Posts Tagged ‘Joy’

It’s Okay to Have FUN!

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Sometimes we get so caught up in the day to day junk and gunk that we forget to enjoy life. As we kick off another week, let’s all make a conscious effort to laugh more, to allow more fun in the routine. I’m pretty sure we will notice our weeks going a lot more smoothly!

On a side note, for those of you who’ve been praying with us, Matt was released from the hospital yesterday! Prayers are still, of course, appreciated for a full and speedy recovery. But he is doing much better. Yay! God is, as usual, GOOD!

Have a fun filled day!

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Finding the Fun
By Joyce Meyer

Want to hear a funny story? I’ve got a lot of them, and they come from things that happened in my ordinary, everyday life. Now, I wasn’t laughing when those stories were in the making, but I’m glad I can laugh about them now.

For example, I didn’t think it was funny when I couldn’t get my hair to stay in place, but if you’d seen what I did about it, you certainly would have laughed. It wasn’t amusing when I tried to make clothes, especially for the people who had to wear them. And I was so irritated when Dave threw paper towels over the grocery store aisle at me, but I realize now, he just knew how to have a little fun no matter what he was doing. I’m glad I’ve learned to look at times like these and see the humor in them.

Now I know that not everything in life is necessarily enjoyable, but I think we all need to learn to have more fun in our lives. And I bet if you took time to think about it every day, you could find a moment that brought you joy or you can laugh about now.

God wants His children to have some fun. The Bible says a merry heart does good like medicine. I think we all need a healthy dose of laughter every day – many times during the day. You just can’t overdose on joy!

I encourage you to deliberately look for something to smile or laugh about every day, and be sure to share a smile or a laugh with someone else and brighten their day too!

Prayer Starter: Lord, Your Word says that a cheerful heart is like good medicine. Thank You for helping me to find the joy and fun in life!

Scripture: A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV)

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Count it All Joy!

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Sometimes it takes a whole lot of determination to embrace new seasons in life. I do ok for a bit and then, BAM, find myself in tears. Oops! Refocus, Sarah!

The enemy is always on the prowl, looking for an open door, window, or crack in the foundation. I find, for myself, that if I notice the enemy creeping in, I have to quickly push him out and seal up the area he slithered into. Then I have to get back to praising! If I don’t, I only find myself in worse shape.

The Word says we are to count it all joy when we are tried and tested, for the trying of our faith will work patience in our souls.

I realize tears are ok. They cleanse us! And as one my fellow bloggers wrote (I’m paraphrasing), “It’s ok to cry, Jesus cried!” It’s not the crying that’s the problem, it’s the reason behind it that may be the problem. Are we crying and wallowing in self pity for that which we’ve lost? Or, are we shedding tears while acknowledging the feelings associated with the situation, but choosing to consider the trial a joy – Knowing that the fruit of overcoming these trials will far outweigh any temporary sadness.

The Lord turns everything for the good of those who love Him. So we can be confident that there is no trial or season that we go through where He won’t find a way to bring good out of it. And, remember, you’re not in this thing alone, ask Him for help!

No matter what comes my way, I’m going to continue to count it all joy. Because, at the end of my days, I want to be able to say I enjoyed life, even when it wasn’t easy. That I chose to see the best in every situation, and trust in His faithfulness.

Don’t give up, friends. Victory is around the corner. Keep on keepin on!

James 1:2-8
New King James Version (NKJV)
Profiting from Trials

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

A link to one of my favorite songs:

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=gIPMllUV12o&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DgIPMllUV12o

Blessings,

Sarah

I Hate Goodbyes

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I hate goodbyes. I mean really hate them.

As another school year closes, it’s inevitable, goodbyes are on the horizon. Seniors in high school are moving on to become freshmen in college. And, dang it, they so often want to explore other states! What’s so wrong with staying home? I suppose we all have to spread our wings, and follow the Lord’s leading, wherever that may be.

This year we will be sending off one of our dearest friends who has become family. She’s leaving to go to college in another state. I’m not sure if my arms will allow me to let her go when she gives me that last hug. But, surely, someone will pry me loose, and tell me to get a grip. I’ll swallow the lump in my throat, force a smile, say goodbye, and walk away. And as soon as I shut the truck door, all snot and tears will break out! I just don’t want it to end. Things will never be the same. But..things never are. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

Life is change, growth is optional. I’m so glad she’s choosing to grow, instead of staying somewhere she knows she isn’t meant to be right now. All the same, I am thankful that our goodbye with our friend isn’t forever, it’s just a “see you soon!” 🙂

On the other hand, my feisty old Gramma will be turning 100 soon. She’s forgetting a lot of things now, as is expected, she’s almost 100! But, she’s forgetting things about me, too. And it hurts so much. I know she wants to go home to Jesus. But, I hate to think of life without her in it.

Anyway, if you’re saying goodbye for a little while, or goodbye until Heaven..just know that there’s someone you never have to say goodbye to. Yep, you guessed it, Jesus. He sticks closer than a brother, and will never, ever leave us. In that, I take great comfort. He knows every pain, every moment of sadness, and every tear that falls. And He will be with us as we say goodbye to those we love.

