The Path to Joy

We were looking forward to a fun evening together as a family. We were going to get to see a sloth! There was popcorn, face-painting and even the red carpet.

We went to the movie premiere for Amazon Arising – Joy in the Jungle. The movie took us on a journey with Jungle Jen as she traveled to remote areas in the Amazon to share the love of Christ.

Things didn’t always go as planned, and her days could be quite complicated. The weather didn’t always cooperate, and yet with each complication or delay, she persevered.  She kept her eye on the prize. She trusted God to provide and protect. It was an incredible testimony of faith and passion.

After the movie, Jungle Jen spoke and she encouraged us to do whatever God is calling us to do.  She told us to stand out and follow our passion. Many people came forward for prayer.  As the prayers were lifted, the musicians sang their three songs from the movie.

That was over a month ago, and I am still amazed at how much that experience has impacted me.  I have listened to those three songs on repeat. I’ve thought about how Jen kept going, in spite of all of the bumps in the road. Her journey was not easy, and yet her joy was contagious. She was living her passion and she loved it.

She found joy in the jungle of the Amazon. Where do you find joy?

Where is my joy and do I relentlessly to pursue it? When I experience pushback or an inconvenience what is my response? What if it is risky? Am I willing to stand out and be uncomfortable for Christ? Do I get off track when things get complicated? Are my eyes on the prize and do I trust Him to provide and protect?

My One Word for 2018 is JOY and my verse is Psalm 16:11 NIV:

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

As I was listening to the three songs, and thinking about all that was stirring in my heart – the lyrics came together and echoed this verse for me.

Papa’s Song by Susan Valles:  “Go and tell for me my child”

Rain Down by Laura Stavlas:  “Soak me in the wonder of your presence”

Anthem by Melanie Sykes:   “Joy is rising up now”

The Path to Joy is to follow Jesus.  

Instead, You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment. Psalm 16:11 VOICE

Where is your Joy? 

If you get the chance to see “Amazon Arising – Joy in the Jungle” don’t miss it! You will be inspired! The next screening is on February 11th in Wilmington, NC at Myrtle Grove Baptist Church at 6pm.

For more information visit Jen’s website:  https://www.standoutministries.com

Movie Trailer:

The Songs:

Anthem by Melanie Sykes 
Rain Down by Laura Stavlas
Papa’s Song by Susan Valles

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Advertisements

Praying (and Waiting) for a Miracle

I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.  John 13:19 NIV

I wrote down my ‘miracle’ prayer requests on the orange index card and took a quick picture with my phone. I brought it to the altar and put it in the basket filled with prayers for miracles. That was in September of 2015. Part of my prayer request was answered just a few weeks later. I was ecstatic and praising God. It filled me with hope and I believed that He was going to answer the rest of my prayer on that card.

He hasn’t answered the other part of my prayer, yet.

I have been weary of even praying for it at times so I simply stop thinking about it. Why bother when it is so tender, painful and heartbreaking?  I’ve also found myself full of doubt thinking, “It is impossible. It will never happen.”

Other times, I have stood in the shower praying as the water washed away my tears. With every word, I was believing with everything in me that HE WILL DO IT. It is going to happen. I just know it!

And then, He still doesn’t answer that prayer.

I know it lines up with His Word.
I know it is the desire of His heart.
I know He put that desire in me to pray for it.
He has proven time and time again that He is faithful and He will do it.
Nothing is too big for Him.

Oh me of little faith and even less patience.

Not too long ago, I decided that maybe God could use my help. I decided I was just going to push a few buttons to get the ball rolling and take matters into my own hands.

Luckily, just before I pushed the first button, I stopped.

I sensed in my spirit to let go (again) and trust. He didn’t ask me to even move much less push any buttons. My flesh wanted “now”.

The One who put the stars in the sky doesn’t need me to set anything in motion.

He needs me to trust Him, and to obey.
He needs me to believe Him, and to pray.
He needs me to give it to Him, and let Him work it out.
He needs me to wait, and watch Him once again move mountains.
He has shown me before that He will do it, and He was faithful.

Miracle after miracle, I have seen Him work. I know He is I Am.

I believe.

And yet, my flesh makes me forget that His miracles are way bigger than me. In fact, they are not about me at all. He is working on more that I can ever comprehend or imagine. Other hearts are involved besides mine. Hearts matter to Him.

My heart will wait.
My heart will trust.
My heart will believe.
My heart will have faith.

He is a heart changing, miracle-working, mountain mover.

