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!

 

 

 

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!

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!

Turning it Over To God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 4

They both went to the local University and there met Diane. They all took the same general education, biology class. They would meet in study rooms in the Library. Diane had a natural talent for biology where Lora grasped it fairly well, but Lynn struggled with it. Diane was intelligent, wise, discerning, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, a good cook, pleasant to look at and an excellent listener, and she was rather popular. In dorm life those that were intelligent, listened and could cook lent themselves to popularity. Diane also had a deep abiding love for God. It was her discernment and wisdom that kept her from being black balled for her beliefs. She knew when to speak and what to say and when to listen and pray. This became an endearing quality in her. Diane had a very special affinity for Lora and Lynn. All three lived in the dorm and quickly became inseparable. Diane could tell that something was deeply disturbing Lynn but despite all her prayers for an opening she never found the right time to ask Lynn what weighed her down. The Sisters Three, as they grew to call themselves, graduated college. Lora had interned with a prominent advertising firm and had a job waiting for her upon graduation. Lynn had majored in education and was hired as an English teacher at a Jefferson High School. Diane had majored in nursing with an interest in psychology. Sisters Three would have weekly lunches varying on Diane’s schedule at the hospital.

Lora and Lynn frequented bars in an attempt to meet men. One night Lora met a guy named Rob. There was an instant connection. Lynn was not nearby when they met. She was busy talking to another man, Rob walked by and Lynn gravitated to him immediately. She couldn’t help the feelings she was having even as she saw Lora interacting with him. She decided staying clear would be the safest thing to do. The feelings were so intense she couldn’t risk getting to know him.

The next day was their weekly lunch. Lynn ventured to ask Lora how her evening went. “At first I thought it was going places but my date Rob turned out to be a disappointment. “Just a one night stand?” Lynn inquired, “What made him such a disappointment? And if he was a disappointment why did you sleep with him?” Lora responded, “As you know I am not ready for any kind of commitment. This guy is looking hard for Mrs. Right and I don’t want to be Mrs. Anybody. I’m all for living for the moment and having fun. He doesn’t want to do that so he’s not the guy for me.” Diane ventured, “Did you find this out before or after you slept with him?” Lynn was so grateful for Diane’s question, she wanted to ask that herself but thought that might give too much away. Lora responded indignantly, “After of course! What do you think I am? What are you getting at Diane?” Diane asked God for wisdom, discernment and love, took a deep breath and responded, “I believe when you are intimate you give part of yourself away and one day you may look back and find you’ve lost too much of yourself.” Lora turned away from the others, looking out the window, a solitary tear rolled down her check. Pondering Diane’s comment she connected the feelings of emptiness with long forgotten pieces of herself.

Knowing that Lora had no feelings for Rob Lynn mustered up her courage to ask Lora if she could pursue Rob. “Lora I know this may come as a surprise to you but when I saw Rob last night I had very strong feelings for him. I didn’t come and introduce myself because I knew the feelings were beyond my control and if I got to know him there would be no denying them. You were engaged with him and I wasn’t going to cross girlfriend boundaries. Now that I know that you have no interest in him, I’m asking for your permission to pursue him. I’m hoping that this will turn into something great but I don’t want to step on your toes.” Lora answered, “Lynn, I have no interest in the man, if you want to pursue him that is fine with me. I have his phone number would you like me to set the two of you up.” “Would you? That would be great! You can give him my phone number.” said Lynn. Their relationship never clicked it was one sided on Lynn’s part.

As close as “The Sisters Three” were their dating practices were very different. Lora was a casual dater, occasionally she would get serious about someone, but usually it was one or two dates and on to the next guy. Lynn was an old fashion girl. Yes she went to the bars with Lora but when she found someone that she was interested she hoped and prayed that he would notice her and waited for him to make the first move. In contrast Diane wanted a man who loved God so she did her looking at church, took her time and observed the man’s character to see if it was something that she desired.

Sisters Three were at a bar one night, this really wasn’t Diane’s thing but she enjoyed the company and was the designated driver incase Lynn decided to drink. At their table they had a great view of the majority of the patrons of the bar. Lynn immediately noticed a man with an enchanting smile, luscious deep brown hair meticulously coiffed. His eyes danced as he laughed at the joke he had told the woman he was standing beside. He was dressed in Florshiems (reminiscent of her father’s favorite shoe), dark jeans, a lavender dress shirt with a v-neck sweater that had yellow trim accents on the v-neck and cuffs. As Lynn drank in the sight she couldn’t help but think that this was not only a man that knew how to dress but was very assured of himself, two qualities she found very attractive. She checked herself in her mirror, was she presentable enough to catch his eye? Oh, how she hoped that he might notice her. Much to her dismay later in the night Lora set her sights on him. She flirted enough to get him to come to their table. Lynn wished so that he would notice her and he did but only after being entangled by Lora, she could be possessive when she wanted.

