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Meditation Monday

Meditation Monday // Don't Lose Heart // 2 Corinthians 4:16

This Monday I’m meditating on 2 Corinthians 4:16, a verse that has been a source of unimaginable comfort in the most challenging seasons of my life, as well as the everyday pains and inconveniences. It says,

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

Tori Russell
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Meditation Monday // Hebrews 13:8

This Monday, in this new year, I’m meditating on Hebrews 13:8
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

“New year, new you” and “looking back at 2022”

I’m sure your inbox has been flooded with nods to remembrance, new resolutions and new rhythms these past few days.

I’m not really a resolution kinda girl, but I do love the idea of a new year and a fresh start. In 2022, I formed some new rhythms that I’d like to carry into and even build off of in 2023. And a new year is a good opportunity to reflect on what’s worked and what hasn’t.

Whether we are looking to make changes in 2023, or we're reliving our best days of 2022, I want to encourage you with a lasting truth.

Tori Russell
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Meditation Monday // Psalm 73:25

This Monday I’m meditating on Psalm 73:25

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And on earth there is nothing I desire besides you.”

This time of the year it’s not hard to find that you’re struggling with covetousness. For me, being on social media, I have to put boundaries in place to protect my heart from all sorts of sins like comparison and covetousness. While the ability to connect with many people from all over is a blessing, the reality of so much time spent online comes with some serious consequences. 

But with so many gift guides circulating, from beautiful clothing, to the most aesthetically pleasing toys for your kids, to the latest gadgets that make life easier. Or maybe materialistic things don’t appeal to you. Maybe you desire the home renovation that she did, or the happy kids and family life of that one girl, or maybe you just want a house that stays clean for more than 30 minutes (just me?) Friends, we all struggle in one way or another with these things, oftentimes without even being aware of it.

Tori Russell
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Meditation Monday // Psalm 23:6

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (ESV)

 

Tori Russell
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Meditation Monday // A Mighty Fortress

This Monday I’m meditating on Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Since it’s Reformation Day, it seems fitting to meditate on this verse.

The theme of this entire psalm is confidence in God in the face of monumental troubles. In fact, it was this verse that inspired Martin Luther to write the hymn “A mighty fortress is our God.” This hymn is a celebration of the sovereign power of God over all earthly and spiritual forces, and of the sure hope we have in him because of Christ.

Tori Russell
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Meditation Monday // He rejoices over you with gladness

This Monday I'm meditating on Zephaniah 3:17, "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love."

It’s the time of the year when our household comes down with colds every few weeks. It’s just the reality of having small children, two of which are in school. There’s a part of me that gets paralyzed by every sickness, focusing on managing sick symptoms and rendering me useless to the tasks of the home. That’s when everything falls apart. Behind on laundry, dishes piled high, missing self imposed work deadlines. My inadequacy stares me down and I feel my lack.
 

Tori Russell
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Meditation Monday // Behold Him

This Monday I’m meditating on Psalm 119 verse 18,

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”

I’m sure you’re familiar with the popular phrase by William Blake “we become what we behold” –but do you believe that? Whether actively or passively we become conformed to the patterns that we practice. And before I start listing off things that we behold that we shouldn’t, let’s focus on what this verse says.

Tori Russell
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5 Callings of the Artist – A Meditation on Our Identity as The Beloved

"We are children of God, and if children, then heirs

 – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ."

 Romans 8:16-17


Beloved, whether your gifts bloom in the arts or elsewhere, there's a call to use them for the glory of God and to build the Kingdom Come. 

Now, before the self-proclaimed “non-creative” person dismisses this post, I’d like to defend you from yourself. You read that right.  While you may not be an artist, yes, you are creative. And yes, there’s a difference. So, hear me out: as a co-heir WITH Christ, as a co-heir OF God, you inherited the best of your Abba Father. He isn’t only creative, He is Creator. 

Daughter – creativity is in you and for you because it’s His nature. We are the Imago Dei, made in His image, created with a unique call to co-labor with the King. 

 And so, the next time you hesitate to say, “I’m not creative,” or “I’m not ____ (fill in the blank)” I encourage you to sieve your “I can’t” through the lens of your God-given identity as co-heir. It’s through your identity as God’s Beloved that you are stirred up to declare: “I am…because He says so.”

What exactly does that look like? What does it mean to be a co-heir with Christ? 

First, I want to put our meditation verse (Romans 8:16-17) back in its greater context and read around this reference to see what gives it its arms and legs, so to speak. Our fellow heir, the Apostle Paul, is speaking to us, the Beloved, about our spiritual reality:

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Paul continues to lay it out for us, defining our inheritance by the Spirit, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (vs. 9). Co-heirs carry His Spirit – as the Beloved, we are His dwelling place; home of the Holy Spirit. 

