Recently my husband and I were invited on a trip to the mountains of Colorado with our dear friends. It was a beautiful week taking in the beauty of God’s snow capped mountains and the stillness of winter’s rest. It was a week of love, friendship and spiritual truths for me. In Louisiana, we rarely get snow and the climate doesn’t slow down our pace of life as it does in many areas of the country. As I watched and observed the winter landscape this week, I sensed the Father was showing me some lessons about His plan for the seasons of our lives.
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
“It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; You made both summer and winter.” ~Psalm 74:17
When we arrived at the cottage in the mountains near Lake City, Colorado I was overwhelmed at how beautiful the world was - so clean and white. The snow on the mountains sparkled as if God had thrown glitter everywhere to catch the light. Then I noticed how quiet it was. There was a stillness, a sense that creation was resting. For those of you who live in the snow, you may have lost that sense of wonder over the beauty of it. Much like when people visit Louisiana, they comment on how green everything is, but we no longer seem to notice because we see it everyday. We have come to expect it. It is our normal.
For me, the splendor of the snow and mountains was truly a wonderland.
After one night in the cottage, we spent a few days at a nearby ski resort in Crested Butte before returning back to our friends mountain home. God gifted us with a beautiful week. The men skied the slopes and my friend, Melissa and I just took it easy. We slept in, visited over hot chocolate, sat by the fire, read the Scriptures and good books, played games, watched old movies and soaked in the precious moments together and prayed that the guys would come back in one piece from their ski adventures. At an altitude of 8,885 feet, the oxygen level forces you to slow down a bit! So we even treated ourselves to a massage!
I was so grateful to have this time with my friend who has been battling stage 4 cancer for 2 years. She is an amazing woman, so courageous and strong. We have traveled together with our families since our girls were 3 years old, 28 years....! We have treasured memories of vacations, fun times together and watching our children grow. We’ve laughed and cried and played hard through the years. But this trip was different. The children weren’t with us and the landscape was speaking to our hearts.
The first night we arrived at the ski resort, our friends Melissa and Perry had planned a special surprise evening for us. All they told us was to dress warm. The temperature was about 3 degrees I think! We arrived to find a large sleigh waiting to carry about twenty of us up to the top of the mountain to Uley’s Cabin.
It was freezing and glorious! I just cried at the wonder of it. The moon lit our way up the mountain and there at the top we had a delicious five course gourmet meal. I cried again when we sat down to eat, overcome by the beauty, the roaring fire, the generosity of dear friends who would treat us to such a wonderful evening! Love flowed...
Later that week when we drove the mountain roads back to our friends home in the mountains, we barely spoke. There were no words. We were just taking it all in.
The glory of the Lord was on display in the beauty of His creation all around us!
We saw little wildlife along the way. But we searched the peaks and valleys for elk and deer. We would drive a long way with nothing in sight. Everything was just all white and quiet and then suddenly God would bless us with a small herd of elk resting in the snow or deer crossing a frozen river. As we drove, God's amazing majesty and beauty brought us to worship. We found ourselves singing in the car together...
”As the deer panteth for water, so my soul longeth after thee. You alone are my hearts desire and I long to worship thee.”
There are many ways to worship the Lord in this world. Sometimes it is in church, sometimes in the quiet of your own home, sometimes in the sacrifice of service for His kingdom, and sometimes when song breaks forth in gratitude from your hearts as you cherish sweet moments with lifelong friends while driving along a mountain road!
It’s a privilege to share the joys and struggles of life with those whom God has chosen to weave together with your own.
Lake City is a little mountain town with a population of less than 400. It is known mostly as a summer adventure area in Colorado. On Sunday of our week in the mountains we went into town to the little Baptist church. When we arrived and got out of the car, I noticed again how quiet it was.
Next I noticed this sign outside the fellowship hall.
"In simple humility, let our gardener, GOD, landscape you with THE WORD, making a salvation-garden of your life."
All week I couldn’t get the words out of my mind.
The little church established in 1891 is nestled up against the mountain. There were about 35 people gathered there for Sunday morning worship. It was simple and beautiful. I thought of the faithful believers who had gathered there at this mountain for over a century. I was awestruck at the power of prayer and God's presence in that humble little church that Sunday.
