Don’t Let the Enemy Rob You From Your Design!

God created each of us with a very specific design in mind. Part of my design is to encourage. When you are doing your God created design you will not only be walking in the path God has created for you but because of that your life will be fulfilled, at least that has been my experience.

We are all important in the body of Christ. Yes we are all to evangelize but the one with the gift of evangelism may do it differently than the one with the gift of service, yet all work together for the glory 0f God. (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 27-31) For that reason all are important. (1 Cor. 12:12-26)

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It is so easy to find ourselves comparing our gifts to one another. “She has such a beautiful voice. I’m sure God rejoices when He hears it.” “I wish I had a voice like so and so.””He’s so handy with his hands. I wish I was able to do that.” “He/she has such a gift for teaching I wish I could do that.” Or perhaps your voices speak more like; “I don’t know why they haven’t asked me to teach? I can do that.” “Why doesn’t anyone come to me when they need help? I can do that.” “Why does he/she always get the solos? I’d like one for a change.”

The first half of comparing comments are dangerous in the respect that it ignores the qualities that the person doing the comparing actually does have. Perhaps that person can’t sing but has the gift of hospitality or servitude or encouragement or wisdom or healing, aren’t those some special things to be happy about and to vocus on? More importantly aren’t they also very important to the body of Christ? How would the body survive if we were all sining? Or all teaching? Who would listen to us?

Perhaps the man wishing he was a handyman and could not do things with his hands, was made to help people with his mind. Suppose God made him to be a CPA, Lawyer, teacher, leader, CEO, or pastor. Giving him the gifts of knowledge, guidance, wisdom, leadership and making him a different kind of man of action than the one he envisioned.

This type of comparing voice can cause you to become ineffective in the areas of giftedness that God has given you to do. That is what happened to me. Let me take you back so maybe you can tell the worning signs in your own area.

I stopped reading other material that spured my thoughts and gave me inspiration to write about.  1. I stopped doing my regular rejumine, don’t underestimate this.  I began watching more and more TV to take up the time I wasn’t reading or writing.  2. Exchange the valuable for a cheap nock off.  I started disecting the shows I was watching their writing and thinking that I would never be as good a writer as these people are so why bother.  3. You start believing the lies of the enemy.  

That’s where I’ve been for over a year believing the lies of the enemy.

I now stand firm in faith believing that God has given me a voice and I’m going to use it and I’m not going to allow the enemy to silence it.

I encourage you that if God is touching your heart as you are reading this that there is something that He has called you to do no matter what it is, big or small – don’t let the enemy talk you out of it. Check the Bible to make sure it doesn’t go against it. Seek godly counsel, many if it is a major life change, God will confirm if it is truly from Him. Then if it is confirmed step out of the boat and live the life God designed you to live.

 

Joy A Fellow So Journer In Active Faith!

 

 

 

What or Who is Truly Awesome?

Society uses the word awesome rather freely. “My day was awesome!”, “My boyfriend is awesome!”, “This burger is awesome!”, “Did you see that wave? It was awesome!”,  or the general “That’s awesome!”  We use it so nonchalant that it has lost all of it’s power and impact!

Joy what do you mean, “it has lost all it’s power and it’s impact!”?  I’m glad you asked. When this very issue was brought to my attention in church last Sunday I did not only some soul searching but I looked up the definition of the word awesome it means; extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear. – extremely good, excellent. Now that we have the definition of the word let’s use it as a mirror agaisnt what we say it is.

Can my day really be extremely impressive or daunting (which means: seeming difficult to deal with in anticipation; intimidating), [if you look at part of the definition it might seem to apply but you have to look at the entire definition as a whole.] inspiring great admiration, apprehension or fear – extremely good, excellenet? When have you ever had a day that was all of these things? I can tell you from experience that I’ve never had a day that has been, extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration apprehension or fear – extremely good, excellent. I’ve had a gracious, selfless, chivalrous, and spiritual leader boyfriend but never one that fit the definition of the word awesome.

I hope that you can see now that neither a can a burger or a wave be awesome. They just don’t fit the definition.

