Friday, September 26, 2014
Do you have days when the joy inside just bubbles up, inside your soul? If you are a believer, and follower of Jesus, you have had days like that! For me it is a joy like no other. It doesn't come from material things, or other people, money, or explainable things.
Usually this joy comes out of nothing in particular. It is most likely on a day when God has shown me my blessings, one by one! It can be triggered by loved ones, or answered prayers, a sunny, blue sky day, or by nothing at all. It is all about the Love my Jesus has for me!
You see, when I am filled with joy, I realize that this child, filled with sin, is a loved and cherished child of God. He loved me before I existed. He loved me before I knew Him. He loved me before I came to a belief in Him! It is illogical to someone who does not know Him. They do not understand the joy either.
Joy, an emotion for well-being. Can that co-exist with heartache, pain, disaster, or being at the very bottom, emotionally? Can Joy be present when your world is falling around your feet in pieces? Does joy live where nothing is going right? Yes, the joy of The Lord can. I never understood that when I was living for me, apart from God. There were days when joy was a stranger.
If you are devastated, overwhelmed, sad, lonely, hungry,homeless, hopeless, how do you have joy? The Bible tells us in John 14:27, not as the world peace, but Christ. The world, or those who don't have that relationship with Jesus, look at things from a world view. The world says joy and suffering do not go together. Psalm 100 is a Psalm of Joy.
If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, asked Him to be The Lord of your life, you can be sure you will be in Heaven when He takes you from this world. That is the basis for my joy in all things. Do I like trouble, pain, or bad days? Of course not, but I can still be joyful. I don't know where the joy comes from, but it is real, and it is sweet. It makes me content, it makes me happy, and it makes me want to laugh out loud!
Today it was answered prayers, good friends, and beautiful Fall weather! Tomorrow....who knows?
Tomorrow may be a terrible, no good day, but I will still have my joy! My joy is deep within my being, because Jesus loves me, and He cares about me! My prayer is for you to have and know that same joy! Believe me it is like no other joy!
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Friday, September 12, 2014
Soul mate would define the love of my life! He is my closest friend who totally understands me, even when I don't want him to. We have the same beliefs, humor, and thoughts. We are perfectly suited in temperament and attitude. Don't we just sound perfect? Well we aren't! God did put us together, but it took awhile, because we weren't paying attention. God never gave up on us or our stubbornness. You see we both over the years were convinced we were right, and we knew what we needed, and we left God out of our plans. I am so grateful He didn't let us go. I can imagine Him saying, "I love you too much to leave you like this."
We did not meet until we were in our 30s, but we found out that our paths crossed much earlier than that. I was born in North Omaha, adopted, and grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. I lived down the alley from John's cousins. When I was in 5th grade, a new school opened two blocks from my house. The first summer, in honor of that they hosted a summer week long program. Every day there were games, food, fun, and crafts on the playground. I was there every day. John was visiting his cousins, so he was there too. If we met, neither of us remember, but God had us there at the same time. Many years later, after we were married, yes we did meet again, I found my birth family through one of John's childhood friends. You see her brother was married to my sister. John would have met Paula's brother and my sister when they met in Omaha and were married.
With the history we had and didn't know it, it would be half a lifetime before we actually met, fell in love, and put all the pieces together. I often wonder if we had been believers then, and allowing God to lead, if we would have been together much sooner than we were. I wonder if parts of our life would have been very different. Of course the story as it played out shows what God can do in a life, and how He arrainged His plans all around us, in spite of us and our actions. We have always been able to enjoy the same music, long talks, and humor. We do love to laugh. We have both done some pretty silly things, but we can laugh at ourselves. Those memories are always there to recall from time to time, and then we get to laugh all over again. One day we went shopping with John's Mom at Brandeis in Omaha. There was a column close to where we were shipping. It had a small hole drilled in it, for some reason. John got my attention, and told me to look in the hole. I wasn't sure, but he convincingly told me I had to see this, it was really something. I fell for it, and stood in the middle of a busy store with my eye up to a hole in a column. When I realized he had "gotten" me, we had a good laugh. He is a story teller, and he can make up stories, and convince you they are real, until he comes to the punch line.
