It is all about the heart:

“the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)

David was called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam 13:14)

And we pray with the Psalmist,  “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11)

A few of the Psalms in my Discovering Hope in the Psalms Bible study captures the kind of heart God is looking for:

God is looking for thirsty hearts.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2)

This word picture is of a deer searching, longing, desperate for living water to quench her/ his dying thirst. To me it is much like the kind of person Jesus talks about in the Sermon on the mount that God wants to bless: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6)

God is looking for contrite hearts.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

Broken in this verse means to “shatter into tiny pieces”. And contrite is to “crush to bits” I like to picture this as the tiny pieces of stained glass that in the hands of an artist becomes a magnificent work of art, more beautiful and valuable after it has been broken. In my life, many of my mentors have served as the artisans that God has used to put my life back together.

God is looking for grateful hearts

Enter his gates with thanksgiving   and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations
(Psalm 100:4- 5)

People with grateful hearts, seek out spending time with others who want to thank and praise the goodness of God.  All the many mentors of my life have taught me to be grateful, thankful, appreciative of every moment of time someone has shared with me, sacrificed for me, so I could learn to know God better.

Pam Farrel
Heart for God

Maybe today, thank God for drawing your heart to Him, and thank those who helped you along the way to have a heart that is fully God’s.

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 45 books, most recently Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experieince, and she is one very grateful and thankful woman– who prays she will always keep a whole heart for God. www.Love-Wise.com

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I am a Bo Peep. Yes, I grew up on a Suffolk sheep farm–

Pam Farrel and 4 – H lamb

so Psalm 23 is very personal to this Shepherdess’ heart.

Let’s just glimpse at the first few verses:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 he refreshes my soul.

One of the common heart cries of the human race is for greener pastures- a life better, brighter, quieter or calmer. God knows this is dream is on our hearts.

Lie Down in Green Pastures

When I read, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” that is exactly the experience of my upbringing.  I would often walk barefoot through the deep, lush, green grass of the pasture, as the sheep serenely grazed. I would take a blanket and a Bible, and lie down and spend quiet hours communing with God.

I might walk over to the creek, and sit on the simple wooden plank that created a bridge, and sit and rest quietly dipping my toes into the cool stream. This was my place of solace and restoration, far away from the chaos my alcoholic, raging, earthly father might be creating in our small farm house.  To this day, resting in an open meadow, or the sound of gently tinkling chimes, remind me of the restorative rest the Good Shepherd can create even in the midst of chaos.

Take a blanket and your bible and find a green pasture, a meadow, a park with a shady tree and

Green pasture quiet time with God

take a short oasis with the Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— (John 10:14)

Pam Farrel is the author of 45 books, and international speaker who will always be a country girl at heart.

Her most recent book is Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experieince

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God is bigger than any storm

As storm clouds gather, they often cover the sun and a harsh greyness vails the light. This was the place B ill and I found outselves for three long years, as Bill commuted back and forth almost weekly through gridlock Los Angeles traffic to care for his againg parents, all while we worked to keep up with our acre of land, and our Love-Wise ministry of writing, speaking, and travel. While our marriage was weathering the storm, we both we tired of the treadmill that seemed to have now end. A darkness of depression was trying to cover over our hope. One night, at the end of yet another long an rigorous commute, about midnight, I heard Bill’s footsteps, heavy on the stairwell, then say his weary face in the dim light of our bedroom. I whispered,

“Keeping your parents alive is killing you. Something has to change”

He nodded in exhausted agreement.

For Sale Flyer

He worked to remodel our home and place it on the market, while I was writing my portion of

Discovering Hope in the Psalms. We handled these unbelievably long work days and very short nights of sleep by emailing Psalms to each other; sharing Psalms as we ate meals together; as we traveled in the car and as we sorted, packed then moved boxes.  We looked for Psalms to sing praises and we listened to Psalms as musical choruses or being read aloud as we drifted to sleep. The Psalms calmed our hearts, renewed our spirits, and revived our HOPE despite the difficult circumstances

Psalm 43:3-4 gave comfort one day in the middle of the mess of life. Our home wasn’t sold (yet still needed to be kept picture perfect for showings), our parents still needed care, our commute was still long, our ministry needed an infusion of energy and finances that we lacked, and nothing on the horizon in our circumstances was indicating anything would be changing any time soon. We needed to have a verse to hang our heart on to move forward emotionally in this very long wait. So, we prayed Psalm 43:3-4:

“Send out Your light and Your truth. Let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your Holy hill and to Your dwelling. Then I will go to the alter of God, to my God my exceeding joy.  …”

Bible Art by Pam Farrel
Psalm 42 and 43

Instead of looking at our current difficult circumstances, we looked at the end game. God would bring us to a place where we saw the exceeding joy only God could give. And He promised to dispatch His light (the kind of light that pierces the darkness like dawn) and His truth (some translations say, “faithful care” or the trustworthy truth that is backed by God’s caring character of action) And we were most encouraged that the kind of “leading” that the Psalmist is describing is a fluid one that moves forward and back to create the best opportunity!

