Going Deeper With Living by Grace

When Living by Grace launched, our goals were two-fold: 1) To create a safe community where brothers and sisters could come together to build relationships centered in Christ 2) To encourage one another to draw closer to Christ.  We like to think of our corner of cyber-space as a modern-day-meet-at-the-well experience. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, back in biblical times, the local well was a place of community where women gathered to connect and share their lives with one another.

Today, we are so busy and spread out, it can be hard to connect on a deeper level. For many, Facebook has provided a safe and convenient way to develop, foster, and maintain relationships.

For some time now, Patty Wysong, one of our hostesses, has felt the nudge to go deeper than a short devotional or testimonial. She’s passionate about God’s Word and seeing others grow, but even more importantly, she has the grace to create a safe and encouraging environment where others feel comfortable expressing themselves.

I’m excited to announce the launching of Living by Grace’s first ever Bible study! Patty’s kicking us off with the book of James.

Join us at Living by Grace as we take our faith a little bit deeper.

Start at Patty’s blog to read her great intro, Faith in Action, then join the conversation at Living by Grace. And if you’re around, come back to Living by Grace Saturday from 11-12 to chat more about the passage.  (If you’re not on Facebook but want to be part of the discussion, shoot me an email and I’ll make sure to find a way to make that happen.)

 

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Gourmet People

Today’s post comes from a fellow Living by Grace gal, Patty Wysong. I have to admit, patience isn’t my strong point. I like things quick and easy. When my husband and I were first married, I did the whole gourmet meal deal, but then the honeymoon phase wore off and life caught up, sending me searching for the “quick-and-easy” versions. I think I’d have a tendency to do the same in my Spiritual life, but thankfully, God is bigger than my wants and His love pushes past what’s comfortable to those things that are profitable. I imagine you could say the same. In fact, you might be marinating right now, feeling pickled and boxed in. Maybe you long for release and can’t image why God is taking so long or allowing that trial. But He sees you. He hears you, and He’s lovingly, carefully, attentively crafting you into the man or woman He created you to be, not the stale, mushy, microwaved version, but the five-star gourmet.

Gourmet People by Patty Wysong

In today’s instant society there are mixes and powders for everything, but the one that makes me snicker most is baby powder.  I can just see a little girl stirring water into baby powder and expecting a baby.

Life isn’t always instant though.  In fact, none of the great men of God were instant men—they were gourmet.  It was years after being anointed king that David finally took the position God told him he would have.  During those years he was basically made an outlaw by his father-in-law, yet he never became angry nor bitter about the amount of time that passed.  He did what God put before him, and he sought God’s leading constantly.  God used those years to better prepare David for the purpose He called him to.

There have been many times in my life that I felt I was going nowhere—simply treading water, and killing time.  But that’s not how it was.  God was using those times to prepare me, and He’s still preparing me.  Am I following David’s example of not becoming impatient or angry?  Am I seeking God’s next step for me and making myself available for His use?

Gourmet cooking is not a ‘just add water’ affair.  It takes time and energy and even special ingredients…I’d rather be God’s gourmet dish than my own instant generic-box-blahness.

 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  “For 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 (NAS)

Bio: Patty Wysong, a home executive with over 20 years of experience, homeschools three of her five children, but don’t let that fool you. She spends much of her time working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You’ll also find her drinking kool aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church.

Patty learned about blogs and blogging the hard way and now delights in teaching and helping others, sparing them that frustration so they can focus on what God has called them to do. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life. You can find her at her blog: www.pattywysong.com/

Sweeping Away Heart Clutter by Patty Wysong

Today fellow Living by Grace hostess, Patty Wysong, joins us to talk about heart-clutter. Patty is a home executive with over 20 years of experience who homeschools three of her five children, but don’t let that fool you. She spends much of her time working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You’ll also find her drinking kool aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church.

Patty learned about blogs and blogging the hard way and now delights in teaching and helping others, sparing them that frustration so they can focus on what God has called them to do. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life.

My Two Brooms  by Patty Wysong

In my broom closet we have two brooms, a shop broom with a wide head and soft bristles, and a smaller, normal house broom.  The shop broom does a great job on 85% of our tile floor, but for the other 15% we need to use the smaller broom.

A lot of dirt gets tracked into our home and I often have one of the kids grab the big broom and do a quick sweep so we aren’t crunching with every step and tracking it onto the carpet.  But those quick sweeps with the big broom don’t eliminate the need for a thorough sweep, complete with using the smaller broom along the edges and under the kitchen cabinets.  When life gets real busy, I settle for quick sweeping jobs, but just as soon as we can, we get out the smaller broom.

My spiritual life is similar.  A lot of dirt is tracked into my life just simply by being human and living.  Many times I reach for the equivalent of my big broom–I’ll read a shorter Bible passage and pray as I go, but I leave the more detailed Bible study and in depth prayer for another time.