Of course one of the funniest things ever was a phone call. That was back when they had pay phones and some you could drive up to so you didn't have to get out of the car. John pulled up, got his quarter out, put the phone up to one ear, and proceeded to put the quarter in his ear instead of the slot in the phone. We laughed so hard, we couldn't breathe. We love laughing together, and it sometimes doesn't take much to set us off. We do have our serious sides, and there have been so many times John has been my hero. He is a Godly man, who has encouraged my walk with Christ. I don't always like to have him hold me accountable, but He is usually right, and He knows what I need to be doing.
Mostly we are a team. He has strengths I don't have, and I have strengths he doesn't. We complete each other. Sometimes he has to be the strong one and pick me up from where I fell. Other times I get to be the strong one for him. We are equal, but different. We are different, but the same. And we have gone through trials, that our God has gotten us through. We are part of God's triangle. I am at the bottom on one side. John is on the bottom on the other side. God is at the top of the triangle. As we grow closer to each other moving up the triangle, we grow closer to God at the top. As we grow older, we become more in tune with each other and with what God wants for us. My Soul Mate, my love! God knew we would be a perfect fit!
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Despicable me. Me so lacking, me so ugly, me so selfish. Me blackened by years of sin, layer on layer, with not one righteous act or thought. Me who Jesus died for. Because of His blood, I am covered and God sees the new, clean me, totally acceptable. Worthy to be in His presence. That is a concept the lost don't get! I was despicable, deserving to be despised. I was worthless, dirty, and wretched. No, the lost don't get it....I didn't get it. I knew there was a God. I knew the Bible stories, but it didn't touch me, and it certainly didn't affect how I lived.
It was a life of fun, few morals, selfish, and lived in the fast lane. I wanted to feel good, look good, and not worry about anyone but me. I had long since stopped going to church. I was a free spirit of the 60s and 70s. I went to work, I shopped, I drank, and wanted only a good time. I began to get interested in the occult. I spent time and money on books, spells, Taro cards, and all things from the dark side... Witchcraft, Transendental Meditation, and satanism. I took the training for meditation, was ceremoniously given my secret word or mantra for meditating, and was convinced by these deceivers
I was so far into the dark side of satan's world, I would never have made it out, if God had not stepped in. It took a while for Him to get my attention, but He never gave up. God knows who will accept Him and who will not. He and only He knew what I needed, knew what it would take, and when to reach me. At first He quietly was leading me away from my horrible life. He was in the background leading me one step at a time to where all things could fall into place to get me from where I was to where He was. He started working through other believers; my husband, my sister-in-law, and Billy Graham. Although I didn't want any of what they were telling me, I know God allowed enough to seep into my blackened heart to prepare the way. Little by little He was leading and orchestrating until He got us to Tucson, Arizona to visit John's brother, and my sister-in-law. She had been praying and I had no idea it was all arrainged like a beautiful song...a song my soul needed.
I came face to face with Jesus in my sister-in-law's kitchen the second morning, while she prayed in the next room. A T.V. Evangelist caught my attention, and I gave my heart, and my life to Jesus. When you make that decision, a joy and peace flows over you like nothing you have experienced before. I simply could not stop smiling! I didn't even understand it all, but I knew the despicable me was gone. It wasn't overnight, or instant, and it will always be about growing and learning. As I have come to know Jesus through His word, spending time with Him, seeing miracles in my life only He could do, I have been able to see myself as He sees me. I am able to love others, to put others first, and am willing to serve and be used by Him.
I fall back some days, sometimes a lot of days, but Jesus is always there to catch me and send me forward again. I learn, I forget; I doubt, I fall; but He never let's go of me! I have hope, I know He has a plan for my life only I can do, and my joy is not what the world sees as joy! One thing I do know....He hears me when I cry, He comforts me, He never leaves me, and He loves me more than His own life. I know when I die, or Jesus returns for His children, I will walk out of this life and into the next for eternity! I have chosen Him, because He first chose me!