30 Days of Gratitude – Day 18

images-1

Today I’m grateful for my thorns in the flesh.  There have been times that I  wish they weren’t there but they keeps me dependent on God and that is where I want to stay.

images

If these thorns are the only way that I will continue to rely on God and not myself and not to become prideful, then I say, “Praise God for them!”

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m no super woman I still have times when I scream and cry to God, “Why me?” “Can’t You take these things from me?”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  –  2 Cor. 12:9

This verse is such a comfort to me, it means I don’t have to attempt to do it on my power that God is waiting to show His power through me.  What a blessing.

So thank you Lord for what You have seen fit to give me and I will do my best to be grateful for all that You give me blessings and thorns.  I know all are for Your glory and for my benefit.  Just as a loving Father does for His child.

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

Isaiah 43:1b, 4

images-2

Not only is God gracious enough to redeem us and call us by name but we are precious in His sight.  If that isn’t something to praise God about I don’t know what is.

images-4

It is also something that should do wonders for your self-esteem.  If you and I are precious and honored in the sight of God then who are we to say anything different about ourselves?  I’m preaching as much to myself here as to anyone reading this.

I’ve had a hard time with my identity in Christ but these verses make it very clear that we are something very special to God and for us to cut ourselves down or beat ourselves up is contrary to God and thus sin.  Ouch!  Rather harsh to look at it that way isn’t it?  But when we get real with ourselves and God we can see it for what it is and anything contrary to God and His righteousness is sin.

Maybe it’s time for those of us that struggle with this to start stashing away the Word of God in our hearts, so when we are tempted we will hear the truth and the truth will set us free from sin.

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

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 14

images-2

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!

images-1

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.

images

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 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!

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 Should People Be Saying About You?

In Proverbs 27:21 it says,

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.

When I read this I got to thinking, what kind of life am I living?  Yes I get some very nice words for my blogs on occasion but is that enough?  What is God calling me to do?  I’m to be a light at the top of a hill.  A beckon that guides the way.  That is something people are grateful for and may even praise.  Not that I am anything of myself without God and ultimately all the praise goes to Him.  But am I causing people to praise Him?  I fear not.

I want my works to withstand God’s testing.  I want my Heavenly Father to say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”  I don’t want to be one that makes it as just one who barely made it through with what little effort put in burnt in the flames.

Lord, make me a powerhouse for You.  I want to hear the praises rise to glorify You and cause people to come to You by the droves.  Lord, give me a fire that burns within me that cannot be quenched.  Cause me to call those who don’t know You to You.  I want to be used mightily of You.

I know this is going to take work on my part and I’m ready to go into the hidden areas of my life and release them to You for healing and renewal.  I give You every part of me, the horrible parts of my past, the things that scare me about the present and the hopes and dreams and fears of my tomorrows.  They are all Yours Lord.  I put them and leave them at the foot of the cross.  Help me not to return to them unless You need me to to learn and grow, other than that I release them to Your mighty power and wisdom.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Resting in the Lord

Today was a day of rest in the Lord with my boyfriend and my dog Tessa and I at the beach.

For Tessa things were not so restful, she barked at people passing by, the birds and squirrels.  Basically anything that moved that was new to her.  But she was enjoying herself as she jumped from me to my boyfriend for attention and love.  Of which there was plenty to go around.

She lays now quite content on a pillow watching me write this blog.  She is well worn out from the days activities.

My boyfriend and I had a more relaxing and refreshing time resting in the Lord.  Ron very wisely suggested that we take turns stating things that we could praise God for.  We praised Him for the beauty around us.  For work and the faithfulness of God to always provide.  We thanked Him for the fact that Tessa is still with us because by all accounts she should be dead because of many of my pills she got into, but God was merciful to me and her and kept her from dying.  I thanked Him that he brought Ron back into my life and Ron did likewise about me.  I thanked Him for my apartment, a gift from God.  The gratitude just kept going and going and it felt so good to be praising the Father together.

Ron then suggested that we pray about anything that came to mind.  First we were praying with our eyes closed and then Ron suggested to look out on the beauty of the ocean and not miss that as we were praying.  We prayed for our families, for work, for individuals we care about that have needs and individuals we struggle with that their hurting would come to an end and they might find God.  We were honest with God about where we stood with things and since God already knew it, I’m sure he honored it.

We ended the day watching the sunset.  It was beautiful and a glorious way to end a day with ones you care about and the most important One to care about.  It felt as though the day had been blessed by God.

We had started the day praying that it would be glorifying and honoring to God and that He would keep us.  I must say looking back, resting in God as we did made the day become just what we had prayed for.

My prayer is that you find the time and person to share such a blessed day with.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Woman To Be Cherished

Proverbs 19 speaks about two types of women.  One that no one would knowingly desire to attain to.  The other, I believe every woman would hope that she is thought in such a manner.

and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.

Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:13b-14

In my lifetime I hate to admit but I have done my part of being a quarrelsome wife.  To be honest with you not only am I sure my ex-husband feel the constant dripping but I began to feel it to and didn’t like it one bit!  I wasn’t happy with who I had become yet I felt stuck and unsure how to become a wife he could cherish rather than one he wanted to avoid.

I looked to anything that I thought would help; self-help books, eventually therapists yes multiple.  One was good enough for me but my marriage was crumbling around me.  When I brought my husband in he was good until they started looking at his issues then he wanted nothing to do with them.

