Joy thru Service

I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service, I acted and, behold, service is joy. Tagore

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10

For those who have a servant’s heart, joy comes in helping others realize their dreams. It comes in standing alongside others as they struggle, even if there is nothing we can do to lessen their burden beside this act of togetherness. Joy comes for the servant when he or she is able to share the burden another has, heft the load for another, or give quiet and confident witness to hard times, providing what he can to ease the pain.

God wills that we would serve others, and in so doing, He blesses us.

It’s funny how service works.

We think in our logical minds that giving more will deplete our reservoir, but in actuality the opposite is true. The more we give, the more God gives us to give, so that in giving, our resources increase.

So much of God’s world is topsy-turvy compared to ours.

What we see as loss, He sees as gain.

What we see as pain, He sees as progress.

What we see as bankruptcy, He sees as a new beginning, free of all those things that fettered us for too long.

Once we quit worrying about what we have and don’t have, He frees us to see the value in giving up everything to have Him.

Hallelujah, what a Savior.

Today, is you are weighed down with troubles or burdened by the harsh nature of this world, move into servant mode.

Don’t fix others. Fixing is for God to do, alone. But when He sends someone with a problem into your back yard, support them.

Listen to them.

Stand alongside them.

Their dreams for their life may be different from yours, but that’s okay. We don’t have to figure out their lives, or make things go well for them.

Ours is only to serve.

Pray for God to increase that servant’s heart among us today. Pray for stony chests to give up the fight to have more. Pray for opportunities for service to come to us, and pray that when they do, we will be ready: to love, to hold, to hug, and to serve.

Prayer Changes Things!

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Because

…because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
because of your father’s God, who helps you,
because of the Almighty, who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills. Genesis 49:24-26

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

Why was Joseph’s life such a success, despite his time spent in a cistern, in slavery, and in prison? Because the Lord knew Joseph.

Almighty God was the source of all blessing for Joseph. It was because God was with him that he experienced so many blessings.  Joseph’s God is that same God who blesses us every day with skies above us, earth below us, water to quench our thirst, and clothes to cover our backs. Not only do we enjoy these things, but we are also given food to eat, cars to drive, houses to live in, churches for worship, and friends to help us feel comforted, encouraged, and nurtured along our path.

Joseph had to go without many of the comforts of life while he served an unjust sentence in prison because of a wanton woman, but he never lost sight of the God who held his life in his hands.

Joseph served where God placed him, and he was thankful.

Today, may it be said of us that we are thankful for the blessings of God in our own lives.

Are things sometimes tough for us? Yes, and so they were for Joseph.

Are people sometimes vicious to us? Yes, and so they were to Joseph.

Do we sometimes feel like we are forgotten, overlooked, or left to peer through windows of blessings others are enjoying but not us? Yes.

Today, though, we can choose to think differently about what is happening in our lives. We can choose to see the grace that God is providing in every blessing we enjoy.

We can be joyful, no matter the circumstances.  Joy is a choice.

Instead of lingering with the pain and disappointment, we can choose to trust that God is here, with us, in our pain. Perhaps unseen, but here nonetheless.

That’s what Joseph did. He thanked God for his life (which was only spared because of God’s blessing and calling), and he went to work serving others through his pain, realizing that God allows pain into our lives  because it serves a redemptive purpose.

What purpose?  Only God knows these things, but I can tell you that asking is time well spent.  Don’t try to hard to make the answers come when you ask, some answers come in whispers while others take weeks or months to arrive. If you do not hear God shout the answer, remain quiet and confident in the whisper and it will come.  There was plenty to keep Joseph occupied once he made his mind up to serve God where he was and with the life he’d been given. The same is true for us.  Just do the next right thing, and trust God with the timing in your life.

Today, if you are struggling to find God’s blessings in your circumstanced, look to Joseph, and remember that God has promised never to leave you, nor forsake you, which means He is there in the pain with you. He always will be. Never forget that and never surrender to the fear that is likely to accompany ever trail in life.  This, too, shall pass…

Don’t give up before the miracle happens!

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Dear Soul,

Resentment is a choice.

In the style of Ann Voskamp, author of, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, I’m posting this letter to my soul today. I hope you can relate. If you can and you want to talk about your experiences with resentment(s), leave me a comment and we’ll begin a conversation (but not here). If not, then just try to be a little more patient with yourself and others you hold resentment toward today. I believe patience and prayer fix a lot of what’s wrong in this world, along with love, so I’ll be moving in that direction in the days ahead.  Just sayin’.

Some of what I’m about to write may sound narcissistic to you, or just plain weird.  If it does, that’s okay, but if revealing how I’m processing this journey with Jesus will help even one woman to be stronger, the chance that others might misunderstand what I’m trying to communicate is worth the risk.  We’re all in this together, right?  Time we started supporting one another, warts, neurosis, and all. 