After singing some hymns, the preacher called all the men to the front and they got on their knees and prayed. What a sight to see the men of this small community bow in reverence and humility before the Father. Then we sang more hymns, shared prayer requests and prayed together in small groups for those needs. People gathered around my friend and prayed for her healing. They know her family and have loved her since she was a young child. Her family has spent time during the summers in Lake City since her grandparents first bought a summer cabin there years ago. There is a history and heritage of faith in that little church. We sang and prayed for almost hour before the pastor began his message. My heart was full. Then the pastor spoke hard truths to this group about living a life of sacrifice and offering hope to those who couldn’t care for themselves.
God met us in the power of His Word and loved us that morning through that small, faithful group of believers. His presence was powerful because their hearts were devoted to the Lord and to each other. As we left, I spoke with the pastor's wife and commented on how much their commitment to prayer had ministered to my spirit. She smiled and responded, Jesus said, "My house shall be called a House of Prayer." Matthew 21:13
The glory of the Lord was on display among His people in this house of prayer.
I’m well aware of the privilege and blessing I received last week in the mountains with our friends. And I know that most you reading will not get to experience the quiet, beauty and gift of a week in the snowy mountains this year, but I wonder if the Lord doesn’t have a lesson for us all during this winter....wherever you are.
I came back rested, restored and ready to prepare for the new season God brings this spring. I want the landscape of my life to be His Word so that I speak words of life to whomever He brings across my path. Winter is a season of rest before the bloom and new growth of spring bursts forth. Truly His Word is the most beautiful landscape for our souls so that we might also be a display of His glory.
God so often seems to teach me in themes that keep recurring throughout the circumstances of my life. When He wants to be sure I get the message, it's everywhere. Does He speak that way into your life?
This morning the main focus of our church service was from Habakuk 2:20.
"The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
As only the Lord could orchestrate, the whole service was full music about God's holiness, His salvation and being still before Him. We read the passage from Psalm 46:10-11 - "Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Sometimes, like creation, we need a season of quiet and rest to prepare our hearts and spirits for what lies ahead. I encourage you to take a little winter’s rest for your soul before spring comes upon us.
Find a place to be still and quiet, for at least a few hours or more if possible.
Ask the Lord to give you a fresh vision and His eyes to behold His glory all around you.
Soak in God’s landscape in Creation and let our Gardener landscape your soul with His Word this week.
Make a salvation garden of your life.
Then share His life with a friend.
Our God is holy.
He is sovereign.
He is majestic.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
Let us bow in holy reverence and worship.
My husband Ken is the worship pastor at our church and he asked me to close the service this morning with the song, "I Stand in Awe of You." I have always loved that worship chorus, but today it took on new meaning in my life as I had the privilege of singing to the Father.
" You are beautiful beyond description,
Too marvelous for words,
Too wonderful for comprehension,
Like nothing ever seen or heard.
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom,
Who can fathom the depth of Your love,
You are beautiful beyond description.
Majesty, enthroned above...
And I stand, I stand in awe of You,
I stand, I stand in awe of You,
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You."
Enjoying Winter's Rest,
Resources: I Stand in Awe of You, Mark Altrogge; As the Deer, Marty Nystrom, Psalm 42:1
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Can you see it? Look closer.
Something is in the midst of the flames! What do you really see?
I love to sit by the fire and gaze into its flames and hot coals. I often think about the beauty that comes from such a horrific and intense process of things created from out of the flames! You are in for a treat today as you read about such flames! As I began to write for this week, I was prompted to shift gears. This is not unusual. But, what was really unusual was the email I received during the middle of this week...this blog! When I read it, I knew that someone needed encouragement. So I'll save my thoughts for another day and share with you these timely words.
Todays Monday Musing is shared with us by Judy Ingle. For those of you that are new to reading our blog, Judy is my aunt in Tennessee; who like me, sees God in the most amazing places. Her eyes and ears are ever open to discover God's spiritual truths that dance before us in the most common places at the most uncommon times!