My goal for a quick sweep is to keep the grungies and crunchies away until we can do a more thorough sweep, and the same is true when I do a quick sweep spiritually.  It’s to keep the grungies and crunchies away.  But it doesn’t eliminate my need for that in-depth time of Bible study.  Time spent with my Bible and a pen–studying, not just reading.

The unfolding of Thy words gives light;

it gives understanding to the simple.

~Psalm 119:130

 

When you walk about they will guide you;

when you sleep, they will watch over you;

and when you awake, they will talk to you.

For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching a light;

~Proverbs 6:22-23

Don’t just settle for a quick buzz through the Scriptures.  Make time—yes, make the time by rearranging things in your life if you have to, to study and linger in, and on, God’s Word.  It will sweep the grungies and crunchies out of the corners and from around the edges of your life, leaving you clean, refreshed, and full of light.

***

Visit Patty’s website, www.pattywysong.com to find out more about her and her writing and catch a nugget of truth at Jewels of Encouragement – www.jewelsofencouragement.com, a site she regularly contributes to.  Then, stop by the Barn Door – www.thebarndoor.net to experience life in the mid-west & the Book Loft www.barndoorbookloft.net to get to know some fab-tabulous authors.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

When Facebook first launched, articles saturated the web warning us of the dangers of internet relationships. Would society become more isolated? More selfish? Shallower? Would having a computer to hide behind teach us to create barriers or could the safe and constant access to others actually have a positive effect? Like most tools, the values of social networking depends on the user, but for me, a writer who spends countless hours each day shut inside my office, Facebook has provided a much needed window to the outside world. It’s allowed me to stay in contact with distant friends and has deepened many relationships I hold dear. Facebook has become a wonderful, vibrant, interactive community. What better place to launch a Christ-centered devo-group?

Living by Grace is a Facebook faith community where believers, seekers, and inquiring minds can pop in and out for a snippet of truth and a friendly chat. Each week, five other authors and I will post links to inspiring, challenging, or thought provoking articles which will serve as discussion launchers. It’s a time to connect and be renewed and we invite you to join us.

Living by Grace (LBG) co-host and inspirational fiction writer, Patty Wysong is excited to see how God will use our faith-based community. “For over a year I’ve had the idea of an online Bible study group in my mind and heart,” Patty says, “and Living by Grace is better than I’d hoped. Isn’t that just like God?! FB is a bit like the modern day well. It’s where people worldwide go to hang out and visit with friends.”

 

LBG co-host and inspy author Jessica R. Patch is looking forward to increased relationship building.  “I’d love to see it become a place of sisterhood,” Jessica says. “A place, like Cheers, when you walk in you’re welcome and everyone knows your name. You’re important. You matter and you feel that way when you settle in. Okay, not the best analogy, but hey, you should feel more welcome at a devotional online community than a bar!”

 

LBG co-host, isnpy and devo author Maria Morgan expects our new faith community to create an atmosphere conducive to personal growth. “What an opportunity to see my own faith grow as I study God’s Word and rely on the still, small voice of the Lord to guide my writing,” Maria says. “And I look forward to being challenged by the posts of the other devotional writers. It’s a true honor to be part of a team of godly women who are seeking to make 2 Peter 3:18 a reality: But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Co-host, faith and fiction writer, Joanne Sher, is a people-addict (in a good way). She’s looking forward to the faith-based interaction. “It’s easy to connect with folks on Facebook,” Joanne says. “You can have real conversations, and get to know others: their gifts, their needs. I’d love LBG to be a go-to place for folks looking to draw the Lord more into their lives—where we can examine our lives in connection to His Word, and learn from one another.”

Co-host, former missionary, and Bible-study-teacher extraordinaire, Lynda Schultz is looking forward to the opportunity to be stimulated challenged. “I want to meet new people who share my passion and rejoice in the journey they have taken to get to this “sweet spot” in their lives.”

 

Personally, I’m looking forward to getting to know some of my readers on a more personal level. I believe God’s love is exponential—the more you give it, the more you receive it. And I believe He never intended for us to go it alone. In fact, like a great grandparent who takes pleasure in seeing his children come together at family reunions, I believe God receives great joy when His children unite. And if God’s doing it, I want to be in it.

We hope you’ll join us Monday through Saturday for some great, Christ-centered posts and relationship building chats. Stop by today to meet me and my co-hosts, share your thoughts with us, maybe ask a question or two.

