The Good Samaritans in the Storm

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The forecast predicted storms for “your drive home”.  Yes, my drive home, one day  not too long ago, after work.  My drive usually takes about 12 minutes give or take a few depending on traffic when I choose the freeway route.  This day, though, I needed to run into the grocery on my way home.  Storms approaching, do I run into the Wal-Mart near work hop on the freeway and be home. Or do I take the scenic route and run into the Kroger near my home.  For whatever reason, I felt like the second option was better, even with storms on the horizon and the back roads take about 5 minutes longer.

Let me cut to the chase here and get to the point of all this.  I made it to the store, grabbed what I needed in record time.  Jumped in my car and as I turned the key to start the engine, it made a grinding sound, you know the one that says, “Hey owner of this vehicle something is way wrong and I am not going to start right now.”

And then, drop,drop, then the heavens opened up and the rain came down.  Not just a sprinkle mind you, a deluge!  I tried again to turn the key, nothing. Just… a tap on my window? What?

Yes a lady dressed in scrubs asked, “Do you need a jump?”  “My husband and I are right here and as soon as the car next to us leaves we can move to that space and give you a jump.”  I thanked her and said I have AAA and I can call my husband we live less than a mile away.  She insisted on waiting, and jumped back in her car.

Meanwhile, the rain not stopping any time soon, I called my husband, he was happy to come get me.  I jumped out ran to the ladies window, thanked her again and let her know my husband could come and get me.  This amazing couple insisted on waiting to help me get my car started.  Just then the car next to me pulled out, the lady (I keep calling her this because I think we exchanged names at some point under my umbrella, but it was raining so hard and we were soaking wet and laughing so hard, that if she told me her name, I didn’t catch it.  Lesson for me, remember the names!) jumped out and we were both standing in that parking spot holding until her husband pulled around.

A few minutes later the cars were connected by the jumper cables and my little beetle was running!  I offered to pay the couple or buy them dinner, they declined and her husband told me if that was his wife he wouldn’t want her to be alone in a storm with her car not running.  I thanked them again, we all jumped into our cars sopping wet and went our separate ways.

This couple demonstrated Philippians 2:3-4 that day.  They put other’s interests, needs above their own.  It would have been so easy for them to see my car not starting and say, “Oh that is too bad for her”, and go on their merry way, making it home before the storms.  But they didn’t.  They stayed to lend a helping hand.

Julien B. Weil

God calls us to humble ourselves and put others before ourselves. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us I am not always so good at this, and to be quite honest, I don’t know if I would have rendered help to a stranded motorist in a pour down.  However, since that day, being the recipient of another’s good deed, it makes me more aware each day that I need to humble myself daily and look to others’ interests before mine.

We all have busy schedules and our own agendas, but if we all started following this simple command, can you imagine what stories might open the nightly news or the would be the headlines in our news papers?  Stories of hope, not crime and corruption.  Stories of love not hate.

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Join me on a journey to be humble daily and to seek out the interests of others before my own,  A journey to live more like Jesus.  One of humility, love, kindness, and giving.

Have you been the recipient of an act of kindness where someone stepped out of themselves to help you out?  Or were you the one that stepped out of your comfort zone and helped another?  I’d love for you to share your story in the comments.

Wishing you dear friend a very blessed Easter!  He is risen!

 

Thank You God for The Lion and The Lamb

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Well this March is not disappointing when it comes to the old saying, “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb”.  It is freezing in the ‘Ville.  Cold winds blowing, temperatures plummeting, and snow flurries in the air.  As much as I want sunny and 75 all year-long I can’t complain,  I am blessed with clothes and shelter to keep me warm and safe and healthy food to nourish me.  As I sit here wishing for what I don’t have, the old saying of March got me thinking about Jesus as the Lion and the Lamb.

When I think about Jesus birth, I don’t see him, like March, coming in like a lion as roaring and loud, I am sure like any newborn he was crying, but he came as our King. Lions are  symbols for kings and Jesus is most definitely the Messiah whom God sent to save us from all our sins, to watch over us, guide us, direct our thoughts and actions, and to show us how to live a life of  love and truth while we are on this Earth.   Lysa Terkeurst puts it this way, “A life between two gardens”.

I love the song by Big Daddy Weave, “The Lion and The Lamb”.  The lyrics go, “The lion of Judah, roaring with power, fighting our battles”.  The lion of Judah, this was the name given to Judah by his father Jacob found in the Book of Genesis, in the begin of the Bible.  The tribe of Judah would be the tribe that would continue to produce leaders. Genesis 49:8-10 . King David, another king, was a descendant of Judah, and who was a descendant of King David?  Wait for it… Wait for it…

Jesus!

Now before we move on to Jesus being the lamb, this is what I think is so incredible, if  like me you  are not a Bible scholar, back in Genesis 49:10 to be exact, it tells us:

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Jacob had given Judah a distinction above his brothers.  His tribe would continue to produce leaders until the coming of the Messiah.  And Jesus lineage can be traced back to the Lion of Judah. Matthew Chapter 1.   Sorry, squirrel in traffic, I get so easily distracted when the Bible all comes together, I hope you do too. And this story just keeps on giving, because if you keep reading I’m going to show you again how this story just keeps on knitting itself together.