Dear Daughter of Eve:

Thank you for serving yesterday. What an awesome hour of grace; you handled your part of it well.  Thanks for sharing your gift with others. You always give your best and I appreciate that. Thanks for being vulnerable with your classmates. Thanks for studying up, showing up, and staying upbeat in those moments when we meet together. What an interesting discussion we had. I could have stayed for another hour, at least. I learn a lot from this group….from our discussions about spiritual things. Thanks for making this a priority.

I’m reaching out this morning to nudge you about that resentment list we talked about last week. Not to bug you, but to encourage you to do some writing about those things we discussed then. I’ve been thinking and thinking about the struggles we admitted to in that time together.  Do you know that it helps me when I share my thoughts with you?  It does.  It also helps me when I’m dealing with matters similar to what we discussed last week to capture them on paper, so I want to recommend writing to you today. There are several ways I have written about my resentments in the past. I find that while it is sometimes helpful to talk about these things with others when I’m done writing, when I first begin writing my feelings are often raw and wild, so I like to keep them just between us. Later, when I’m ready, I share what I’ve written, or not. Whichever works best to bring me serenity and peace is the best course of action.

I write, because I find writing helps me to focus better on the exact nature of what’s going on with me. And because I’m not required to share what I write with anyone and my feelings remains anonymous, I can be completely honest. Yay, what a relief!

In the past, I have used all of the following styles of writing to help me work through resentments and periods of jealousy, that just happen to be my particular wart of choice, ugh.

When I struggle with resentments, I:

Write a God letter, making sure to “cc” Jesus.

Write a blog post, avoiding the use of specific names or circumstances, but addressing principles that frustrate me.

Write a poem.

Wrote a song.

Write an article for publication.  I’m not the only one who fights resentment, it seems.

I have written a letter to someone specific, and then burned it or thrown it away, or shred it, or stomp it into powder; point being, I’ve destroyed it so as not to hurt others with “my stuff”.

Writing helps me, and its cheap therapy.

When I write, I get “it” outta my system. Writing also helps remind me that when it comes to troubles, there is a beginning and there will be an end.

Hallelujah for the end of troubles!

When I write, I’m able to better see where God is working in any given situation. Sometimes I don’t see that until I begin to write about what’s going on with me.

Finally, writing helps me realize my part in the situation, which is really the only thing I can change about any resentful feelings I have. I only have power over me. If I am contributing to or feeding the resentment, I can change course, and praise God for the pain and what it is teaching me.

I can praise Him for the experience and what it is teaching me.

Ann Voskamp is famous for her praising ways.  It really does help. 

Every day I have the choice to thank God for molding and shaping me in ways that will make me more effective in the future.

I can choose to express gratitude for Him putting me in situations that teach me humility and self-love, and how to be proactive.

I hope I have not overstepped boundaries by sending this to you today. Part of what God is speaking to my heart on a regular basis is that we sisters in the Lord need to confess our weaknesses one to another, and seek support from each other in order to heal and grow. You have helped me do that this past year. If I could help you now, it would make me glad of heart.

I care about you, and I can so relate to the resentment thing.

KNOW I am praying for you today and I love you. God will find a way for you, and when he does, peace will come with His answer.

Keep looking up.

Keep trusting Him.

Keep seeking that answer.

Don’t give up before your miracle happens.

God wants us women to be strong and stay strong, so that we have the strength to help others. Be strong in Him, and in prayer and asking.

He hears, He cares, and He answers.

Hugs, L

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Childlike Prayers

When was the last time you listened in as your child prayed?

It’s amazing the things they say when their talking to their Papa in heaven, isn’t it?

The apostle John found it just as amazing to listen in on the prayer Jesus prayed for all believers when he was with us on the earth. Not only did John listen, he wrote it down so that we could experience the same sense of wonder. To get the full impact of what Jesus asked the Father to do for his apostles and the believers beyond that small group, check out John’s gospel today, Chapter 17. I think you’ll be amazed at what you find there, especially when you realize that this prayer is all about YOU–that faithful one who continues to follow Jesus no matter what the world is doing.

One of the greatest gifts we’ve been given by Jesus is inclusion.

Inclusion in the family of God means we will be and are always victorious, no matter what experience might tell us, no matter how we feel today, and no matter what we see when we make comparisons between us and others.

Inclusion means that we are always covered, just like the Hebrews were covered in the desert; we share their protection, provision, and proximity to God today.

Inclusion means that we are able to draw strength from each other, as we confess our burdens to each other and to our Holy Savior.

Inclusion means we are no longer on the outside looking in, so long as we seek to serve Christ with our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. We are included in the blessings–just as He prayed we might be–and we never have to “go it alone” again. Never!

