Five Gifts In His Name

As we enter into this busy holiday season, let’s not forget the ultimate reason why we celebrate with friends and family. And maybe this year will be the year we all take a deep breath, relax, and take some time to Thank God for the Truth of the season and the gifts he gives us right in his son’s name.

JESUS.

God has blessed us with so many amazing gifts through his son, Jesus. Whom he sent to this world to live and breath as a human. To feel, suffer, and ultimately give us the greatest gift of all, dying on the cross for our sins so we will one day have eternal life with Him in Heaven.

As you are hustling and bustling through this season, maybe feeling overwhelmed with everything, here are five gifts of Jesus just for you, in His name.

Heavenly Father,

I thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ who endured more suffering than any of us could ever imagine so we could be set free. Father I pray for all of those tender hearts during this holiday season who are struggling with addiction, abuse, loss, hunger, and illness. May your gift of Jesus bring Love, Hope, Peace, and Healing to our hurting world. I also pray Father as we leave another year and bring in a new one that more and more people will find the gifts of Jesus. In His Holy Name, Amen.

Blessing and Thanks to each of you who have been along with me, Living Joy this year. I look forward to new adventures in Jesus in 2020! I hope you will join me.

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy,

Jane Ann

What Is the Temperature of Your Heart?

Just like the recent change in Autumn temperatures, one day 92 degrees the next 52 degrees, the temperature of our hearts can change too. Maybe not so suddenly, but at times of disappointment, anger, resentment, or fear, the temperature of our hearts can change rather quickly.

What is the temperature of your heart today? Is everything going your way, all is fabulous in your life, the temperature of your heart is warm like a sunny day.

Or has someone turned your sun into rain? All you can see are dark clouds on the horizon. Nothing seems to be going your way. You may even be wondering, “Where are you God?”

Just as Jesus told his disciples so long ago before he was crucified, “I will not leave you”, He gives us, believers in Him today, that same promise. Just as he sent the Holy Spirit to live in his disciples and believers then, so does the Holy Spirit live and dwell in you me my sweet friend.

Dive into a few verses of John with me and fill your soul with the promise of Jesus today.

John 14:15-17: “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you! ” (The Message.)

John 16:13: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. ” (NIV)

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)

Okay, so you might not be feeling so warm and fuzzy on the inside yet. Sometimes it’s just part of God’s plan for us to wait, to be in a time of suffering. It’s during these times that we learn and grow the most. (Yes I know you really didn’t want to hear that either, I never do, but it is the truth)

The reality is friend, we are all go through difficulties. The temperature of our heart will drop. That’s just life in this world, but we don’t have to let it steal our joy, or paralyze us from moving forward.

We need to put on our tennis shoes and run (I will be power walking) straight to Jesus! Straight to his word, give it time to sink in. Read it over and over.

And Run. Run straight to the Jesus living and breathing inside of you, The Holy Spirit.

I have been reading a beautiful book by Speaker and Author, Anne Graham Lotz titled “Jesus In Me”. In Part One she describes all of the many jobs of The Holy Spirit and gives account of how each have worked in her life and others. And He can and will work in your life and mine when we just call upon Him.

The Holy Spirit is:

Yes my dear friend, The Holy Spirit wears all of these hats, and when you and I earnestly call upon Him in our dark and desperate times He is there.

Right beside us.

Holding our hands.

Lifting our spirits.

Guiding our way.

Comforting our hearts.

Providing our strength.

So I ask again, What is the temperature of your heart today? Even if it is a balmy 88 degrees, I say, call on the Holy Spirit and give thanks for all He has done for you today! If your temperature is a little low, I promise you when you persevere with the Holy Spirit, warmer days are just ahead!

As Paul so long ago prayed for the Ephesians, this prayer is for you too my sweet friend. Keep it near, knowing that The Holy Spirit is your strength, counsel, intercessor, and so much more every day.

I’d love to hear how The Holy Spirit has worked in your life. Leave me a comment.

“Exhale” Book Study Week 5 Meet the Need and Seize the Yay!

Can you believe it’s Friend, our last Friday. But these are two incredible chapters that bring all our hard work up to this point full circle. You see, just because we have reached the end of the study, we haven’t reached the end of “Losing Who We’re Not, Loving Who We Are, and Living Our One Life Well”. It’s a process. One that we can continue with Jesus when we not only let Him rescue us but we take His invitation for His refuge.

