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What’s your Good?

Psalm 73: 28

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.

This verse is simple and to the point. One of the reasons I love it! But even more I love the point it’s making. And as Christians, most of us would say that we believe that….but do we really? Well, of course!

Then if that’s true, why are we always wanting more? More money. More prestige. More things.

Then if that’s true, why are we always complaining? But I need….fill in the blank.

Then if that’s true, why are we not filled with God’s peace and joy? Because…I want…fill in the blank.

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.

It seems as if there’s a disconnect between our words and our actions. We say the nearness of God is our good, but our actions say something different. So how can we close the gap between our words and our actions? I believe being truly thankful for we do have will go a long way.

It can be hard to find the gratitude when life isn’t going our way. Believe me, I know that after spending the past five years battling brain tumors and yet…it is possible. It really is as simple as looking at the positive instead of the negative. Here’s a few examples from my own life:

I’ve lost a lot of my hearing but I’m thankful I still have some usable hearing still left.

My balance and my neuropathy makes it difficult for me to walk but I’m thankful that I still can even if it’s difficult.

In spite of all my health issues, God still gives me stories to write and the ability to write them!

God has given my a loving husband who takes wonderful care of me–and without complaining.

So what are you thankful for even in the midst of your trials?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

WANT MORE JOY?

As I said in the previous post, JOY is my word this year. God promises us joy and I want it! So I thought I’d take a look at other devotions I wrote on the topic of joy. This one was written in 2014.

WANT MORE JOY?

Matthew 22

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Life is not nearly as complicated as most of us make it. Here’s a quick and easy to remember formula that will bring more joy in your life. If you want more JOY in your life, then focus first on Jesus, then on Others, and finally on Yourself.  The first above says exactly the same thing. Love God; love your neighbor as yourself.

Focus on Jesus. Jesus said the first and most important commandment is to love God with all your heart and mind. It’s not enough to say that you do, you must show that love to God. One of the ways to do that is to spend time praising and worshiping God and I don’t just mean in church on Sunday. From the beginning, Jesus was meant to bring joy to those of us on earth.

Luke 2:10

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Focus on others. Jesus talked of love again and again. He wanted His followers to show God’s love to others. Loving others is not a suggestion, but a commandment. Again, loving others doesn’t have to be complicated. Smile at people; be friendly, when  you can help someone in need, help them. Talking about loving others includes loving your spouse and your family. Sometimes we spend all our energy helping people outside of our house. That’s wonderful but save enough energy to be sweet and kind with those you live with.

John 13:34

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Focus on yourself. Yes, we are to focus on first on Jesus, then on others but don’t think that we are not to focus on ourselves. God doesn’t want us to be selfish or self-centered but He does want us to enjoy our life. He does want us to take care of ourselves in a healthy and balanced way.

We shouldn’t put ourselves first all the time but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t put ourselves first sometimes. We need to take care of our own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs as well as others.

So there you have it. Want more joy in your life? Then follow God’s greatest commandment and the second as well, and you’ll suddenly have more joy than you can imagine.

 

This is me in 2017 again. I’ve been focusing on the J and the Y–the O not so much. Having long-term chronic illness can make us very self-centered. I know this to be true because I can see it in myself. In a way it’s understandable but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us spiritually. So as I search for more joy in my life, I’m going to make an effort to get my mind off myself and do something nice for other people at least 3 times this week.

I already did one this morning! I vacuumed my bedroom without asking my husband for help. Now to find two more things to do. What’s something you plan to do nice for someone else this week?

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Let’s Celebrate Christmas All Year Long!

Zepheniah 3: 17

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you.

He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

 

I wrote this a few years ago but it still holds true!

The holidays are over for another year and it’s time to get back real life, right?  For some people that’s a good thing and for others maybe not so much. As  we get caught back up in the daily drudgery of life, we soon forget about all the peace, joy, and love we celebrate during the Christmas season.

We were cleaning off our Christmas porch today and as I saw each of my fourteen trees along with my snowmen and Santas go back in the box a thought occurred to me. Couldn’t I keep up at least one tree all year, just as a reminder?

