God’s Word Brought To You Today By The Holy Spirit

all scripture is god-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of god[a]may be thoroughly equipped for every

As I sit here this morning thinking about 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and writing this devotional I am looking out my front window at new fallen snow.  Fluffy, fresh, pure white snow, lightly covering the roof tops and yards.  Tree branches are glistening with the soft white powder.  I start thinking about God’s breath and imagine it being fresh and pure like the new snow.  God’s fresh, pure life being breathed into each line of scripture.

God communicated to individuals the specific truth of scripture through his breath of life, the Holy Spirit.  The Hebrew word for Spirit is rauch which means “air in motion”.  This is the same word in Hebrew for breath and life.  Super cool, right. The Greek word for “God Breathed” is theopneustos, theo meaning God pneo meaning breath.” (Click the link to go the The Blue Letter Bible to hear the pronunciation of theopneustos.  I thought this would be a fun little addition to this week’s blog and to share one of my favorite on-line study tools! Blue letter Bible pronunciation)close-up-dandelion-dandelion-seeds-39669

My Woman’s Study Bible says, “The Holy Spirit Superintended” , or oversaw the process in the writing of scripture so there were no errors in the original writings.

2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us, “ Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  

Peter is addressing the false teachers who argued the reliability of the Christian message.  They believed that the apostles were making up the stories they were about Jesus.  Peter contended that the Old Testament was recorded by men who were moved, or carried by the Holy Spirit.

And if we go to the very beginning, Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of God was there, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

Peter was right!

God chose these precious Prophets of Old and Apostles of New, ok well some of them not so precious but I think that was to get some very special points across to us,  anyway he chose them to breathe His Holy spirit into them to carry His life to us.

I have to believe that all of this connection of scripture from Old to New Testament, and my friend this is just a simple example, the Bible is a seamless story from beginning to end,  that when I need to hear from God for a word of encouragement, discipline, training, or teaching I can turn to scripture and without a doubt know I can rely on His word.  It so much more pure and fresh than new fallen snow outside my window, it is LIFE!

Heavenly Father, Thank you today for sending your Holy Spirit to this world to live in your believers.  Lead us Father to your word when we are confused, need a little discipline and guidance or just need a word of encouragement because we know it is true and trustworthy.  In your Son Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday Joy: Three Bible Verses To Pray When You Need to Hear From God

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Glorious Friday, Friend!  I pray  God blesses us today and throughout the weekend.  Here are three verses we can take along with us to pray when we need to hear from Jesus. There are so many many more, this is just a start. I know they have given me peace, wisdom, discernment, and guidance I pray they will do the same for you!

We can pray Hebrews 4:16 when we need mercy and grace:  “Heavenly Father, I come confidently to your throne, I need your mercy and grace in my life”

When we need to see with a different perspective we can pray Psalm 119:18: “God, open my eyes so I can see the amazing truths in your instructions”

Pray Psalm 29:11 for strength and peace: “Lord, today I need your strength.  I come to you today and ask for your blessing of peace.”

And the Winner is:  Marian H.  Congrats Marian

I will be sending you a copy of Lysa Terkeurst’s Book, “It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered.”9780718039851

It’s not too late to sign up for this amazing study taking place at Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies.  Here’s the link to sign up. Sign Up  The study begins Monday, January 21st!  The small groups are full, but never fear, you can still participate through the Community Facebook Group and the Teaching Series.  Both links available when you sign up.

Oh, just FYI, I do not get any kick backs from Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, I just want you to sign up because I know this is going to be a life changing study!!  Hope you will join me and the over 91,000 who have already signed up!  Let’s get that number up to 100,000.  Share my blog with a friend and invite them to join the study!

 

Until Monday, Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy,

Jane Ann

Hearing God Through Prayer 10 Bible Verses To Pray

_call to me, and i will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know._ jeremiah 33_3

I don’t know about you friend, but one of my favorite times of the day is right when I roll out of bed.  Yes, first thing in the morning. I am totally a morning person, love it!!! Let me fill you in on a little secret why, I get to wake up another day.  Now your guess is as good as mine as to the outcomes of each day, but God let me wake up another day and for that I am ever so blessed!

