Take Time to Chew the Cud

Meditation, Chew the Cud, Take Time, Slow Down, Live Purposefully

As we embark on a new year, we’re all looking for the latest methods to improve our physical and spiritual wellbeing. As a blogger, I feel compelled to offer my own sage advice:

Take time to chew the cud.

The Amazing Cow

Have you ever noticed that cows are always chewing on something? That’s because they have a complex digestive system. They use their four-chambered stomachs to regurgitate swallowed food (“cud”) so they can chew on it a second time before swallowing it again. It may sound gross to us, but this amazing process ensures the cows absorb sufficient nutrients from their fibrous diets.

Animals with multi-chambered stomachs that chew the cud are called ruminants. Under the Old Testament law, ruminants with split hoofs (like deer and cattle) were considered clean and acceptable to eat. I believe God used this rule to remind the Israelites to “do as the ruminants do”: ruminate. That’s not a common word today, but we’re all familiar with its synonym, meditate.

Pondering Meditation

In Christianity, meditating isn’t about achieving a state of mindlessness or controlling one’s bodily functions as in some Eastern religions. Instead, it’s the purposeful consideration of a truth or fact.
For example, in Psalm 119, David said he would meditate on God and His “precepts,” “wonders,” “statutes,” and “word.” Like a cow chewing the cud, David promised to ponder on these things over and over so he could absorb as much truth from them as possible.

Unlike grass and hay, which contain a finite amount of nutrients, God’s Word has unlimited value. We can meditate on it day and night and never exhaust its riches.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33 NAS)

Chew the Cud

Unfortunately, most of us get in a rut with our Bible study time. We often skip the Old Testament entirely and just skim through the New Testament. Even if we read a daily devotional, we usually forget its message long before lunchtime.

This year, I encourage you to take time to chew the cud. Let God lead you to a verse from Scripture or to a truth about Himself. Meditate on it in the morning, at lunch, while you’re driving, in the shower, and when you lay down at night. Like David, turn it over and over again in your mind, drawing from it all the spiritual nutrition you can.

As Joshua said, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8 NAS).

May your meditation lead to obedience, and your obedience to prosperity and success this year!

~ By Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com
(With thanks to the Cattle Empire for information on the anatomy of cows.)

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Planning for the Storms of Life

“Planning for the storms of life”

Plan ahead. Prepare for things you don’t expect.

These are the seeds of wisdom I’ve sprinkled on people for the last 25 years of ministry so they don’t find themselves blindsided by life’s trivial and serious handiwork. I shovel advice like nobody’s business.

Yesterday, I took heed of a weather forecast for “4-8 inches of snow during the night.” I bagged up my patio cushions and pillows and put them in the shed; I pulled out the shovels and placed them in easy reach of the back door. I drove to the grocery, stood in a line with 75 other people, and purchased a half-gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. I was my typically well-prepared self. I could feel the snowstorm coming: the sky was white, the air was cold and chilled, and the world was still.

Except that I really didn’t take the forecast that seriously. I live in Virginia, people. We have highly over-dramatic meteorologists. Three inches, I told myself. Four at the most. I bought milk and bread because I knew everyone else would, and I needed it anyway.

Today I awoke to 7 inches of wet snow covering the world outside my windows, and it’s still snowing 6 hours later. But I was not initially awed by its beauty, as I normally am. Panic gripped me because yesterday I considered taking down the cloth-covered gazebo on my deck, but I decided instead that I couldn’t spare the hour to climb up and down the ladder and carefully dismantle the whole thing. I figured I could just sweep off the top got when I got up this morning.

One look from my bedroom window revealed the results of my casual preparation: the entire structure had caved in under the weight of an accurate forecast. Frantic and close examination revealed bowed support bars, a torn cover, and broken fasteners. A total loss. I have replaced parts to this structure before (that’s another story of stupidity), so I know the cost, time, and unlikelihood of doing it again.

Why do human beings behave like this? Why do we bet on ease when difficulty is predictable?

