JOY

Is joy a choice? Yes, I believe it is!

Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

In the holiday season emotions can run hot. The past collides with the now. Family gatherings sometimes can stir up old and sometimes new entanglements that haven’t yet been dealt with. But we want so badly to be joyous. 

That joy can be ours if we choose it. Jesus gives us a reason for joy each day. Look for it, grab it and spread it around!

It’s not about who has come & gone in your life, it’s not about the approval of others, it’s not about reaching the top of the career pole, it’s not even about you!

It’s solely about JESUS and who HE has brought into your life for you to love & receive love back, it’s about HIS unconditional love and grace-filled approval, it’s about HIM directing you where you can bring HIM the most glory. It’s about JESUS living within you!

Psalm 16:11 You make known tome the path of life; you will fill me with JOY in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Joy is the brave response!

I don’t know about you but my life has not always been a Pocketful of Sunshine. He tells us until the day we come to be with him life will not be easy. But he shows us a better way. Our response tot he hard times is the proof of how fully we trust him.

Psalms 20:5 says, May we shout for Joy over your victories and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.

In the darkest of moments we feel alone. But when we let Jesus into our life, into our day today trials his presence will be shown. And because of that presence Joy will prevail in our walk. Our words will be words of love and kindness. Our darkest moments will pass with the next day’s light.

Psalm 21:6 surely you have granted him an ending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

We are awake in our mornings and walk through life seeing with our eyes only what we want to see. We feel with our heart only want we want to feel. We can be selfish beings, processing those things and not considering others. But if we truly have the Lord living within us, radiantly Shining, allowing love to come  into our hearts and open our eyes wide to those around us then the outcome of our life will be filled with Joy and that Joy will be spilled over into the lives of everyone else around us.

Psalm 19: 8 The precepts of the Lord are right,giving Joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

How do we find the joy in times of trouble?
                                                         
Romans 12:12 says Be Joyful in Hope, patient in affliction,faithful in prayer 
                                      
That sums it up!                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Our hearts are the most important organ in our bodies. Everything works because our heart is working. If our heart should grow weak then our bodies will be weak but if our heart is strong we will have a better chance of being strong. What do we want to fill our heart with, joy or anger? We can choose who and what we take into our lives which will determine the    status of our heart. The process of determining that can sometimes be painful but the long term results will be for life.

Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of Joy.”

When we walk through our days with the past lingering over us, we live in fear of the hidden becoming light. But when we allow the past to only live in our past then our future lives in truth and is bright.

Psalm 30:11 “You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with JOY.”

Climb to that highest mountain and shout it with all your strength! Share it with your neighbor! Live it amongst your family! The JOY is yours, He is showing you reasons to have it with each new day, with each new experience, with each new person that comes your way. Share it, give it freely! That is the way He wants you to live!

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of JOY.

Be aware of your words and fill them with Joy. Be intentional with your speech when you share those words. Be the light that brings HIM the glory as you walk.

Psalm 33:3 “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully and shout for JOY”

I praise the Lord in all I do.  I trust in Him for everything.  I am nothing without Him.  I am everything with Him.  He is my protector and justifier.  He love unconditionally and always.  He walks with me through my joys and my trials.  He leads me when I am lost.  He holds His hands out so that I can find Him.  He is a Good Good God!

Psalm 5:11  But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing Joy. Spread protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Lord because of You I have JOY in my life.  Amen!

Truth will set you Free

Have you ever really thought about this statement?  Who’s truth? Your truth? My Truth?

It’s up to who you ask because my version of the truth is truth.   And I don’t want anyone to tell me different.  Why is that?

What am I afraid of?

The bible speaks of the truth setting you free.  But sometimes the truth is painful to accept.  Honesty of sin is scary.  Facing past hurts can be heart breaking.  But I have found and continue to find the truth will set you free to be a true statement.  I know that may not be the popular answer.

