30 Days of Gratitude – Day 21 Grateful I Can Change

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Today I’m grateful that I can change with the help of God.

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Max Lucado puts it well in, “Grace for the Moment: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional” in January 21st entry called, “A Heart Like His”.

God wants us to be just like Jesus.  Isn’t that good news?  You aren’t stuck with today’s personality.  You aren’t condemned to “grumpydom.”  You are tweak able.  Even if you’ve worried each day of your life, you needn’t worry the rest of your life.  So what if you were born a bigot?  You don’t have to die one.

Where did we get the idea we can’t change?  From whence come statements such as, “It’s just my nature to worry.” or, “I’ll always be pessimistic. I’m just that way.”…Who says?  Would we make similar statements about our bodies?  “It’s just my nature to have a broken leg.  I can’t do anything about it.”  Of course not.  If our bodies malfunction, we seek help.  Shouldn’t we do the same with our hearts?  Shouldn’t we seek aid for our sour attitudes?  Can’t we request treatment for our selfish tirades?  Of course we can.  Jesus can change our hearts.  He wants us to have a heart like his.

What a blessing it is to know that change is possible.  If we are living with the cancer of bitterness we needn’t die with it.  Jesus can give us a heart of love and forgiveness that will kill the cancer of bitterness.  If we are hanging on to things of the past Jesus can help us to live in the present and let loose of the past that only hurts and interferes with our todays.  As the poem says, you won’t find God in the past He isn’t, I was, and don’t look for Him in the future He isn’t, I will be, look for Him in the present because His name is, I Am.

I’m so grateful for where God has brought me from already and I look forward to where He is going to bring me to in my journey to become more and more like Jesus.

Let Jesus do the work He has in store for you to bring you into His likeness.  We all must remember our place at the wheel.  We are the clay and He is the potter, longing to mold and make us in His likeness.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Jesus Wants An Intimate Relationship 30 Days of Gratitude – Day 20

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Today I’m grateful that Jesus wants an intimate relationship with me.  He doesn’t just want to hear from me on Sunday’s or Wednesday nights, He wants to know and be invited into every part of my life.

He is omnipotent (all knowing) so He knows all about my life but that isn’t enough for Him.  He wants to hear it from me.  He wants me to open my heart to all the areas of my life that I might like to call secret.  How do I know this?  John 14:23

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.  My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

“We will come to them and make our home with them”, that is a pretty intimate relationship.  It’s a relationship of love.

We obey His teaching not because it will make us acceptable, we were made acceptable by what Christ did on the cross.  We don’t obey his commands because it will make us worthy.  Christ obeyed the commands of God and that didn’t make Him any more worthy than He had been at the beginning of time, nor did it make the perfect more acceptable.  He obeys God’s commands out of love for the Father.  A love so perfect its hard for us mere humans to understand.  But all the same that love is offered to us and out of an outpouring of that love we should obey His commands.  “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5  If we can live up to this commandment and the other that Jesus gave us “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Then we are obeying His commandments.

I must admit that I’m not always the best at loving the unlovely.  For that I’m truly ashamed of myself.  I don’t always follow through on actions as best as I could.  Sometimes I wonder what they are going to do with the money they ask for and then other times I think there but for the grace of God go I and figure it’s none of my business what they are going to do with it.  My duty is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and do as He guides me to do.  The rest is their business between them and God.  But maybe you struggle with me on this and maybe we could go to the Father and ask for His help in this matter.

Lord God, make me a more loving person both to You and to my neighbor.  I long to bring you pleasure.  Help me in that desire. Amen.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 14

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Today I’m grateful for the fact that in Christ I am a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  –  2 Cor.  5:16-21

How can one not be grateful for God making it possible for us to be new that we might be reconciled to Him?  What an honor and blessing!