Jesus warned his disciples in all the gospels to prepare for suffering, persecution, and false teaching so they could meet it head-on. He asked them to plan ahead for the life they were called to live. Mark records his words like this: “Be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” (Mk. 13:23)

Often, we live our lives in casual indifference to the storms that are coming. We read Scripture about spiritual warfare and the tactics the enemy uses against us through culture and our own lusts. And most of the time, we half-heartedly prepare ourselves. We go to church and Bible study and have 5-minute devotions while we’re eating breakfast or sitting in the bathroom. We’re good. We’ve got the basics done.

We live as if we can’t spare the time—that the total structure of our beautiful lives can’t possibly collapse under the weight of ignored habits and predictable difficulty. We even make the same mistakes over and over. Are we really so naïve? Lazy? Belligerent?

If you’re tired of this cycle, start the New Year with a resolve not to be caught off-guard by the enemy’s attacks. You know they’re coming. Jesus said they were coming. So be on your guard. Get prepared.

If you ready to graduate to a serious Bible study that prepares your heart and mind for the storms of life, look for a study guide that includes:

  1. Reading a Scripture passage in its context
  2. Reading explanation by a seasoned Bible teacher
  3. A place for written responses to questions, notes, and/or personal application
  4. Prayer about what God reveals to you during your study

Then the next time you feel snow in the air, stock the fridge, get out the shovel, and take down the tent.

Sue Schlesman

Read more from Sue @www.susanwalleyschlesman.com

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Getting Spiritually Fit

Only Jesus truly satisfies.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:13-14

 Lose weight. Get healthy. Quit smoking. Save more money. Spend more time with family. All are worthy resolutions.

When we turn the calendar to a new year, we usually reflect on where we have been and where we want to be. We look at our failures and ask ourselves, “What do I need to change?” or “How can I make the necessary changes this year?”

A friend and I recently disagreed about failure. His views about failure have created eyes that see the world through cynical glasses. I believe failure is an opportunity for growth, but only if we examine our failures through the lens of scripture.

I told my pessimistic friend, “You don’t continue to beat a dead horse but neither do you leave him lying beside the road. Pretty soon he begins to stink.”

I’ve heard people say, “I have no regrets about my life. If I had it to do over again, I’d do it the same way.”

Not me. Although I don’t wallow in the pool of regret, I’d definitely do some things differently.

However, we can learn from our failures to become the person God has created us to be. To do that, we have to look at the past — and that requires confession. Confession is powerful. Owning up to failure is the first, painful step on the path to something better.

Changing the calendar to a new year is a good time for a spiritual checkup.

When you see a new calendar, do you see days and months of blank spaces ready to be filled in with God’s plans for your life or do you see a busy schedule that is taking you away from Him? Ask yourself the following:

  • What steps do you need to take to draw closer to God?
  • Is your life producing something of value for God?
  • Do you trust Him instead of relying on your own strength and understanding?
  • Is there something in your life that is holding you back from all that God has waiting for you?
  • Are you open to God’s leading?

There is no magic pill that transforms us — either physically or spiritually. It requires a plan and if we fail to plan, then we plan to fail — a cliché, but true.

Becoming spiritually mature is simply a matter of learning certain spiritual exercises. Just like getting physically fit requires exercise, we must become self-disciplined in our spiritual lives. To shape our character, we must take time to develop good habits.

Pastor Rick Warren, the author of the best-seller A Purpose Driven Life, says that to develop spiritual fitness, our daily habits must include time spent with God, prayer, Bible reading and obedience to what He reveals to you.

Becoming spiritually mature involves more than a quick fix. In our instant gratification society, we want it now — nuke it in the microwave for five minutes and it’s done. But growing spiritually is a gradual process.

Taking the time to grow spiritually is a lifetime endeavor. Are you willing to make the commitment? It requires patience. Knowing that God isn’t finished with us yet, we must press on toward the goal.

Carol Round

Read more from Carol @Carolaround.com

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Just One More

In order to be satisfied with Jesus I have to come to him, empty, humble, longing for His filling, aware that I can’t produce it. I have to be willing to wait. To be still.

New York is not a good place for someone who has a weakness for scarves. Beautiful, soft, warm scarves are everywhere. It’s easy for me to justify buying them because it is cold, therefore I NEED them.

