Who’s In The Driver Seat of Your Car of Life?

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This quote is Psalm 31:14-15a.  It is good for us to trust in God and to remember our place.  We are not in the driver seat, not if we want to have an abundant life, a fulfilling life, a life blessed by God and a life according to His will.

He is God.  The one and only true God.  He is the Alpha Omega, the beginning and the end.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords He is I AM!  There is nothing greater than Him, He is the Creator of the universe.   Before anything was He was.  Before time He was.  Before light He was and always will be.

Anytime we put ourselves in the driver seat of our lives we not only act with outlandish pride, but foolhardy folly!   How dare we think that we have any advantage over God in the direction that our lives should take!  I’m speaking this as harshly to myself as anyone who is reading this.

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We all at times take turns at grabbing the steering wheel out of the LORD’s hands and being the gentleman that He is He won’t force it.  He wants to direct our paths and have control of the steering wheel but it’s our’s to give to Him and sometimes we have to surrender control on a daily if not hourly or moment by moment basis.  But that is how love works, it doesn’t control you.  God loves us enough to wait until we are ready to surrender our lives to him be that the submission of salvation or the submission of daily obedience to His loving guidance.

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It is equally not wise for us to sit in the backseat and do any backseat driving.  You know what I mean, like the times we like to try and tell God how best to do His job.  “Lord if you just…”, “Lord, I just need you to…”, “Lord, I know you said to, but…”, “Lord if we could just go this way.”.   These are all statements of pride because we think that we can do it better than the I AM.

He’s the same yesterday, today and forever He will always be looking to you for relationship but He wants love and love is never forced so He waits.  Whether it’s your first step to salvation or your 10,177 step in obedience, He’s looking for us to open the door to Him.

Our time is in His hands and it only makes sense to go to the Creator of you and me for everything in our lives.  He should be the first thing that we think of each morning and the first One we greet and the last thing on our mind each night, falling asleep with thoughts or communication to/of Him.  Please don’t get me wrong my spiritual life is no where near this but the cry of my heart tells me this is how I would prefer it to be.  Maybe I’ll never attain it this side of heaven but it is my desire to come as close to this as possible.

Incase you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, all you need to do is confess your sins to God and ask His forgiveness for those sins (sin is anything other than absolute perfection to the laws of God-which you know because the Bible says they are written on man’s heart, so look to your heart openly and honestly and see how truly good you are-you can ask God to help you with this).  You can receive the forgiveness of those sins if you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross paying the penalty for your and all the world’s sins, accept God’s grace of what His Son did for you and ask God to accept you into His family & the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Turn away from your old sinful life and strive to live your new life like Christ that you may be a reflection of what has been done inside you, not that your works will make any difference whether you get into heaven or not that is a free gift to anyone how believes, your works just show the change in your heart and life.

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

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 26 Beauty in the Storm

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Today I’m grateful for the beauty that comes from both the weather storms and the storms in life.

My boyfriend and I are on vacation and for this So. Cal. girl snow is an oddity.  We knew the storm was coming and had had hints of it the day before but when I woke up at 4:30 in the morning my first thought was of excitement.  Not of inconvenience or of being snowed in.  As a matter of fact this is what I saw outside my cabin this early morning.

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Ron’s car at 4:30 note that you can still see the license plate.

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Notice the snow is minimal on the branches of the tree.

Then I went back to bed with no concern of the storm or of what it would farther cause.  It later got me thinking are there storms in life that I’m so comfortable with?  Do I ever actually get excited about a storm?  I think not excited but may be  complacent.  And that is when the enemy has won.  He wants  me complacent as the storm brews so that I don’t run to God and that the blessed maturity that can come with storms doesn’t happen.

If I never struggled with anything then I would have no cause to run to God for help and direction and wisdom.  Without the storm I’d never have any need for the cross and then what a sad state I’d be in.  But because of the storms in life I have run to the cross for forgiveness and salvation and now I have a relationship with my Lord that I’d never give up.

That is why I’m grateful for storms and their beauty.  Now granted not all weather storms are what one would consider beautiful they are more frightful.  But God can make good out of anything and even if we don’t see that good this side of heaven, we can stand in faith that He is making it for our good.  That is the beauty that comes from the storms of weather and life.

We can know that God loves us and has His best planned for us.  Jeremiah 29:11.

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To give you an idea of what a few more hours of light snow can do for those of you not familiar with snow here is Ron’s car a little later this morning.

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That tree with the light amount of snow on the branches?  Well here’s a tree outside my bedroom window to show how much more snow there is.