Be Blessed, Sherry
Recently I read a fairy tale to my grandson, Jaedon, who is now 4 years old. I realized it had been a long time since I read this particular story and found myself excited to be refreshed on the details of this unique tale. You will probably recall this one also, it is called Rumplestiltskin. That is a mouthful for a toddler but he managed it well. This folklore is about a deceitful elf and his beautiful daughter. The wee elf was suprisingly summoned to appear before the King...but wait, he was only a poor miller, how could he ever stand in the presence of the King? Immediate fear prompted his quick thinking which led him to contrive an untruth. He hoped it would give him confidence to make him feel worthy to appear in the King's presence. He told the King boldly: "I have a beautiful daughter who can spin straw into gold." What was he thinking? His poor daughter was brought to the kindgom and placed in a room with only mounds of straw and a spinning wheel. What was she to do? As she began to weep, suddently a little man, a manikin, enters and asks her what she could give him in return for his help. Pondering, she offers her only possessions; she offers a necklace and later offers her ring. Suddenly, the manikin began the process of weaving the straw into gold. Straw on one side of the spinning wheel and gold coins on the other side. She was so amazed, yet innocently unaware of his ultimate plan to trick her. He wanted to soon control her and her offspring. Knowing of the abundance of gold, the King became even more greedy and the elf's demands became greater also. His name was Rumplestiltskin. So...luckily the story ends in her favor.
Most everyday we are probably in a quandary about making decisions and wondering how we are going to respond to situations and problems that arise. It's common to become resentful or bitter and full of complaints and unintentionally stockpile a lot of "straw" in our lives. The better way is to "pause" and acknowledge God in our difficulty and realize He is sovereign over all our hardships. The thing to do is give it all to Him, trusting and confident that He knows best. This is how we weave the straw; the wood, hay and stubble accumulated in us into gold, laying up treasures in Heaven.
"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it because it shall be revealed by fire;
and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."
1 Corinthians 3:12
Gold and silver when put through the fire both come out purer because the impurities have been burned off. What is left is the valuable and beautiful part. Gold and silver can stand the heat, however; wood, hay and stubble cannot. They simply burn up and become "dross," absolutely good for nothing! Our straw or our "dross" may be wrong attitudes or wrong motives, questionable actions or activities or anything that prevents us from being all God would have us to be. Often our lives get overwhelmed and the "straw" once again begins to mound up. Perhaps that happens when we lose our focus or veer off course. Maybe even presenting to others a facade while we carefully conceal our own insecurities. We can consciously choose to cease the thoughts and actions in life that cause us to be preoccupied with ourselves and "stuff" and accept God's offer to release us from our comfort zone of self-pity and misery. Wow, that was tough to write and I need a scripture for encouragement and strength! Maybe you do too.
"In God is my salvation and my glory:
the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah."
In Biblical days, a Silversmith would begin his first process of refining by breaking-up hard rock possibly covered with zinc, copper or tin. (Are we not like a hard rock in great need of refining?) Inside the rock he would likely find hidden metals. The precious metals of gold and silver.
"Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:29
Once exposed the gold and silver were placed in a crucible and put through a fire removing all impurities. All the dross, that which was worthless, was burned away, revealing their greatest value.
A Silversmith was onced asked, "Do you sit while the work of refining is going on? "Oh yes," replied the Silversmith; "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."
"How much more God's eye intently watches over us!" Psalm 32:8
In the Old Testament, Malachi 3:3 tells us, "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify..."
God "sits" over us! While we are busy in our everyday lives trying to find a time to fit our Saviour in and making choices apart from God's leading, God sits over us and our problems. He patiently watches and waits until the heat of the hardship or the busyness we have created has burned away all that's impure leaving behind gleaming gold and shimmering silver. The dross is left behind, that worthless junk in our lives. God is not distracted nor does He get side-tracked as we so easily do, He patiently waits; sitting thoughtfully taking care of us while knowing all the cirumstances surrounding our lives. He is purging us and freeing us from all that can harm us while purifying our hearts.
He waits...until the refining process is complete.
He knows it is complete when He looks into the refining crucible and can clearly see His own reflection! A vessel made pure and clean for the Master's use. Proverbs 25:4 tells us, "Take away the dross from the silver and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer." Someone once said: "Silver is a word of great intrinsic value, and so are we in God's hands." Also, Isaiah 1:25 tells us, "And I will turn my hand upon thee and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." When we find ourselves under pressure and it seems we are being "crushed" by everything and everybody, as silver is crushed in a crucible, remember God is in control. He is sovereign and His grace is sufficient. God's loving refining process will produce a pure vessel radiant with joy, purposely cleansed to magnify Him.