He introduced himself as Kenneth Randolph. Lora had commented, “Please join us. That’s a rather peculiar last name is there an interesting story behind it?” putting her hand on his forearm. “Well,” started Kenneth, “some might say it’s interesting. My great great grandfather fought in World War I. He was found in Germany by the Brits, unconscious with no dog tags; no helmet, only an American uniform on. They took him to one of their hospitals and all he did was mumble Kenneth Randolph. They figured this was his name and wrote to the American Authorities to see if they could find his family – none was ever found neither was any recruit by the name of Kenneth Randolph. He spoke perfect English in his mumblings and never any other language so no one even considered that he might be a spy. When he finally awoke they greeted him as Kenneth but he had no recollection of that name or for that matter any name. They worked with him for nearly a year trying to help him to regain his memory, but, he finally gave up and took the name Kenneth Randolph. My dad wanted to honor all he did for our country and all he lost in the process so after all these years I’m the first to bear his name” “How thoughtful and loving of your father.” said Lynn. “It looks like you work out. Where do you go?” quipped Lora. “I go to the YMCA near my place” responded Kenneth. “Well, it has given you a great physique.” flirted Lora.

Lora continued flirting with Kenneth and after 30 minutes of this Lynn could see that it was useless to think she could get his attention. She did question herself, “Did he really look at me and smile? Was that a wink he gave in my direction? Surely I must have been mistaken. He’s flirting with Lora, if he were interested in me surely he would approach me rather than continuing with her.” Lynn couldn’t take any more of this, it was too painful, so she turned to Diane and asked, “Would you mind taking me home? I’m ready to call it a night.” Diane responded, “Sure Lynn no problem. Bye Kenneth nice to meet you. See you soon Lora.” “It was nice to meet the two of you.” Kenneth said. “Bye.” Lora gushed. Kenneth watched as the two left, he couldn’t help but feel this night had somehow gone terribly wrong.

Realizing that Lora may have no way home Kenneth asked, “Did the three of you come together?” “Yes” smiled Lora as if he had fallen into a trap. “I guess you’ll just have to take me home.” Kenneth responded casually and cautiously, “Taking you home would indeed be the gentlemanly thing to do. Shall we go?” Lora was beside herself with her good luck. This scheme hadn’t always worked but when it did it was always to her satisfaction.

On the ride home the conversation going on in the two minds couldn’t be more different. Lora was thinking, “He’ll open my door. We’ll walk up to my condo and I’ll invite him in for a night cap and then the fun will begin.” Kenneth was thinking, “I hope she isn’t expecting anything. Although some flirting is fun this girl is just to forward for me. I can’t wait for this evening to end. I’ll take her home; make sure she gets in safe and leave.”

Once at her condo he opened the door to his car for her and walked her up to the front of the high rise complex. He stopped at the door and thanked her for the evening. Lora was stunned, “Don’t you want to come up?” Not wanting to be rude Kenneth rationalized, “It’s getting late. I just want to go home.” Lora wanted more from Kenneth than just a night of innocent flirting, “Well, don’t forget to take my number so we can get together again.” Lora handed Kenneth her business card, turned it over and wrote her cell and home numbers on the back. Kenneth thought boy this girl is pushy she isn’t even letting me make the move, she is not the girl for me, so he just said, “Thanks,” turned towards his car quipped, “I had a nice time, bye.” and got into his car and drove off.

As Kenneth was driving off reflecting on the evening he realized that although he had enjoyed the compliments Lora was giving him and the flirting they did all evening he couldn’t help but think of the sweet Lynn who had gone home with quiet Diane. How was he going to get in contact with her without going through Lora?

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.

That Amazing Tongue

It is amazing what the tongue can do.  With it we are able to enjoy the food we eat and distinguish between bad and enjoyable tastes. We can tell the difference between the sweetness of a strawberry and the sourness of spoiled milk.  We can also taste the subtleties of the various flavors put into a mouse.  Yes God made an amazing tool when He made the tongue.

It is also amazing what mankind has discovered he can do to it.  They pierce it.  Well I just leave it at piercing.  That seems odd enough for me.

The things that they can do with their tongue is pretty amazing from folding it to touching their nose to what this man did.

Yuck is all I can say! That’s not my idea of a kiss! But whatever.

But this most amazing instrument also has the ability bring forth wisdom or folly as mentioned in Proverbs 10.  The Bible commends those who are wise with their tongue but condemns those who are not, calling them a fool.

It is so easy to be unwise.  A little slip here and before I know it I’m gossiping, I’m sure your familiar with the problem.  A car cuts you off and in an instant you’re calling them a fool or worse.  Maybe you’re tired and have a headache when you come home so your curt with the ones you love.

What wisdom does the Bible have to say to strive for?

“Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.”  Proverbs 10:18

“Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongue.”  Proverbs 10:19

“The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.”  Proverbs 10:20

“The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense.”  Proverbs 10:21

How might we tame such a wild beast you may ask?  That only comes through the help of the Holy Spirit.  We have been given the fruit of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, against such there is no law.  All we have to do is to mature in the fruit.

As the fruit of the tree depend on the tree to give it life and let the fruit mature to ripening so we must depend on the Holy Spirit until that day when we are called to Heaven and then the maturing or ripening will be done.

I’m not saying that it is easy to hold your tongue and change old behaviors but it is possible and it is vital to your Christian walk.  If we are to shine God’s glory our words must be in accordance with His Word.

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