I posted about this once on Facebook. One sweet friend commented that we were kindred spirits.  She had about 15 scarves.  I grimaced.  Fifteen.  That didn’t sound like many to me but she thought it was a lot.  Did I dare count?  I did.  I also had 15 . . . x3!

Now some of these are spring/summer scarves and some are fall/winter scarves. Some aren’t really in style now but I keep them because they might come back in style. I know for a fact this can happen because I have had one scarf since I was in college over thirty years ago and have just recently started wearing it again.  I believe it would be considered “vintage” now.  And I didn’t buy all of them.  Friends and family who are aware of this love have bought many of them. . .well several, at least and they come from all over the world.  One dear friend didn’t actually give me a scarf.  I stole it from her at one of those Dirty Santa parties.  Now you need to know, I don’t usually do that.  Normally if there is something I like I’ll just let the person who has it, keep it.  But not that scarf.  I took it.

We recently visited the Rockefeller Center to view the famous Christmas tree and ice skating rink.  The view from the top of that building is one of our favorites in the city.  At the height of his incredible personal wealth in the oil industry John D. Rockefeller was asked how much is enough?  He responded, “One more dollar.”

I’d love to be critical of that answer, but my natural tendency is to live by the same principle.  How many scarves are enough?  Apparently not 45 because when I was in NYC recently I kept getting distracted by all the vendors along the sidewalks with scarves and had to will myself to keep walking.  Just one more? And it’s not just scarves.  How many decorative pillows are enough?  Just one more.  How many peppermint Oreos are enough?  Just one more.  How many?  How much? Just one more?

A couple of months after we brought our youngest daughter and son home from Haiti we were walking into a store to look for some boots for our daughter.  Our son dramatically declared, “We’re buying boots for her and nothing for me?  I don’t have ANYTHING!”

I stopped in mid-stride, turned and looked at him.  I knew by the look on his face he knew he had said the wrong thing.  I reminded him that four months earlier when he lived in an orphanage in Haiti, he had nothing.  But now he had a lot of things.

It was also a good reminder for me that getting doesn’t necessarily satisfy our appetites, it often feeds them.

In Mike Wilkerson’s book Redemption, he talks about satisfaction.

Those who chased Jesus for more bread failed the test of manna, just as their forefathers in the wilderness did thousands of years earlier.  They still failed to see that Jesus himself is the bread of eternal life . . . We are often just like them, wanting Jesus only because we think he will satisfy some other desire we bring to him or that he will make us look like we lead satisfying lives, rather than wanting him to be our satisfaction.

Ouch.

Wilkerson also says this:

“Yet we cannot simply will ourselves to be satisfied in Jesus.  Just as it is impossible to put sin to death except by the Spirit, so it is impossible to see Jesus as the bread of life except by the Spirit.”

I managed to will myself to walk past those scarves, but I can’t will myself to be satisfied with Jesus. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just declare, “I will no longer find my satisfaction in ________.  From now on I will be completely satisfied with Jesus alone,” and make it so.  I wish it worked like that, but in order to be satisfied with Jesus I have to come to him, empty, humble, longing for His filling, aware that I can’t produce it.  I have to be willing to wait.  To be still.  Truth is, it’s easier to go buy a scarf, but in the end it won’t do.  Only Jesus truly satisfies. Psalm 63 says this:

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water. . .
 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
 I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy.

I’m praying for myself, my family, my church and for you. . . For the Bride of Christ to find complete satisfaction in our Groom, who is Enough.

Tami Lowman

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Did you make a New Year’s Resolution?

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution?

I used to make a resolution every year. My resolutions ranged from working out more, dieting, reading more for fun, and education. Like most people I was successful for a while, but then stumbled and went back to my old ways.

This year I didn’t make a resolution, but want to try to listen more carefully to God’s guidance in what I eat. I need to lower my cholesterol and sugar numbers. I am cutting back on the carbs I eat and keeping a journal with my count for each day. There are many different plans and diets available for any type of way you want to stay healthy. I don’t believe any one plan is meant for everyone. We all have different body types and reactions to the food we eat. Some people can eat a lot and never gain an ounce. We have to figure out what our metabolism is and work with that. We can look at our family and see what traits we have from our parents and grandparents.

