Grace

Throughout the past month or two, Daniel and I have been memorizing and meditating in Ephesians 1. Such a power-packed, rich mine of truth… it has been an incredible blessing to begin delving into its treasures together!

One of the verses that the Lord has particularly highlighted for me is verse two:

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now if you are like me, these typical “intro” verses into the epistles lend themselves to be read over rapidly, or perhaps just skimmed or skipped in haste to reach the “real message.” After all, so many books of Scripture start with them, and they all sound so similar! To my shame, I think I have often missed the blessing the Lord had for me in such “little” passages. How important to deeply value every Word of our God, coming before Him with open hearts and allowing Him to speak however He chooses.

So, back to this simple little verse…

Grace be to you…”

I was at the kitchen sink, hurriedly washing a few dinner prep dishes, when these words first struck my heart.

It wasn’t in reference to anything monumental or especially painful or difficult (evidenced now in the fact that I cannot even remember what it was), but suddenly the burden was not so heavy anymore.

Grace… God’s abundant enabling, Jehovah’s favor and sustaining strength to do His will. 

And then it really hit me: God’s grace is offered to ME… at every moment. In Christ, the riches of the Father’s grace are mine. Such joy and peace flooded my heart.

Over the past several weeks we have seen God’s grace repeatedly played out in our own lives as well as the lives of many we hold dear. The small things… hectic situations, little failures, perplexing dilemmas, troubling emotions or feelings… and the big things… days on end in the hospital to sustain the life of precious baby, the unforeseen death of another precious baby, the possibility of cancer, the pain of hearing that someone you have looked up to for years has fallen into grievous sin… and on and on… NOTHING is too hard, too bad, too hopeless, too difficult, for His grace.

It seems so simple, something most of us have heard all of our lives. But may the newness and richness of His grace never die within our hearts.

Over and over again I have found myself singing the lyrics to the following hymn… “for out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.” To God be praise for His grace. Truly, where would we be without it?

 

He Giveth More Grace
Annie J. Flint

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

 

To read another encouraging blog post on this topic, click here. <3

 

Merry Christmas!

As we focus on our Savior, Jesus Christ, may the season be filled with silent wonder

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2: 10-11

simple joys

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness… For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61: 10-11

… and treasured memories.

2018 Calendar Pages!

Before the beginning of every year, it is sort of a Neely girls’ tradition to find the “perfect” calendar pages for our planner notebooks (aka our “brains” 😉 ). For us, the “perfect” one must live up to a pretty high standard, entailing things like practical style, easy-to-use format, and monthly/weekly/daily planning (depending on who you are), along with space for goals, mountainous to-do lists, and random jots. And above all, they must be HAPPY! 😉 For our dear Mama especially, who mananges so many different projects, events, schedules, shopping lists, menus, school plans, household chores, etc., finding “perfect” is no small feat. This year, however, she decided to design them herself, much to our delight! With ideas compiled after over 30 years of wifehood, homemaking, and motherhood, they are masterfully put together… detailed, yet simple, and absolutely fitting the description of “HAPPY.” 😀 

One of today’s projects for me includes labeling my set of these calendar pages for the new year, so I thought I would pass along this information and let you know that they are available for FREE dowload here! Simply download, print, and cut to fit your planner notebook, and if you feel like getting extra happy with them, rounding the corners and adding colorful tabs to mark the months (along with writing on your pages with happy pens) just adds to the unique delight! Enjoy! 

November Summary

The month of November was a full and immensely blessed one! Highlights included trips to VA and NC for the FEW Conference and Thanksgiving, special times with both sides of our families, opportunities to serve on campus together, and just the preciousness of life together with your best friend! <3 Our little man, too, continues to grow and brings much delight to our home! He keeps us laughing with his antics, facial expressions, and new discoveries. 🙂 We are humbled by the immense responsibility it is to be parents, and often reminded just how much we need the Lord. Other special blessings from the month included decorating for Christmas, enjoying the soft lighting together at night while sipping hot chocolate, safety in traveling hundreds of miles, having guests in our home, fellowship with likeminded believers, visiting the house Daniel grew up in, time with niblings, and preparing gifts for Christmas! Below are a few pictures!

Everyday Blessings | 11.17.17

A few blessings from our house recently: <3 

  • cooler temperatures! Such lovely reminders of our Creator’s mercy!
  • the glow and aroma of fragrant candles (click here to see one of our favorites!)
  • lots of giggles from a precious, growing little man
  • fresh paint
  • times to sing together
  • home organization/decorating ideas that cost next to nothing
  • fancy handwriting
  • FaceTime or phone calls with dear ones far away
  • bulk food 🙂

 

Post-Conference Encouragement

Oh what a glorious weekend the Lord recently blessed us with at the VA FEW Conference! His grace and mercy were abundantly showered upon it… to Him be glory for His working in our hearts and the many others who attended. It was truly a weekend of refreshment for us.

Often though, when coming down from a “mountain top” experience like this, it is easy to yield to the temptation to doubt God’s plan for our lives. This could look like anything… wishing your family was “perfect” like another family you just met (and what a false illusion that is, by the way 😉 )… feeling depressed because life at home seems humdrum and boring… sensing the Lord calling you upward and onward for a deeper relationship with Himself, but not knowing how to get there and only seeing your sin and shortcomings… wishing for the sense of His abiding presence that you felt before… and on and on. 

For me, following this conference, it wasn’t so much any of the above scenarios, but simply recognizing my own weakness and feeling incapable for the calling of ministry and service God has placed on our lives (in our home, and to those around us). Even though I didn’t fully realize it at first, in the back of my mind the idea of returning to normal life was daunting. How lovingly kind our Father is, though, to direct our focuses back to His face. Sunday morning at church He gave me a song that was exactly what I needed! So many truths, flooding my heart with precious reminders of Who He is and what He has promised to His children. I pray you are blessed as much by it as I was!

Through the Valley
Margaret F. Powers/Frank Garlock

I have been thru the valley of weeping,
Thru the valley of sorrow and pain;
But the God of all comfort was with me,
By His hand to uphold and sustain.

So I’ll follow wherever God leads me,
In the darkness His Word lights my way;
I have proof that the Lord can give comfort,
And His grace can give strength for each day.

As the earth needs the clouds and the sunshine,
So the soul needs both sorrow and joy;
And when God puts His gold in the furnace,
He intends all its dross to destroy.

As we travel thru life’s shadowed valley,
The fresh springs of His love ever rise;
And we learn that our sorrows and losses
Are all blessings God sent in disguise.