All the rest of that is for another time.  Suffice it to say my constant dripping didn’t help things and we eventually parted ways.  This caused me to do some very deep soul searching.  One of our issues was he left God during our marriage and wanted nothing to do with anyone that had anything to do with God.  My problem is that I had misunderstood submissive and put him in front of God.

So here I was without my idol, praying to God to help get me through this mess.  I was just where God wanted me.  Back with Him.  I had lost my first love.  It is my belief that our God being a jealous God allowed my marriage to end because of my idolatry.  He wanted me back and nothing else had worked.  I was working on the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.

In the 22 years of my singleness I have learned a lot about what it means to be a good wife.  I’ve prayed that God would make me into the Proverbs 31 woman more times than I can count.  I’ve prayed it with the thought in mind that my husband was the Lord.  This is what I’ve prayed:

I long to be Your Proverbs 31 woman.  May I be “a virtuous wife…worth far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life…Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land…strength and honor are her clothing; she can laugh at days to come.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her; ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, shall be praised.  Give the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Since I have no children of my own, when it speaks of children I think of spiritual children I may have, and pray that they would see me at least a little like this woman of God.

These past 22 years I have learned many things about myself that needed changing and I have learned that men don’t respond nagging.  To say it once in a loving request that builds him up is much more effective and will keep your marriage healthy.  Always in all we do or say our job is to build him up.

Now if you are married please don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating divorce or separation.  But if your single or if everything seems to be being taken from you, it could mean that God is calling you to a closer walk with Him.

He may be pruning you to make you into the prudent woman of God that He will eventually present to your future husband or to repair your relationship.  If this is the case please be patient once a bush or tree is pruned, especially when it’s been severely pruned it takes a long time for the branches to grow to the tree the pruner had intended.  For me its been more than 22 years just to get a boyfriend.  Please notice that word I said boyfriend and not fiancé or husband.  I’m perfectly content to be where God has me right now.

You may ask after 22 years how can she be content with just a boyfriend.  Well, I can see the tree’s branches and they are almost grown out to the woman of God that the right man deserves.  Secondly, there is progress in so many areas of my life only one being, I didn’t have a boyfriend this time last year.

How might we be prudent woman that are a gift from God?  A man wants respect, so in everything we do and say we must do it from a place of respect.  A man needs building up.  All day long the world tears him down.  Our job to undo what the world has been doing. Build, build, build.  A man needs to be honored.  So no nagging!  You may disagree at such things but that is what makes a prudent woman.  She isn’t a politically correct woman.  She is called out by God to higher standards.  She is called to live a righteous life.  Not that she will always succeed but she must strive to be righteous in all she does.

You might be thinking or saying well what do I get out of all of this.  Which let me remind you, this is our calling and we shouldn’t be thinking what we get out of it.  If I had told you to respect, praise, honor and don’t nag God, would you be so quick to complain.  Just as God loves and cherishes us when we do these things so does a man.  So do it unto the Lord as an act of obedience if you must or better do it as an act of love for your man.  Trust me when I tell you from what I’ve observed of friends that live a life this way, there is no greater joy and no better way to guarantee being cherished by your man than this way.

Happy Father’s Day

As we honor our earthly Fathers for all the wonderful things they have done for us.  Maybe he would blow bubbles with you.  Perhaps your’s like mine would take you out on outings as a kid that was code for once the shopping was done we were going to Thrifty’s for ice cream.  May be he played ball with you and taught you all about sports.  Perhaps he would swing with you.  Maybe he had many business trips but would always bring home a gift for you to remind you that he had been thinking of you the whole time.

Or perhaps your dad was absent or worse yet abusive with either his words or deeds or both.  You may have nothing but bad memories of your father and the idea of celebrating this day is more than you can handle.

Perhaps your like me and your father is no longer a live and this day is just a reminder of what you are missing.

May I encourage you that we can honor a Father that loves like no other!  He is there for the hurting and wants to ease your burden.

I know there are a thousand questions for those of us who have been abused and/or witnessed abuse that we could ask our Heavenly Father, “Why would you allow that to happen to me?”

All I know is His ways are higher than mine and His thoughts higher than mine.  I’ve come to a point that there are things that I will not understand this side of heaven.  I’m alright with that.  There is so much that He has done for me that I can trust in His love and honor Him this Father’s Day as the awesome Father that He is!

Please take a step of faith with me and no matter what kind of earthly father you have and honor our Heavenly Father.  For He is at work, working all things for our good.  That is something we can praise Him for and there is oh so much more.  His grace, mercy, love, righteousness, justice, majesty and glory.  He offers that grace to all who will accept it, and merciful on those who call on Him.  He lives to love us.  Where would the world be if He weren’t righteous?  His majesty humbles us and puts us in right standing with Him.  His glory is to shine through us to bring others to Him.  What more could you ask of a Father.

How about one that keeps track of every tear ever cried and hurts that you hurt.  He wants to take that hurt away.  And replace it with His love and forgiveness.  Two very powerful attributes.

He wants to fill the emptiness that human fallible fathers could not fill.  That is why He wants us to turn to Him so strongly.

While you’re honoring your earthly father take some time today to consider honoring your Heavenly Father.  If that means giving your life to Him because you have yet to do that then ask forgiveness for your sins, thank Him for what Christ did on the cross for you and decide that you are going to live differently from now on.  Get into the Word of God so that you know how to live, and find a growing church body to be a part of.  If that means recommitting your life to God so be it.  Get in right standing with Him and do all you can to not fall away again.  If you are in good standing with God praise Him for all that He has done for you and all that you may have taken for granted.

Have a blessed Father’s Day!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!