Let Joy Be Your Compass

Do you remember a time in your life when you had pure joy? Maybe that time is now…maybe it’s not. But at least one point in all of our lives we can say we’ve experienced true and pure joy. Think about it for a minute. Go back to that time if that time isn’t now. How did it feel? Is it something you want to experience again?

I’d hope so!

Well, you can. Joy isn’t lost. No matter your current situation…how dire things seems. You can get back to that place of pure joy. It will take some work on your part, some surrendering, letting go. But isn’t it worth it?

Here are 4 simple steps to regain joy in your life.

1 – Believe God wants you to have joy.

God is a God of love. He wants nothing but good for you. And joy is good. But you have to believe this truth. You have to walk around with your head held high knowing that the Creator of the entire universe and everything in it values you above anything else and He cares that you have joy in your life. You’re that special.

2 – Ask God for joy.

There’s nothing wrong with asking God to give you joy. And there’s nothing wrong with asking others to pray for you in the same way. God wants us to come to Him with our desires and wants. And joy in our lives is just as big as healing of a disease. Don’t belittle it! Put it on your prayer list! He’s listening. Just ask!

3 – Go near to God.

Sometimes, just seeking His presence and sitting quietly before Him will do more for your soul than you can imagine! Develop a daily meditation practice with your Father. Spend this time in silence just sitting and listening and letting Him do a work on your heart and soul! It will do wonders for your joy! It can be a minute, it can be 2, 5 or 30. The choice is yours! But just do it! Start small and work yourself up. Sit quietly with God, breath deeply…breath in His presence and breath out negative thoughts and feelings. Just a minute of this practice will rejuvenate you, energize you, and bring back your joy!

4 – Set your mind on things that bring you joy.

Ok, and this is a biggie! One of my most favorite sayings recently is “what’s kinking your hose?” (Think of a garden hose that’s free flowing water, then one that gets kinked… when you’re kinked, you can’t flow life, creativity, joy…anything!) I was at a wellness conference and one of the speakers was talking about things that kink our hose, steal our joy and make us a big old mess! So, evaluate. What is linking your hose and remove it from your life! Also evaluate, what unkinks your hose and focus on those things! The things that allow your hose to flow free are the things that will bring you joy. The things that kink your hose are the things that will suck your joy. So spend some time asking God to show you the kink culprits and how to remove them. Then ask Him to show you those things that foster passion, creativity, joy, life and how you can put more of that in your life.

And when you start doing these 4 simple things, get ready for joy overload! Also get ready to make a difference in this world! Because when you are living this way, you will be living out the passion and purpose God has placed in your heart and you’ll be making a tremendous difference in your world!

Don’t Get Distracted

45E1C985-56DE-49AA-A8ED-BB22132C16B8
Psalm 16:11 says “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

There are so many things in the world competing for our attention. But we need to focus on God’s plans and priorities for our life. We need to take some time to ask God what He wants us focused on at this season of our life. Someone else’s priorities aren’t our priorities. They may look good, but if they aren’t what God is calling us to, we aren’t going to be fulfilled. So take some tome, listen to God and follow His path… His path for You will lead you to fullness of joy. And doesn’t that sound fabulous?

What do you need to say no to?

The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank… But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. ~ Daniel 1:5, 8

Daniel was a prisoner in a foreign land and was pretty much at the control of the king. But Daniel knew what was best for him and his body. He chose to follow what God was telling him to do vs. this earthly king that could kill him at a moments notice. And, let’s face it, the king’s food sounds pretty darn yummy compared to what Daniel was choosing to eat. But, he knew that God was telling him “this” not “that” is what will be the best fuel for your body, make you healthy, and help you be your best you. So Daniel said no to the king and yes to God.

It’s hard to say no, even when we know it’s the best thing for us. But sometimes we have to say no so we can say yes! Say no to the unhealthy lifestyle we currently live so we can start feeling better, living better and rid ourselves of unnecessary illness. Say no to Starbucks or eating out everyday so we can buy healthier nutrition for us and our family. Say no to overworking so we can yes to more time with our family. Say no to indulgences and wants so we can yes to a better quality of life with our family. There are many possibilities.

