Verse of the Day

Constantly Giving Thanks

Constantly being grateful is God’s will for us. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+5%3A18&version=ESV)

But how often do we either write in our “Gratitude Journals” or in prayer thank God for our blessings then rush off to the next item on our list of “Things to Do”?

Guilty! Today’s verse reminds us that we need to carry our thankfulness for all our blessings with us throughout our day. Thanking the One who supplies all our needs all the time.

Sing along with your favorite praise music from your heart to Jesus during your day. Sing songs of praise and thanks directly to Him.

Pause several times during your day as you begin and end tasks to thank God for strength, endurance, and perseverance.

When falling asleep at night, thank your Father again for an amazing day He provided.

I think we will find that when we are grateful throughout our day we will find many more blessings we would have otherwise missed when we rush off to the next thing on the list.

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

Verse of the Day

Confusing News

Are you starting or are you way past being confused by all the contradictions being reported on the news each day as much as this girl is?

For me she pretty much sums up the confusion I am feeling when I turn on the news just to try to get the weather report to see if I can get out to get some fresh air.

But do we need to allow these people, so-called experts,to start us spinning out of control into a frenzy of confusion, chaos, depression, and even worse hateful agendas against others also facing this pandemic?

The Bible tells us we need to trust in the Lord. Today’s verse reminds us how much better off we are when we “take refuge in Jesus than in man”. (Psalm 118:8)

Let’s take some time today to take shelter in the Word of God. There we will find all the hope, love, peace, healing, and joy we will ever need.

Here are a few verses I find comforting when I am searching for a little peace in the pandemic.

God is enough. He is enough to get us through these uncertain times.

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy.

Devotion

Am I Being Selfish?

How many times do you tell yourself, “I’m not going to worry about anything today.”? Then within a matter of possibly seconds your mind starts whirling, the “How will I’s”, the “What if’s,” and the ever popular, “How am I ever…”.

I must admit, as hard as I try and as many times as I go to God and tell Him, “Okay Jesus today is the big day I stop worrying and totally trust you”, I too get these bothersome thoughts.

The Greek word, Merimnao means: to be anxious, to be troubled with cares and to look out for one’s own interests.

Hmm? When we worry about finances, our health, our children’s health and what will become of us in the future, are we being selfish? Should we not worry about these things? Aren’t these all serious worldly ideas to be concerned about every day?

Well, the Bible tells us “No”. Matthew 6:25-32 explains:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  

Continuing Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  As believers in Jesus Christ we are to put all our faith and trust in Him everyday for everything.

When we worry we are being selfish and also saying that we do not need the Savior we are claiming we believe in and call our Father. Ouch!

Oh how blessed we are that we have a loving, forgiving, and gracious God!

When those selfish, worrying thoughts start to trickle in there is a way out.

Confess our sins. Pray Psalm 139:23: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Tell God exactly what you are worrying about. He already knows, but when we tell Him we feel so much better.

God will forgive us: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

We can be certain that absolutely nothing will ever separate us from our loving Father, who by the way, loved us first! Romans 8:39 reminds us of this Truth: “No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Finally, we can replace our anxious, worrisome thoughts with praises of thanksgiving from our hearts to our Heavenly Father who we have put ALL our Trust that He IS ALL SUFFICIENT!.

As our verse of the day reminds us, “We will have no fear of bad news OUR HEARTS ARE STEADFAST, TRUSTING IN THE LORD!” (my emphasis!)

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

If you would like to dive deeper into praying, asking God to “Search Me”. I have been reading a fantastic book by Pastor Craig Groeschel titled, “Dangerous Prayers”. Let me just tell you I get nothing for recommending this book. I am currently in a Bible Study that is reading the book and finding the contents so profound and changing my prayer life in amazing ways I wanted to share it with my friends. You can buy the book at any of your favorite book sellers. Here is the Amazon link for you. You can also go to “My Favorite Websites” and buy the book through Proverbs 31. Again, I receive nothing for recommending this book.

Verse of the Day

My Redeemer Lives!

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

Thank you God for being a God who never changes as we live in a world that is constantly changing. We can count on your promises Lord, that you are with us, you are protecting us, and you work for all that is good. Help us to see as you see during these times, Father. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may never doubt your unchanging ways. Give us patience when we want to run ahead of your Will and your timing. May we find everlasting Joy in knowing you alone are all we need as you are our Redeemer. In your Son’s precious name, Amen.

Devotion

I Love You but You Are Driving Me Crazy

 

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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!)

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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!

 

Motivation for Your Monday

Don’t Miss the Exhale Bonus Goodies!

Freebies

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I will be doing the Exhale study right here at Living Joy Today in July!!

 

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.”