Showing posts with label joy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label joy. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

His Joy is Strength

My joy overflowed to have all three of my daughters 
with me on Mother's Day weekend.
We made art, we laughed, we talked, we ate, and we loved.

Even when my days are not so glorious and full of family and fun, I choose joy. 
Different from happiness, joy is Jesus in my heart, 
comforting me and reminding me that in Him everything will be okay. 

This day is holy to our Lord. 
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10b


 

Monday, May 15, 2023

Coming June 1

I've been writing devotions for years, and I'm happy to let you know my nature devotional will be published June 1, 2023.
If you love being outside enjoying nature, I believe this devotional is for you.



 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Easter May Be Over But...

 Choosing to follow Jesus fills my heart with hope.
I'm one of those people who has a hard time watching the news.
The sadness pierces my soul with grief.
But the hope I have in Jesus fills my heart with joy.

One day, I will meet Jesus and be reunited with loved ones 
who have gone to heaven.
No sorrow, no tears, no negativity. Only joy!
We'll rejoice with the angels and revel in the light of God.



Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” Rev. 5:13

Saturday, February 11, 2023

This Old House

Proverbs 24:3-4

By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures.

I’ve lived in 14 different homes in my lifetime.

When I was young, my parents sometimes took us for a Sunday drive to look at houses. We rolled along rural roads and through small towns. From that experience, I learned to appreciate the architecture of older homes. Some with fancy ginger breading and others with simple porches attracted my attention. To this day, I enjoy seeing some of the interesting houses in our travels.

Of the 14 different houses I’ve lived in, some of my favorites were the old farmhouses. They have so much character. I loved imagining what stories they could tell. From the farm wife toting in eggs from the chicken coop to the child sitting on her dad’s lap at the end of the day. Life was breathed into the home. Love, laughter, dinner around the kitchen table, cousins piling in, and the dog laying by the hearth. My mind weaves a tale of joy. However, I also know some houses heard the rough voices of arguing and anger. They felt the trembling of fear and sorrow. Those homes break my heart.

I also see the houses, who abandoned over time, have the life sucked out of them. They look tired, run-down, weary, and sad. I wonder at the stories they could tell.

As I compare a house or home to life lived, I see the same thing. Many people are filled with joy, peace, and love. While others may be angry or fearful or live a weary, sad life.

I could have been any of those three. We all could, but when I accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow and love Him, my life found the joy, love, and peace I longed for. Even in times of sadness and difficulty, Jesus’ love carries me. I no longer live as a slave to fear, anger, sadness, and sorrow. Instead, Jesus poured His love and grace into me and loves me more than I could imagine.

I want my home to be a place of love and peace, reflected in Jesus, just as I want my life to shine for the Lord.

Does your home reflect Jesus’ love? Does your life?

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Faith

Jesus was born in a humble manger to a young woman who trusted God.

When I think of the miracle of Christmas, 
my faith grows and my love for Jesus increases.
I'm thankful Mary loved God and trusted His plan.


 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Star

When I go outside with Rosie May in the evening, I look at the stars. 
On a clear night, they twinkle and shine and remind me of the star over Bethlehem.

They fill me with joy as they remind me of Jesus.


 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Heavenly Delight

Matthew 2:10
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 

Jesus gives the true joy of the season.

In the book, Blessed are the Misfits, Brant Hansen, Star 93.3 radio DJ, poses the question, "Can a person have depression and joy at the same time?" That got me to thinking, can we invite joy into our hearts during the holidays, regardless of our circumstances or our feelings? Can I be joyful during the holidays even when...

I'm a single parent and, by America's standards, I can't buy what my children want...

I've lost a loved one who won't be there to wish a Merry Christmas...

I'm a high school student who has no close friends...

I'm a college student struggling to balance work and school...

I'm a parent rushing from activity to activity just trying to get it all done...

I’m single and all my friends are in couples...

I'm a soldier, out of the country, with no hope of being home for the holidays...

I’m sick and not sure I can celebrate...