Let’s go a little further with Paul: “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (vs. 12-13)

Here comes the best part, Beloved: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (vs. 14-15)

I don’t know about you, but my eyes well with tears when I read these words. This is our reality as the Beloved; as Co-Heirs. Daughtership. We are gathered in, sealed by the Spirit. 

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (vs. 16-17, our Meditation Monday verse).

I’m careful to gain context for our verse reference so we have a better knowledge of what it is we are meditating on: our identity in Christ. And when we know our identity, we have greater clarity on our calling. Whatever that may be.

With a growing understanding of what it means to be co-heirs with Christ, I want to stir you onto what I affectionately refer to as The Five Callings of the Artist. Again, you may not consider yourself an artist, but as a fellow creative (and you ARE that, Beloved) we have these callings in common.

The Callings are as follows (as adapted by Jerram Barrs):

  • Glorify God in all we do.
  • This is truly all encompassing. Glorify God in the seen and unseen. The big and the small. The everyday and the mundane. Glorify Him in all we do with all of who we are.

  • Enjoy God in the fulfillment of using, developing, and expressing our creative gifts.
  • Ever heard the phrase, “Do it for the process?” It implies there is pleasure to be had simply in the making of something, even if it doesn’t “turn out” or achieve some sort of perceived perfection. What if in our makings, we got to know God more intimately by abiding – enjoying and delighting – in His presence? It just so happens that His presence changes everything. Being God’s co-heir of the Kingdom, we inherit good gifts. Enjoying those gifts is worship.

  • Serve others so that they might know God better through our created works.
  •   Art is meant to serve. It's never to spoon feed our own vanity but only ever  made whole and holy when in service to others. When we fail to serve others with our gifts, they diminish; they atrophy. Essentially, they’re twice as good when shared. The economy of the Kingdom is that as co-heirs, we are always with our Father and everything He has is ours (see also Luke 15:31). 

  • Operate in our identity as co-heirs with Christ.
  • Now that we know our identity, we can work in it. Remember, everything the Father has is ours. So declare it over yourself. Over your day. Over your life. This is operating in the richness of the Kingdom and stewarding well as a co-laborer and a co-heir. The Beloved are children of God who work to bring heaven’s reality in the here and now. Which brings us to our last calling…

  • Set back the boundaries of the fall (in other words, give them Heaven).
  • My husband and I co-own and operate two businesses, one of them being a fine jewelry brand inspired by our other career in the world of fine art. Our touchstone mantra is all about “Adorning God’s Beloved” in the inherent truth and beauty of the gospel. We do this through creating tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness (we aptly call these jewelry designs “Ebenezers”) and dare to ask the adorned, “what would it look like if we “put on” Christ every day? What if what we wore could be a spiritual “putting on,” calling us into our Belovedness? This is our idea of giving them Heaven; setting back the boundaries of the fall and flourishing in the Eden of our hearts. Heaven is closer than we think; it can and should be experienced in our everyday lives. This is a part of our inheritance – our spiritual reality – sealed by the Spirit: we live not according to the flesh, but by the King’s order which names us fellow heirs with Christ. Heaven on earth. We are the Kingdom Come people. Heirs of an eternal reign with him; glorified with Christ. Does this make you weep with me? I surely hope so. This is more real than our realest real here on earth. It’s nearly impossible to fathom, but it’s also ours to operate in.   

    Each one of these callings could be their own essay or blog post, but I wanted to introduce them here as an outline for the artist in which our creative gifts are purposed for God's glory, service of others + the benefit of community, requiring us to step into our identity as co-heirs with Christ, in order to set back the boundaries of the fall. 

    We know that art and creativity matter to God because 1. He IS Creativity, Wisdom and Beauty, and 2. We are given the example of Bezalel in the Old Testament who was the first person recorded in scripture to ever receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. AN ARTIST. Why do you think this is? 

    God is currently using and will continue to use the arts to testify of His second coming — you heard it here, folks. There is a Renaissance on the horizon. Some of us have been here for a while, but there will be a take-over of the arts for our good and His glory and we will see the arts renewed & restored for their original intent! I’m ready. Are you?

    Which "calling" resonates most with you? Challenges you? Name them below. 

    And remember, you are BELOVED.

      Hannah Weidmann is a writer by nature and loves everything involved in the creation of an art piece. More than the finished work, she is obsessed with the process of becoming - a theme that marks her personal life and is reflected in her work.

    Hannah is co-founder of Everyday Heirloom and Jake Weidmann, Inc.; two businesses that are intertwined and co-exist to bring art into the hands and hearts of God's beloved. She lives in the Colorado foothills with her influential artist husband, Jake Weidmann, and their three children.