John 8:32 [Full Chapter]

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I recently sat through a sermon on sexual immorality.  In today’s world of “do what feels right for you”, sex in the way God intended it has disappeared.   I’m not throwing out judgement here because I’m as guilty as the next but Jesus freed me from that guilt.
He showed me the truth and the truth did set me free.
God intended sex to be between 1 man and 1 woman.  He designed it that way from the beginning.

Genesis 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:24

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

This is nothing new.   Sexual immorality has been around since the beginning of time.

I’m a big proponent of boundaries.  But  no one wants to have boundaries these days.  Or maybe we have boundaries just some areas of our life the boundaries are more open than in others.

If you’re unsure that there should be boundaries in the sexual arena then just open you’re bible app and read Chapters 19 & 20 in Leviticus.  As I said before, this is not a new cultural issue.

Sin is at the crux of sexual immortality and those acts are the pure definition of sexual immortality.   Each of them linked to something that is missing inside the human heart.  A hole that is hollow and needing to be filled.

I was introduced to this song and find it’s lyrics interesting and on point for this topic.

Words such as zero, feel, nothing real, chaos, way out, ways of the ones before me, lonely and run away.  All words of being hollow inside.

Imagine Dragons – Zero (click to watch video)

Notice mid-way …… Maybe you’re the same as me…..They say the truth will set  you free.

Jesus came to set us free.   Forgive us of our sin.  Rid us of our guilt.  Cleanse us of our shame.

He is the only thing that can fill that hole.  Let Him fill it!

Lord I am grateful.  Grateful that you have freed me from my old way of thinking.  Cleansed me from my past and allowed me to heal from sins done against me.  I’m grateful!  Lord, I want to use my forgiveness to help others heal.   Help me to be brave.  Amen!

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One

#fmf

One God!   That is what I can come up with. Because He is the only One that counts.  He is the only One that matters.  He is the only One that is forever. He is the only One!

But in the full realm of my life One God is not all that makes impressions on my world.  There are many impressions, some good some bad, some joyous some sorrowful, some bring fullness some bring breaking down but the One, the One God, can and will handle them all.

John 8:25-30  “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.  So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The ONE who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

He is the ONE and Only One

We are constantly faced with decisions to make. With each new day there is a new decision.  New choices. New actions. New reactions. New people. New problems. New joys.  And with each of those things we sometimes have to bear the burdens of the others.  Sometimes painful choices that dig deep within our souls.  Sometimes those souls just can’t handle it any longer.

Mark 4:21-25  He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?  For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.  If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”  “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.  Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

Sometimes we have to….

  • Be the one who bears that burden
  • Be the one who puts on a brave face
  • Be the one who prays and cries alone
  • Be the one who seeks wise counsel
  • Be the one who turns to the word
  • Be the one who shares the load
  • Be the one who allows HIM to strengthen us
  • Be the one who turns it over

So

The only ONE who can carry everything is able to be seen.

He is the only One, just believe.

He has made Me New

Photo on 3-20-14 at 9.52 AMKaitlyn, gentle, broken, restoring, strong and faithful comes to mind.  God is funny and wondrous.  I have a facebook page with a lot of women members that I don’t know.  There are times when HE continuously pops up faces in front of me and I continue to see them.  That’s when I know to PM them and set up a date for lunch.  That is how I got to know Kaitlyn. We hit it off immediately, I knew she was someone that I needed to be part of my world.  I’ve only seen her in body 3 times but with every conversation I see another layer of who God made her to be and watching her discover that for herself.  It’s exciting to watch!  As I said, Kaitlyn has many layers so when I asked her to write her story, the decision had to be made, “which one?”. I’m blessed to be able to share at least the 1st of many stories that Kaitlyn has for us.

