Bring joy with you

Gal. 5:22:. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

It was storming at our house last night, and the kids slept in our bed with me.  (Poor daddy got booted out)

At some point in the night I woke up with something under my cheek.  I discovered it was my daughter’s stuffed toy, named Joy.  She had brought Joy with her to the sleepover to help her not be afraid.  1488457801450-98661209

Sometimes we don’t naturally feel joy.  Storms: death, doctor reports, sickness, relationship problems, failed plans…lots of things can zap our joy.  The stuffed doll reminded me that sometimes we have to choose to take joy with us.

 In those moments when joy seems impossible or unattainable, we might just have to have the faith that we will feel it again.

The verse tells us that joy is fruit of the Spirit.  That is evidence that if we want to feel joy again, we need to stay plugged in to the source.

Weeping may be all we have for a bit, but as Ps. 30:5 says, joy comes in the morning.  It may take a little longer than we expected, but staying connected to the Lord, will ensure that we will feel joy again.

Don’t give up the hope of joy.  Just like my daughter carried her joy with her during the storm last night, take God with you wherever you go, He is the one that supplies the joy.

Don’t let go,

jamie

Compassion comes from pain

When John the Baptist was beheaded, Jesus was sad and wanted to go away with his disciples to a quiet a place for rest.  However, the multitudes followed them.  The Word says that Jesus was moved with compassion for them.

When we are hurt, grieving, disappointed, sad, or in pain, our natural reaction is usually to retreat for a little quiet time or rest.  The truth is; however, that there is not a time when we can feel more compassion for others who are hurting.

Sometimes we don’t understand the pain or hurt in our lives, but God does.  He has a plan for our lives.  He has a plan for others around us.  Although none of us want to be in pain, if that pain is what gives us compassion, then it can be used for good.

We can use our pain to feel for the pain others carry.  We can then minister to them, as God’s hands and feet.  We can lift their needs, that we understand, up to the One who heals, comforts, and delivers.

Let’s let Him use our pain for something good!  Watching someone else’s pain subside sure helps ease mine just a bit.

Reach out,

jamie

Words revealing the true treasure of the heart

Joel 2:23:  “For He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you…”

I had the terrible realization this week that I had replaced God as the treasure in my heart.

In May, our daughter was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Although, we already suspected it, the diagnosis brings a large and immediate flurry of tasks, paperwork, phone calls, and appointments.

If that wasn’t enough, I personally decided to allow future planning, homeschool curriculum planning, future therapies, and even more to loom over me with urgency.  Although these hold a certain level of importance, I honestly didn’t realize how much this had consumed me.

Mt. 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Mt. 15:18 says, “Those things which proceed from the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

Keeping those scriptures in mind, it became obvious this week, through the words of my mouth, that the Lord was no longer the treasure in my heart.  AHHHHHH!!!  I had made research and information my new treasure.  And I honestly didn’t even realize it had happened.

Looking back, however, I can see the warning signs.  I will share those with you in the hopes that I can spare you from doing something similar:

  • I was spending more time reading about Autism than I was reading about and reflecting on God’s faithfulness.
  • I began to consider myself too weak to care for and teach my daughter.  I wasn’t considering the truth, which is that the Lord is my strength and that through Him all things are possible.
  • Fear began to drain a lot of my energy, when the Lord clearly gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.
  • I began trusting in the information I was learning in my research more than I was reminding myself that the Lord supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This scripture in Joel says, “For He has given you the former rain faithfully.”  That’s it, isn’t it?  He has always been faithful.  He will continue to be faithful.  He who has begun a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

I’m not saying that the research shouldn’t be done.  Information is good, but when it begins to cause fear and doubt, or begins to overshadow the truths of God’s Word, then there is a problem.

I had to repent for making information and worldly ‘facts’ my treasure.  I want to encourage you, as well.  God is still in control.  He still holds the world in His hands, and if He has taken care of you in the past, He will take care of you in the future.  He is faithful.

Repentant,

jamie

The Lord wins the battle

Ps. 33:16:  “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength.”

This morning I read the story of the army of the Midianites being defeated in the sight of Gideon and 300 Israelites.

It was not their large #’s that defeated the Midianites.  It was not their education, their strength, or their skill.  It was the Lord.  While the Israelites watched, the Lord set every Midianites’ sword against his own companion throughout their whole camp and they fled.  The Lord saved them and delivered them.

We all face battles.  In the face of the battle, we can become afraid.  We can worry that we don’t have the resources we need, that we’re not strong enough, or that we’re not skilled or special enough to win.

This morning; however, let me remind us all.  It is the Lord who saves us.  It is the Lord who delivers us.  We don’t have to have the multitude of an army.  The Lord is our help and our shield.

As you face this day, remember that the Lord who delivered the Israelites, and who spoke our world into existence, is walking before you.  His angels encamp all around you, and His ears are open to your cries.