Then what or who does fit the defiition? It would have to be something that is very grand yet intimidating at the same time, while inspiring great admiration and at the same time fear and be extremely good – excellent. The only entity that fits that description is God. No boyfriend or day or anyother thing that you can think of can fulfill that description. When it comes to being extremely good – excellent, we know from scripture that there is only one who is good and that is God. It would be pride to call anything awesome other than God for He is the only one that is great enough to inspire great admiration and fear at the same time.

What I learned from last Sunday’s service from Chuck Swindoll is that; “If there is one thing the church needs to learn. is only God is awesome! This church must come to realize the only God is awesome! All the churches need to learn that only God is awesome! Your car isn’t awesome! Your dinner isn’t awesome! Your dog isn’t awesome and definitely not your cat!…There is only one thing that is worthy of being labeled awesome and that is God and God alone! So stop deluting the meaning of the word by using it for anything other than refering to God!” quote to the best of my recollection.

I stand with Chuck on this church let’s guard our tongue and minds and only refer to God as being awesome and expand our vocabulary for other things. Maybe we could try to be more precise in our compliments and thus make them even more sincere. Instead of saying my husband is awesome talk about all the attributes that you appreciate about him, if he’s a good listener, caring, respectful, compassionate, a spiritual leader, helps you, knows just when to say the right thing and just when to hold you, let him know these things that you love about him. It will build him up, reinforce these good attributes, and strengthen your marriage.

So what or who is awesome? Only God is awesome. He is holy. He is all powerful. He is omnipotent and omniscient. He is all love. He is full of mercy and grace. The only truly good being. Worthy to be the only one called awesome. So let’s be cautious about how we use our words.

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

God Can’t Love You Any More Than He Does Right Now!

God can’t love you any more than He does right now! Isn’t that good news! There  is nothing you can do to earn His love. There is nothing you can do to destroy His love. God is love. It is that simple.

He gave the greatest gift of all and that was His one and only Son who died on the cross and rose from the dead for yours and mine sins. All we have to do is believe that or have faith in that and ask Christ to do for us what He has already done on the cross which is pay the price for our sins. We do that by asking His forgiveness for our sins. No one is perfect but Christ alone that’s why He could pay the price we could not pay. See the price for unrighteousness or imperfection is death and only someone perfect like the unblemished sacrifices of the Old Testament would do. So Christ the only perfect man because He was also the Son of God could pay the price.

When we accept that gift which came at so great a cost we become heirs with Christ. Sons and daughters of the King. The blood of Christ has made us righteous and there is nothing we can do short of turning our back on Christ and what He did on the cross for us that could ever cause God to turn away from us.

Nothing, zilch, zip, nada, zero. God loves you! He will continue to love you. There is nothing big enough you can do to earn it and other than grieving the Holy Spirit by deciding that what Jesus did on the cross and how he rose from the dead for you was nothing and means nothing to you, there is nothing standing in the way of that love. God wants that all should come to Him and experience His amazing love. But love isn’t love without a choice and that is what God gave mankind a choice to love Him back.

It’s our choice to accept His love. If He had it His way none would perish but we chose whether or not we want the gift of His love. To accept His gift of love will be the best choice you’ve ever made in your life.

But let me be honest and upfront with you there is an enemy who had a choice once too and he wants you to perish with him. You see Satan was an angel that wanted to be like God and for his sin he and a third of the angels that followed him were casted out of heaven. Because of this there is a spiritual battle going on for your soul and the battle doesn’t stop once you become a Christian if anything it becomes stronger because you see now you have become a threat to the enemy and he will do anything in his power to try and stop that. But greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. So although things will become difficult our God is greater and Satan knows that. Satan will never win because the battle goes to the Lord. So take heart when trials and temptations come they are merely tools with which to grow by. You have the Holy Spirit to guide you. Take heart!

When It’s Time for Action Or Restoration

This is a balance that Jesus had well under control. He worked hard in His ministry and He took time away from everyone to be with the Father for restoration and communion.

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This is something that I struggle with frequently. I want to do more than I’m physically capable or even emotionally capable of doing and I don’t take enough time out for restoration and communion with my Heavenly Father.  Or for that matter just restoration of emotions let alone the soul without feeling guilty about it.