Kaitlyn MacMillian:     Life is complicated. It’s often a mess and I think I’ve made a mess of mine. But God knew that about us all. He has come to redeem us from this world of sin that corners us. It seems that I had real love and faith in Christ from a young age. When I was seven, I understood my need of salvation and trusted Christ as my savior. When I look back I think, “Really? Did I really understand how to repent of sin and trust that Christ paid my sin debt so that I could go to Heaven?” I know that I loved Him. And so even though my fleshly living seems to have outweighed my Spirit-filled living, Christ has loved me through it all. His grace has allowed me to grow as a person to have a heart that is more like His. That care never ends.
My mother was a licensed professional counselor so I was psychoanalyzed from a young age. There were some serious reasons that I needed help. But I didn’t fully realize my needs until I was in my teens. When I was only 15, I got pregnant. Sexual promiscuity revealed to my mind that I had been sexually abused by a friend’s father when I was very young. I was so shocked and told my mother. She did not believe it. So when the pregnancy came and my parents made the decision that I should have an abortion, I learned that death begets death. I was responsible for my pregnancy and my abortion because if you’re old enough to have sex, then you are old enough to know what it can lead to. But I was naive. The whole episode led to more misunderstandings with my parents. They were very angry with me. My parents didn’t mean to harm me, but they just did not do a good job with this. Image was important and I came close to blowing ours. My mental health went downhill. I tried to commit suicide and so I was committed to a mental institution for five months. I took my Bible with me. When I got to my room, I opened it up and the Lord showed me:

Isaiah 43:18
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. 

This has been my life verse. Over and over again, the Lord has brought it to my mind. Probably because I am lousy at really following it. But His mercy keeps coming. And I need Him every hour.

Now I have been married for 30 years and have 12 children. IMG_6225 One dozen is a huge number and we never expected to have that many. We have three biological children and nine adopted from Africa. Wow. We have had trouble. Crazy, ceaseless trouble for about 8 years. Now my kids are grown and they are all gone. This new quiet that I had wished for is so unsettling. I home schooled for 25 years. I don’t know what to do with myself. I have a lot of physical illness from not taking care of myself. It has kept me alone too much. And the tale has many extra difficulties.

But I have to learn to live again. I have to learn to continue trusting my great God for the next step. The past does not have the answers for me outside of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But I must focus on the fact that Jesus is alive! He has made me new – every single morning, I’m new right along with His mercy.

Perfect Love casts out all fear. I just have to step out. And all the way, my Savior leads me.

Lord, You are a gracious and loving Father.  I am grateful and I know that Kaitlyn is too.  You have blessed us with family and you have blessed her with a huge heart for those that need love.   I thank you for bringing her into my life and I pray that you will guide our steps in the future.  Amen!

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Burden

#fmf
When I first think of the word Burden, I immediately go to things in life that I have had to carry.  Things/experiences that have literally weighed me down and I could not carry alone. These are things that we need others to help us with.   Or they are experiences that others have placed on us.
But then I thought of our world today.  The days of blame and not taking responsibility.  The days of no respect for authority.
Days when we as God’s children and those who don’t know Him need to live by this verse.

Hebrews 13:17

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
Was it so different in Jesus’s days?  He carried all the burden of sin to the cross for us.
And Jesus says:

Matthew 11:30 

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I now have come to understand that if I would only release my burdens to HIM, allow Him to take them, I find refreshment, my burdens are easier to carry.

So what if, the world, the ones who want to play the blame game.  The ones who feel their burdens are too heavy to carry anymore so they “sin”, in hopes to reduce the load.  What if we all looked to Jesus instead of others.

What if?

Thank You Lord for carrying my burdens.  Amen!

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Repeat

#fmf

Do you find yourself living in the revolving door?

We can find ourselves in that revolving door, over and over again.  Repeating the same thing with the same results.

Doesn’t matter what got us there, we just keep going.

We Stop and Repeat!
do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
There is a way out of that repeating cycle.
God gave us a choice.
We have to recognize it for what it is.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Once we recognize it.
We can get out of it.
Instead of continuing in the revolving, repeating cycle.
Choose a different route to repeat.
Choose God.
Choose Obedience.
Choose You.
Thank You Lord for showing me how to get out.  Thank You Lord for being there for me to turn to when that sin wants to draw me in again. Stop and Repeat a Life with You! Amen!
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