I was just sitting this morning reminiscing of Palm Sundays of my youth. In Sunday School we would make crosses out of palm leaves. Walking into service we would be handed a FULL palm branch (as a little person that was a big deal! wink wink), which may have been taken away at some point during the service for being used as inappropriately to annoy my sisters. Ah, what nostalgic memories.
For the past several weeks most of the country and myself included have been going to church via the internet. I’ll admit it’s not the same as being in our church homes with our church families, however one of the most wonderful qualities of our Lord is that he is Omnipresent. He is always everywhere.
God’s word tells us:
Job 34:21 (ESV) “For his eyes are on the ways of a man and he sees all his steps.”
Jeremiah 23:24 (ESV) “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.”
Matthew 18:20 (ESV) “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
So even though right now we are mandated to our homes to worship we are not alone. The news may make us feel like we are living in very dark times, but we are not alone. People are out of jobs right now, but they are not alone. The doctors, nurses, and all health care workers on the front lines are not alone. The sick are not alone. The grieving are not alone.
This Holy Week let’s make a joyful noise from our homes shouting “Hosanna!” expressing our adoration and praise for our Savior Jesus. Knowing that His death on the cross saved us from our sins forever can be a wellspring of Joy everyday. Let’s have faith and trust in our Savior to know that He is with us, we are not alone.
“And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting:
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9 ESV)
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.
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/
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!
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.
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.
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.
Do you struggle with knowing the identity you want for yourself and the one God planned for you? Are you tired of pleasing others and always trying to meet their expectations for you instead of following the path God has for you? Are you ready to “Lose who you’re not, Love who you are, and Live your one life well”?
Then this is the book for you my friend.
In their Co-Authored book, “Exhale”, Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory walk with you on a journey with Jesus to help you find, through biblical principals, the person God created you to be and love her deeply.
Reading “Exhale” is like having two friends come along side you, hooking elbows, and skipping along a path of beautiful treasures. Gems of Jesus’ love and truth shining brightly for you to grab hold of as you journey with Amy and Cheri to take the steps they too have taken and continue to practice, to live their one lives well. They share genuine battles they have faced and overcome, as they have at times had to stop skipping and trudge through the messy to get to the place God was leading them. Like true friends, Amy and Cheri don’t sugar coat this pilgrimage, friend, after all, they are the Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls.(Check out their podcast, amazing!)
Each chapter concludes with a practical principle to help you practice what you have learned and each section concludes with a “Quick Reference Guide” to summarize the unit. Super handy for girls on a mission to finding their true selves.
“Exhale” is a book you will want to keep handy to refer back to as you take this journey to “Losing Who You’re Not, Loving Who You Are, Living Your One Life Well”. It is jam packed with scripture and prayers for daily study to help you stay on the path God has so meticulously and perfectly planned just for you, no one else.
“Exhale” is launching June 4, 2019 at a book seller near you!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Amy Carroll’s and Cheri Gregory’s “Exhale” Launch Team. The opinions expressed here are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Today friend we are going to tackle four more characteristics of what Love is not and I have some more Bible verses we can pray to help us get rid of these nasty attributes when they pop up in our daily lives. Click on the video to see my discussion with Author and Proverbs 31 Speaker, Amy Carroll.
Let me just tell you Satan had a little fun with us last night and we had a little technical difficulties, but as ALWAYS God conquers and the conversation happened!
Well wasn’t Amy amazing! She mentioned the Four Steps Towards a Tender Heart and a Strong Voice. Here is the link to Amy’s Blog for the steps to Listen, Feel, Do, Speak and so many other terrific resources.