So today, I challenge you to ask yourself…what do you need to say NO to, so you can say YES to something better!

Not Measuring Up?

Ephesians 4:17 – 5:5 lays out some dos and don’ts for those of us who are believers.  And wow, when you read this list, you may be thinking… well I did that today, hmmm…. I did that one too, oh, I didn’t do that one… nope, did that one. EEEEK!!!

ephesians_4_29_by_treybacca-d5vpqmw

So what does that mean? Are you a failure? Are you a bad Christian? Are you even a believer at all if this list details how a believer lives?

It’s so easy for us to beat ourselves up when we read Scripture and begin measuring ourselves. But, here’s the thing. We are are measuring ourselves against Jesus.  Do you hear that?  JESUS! The only perfect human to ever walk the earth. He doesn’t want us measure ourselves and beat ourselves up when we don’t measure up to Him.  He just gave us the example to strive for. To long for. And when we fail, we talk to Him, ask for forgiveness when needed and keep on trying!  Because I have news for you… you will NOT be perfect this side of Heaven.  Until you take your last breath on this earth and are welcomed into the arms of Jesus, you will make mistakes. It isn’t an excuse to not worry about it. It doesn’t give you a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. But it does give you grace… to turn back to your Heavenly Father who is seeking you, pursuing you, chasing you and ask Him to forgive your failures and help you do better. And guess what? He will!

So stop beating yourself up for being human. He made you human and He loves you for who you are!  He just wants you to live out the purpose He’s placed on your life, open the lines of communication (pray), learn from Him (read your Bible), learn from others (Christian community) and face each day seeking Him!  Seems simple, right?

That’s #MyThoughtForToday
What’s yours?
#AllLoveNoHate

Can I Have a Drink of Water?

In John 4:1-45, we read about an encounter Jesus has with a Samaritan woman at a well. A woman He never should have spoken to… a woman for all intents and purposes shouldn’t have even been there at that time.

John4_7

You see, it was the hottest part of the day and women typically went later in the day to draw water because it was cooler. But this woman, well, she specifically went at this time to avoid others because she had a bit of a reputation. So, I am sure when she was walking up and saw a man… a Jewish man nonetheless… sitting by the well, she was all but bothered. But she went anyway.

And what did Jesus do? Did He ignore her? Pretend she wasn’t there? Nope. He asked for some water. So not only was He willing to talk to her, but He was willing to drink from her jar. Gasp! The horror!

Who do we avoid because the world tells us we should? Who do we not say a simple hello to because we aren’t supposed to? Look what happened… because Jesus started with a simple question… will you give me a drink of waterthis woman’s entire life changed! No longer an outcast, no longer on a path to nowhere… now a child of God, saved by grace and the one who brought the life-giving message of Jesus to her town! Woah! Jesus used an outcast to do all that!

Who are we robbing of their blessing because we won’t simply ask them can I have a sip of water?

OUCH!

So, today, say hello to people. Ask simple questions. And see where it leads! Let conversation happen! Who knows what path God may be leading you down to help a person discover their path. And how cool would it be to get to be a part of a journey like that just for saying can I have a drink of water?

That’s #MyThoughtForToday
What’s yours?
#AllLoveNoHate

Where are you walking in faith?

hebrews

Do you have faith?  Do you know what faith is?  I think I do. And that’s an answer to both questions by the way.

Hebrews 11:1 says… “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” 

Usually, we all want proof that what we are about to do, say, act on… will produce best possible outcome for us. I think that’s human nature. But one thing that is for sure… there is no sure thing.

When I was pregnant with my first child, to say I was excited was an understatement. Trevor was nervous enough for the both of us, so I didn’t need to worry at all! Anyway, at our 20 week ultrasound, they told us there was an issue with the placenta and that I was having some blood pressure issues, so they put me on bed rest. UNTIL THE BABY WAS BORN. For those unknowing about all things pregnancy, that is 20 more weeks. That’s a long time! But, I did it because I wanted a healthy baby. Fast forward to 3 days before his due date and I was in labor. They told me the placenta issue had resolved and I didn’t need to have a C-Section. All was good. He was born. He was 8lbs 1oz of pure joy.  Then, all hell broke lose. The placenta issue hadn’t really resolved fully, it ruptured, and I could have died leaving Trevor to raise a newborn all alone. But, that didn’t happen! Some time later, I regained consciousness, strength, was unhooked from wires and came home with a baby boy.