Praise God!

Today, thank God that you don’t walk alone.

Praise Him for being very near, especially in the tough times.

Share him with others who likewise struggle with sins, habits, addictions, manipulations, misunderstandings and pain.

Be mindful that the victory will be yours, and that this present struggle is temporary, always temporary. There is a day coming when the Son of God will shine and rise and declare the pain over! Done! Finished! Demolished!!!

Praise God for all His blessings, and remember, Prayer Changes Things!!

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Powerless Yet Full of Power

Sometimes, mere mortals worry.

Why?

Because we realize pretty quickly in life that we are powerless over almost everything, and in the beginning that causes us to fear.

For crying out loud, we experience troubles when trying to control ourselves, let alone all the variables that go into raising up a family and a community, so we think fear is justified.

We forget that we serve an all-knowing, all-powerful, all righteous God who realizes that we are clay and lovingly listens to our prayers for our children, our spouses, our grands, and our neighbors.

What a relief to go to God in prayer and know He hears, He cares, and He answers.

In the same way that God makes grass grow for cattle, and provides wine and oil for human hearts and skin, he makes a way for His prodigy.

Always!

Where there is no way, HE MAKES A WAY, and where there is no blessing, he brings in the harvest, in due time. Today, we can be sure that while serving the God of the harvest, the God of promise, the God of might, and the God of majesty, we are safely held in loving arms.

We don’t need to struggle, wrestle with demons, fight against strongholds, or muster puny armies to make God love us more. We already have all the love and power we need, but in order to benefit from it, we must understand our weakness and depend on His strength.
Today, pray for weakness to fill you.

Pray for powerlessness to do its work in you.

Pray that your children will be brought to their knees in recognition of God’s sovereignty over their lives.

Pray that our church will be filled with awe when approaching the Holy One.

Pray that our words might be anointed by Him.

Pray that when we speak, the angels will listen and say AMEN, because they will know we have spoken only those words God provided for us to utter.

Pray for grace to fall on us, and for us to realize it when it does.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that America will experience revival.

Pray for God to fill us completely and leave no dark corner untouched by His redeeming power.

Pray, Pray, and then PRAY again, for God says: Pray without ceasing.”

Prayer Changes Things!

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Let’s Praise Him Anyway!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matt 6:25-27

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

When you’re sure that no matter how fast you work or how diligent you are, you are never going to make that deadline, Jesus says look to the birds.

Look to the robins, the hawks, even the crows. Meditate on the unfettered flight. Watch as the butterflies go meandering past. Observe the wood chuck, and the fawns in the fields, or the chipmunk on that stone wall in your back yard or across the way. The bees are not fretting as they collect their pollen, neither is the bear as he forages for berries; nor the fox, nor the coyote, nor the mice. The cows are not troubled about how they look today, nor are our pets worried that if their fur is a little askew this morning, we won’t love them anymore. The parakeet still sings and the hamster still runs on his ceaselessly squeaky wheel. Nature knows that God has everything in hand.

Oh, Christian, look to the birds.

Today, let’s soak in all the assurance God has to give in life.

Let’s borrow from Him peace to send us on our way.

Let’s believe that He will take care of things.

Let’s love one another, give lots of hugs, stop frowning and fussing, and fuming about the things that haven’t gone right, and instead lift holy hands to the Creator, that One who has ordained all things to be beautiful in their own way, even the mishaps and the mistakes.

Today, let’s praise Him for where we are and the projects that won’t get done.

Learning to give these things into His capable hands is the job of each believer.

Things will not always go according to plan in life–let’s praise Him anyway!

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So, I went kayaking in NEPA last night…

…I capsized my boat!

000kayak
Yep. this happened to me, but luckily I had 4 angels there to help me out (and probably many more, unseen by human eyes).

Today, I’m thankful that:

The water was warm!

The night was gorgeous!

I had those others there to rescue me!

My sister-in-law loves me, no matter how clumsy I am.

I got to see a blue Heron perching in the top of a pine tree and calling out to nature.

What an experience, I didn’t know they did that.

I didn’t drown.

I faced a kayaking fear in a safe environment.

I saw the hand of God working in the patience and humor of others.

I was able to laugh at myself.

I put a major kayaking fear behind me.

I know now that I don’t want an open kayak when I buy my own.  Yes, I will buy one sometime soon.

I know my hubby loves me. He was wayyy worried when he looked across the lake and my boat was upside down and I was nowhere to be found.

I learned anew what it means to trust God with our lives.

I had an experience I never would have had, had I not taken a chance and lived in the moment.

It was GREAT!

I’m ready to go again!!!! :D

Thank you, Linda, Adam, Sue, and Bob for rescuing me when I fell in the drink, and for laughing with me; again, when I fell in the drink. You guys ROCK!!!

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