I'm just overwhelmed with all the preparation of Christmas...

I haven't experienced all of these scenarios, but I've had my share of struggles
during the holidays. Circumstances that could have stolen every speck of joy from my heart. Yet, God shined on me through His people and His word. I found if I could hold on to one little twinkle of joy in my heart, the fire would burn and spark delight in my soul. 

Joy filled the wise men's hearts when they saw the star and realized Jesus was nearby. He is for us, too. Jesus is here with the joy we desire. Not happiness that's fleeting, but joy that underlies all circumstances. Even when everything seems difficult, frustrating, or hopeless Jesus' joy is like a buoy that helps me through the tough times. I think of it as heavenly delight that fills my soul.

I pray this Christmas you’ll seek hope in Jesus and discover His spark of amazing joy.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Grateful

1 John 4:9-10
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 

I thank God for the gift of His Son.

When I volunteered in Sara’s first grade class, she had the children write three things they were thankful for. In this process, they learned to write words and understand how to form sentences. At the same time, they thought about what they appreciated. Many of the children wrote family and pets. I had to chuckle when a couple of kids added Taco Bell to their list. One little guy even said he was grateful for George Washington. Through their sincerity, they expressed what they appreciated most.

If I were asked to write three things I’m thankful for, I’d certainly say family and my dog, but I’m not sure Taco Bell would make my list. I do appreciate George Washington and the early settlers of our country and the sacrifices they made for our freedom, but I have another sacrifice I appreciate more.

I am so thankful for Jesus. You see Jesus’ sacrifice of His life on the cross and His incredible resurrection give me hope, because when I leave this world I’ll have a home in heaven. His sacrifice also gives me freedom. Freedom from Satan and his cronies, freedom to worship and live my life in peace. Jesus’ sacrifice gives me joy and a peace that passes understanding. God fills my heart with love I can pour over my family, friends, and neighbors.

In this season of thanksgiving, I am beyond grateful for Jesus.

What are you thankful for?  

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Life is Not a Checklist

1 Thessalonians 1:3
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I like lists and calendars. Something about the orderly way they help me organize my life gives me satisfaction. I use a program called Scrivener that helps me organize my writing, and I create Excel sheets to help me keep track of editing. Notebooks with check-off lists and the calendar on my phone help me show up where I’m supposed to. Without my notes, there's a great chance I'd forget something important.

Calendar

As much as I like lists and organization, I can't live my life by checking off boxes. Organization works wonders for a project, like writing a book, but not so much for life. Living life is more about prompts, nudges, crossroads, inspiration, and endurance. Life in Christ includes hope, conviction, the nudges from the Holy Spirit, opportunities to serve, and unexpected joy. If I only stick to my to do lists, I’ll miss out on the blessings.

How about a list infused with hope and joy!

  • If you're a parent, take time to play with your kids. If your children are teens or adults, hang out with them. Enjoy making memories.
  • If you're married, date your spouse and be attentive.
  • If you're single enjoy the adventure God's given you. 
  • If you work outside the home, stop and ask your co-worker how their day is going.
  • Take the walk, pet the dog, smell the flowers, smile at the folks God puts in your path.
  • Sing out loud in church or in the car and worship freely.

My point--God has plans for me. If my head is focused on a check list all the time, I'm going to miss out. Instead I want to live like the Thessalonians who were faithful, and prompted by love and inspired by hope.

Be flexible when it comes to living a life mapped out by God. He has unexpected surprises, if we pay attention.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Sorrows to Dancing


You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
-Psalm 30:11-12

Sometimes when I hear a tune, I can't stop my feet from moving; 
Not because I'm a dancer, but because God has placed a song on my heart.

Praise God He can turn my sorrows into dancing with his love and joy!



 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Fruit not Fruits

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The fruit of the Spirit isn’t fruits.

By the time you read this, I will have talked to a group of moms and daughters at Woodland Lakes Christian Camp. A while back, Amy, the director of Mother/Daughter camp asked me if I would put together a devotion to share about the fruit of the Spirit.