I didn’t actually mention the idea to my husband. It was quite obvious he was a man on a mission to not only clear the porch but to do it as quickly as possible. But you must admit, it’s a good idea! A year-long Christmas tree to remind us of God and his love.

It’s so easy for us to forget God is with us–all the time.

It’s so easy for us to forget God loves us–all the time.

So, as we pack up our Christmas trees and decorations, find another way to keep remembering God and His amazing love all year long.  Perhaps, it’s a Bible on a coffee table? Or a favorite verse on the refrigerator? Or tune your radio to a Christian music station?

Whatever way you choose, I can guarantee that as you remember God each day, it will bring more joy, peace, and love to your life each day. And that’s a wonderful thing!

 

A Baby Changes Everything!

I’ve decided to go back through some of my old posts that pertain to the Christmas season and re-share them with you.  This is one of my favorites. I hope you like it.

 

A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING

 

Luke 2: 10-12

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

A baby changes everything, there is no arguing that point. Ask any parent, new or experienced, young or old, tired or rested. A baby changes everything for their family.  And that’s even more true for the baby we celebrate during this Christmas season.  Let’s take a look at the reason for the season.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Atheists–agnostics–and some who just aren’t sure often give Jesus his “due.”  Oh, he was a great teacher, they say, but He wasn’t GOD.

Let’s take a practical look at that for a moment, shall we?

What’s the year? Oh–it’s 2013 A.D   A.D. does not mean “after death,” as a lot of people believe, but it stands  for a Latin phrase: anno domini, meaning “in the year of the Lord”—the year Jesus was born.  B.C stands for Before Christ, though now people have changed it in an attempt to downplay the religious aspect.

Wow!  Time is measured by Jesus’s birth and death. I’m impressed!

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Let’s take a look at Jesus’s life for a moment and those who knew him best–his disciples.

Without going into the gory details, ten of the original twelve apostles chose death rather than renounce Jesus’s divinity. Why? Because they experienced life with the Messiah. Some were with him the day he was baptised and they heard God’s voice come down from the heavens saying,  “this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”  They experienced the darkness the day he died.

They knew beyond a shadow of doubt that he was the Son of God and they were willing to die rather than renounce His divinity.  Because of that certainty, they spread the good news of the gospel throughout the world.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

But even better, Jesus changed my world. Christianity isn’t about rules and religion. It’s about a relationship with God through His only begotten son, Jesus. And that has made all the difference in my world!

Indeed, a  baby changes everything!

The Message of Mary and Joseph

Here’s a past Christmas message that’s good no matter what time of the year it is. Many people love Christmas and think of it as the best season of the year. But for some, it can be a difficult time depending on your own life circumstances. If that’s the case this message is for you.

THE MESSAGE OF MARY AND JOSEPH

Luke 1: 29-33

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

With Christmas just around the corner, Mary and Joseph have been on my mind. I think there are some valuable lessons to be learned from them.

The first two that come to mind are faith and obedience. Both Mary and Joseph proved their faith in God when they were obedient.  They chose to follow God’s will for them in spite of the difficult circumstances. Being pregnant before marriage was not just frowned upon then, it was a sin punishable by death.

That’s a lot faith and obedience.

But the real lesson I want to focus on is that in spite of their faith and obedience, God did not make their chosen path easy for them. As so many of us face adversity, whether physical, emotion, or our circumstances, we may question whether God is punishing us. Whether we are doing what God wants us to do. Whether we are living a life of obedience and faith. Whether God still loves us.

The message of Mary and Joseph clearly shows that we can be obedient to God and doing exactly what he wants us to do, but life can still be difficult for us. Surely, if anyone had a right to believe God would make their path easier it would be Mary and Joseph, but clearly the circumstances Jesus was born under show that didn’t happen.