Once we have a better handle on what works for our body, then we can work on finding the best type of eating plan we should be on. If you’re like me this can be very frustrating, I have worked at keeping my weight down most of my life. The older I get the harder it is because our metabolism slows down. I work out more and eat less, but still struggle with loosing.

These are some of the different plans you can follow, after talking to your doctor:

You can also check with your doctor for recommendations for you and your health conditions. You should always make sure the plan you want to try is approved by your doctor.

I really want to make it work this time. Where are you in this struggle? Can we work together and help each other? Let me know what you think.

Jann Martin

Read more from Jann @www.jannwmartin.com

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A Fresh Heart

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12)

Are you embracing the new year? We all like the idea of a fresh start, a chance for a clean slate but sometimes in life that is practically impossible. For many of us, last year’s problems followed us into the new year. It’s hard to get a fresh start if you are still dealing with the same old stuff.

You may have an aging parent or be the caregiver for ailing family member. You may be facing health issues yourself. You may be dealing with a wayward child that hasn’t seen the light, yet. You may be in the middle of grief over losing a loved one. You may have financial problems that didn’t go away just because the date changed. You may have unfinished projects looming over you that you have to get finished before you can have a new start.

Continual problems like these leave us feeling weak and weary. When we are feeling this way, it is very easy to give into self-pity and depression. The Apostle Paul knew something about that. He called his problem a thorn in the flesh. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul said that he had asked the Lord to remove this difficulty from his life three times. God chose not to remove his thorn but instead replied to him by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God had made his choice, now Paul had a choice to make. He could accept the grace and power that God promised him, or he could try to operate in his own strength. Paul made the right choice. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

So, if this is the situation that you find yourself in at the beginning of the new year. I hope you will choose to believe that his grace is sufficient. Our part is to just let God be God in our otherwise impossible circumstances. We just to have to commit to being faithful to whatever role God has called us. We have to keep showing up in the lives of those we love. We have to keep praying for God to change the things that we have no control over. We have to keep plugging away at those things that overshadow our new start. We have to seek godly wisdom for those things that we don’t know how to handle on our own.

We may not have got a fresh start on New Year’s Day, but we can have a fresh heart. We can have hope because we have a big God who loves us and will never leave us. Our problems may be continuous but so is our God. He is faithful to carry through what he promised.

Be encouraged today. Hope lives because our Great God lives. Happy New Year or Happy New Heart!

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12)

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Sue Potts

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Two Ways to Grow Spiritually

grow

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:12

When Christ Jesus saved Paul that was just the beginning not the end. Except for the Lord Jesus Himself, and John the Baptist Paul was one of the most faithful men who ever lived. And Paul is saying I still need to grow.

I’m no there yet. I haven’t arrived. I still need to grow.

Paul wrote most of the New Testament, authored many of the most read books in history, and he’s saying he’s not spiritually where he wants to be.

So he tells us how to focus our lives to be spiritually mature:

1.Follow God’s Plan“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on,”

I am not yet complete, mature in my relationship with Christ so I press on—that means to reach forward to a goal.

Well what is God’s plan? God’s goal for our lives—Spiritual Maturity. He wants us to grow up in our faith and trust in Him. He wants us to become more and more like Jesus in our daily lives.

Leonard Ravenhill tells about a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village. They walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. They asked the man if any great men were born in the village. He said, “Nope, only babies.”

There are no instant spiritual giants in the kingdom of God. Growth takes time. Too many times we as Christians forget that so and so isn’t where he ought to be spiritually.

2. Fulfill God’s Purpose“that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

The phrase “lay hold of,” means to seize or possess. To grab everything God wants for me because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. We must seize the opportunities in life by fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.

Rich Stearns as a boy was brought up in an alcoholic family. Never enough work or money young Rich decided to climb out of that lifestyle. In the seventh grade he received catalogs from all the Ivy League schools.

