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!

Who Is Your Identity?

Who are you?  Are you identifying yourself by your profession?  Perhaps you are identifying yourself as a husband or wife and putting everything you have into that relationship.  Perhaps your a mom and you are identifying yourself as a mom or in how your children behave or have matured and grown up?  Are you a student and identify yourself as such? Do you allow your grades to speak for who you are?  If you are identifying yourself in any of these ways or any other way other than in respect to Christ that is not your true identity.

I have mistakenly looked for my identity in nearly all of these except for mom, since God never blessed me with children.  When I was put on disability and lost my identity of a professional and it was very difficult when asked what I do to answer the question.  You see here I was (if I remember correctly) in my early 30’s and out of the workforce.  What was to be my identity?

I have had and continue to have the identity of daughter and sister but that never seemed enough.

When I went into early retirement as was suggested to call it by some, I became a student and although I love learning and am fairly good at it.  This too was not enough.

Actually being put on disability was a blessing because I had been so busy with work that I hadn’t realized how empty I was.  It was sometime after that and not without heartache and dealing with my pride that I came to realize that my identity comes from Christ and being in Christ.

Galatians 3:26-29 says this about our identity;

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior your identity belongs to Christ.  As you can see in Galatians 3:26-29 we who have been baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.  It is Christ in us that the world must see and who we must identify ourselves with.

As the scripture says there is no distinguishing among us. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.”  In today’s terms: Their is neither Baptist nor Methodist nor Lutheran nor Evangelical nor Charismatic nor Catholic, poor nor rich, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  There also isn’t doctor nor plumber, teacher nor homemaker, wife nor aunt, student nor retired.  There are followers of Christ which have clothed themselves in Christ Jesus.

The above list of denominations and non-denominational churches is incomplete I just listed what came to mind and am sure given time I could think of a number of other to add to this list.  Most importantly, instead of the different denominations and non-demominationals waring of non-fundamentals of the faith, let us do as the Bible teaches us and find our common ground and be united in that.  We are letting these insignificant things (in comparison to the fundamentals of our faith) to be used by the enemy to pull the Church (followers of Jesus) apart rather than being unified.  This is exactly what he wants because it destroys our witness to the world.  Church wake up!  It is time we take back what the enemy has cunningly got us to let go of.  There should be unity in love of the Church this is what will attract unbelievers to us.

When you find your true identity – either a follower of Christ or not.  One of three things will happen.

  1. Knowing your identity in Christ as a believer and follower that place in your heart that you were trying to fill with other identities will find peace and wholeness.
  2. If you are not a believer or follower of Christ but you heed the tugging in your heart that this could be the answer to that whole you feel – pray this simple prayer: Lord I see myself as the sinner I am and ask You to forgive me of all my sins.  I accept what Jesus did on the cross as a sacrifice for me so that I might have forgiveness of my sins and fellowship with you.  Lord help me to live the new life that I’ve just begun and bring believers around me to help me grow in You. Amen!
  3. If you are not a believer nor follower of Christ and you choose not to say the above pray and let Christ into your life, you can look through every profession, toy, relationship, or book other than the Bible and you will never fill that God shaped whole you feel.  You know the emptiness that nothing seems to fill.  It’s there for a reason.  God put it there so you would choose Him.  He also gave you free choice so you can run from Him all you want, He’s a gentleman He won’t force Himself on you.  But let me worn you the longer you run the harder your heart becomes.  The harder your heart becomes the less likely you are to turn to Him.  The reason I mention this is that hell is a very real place and if you don’t like things here on earth you have no idea what awaits you separated eternally from a loving and holy God.  It scares me to think that anyone I know would be sent to such a horrible place.  So please reconsider God’s gracious gift of forgiveness.  We’ve all sinned and fallen short of what God in His righteousness requires which is perfection.  Only one man ever walked the earth and did not sin, and that man is our Lord and Savior  Jesus Christ.

So let’s stop looking in all the wrong places and seek out Christ in the Bible and learn about Him so that we have a better understanding of our true identity.

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

Help! I’m Bi-polar!

I struggle with Bi-polar disorder and the past two plus weeks I’ve been struggling with severe depression.  When this happens it is easy to believe God has deserted you.  Now I am fully aware that that is not Biblically sound doctrine.  It’s just when your deep in the pit of despair it’s easy to go by feelings rather than faith of the truth of God’s Word.  But this is what God’s Word has to say on the matter:

What a blessed promise.  When I’m isolating in my apartment, I’m never truly alone.  God is with me.  He promises this and He is faithful, He never breaks His Word.