Here’s a video (link) that always comes to mind when I have to say goodbye:

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=Uxnhv2ChbxI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DUxnhv2ChbxI

Blessings,

Sarah

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JESUS WILL BRING YOU HOME – MAY 23, 2011
By: http://www.wels.net
Daily devotion from John 14:1-3.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:1-3

Do you like saying goodbye, especially saying goodbye to someone you dearly love? As Jesus spoke to his disciples on the night before he died, he knew that his words were, to a large degree, words of farewell. But even as he spoke his farewell, he also wanted to comfort his disciples. They were going to see him again!

Jesus was leaving to prepare a place for them. He was then going to return and bring his disciples to be with him. When the apostle John later in life looked back on that evening, he understood how Jesus went about preparing this place for his disciples. John stood at the cross as Jesus washed away the sin of the world. He made the inhabitants of the Father’s house clean by forgiving their sin. Forty days later Jesus ascended into heaven where he waits to bring his disciples home as he rules all things for the good of those who love him.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to wait for Jesus to return. We find ourselves confronted with troubles each day. Past sins have a way of haunting us. New sins have a way of attacking us. Despair can sink into our lives as we wait for Jesus to fulfill his promise to take us home.

Jesus knows that our hearts become troubled, that our trust at times wavers, that we may wonder if he is ever going to come back and take us home with him. So he gives us these words of comfort and encouragement. Our Savior remembers his promise and will fulfill it. As he came the first time to rescue us from the destruction of sin and death, we are assured that he is faithful and will come back and bring us to his heavenly home where we will never again have to say goodbye.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, you promised that you were going to prepare a place for me. Come quickly, that I may join you in your Father’s house. Amen.

Music to Your Ears

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I wanted to share a video with you today. (I can’t figure out how to embed the video, so I will just put the link in below.) It’s sung by Fernando Ortega, with a reading throughout by Anne Graham Lotz. It is so inspirational, and comforting. Put the rest of life on pause for a few minutes, and allow yourself to really listen to the words she’s speaking, you won’t be sorry! It’s helped me countless times over the years.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=-8i460c3ejw&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-8i460c3ejw

Have a great day!!

Blessings,

Sarah

Life Lessons on the Monkey Bars

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The act of using Monkey Bars requires a few things.

-Climbing a small ladder

-Leaning out to take hold of the first bar

-Letting go of the ladder as you swing to the next bar

-Keeping focus on the finish line (looking UP)

-Not looking back

-You can’t do it with only one arm – you must give it full attention

-Keeping your feet up off of the ground so they don’t drag

-The will to finish

There is a verse that goes along with the Monkey Bars process perfectly..

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
~Philippians 3:13-14 The Message

We all have “monkey bars” to cross in life. We can cross them in joy, knowing Who crosses them with us, or we can cross them in sorrow, refusing to acknowledge the progress we’re making. Or, we can even climb down the ladder and refuse to cross the monkey bars all together..missing the opportunity to grow in Him.

Today I want to encourage you to take that first swing on the monkey bars, trust in Him, and enjoy the journey. You can do it! When you make it to the other side, you will find you are stronger, that callouses have been built making it a bit easier to cross the next set of “monkey bars”. You’ll also realize you now have added tools and knowledge in which to help others who are just starting their journey.

Make it a great day, no reason not to. It’s, afterall, all up to you!

Blessings,

Sarah

Happy Stinkin Birthday?

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Well today was my birthday.

I don’t like my birthday. I don’t like the parties, and refuse to have them. I don’t like all of the attention. It’s usually a day I dread. But this year I’ve been so busy that I didn’t remember it was even approaching, much less have time to dread it. And, it was a great day!! It was low key, and my family spoiled me in ways that I love. My husband made me a special breakfast, and he made me a delicious dinner! He even quietly, and by himself, presented me with a birthday cookie (complete with candle) and sang Happy Birthday! My kids made awesome cards for me. My daughter went out of her way to make sure her house chores were done to my liking (I’m a bit of a clean freak). My son was his normal silly and loving self. My parents came to visit, too! AND, I even got the whole family to sit, AND ENJOY, a movie I wanted to see (Parental Guidance)!!!

The point is…I didn’t dread the day, and as a result, I loved the day! And that, my friends, is what I like to call a growing moment!

As you face another day, choose to embrace it instead of dreading it. I think you’ll find life is a lot more enjoyable.

Anyway, I found the devo below for today, and appreciated the perspective the author offered. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well. Have a great day!

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

That Final Crossing
Seasons of Change: A Birthday Devotional
Found at: http://www.mychristiandevotionalblog.com

Waking to the sounds of little girl whisperings, I remembered that the
day was a special one – my birthday.

I pretended to be asleep while I let my daughter sneak into our bedroom
“unnoticed” and ask my husband for
help with the griddle.

Mmmm pancakes and no work on my
part.

Now, that’s what I call the start of a special day!

I’ve heard that when some people get to a “certain age” birthdays are no fun anymore. In fact, they become a dreaded day. But I don’t know, maybe I haven’t gotten to that stage yet, or maybe I never will.