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Yes this storm brought with it instant beauty some other storms in life take longer to see the beauty behind the storm.  But keep your eyes and heart open to it and most likely you will be able to see it this side of heaven and if it is one of those storms that is a faith stretcher don’t loose hope and wait for the other side of heaven for your opportunity to see the beauty God has created out of your storm.  Sometimes we don’t get to see the forest through the trees until we have the right vantage point.

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

30 Days of Gratitude Day 25 – Loving God’s Mercy

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Today I’m grateful for the glory of God’s mercy.  You see I also struggle with my weight.  I’m going to Weight Watchers and have days when I do program better than other days, but I must confess I still do not like the way I look over 44 pounds lighter than when I began.  That’s because I have about 100 more to shed.  I’m fully aware that this is vanity on my part but I grieve the face and body I once looked at that was so much thinner than this present form before me.

My boyfriend says I’m beautiful and that it grieves him that I feel ugly, mostly because he sees the hurt that causes me.  In that he reminds me of my heavenly Father and this quote I got from a devotional:

But no matter how far off the path or how long we are on it, God is patient with us and loves us as a dearly beloved chid – part of His family (Romans 8:16-17; Galatians 4:7).

This reminds me of a touching story shared by my friend Karen Ehman, who lost over one hundred pounds in the first stage of her journey toward health.  Her friend, Tammy, saw a “before” picture and was encouraging Karen enthusiastically when Karen’s young son, Spencer, walked in.  Tammy said, “Wow, Spencer, can you believe that was your mom?  She’s lost so much weight.  Doesn’t she look great?”  In  confusion, he looked back and forth between the photo and Karen and said, “Hmmm, they both look like Mama to me!”.

Out of the mouth of babes.

We are loved as God’s special girls!  No matter where you are in your struggle with healthy eating.  God looks at you and says, “She still looks like my precious  daughter to me!”  He loves you just the way you are.  But God loves you too much to leave stuck in defeat.  You were made for so much more.  You were made for victory.

This comes from, “Made to Crave Devotional: 60 Days to Craving God, Not Food” by Lysa Terkeurst.

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It’s so good to be reminded that God’s mercy extend into any area of our life that we may be struggling with.  Struggle with food?  God loves you and in His love He’s unwilling to leave you stuck where you are.  Alcohol?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Workaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Shopaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Gambler?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Sexaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Have I made my point yet?  It doesn’t matter what you are struggling with even if it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, or diabetes whatever your struggle God loves you and wants you to live at your full potential.  Now the last two there is only so much that can be done and then it’s learning to live with it.  But both can be helped with healthy eating and exercise.

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God in His mercy doesn’t allow us to be stuck where we are in bondage to anything.  He wants us to live victoriously.  He promises an abundant life and that starts by allowing God to work in our lives and help us out of the muck and mire of our struggles.

Won’t you join me in surrendering our struggles to God and His almighty power.  With Him all things are possible including standing clean on firm ground.  Wouldn’t you prefer that to the muck and mire of the pit that your struggles currently have you in?  I know I would and that is why I cry out; “Abba!  Father!  Rush to my aide and pull me from the pit and set my feet on firm ground and cleanse me from my sins.”

Let me clarify something before I get angry comments in no way am I inferring that bi-polar disorder or any other chemical imbalance of the brain or diabetes are sins.  But if you know that eating healthy and exercise (and I’m talking to myself as well here because I’ve been blessed with both) will help symptoms and we don’t do it, aren’t we sinning?  Missing the mark?  Missing the best for our bodies?  Just something to think about.

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

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 24 Legalism & Grace

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Today I’m grateful for the grace that God shows me when it comes to my legalism.  This is something that God has been working on for many decades and I’m pleased to say that I’ve come quite a way, I’m also sad to say that I have a long way to go.

It saddens me when I read things like Galatians 5:2-4:

Mark my words!  I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  4You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Bare with me here, I see my legalism as a form of circumcision because it obligates me to the law and negates the grace of Christ and stand in the way of my relationship with Him.  For those reasons I take firm warning from Galatians 5:2-4.

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As much as I struggle with legalism it breaks my heart that I’ve allowed it to come between me and my Lord Jesus Christ.  I long for a relationship with Him and the last thing that I want to do is fall away from grace.  I want what Galatians 5:1 states:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.

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I want the freedom that Christ offers and I don’t want to allow myself to be burdened again by the yoke of slavery, mainly my legalism.  So I ask God to continue working with me in this area of bondage.  That He make me keenly aware of when I’m struggling with it.  So that I might ask forgiveness and wisdom in how to get out of it.

