as other other wise Christians. Part of walking in wisdom is knowing when and where to seek counsel and guidance. It is realizing we need the strength of God, and sometimes other mature Christians to help us.
9. Hoping in Him=renewed strength
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired. -Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)
According to Oxford Languages, the meaning of renew is: to give fresh life or strength to; (to) revive. God will strengthen our weary bones. He will revive us and breathe fresh life into us, but we must do our part by seeking Him with our whole hearts and placing our hope and trust in Him. It is then that we will run and not grow weary.
10. When I am weak, then I am strong
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
There is no shame in weakness and hardship, because it is in those places of weakness that He is glorified. In fact, we should rejoice in our weaknesses, because it is in those times of deep dependence upon Him that His power shines for all to see. When our flesh fails, when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, His power is made perfect. And as He is the One who upholds us, we realize that He is plenty.
*Fresh Juice on Squeezin’ Lyme will consist of post updates I will write on occasion regarding what I’m learning while battling persistent Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses.
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, -Psalm 103:2-4
Having health is an incredible blessing. As someone who lives with persistent Lyme disease along with other chronic illnesses that go hand in hand, I have my good days and I have my really, really terrible ones. (In a previous blog post here I shared my backstory and my journey of motherhood battling persistent Lyme disease) My quality of life has improved in the past few months, due to some new treatments. It has been such a long time coming-twenty-seven years long, and recently I’ve had more good days than bad, which I am so very thankful for. I still have to pace myself throughout each day, but I’m able to do much more than I was. When I am feeling well, I need to remember though, not to take those precious present moments for granted, because they aren’t guaranteed.
The other day, was a stark reminder that I am still living with these insidious illnesses. Not only are Lyme disease and these other conditions complex, Lyme is especially stealthy and symptoms will hit when I least expect them. Feeling like I had the full-blown flu and bedridden the majority of the day, I could hardly stand to be in my own body. It’s days such as these, that I can’t forget how truly blessed I am when the fatigue has subsided and hasn’t sucked everything from me and my joints aren’t aching constantly, when I can smile and laugh because I am able to live somewhat, rather than just survive. These aren’t illnesses for the faint of heart. Fighting persistent Lyme disease, along with other chronic conditions requires the endurance of a warrior, but more importantly, it requires God’s strength. Lyme disease is tricky to treat and often needs a multi-faceted approach.
Trying to describe life with Lyme to others who haven’t gone through it themselves, is an extremely difficult task. Just touching the surface of this illness, it would best be described as “pure suffering and misery”. To say the very least, it can be unbearable. It’s a kind of bodily torture where thoughts arise as to whether continuing to exist with these symptoms is even possible. The fatigue and weakness is incomprehensible to those who haven’t experienced it. The I-don’t-know-if-I-can-even-crawl-out-of-bed-the-few-feet-to-the-bathroom-and-back-to-bed, kind of fatigue and weakness, could be mentioned, but is an understatement. There have been days in the past, where help was needed and it seemed like death was sitting on my doorstep waiting to devour me. And on more than one occasion, I have actually thought I was dying. Those were the times I couldn’t fathom how anyone could continue to endure that amount of agony day after day and still be alive. While there are many other symptoms, fatigue and weakness are two of the biggest I’ve fought on a daily basis for as long as I can remember, until more recently.
I thank God for the new treatment regimen that has made my life and those around me a little easier. And while I don’t ever want to experience the debilitating symptoms I’ve gone through for years with these chronic illnesses, the really awful days do help me to remember that the present moment is just that-a present from My Father. Health is easy to overlook and not think twice about, until it’s gone. It’s those days though, when my symptoms let up and I feel healthier that I can see just how rich I am. To have health, is to live, not just survive. And that is a huge gift.
So let’s remind ourselves to live wisely and cherish each moment we do have, thanking Him for the present, because we will never have those same moments again.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. -Ephesians 5:15-16
Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.
I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk, so I recently started something new on my blog called “Fuel Your Walk Fridays”. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, or questions to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let these questions percolate in your mind:
In His Word, 1 Timothy 6:12 says to Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Living in a world fraught with unrest and strife, how will you continue to fight the good fight of faith? In your life, what does fighting the good fight look like to you? And in the midst of that fight, how will you be a light for others?
Copyright © 2021 Aimee Phillippi