Because when you really think about it –birthdays just bring us one year closer to Jesus.
A former pastor of mine sends out a fresh birthday message each year to everyone
on his mailing list.

In this year’s note, he congratulated me on crossing another milestone of years in my journey of life.

I liked his imagery of the “crossing” and he even brought it back at the end of the letter saying:

“May our wonderful Lord … bless you and help you in the days ahead as you prepare for the crossing of that final milestone of life.”

My former pastor, well into his 80s himself, joyfully reminded me that death is not an end all – but simply a crossing over for the Christian into his/her next phase of life – where we get to live in heaven with Jesus himself.

Life’s “crossings” can be interesting can’t they? I guess I would define them as seasons of change. Sometimes they are visible like a move or a job switch – and sometimes they can be spiritual and represent growth in our walk with Christ.

Throughout history, mankind has had some pretty serious “crossings” that affected large groups of people.

As a historical fiction buff, I’ve read my fair share of stories about the Oregon Trail.
I loved reading about the grit and endurance of the pioneers during this epic crossing.

The experience of the Oregon Trail changed lives and is an incredible study on the human
spirit.

I think also of the crossing of the Israelites who took their first shaky steps
out on the dry ground of the Red Sea as they moved towards an uncertain future.

As walls of water surrounded them on both sides and their enemy pursued from
behind, the Israelites crossed on over to a whole new life that would require
serious steps of change and growth.

That morning of my birthday, as my family busily prepared my special breakfast, I took a quick peek into our butterfly habitat.

Earlier in the summer, we had found a small caterpillar in our parsley patch and brought it inside to witness its metamorphosis. It wasn’t long, after it had had its fill of the parsley we picked for it, that it changed into a chrysalis.

And that morning I was greeted by the fluttering of wings! Our little friend had made his own crossing during the night, and I was greeted by a beautiful black swallowtail with wings that reminded me of the stained glass windows on an old country church.

I knew it was my birthday gift — what a wonder!

And when we released it a few moments later, my heart fluttered at the sight of it as I saw that butterfly embrace its next stage of life.

No, birthdays aren’t so bad. Not when there’s cake and the promise of a bright future that will last even after the candles have long since gone out.

Forgiveness Brings Freedom

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You can be shackle-free! Start the path to forgiveness today. You will be glad you did!

I pray blessings and peace over you today as you embark on this new journey. Freedom in Him is here for the taking!

– Sarah

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Today’s devotional selection:

A Place of Forgiveness
By Suzie Eller

” … Keep your eyes open to this Temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My name will be honored there,’ and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place. Listen from your home in heaven and when you hear, forgive.” 1 Kings 8:28-30 (MSG)

Claire sat on the floor with a wad of tissues in her hand. Her husband had left her three days earlier for someone else.

Sitting there crying, in her brokenness she sensed God whisper, “Pray for him.”

Fists clinched, she shook them at the ceiling. “It’s too soon, God. If You love me, You won’t ask this of me. You are focusing on the wrong person. He’s the one who should be kneeling and asking for forgiveness.”

In 1 Kings 8, we find the story of God’s temple being built, a temple where God’s presence would dwell. It took seven years, a labor force of over 130,000 and King Solomon’s leadership to complete the temple. It was built with cypress, olive wood and cedar, and inside the doors were overlaid in gold. When the temple was completed, Solomon stood in awe as God’s presence filled it (verse 10), and he began to pray.

He could have asked God for many things. That the temple be a place of power where his kingdom would shine. That his enemies, and those of his father, King David, would be slain. That the sinful man would walk through the doors and be condemned for his sins.

Instead he asked that God’s Name be honored in the temple, and the magnificent structure would be a place of forgiveness.

Scripture declares that we are His temple. Three days after discovering her husband’s secrets Claire hadn’t eaten. She hadn’t slept. Her temple was crumbling.

By asking her to forgive so soon, God wasn’t showing a lack of compassion over her pain or her husband’s abandonment, but a sign that He knew her well. By asking her to forgive, God was asking for a place to move into the demolished areas of her life.

Forgiving would allow Him to fill her with His presence, putting His Name there forever, no matter what her situation.

Daily, Claire walked intentionally in her relationship with God, reading the Bible, talking honestly with Him, listening to worship music. This became her sanctuary as she went through the most challenging parts of an unwanted divorce. The more she nurtured her heart and His presence inside of her, the less room there was for sadness, grief, anger, and loss.

And then the day came. She knelt on the carpet and she told God, “I forgive him,” and she meant it.

A deeper meaning to the word forgive is “to abide” or “to set free.” Claire experienced both of these as she made room within her heart, mind and soul for God’s presence and forgiveness to dwell.

It’s been nearly a year. She is still beginning each day with God and inviting Him to fill her up with Himself. Moments of joy now surprise her just as grief once did.

Dear Lord, I knew instinctively that one day You would ask me to forgive, but today I understand why. You want to move in to the demolished areas of my life and let Your presence shine. Help me to begin to forgive with Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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