Silver is it's brightest when it is used. We can use the gold and silver of our mind, heart, our hands, and our mouth to fulfill His purpose. As silver, purified pure and clean, our minds are of value when our thoughts are God centered and our wisdom is shared to glorify Him. Our hearts, when pure before God, can give love, enouragement and sympathy to those most needy. When we acknowledge our hands as tools for God's service, we can readily and willfully offer help and kindness to the hurting. Also, a sanctified mouth, will bless others and offer God praise in word and song. We are to be as refined silver, the image of all that is pure and noble. Always reminded through His word to be vigilant and diligent so we never become "dross" - useless and worthless.
I appreciate the quote by William Law:
"Receive every inward and ourtward trouble, every disappointment...darkness and desolation with both your hands, as a blessed occassion of dying to self, and entering into a fuller fellowship with your Saviour. Look at no inward or outward trouble in any other view; reject every other thought about it; and then every kind of trial and distress will become the blessed day of your prosperity. That state is best which exercises the highest faith in and fullest resignation to God."
Matthew Henry wrote these words of encouragement:
"There is power enough in God to help the weakest
and grace enough to help the unworthiest of all that trust Him."
When wrong comes our way we should be open and honest before the Lord asking Him to make an internal search and examination of our lives, therefore, revealing the real condition of our heart. He will refine us. Someone once said, "God only tries the heart and He is both the searcher and the sovereign of the heart."
We can become a Rumplestiltskin. Not the trickster but the weaver with our wood, hay, and stubble - our straw - on the earthly side of the spinning wheel; our gold, silver, and precious stone on the heavenly side. Days can seem a constant weaving of our troubles and aggravations so let us weave, with God's help, priceless treasures of gold. We can learn to respond to adversity with joy and weave by faith to turn the problems into silver. When our faith is purified, it will reveal His strength and sovereignty and all the while, it will be for our unspeakable advantage. After all, we are as the wee elf, the poor miller, absolutely of no consequence. But, because of Christ, His death on the cross, His resurrection and His unconditional love, we can stand before our King, the King of Kings, as silver - clothed in His righteousness and of great consequence to Him. Let's get to work. I have much weaving to do, how about you?
Psalm 66:10, "For thou O God, has proved us; thou hast tried us as silver is tried."
May this be a constant prayer in our hearts...
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139: 23-24
In His Love,
"But learning to live well in ordinary time isn’t a call to elevate moments; it’s a call to draw close to Christ.
What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves, but the presence of Christ with us
in the midst of them.” – Oswald Chambers
I came across this wonderful quote awhile back. Yesterday, I experienced some of what I think Oswald Chambers meant. Last night my home was filled with people for a blessing shower for a precious young couple. We have given several of these showers through the years for the children of special friends. We wanted to bless the daughter and fiancé of our friends, Jan and Dan. Jan and I have been friends since third grade. I’ve watched her youngest daughter grow up into a beautiful, godly woman. So along with some dear friends, we planned a special evening. I was busy creating it for weeks in my mind. The invitations were sent setting the theme for our night - winter wonderland. I decorated the house with white birch trees, tiny white fairy lights, white candles, and little touches of mercury glass and white tulle and fur graced the tables and the mantle. Silver vases of beautiful fresh white tulips were scattered throughout the house.
The other couples hosting brought beautiful desserts served on gorgeous crystal plates. We wanted to provide a special evening. Ken had planted beautiful flowers around the fountain and worked hard to get it working again to beckon people outside to enjoy the wonderful weather God gave us.
The front door was decked in white, as well, with baskets of fresh tulips and baby’s breath to greet the young bride and her groom.
I had such fun planning and preparing a creative coffee/cocoa bar for the guests to enjoy.
One of the husbands who had come to help us set up kept commenting on how calm we all were. He was expecting chaos and frenetic activity as we got things ready. But everyone was taking care of their part and filling in the gaps where needed. God had assembled a team for the evening and we were functioning in our gifts. One was the gourmet cook, one took care of designing the invitations and tending to many of the last minute details, one was there to serve and greet with joy, and I was doing what I love - creating an atmosphere of beauty to bless and welcome those who enter. The peace of Christ was at work among us. I noticed that even as the time came near for guests to arrive it was especially quiet in the house. I looked around and some of the hosts were writing and reading over their blessing cards for the couple. At a blessing shower, after everyone visits and enjoys the food and drink, we all gather to speak words of wisdom, Scripture, and blessing over the engaged couple. We were preparing our hearts to be vessels of love and truth as they listened. We understood that was the most important aspect of our evening. Christ was present among us.
