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

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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

Month of Prayer, Day 16

Lord, I love you this morning.  I woke up thinking about trusting You.  I’m so thankful that was my first thought of the day.  Pr. 16:20 says, “Whoever trust in the Lord, happy is he.”  How true that is!

Lord, the running theme in my verses this morning was that no matter our plans or ideas, You have the final Word.  But better than that is the fact that You are faithful and You are directing us into good things.  Even when we are afflicted, it is to produce something good in our lives.

Yesterday I read again that trials produce perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint.  What a wonderful thing to know.  Thank You for that reassurance and those promises.  No matter what the affliction, we can trust that You are producing endurance, character, and hope in our lives.  Thank You.  I see no reason not to trust in the One who does these things.

Help me to depart from evil today.  Help me to rule my spirit and not allow anger to drive me.  Help my words to be pleasant today, as Your Word says that pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

I love you, Lord.  I am so proud and honored to be called Yours.  I know that as You direct my steps, Your love is with me.  Thank You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The excellent things written for us all

Pr. 22:20:  “Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge?”

I have a lot of little unsure things weighing heavily on my mind this morning.  Nothing like waking up feeling like you’re already in a bad mood.  ha!  I don’t like starting my day with thoughts that I’m already defeated.  I knew that the only answer was to look to the Word.

Only God can give me hope where none seems visible.  Only God can move my mind from my problems to my blessings.  Only God can give me peace when I feel a storm.

I read some passages from Peter this morning.  In them, he was standing firm on the track record of God.  He was remembering God’s faithfulness and consistency.  He was writing a reminder not to forget that what God has already done proves He will do everything else He said He would do.

Those words give me peace that cannot be duplicated.  I’m so thankful today for the excellent things written in the Word of God.  I am so grateful for the counsel and the knowledge the Lord lends to us through His Word.  I am so uplifted to remember all the ways I have seen God work things out in the lives of His children throughout the Bible; and the ways He has done the same for me.  I am so relieved for the reminder that one day the works that are in the earth will be burned up, and the eternal things will be rewarded.

As long as I face my problems trusting God with their outcome, I know everything will work out the way it should.  I don’t have to have the answers or figure out the solutions on my own.  I can rely on the One who IS the answer.

What a relief!  If you’re facing a similar day, turn to the Word.  He gives us all that we need, and so much more.  What a privilege to know that He gave us access to His counsel and His knowledge.  Not only that, but His Holy Spirit living within us guides us throughout the day.  He has certainly set us up for the kind of success that will last.

Thank you, God, for giving us so much more than we deserve.  Your Word is a wonderful gift, worth more than words can say.  Help us today to pass your Word onto others so they may know the riches, the peace, the promises, and the hope that lie within.  You are a great God!

Renewed,

jamie

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

The day is not over!

Pr. 24:10:  “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”

I never thought I’d include this verse in my blog because, quite frankly, I’ve never liked it.  Having faced unexplainable adversity in my health for almost 4 years, there have definitely been times when my strength was small and times when I have all but fainted.  Each time I have read this verse I have thought about those times.

This morning, however, the Lord has encouraged me through this verse.  Even though there have been moments when I have wanted to give up, I never actually did.  God brought me through those times with a hope only found in Him.  Even when my strength was at its weakest, the Lord’s strength brought me through.  With His help, I still continue going forward, doing what I can.

In reading this verse, I have judged myself a bit harshly over these 4 years, remembering only my weaker moments, and comparing myself to others who are much stronger than I.  However, the fact of the matter is that my day of adversity is not yet over, and I have not fainted.

My strength comes from the Lord.  My hope is in Him.  My courage lies in knowing that He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

My life may not look like that of others, or the way I expected that it should, but my day is not done.  While I am still here, there is work for me to do.  The work I am able to do is much less glamorous than perhaps I thought it would be, but I believe that facing this adversity in my life qualifies me to complete a work meant only for me.

It is time for me to truly believe my day is not yet over.  Until it is, I will continue bringing glory to my God in whatever ways I can manage.  I will continue to take courage in the fact that my God is for me, and stop believing I have fainted too many times go on.

My strength is definitely not small, for it comes from the Lord, in whom all things are possible.

If you feel yourself fainting, be encouraged.  The day is not yet over, and the Lord is on your side!  It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.  He is our Rock and our Salvation.  He is our Defense.  He is our Refuge and our Strength.  He orders our steps and upholds us with His hand.  He does not forsake His children.  Keep moving forward…with Him.

Strengthened by Him alone,

jamie

This blog is dedicated to Larry Jackson, who definitely got this right!

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven. God used His smile to strength me one more time.

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven.  See that smile?  He allowed God to use him to the very end.