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God could have wiped His hands of us so many times in history.  With the first sin He could have decided I’m done with them they made their choice against Me, but that’s not who God is.  His love wouldn’t allow Himself to turn His back on humanity when humanity has turned it’s back on Him time and time again.  Anytime that He did divorce Himself of mankind once they cried out to Him, He responded.  That’s just the way of love.

God’s ultimate act of love was; that He loved sinful man so much that He sent Christ to pay the penalty of our sins thus reconciling us to Him and making us new and the righteousness of God through Christ.

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If God never did anything else for me my entire life I would sing His praises my entire life for this awesome blessing!  Hallelujah!!! Praise the Lord, God Almighty!!!  Thank you my Savior for dying for me and all sinners!!!

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 13

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“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  –  John 14:27

As one that struggles with General Anxiety Disorder, I’m ever so grateful for the peace that Jesus left as an inheritance for me.

“The word bequeath in this verse is a term used in the execution of wills.  In preparation for death, people usually bequeath their possessions, especially those things of value, as a blessing to those they love who are left behind.

Jesus knew He was about to pass from this world and He wanted to leave us something.  He could have left any number of good things, like His power and His name, and He did.  But He also left us His peace.

You don’t leave junk for people you love – you leave them the best you have, Jesus had a special kind of peace that surpassed anything mankind had ever known.  He knew it was one of the most precious things He could give.

From: “Ending Your Day Right: Devotions for Every Evening of the Year”   –  Day 12/3  by Joyce Meyer

Knowing that peace is one of the greatest joys of being a Christian.

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The peace you have when you’ve prayed over a matter, listened to God or just waited for peace over a matter so that you know what your doing is in God’s will.

The time you thought about buying something and didn’t have peace and decided not to make the purchase and the peace that came with that decision.

Or the tug on your heart to visit a friend or call a friend and the peace you felt and possibly even joy after following your heart, when you learned that you were just what that friend needed at that time.

When praying over something that hasn’t come to pass but you receive a peace about it.  What a blessed gift from God.

All of these and I’m sure you can think of even more ways you’ve felt the peace that only Jesus can give.

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But may I venture to say that being in His will, obedient to Him is the only way you can receive it.  Outside of Him this kind of supernatural peace does not exist. So we must be rooted in the vine to attain it.

I’ve known anxiety most of my life but I’ve also experienced the peace that only comes from Jesus.  That peace is a blessing that I’m eternally grateful for.

All you have to do is ask Him for that peace but if He tells you to do something you better do it, because with obedience comes peace.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 12

Today I’m grateful for my Lord and how gracious He is to me.

The more we’re grateful for the more things come to mind to be grateful for.

“My mom taught me years ago that Thanksgiving is about remembering to focus on good things, even in the presence of bad things.  Recent experience has shown me how remembering those bad things can actually bring divine goodness and mercy into sharper focus.  In the context of being lost, being found is more wondrous.  In the context of being persecuted, finding acceptance is more precious.  In the context of being sick, being healed is more miraculous.”

I’m grateful to God for all that He has allowed me to go through!  A bad marriage so that I may appreciate and recognize a wonderful relationship.  Being in a wheelchair so that I can appreciate being out of the wheelchair.  Being Bi-polar with it’s ups and it’s downs so that I might rejoice in the beauty of a normal day.  Not everyone knows that gift.  Maybe you know it for other reasons of things that you suffer through to enjoy a day of peace and rest from it.  I’m grateful for my parents divorce so I could see my dad and stepmom’s marriage and love for one another.  What a gift that was to me!  I thank God for being homeless, so I appreciate all the shelters He’s provided me and my lovely apartment now.  I thank God for both my dad and stepmom’s lives, what an example they set.  I thank God their in heaven out of all the pain they were in at the end of their lives. It has taught me to cherish the living while they are still here.  I’m grateful for the abuse in my life, now being treated lovingly like a lady is all the sweeter.  I thank God that He saved me from myself, life is now so precious to me.  How could I have ever been so determined to end it?  Praise You Father for rescuing me from that mentality!