We hung our hearts on verses like these. for a long five-year journey, but in the end, God brought a church planter to buy our

Bill and Pam on their boat

home at a price that was a win-win for all; God moved us on to our family’s vineyard as an oasis of recovery, then provided the perfect live aboard boat, at a miracle price where I daily now, read a a #sunsetpsalm from the bow of our vessel moored in a sunny southern California marina.  . .  and yes, there is exceeding joy on our tiny home on the water!

 

Pam Farrel doing Bible art from Discovering Hope In the Psalms

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 45 books including  the best seller Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti  and her newest  Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience (co-authored with Jean E Jones and artist, Karla Dornacher) Pam, along with her husband, Bill are Co-Directors of Love-Wise, helping people with their most vital relationships through their books, online blogs and videos, and thru live events. When they are not traveling for speaking, you may catch them walking the beach or paddling to lunch near their live aboard boat in southern California.

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God Talk

By Susan G Mathis

Talking about God is not just for Sundays; it’s for every hour of the day. Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

I don’t think this Scripture is only for parents. It’s for all of us—with or without kids at home! So how do you, as a couple, make “God talk” a lifestyle and have conversations about God in a natural, comfortable, and life-changing way?

God needs to be a part of your every day life—your thoughts and actions. Attend church but don’t just go on with your day. Talk about the sermon, the worship songs, and godly conversations you have with others.

Read God’s word together daily, even if it’s just a few verses, and talk about them. For us, breakfast is a good time for us to do that. We also listen to Chuck Swindoll’s radio teaching while we get ready for the day. This has a way of leading us to some pretty interesting God talk.

Be sure to apply God’s truth to your relationship and to your life. Sometimes that takes two minds trying to figure out how to do that. As you talk about it, God can often inspire you together in ways you wouldn’t think of separately. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” There are times when Dale and I snuggle up together and just chat about a God topic or something we’re thinking about.

It’s also important ask godly questions about things that happen during the day. There are times I’ll get an email or phone call that requires wisdom from God to answer well, so I sometimes talk about it with my husband. And when we watch the news, we frequently talk about the different news stories and how God’s word applies to them. That sure makes for interesting conversation.

Last, if you have kids at home, doing all this will model for them that “God talk” is a normal way of life. Include them in your God talk—in the car, at home, everywhere. And if you have grandchildren, be sure to shine your light brightly before them. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to get so busy we forget to share Your word and what You are doing. Help us to talk about You everyday. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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In today’s world with frightening headlines blasting the worst possible scenarios into our homes, and the stress of the daily responsibility of providing for ourselves and our families weighing heavy on our hearts, coupled with the unpredictable, unwelcome, unwanted, unbelievably hard or harsh circumstances like floods, fires, relationship strife, death and disease it is very easy to get depressed, discouraged and down-trodden.

But God has a solution for our despairing hearts!

Discovering Hope in the Psalms: Creative Bible Study Experience

While writing my newest book (co-authored with Bible teacher Jean E Jones and artist Karla Dornacher), Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Biblical Experience, Jean, in passing said, “Psalm 71:14 I think could be the theme verse for this study.” Intrigued, I immediately looked up Psalms 71:14:

But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. (Psalm 71:14)

The word hope is a verb, so it is an action we choose, to wait expectantly for God to move. I like to say, “trust while you tarry” , or to wait patiently (and sometimes painfully long) for God

Psalm 71:14 Bible Art by Pam Farrel

to show up and show off! After doing a word study, to summarize the meaning, this hoping is to be exercised: surpassingly, repeatedly, increasingly, intensely, exceedingly, continuously, regularly, consistently, and perpetually! When I drew the verse in my Bible art journal, I pictured a geyser of ever-flowing hope!

My contribution to Discovering Hope in the Psalms is a series of inspirational devotionals that help women apply the psalms to their everyday lives and keep HOPE ALIVE. To help me keep HOPE ALIVE, in my bullet journal, I have pages I write my “God-Sized” hopes and dreams and I wrap them with scripture so I can pray the Word over my life.

Bullet Journal prayer page
from Pam Farrel

The key to securing a hope like an eternal spring is also in this same verse, “praise you more and more”. The “more and more” means to accumulate or gather praise—and in doing this gathering we fuel hope. One way to picture accumulating or gathering praise would be how you might walk through a garden to gather flowers to create a beautiful bouquet or through a mall gathering gifts for family and friends that will bring joy!

So to capture praises to fan the flame on hope, in my bullet journal, I have pages to accumulate praises. One looks like the sun with praises written on each ray. Another is a vase with praises on each flower petal. Accumulated praise could also be drawn as gift bags collected while shopping, presents under a Christmas tree, waves on the ocean, or shells on the beach– use your imagination to personalize your record of praise! 

(Download your Prayer and Praise sheet to keep Hope Alive!)

 

Pam Farrel hopes to help people around the world keep hope alive. She is and her husband Bill are international speakers, authors of 45 books including her newest Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience. Stay connected with Pam at www.Love-Wise.com Learn more about Discovering Hope In the Psalms, and find numerous free downloads on creative Bible study at www.DiscoveringHopeinthePsalms.com

Pam Farrel with Kay Arthur

What an incredibly unique and creative Bible study Pam, Jean, and Karla have created! It’s multilayered, dimensional, theologically rich, touching the senses—enlightening the mind, capturing the heart. Well done, beloved Sisters! Thank you for this gift.

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