They had to face all sorts of trials and tribulations even as they brought God’s son into this world. They had to face the shame and humiliation of Mary’s pregnancy with their family and friends. They had to make a journey that was difficult under normal circumstance, but it was made even more difficult by Mary’s pregnancy. Then they had no place to stay, Jesus was born in a structure of some sort with the animals.  Talk about a tough situation. Then as they were getting settled in a new life, they had to flee for their lives.

No, God did not make their path easy in spite of their faith and obedience.

Most of us will face adversity in one form or another in the coming year, remember the message of Mary and Joseph and know that you are still loved by your heavenly father.

WORRY NOT!

Matthew 6: 3-4

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own.

If you’d asked me last week if I was a worrier, I would have said no. But I found out this week I was wrong! Nobody likes admitting they were wrong and I’m no exception but here I am admitting just that.

Presently I’m doing a Bible study based on Elizabeth George’s book–LOVING GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This week’s topic was worry. I was almost tempted to forego this week’s homework since I don’t consider worrying to be one of my weaknesses. One of the tasks we did was to write down our concerns or worries into one of two categories.

First category was TODAY.

The second was IN THE FUTURE.

I wrote down six things but the shocking thing was that four of them were concerned with the future and only two for that specific day. Wow! That was an eye opener. And the truth was I could have written four or five or even more under IN THE FUTURE. I had no idea how many of my concerns are about the future.

I’ve been in horrible pain for the last several weeks as I go through a treatment regimen for the third time, but this past week has been even worse. The pain has been almost unbearable. I was feeling so discouraged and hopeless. It felt as if I was never going to get better.

As I looked at that list, I immediately changed the way I prayed. Instead of praying for the “big” things–like healing my brain tumors, I simply prayed for enough grace to face the day in a godly way–for God’s favor and mercy for that day.

And you know what?

I did have a better day. And the next day the pain improved a bit more, but even more important I had God’s peace again. So I’m determined to stay focused on this day and only this day. As the verse said, tomorrow will take care of itself.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray for the big things because we should, but I’m saying we need to focus our energies on one day at a time, especially when we’re in a difficult time.  When we start to think too much about all the things that might happen in the future, we stop living in the present. We stop living in faith which can lead to us losing our hope, our peace, and our joy.

So…. WORRY NOT!

YOUR TURN: How about you? Maybe it’s time to make your own list and see what category  your worries or concerns fall under– TODAY or IN THE FUTURE.

Dealing with Discouragement

Romans 15: 13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Joy? Peace? Hope?

Those things sound wonderful. Unfortunately when you have a chronic illness or a long-term situation, it’s so easy to lose them.  Instead of focusing on God and his goodness, we begin to focus on our troubles. Before we know it, we are thick in the throes of discouragement.  If discouragement continues it leads us into a darkness.

That’s where I am right now–in the darkness of discouragement.

But I’ve been telling myself that it’s normal to feel discouraged at the moment. I’ve spent more than four years dealing with my brain tumors when the doctors told me it would only take two years. I’m in the middle of my third round of chemotherapy to try to save what’s left of my hearing–which isn’t much.

It feels horrible! But I realized something yesterday. I’ve set myself up to feel that way. I’ve been telling people that feeling this bad is part of the process and that when the chemo is over I can start to regain my strength, my health, my peace and my joy. 

Proverbs 23: 7 (NKJV) tells us “For as he thinks in his heart so is he.” Wow–talk about setting myself up to feel bad! That’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve been telling myself and everyone else that feeling bad is part of the process, something to be endured and then overcome it later.

That doesn’t sound like me having much faith in God, his love or his power! Instead that sounds a lot more like me believing Satan’s lies that God doesn’t have the power or at the very least he won’t use it on pitiful little me because I’m not worthy.

 In the darkness, we lose our way along with our joy and peace and hope. So how do we get out of that darkness when we’ve lost all sense of direction? We must turn our eyes to our Savior. As we draw near to him, the light will begin to shine. The more light, the easier it is to find our way back to the joy, the peace, and the hope that God promises to each of his children in spite of our circumstances.

That’s what I want! I may still have to endure the side effects of the chemo, but I don’t have to endure the the hopelessness of losing my peace and joy because God is with me always.