The One You Need to Complete You This Year

Happy New Year! it is super exciting to begin another year of devotions, sharing the love and joy of Christ with you. Last year I started the year by choosing a “Word of the Year” for myself in which I would embrace and connect with throughout the year. The 2019 word “Grow” worked well for me in so many areas of my life that I decided to give this word thing another go this year. My word for 2020 is “Present”.

Now for all of you that know me well, I am sure you are thinking the worst here. And I hate to tell you, “You are wrong.” I am not asking for gifts this year by choosing this word just because I do love presents! (Secretly I do believe I am an elf all year long. My favorite food being sugar, shopping being one of my favorite hobbies, for a deal of course, Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love getting and giving gifts, celebrating people for their accomplishments and mile stones.)

But seriously this year I want and need to be “present”. Every day. First and foremost with Jesus. Life gets busy, fast. I tend to get easily agitated and out of sorts, being pulled in so many directions, looking for the answers here, there, and everywhere, except for where I should be looking for them, up. Looking up to Jesus.

Colossians 2:2-3 reminds me:

All the answers I am ever seeking are with Jesus, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” When I am “present” with Him daily and throughout my day, I will be given the wisdom and knowledge I need to make the right decisions I am seeking.

In the beautiful daily devotional, “Jesus Always” by Sarah Young she writes, “Remind yourself of this glorious truth frequently whispering: ‘Jesus, You are my Treasure. In You I am Complete'”.

By turning my thoughts to “The One Who Completes Me” allows me to give my life focus and purpose.

And with focus and purpose I find the Joy that John writes about in Chapter 15 verses 10-11:

I don’t know about you friend, but I sure want the Joy of Jesus completing me! So this year my word, “Present” is leading me to be present with Him everyday, all day.

I have been starting my mornings reading again this year “Jesus Always” by Sarah Young. https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Always-Embracing-Presence-Calling%C2%AE/dp/0718039505/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3P3W8XJE1UZ86&keywords=jesus+always&qid=1579440771&sprefix

If you have not read any of her daily devotionals, I highly recommend them. It’s like a little message directly from Jesus everyday. I have also gone back to something I had slipped away from doing regularly in my morning quiet time, meditating. Depending on the day, whether I have to go to work or its a weekend, I spend 10-20 minutes in quiet meditation. I love being still with Jesus. Being present. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Find a comfortable position, and be still. Start with 5-10 minutes and gradually you can increase your time. I personally find myself refreshed and ready to start the hectic part of my day after this intimate time with Jesus.

One of my favorite ways to stay connected to Jesus throughout the day is to listen to many great Christian artists. I play them while I am getting ready for work, driving to work, and during my work day.

I also tune into my favorite podcast that focus on Christian living for recovering perfectionists and sensitive people. Check out Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls with Amy Carol and Cheri Gregory. https://gritngracegirls.com/

Another favorite podcast is Joyce Meyer “Enjoying Everyday Life” https://joycemeyer.org/todaysshow/takejoyceeverywhere#podcasts

There are tons of podcasts out there. I’d love to here from you. What podcasts do you listen to that encourage and motivate you to live your best life in Christ. Leave me a comment.

I tend to be a “Squirrel in traffic”, focusing on many agenda items at once. My goal, by having “Present” as my word of the year, is to help me to be “hands-on” and “in-tune” with each person individually I come in contact with. I believe by being present with Jesus, first, letting Him be the One who Completes me, I can accomplish this goal, and anything. Because All things are possible with Jesus!

I want to give a little shout out here to Joy A. Mead. She nominated me for a Blogger to Blogger Award called the Versatile Blogger Award. Please check out Joy’s blog here: https://joyamead.com/ Joy is a beautiful Christian woman from California now raising her family just outside of London with her Englishman husband, Charlie. You can also see the other blogs she nominated.

I will be participating in this award next month so please check back to see my nominations!

Until then,

Look Up, Let Go, Live JOY!

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.

Zacchaeus Wasn’t So Wee and Neither Are We

Exhale Book Study Week 1

Hi Friend, this is my mid-week check in to see how things are going with, “Losing who you’re not”. This week we are reading that Zacchaeus lost who he was when he climbed up in that huge sycamore tree to see who Jesus was.

When I first read the story of Zach in Luke 19:1-10, memories of vacation bible school flooded my mind. I so remembered singing the song about Zacchaeus. He was a tiny, wee little man as the song goes, he had to climb up in the tree to get a good look at Jesus. The song goes on to tell us that Jesus sees him in the tree and He calls his name. “Hey Zachaeus, I’m going to your house, come out of that tree dude!” (my paraphrase) Zachaeus was so pumped that Jesus was coming to his house!

What this children’s song doesn’t explain is that our boy Zach is not a popular person in his town and that he has cheated many of his friends out of a lot of their money by keeping some of their money he has collected for taxes for himself, making himself quite the rich man.

But Jesus chose Zachaeus’ house to visit that very day. Coincidence? I think not.