    Visit their work at EverydayHeirloomCo.com (@everydayheirloomco) and JakeWeidmann.com (@jakeweidmann)

    This post features products from our shop! Our unique Scripture Meditation Cards feature hand-lettered designs and can be a daily encouragement to you and your family. This card set has a neutral design, which makes them a seamless addition to any corner of your home. Whether you're doing dinner prep in your kitchen or sitting in your favorite chair for quiet time, our hope is that you will find cheer, encouragement, and consolation in God's Word through this collection of inspirational Bible verses.

    Tori Russell
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    What is Scripture Meditation?

    This Monday I thought I would do a short post on Scripture Meditation. What is it? How do you meditate on Scripture? And what does that look like throughout the day?

    In Psalm 1 it says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree, planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season. It’s leaf does not wither.” 

    If we are constantly filling our mind with scripture, meditating on it and memorizing it, we will begin to love the law and hate the wickedness around us, we will become strong in our faith, and we will bloom and grow into mature Christians.

    Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. -Psalm 119:97-99

    The Puritans were especially good at meditating on scripture. We would do well to consider their ways.

    Thomas Brooks said, “Remember, it is not hasty reading—but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee’s touching of the flower, which gathers honey—but her abiding for a time upon the flower, which draws out the sweet. It is not he who reads most—but he who meditates most, who will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian.” 

    So what does it look like to meditate on Scripture on a daily basis? A good place to start is by just taking a verse at a time. It’s helpful to read the entire passage of a selected scripture first, so you are able to understand the context. Then focus on one verse and write it down. I like to write down any initial thoughts that I have when I first read the verse, and then I will journal a little bit. Asking myself questions like, what does this verse say about God? Who is the audience of this text? What wisdom can I glean from this verse? How does it encourage me in this moment?

    Then I’ll place it somewhere prominent in my home so that I will see it often. On the window by my kitchen sink, in my bathroom on the counter, in my homeschool hutch, on the piano. Sometimes I’ll stick the verse in my bible or my quiet time companion, so that I can reference it each day as I go to do my quiet time.

    As I’m going about my day, I’m reminded of the truth the verse holds. I’m encouraged by it and prompted to live in light of it. I’m also memorizing it. Because I am seeing it frequently, it is easier for me to memorize, and because of that, easier for me to call to mind during times of distress or trial, long after I’ve meditated on it.

    The benefits of scripture meditation to our soul are many. God’s Word is like water and bread to our weary hearts. We carry a powerful hope around with us, and people everywhere need it.

    This post references our Scripture Meditation Cards, which you can see here. For a limited time, we are including a free wooden card stand with every Scripture Meditation Card purchase. Just add it to your cart and it will be discounted automatically.

    Tori Russell
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    Cast it on Him - Meditation Monday - 1 Peter 5:7

    "Casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

    Think of all the ways your friends, parents, spouses, and even children have offered you care when you have been stressed or worried about something. We know the grounding effect it can have on us to receive encouragement and concern from our closest relationships. This care from loved ones in the face of anxiety is only a shadow of the care we receive from God himself. God’s care is the most holistic, present, healing care available. This word “cares” includes the idea of paying special attention or giving thought to something. 

    Think about that.

    The God of the universe, who sculpted the mountains and feeds the sparrows gives special attention to you. He cares about the things that worry you, startle you, motivate you, and hurt you. He cares about the questions you ask as you try to fall asleep at night: Am I parenting my kids in a way that they will turn out ok? Are we ever going to be able to get ahead when it comes to money? Is that friend frustrated with me or will we be able to move forward in our relationship? Yes, he cares about those things. He is also concerned about wars in the world, political leaders, and much broader issues than your present anxiety. He can hold both, all, with equal care and attention. He is that big.

    You might imagine as he listens to your individual need that he would respond: “Not now. I’m dealing with much more devastating things presently.” But the all-powerful all-seeing God has no need to prioritize. There is no overload for him. There is no need for a triage system for the one who has endless resources and boundless attention. He can hear, hold, and respond to every anxiety at any moment. 

    What does that mean for us?

    It means that when we get stuck in our cycle, playing ping pong in our brains with our fear and worry, we can put the paddle down, and toss those balls up to God for him to hold. It means we can stop our obsessive thoughts and hand God the problems we can’t solve. He wants, he invites us to throw all of our anxiety onto him - over and over if necessary. He’s actually listening; he waits to hear from us. It’s as if he says to us in this verse, “that big worry that you’ve been continually gripping, white knuckled, you can give that one to me. Throw it over here. Don’t worry, I can handle it.”

    God’s care is a comprehensive, welcoming, powerful care. Believe him when he says it is directed at you. Respond to 1 Peter 5:7 today by tossing your anxieties into the hands of a father ready and able to catch them.


    This post includes products from our shop. Our Scripture Meditation Cards feature 31 hand-lettered designs that can be a daily encouragement to you and your family. Whether you're doing dinner prep in your kitchen or sitting in your favorite chair for quiet time, our hope is that you will find cheer, encouragement, and consolation in God's Word through this collection of inspirational Bible verses.

