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Joy in the Process

‘Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. ‘ Romans 15:13

Of all the ministry areas the Lord has led me to work in, I find myself enjoying leading Bible Study with the ladies of our church. It actually has not always been this way. When my husband and I first began in ministry together, He was the associate pastor at a local church. He had been serving  in churches for quite some time before we were married so he had his feet already wet and prepared more than I was for the challenges in the ministry. I had served in the church, but had not yet been in a position of leadership. I remember the first time I was approached to lead a women’s bible study. Two words come to my mind, “SHEER PANIC”! I would have to get up in front of other women and lead in a study of God’s Word. I felt so unworthy and then concerned. What if they asked me stuff I didn’t know the answer to? What if they thought my teaching style was weird? I went through every scenario. I prayed a lot. I prayed God would change His mind. Then I realized that God was calling me to do it. So I took a deep breath and jumped in feet first. God did a work in me. He taught me to rely on Him.

When I think of leading a bible study now, I look forward to it. I know I am doing what God has called me to do. It took a little while to find my groove, but the Lord showed me I just needed to be myself and trust him fully. A lot of prayer and preparation goes into it, but I have found joy in all God has taught me over the years. It’s hard to believe that it has been 24 years since that first Bible study. I give God the praise for all He has done in me and through me. Last night, Our ladies finished up the Book, “Why Do I Put So Much Pressure On Myself And Others” by Kathy Collard Miller. Though the Book is a lesson on how God helped our author through overcoming and learning to cope with perfectionism, we looked at a lot of Scripture to realize who we are and whose we are! I had the privilege to go through this book several years ago. This time the Lord taught me some more about how my life goal should not be about making sure everything is perfect, but to strive to pursue Christ with my whole heart. Someone with perfectionist tendencies often never sees the joy because they are more focused on the circumstances. I am thankful that God is willing to take us where we are and lead us to where He wants us to be. If we spend all our efforts focused on things we cannot control we will not have the energy to pursue Christ. We can find so much joy in the pursuit of Christ.

God can fill you will all joy and peace as Romans 15:13 says. The key is we have to be in a position to let Him. Let go of things, and grab Jesus with both hands. Don’t let Him go. Tell Jesus you can not take one more step without Him. To Trust and Rely on God should be our focus. When this happens, Joy will be the product, and Peace of God will be experienced as you never have felt before. We can find joy in the midst of trials. The bible says, “Perfect love casteth out fear.” (1 John 4:18) We can learn to hope in God alone. Do you want pure joy? My friend, you cannot find it outside of God. Pursue Christ and find joy in the process!

Blessings to you today!

The Needs of the One

As an avid Star trek fan, I am always moved by the scene at the end of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn”. Spock tells Jim not to grieve because He is doing what is needed, “For the good of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one!” I suppose if one were to think logically this may apply, yet God thought that the needs of the one, me, was worth sending His beloved Son to be born, live, endure hardships, die, and be raised from the dead. As He did it for me, Jesus did it for you too.

God thought we were important enough when ties were broken with man, God chose to pursue a relationship with us. He chose us and in return we have the choice to choose Him too.  The truth I am looking at is that although God is the God of the individual, He can also be (and is) the God who loves and cares for the masses. We read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” God loves everyone! In the New Testament, Jesus also had compassion on the multitudes. God cares about everyone! NO ONE is excluded from His compassion and caring heart! He gave His Son to the Masses (the World); He gave His Son to the individual (Me). How is this possible? The answer is very simple, He Is God!!!

I know my brain may be going in a circle right now, but what brought this train of thought along is the fact that I have needs every day. What can I say besides, “I am needy!” I need Jesus! This year our church’s theme is “Pursuing Christ”. As we have been studying the Scriptures I am realizing that I need to pursue Christ as He pursued me in Salvation. Our salvation begins our relationship with Christ. As God pursued me in having a relationship with Him, I need to pursue that daily fellowship that deepens the relationship. I need to meet with God every day. I need to fill up with Him in the mornings and pursue Him all day long. Psalm 70:4-5 reads, “‘Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord , make no tarrying.” We need to pursue Him because He alone is our hope, and peace. We need to go after Him joyfully and cheerfully. We do not do this because we feel we ought to or because someone will realize if we don’t. We pursue Christ because of the love we feel for Him. We need to be so wrapped up in loving Jesus that it is our main focus and concern. Because we know that whatever we face during the day, He is there with us to face every challenge, to walk every step, and to overcome our weaknesses. We are needy, but God is our help and our deliverer! Why would we not want Him with us through the day?