He received a full scholarship to Cornell and in college he found the two loves of life, Renee, and Jesus.

Rich had a heart for the unfortunate. He refused to let his bride register for china because as he said, “As long as there are hungry children, we shouldn’t have china or crystal.” At there wedding Rich and Renee’ received fondue pots and Crock-pots, but no china.

Rich with an MBA and a great business mind became the CEO of Parker Brothers. Eleven years later he became the CEO of Lenox China and Crystal.

Funny how a man who had no china was becoming wealthy selling china to the wealthy. His life seemed to be drifting. He thought of retiring and going on the mission field.

Then the phone rang. World Vision a ministry that championed the cause of the poor world-wide, wanted Rich to be the CEO. He took a 75% pay-cut to take a ministry. Rich knew he found the purpose God created him for and World Vision is glad he did.

You will be glad you did too.

Keep Looking Up!

Pastor Rodney

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Mary’s Song

Have you ever thought about what would have been going through your mind had you been in Mary’s position when the angel appeared to her in Luke 1?

Have you ever thought about what would have been going through your mind had you been in Mary’s position when the angel appeared to her in Luke 1? Undoubtedly, she had a vision of her future home, her future family, and all of the possibilities that awaited her as she was getting ready to wed Joseph. We would most likely be safe in assuming that she was quite excited to raise children with the man she loved. However, we would also most likely be safe in assuming that part of her excitement hinged on their firstborn child arriving at a later date and arriving under ‘normal’ circumstances!

Suddenly, the angel jolted Mary out of her blissful daydreams, and she realized she was pregnant before marriage in a way that nobody would believe! This pregnancy was going to cause tongues to wag, well-meaning people to nag, and her energy level to drag.

Mary’s immediate response is the question, “How can this be?’  After the angel answers by assuring her this news is indeed all God’s plan and she is in the center of it, she again responds immediately. This time it is a statement:  “Let it be with me just as you say.” The Living Bible’s version of her mature reply is, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.”

I am amazed by Mary’s answer to the angel. She trusts her Lord unwaveringly! And eight verses later, she proceeds to proudly praise the powerful presence and plans of her Lord to her cousin Elizabeth, and I am amazed again!

In some Bible versions, Luke 1:46-55 has a title such as, “The Song of Mary,” or something similar. It is peculiar because verse 46 starts off her “song” with the words, “Mary said,” and I cannot find a Bible that says differently. The words in those verses are so lyrical and so beautiful that they are considered to be a song, even though she did not sing them!

In those ten verses in Luke, Mary’s beautiful words have the potential to stop us in our tracks, especially if we take a moment to think about who spoke them and what her situation was. Mary’s spirit rejoiced in her Lord and her soul glorified Him at a time when she could have been throwing a self-pity party. When I am presented with unexpected circumstances, my natural reaction falls incredibly short of the reaction of a teenager who was given news that could be described as not just unexpected, but also earth-shattering and life-altering!

Friends, we can make the choice for our spirits to rejoice and our souls to glorify our Lord no matter what predicament we find ourselves in. Let us pray for a “Mary-like” trust; a trust that is immediate, unwavering and believes the Lord’s plan is the best plan.

Gwen Thielges

Visit Gwen @writewhereheleads.wordpress.com

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A Stable Boy In An Unstable World

The young couple set out on their long journey.

There was an immediate task at hand even in the midst of their uncertain future. The government, indifferent to the inconvenience and hardship, required everyone to travel to their birthplace to register for the census.  The Roman Empire needed information which would help them determine their population growth and establish a basis for the tax structure. What the empire wanted, the empire got. So Joseph had to go to Bethlehem. And Mary, nine months pregnant had to go with him.

They lived in an unstable world. A greedy, often violent and corrupt, government ruled their lives. The government leaders were temperamental, paranoid, and untrustworthy. The religious leaders were often weak and wavering. The average God fearer found it best to follow the rules and mind their own business. But those like Joseph and Mary held tightly to the promise of the coming Messiah. A promise fulfilled through the young couple. For in Bethlehem that night the Savior was born.

A stable boy for an unstable world.