That night, I loved listening to the conversations, the laughter. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food that had been prepared with such love.
Then we all moved into the living room and began to speak words of life and love. As we gathered, Christ drew us close to Himself in the moment. The power of the Word was poured over this young couple as the voices of experience shared life lessons they had learned in their own marriages. Marriages that spanned from 22 years to over 40 years. There were words spoken of hard lessons learned from couples who had weathered the storms that life can bring and from those who had lived through the pain of divorce.
It was intimate and rich and Christ was speaking through us as we shared our hearts. It was beautiful.Their parents blessed and encouraged them. Most of the young people present just listened. I sensed they too were taking in the wisdom and presence of Christ in the room.
I noticed there were some themes and Scriptures that kept surfacing throughout the night.
As I looked around the room and listened, my heart was filled with gratitude.
My home looked beautiful. It had become the winter wonderland wedding theme I had envisioned.
The food was delicious and the fellowship was sweet,
but what would last in the life of this couple was the presence of Christ in this moment.
He was speaking through the men and women who had lived lives of faith in their marriages. He was in our midst as we tried to share the truth of the joys and sorrows in the life they were beginning together. The time together was honest. There was a willingness to be vulnerable, because everyone who came was there because they were invested and committed to this couple. God had drawn them to come to be a blessing. We all knew that they had been busy preparing for a wedding, but it is a marriage with Christ as the foundation that will last.
He is what holds us together when life breaks and wounds us.
We had written our hearts of love and words of wisdom on little cards and placed them in a beautiful white box to take to their new home.
I thought it was interesting that the couple and their parents lingered in our home after everyone had left. You see when Christ presence is there in your midst, you want to stay and soak in every moment.
Finally, I had to send my life long friend out the door as she moved toward the sink to start doing the dishes! We sent them home with bundles of white tulips and lots of yummy desserts.
I pray that in the years ahead the truths that poured over this couple in our home will strengthen and encourage them in their own marriage journey. I pray that the sweet fragrance of Christ will linger and permeate their new life together. (2 Cor. 2:15-17) I believe God will use them powerfully for His kingdom work. They have answered the call to a life of ministry and I see Jesus in them.
Learning to live well really is a call to draw close to Christ as Oswald Chambers wrote.
Most of our days are ordinary days, but Christ in the midst of them brings meaning that lasts.
After everything was cleaned up, we crawled into bed with weary bodies and full hearts. The alarm clock rang early the next morning for us to attend a morning of prayer at our church. I wanted to be there in my spirit, but my body did not want to get out of that bed! As soon as we walked in the door at church a lovely woman came up to me and began to speak words of encouragement about my writing. I didn’t even know that she read the blogs. She blessed me with her words and the Lord used them to help me press on to answer the call of Christ for my life on that ordinary day.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45
The new year has arrived whether or not we are ready for it. Last year seemed to fly by. When I reflect on 2015, it is the moments when I drew close to Christ that truly have made an impact on my life and marriage. The truth is marriage, and the majority of our lives, are mostly filled with ordinary moments. But, Christ can take those moments and the special ones, like giving a blessing shower, and turn them into meaningful moments that last....moments that offer hope and truth and love....only because His presence is evident and powerful in our midst.
It is Jesus who brings purpose to our days and renews our vision.
Father, thank you that your Spirit is at work within us and among us. Thank you for the opportunities you give us to bless and encourage one another. Give us your eyes to see and ears to hear when a tender word of blessing or message of wisdom is needed in the ordinary moments of our lives. Draw us close, Lord. Then equip us with the faith and boldness to speak those words. Help us to be diligent to store up the truth of Scripture in our hearts so that our words speak Your truth and offer grace and love. Teach us how to do that well so that the power of your presence ushers rich meaning into our relationships and deep joy in your presence.
In the name of Jesus, Amen
Treasure your ordinary moments this week and make them count. Invite the presence of Christ into the midst of those moments and speak a word of blessing to someone in your life today. That is part of how we learn to live well.
Grateful for His blessings,
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She began to notice the words surrounding her. Words that she had randomly placed around her house and viewed as modern whimsical decor. Those items big and small, given to her by those who know her well and used to encouraged each season of life. Or, bought herself to herald the memory of how to respond when the going gets tough. Verbs! They are collected on the walls, lying unobtrusively on surfaces used daily, standing on the windowsill or hanging from the latch of the locked window. Displayed on plates. Greetings positioned at the entrance of the door and reminders in the garden. All prompts for what the soul yearns.