Let’s go back to Big Daddy Weave for a hot second, the lyrics continue, “Our God is the lamb, the lamb that was slain for the sins of the world, his blood breaks the chains.”

Yes, when Jesus so selflessly gave His human Will over to God’s Will  that he would die to save us, selfish non deserving humans, of our sins, He was the sacrificial lamb the Old Testament speaks of.  No longer did people have to go and bring a lamb or other animal to the High Priest to sacrifice for their sins.  Jesus death, the gentle lamb, tore the veil.

Take a look with me if you will  at Revelation 5:5-14.

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Who was the one worthy to open the scroll?

Yes sweet friend, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb that was slain.  Jesus.  It takes my breath away every time I read this passage.  It all comes together.

He is always there watching over us, protecting us as a lion, powerful, strong, helping us in the good times and bad. Because dear friend, we have and will continue to face difficult times.  It’s during these times we must cling to our faith in Jesus and grow stronger in our relationship with Him.  As Corrie ten Boom once said, ” No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still; with Jesus even in our darkest moments, the best remains and the very best is yet to be.”

AND

As the lamb, he is gentle, humble, and selfless.  He left His perfect home in Heaven to come to Earth to show us how to live.  Because of His ultimate sacrifice, You and I dear friend can go straight to God with all our mess, hurt, and shame.We can  humble ourselves and ask for grace and forgiveness.   Sounds a little scary, yes, but that is exactly what our heavenly Father is there for and He is waiting for us to lay it all at His feet.  To lay it all at the cross.

My word for this year is “Grow”, I even bought a little bracelet with the word engraved on it to remind me daily that God wants me to “Grow” in my faith in Him and in His likeness.  How can someone like me be a lion, fierce, strong yet a gentle lamb all at the same time?

I am always thinking about something, many times how I could have handled a situation differently, more like Jesus would have handle it. Sometimes I do this too much that I start talking out loud to myself.  One day my husband, Paul, said,  ” You have more conversations with yourself than anyone I know”.  It wasn’t until then that I realized that I was thinking loud enough for others to hear!

Well that got me thinking even more. If he could hear me, then absolutely, my Savior in heaven can hear every word I think and say.  Just like I can take all my mess and thanksgiving to God in prayer, I can also go to Him and ask for guidance and direction, wisdom and discernment.

When I pray and ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead me to the exact place I need to be in His Word for each and every situation I am in.  If I need to be gentle and humble like a lamb I can read:

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“to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:2

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  James 3:17

And sometimes God leads me to people who are following in His likeness to be examples for me in this world. Max Lucado is one of those people God introduced me to his books years ago.  This is a great quote when I need a good example and reminder:

“choose gentleness… Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. ” Max Lucado.

God has also led me to an amazing husband and wife team, two people, I have found by reading their books and one day would love to meet, (Bob gives his cell phone # in the back of his book, I don’t think I could ever call and say “Hi Bob this is Jane Ann, but after reading his book, it is exactly what he would do.) just live loving people like Jesus wanted us to love as He did. The couple is Bob and Maria Goff.  In their books they share their personal adventures of God’s calling to love even some the people most would consider evil and why would anyone love them kind of people.  Because those types of people need love too.

During times when I need to be more lion-like, protecting myself from Satan’s temptations or times when I need to be bold to stand up for myself. But most of all because on that morning when breathe returned to Jesus body  and like a roaring lion who proclaimed the grave has no hold on me, I have living hope to get through any trouble or difficult situation   I can turn to His word and find:

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The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command.” Joel 2:11 a

The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Precious friend, join me this year growing in faith and loving like Jesus.

Maria Goff “Love Lives Here”

Bob Goff Website

Max Lucado Website

 

Why It Is Difficult To Let Go And Love

on the contrary_ “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[b

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!

Living Joy Today Facebook page

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.

Amy Carroll

Don’t forget to comment on the blog or Facebook page to be entered to win the copy of Amy’s book, “Breaking Up with Perfect”.

 

I’ll see you again mid March!  Until then

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy

 

4 Bible Verses To Remind Us ‘Tis the Season of Giving

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Christmas season is the time of giving.  Everywhere we turn there is opportunity to give during the holidays. Salvation Army Bell Ringers are out in full force, Angel Tree children await food, gifts, and clothing.  Food banks and shelters desperately need donations and gifts.  The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation , the list of amazing charities needing us to give goes on and on. And with the recent fires in California so many have lost everything and need donations.  God calls us, in Deuteronomy 16:17, “to give as we are able according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.”

This is also a wonderful time to share God’s Good News of giving with our children and grandchildren.  Showing them ways to give back not only begins to instill in them God’s message but also allows them the opportunity to give back themselves and to reap the eternal blessings that come with giving.

As families this Christmas season, we can work together to give confidently, generously, and joyfully not only with our  monetary giving but with our time and talents.

Here are three more Bible Verses to share with our children and grandchildren not only during the Christmas season but year round about the importance of giving back the blessing we receive from Jesus.