As I’ve searched for the words and examples to share, I remembered my realization that the “fruit” is not “fruits.” As a child I thought the word was plural, like there were nine different fruits standing on their own. As an adult, I realized I was wrong.

Now I see the fruit of the Spirit like an apple. When I purchase an apple at the grocery store or orchard, I have one whole piece of fruit in my hand. I bring it home and cut it into pieces. Is the apple multiple fruits now? No it’s still one apple, just with several slices.

The fruit of the Spirit is like the apple, one fruit with many pieces. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all part of the same fruit. As a follower of Jesus, I need to nurture all aspects of the fruit of the Spirit. If I seek peace and joy, without kindness, my fruit spoils. If I try to be good and faithful, but lose my self-control, my fruit rots. God has given his children this amazing gift through the Holy Spirit, and I long to embrace all the fruit and make them a constant in my life.

God calls His children to live with all nine segments of fruit. He knows the world needs all of these and as Christians we are the ones to inject love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control into all aspects of our lives.

Take the challenge to actively live by the fruit of the Spirit and share God’s gift with the world.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Because God Is

The discipline of thanking God for His blessings ignites joy!
-Didi Bacon

I like the meme going around social media that
talks about instead of dreading chores be thankful:
I have to clean-that means I have a home
I have dishes to do-that means I have food
I have work to do-that means I have a job.
You get the picture.

It's all a matter of an attitude of gratitude
that creates a joy filled heart.

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!
Philippians 4:4


 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Called Into Light

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 

When I was a child, I was afraid of the dark.

My neighbors, cousins, and I played outside and caught fireflies. We played hide and seek while the adults chatted in their lawn chairs, and the light shined from the porch. I felt safe as long as a glow shined over the yard, and the sound of grown-up voices echoed through the air.

When the cousins, aunts, uncles, and neighbors left for home, the dark overwhelmed me. The porch light clicked off, and I made a bee line for the house. Even as a young adult, I didn't like being outside by myself in the dark cover of night.

As I've grown older, I've learned to appreciate the light of night, the stars overhead, and the moon, for those lights shine through the darkness.

As a believer and follower of Jesus, I'm called to God's light. He doesn't want me to be afraid of the dark or stay in the shadows. The King of Kings has called me to step out of the gloom and doom of the world and step into the beautiful, wonderful light of grace. God calls his children his special possession, a people he encourages, and loves. He guards our hearts and radiates His light as a guide away from the dark corners of the world.

My family experienced a great amount of loss the first three months of the year. Times were dark and sad. We clung to each other and to God, and His light and love have carried us through. Some days will still be rough, but peace comes from knowing the One who created the sun and moon and calls us to His light.

Seek God's light as He calls your name.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

A Quiet Moment

My flower garden is tiny compared to ones I've had in the past,
yet this little plot brings me an abundance of joy.

Hyacinth, daffodils, and tulips raise their heads and 
nod to me to have a good day. 

The vibrant colors flood me with joy and remind me
Who created them.

A quiet moment in the garden blesses my soul.


 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Gift of Grace

Luke 34:1-8
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

Sunrise reminds me of the glorious day Jesus defeated death.

When I attended college in Kentucky, they offered a special Easter sunrise service. That year I stayed on campus, and I looked forward to the idea of an outdoor time of observance and worship. Early Sunday morning, we gathered on a hill on campus, sat on the ground, and praised Jesus as the sun rose on the horizon. The experience has stuck with me all these years as a time to reflect on Jesus' sacrifice.

Easter, celebrated in the spring when new life sprouts from the earth, evokes a sense of renewal in me due to the love Jesus has for me. God's plan to give the life of His own Son for my sins, still blows me away. I don't deserve God's love or grace, yet He has cleaned my slate of sins with His blood.

God chose blood for sacrifice and throughout the Old Testament people presented their finest animals to God. In the New Testament, Jesus took the place of the animals and gave His life. What I love most is God breathed life back into Jesus, just as He breaths life back into me through his mercy and grace. When I seek his mercy, He pours His love over me.