Who am I that I think I can do do do without time for restoration of mind, body and soul?

We live in a society where we are valued by what we do. The first question people  will ask you is, “So what do you do for a living?” When they are trying to get to know you. God forbid you are disabled like me and don’t hold down a job because the conversation comes to a crashing halt.

I buy into the need to be doing something as much as the next person and for me with my bi-polar disorder and my own pride to be honest nothing is ever good enough or grandiose enough to please me as contributing to society.

Why can’t it be good enough for me to share the joy of my little dog Tessa with those God brings in my path to brighten their day?

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Why do I think the only action worthy of value is making her into a therapy dog, when my illness makes it impossible to commit to an organization? God knows my heart and Tessa’s abilities and training He can make a way. But you see that doesn’t sound as impressive to people when they ask what you do. So I struggle with expectations I put on myself and I feel society puts on me.

These are just the small things that I struggle with and I can’t imagine those of you that hold down a job, raise a family, vulunteer at your church are going through when it comes to the struggle for action or restoration. We live in a fast paced society and we all need to take a lesson from Jesus who would steal away from the disciples for restoration with the Father in prayer. A time of connection. To refuel Himself for the next great battle ahead. If He who was perfect took time for restoration who are we to think that we can do anything less.

Slow down and take some time with your Lord He will refresh you mind, body and soul. I’m talking as much to myself as I am to you. We can’t do this world on our own. He loves us so much, He’s’ just waiting for us to come to Him.

So let’s stop reading now and take time out of our busy day and come to Him in pray, worship, Bible study whatever the Holy Spirit leads you and restore ourselves with Him. I promise it’ll make the rest of your day.

A Time for Tough Decisions

Yes, God calls us to love one another but He is also a holy God and wants His Church to be holy as well.  Paul gives us an example of when we must make a tough decision for the health of the Body and for the ultimate well being of the believer.   And for those watching to see if we are truly different.

1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among the pagans: A an has his father’s wife.  2And you are proud!  Shouldn’t you rather have filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?  3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit.  And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.  4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. –  1  Corinthians 5:1-5

Paul is clearly telling us here that there are times that we must judge for the sake of the Church Body and for the sake of the one caught in the sin.  Not to lord it over them but humbly in a hope to bring restoration in the end.

If we allow sin to run ramp hit in the Church than we are hypocrites and no different than the world.  This is why Paul writes on this subject because when one who is caught in a sin and is unrepentant, not willing to turn away from it, then the rest of the body must stand up for holiness and approach the one caught in the sin.

In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 Paul gives us instruction on how to handle a brother caught in sin.

9I have written in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-10not at all meaning people of this world who are immoral, or greedy and swindlers, or idolators.  In that case you would have to leave this world.  11But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolator or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler.  With such a man you must not even eat.

12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  13God will judge those outside.  Expel the wicked from among you.

These are never fun decisions but they are vital to the health of the body of the Church.  When we do not make these difficult decisions and they are found out that is when the Church looks like a bunch of hypocrites.

We must be a pillar of light standing in the darkness.  But if we allow the darkness to live among us our light will go out and we are useless to anyone and victim to the wrath of God for not doing His will and protecting His church.

We must call ourselves to a calling more stringent than that of the world.  Yes God is a God of love and mercy and when someone comes back truly repentant then we can accept them back into the fold.  But if they are rebellious and don’t care that they are sinning it is time to cut ties.  This is how the Body of Christ stays away from hypocrisy.  Let’s be deligent in this difficult task for the good of the Body of Christ.

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

“God’s Not Dead And Neither Is Joy”

It’s been nearly eight months since my last blog, this is why I elude to the fact that I’m not dead.  As my readers may know I struggle with bi-polar disorder and the last year has been a difficult one.  When in the throws of depression my creative juices are nonexistent so blogging becomes nearly impossible.  I apologize for my long absence.   But on to what this blog is all about encouragement.

We’ve been having a number of earthquakes in Southern California recently and I must say us Southern Californians react differently.  That’s to say that not all of us react the same when faced with a strong earthquake.