Just as Zachaeus knew he needed to run to Jesus to make some needed changes in his life, we can do the same. Just as Jesus knew Zachaeus’ name, he knows your name and mine too!

WOW! Can you feel a sense of calm wash over you when you hear that Jesus knows your name? I sure do.

Our Savior is calling us just like he called Zachaeus to run to him. He created us, He can change us.

Through his strength, guidance, and power we can grow to be the women He created us to be. Love the women He created us to Love, and Live the one life he created for us to live.

As we read the introduction through Chapter 3 in “Exhale” this week we will see that we are not:

“Stuck Permanently”

“Required to Be Perfect”

“Responsible for Everyone All the Time”

Now take a deep breath my sweet sister and “Exhale”. God is calling your name. He is waiting for you to run to him. Allow God to draw you into the Son this week. As Zachaeus grew in so many ways that day, get ready to grow exponentially in Christ as you “Exhale”!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. “What would you like to gain from this study?”

Don’t forget when you comment, you are automatically signed up for the give away each week. You will love the prize! Directly from the “Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls Etsy Store!

Three Action Steps To Your Calling

Phil 1 6

Do you ever wonder what God is calling you to do? Have you ever thought that you even have a “calling”?  The word calling by Christians often implies someone that is being “called” by God to serve him in a position as a leader in a church setting.  A pastor, a women’s ministry leader, a worship leader, or a children’s minister to name a few.

But what if I told you that God has a special “calling” just for you.  One he started even before you came into this world.  Actually he has had several “callings” for you in different seasons of your life and there are more to come! Super exciting right!

Look at these famous Bible characters who God called and equipped with all they need and he made sure to get them to the finish.

Esther, the beautiful Jewish girl who became queen and saved her people and herself from being killed.  God made sure she had courage and confidence at just the right time to save His people.

Noah, built the Ark when God called him.  It was a huge job.  God gave him the skills and energy to accomplish the job.

Moses, OMG, lead God’s people out of Egypt! And did you know that he hated public speaking!  God gave him this amazing ability to lead and speak.

So how do we figure out this “calling” thing for our lives you ask?  Well friend, we start by scooting in real close to Jesus.  Just like God called and equipped so many more people we read about in our Bibles, He will do the same for us.  “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23).  When we are in God’s word daily, learning and growing to be more like him, he will direct us to our special assignment He has just for us.

John 10:3-4 reminds us, “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Which leads me to the second action step to know our “calling”, pray scripture.

Sometimes, well I’ll speak for myself here, I get caught up telling God what I want when I pray instead of asking nicely, praying for God’s will in my life.  When we pray God’s word back to him, we stay focused on His will, not our selfish agendas.  When we pray scriptures in search of our “Jesus Jobs” we will know God’s voice and we will follow it where He leads.

Here are three Psalms to pray for God’s guidance for your calling:

Psalm 43_3Psalm 143_8Psalm 25 3 4

Finally, we must obey.  Yeah I said it, obey the calling.  We might not think that what we hear God calling us to do is really for us, it’s too hard, too time consuming, not in the right geographical area, so on and so forth, but I promise you if God made the call, its right. Have no fear, Hebrews 13:21 is here to settle your soul, “may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

So this brings me back to our verse today, Philippians 1:6, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT) We must have confidence friend, not only in God but in ourselves as we go out with our callings.

I am throwing Hebrews 10:35-36 into my memory verses “ So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (NLT)

And I remember when the going gets tough in my calling, Philippians 4:13, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (NLT)

Friend, I hope you will join me in late August and September for the study of “Exhale” where we will learn more about our “Calling” and Losing Who We’re Not, Loving Who We Are, and Living Our One Life Well”.

You can order the book and study guide at this link: Exhale Book

Watch for more information on the Exhale Book Study coming soon!

And the Winner of Last Month’s Give Away is:

Julie McElwee!!!! 

Until next time,

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

 

 

I Love You but You Are Driving Me Crazy

 

gensis 2 23 24

According to Weddingwire June is the third most popular month for weddings in the past two years.  I just attended the wedding of one of my nephews in a beautiful mid-west, quaint farm setting.  During one of the dances, the DJ asked couples to keep dancing if they had been married for a specific number of years.  He kept going until one couple remained on the dance floor.  It just so happened to be my parents, the grandparents of the groom, left alone, swaying to the music. My parents have been married fifty-eight years!  The DJ asked my nephew and his new bride to accompany my parents in the center of the dance floor.  He then proceeded to ask my parents what advice they had for the newly married couple to get them to fifty -eight years of wedded bliss.  My mom answered first, “Just hang in there!” My dad, the quiet guy he is agreed.