When I keep the discipline of staying in His Word I find these jewels that help me to hold on one more day in hopes of the depression leaving soon and life looking full of possibilities for the future.

I love this version of this particular verse because instead of translating the word to prosper which most people equate with money, something God has never seen fit to lavish upon me, it translates it as peace and that I’d much prefer.

There is another verse that I have found helpful in changing the thoughts that don’t help with the depression that I am fighting.

Filling my mind with positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts literally changed my life that and the decision that suicide was no longer an option.  But there is more than just the positive thoughts Philippians 4:9 goes on to say, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”  Now that’s a wonderful promise! But notice the promise comes with action on our part.

For any of you that are struggling with Bi-polar disorder please don’t get me wrong in no way am I saying that it is easy to deal with.  I struggle with wanting to isolate, sleep my life away, gorge myself into oblivion so I don’t have to feel and I have even done less healthy things in an attempt to cope. What I am saying is it is a fight we mustn’t stop, and in that fight use any tool available to you.  Take your meds religiously.  See your doctors and therapists regularly and be open and honest with them.  Make sure you have a support network.  If you don’t work occupy yourself so you have a set schedule. Get plenty of rest and have a consistent bedtime.  Eat healthy even when you don’t want to.  Get exercise and get 20 minutes of morning sun.  All of these will help you live a better life.

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

God is Good!!!

Been on vacation where there was no internet reception so that is why I’ve been so silent.  When I got back I went to a Women of Faith conference that was wonderful!!  It was totally anointed by God and I learned so much.

Didn’t sleep much Friday night so excited about what I learned at the conference.  From Ken Davis: “God is the author of JOY!!” [me-who am I to stifle God’s JOY? I’ve done it far too long and been far to serious for my own good.] “Perfection is not a requirement.” [me-reason for my seriousness is I thought I had to be perfect.  What a relief! I hope and pray I get it this time.  God has been working with me on this.] “No matter the circumstances God is good ALL the time.” [me- God’s not good just some of the time, or in good circumstances WHATEVER the circumstances are God is GOOD! That means when we don’t understand what He’s doing, when are hearts are breaking, when our spirits feel crushed and dry – God is still GOOD! For me personally that means whether I’m balanced, on a manic high or suicidal God is still GOOD!  The circumstances may have changed but He has NOT CHANGED!!!! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Amen.]

This has gotten me thinking, if God is the author of joy and I’m His creation and His child shouldn’t I be radiating that joy at all times?  I no longer need to worry about being perfect Ken Davis has explained that that is not a requirement, so no need for me to fret anymore.  I can be my imperfect self and joyful that God loves me in my imperfection.

And isn’t even more freeing to know that God is good no matter what the circumstances are?  We are free to joyfully praise Him for His goodness.  Better yet trust Him for what He is doing in our lives and no matter how painful let the author of JOY give us the JOY that only He can give to see us through those circumstances.  That not only gives us JOY but PEACE.  Wouldn’t you like some of that in your daily life?  It’s there for the taking all we need to do is seek Him.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

What is Your Heart Reflecting?

In Proverbs 27:19 it states:

As water reflects the face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

When I read that it got me thinking, what am I reflecting?  Am I reflecting confidence, steadfastness, peace, self-control?  If I have faith and trust in the Lord that is firm and unshakable, as it should be, for He is worthy of that faith and trust, then I would automatically exude confidence and steadfastness.  But do I?  Would I be likely to hear my Lord say, “Oh, you or little faith.”  More often than I care to admit I think I would.

If I rest in the shadow of His wings would I not naturally have peace in my life?  But is that what I do or do I fret and worry and try to do things on my own strength rather than rest in His strength.

If I allow myself to be controlled by the Fruit of the Spirit and develop that in my life would I not reflect self-control?  Yet do I yield to the Spirit on a daily basis or even hourly basis?  No not always, not even usually if I’m honest with myself.

Lord, I want to reflect confidence that comes from You so that others may learn that precious gift.  I want to be steadfast in my faith, firm and unshakable, help me to reflect this so that others will be attracted to the best You have to offer.  Lastly, Father I want to reflect a trust in You that will bring others to a saving knowledge of You.  And if You will, may I also reflect wisdom and discernment, so that people will be drawn to the words of my mouth because they come from You.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Life’s Roller Coaster

Sitting in an emergency room waiting for a friend who is sick and in pain to find some relief.

I feel so helpless as she lays there in tears, throwing up.  I pray the doctor comes soon but is that really adequate for all she’s going through? My mind goes back to other hospital trips when not much was offered.  “Lord, please let them find the source of pain and be able to fix it!” “Father she has no insurance and no income today please provide for her and stop this constant pain.”