This Easter, celebrate the gift of grace.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

He Has my Heart

As a believer in God, Jesus is asking me to also believe in Him.
And why wouldn't I? 

As sure as the flowers bloom in the spring, Jesus loves me.
He has my heart and protects my soul.
Life may not be easy, but I have the one who eases the pain and gives me joy.


 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Three Things That Help Me Through Life


Three things I cling to in times of trouble—joy, patience, and faithfulness.


Without joylife is bleak.
With joyI have hope.

Without patiencelife can drive me crazy.
With patienceaffliction is tolerable.

Without faithfulnessI fall apart.
With faithfulnessI can go to God in prayer.



 Romans 12:12

Saturday, March 5, 2022

It's How You Live

Proverbs 31: 25-28

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her.

"It's not how you die; it's how you live." -JP

Most of you know my mom passed away on February 25. At ninety-five, we knew the days grew short, even still, losing a parent is hard. I doubt Mom ever dreamed she would live as long as she did, but once she passed ninety, she embraced her age.

Per Mom's request, in her last days we were able to keep her at home. She wanted to live as independently as possible, and being in the apartment attached to my brother's home gave her the independence she desired. There were times in her last days we wondered if she could stay there, but with the help of hospice, she remained comfortable in her own bed.

As a family, we did this to honor our mom's wishes. I'm thankful we had so many years with her and the opportunity to learn from her wisdom. Mom loved Jesus and her family. I remember as a child, and even an adult, Mom reminding me to wear my coat and to always be careful. She was concerned about our well-being and questioned us when she thought we needed it. She did that because she loved us like only a mother can. She loved with a fierceness and protectiveness.

Her love reminds me of how God loves. He has a deep adoration for His people and He wants nothing more than for us to love Him back. When I think about how much Mom loved me and how much I love my children, I begin to understand God's intense care for me. God loves us so much He sent his son to live on earth, to teach and to die for our sins. But He didn't stop there, He brought Jesus back to life.

Why did God do that? So people would have a chance to repent, be saved and baptized, receive the Holy Spirit, live a faith-filled life, and join Him in heaven. My mom would want you to know the love of Jesus, His forgiveness, and His amazing love.

Seek Jesus.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Look to Jesus

Proverbs 15:30
Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

I tucked Christmas away.

Every year, our home is donned with Christmas displays, trees, and memories. I usually pull out all the treasured ornaments and d├ęcor around Thanksgiving. By early January, I'm ready to take down the beauty of the season and store it away for another year. Wednesday morning, the 4th day of January, I unhooked the ornaments from the tree, wrapped them, and placed them in the Christmas tote. Once the baubles were packed away, I unwound the purple beaded garland, then pulled the plug on the lights, the last remnant of the holiday. When the colorful bulbs turned off, I felt a little tug of sadness. Those little twinklers brought me joy.

When they glowed in various colors, they reminded me of why I celebrate His birth
Shades of pinkHe came as a sweet babe
GreenHe's everlasting
YellowHe's the light of the world
RedHis blood shed on the cross
Blue—everlasting life in heaven

Proverbs 15:30 reminds me to put my sadness away and remember the true light. Jesus came to earth to bring hope. His good news offers peace. When my heart is at peace, the rest of my body feels better.

As Christmas is put away and the new year begins, I choose to look to Jesus as the source of my joy and peace. He loves me more than I understand. I'm a broken human being filled with hope because the King of Kings who came as the only perfect person, loved me enough to die a harsh death on the cross, then gloriously rise to life.

Jesus is grace. He forgives and loves like no other.

Begin this new year looking to Jesus.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Your Gifts

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas 
and the gifts of God's blessings.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus
and enjoy fellowship with friends and family,
I pray we are all blessed with peace, hope, love, and faith.

For everyone missing someone, I pray you'll be wrapped 
in memories that bring comfort.

For anyone struggling, I ask God to pour His peace over you.

May we all celebrate Jesus birth with wonder and joy!