     
    This is our first guest contribution for our Meditation Mondays and I'd like to take a second to introduce you to the wonderful ladies that run At His Feet Studies
     
     
    Christine Gordon and Hope Blanton are co-founders of At His Feet studies: Approachable BIble studies written for women in every season. They have 9 published books that go verse-by-verse through books in the Bible.

    Christine Gordon, MAT, is wife to Michael and mother of three. She is a visiting instructor at Covenant Theological Seminary. She loves to walk, make music with other people, and share bad puns with her family.

    Hope Blanton, LCSW, is wife to Ray and mother of three. She earned her master's in clinical social work from Temple University . Currently she works as a therapist in San Antonio. She loves good food, making people laugh, and being outside.
     

    You can check out their studies here, or give them a follow on their Instagram account, I know you'll be blessed by the words they share.

    Tori Russell
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    it's all grace - Meditation Monday - Ephesians 1:7-8

    This Monday, I’m meditating on Ephesians 1 verses 7 and 8,

    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.

    I am taken back by the phrases “riches of his grace” and “lavished upon us” because often I feel undeserving. I think, “this is too good to be true!” and I go through my days forgetting what that means and how it implicates my life. No matter how far I've come in my walk with the Lord, I need to rehearse the truths of the gospel daily.

    I take grace for granted as I rush through daily tasks, missing the beauty in everyday moments as I’m hurried along by to-do lists, the needs of my family, and the never-ending mountain of laundry. But still he gives us grace.

    The Lord in his kindness and goodness pours out his lavish favor on undeserving sinners like us.

    It’s grace that unites us to faith by Christ.
    It’s grace that calls us and gives us new birth.
    It’s grace that we believe.
    It’s grace that we receive forgiveness of our trespasses.
    It’s grace that carries us, sanctifies us, and empowers us to walk in faith.

    And it’s grace in the everyday moments. He lavishes on us not only everything we need for life and godliness, but he lavishes on us simple, everyday gifts. In the toothless smile of my seven year old. In the way the light shines through our 100 year old windows. In the dimple of my four year old. In the growth of vegetables from our garden. In the messy kisses from my three year old. In beholding a beautiful sunset. In my husbands laugh. A gift.

    It’s all grace.

    God chose us, Jesus redeems us and the spirit sanctifies us. What a gift! We are grafted into the family of God because of Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection. We are made perfect in the sight of God, not because of anything that we've done, but because of what's been done on our behalf. Jesus is our advocate. And even now, the Spirit intercedes for us in our weakness.

    God does not give us something that makes us blessed, but he blesses us by giving us himself. -Fred Sanders

    This is the conclusion I am brought to after mediating on Ephesians 1:

    The Father plans it, the Son purchases it, the Spirit preserves it, all to the praise of his glory. What greater wisdom and glory could we see in our great redemption? Soli deo gloria!

    This post includes our Scripture Mediation Cards, which you can view here.

    Tori Russell
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    Look to Him - Meditation Monday - Hebrews 12:1-2

    This Monday I’m meditating on Hebrews 12 verses 1 and 2.

    Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

    The first thing that stuck out to me was that running with endurance takes discipline. Like a runner, the Christian must be in constant motion toward the goal, despite opposition. This demands strenuous effort and endurance, which is learned from constant discipline.

    Sometimes I think that if I could just be “more disciplined” my life would be easier. If I could get up earlier, be more consistent in the discipling of my children, stick to a budget (it never happens) then my days would be effortless.

    The Christian character of discipline in itself is not a bad thing, but when I am putting my hope in the outcome of those disciplines, it becomes problematic. We must work hard to strengthen our faith to endure the race. That means seeking the Lord daily in His Word and prayer. It's seeking fellowship among other believers to be encouraged and edified, and sometimes that means we must welcome rebuke and embrace trials.

    In verse two it says “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” – you see, things get challenging when we take our eyes off Jesus and instead look to ourselves. I often look to myself for strength and to others for approval. I place my hope in being more disciplined, or having a better routine with the kids, a clean home, a fool proof meal plan and all my ducks in a row.

    The author of Hebrews encourages us to stop looking around or within and instead look to Jesus. He took the burden of our sins and made our running and our striving easy and light. When we set our eyes firmly on him, we will not grow weary in the fight against sin and in the race to persevere in faith.

    The good news of the gospel is that we have already been made perfect through the blood of Christ.

    Imagine what would happen if we looked to Jesus every day. Every weight would fall off and every sin would untangle from us. Each glance at Jesus would strengthen us to endure and finish well.

    When you’re feeling tempted to return to patterns of relying on self and people pleasing, look up. Look to Him. The founder and perfecter of our faith.

    This post includes our Scripture Meditation Cards, which you can view here.

    Tori Russell
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