I think like Cheri, so many times it’s easy to plead to God in our difficult times and struggles, “God, get me out of here!” Then when he does we say “Thanks God” and go about our merry way. Totally leaving behind His gracious invite into His “spacious place” of refuge.

For me, the biggest ah ha reading and practicing the principles Amy and Cheri have so beautifully placed in front of us and guided us through with their own personal examples, has been this exact truth found on page 194. Cheri writes, “The ‘spacious place’ of Pslam 18:19 isn’t out there. You don’t have to hunt to find refuge in God.” She goes on to say that in “Acts 17:28… in Him we live and move and have our own being.” But most of all, what hit home with me was Psalm 139: 7-10:

No matter where we are, or go, seek, search, hide, run, or pause God is with us. His name, Imanuel, “God with us”. This is what I was missing for quite some time. You see, I too took God’s invitation several years ago to be freed, “loosened” from what held me captive. I accepted the rescue not the refuge. I sought refuge in a group of people who were like me, which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. The group gave me support and offered their experience, strength, and hope. After a time, though, I was only relying on this group’s sayings and principles to fill a hole in my soul. Even though I was experiencing growth, deep friendships, and staying sober, I was still lost.

It wasn’t until one day when I was reading Nicki Koziarz’s book, “Five Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit” that I realized what I was missing. During a recorded teaching lesson, Nicki asked if you had not accepted Jesus as your personal savior, or if you had in the past but wanted to renew that vow, you can say a prayer right where you are right now. So that is what I did. I hit my knees in that moment and prayed the prayer along with Nicki, accepting the invitation of refuge Jesus offers!

Now, I want to say, I love that group of women that I still meet with, however today Jesus is my refuge and strength.

So what is our need with our name on it? Let’s take some time to “pray-cess” on this question. Has there been a need calling you that you are ignoring because you don’t think it is really for you? Ask God this weekend to help you discern the need with your name on it, then take action. I promise you will be blessed beyond your belief!

Now, without further ado, let’s…

In the final chapter Amy leads us through a beautiful prayer to show us how we can combat the lie that we can’t pull off the triathlon (my word) of satisfying the needs of our hearts, being there for others, and doing everything to the glory of God. We do this by:

Following the “Principle of Intention”

Letting God be the light that shines brightly through us.

Focus on our community not the cries of the crowd.

Dear Friend, it has been such a growth experience for me to be a part of the “Exhale ” Launch team and to bring this study to you these past five weeks. I pray that you have been blessed and know that I will be praying for your continued growth to “Living Your One Life Well”.

You can go to exhalebook.com for more resources.

I will leave you with the link to John 17 and one last video!

John 17: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/search=John+17&version=NIV

If you would like to “Dig Deeper” on these topics here are the links to more learnings:

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode #60: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode60/

Amy’s “Growing Into A Calling Part 1”: https://amycarroll.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Growing-Into-A-Calling-Part-1.pdf

” Amy’s “Growing Into A Calling Part 2”: https://amycarroll.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Growing-Into-A-Calling-Part-2.pdf

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode #34: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode34/

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode #75: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode75/

“Exhale” Book Study Week 5 Seed Senders and Redirection

As I was reading Amy’s memory of third grade I was saying, “me too, me too!” My thoughts instantly went day dreaming back to the 70’s at Central Elementary School. Three years in a row I got to have my three favorite teachers ever. Second Grade, Miss Ponder, kind, gentle, and fun; Third Grade, Mrs Berman. And she too had the most sought out hair cut of the decade! Then Fourth Grade, Miss Nelson, she wore… bell bottoms!

So it might look like these three amazing ladies only planted the seeds of fashion, hair, and make-up in my soul, but the day I stepped into my first classroom I remembered each one of them, the love, respect, gentle guidance, and direction they gave me a their student. That was the teacher I was going to be for my students. I also remembered other teachers who had left some not so great seeds, one in particular, who told me I would amount to nothing, well, nothing but a professional cheerleader. Doesn’t sound so bad, but she meant on the sidelines of an NFL game, not an encourager for others in life. Good thing I cut that vine.