The first guakes hit Brea, La Habra and Fullerton on Friday March 28th.  There was a 3.6 earlier but by 9 something at night while my dog Tessa and I were haviing a late dinner the 5.1 hit and shook hard.  Stoping Tessa from finishing her dinner and upseting her enough with all the very many after shocks that she didn’t go back to eating until 2:30 a.m.  The guakes had stopped for about two hours by then.

My friend was in bed when the earthqauke hit while my reaction was to keep eating dinner and my dogs was to stop, hers was to feel alone and shout out “Lord don’t forget me!  Don’t leave me here!”

The following day my friend Julie and I decided to go see “God’s Not Dead”.  [Now I must admit that all these earthquakes had me unnerved and feeling very compassionate towards my poor dog, what if one hit while I was gone how would she be?]  We went to the 1:00 showing got in our seats and snuggled down to enjoy the show.

The movie was fantastic!  I highly recommend it.  As we were enthralled by the movie the earth began to shake violently.  Julie and I immediately grabbed each others hand and held it until the quake was over.  Then the most amazing thing happened where the two of us a moment earlier were experiencing fear subsided by companionship, came joy at the shouting out in the theater “Praise You Jesus!”  Yes there in the middle of the theater was a time of rememberance of who was really in control.  As the movie was telling us and the earth was showing us God is not dead.  He is very alive.

We can take the opportunity when things are out of our control to be fearful or to rest in the hands of God.  Yes someone with skin on is comforting but they can let you down through no fault of their own.  But God will never let us down.  He is always on our side and always faithful.  It is His nature and He can’t go against His nature.

So next time life takes a turn in a direction unexpected or life shakes you up turn to the One who is steadfast and never changing.  That just may be God’s way of getting your attention so that you will turn to Him for the guidance and the solace you need.

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

2 Peter 1:5-7 Developing Christian Love

Adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), and in [exercising} knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), and in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.

–  2 Peter 1:5-7  Amplified

If there is one thing that God has demonstrated in His creation is that He is a God of order.  The circle of life follows an orderly guideline.  You can count on the sun rising every day and setting every night.  You can count on the moon and it’s varying shapes throughout the year.  If you give your body the right amount and kind of nutrition and exercise for the most part you can count on it’s response, unless you have some disease counter acting your diligence.  And it would appear there is an order to the verses above.

Let’s take it step by step and see what the verses are actually saying to us.  First we are to be diligent (work hard) at delving into [the divine promises], to me that means digging into God’s Word.  Once we are faithful to that what are we to do?  Make every effort to take what we’ve learned stretch our faith (work it out – put it to the test, thus exercising it) thus developing virtue (excellence, resolution).  Faith that has been stretched and pulled put through the flames and come out the other side has resilience and is stronger than faith that hasn’t been tested.  We will never how solid our faith is without it being tested.  Testing brings growth.

The next step is as we grow in virtue (excellence, resolution) we gain knowledge.  This makes sense as we grow in the Word of God and our faith blossoms we grow in knowledge.

Now we are growing stronger in the Word of God and we have a faith with resolution backing it up and growing in the knowledge of God we have the tools to exercise self-control.  It’s through exercising knowledge that we develop self-control.  They build on one another.

When we take the time to work on self-control we will see as the fruits of our labor steadfastness.  We will be firm, unwavering, patient, and enduring in our affairs.

With that steadfastness being worked out in our lives we will see godliness add to the characteristics that we bare.  Which is a necessity to build on the other qualities we who love God want to very much to attain.

Once we have godliness we can exercise that to mature to brotherly affection.  This is an important step.  We must have affection (fondness, liking, devotion, endearment, caring, attachment, warmth, and friendship).  If we can not have these attributes for one another we have no hope of loving one another.

While exercising brotherly affection this is how we develop Christian love.  An unconditional love.  This is when our characteristics become most like Christ.  We love those around us as Christ did.  Life is a process and we are not God we are humans so there will be times when we will fail.  At that time we repent and move on.

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

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 28 God’s Unmerited Favor

Today I’m grateful for the unmerited favor the God has shown to me.  I’ve been living in a dark whole for many months and though I know that God was with me in that whole, today the light was visible.  It  was like I was lost in a dark forest, unable to find my way out and today finally the light shown thorough the branches of the trees.