3 years later, I did it again. People thought I was crazy. What if... was a common phrase that came out of their mouths over and over and over. But, I had faith that God knew what He was doing, and we were meant to have another child. And guess what? At the 20 week ultrasound, they told me my baby may have Downs Syndrome and I needed to have further testing done. I declined because the testing would endanger the baby and it wouldn’t change the outcome of the pregnancy anyway. People again, thought I was crazy. Don’t you want to know? No! what does it matter? God gave us this baby and if he has Downs Syndrome, I won’t love him any less. So, fast forward 20 weeks and he is born… on his due date mind you! 8lbs 8oz of pure joy. And no Downs Syndrome. And no complications. We walked in faith. And what a reward we received that day!  Two beautiful boys to love!

Today, I walk in faith. In lots of different ways. Some small… some big. But in faith nonetheless. Some days I waiver. And God reminds me that faith isn’t a suggestion, it’s a requirement. (Hebrews 11:6)

So, how are you walking in faith? Or, how are you not walking in faith, but need to be? Maybe it is starting something new… maybe it is stopping something old… maybe it is volunteering… maybe it is giving financially… maybe it is a new business venture you feel called to… whatever it is, if God is calling you to it, He will walk you through it!

That’s #MyThoughtForToday
What’s yours?
#AllLoveNoHate

The Moral Compass

A reflection on Matthew 14:1-12
 

CompassHow often do we look to the world to be our moral compass? Everyday! We do this by making decisions based on what people will think. When, what we should really be doing is making our decisions based on what God will think. Just like Herodias knew how to play Herod, people know how to play us too, to get the result they desire.  But, if we are fixated on Jesus, and He is our moral compass, their tricks and lies won’t matter.

 
Politicians make a career out of doing what they think will get them the most votes. We have to remember that by doing what is right we may lose popularity votes. Jesus didn’t take a political stand when He taught and spoke. He stuck with scripture and told it like it was (and still is by the way). His popularity vote was probably pretty darn low! At least in the eyes of those who seemed to have the power.
 
The question I am wrestling this morning is what is my process for making decisions. When faced with decisions, big or small, I need to step back and say “what would Jesus do”? Those WWJD bracelets were just a fad that went out with the next era, but the message behind them shouldn’t.  Though people may look at you like you’re nuts, you can’t falter from what is right in Gods eyes. The world has really lost sight of that.
 
We were watching a Discovery documentary called When We Left Earth. It detailed NASA’s journey from no one in space to people living and working on space stations for extended periods of time.  (By the way, if you have Netflix, I highly recommend you search for this and watch them. They are a great history lesson!)  Throughout the journey, president after president would make speeches and in these speeches, they would praise and thank God, and they would call on God for help.  Men in Mission Control would pray throughout the entire space mission. They would weep and pray when they lost someone in the name of exploration.  I have to say, seeing President Ronald Reagan speak those words of faith reminded me just how far we have fallen. So it’s no wonder we have madmen going into schools, malls, movie theaters and unleashing disaster on innocent people, many times young children. How can we even utter the words “how could this happen”? It happens because we not so politely told God “Get out! We’ve got this all under control”.  But I wonder, how long until we realize we have NOTHING under control and we are taking Gods special and perfect creation and turning it into something gross and disgusting. (thus endeth my soapbox 🙂 )
 
I was asked the question yesterday “Where is your heart burning, what is God stirring in your life for this new year?”. Well, this is it! God is telling me to be bold and step out each day with my face pointed directly to Him. So in this new year, I am going to focus on Jesus and ask what would He do before I make decisions, big or small. It could even be as small as what I eat that day. I want Jesus to be my moral compass, not this world. This world is a disaster and though I can’t change it on my own power, I can do my part to share and show Jesus. And maybe, just maybe, one person will see Jesus in me, then want to share and show Jesus and so on. Discipleship isn’t easy, but it is our calling. One that we have to take seriously.