So this is where we live, knowing we have needs that far outweigh our ability to handle in a day. We know also that God wants us to reach out to the world. We can only do this in a strength that is not our own. It is Christ living in us and reaching out through us. Through our obedience, we reach out to the individual, and by doing this, we can reach the World. The needs of the one, me, must propel me forward to meeting the needs of the many, the world. The significant Truth is the need is the same, JESUS!

Blessings to You!

‘Tis The Canning Season

The Canning and Freezing Season had arrived. It began week before last. It never ceases to amaze how quickly you have to jump in the middle of this, or you will miss the bountiful harvest. Long farms in Bainbridge, where we get all our veggies and produce, opens the day after Mother’s Day. It’s when our work begins. I put up ten gallons of squash because hubby is such a fan, and green beans and new potatoes have been coming from our sweet neighbors. Our corn has been ordered (20 dozen), and we will get it on Monday. Our Family is crazy about sweet corn! 🙂  During the summer months, if I don’t can and freeze my veggies, I will be sorry during the winter months. That’s the way it is with the harvest; you have to be waiting on it so as soon as it is ready you reap. Hubby and the Boys help me so much during this time! I could not do it all without them. I am glad that they like to enjoy all the bounty during the winter months. It gives us all something wonderful to look forward to.

Amazingly enough, The same principle applies in God’s Kingdom. You work and wait patiently for the harvest. When it is time to reap, you have to be ready or you might miss what God has for you to accomplish.  “But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.” ~ Mark 4:29-32

I can not sit idly by, and wait for the veggies to hop into the freezer. I have to process each one by working, praying, and gathering. With each process, small steps are taken. If you miss a step the end result will not be what is best. The aspects of sowing and reaping often apply to someone coming to the Lord in Salvation, and this is certainly true. However, the principles of sowing and reaping can also apply to our ministry. I need to be constantly working with the help of the Holy Spirit to reach others, and help them to grow and mature. In our Sunday School classes, the children in our neighborhoods, friends we meet shopping at Wal-mart, or any other ministry we are passionate about. I may see the results right away, but most often I have to wait for the harvest, continuing to work daily to cultivate the area where God has placed me. Then again, You and I may never know till we get to Heaven the impact we made on another’s life by encouraging and uplifting them, or being that voice of reason when others may fail them. Reaping is sweet, yet working in God’s Kingdom can bring you the greatest joy. We may shed tears over these dear ones, but joy will come.

Let us be busy sowing where God has placed us, and leave the result of the harvest up to Him. His Harvest will be a bountiful one!

This Is The Day

I got up this morning and wiped the sleep from my eyes. I began to reflect on the day and what it had in store for me today. I do this every day, yet today holds new significance. Today things have changed. I like change for the most part. It brings variety to life. There is some change I find harder to deal with than others. As I prayed, the Lord brought this verse to my mind. “This is the day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”   The words are true for yesterday, today and tomorrow. He wrote this verse many years ago, and it is still holds a special place for me today. I can choose to rejoice.  

We can choose to rejoice in our Creator, the one who made the day brand new (Genesis 1:31).  We can rejoice in our Savior, the one who brought us out of the pit of sin and established us on the clear and right path (John 17:13). We can rejoice in our Healer, the one who can heal the heart, body, and land we live in (John 16:24). We can rejoice in our God, the one who is ever faithful and will surround us with his love and protection (1 Peter 1:8). God knows every intimate detail of my daily life. He knows and cares what is going on with me this very minute. I need to trust Him and follow Him.

We do not have to let the circumstances of the day steal our joy. Our happiness can be swayed by circumstances and so often does. Our joy should not be affected by the winds of change. It is deep within us placed there by our Heavenly Father. We need to bask in the joy of our salvation, delight in His Word, immerse ourselves in prayer, and glory in day that He has made.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness…”  ~ Isaiah 61:10