We are shaken today by our own unstable world. Corruption, wavering morality, inconsistent values, irrational behavior, ambiguous ‘truth’, a lack of courage, unpredictable and untrustworthy leadership all create instability and an uncertain future.  Not to mention the instability of our personal lives. Financial, relational, emotional uncertainty abounds.

How can we face such uncertainty?

Walk by faith not by sight

Remember that the God who orchestrated the incredible events that led to Christ’s birth, is the same God we serve today! Have confidence in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (ESV)

Relying on sight blinds us to God’s best. Many who saw the baby Jesus that first night did not see the GIFT they’d been given. There are treasures God reserves for those who lean completely on Him. It is easy when facing uncertainty to cling to the familiar, even when God is asking you to step out in faith.  Don’t forfeit unseen treasures to hold onto seen comforts.

Feelings are not trustworthy guides

The more importance you assign to an event – the more intensely you’ll feel its emotions. But our feelings don’t have to dictate our choices.  Joseph and Mary probably had intense emotions about making that long trip so late in her pregnancy. What if they had decided to risk not going out of fear for Mary and the baby? Fear keeps us from trusting. Fear is a feeling, trust is a choice. They can share the same heartbeat.

Psalm 56:3 says “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

Trust in God

Are we so different from Joseph and Mary? Is our world any more or less certain? Rise above your fear and any other feelings that keep you from seeing Him and the significance of His gift this season. Set out on your journey of obedience.

In your unstable world,

Trust in the One who is

unchangeable,

unwavering,

solid, sound,

anchored, steadfast and sure.

Shellynne Wucher

Read more from Shellynne at: light4mysteps.wordpress.com

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Tis the Season to Be…

In Jesus, joy is ours for the taking and so I ask, are we taking hold of his joy? Would you be willing to make a change and shift your focus to something different, the joy of the Lord?

“How are you?” may be one of the most loaded questions that often receives the most surfaced response.

Can we bypass the surface response and get straight to the heart of the matter? It is a season of joy, hope, cheer (or so they say) and so I’m asking you how you are. Why? Because sometimes we aren’t doing well, and I’m not talking about the self-pity, bad day kind of mood but the “life is just really hard” reality of your life today. In order to heal, we have to walk this out honestly with ourselves and God.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

My oldest recently went through a traumatic time in her life. As her parents, we are teaching her it is important to talk about the trauma so her heart can heal. What we are learning from her is that kids and adults really aren’t much different: we think it’s better for us to avoid pain by not talking about it, it’s easier to ignore painful realities (that we can’t erase) and hope that it will all just go away.

The problem is, the pain doesn’t go away unless we address it. We often remind our daughter that, even though it doesn’t feel good, talking about this pain will help fill your heart heal and fill will joy again. You see, we want her to speak out the sadness so we can help teach her to cover it with truth.

When we avoid and ignore, our hurting heart causes us to believe lies that often gets fed when we keep our pain inside. Lies that say, “God didn’t really protect you”, “if God loved you then…”, “you are worthless and that just proves it”, “if God was really good then why”. Satan is the father of lies and he loves lying to you by causing you to question the goodness of your Savior (John 8:44).

So, my friend, how are you this season?

If you aren’t doing well, I want to share some hope with you, the truth that you can cloth your mind with when you start to doubt the goodness of God: the joy of the Lord.

While it’s easy to think of joy in fickle terms like happiness, it’s so much more than that. Joy, for Christians, runs deeper than happiness and something we can have regardless of our circumstances. In order to take the full gift of joy, we have to train our minds to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable (Philippians 4:8). In Jesus, joy is ours for the taking and so I ask, are we taking hold of his joy? Would you be willing to make a change and shift your focus to something different, the joy of the Lord? Grab some coffee, sit with me here, and let’s discover what this kind of joy really is all about. When you are done here, grab God’s word, open it and find more of this joy. Ask him to show you what this joy is all about.

 Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Psalm 4: 7 Fill my heart with joy

Psalm 119:111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.

Isaiah 35:10 and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

John 15:10-11 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Fathers commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything

1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

3 John 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Maria Bowersock

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