A Prayer

“Dear God, how thankful I am for your gracious rescue!  Help me to remember, every moment of every day and night, to live in a way that shows my gratitude and thanksgiving to you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

By Lisa Harper  November 22nd  entry “Growing Deep Roots of Gratitude”  from “Daily Gifts of Grace: Devotions for Each Day of Your Year”

Both the above quote and prayer are from the same place.

I know this is after Thanksgiving but is it ever too late to thank God for all He’s done for us?  I think this is a good daily exercise.  Let me know what your thankful for.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 8

Today I’m grateful for…all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me.

“27All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  28Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  –  Matthew 11:27-30

Thank You for willing to reveal Yourself to me.  I know it was my choice but I also know that You knew ahead of time that I would choose you.

Thank You for a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.  Thank You for being a place where I can find rest for my soul.  Rest for my soul is something that is needed so much and I’m so appreciative that You give that.

Lord You are so good and so loving!  Thank You for coming down to earth to be our Savior and for being obedient to the Father even when You wanted “this cup taken from” You.  I can’t imagine how hard that must have been to do but I’m eternally grateful to You for doing that for me and all the sinners that have ever been and will ever be.  You just never fail to amaze me!

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 6

Today I am still grateful for God’s creation but in a more intimate way.  I have a little Chihuahua Schitzu mix.  Other then my Lord and boyfriend she, Tessa is the love of my life and cheers me on a daily basis.

Last December the Lord directed me to her at the shelter and I have been blessed by her calm nature for a Chihuahua and rare barks.  The above photo is when I first got her.

She does love to kiss, which I am attempting to curb.  I don’t care for her tongue in my mouth which happens far too often than it should have.  She loves to cuddle whether it be mommy, daddy or a new friend.

She delights me and it is a blessing from God to watch her each day and her antics and the fun personalities that she shows me.  She loves to play.  One of her favorite games is what daddy calls rabbit.

He uses two fingers as ears that are attacking her.  She absolutely loves playing with her daddy and I love watching them play together.  They are so cute.

She likes to perch on her tower.

I’m so grateful to God that He had the creativity to create dogs they are, other than God and other human’s, man’s best friend or third or second if you don’t know God best friend.  Sorry to be so serious but I believe that even in enjoying God’s creation we must keep our priorities straight.  Even though animals are wonderful we mustn’t let them take the rightful places of God and human companionship.  But even so I would not want to be without the blessing of my dear Tessa of whom I’m so grateful God directed me to.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude Days 1 – 3

Hi there! I know it’s been quite a while since I last posted a new post, but here is my own challenge for the month of Thanksgiving. To post at least one post each day and that post be a post of gratitude.

As you may notice I’m 3 days into the month so I’m going to give you three different things that I’m grateful for.

Starting with what I was grateful for on the 1st was that our community made a good showing for the meet and greet for our new property manager and the caretakers of the property. In the past for forming community meetings this has not been the case and it was so nice getting to know new neighbors better or at all. It was also great how the management was interested in getting to know us and our concerns for the property. I really am blessed to be living where I live.

The thing that I’m grateful for for the 2nd day of the month is that as much as I needed to get done I was still open to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit when urged to visit with an old friend. I was able to be there with information the friend needed at just the right time. Obviously, God’s doing and I’m just grateful that what was a nice visit was also an opportunity to be a blessing to another. God is so good that way, as long as we stay open to His leading.

The thing that I’m grateful for today the 3rd day of the month is: That is is another beautiful fall day in Southern California and for my very dear and wonderfully hard working boyfriend. Who loves me more than I deserve but I love him all the more for it.  I’m so blessed by God that He brought Ron into my life and I pray that I never take that blessing for granted.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart.