Psalm 27:14  The Passion Translation (TPT)

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
Don’t give up; don’t be impatient;
be entwined as one with the Lord.
Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.
Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!

Are you praying for a miracle?

Maybe you have been praying for it for a while now. Maybe it is a prodigal child, or your marriage. Maybe it is your job, your health or even your finances. Maybe it is for healing, salvation, or forgiveness.  Perhaps you have grown weary and tired in the waiting. Everything about your circumstances screams it will never happen! It is impossible.

But with God, all things are possible.

He will do it, in His way, in His timing, and for His glory.

Write it down, and date it.

As you are waiting, if you find yourself full of doubt, fill yourself with His Word. Recall His faithfulness and cling to His promises. Thank him in advance for His answer to your prayer. Praise Him. Rejoice with every glimmer of hope as you wait for your miracle.

He is faithful.

Psalm 40:5 The Passion Translation (TPT)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with you.
Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with you!
And you think of us all the time
with your countless expressions of love—
far exceeding our expectations!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

30 Days of Truth: Your Maker is your husband.

Truth 19:  Your Maker is your husband.

For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. Isaiah 54:5 NIV

A note from my journal:  November 25, 2012  God Speaks 

How was I feeling this morning besides COLD?  I was feeling sad, isolated, and alone. He went away on his hike, and I went to church by myself with the kids. On the way, I had this conversation going on in my head about how I am not going to get through this with him, and I am not sure why I even told him.  He said several times last night that he was not the victim, I was so he couldn’t grasp or understand all this entails.

Yes – so A L O N E would be a good way to describe my identity this morning.  When I was in Sunday School for whatever reason, this chatter was still loud in my head, this struggle. “I did not need to burden him with this in the first place – He can’t really help in this situation!  What to do??? Why did I tell him?”

Then, in the worship service – ANXIOUS – would be an understatement.  They played my song again (HUNGRY – Falling On My Knees) and it made me cry.

I opened my Bible and just read as if it was just me in the Sanctuary…and I read it over and over and over.

Isaiah 54:4-8. Do not be afraid.  You will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace. You will not be humiliated.  YOU WILL FORGET THE SHAME OF YOUR YOUTH and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.  (5) For your MAKER IS YOUR HUSBAND – The LORD ALMIGHTY is his name – The HOLY ONE of ISRAEL is your REDEEMER.  He is called the GOD of all the earth.  (6) The Lord will call you back AS IF you were a WIFE DESERTED AND DISTRESSED in spirit.  A WIFE who married YOUNG only to be REJECTED, says your GOD. (7) For a BRIEF moment I abandoned you BUT WITH DEEP COMPASSION, I WILL BRING YOU BACK.  (8) IN A SURGE OF ANGER, I HID MY FACE FROM YOU FOR A MOMENT – BUT WITH EVERLASTING KINDNESS I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON YOU says the Lord YOUR REDEEMER.

The takeaway:  No one can take this away.  Not my husband, and not even my counselor.  THE HUSBAND who will Redeem me is Christ. While I still think it will help for him to understand and know – he is not in any way going to even know how or have the power to MAKE ME FEEL BETTER, and I should not expect him to… which is a HUGE relief for him.   As for me, I am going to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and like the poem Footprints when there is only one set of prints MY REDEEMER will carry me through the hot coals and PROTECT ME.

P.S.  I believe that the Bible is Living and Breathing and it is how God Speaks into us.   I have study Bible’s and Commentary’s – but I really struggle with them because I will easily let someone else’s words be my takeaway. Lately,  I have heard His Word speak directly into my spirit and my life, and I have to believe it is because I am learning to REALLY TRUST Him.

Because the One who made you will be your husband; the One called Commander of heavenly armies Will set you right again, the Holy One of Israel. It’s not for nothing that He is called “God of all the earth. Isaiah 54:5 VOICE

How Great Thou Art

Deuteronomy 4:9 I was a hot mess in church today.

It’s been a while. It used to happen almost every Sunday. I would stand there during worship and just move my lips to the words and sob. I was hardly able to utter a sound because my heart was fragile.

It didn’t take much to send me over the edge: songs, verses, flashbacks, memories.  One minute I would be fine and the next minute not at all. Sometimes the tears stopped as quickly as they started. Other times, they poured and poured.

It mostly happened on the second pew in church on Sunday’s and on Thursday’s on the couch in my counselor’s office. Both eventually became the safe places where I was able to get in touch with those tender places with Jesus and receive healing.

Continue reading