Be The Good

Malachi 3:10:  “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Show our children that when we give confidently God provides.

Proverbs 12:14:  “From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
    and the work of their hands brings them reward.”

Give with your time and talents, and there will be a Heavenly reward.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7:  “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Giving what you can joyfully pleases God.

Where will you give this season friend?  Will you choose to give of your time, talents, material blessings?  What charity will you choose to support?  And remember, so many charities need help throughout the year, such as our local food banks.  Let’s give of ourselves this Christmas season as Christ gave for us.

Don’t miss my Friday Joy post this week.  I will be letting you in on a little secret of what is to come in December!  You won’t want to miss out!  If you love the messages of Joy from God’s Word at Living Joy Today, please share it with your friends.

Motivation For Your Monday! Celebrating The Savior

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As November draws to a close this week, let’s continue to give God the praise and thanks for all things and people in our lives.   Thanks be to God for His never-failing love, peace, kindness, and strength.  But most of all, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift”. (2 Corinthians 9:15) Jesus Christ our Savior!   Amen!

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy,

Jane Ann

Motivation for Your Monday!

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Hi Friends and Happy Monday!

No matter where you are or where you are going today, my prayer for you is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  That you will find joy, peace, and contentment in all you do today.

Stay in today Friend, it’s a great place to be!

Love and Light,

Jane Ann

Love Who?

 

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Do you ever feel like you will never be able to love everyone as God commands?  Yes, I am seriously asking this question.  And I have an inkling that I am not the only one who feels like this from time to time.  (Wink, Wink)

God is Love.

He just loves us. I know you have heard this probably a million times, but I am going to tell you again if you are reading this and you haven’t heard this ever.  God loves our messy, our ugly, our selfish, our entitlement, okay our sometimes bossy selves. (I threw that last one in for myself). Seriously, though,  we can all be real “pieces of work” most days . And our Sovereign Lord still loves us.

So I ask, why is it so difficult for us to love others?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not a doctor, I just play one on television.”?   Many actors like George Burns, Morgan Freeman, and even Whoopi Goldberg have portrayed God in film and television. Humans, acting like God. You and I friend, sometimes act like God. I know that might be hard to hear, however, we truly do, trying to be the directors of the show.  Not so much our Heavenly Father’s Will for us. Take One. God’s show; not ours.

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My Friend, we are not God.  We are not running the show.

Turning our lives over to God’s care as believers makes Him the director of our lives. We give total control to God  who makes decisions because he loves us unconditionally.  We did nothing to earn or deserve His love.  His Will for us is to trust him.  So we must get humble, make ourselves “right-sized”  before we can even begin to try to love as God commands.

Romans 12:12 gives us three positive action steps to take when we need to find the strength to love when we really don’t feel like it.  Along with many Bible verses, these action steps come in handy for this application, but also for any other times I need a little encouragement to move forward in action.

Let’s look at each step:

Be Joyful in Hope:  God is our hope.  He is enough.  We can have hope in Him as Galatians 2:20 reminds us, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

We, who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have the Holy Spirit living in us.  We can have faith that because God is living in us we will find His love within us to be able to love others.  Be Joyful in the hope, the beautiful hope that our loving Father is constantly forgiving and forgetting our sins.

Patient in Affliction: I have to admit this is the hardest step for me, I am not a patient person.  God is going to help us out here, don’t you worry yourself, it’s just going to be in His timing.  I have to remind myself of this frequently.

Remembering what a loving, patient God we worship allows us to find patience in difficult times.  “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

So what will we do during this time? We will be faithful. We will get out of ourselves, because isn’t that where our heads really are when we say to ourselves, “I can’t love them!”  It’s time to think and do for others, not a time to sit around and be victims.

I honestly believe when we stop thinking about what was said or done to us and get out and do for others a transformation takes place in our hearts. Not over night, be patient. Our hearts will soften.

The Bible has tons of verses to turn to on practicing patience.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord;be strong and take heart and wait for                                                               the Lord.”

Proverbs 16:32: “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with                                                                           self-control than one who takes a city.”

Psalm 37:7:  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not                                                           fret when people succeed in their ways,  when they carry                                                           out their wicked schemes.”

Galatians 6:9:  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the                                                                         proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give                                                                     up.”

Finally, Faithful In Prayer:  Jeremiah 29:12 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”  Take your struggles to Jesus in prayer friend.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preached about praying for our enemies, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Prayer is powerful.

Paul’s letter in Romans 12 was to provide believers with instructions on living a Christian life daily, which is living love.  We are called to love.  And wouldn’t this crazy world we live in be just a little bit better if we, as believers in Jesus Christ followed His example?  I know I have more work to do in this area.

Practice, not perfection my friends. I totally get it.  Have hope in Jesus, patience in affliction, and always, yes always pray.  Oh, and Love one Another as Christ First Loved Us!  We can do this, God’s got our backs!

PS: Just a little reminder, God did get just a tad bit upset with the Israelites a time or two, even then He loved.

I would love to hear from you.  What topics would you like to read about in upcoming blogs?  Is there a particular book of the Bible you would like to study?  I can’t wait to hear from you.