Qualities to Add to Our Life

It seems that God is trying to get a message through to me because similar messages are repeating themselves every time I turn around.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-8

It is obvious to me that God wants me to increase my faith and to add these qualities to my life.  The qualities that He seems to be focusing on at this time are knowledge, self-control and perseverance.  I have an increasing hunger to get to know Him better and His will in my life.

It has become very obvious to me that I lack self-control.  The areas of my life that I lack it in so much is my eating and my sleep habits and making and sticking to a schedule for my life.  I need God’s guidance in these areas.

If I had more faith, knowledge and self-control I would naturally have more perseverance.  The more faith I have the longer I will trust God and persevere under trials.  With more knowledge of the Word of God, the greater my faith and the stronger my trust and my self-control.

Lord help me to add to my faith, if that means by experiences that are uncomfortable that need to be gone through, I’m ready to do whatever it takes to increase my faith in You that we might be closer.  Help me to live a a life of goodness.  Give me a thirst for Your Word that I might have ever increasing  knowledge.  Lord, help me to develop the Fruit of the Spirit self-control.  I long to be pleasing to You and not let You down.  Please let me develop perseverance that I might withstand under trials and peer pressure, so that I might be pleasing to You and mature in the faith.  Lord, help me to develop godliness that I might be a good representative of You.  Give me brotherly kindness that I might help to bring unity to the body of Christ.  Heavenly Father give me love for that is the most important quality of all.  Give me the love that You have for those who know You and those who don’t know You.  I want to love as You love, unconditionally.  Thank you for loving me enough to answer my prayers.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Turning it Over To God

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Let go and let God”, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Well at least not for me.  I don’t know about you but I find myself putting things at the foot of the cross and then moments, hours or days later picking them up again and holding on to them for dear life.

Recently God has been dealing with me on this part of my walk with Him.  When I take things back from Him I’m showing a lack of trust on my part.  I’m in effect telling God, “I’m sorry but, I don’t think that You are capable of taking care of these problems.  I think I’ll just keep them to myself and try and deal with them on my own.”  Did you hear that?  It’s more than a matter of trust it’s a matter of pride. Who do I think that I am that I can do a better job on any part of any of my problems?  This is definitely an area of sin in my life and the sooner I can rid myself of this pride and humble myself and turn things back over to God’s care the better off I’ll be.

I can see how the forbidden fruit might have looked so attractive to Eve and Adam.  Once I give something to God, it is His, it is not mine to take back.  That makes me an Indian giver.  If you want to think in childlike terms.  If you want to think in adult terms, if it now belongs to God, it makes me a thief.  Not a very pleasant thought, but true all the same.

The enemy would like us to make light of this “indiscretion”, but try as he might he can’t change the fact that sin is sin.  God is merciful with us and gracious, but that doesn’t mean we take advantage.

I have been struggling with turning some things over to God and some I’ve turned over and left there others I’ve returned to steal back and others I’m to scarred to even turn over in the first place.  It’s not that I’m afraid that He’ll make me become a missionary and go to some awful far off place.  That may be preferable to what I’m truly afraid of.  I’m afraid of opening pandora’s box of my past and dealing with the things that my mind has so conveniently forgotten.  I’m afraid that He’ll push me past my ability to cope.  I’m afraid that if I open this area of my life to Him completely that I may just completely fall apart.

So instead of trusting in His love and wisdom and perfect will for my life and compassion and long suffering.  I eat to stuff the feelings I fear to deal with, and to stuff the memories I don’t want to remember.  While I in all my futility attempt to hide from Him, God waits for me to come to Him to ease my burden.  I know this with my head but the journey to my heart is taking much longer than I would hope.

The spirit is willing to be obedient but the flesh is so weak, so fearful, so proud.  Lord, I ask You to help me with my weak, fearful and prideful flesh and any brother or sister out there that are struggling the same way or similar to me.  I know that You want all of us not just part of us, so this prayer is in Your will.  So with confidence we come before you and thank You in advance for answering this prayer.  Amen!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!