Over the years to celebrate, and I love a celebration, this blessing of a new day I take the first hour of it with Jesus.  As I continue to grow in my faith that time has looked different over the years and for sure, my prayers have definitely changed.  Early on I would pray quite selfishly.  My prayers often sounded like, ” God, why don’t teachers make enough money, I pray God for a better job, will you please bring me one that makes more money”  Or this is a good one, “Heavenly father, everyone around me drives a much nicer car than I do, so when you bring me that better job with more money, can I also have a bigger, better car?”

Let me tell you friend, from my own experience, the title of this blog is “Hearing God Through Prayer”, but watch out for what you ask for in prayer, because He is listening.  I got that better job, it caused me to travel and be away from my family days at a time. No more two weeks off at Christmas or summers off with my son.  Oh and did I get the car!  Yes indeed I did.  A brand new X Type Jaguar, (which didn’t get hit just once, first time by a deer on the highway and a second time by a man having a medical emergency.)  Be careful what you pray for friend!  God is listening, and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side either.  grass

There are numerous methods out there on how to pray and in a minute I am going to share a super easy one with you and some verses you can actually pray. So that’s really two methods of prayer right there. Usually when I follow a method of prayer it takes the selfishness out, most of the time because I can always slip a little selfish in because I am still on this journey growing to be more like Christ every day.

Let’s talk a minute about hearing from God when we pray.  I personally have never heard His voice audibly in my life or have I come across a cloud or burning bush that have spoken to me.  Super cool, I would love to experience all three, however I know when I pray God answers when I am still, when I wait for His timing, and when I am paying attention to my circumstances and surroundings.  He answers.

Psalm 91:15 reassures us of this, “He will call upon Me (says the Lord), and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.”  _he will call upon me, and i will answer him; i will be with him in trouble; i will rescue him and honor him._ psalm 91_15

So here is one method I have used to help my prayers stay focused as I can be a squirrel in traffic when I start praying.  It’s called the ACTS method.  Doing a little research I found this method goes back to the 1880’s!  (ACTS Method of Prayer’s first use).  I have included bible verses to pray for each type of prayer.

A: Adoration: Pray to God with Adoration, Give him praise and honor. Pray Psalm 145:14, 17-20, Psalm 84, and Psalm 27:4

C: Confession: Confess your sins to God.  Be open and honest with him.  Pray Psalm 32:5-7, Psalm 69:5

T: Thanksgiving: Tell God what you are thankful for in your life and in the lives of others. Pray Psalm 9:1, Psalm 86:12, Psalm 30:1, 11-12

S: Supplication: Pray for the needs of others and then yourself. Pray Psalm 143, Matthew 6:11.

Be still, be patient friend, I have to tell myself this daily.  God will answers our prayers according to His Will not our’s and in His perfect time.

Just keep praying!

I hope this series has been as much of a blessing to you as it has been to me as I have studied God’s word to share these devotionals with you.  I will finish it up next week with hearing God through the teachings of Jesus.

I will be taking a little break for the month of February to make a few changes here at Living Joy Today.  I will still be posting a short devotional once a week. And then just as March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, I will be writing a series about Jesus as The Lion and The Lamb.

Today I will be giving away a copy of Lysa Terkeurst’s latest book, “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way, Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered.”

9780718039851

Just leave a comment with a bible verse about Jesus as the lion and the lamb to be entered to win.  And I will use your verse in my upcoming blogs!

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

Friday Joy!

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Whatever you are searching for today friend, cry out to Jesus. Ask him for understanding, wisdom, forgiveness, discernment, peace, hope, healing and He will answer. Set aside some quiet time this weekend  just for Jesus.  Be still and Know.