So many different people in pain here, “Lord, help them all!”

Thank You Lord she sleeps! Sweet slumber eases her pain.  Thank You Lord for the pain medication.

This is truly humbling Lord, there is absolutely nothing I can do.  My job is done for the time being, I brought her here, she sleeps and I sit and wait for the doctor and his results. “Lord, please let him have some positive answer as to how to stop this for her.

This is the uncomfortable part of life’s roller coaster the not so much the fun part.  May be for you that’s the time when the coaster is chugging up the high incline and your nerves are at a peak in anticipation of the drop to come.

May be there is just no part of the roller coaster that you like.  May be you have avoided them all your life terrified of them.  I hear you, life can be terrifying as well.  Those of us that like control, like myself have to face the fact that with life there is no control and that is a very uncomfortable place to be.  But if we give God the control and allow ourselves to let go and let God we may just find that we can start to tolerate roller coasters driven by God.

May be flying free is freeing for you and the fun part but the slow chug chug chug up to the pinnacle just before the drop is the anxiety riddling part.  That’s how it is for me.  Once I’ve given in to the dips and loops and inclines the anxiety of the beginning of the ride is overrun by laughter and enjoyment.  Now in our life those uncomfortable times of the roller coaster, the chug for the next set of dips or the dips themselves are not times of laughter and enjoyment but they can be times of peace.  If we turn to God at all times in our life.  Whether we find ourselves in hospitals with friends, or worshiping at church,  when we yield ourselves to God, He will give us the peace we desire.

Notice something about roller coasters?  You are never in them by yourself.  Just as my friend had me with her in the hospital we both had someone else there that is there for us all the time.  God never leaves you in the roller coaster alone.  If you invite Him into your life He is there all the way.  Never will He desert you.  You never have to feel alone again.  Just ask Him into your heart, repent of your sins, and accept what Jesus Christ did on the cross for you.

Just as I release to the roller coaster, if we will release to God’s perfect will for us, our journey on the roller coaster will be to our benefit.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  –  Jeremiah 29:11-13

The Lord has plans for you and for me.  Those plans are to prosper and not to harm.  Please don’t get me wrong here, I truly believe prosper is a relative term.  Meaning that whatever is in God’s will for you to do He will cause it to prosper.  That doesn’t mean that you will necessarily become monetarily rich.  I have been doing my best to live out God’s will in my life and I am the last person you would define with worldly wealth.  But I am rich in things the world knows nothing about.  I have a faith stronger now than it has ever been.  I know no matter what that my God will take care of me.

God has brought me through much and I feel confident that I am able to handle things that once during my life would have overwhelmed me.  And I am able to listen to my Father’s voice and to head His instruction so that I might go the way He wants me to, which is for my benefit.

God wants to bless us but He also wants all of us.  In Jeremiah He promises that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart.  Our God is a jealous God and there is no room for anyone but Him to fill that whole in your soul.  He wants to be the love of your life.  Before your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/or addiction.  God wants all of you and then from the fullness of God can you give to others or overcome your addictions.

A Peace We All Could Use

I would write on this myself but I must bow to Beth Moore on this because she puts it so perfectly.  To try and describe it the same would be a disservice to her.

“I will make peace flow to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flood.”  – Isaiah 66:2

“God’s Word does not say we’ll have peace like a pond.  If we were honest, we might admit to thinking of peaceful people as boring, like they’re a breath from death.  We are apt to think, ‘I’d rather forego peace and have an exciting life!’  But when was the last time you saw white-water rapids? Few bodies of water are more exciting than rivers!

When God used the analogy of a river, He described a peace that can be retained while life twists and turns and rolls over boulders.  It means to have security and tranquility while meeting many bumps and unexpected turns on life’s journey.”

By Beth Moore  From “Breaking Free Day by Day – Devotional”

Yes our journey is full of surprises both good and bad, it’s a blessing to know that we can have security and tranquility while meeting those surprises.  Rest in the marvelous peace that only our Lord can give.  Lean wholly upon Him for all your needs.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

The Complete Serenity Prayer

This has been a blessing to me, more than I can express. I’ve said it so many times I have it memorized. It has gotten me through some of my darkest days and it is my fervent hope that it is an encouragement to you.

“Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I can not change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardship as the pathway to peace;

taking, as Jesus did this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it;

trusting that You will make

all things right if I surrender to your will;

so that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.”

By Reinhold Niebuhr