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Where there was once despair there is now hope.  I’m back in God’s Word, after being away for more than four months, which has filled me with such joy, hope, inspiration, a kick in the butt (greatly needed), grace, and blessings beyond measure.   Today’s readings have not only reminded me of God’s grace, and hope but the truth that He is always there and so is His Word and the richness there of.

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During my times of depression when it was all I could do to get up watch TV, figure something out to eat and take care of my dog, there were times when I knew God was with me.  Most of the time I had to take that as a step of faith, that God was still there no matter how alone I felt, occasionally and these where rare but I’m oh so grateful for them, there were times when I could actually feel His embrace.  It was in those times that my faith was faltering that God was so kind as to shore up my faith and bless my wounded heart with the warmth of His embrace.  It is something I will never forget or take for granted.  Maybe it’s a sign of my own weakness that He came to me in such a physical way but weakness or not He knew what I needed at that very moment.  I was all alone and desperate and needed to feel loved.  I’m not saying that I’m anyone special because of that embrace, honestly more likely I’m someone less special.  I would love to say that my faith is so strong that I don’t doubt or cry out to God to show Himself, but sadly that is not the case.

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In this area and in many other areas God is molding me and making me into the Christian that He would have me be.  Some days I’m a more willing piece of clay than others and because of that I’m so grateful for His grace.  I would love to say that I meet my trials with courage, fortitude and a strong faith, but more often than not I fail, fall to the ground, stay there a while and then figure it out to call on God to help me out.

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This piece of clay is not only hard, so it needs a lot of water and pressure from the Potter, it also has far too dry parts that need to be removed completely in order to work the clay properly.  The more the Potter works with this clay the more evident the hard dried out pieces become and the painful process of removal must take place.  Thankfully even with these pieces the Potter has not given up on this piece of clay.

If you’re like me and have your off days as well as your on fire days.  Take hope in the fact that God’s grace (unmerited favor) is limitless.  His love is unconditional as long as you are His child.  So, if you haven’t accepted what Christ did for you on the cross, which was paying the penalty for all our sins and that penalty is death, ask forgiveness of your sins (anything short of perfection), accept what Christ did on the cross for you and ask Him to come into your life and help you life the kind of life He wants you to live.  It’s as easy as that to become a child of God.

Give Your Love Away

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Jesus commands us as the second of the two things we must do to complete the law of all the prophets.  Being Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

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When we share the love that God has given to us we are in essence reflecting God’s love to those that we love.

When we have love in our heart and lives we won’t be gossips and hurting people by spreading hurtful things with an untamed tongue.  When we love we won’t be jealous and envious of others, rather we will join them in the joy of their fortune. When we love we won’t wish ills on others but rather be praying for blessings for them.   We will be looking for a way to be a blessing to them rather than caught up in our own lives.  We will be vigilant about noticing signs of distress that may mean that they need our assistance because that is the least that you would do for your own body.

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It may seem impossible or radical but let’s really think about our neighbor and not to be noisy but out of love and concern be attentive to what is going on in their lives.  Let’s open our hearts and doors.  No more driving in and out of your garage and into your house never even knowing who your neighbor is.  Walk down your sidewalk and introduce yourself.  Stop at the mailbox long enough to greet others in your apartment complex, who knows it might be an opportunity to show some love if not at the least a smile and you may make someones day.

This world has become very isolated but we don’t have to let it stay that way.  We can choose to look for opportunities to connect to others be that playing it safe by just being friendly or taking a chance and actually showing love to someone.

When I lived in England I learned a song, I believe it’s called, “Magic Penny”.  The lyrics go:

Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, you end up having more.

It’s just like a magic penny.  Hold it tight and you won’t have any, but lend, spend it and you’ll have so many, they’ll just roll all over the floor.

For, love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, you end up having more.

So may I challenge us to look for ways to give our love away?  God has an unlimited supply to restore and refresh us with.  Like the song says if we hold our love tight we won’t have any, it becomes a stagnant pond useless to anyone.  We must think of our love as a fountain where water never grows stagnant or rushing waterfall that’s mist nourishes all the plants that surrounds it.

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