Next week I will be focusing on hearing from God through prayer.  Have a blessed weekend friend!

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy,

Jane Ann

Three Ways To Keep Your Eyes Fixed On Jesus.

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My husband loves to remind me when we are out shopping, “I see that look in your eyes”. I have to admit, I do get this sparkle in my eyes over shoes, purses, and cute close. All the shiny trinkets in the boutique windows. Just on our recent vacation I was totally drawn to this little shop:

Wow boutique for blog

When I fix my eyes on the bling and glitter, I have to stop and ask myself:  “What are these things going to do for me today?”  “Will these shoes bring me peace?” or “Can that outfit bring me true Joy?”  “By carrying that purse will all my trials and tribulations go away?” (I apologize to the men reading, is your “bling” Golf clubs? Cars? Motorcycles? I do know some very styling men who love to shop and I know some gals who love motorcycles and cars.)

Being very honest with myself, I have to say “no” to all of those questions.  None of the dazzling, glittery, eye-catching stuff can bring us what we really need every day, the love, grace, peace, forgiveness, and healing from our loving Jesus. They are all perishable.

So in a world where television and social media bombard us with the latest and greatest with what “society” says we need, how do we keep our eyes fixed on God, who brings us eternal life?

I have three ideas for us today.

  1. Fix our eyes on our blessings and be grateful for the life God has given us.  God leaves his blessings all around us.  When we focus on our blessings we don’t have time to fix our eyes on all the flashy material items we believe we need to be happy or to fill the empty hole inside our soul.  Here are just a few ways we are blessed by our Heavenly Father.
  •  Psalm 34:88: Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes                                     refuge in Him.
  •  Psalm 23:1-2: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie                                                 down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
  • Matthew 5:6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.

We are blessed beyond all measure my friend.  Take some time this week to look up more verses on God’s blessings.  I am for sure.

2.  Pray Continually.

  • Ephesians 6:18 : And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers                                       and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on                                            praying for all the Lord’s people
  • James 5:13 :          Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone                                                happy? Let them sing songs of praise
  • Psalm 145:18        The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him                                         in truth

3.  Wait obediently for God.

Let’s take a quick look at what 2 Peter 3:8-9 reveals to us about God and waiting.

8. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

You see friend, we can stay focused on God as we wait patiently for Him as he waits so patiently for us everyday to come to him.  On those days He seems far away, he’s not. He is waiting on us.  During the seasons where nothing could go wrong and everything  appears to be going our way, He is waiting for us.  When we have walked away because our path is better, He waits for us.

So during the times we get impatient, anxious, troubled, jealous, neglected, overlooked, rejected and wonder why God didn’t make it right, we need to be obedient and wait for Him. For God’s perfect timing.  Because, beloved,  it is always God’s timing not ours

Also on these days I find that I really need an attitude adjustment.  I need to stop focusing on what is wrong in my life and and fix my eyes on the Giver of all the gifts and blessings.  Then and only then will I find true Joy.

Father we come to your Throne today and ask for your forgiveness as we so often get caught up in worldly sparkle and bling that we think we need Lord, when all we need is You.  You Lord, You are enough.  Father help us to see your eternal light that shines when we keep our gaze fixed on You.  In your son’s precious name I pray, Amen.

 

 

 

Trusting God’s Plan When We Want Comfort

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Many people, myself included, turn to Jeremiah 29:11 during times of suffering.  It is a beautiful piece of God’s Word, filled with an amazing promise for our lives. But are we clinging to this verse, hoping that God will wave some sort of magic wand and instantly take away all or our pain and suffering?  I personally haven’t read anywhere in the Bible where God plays the part of magician, friend.

To really understand the beauty of the message, we need to look back  a few verses to see what was happening in sixth century B.C.

If we start back at Jeremiah 29 :4 -7 God is telling His people, whom He had exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon, make this place your home. Then in verse 7 He says, “ Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

God is saying, trust me here folks, I know what I am doing? Stay put, make the best of it in this land by working hard, raising your families, worshiping me, and see what I can do.