In Chapter 15, Amy leads us through one of my favorite of Jesus’ parables in Mark 4. I love “Bible Gateway”. I use it all the time to look up Bible verses in all different translations. Here is the link for Mark 4 in “Bible Gateway” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+4&version=

What convicted me the most was on page 168 when Amy describes that the seeds that have fallen in the thorns aren’t dead at all, but actually alive, but barely. Not bearing any fruit. I have to say I too can check this off as guilty.

Oh the cars, yes, cars. There wasn’t one good enough. I went through a season (or two or three to be honest) where first it was the mini van, then large SUV oh that was too big, small SUV, not sporty enough, luxury car, and so on and so on! Did I mention the houses? At one point I moved to three different houses in the same city. Keeping up with the “Jones'”, and by the way, I’ve never met them!

I think you get the point, trapped in a “worldly” cycle. God’s seeds were being planted. I was an active church member, Bible Study Girl, but the seeds were falling in the soil that was being choked by the thorns. But thank you Amy for showing us the way back. I started this post with John 15:4. Here is the link to John 15:1-8, the way to stay out of the thorns: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+15%3A1- 8&version=NIV

When we remain in Jesus and let him prune us, we will grow. Then he asks us to join Him as “Seed Senders”.

Friend, to “Live our One Life Well”, we need to ask Jesus in daily, ask him to prune away our worries, desires for worldly things we don’t need, he desire for approval from others. or anything else you see as choking thorns in your life.

Today’s Challenge: Share in the comments, What thorns are keeping you from bearing fruit that you need to ask Jesus to prune?

Moving on into Chapter Sixteen, Cheri fills us in on how her dreams to publish books as her main goal switched after spending so much of her life receiving rejections. She allowed God in to redirect her to see that, like her basil plant, old dreams can die and new ones can be formed.

I know for me, I have had too many goals and dreams happening at once that I was doing so much, however it was so much not good. I love the question Cheri poses on page 180, “Do you sense Him inviting you to stop some specific dreams, setting them aside for a season or perhaps forever? Then she says, “If so, remember:

I have never been very good at goal setting, well I take that back. I am good at setting goals it is the follow-up I have a difficult time maintaining. How about you? Are you a goal setter? Do you find your goals changing, or do you hang on tight to that one goal you have had your sites set on for some time?

To “Live Our One Life Well” we need to be open to God’s redirecting of our goals and dreams.

Here is a link to the Goal Tier Chart and Directions for its use. I am going to give it a go, and do some pray-cessing on where God is leading me.

Tier Template: https://exhalebook.com/wpcontent/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_16_pg_187_Template.pdf

Tier Template Directions: https://exhalebook.com/wpcontent/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_16_pg_187_Instructions.pdf

Today’s Second Challenge, should you choose to accept it. Share a goal or dream you have been holding on to and are having trouble letting go, but you are feeling God calling you elsewhere.

“Exhale” Book Study Week 5 Face It Not Force It

Welcome to Week 5! You are strong, courageous, and a beautiful child of God and you have Exhaled your way to this point! This week we are diving into “Living Our One Life Well”.

For so long I thought I was living a pretty good “One Life Well” until I wasn’t. My issue, the fear of letting go. Letting go of control of all things I thought were in my control. Ok, you can have a big laugh now. Because we all know the only One who is in full control is God.

Cheri has an amazing video for us today that addresses just this topic, and how we can stop forcing and start facing.

So are you ready to surrender all to God, face your expectations and not force them? If yes is your answer, then friend you are on your way to living your “One Life Well”

Here are the three questions Cheri posed at the end of the video

What is “One mountain, obstacle you need to conquer in order to surrender control of the future to God? How can you remember to “Face it, not Force it”?

For me, my obstacle is myself. I stand in my own way thinking I am in control, and friend, that is some stinking thinking right there. One way I use to help me remember to surrender to God is my little frog figurine I have on my desk. He reminds me daily to:

This week we will be reading Chapters 15, 16, 17, and 18.

How can I pray for you this week? Let me know in the comments or go to my contact me page.

And get ready friend, this week I have a fun challenge coming up! Be thinking of some “Seed Senders” in your life. See you Wednesday!

“Exhale” Book Study Week 4 No More Shape-shifting, Be Yourself

Happy Friday, Friend! Can you believe you have completed four weeks of “Exhale” study! This week was a light week of reading but a deep week of “pray-cessing”.

