He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.
Do you like to do puzzles? I am not patient enough to do the 500 piece puzzles, but I enjoy one in the 30-60 piece range. Just for the record, I do those with some of our grandchildren, not by myself! It’s fun to find the corners and straight edges, filling in the border of the picture.
Sometimes, when I am reading God's Word, I feel like the Lord gives me puzzle pieces. I will read a verse or passage and meditate on it. Then He seems to give more understanding through other verses as the days go by. Eventually He brings the puzzle together for me.
A few weeks ago, the Lord began to lay out a new puzzle for me. My Sunday School class, studied Psalm 23. I continued to think about verse 23:2b-3a, “He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul.” In other translations the waters are described as, “quiet or peaceful”, and our souls being, “refreshed or renewed.”
What a beautiful picture that can awaken strong emotions. We know that we are led to this place of refreshment by drawing near to God in His Word and through prayer.
Soon after my study in Psalm 23, I read Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
The Lord prompted my heart to camp on the last part of the verse.
“Ok Lord, you want my words to be filled with grace to others.” Then I was reminded of some wonderful times of fellowship I have spent with a dear mentor in my life. Whenever my friend and I part ways, I am usually challenged and excited to experience what the Lord may have in store for me. There have also been times, though, when she helps me move from fear and self-pity to see God’s hand in the situations of my life.
This dear friend speaks God’s grace into my life. I leave being refreshed, or in process of being restored. The Lord revealed to me that He first and foremost brings renewal through His Word. But He also allows us, as His children to be His voice of grace in the lives of others. It amazes me that by giving the gift of time and words, led by the Holy Spirit, our Lord will use us to lead others to quiet waters.
Here lies the question for our hearts today, “Do we allow our words to be part of God’s will to help others be refreshed in Him?” We learn from Proverbs 18:21a, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” May we all strive for tongues that are filled with life!
How can we work toward having words that are filled with life and grace? We seek the Lord each day, in His Word, knowing The Word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12a). The Lord will guide us and empower us through the Holy Spirit, and we must rely on His wisdom.
James 3:17-18 reveals how our words, filled with God’s wisdom, will help us speak life into one another, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Lord, make us instruments of Your grace and life!
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My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.