Can you feel the frustration of God’s chosen people?  They want to go back to their “home” so desperately, but their Lord is saying, do not turn back to your comfort zone.  Believe in Me.  Have you ever been in this kind of situation?  Maybe not exiled to a foreign country, but a season in your life when you were trying something new, something out of your out of your comfort zone?  Or it could have been a big move across country to a new city like mine was ten years ago when God brought me kicking and screaming out of Texas to Kentucky!

Oh I was just like the Jews in Babylon, complaining how terrible the conditions were “out in the country” called Crestwood, KY. (It is actually very beautiful).  The house we rented didn’t have a disposal! What is a city girl to do!  Not to mention this house we rented was on something called a septic system?  What? I had to buy special toilet paper! Are you kidding me! The worst part, the closest mall was, at least, 20 miles or more away! “God get me out of the forsaken place!” (I actually said that out loud one day as I left a faculty meeting at the school where I was teaching. Not good.).  I wanted to run as fast as my short legs could take me back to Texas, my home for the past 20 years, my safe, familiar, home.  Not the plan, and I needed to find the real hope Jeremiah 29:11 was offering me.

Let’s get back to our story in Jeremiah 29, we left off at verse 8.

I love verses 8 and 9.  God tells His people,  these guys are coming around spreading lies about me.  They will call themselves “diviners” and “prophets”. What they will actually doing is tricking you into  believing  your hopes and desires are what God is calling you to do. However, the Lord says in verse 9, “I have not sent them.”  Basically, do not believe them, I am your God, trust me.

Even today in our lives, we have to watch out for these so-called “diviners”, telling us what we want to hear is God’s plan for us when in reality it just might be our own desires.  (More to come in January on knowing when we hear God’s calling).

Verse 10, “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.”  Did he just say 70 years?  Yes He most certainly did.  Even in Sixth Century B.C, my friend, it was God’s timing not the timing of the people.

God wasn’t and isn’t going to just say, okay my chosen people, you don’t like Babylon so I will move you back to Jerusalem. (okay Jane Ann you don’t like Kentucky so I am moving you and your family back to Texas.)   No, that is not what our loving God does.  This is what he does, read on.

Now Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Read that verse again, this time though, put your name in place of the word “you”.

For I know the plans I have for ________,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper _____and not to harm ______, plans to give _______ hope and a future.

As believers in Christ Jesus, whose plans are these friend, ours or our Saviors?  Now here is the hope to cling to:

Listen in verses 12-14. as our Heavenly Father directs His people and us today.  I love these verses and if I could read them aloud to you it with be with the biggest smile on my face.  I imagine God with a big smile on His face and loving arms opened as he speaks:

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29: 12-14 NIV)

God was going to take his chosen people back to Jerusalem, but not until they learned to persevere through the tough seasons of change, a season out of their comfort zone that would last 70 years.

God wants the same for us today. We  can have the hope that God is always with us no matter what season we are going through here on Earth.  When we call to Him he hears us. It is our job to persevere, have faith in His plan and timing.  He will deliver us  out of the season when He sees fit. We are not going to live out this life perfectly, because if we did we wouldn’t need a Savior, now would we?

By persevering  we will find we have more Joy than we could have ever imagined.  We will have learned more about ourselves and grown exponentially.  We will be prepared to help others when it is their season.

One more thing, friend, God will deliver us from this world one day too, that is part of His plan too.  For it is written in the Gospel of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Believe with me today, friend.  If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, say yes to Jesus today.

This is the hope of Jeremiah 29:11.

 

 

Friday Joy!

 

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Hi Friends,

A few Fridays ago I let you in on a new Bible Study Coming up in September through Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies.  The study is based on the book, “Love Life Again”, by Tracie Miles.

Click here to sign up!  Proverbs31 Online Bible Studies

Hope to see you there!

Have a blessed weekend!