Have you ever been a “Shape-shifter”, wanting to impress the main person in the room so bad you would change or “shift” your personality? I know I am guilty of being the person Cheri described being for a minute in her life.

I know most of my college days and into my teaching career I wanted to be noticed by the main person in the room, no matter who it was. Can I just say, exhausting! And when Cheri introduces us to two new clubs, I have to admit, I used to think I was in the 99 Club, not a club I choose to be a member of today. However, to be brutally honest there are some days still that I think I am in the 99 Club, days I think I haven’t sinned or done anything wrong. This is not something I am proud to admit, but as Cheri says:

Today, I want to be found by Jesus, Friend, because I know how easy it is to get lost on a daily basis. Boy, oh boy, what sweet joy it is, when we recognize we have wondered and Jesus finds us just where we are.

He will pick us up, our “messy, unimpressive, in-need- of- rescue, beloved selves” (“Exhale”), and bring us home. The Club of One is where it’s at my friend!

We can “be ourselves AND be loved because we are BELOVED by God”.

Click on the links below to download a cell phone and/or PC screen saver to remind you that you are BELOVED:

https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_14_160_Cell_Phone_Image.jpg

https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_14_160_Computer_Image.jpg

Want to “Dig Deeper” this week? Check out these links:

Chapter 13: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode82/

Chapter 12: https://cherigregory.com/just-being-me/

Chapter 14: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode101/

Have you ever tried to impress someone or judged someone as an “unimpressive” person? Share in the comments to be entered in this week’s drawing!

“Exhale” Book Study Week 4 Trusting God with Your Calling, What Are You Waiting For

Welcome to Wednesday friend. Have you taken one of the Spiritual Gift inventories yet? In Chapter 12 of “Exhale” we read this week that to “Love who I am, I must trust His Call.”

Wow, was this ever an eye opener for me. I know in my heart I need to trust God with everything in my life, but actually doing it is another story. But if I really want to make some serious changes, really “Loving Who I Am”, then I need to take action. I need to not just believe I need to trust my Savior, I need to TRUST Him!

Cheri walks us through John 10 and shows us first how we can learn to trust God’s call with 10 steps:

Here is Cheri’s List of 10 Actions from John 10:

When I know and live the truth of John 10, I can trust God’s calling and let go of what I think and believe I should be doing with my life. This also, as a people pleaser, gives me a pass to “dis-appoint” those other voices in my life that are telling me I should do or be something else.

If you haven’t taken the Spiritual Gifts Inventory yet to see how you uniquely fit into “One Flock and One Shepherd”, here are the links again to several that Amy and Cheri suggest.

Spiritual Gift Inventories :

https://www.freeshapetest.com/

https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/spiritual-gifts-survey/

https://giftstest.com/?fbclid=IwAR2TvOPRLegTXk04GEyD_GM9P5efurhF34LDD7O1kH_D89hki6g7Tu3Wf4g

https://www.sdrock.com/giftstest/

https://spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gifts-test-adult-version/

Pen and Paper Assessment you can purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Spiritual-Gifts-Questionnaire-

Easy/dp/0800798341

It’s okay if after reading Chapter 12 and taking a Spiritual gifts inventory you still aren’t quite sure what God is “Calling” you to do. I know for me, I am still working through this process.

If you haven’t read Chapter 13 yet, Amy does a beautiful job walking us through how to “Clarify our Calling”.

You see friend, a “calling” isn’t just for ministers, worship leaders, and the like. God has a “calling” just for you and me. He is calling us throughout our lives, in all the different seasons. Just like he called Bartimaeus. Jesus is asking you and me, friend, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Prayerfully consider your answer to this question. As Amy said she “always wanted a convertible.” Being quite honest as well, my first shallow response would be, “I’d love a closet full of designer clothes and shoes please!” But seriously, when I pray-cess on this question, the first thing that comes to mind is, “God, show me where I can best be used in your kingdom work.”

Amy gives us three action steps to help us find our specific calling:

God has a unique calling for each of us. Let’s “pray-cess” and work through Amy’s action steps to pursue God for our calling.

If you know your calling and are deep into it, I would love for you to share in the comments your calling and how you knew or came about knowing that was the calling God placed on your heart. I know it would be a benefit to so many.