This past winter, I participated in a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study where we studied Karen Ehman’s book, “Keep Showing Up, How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy”.  Chapter One starts out, “Why is this so hard? I can’t do this anymore! I cried out to God as I sat crossed-legged on the bedroom floor of our very first apartment, my eyes stingy with hot, salty tears”

Now, those of you reading this who know me well, and those of you who don’t are going to find out super quick, I won’t be giving you advice on marital bliss.  You see, I have sat feeling exactly like Karen Ehman not once, or twice, but well I am not proud to say three times.  She is exactly right.  Marriage isn’t easy.  You have to, as my mom said to my nephew, “just hang in there”, and as Karen says, “Keep Showing Up”.

We find the  “Mr. or Mrs. right”, fall in love, and have expectations of the “perfect” life together.  Our “happily ever after”.  Then just like that, you are living with who? Who is this person who doesn’t pick up after themselves, makes snide comments, doesn’t appreciate your cooking, forgets your birthday, and argues with you.  What? A disagreement?  We never had a single tiff while we were dating! You thought getting married and living with the person of your dreams was going to be, well… dreamy, not a nightmare on some days.

Now, don’t get me wrong, what can be better than traveling, laughing, sharing in a hobby or a mutually loved cause with the one you love.  But we do, and I speak from my own experience here, have to manage our expectations of what it really means to say “I do” in front of God and our friends and families.  It means it isn’t going to be easy everyday and we are going to need Jesus to help us to “Keep Showing Up.” (And the wise words of Karen Ehman!)

psalm 46 1

My first two marriages, I didn’t keep showing up.  I quit showing up on my first marriage due to abuse and for my safety I needed to leave. My second marriage ended sadly because of addiction and because I had turned away, forgetting about God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.

Don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t go into my other marriages wanting or thinking they were going to end in divorce, not at all.  I grew up in a household with exemplary examples of wedded couples who kept showing up for each other through thick and thin.  Both sets of my grandparents had been married well over fifty years and as I mentioned, my parents have been married fifty-eight years.  I know for a fact, it hasn’t been and wasn’t always wedded bliss for any of them, but they kept showing up for each other.  Through The Great Depression, various wars (at home and abroad), sickness, loss of jobs, loss of children, life.  Hard, messy, tough, life.  The married couples in my life kept showing up, kept loving, kept honoring, kept serving, and kept praying for one another. Those are the examples I had and had intended to follow.

Today, I truly believe that God broke many chains and I am free from so many lies of the evil one. He brought this amazing, some days sandpaperish man (When you read Karen’s book Chapter 2 tells you all about the “Sandpaper Spouse”!)  into my life for me to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of my life! Today I don’t believe and react to the lies I was once listening to. As John 8:44 reminds us, “He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Friend, we don’t have to listen to the lies Satan tells us about our marriages and our spouses. The simple truth is, some days it is hard to see this I get it, but our spouses are not the enemy.  Satan loves to spin webs of lies, its his job and it is our job not to get tangled and stuck in them. (I promised I wouldn’t give marriage advice, I learned all this from the book, emoji happy face!)

If you are crazy in love with your spouse, which I pray you are and if you are not I will pray for things to change in your relationship, then “Keep Showing Up” is a must have tool to add to your marriage tool kit.  A few others I have in mine now and use constantly are my bible (several versions) and another wonderful book by Sharon Jaynes “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.  Sharon shares how to use scripture to pray for your husband literally from head to toe!

I am a super sap when it comes to weddings.  I will be the first to admit I quickly get caught up in all the sparkle, romance, pomp and circumstance, and cake of course! And I don’t think any of that is a bad thing as long as we as family and friends of the bride and groom continue to stand by their sides through all the ups and downs life is going to throw their way,  We don’t need to be a bunch of Debbie Downers when called upon as Christians to share  marital advice with young couples. We need to be honest with them and lead them to Jesus when life starts to turn the wedded bliss in a wedded blister!

I’d love to hear from you.  What do you do to Keep Showing Up in your marriage.  When you comment in the blog today you will be signed up to win a copy of Karen’s book “Keep Showing Up” and Sharon Jaynes’ book “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

In the Meantime,

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

Irritable…Discontent…Restless… Help Is Not Hidden

Isaiah 46_4

Friend, It is so easy in our ever so busy lives today to get irritable, discontent, and restless, so much that we can start to spin out of control. Maybe not just start to spin but whirl like crazy.

God’s Word is living and breathing! It fills my soul and brings me peace and calm when I start to twirl and whirl in this world.  Meditating and praying Isaiah 46:4 can take me from the crazy of a Tilt-a-Whirl to a front porch swing in a matter of minutes.

Heavenly Father,

I know that you have created me and you are with me until my hair is gray, and grayer than it already is!  I have witnessed you carry me through other turmoils and I know you will carry me through today, hour by hour; minute by minute.  Father, thank you for your life sustaining Word, love, grace, and forgiveness.  I have faith that in your time, Father, you will rescue me from the whirling and twirling I am feeling right now.  In the meantime, I will keep my eyes laser focused on you.  My ears and heart open to hear your word.  And I will rise up and go on with the God assignments you have already planned for me today, living and breathing your word and truth.  In Jesus Name, Amen.