Who we are:

Patty Wysong is an ordinary girl living the good life, the life God gave her. A home executive with over 20 years of experience, she homeschools three of her five children, but don’t let that fool you. Much of her time is spent working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You’ll also find her drinking kool aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life. http://www.pattywysong.com/

Joanne Sher is a Jew by birth, a Christian by rebirth, and a writer by gift. A native Southern Californian, she now lives happily in West Michigan with her husband and two school-aged children. She is a blogger and writer, of both true-life stories and fiction, attempting to ride God’s grace over rough roads. http://www.joannesher.com

Jessica R. Patch grew up in southern Illinois before attending Central Bible College, where she majored in Missions and Bible. She is devoted to her local church, having served as a Biblical Studies teacher, Women’s Ministry leader, Regional Women’s Representative, and volunteer co-pastor with her husband of the Young Adult Ministry. She’s taught workshops and frequently spoken to Women’s ministry groups. Her heart is to help women step out into deeper waters of intimacy with Jesus Christ. http://jessicarpatch.blogspot.com/

Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational/devotional writer, whose passion is to share the truths of God’s Word with today’s generation. She is a regular contributor to Around About Cumming, and Cumming Patch. You can visit her on the web Mondays and Wednesdays for a life lesson you can relate to. Maria resides in Georgia with her husband, Steve, daughter, Riley, their 2 dogs and 1 cat. http://www.mariaimorgan.blogspot.com

 

Lynda Schultz is a “never-married.” She has served in church ministry as Director of Christian Education in several Canadian churches. For the past thirty years or so, she has been a missionary with a Canadian Baptist mission and has served in Colombia and Venezuela, as well as on home staff. She is currently Director of Christian Education/Spiritual Formation in Timmins, Ontario and still works part-time with the mission in the area of communications. Lou Lou Belle and Abby are her Venezuelan cats who have returned to Canada with her. She likes reading, writing, but definitely not arithmetic, as well as cooking and plants. http://web.mac.com/lyndalee1,
http://lyndasgrainsofsand.blogspot.com and http://web.me.com/lyndalee1/Northern_Breezes

Although you already know me…

I write for Christ to the World Ministries, the Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters. I love seeing people experience the life-changing love of Christ. I believes no sin is too sinful for forgiveness, no heart to dark to be cleansed, no wound too deep for healing, when placed in pierced hands of Christ and I pray daily that my writing provides a glimpse of God’s all-consuming love.

When the Winds Howl

A few days ago I shared a post entitled, “Keep Rowing,” based on a novel I was reading at the time. In the story, Eddie Snipes, the author, paraphrased the biblical account of when the apostles found themselves stuck in a boat rowing against a violent storm. The jest of Edie’s message was, God knew that storm was coming, yet He had His disciples row against it anyway. Oh, how we’d like to avoid all the storms in life, but through out Scripture, God promises the storms will come. Our first inclination might be to run for cover, which we should do–but not under a rock. Instead, we must plant ourselves on The Rock–the Creator and our Redeemer. When we do, His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

I love today’s devo by Patty Wysong because it reminds me that God’s power and care is not dependent on me–my strength and size. Like the tiny hummingbird flittering through the storm, I too can strand strong because my Savior lives inside me.

Be Like a Hummer by Patty Wysong

I love hummingbirds. They constantly astound me. Awhile ago, during a pretty intense storm we stood at the windows and watched the trees whipping and branches falling. And the hummers. Those little birds didn’t let the high winds and sheets of rain deter them—they zipped back and forth between the feeders and the trees, barely fazed by the storm. 

At one point there were two hummers at a feeder and when the wind suddenly gusted, they both faced into the wind and kept flying. As I watched, I saw one drop closer to the ground and manage to slowly fly forward, but the other was pushed backward and into the trees that line the creek.

Both hummers kept flying until they were able to latch onto something. Then they were back to the feeders for another snack. Their persistence in the face of the storm wowed me. And shamed me. How many times do I get a little wind in my face and decide it’s time for me to hunker down? And that’s not even storm winds. In the storms of life I tend to head for my rock—the one I like to hide under. But that’s not the rock we’re supposed to run to.

When the storms of life come, we’re to keep flying and get to our Rock. Yanno, our ROCK: Jesus.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;

my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

~Psalm 18:2 NAS

When we run to that Rock,  we can take refuge—hide—there with Him. That’s very good news to me because I’m a hider.

He will cover you with His pinions,

and under His wings you may seek refuge;

His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

~Psalm 91:4 NAS

Knowing that I can run to my Rock and crawl under is so very comforting to me! When life’s storms start howling, I can face into the wind and keep flying, just like those little hummers did, and fly back to my Heavenly Father. There, with the God of all comfort 2 Corinthians 1:3 I’m safe and secure under His wing. 

So when the storm starts howling around you and the wind has life whipped into a frenzy, be like a hummer and just keep flying. Fly straight to Jesus, our ROCK and redeemer. He will tuck you close under His wing and shelter you from the storm. And like a hummer we can dart back and forth, safely, knowing that His eye is on us, ever watchful. Our rock, our fortress, our deliverer. What more could we ask for?

Patty Wysong, a home executive with over 20 years of experience, homeschools three of her five children, but don’t let that fool you. She spends much of her time working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You’ll also find her drinking kool aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church.

Patty learned about blogs and blogging the hard way and now delights in teaching and helping others, sparing them that frustration so they can focus on what God has called them to do. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life.

Find out more about Patty and her writing by visiting:
her blog: Ordinary Lives www.pattywysong.com
Jewels of Encouragement – www.jewelsofencouragement.com
The Barn Door – www.thebarndoor.net