A number of years ago, I was challenged to pray and identify a single word, connect it with scripture, and use it as my focus for the New Year. I faithfully did this for several years. They were words chosen to motivate me, challenge me, and keep me moving me forward. Then I progressed to a phrase. More words combined to cover a broader base. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Is this another one of those FIRST OF THE YEAR messages, resolution starter, or challenges for me to get a better start for the New Year?” Personally, I get tired of reading everyone else’s blog about the beginnings of a New Year. It never ceases to roll around without its continued challenges already surfacing and feelings of things I should… How quickly I submit to bondage! Honestly, I didn’t even want to pick a word for the year…again! But it happened. This word began to jump out at me everywhere! I tried to pretend that it wasn’t happening and the harder I tried not to think about it; the more it shoved its letters in front of me! Or, some kind of image would remind me of its meaning. Interestingly enough, I believe this word chose me!
By now, you are probably wondering why I haven’t told you the word yet! Be patient! It’s coming. I want to tell you how God has worked.
Christmas was tough. The Restore Christmas event was fabulous, but once it was over, I fell prey to self-pity over a number of subjects in my personal life. So much so, that I rebelled against being joyful during the remainder of the season. I’m just being honest here! To top it off, I think the Lord let me wallow around in it for a little while. And, while I was at it, He saw fit to reprimand me by showing me a few things about myself that He wasn’t very pleased with and how some of those things were a stench to His nostrils. You could kinda say I had a “come to Jesus” kind of meeting! I’m so glad He takes care of these things privately and His grace and mercy are enough to make things better. It’s how we grow as children of God. I suppose it's a good way to begin a new year. Wipe the slate clean!
When I identified the fact that my joy had been hijacked, I pondered this word incessantly! Joy is not dependent on circumstances. Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last brings about joy but there are times that you must consider taking care of yourself first, before you are any good to anyone else! Love your neighbor as yourself!
Then, there are all of the 300+ scriptures that reference joy or rejoicing. “…who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross” could not escape my thoughts. When I realized it’s reference as Hebrews 12: 1,2. I knew God had given me a word. Not only had He prepared a word for me, but He had also been working on me with a particular phrase: Cross the line. The phrase coincides with the same scripture but I’ll save that for another time. This year, my word is not one used to motivate me to move forward per se, but to allow me to stand still and wrap my fingers around joy in every circumstance.
As I walked my neighborhood block one morning (I’ve started trying to get back into shape!), this image spoke loudly to me.
These Christmas blow-ups of Santa and such are supposed to bring joy to those whose eyes gaze upon them and pass by. Unfortunately, they have been depleted of their air and lie meaningless, messy, and unattractive on the ground. When I don’t remember to breathe in the working Spirit of the Holy, I am no different. It is only when I am filled and controlled by Him that I can declare joy (for His glory) to those whose eyes gaze my direction.
So, this hasn't been a blog about beginning the year with a word, phrase, or any such thing; though if you are inclined, go for it! It is a declaration to you that I too have deep struggles, need encouragement and fall oh so short. I cannot function effectively without God’s mighty intervention. This is a blog to remind us that He uses all kinds of ways to get our attention. His grace and mercy are new every morning! I seek only to encourage you and remind you to “Look to Jesus” the author and perfecter of our faith. Consider Him…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 2,3
Choose joy! It's one small 3 letter word that can help change your whole perspective!
Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Psalm 51:12
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Ps. 16:11
Yesterday in church, my heart was tender...fragile. God is doing a great work. Every song seemed to scream out...Sing! Rejoicing and joy. It's the evidence of a heart right with God even in situations were joy cannot possibly exist. Paul knew this well, Peter and other saints of old. Words of encouragement, examples of faith, honest moments of failures all passed down to us. Timeless words. Bold words! Sing them. How often have I reminded myself to sing the troubles away? Offer praise when I don't have the unction? Sing a new song today. Sing it even if it is drowned by flood gates of tears. JOY, a word with positive electricity. Like praying for patience...then trouble comes, joy will also share it's trials. Don't be afraid. It's a season that will render greater peace, more intimacy with the Father, and a beautiful countenance!
James 1:2-5 "Count it all joy when you fall into trials... so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
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