I’m grateful that God is gracious with me in this area of sin.  I know He wants to see progress in this as much or more than I do.  He is so loving and patient with me when I come to a verse that seems one I can perch my legalistic hat on.  These days knowing His grace those verses cause me confusion, with questions like, “How can that be when God says?” or  “I don’t understand wouldn’t that mean?”  When I hear those questions I can usually assume I’m struggling with that ugly old friend legalism.  Being that I want to rid myself of that friend and things still get caught in my head, I seek wise counsel and that helps to quench the old demon.

When I’m in the midst of legalism my relationship with Christ suffers but if I ask the Holy Spirit to help me find the truth to find grace my relationship with Christ is restored.

God is gracious with us as long as we are earnestly seeking His will.  He is patient and long suffering for our sake.  What an awesome God we serve.

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

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 23 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

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Today I’m grateful for the fact that God knew me before I was born and loved me just the same because He was the One that knit me together.  Because of that I actually love who I am because God doesn’t make junk!

Sometimes I feel guiltier for what I’m not than thankful for what I am.  I now in the light of Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

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believe that since I’m made in the image of God to believe that I’m guiltier for what I’m not is a sin and rather than guilty for what I have done.  God decides what I will and will not be and I can take pleasure and gratitude in what He has chosen to create in me.

It is not for the created to tell the creator how it should have been created.  I love to sing but I’m never going to be a great singer on this side of heaven.  That was not one of the things I was blessed with.  I can however sign to a  song and touch people in that respect, as long as my mouth is shut or at least silent.

Although I love the blessing of these verses it is often easy for the flesh to get in the way of remembering exactly who created me and for whose pleasure I was created for.  For that reason I love this prayer:

Dear Lord, You made me in Your image – and that is something I seem to forget daily.  Please help me remember to celebrate and live in who You made me to be, and not dwell on what I wish I were.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

By Lysa TerKeurst, from “Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress”

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

Life’s Storms

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I love this quote from a song called “Sometimes He Calms the Storm” by Scott Krypanne I hope I’m quoting this right.

Sometimes God calms the storm…and sometimes He calms His child.

If He isn’t calming your storm rest in letting Him calm you.

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

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 22

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Today I’m grateful for my Valentines.  I was single for 22 years and during that time I only had one Valentine, my Lord and Savior.  I figured that since I was the bride of Christ I would conduct myself as such and think of myself as married to Him.  I even wear a ring on my wedding ring finger reminding me of this position.

So when Valentines Day would come around I would be content most of the time with my Holy Valentine.  The times that I felt lonely and wishing for a Valentine with flesh and blood I would pray that if it was God’s will that He would bring one into my life and if it was not that He would fulfill these feelings I was having.

Now I still have my Holy Valentine and God has seen fit to bless me with a flesh and blood Valentine as well.  I feel so blessed to have both.

My human Valentine was so good to me and I’m so grateful to have him.  He sent me a beautiful bouquet and wonderful card.  I was sick Valentines day but he was so patient and kind with me, especially since I brought the sickness on myself.  I’m diabetic and had consumed so much sugar the day before that I had sugar poisoning.  Not smart and not something this addict is going to do again I pray that I’ve learned my lesson once and for all.  Anyway that’s another story.

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The next day I was feeling better and we took a lovely trip down the Pacific Coast Highway from Huntington Beach to Dana Point and came back home through the Majestic and Silverado canyons.  This day trip was beautiful and fun just talking and watching the third love of our lives Tessa my dog looking and sniffing and all the new things she was experiencing.  She was exhausted once we got her home.

Should you have felt alone this past Valentines Day my heart goes out to you.  I know all too well how that feels.  But may I encourage you to think of yourself as having a Holy Valentine and falling in love with that Valentine until He sees fit to give you an earthly Valentine?  Trust me it’ll be the best love affair of your life.

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

Quote for Today – Shake it Off!

“When Paul was shipwrecked on the island of Malta, a deadly snake that was driven out by the heat of the fire bit him.  He simply shook the creature off into the flames.  You should follow Paul’s example.

Whatever may be troubling you, shake it off!  God has great things planned for you.  The dreams of the future leave no room for the snakebites of the past.”

By Joyce Meyer, “Ending Your Day Right Devotional”

I share this because this got me thinking of all the times I’ve allowed troubling times get the best of me.  But I’ve got an all powerful God in my corner that should give me cause to think when trouble comes a knocking that my God is Bigger than any trouble I, man or the enemy may bring so what I need to do is to learn to instantly turn to Him thus shaking it off in the process.

What freedom that knowledge affords me.  I no longer have to be a slave to my problems I can put them at the throne of Christ and leave them there for Him to handle and my part in all of this is to listen to His voice and be obedient to His calling simply and yet the flesh makes it so hard to do at times.

Lord, help your children to shake off their troubles by giving them to you and being obedient to Your wise counsel and guidance.  Help us to follow you and you alone.  Amen!

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

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!