Walk confidently in Him today,

jamie

Looking for hope

Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”       Ps. 43:5

 

 

God’s spring cleaning

Ps. 11:  “The Lord is in His holy temple, and His eyes behold, testing the sons of men.”

vs. 5:  The Lord tests the righteous.

Yesterday turned into an early spring cleaning day at my house.  I started out simply wanting to dust the furniture and ceiling fans, but of course that led to sweeping.  When I took one of the rugs outside to shake I realized there was more dust hiding in there than I could shake out.  Every rug in the house ended up in the washing machine.

The realization that there was so much hidden dirt in the rugs led to every base board in the house being scrubbed down, the floors being mopped, and by the time the day was done, even the broom ended up being washed.

This morning, as I read Psalm 11, I was reminded of those rugs and baseboards.

When I began cleaning, it was only because I noticed a thin layer of dust on the furniture.  I didn’t see the deep hidden dirt that had settled in cracks, fibers, and crevices.  However, as each layer of dust was removed, a new layer was revealed.

God doesn’t just see the thin layer of dust on our surface.  He sees the deeper layers of grime, debris, smut, and filth that lie underneath.  Ps. 11:4 says, “His eyes behold.”  Knowing that God created dust and then created man out of dust allows me to know that He can behold even the smallest specks.

When He tests us, He is not simply trying to shine us up.  He is trying to get inside, layer by layer, to remove all the fragments of sin and unholiness from our hearts.

He starts with the top, simply shining us up a bit, polishing and cleansing us.  He then moves deeper, getting larger amounts of debris from our hearts.  Once that debris is removed, the layer of grime underneath is revealed.  Without the grime, the smut that has adhered itself deep down inside can be scrubbed away.  The leftover filth is now clear as day, and the Lord can finally remove each speck from deep within.

What we’re left with is not just something that looks clean, but something that deep down inside has been sanitized…or more appropriately said, “sanctified.”

I’m not saying its easy.  I’m pretty sure that if my rugs had any nerve endings, their time spent spinning and agitating in the washing machine would have felt pretty horrible.  I’m sure they wouldn’t have enjoyed being beaten about by dryer balls in the heat of my dryer.

The baseboards probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the scrubbing or the smell of vinegar as the grime was removed from them.  Nevertheless, without those processes, they would never have been truly cleansed.

Sometimes the tests we face hurt.  They can be hot, agitating, smelly, and dizzying.  However, The Lord loves righteousness and the end result is something called holiness.  Without the deep cleaning, that is something that could never be achieved.

Scoured,

jamie

Ahhhhh!!! That’s gonna feel so good when it’s over!

I’m so glad my life is in HIS hands

Have you ever sang songs to God with lyrics like these:

“Bring me anything to bring You glory.  And I know there’ll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that’s what it takes to praise You, Jesus, bring the rain.”

“No matter what comes my way, my life is in Your hands.”

“My life is not my own.  To You I belong.  I give myself, I give myself to You.”

Do you think you would or have you ever had a moment of hesitation when singing them?  I have.

I used to sing these songs freely.  “Oh, yes, Lord.  Bring the rain.”

And then one day the rain fell.  I was determined to bring God glory through my trial, and for the first bit, I did.  Then, I got a little tired.  I got sad.  That sadness led to feelings of being neglected.  That neglect made me angry.  My anger made me rebellious.  I was no longer allowing God to be glorified.  Those words I had sung so intently, were proven empty.

When I began to find my way back to Him, simply trusting that His plans for me were good, regardless of the trial, I found myself hesitating when it came to singing lyrics like those.  Those words have much more meaning when you realize God’s way of using you may not be quite what you had in mind.  Those words are much heavier when you realize that the rain could bring pain.  Those words are not empty.  They mean something.

The truth is; however, that no matter what comes our way, our lives truly are in His hands.  He is our Creator, our Sustainer, our Redeemer, and our Soon coming King.  I can’t think of more capable hands that I’d like my life to be in.

I recently heard someone debunk the familiar saying that God won’t give us more than we can handle.  She said, “Everything is more than we can handle!”  She was right.  That’s why we need the One who gives us strength.

Sometimes it takes a trial for us to truly understand what surrender really means.  We are not in control.  God is.  But the thing about God is that He does not leave or forsake us.  He goes before us, preparing the way, and behind us, directing our steps.  He gives us comfort and peace when there seems to be no reason for either.  He made the way for our salvation before we were ever born.  He is strongest when we are weakest.

With our lives in His hands, we can understand that no matter what comes our way, He is still our God and He is still the same.  Our pain is never in vain.  We have the unique opportunity to give Him glory through it all.  His worth isn’t based on the current circumstances.  He is worthy, no matter the situation.

Voluntarily surrendering our lives to Him brings joy and hope in the midst of the pain.

Surrendered,

jamie