Tag Archives: joy

A Palm Sunday miracle

Our church has adult Sunday school the hour before service.

We’ve enjoyed attending since we learned about it not long after we moved here.

The usual way to begin is to open the floor for anyone to testify to the goodness of God that week.

It was a bit quiet at first, but a few people had spoken, then one gentleman told us of his gratitude for the Lord’s protection.

His arm was in a sling and he explained that he’d hurt his shoulder trying to start the pressure washer to use at the church the next day.

His words were all encouraging, speaking about how thankful he was that he wasn’t hurt worse and asking for prayer as he’d torn his rotator cuff before.

A couple others spoke and then one man stood and said,

“We haven’t done this in a long time, but I just really feel God would have us pray for our brother’s shoulder right now, that he would come to the front and all the men would pray for him.”

He’d already spoken to our pastor about this and Pastor agreed, so within a short period of time, the man whose shoulder was hurt by the pressure washer was seated and the men surrounded him so much he disappeared from sight.

We all prayed and it was lovely.

When they were finished, I heard my name being called.

The ladies were going to pray over me!

I felt surprise and blessed, but I was totally unprepared for what took place.

One person after another prayed thanking God for my joy, the way I shined Jesus’s love to everyone, and thanking God for my ministry with signing.

Tears ran down my face as my heart was so full of gratitude.

God knows one of the things which had been difficult for me about being unable to speak was feeling hindered in my ability to share Jesus and His love to others.

I had no idea God was shining through me, but it was an answer to prayer and a testament to God, for He is not limited to work no matter what we think might be hindering us.

After they finished praying for me, we all agreed another lady who recently suffered a stroke be seated.

Then we prayed for another lady whose so crippled with age and pain she’s always doubled over unable to lift her head.

Lastly, we prayed for another gentleman whose recently heard something is wrong with his kidneys.

When we finished praying we realized that it was just a few minutes before church.

Sunday school had been all prayer this morning and we all felt it was time well used.

The faces of others reflected my own emotions of gratitude and surprise at the unexpected morning with God.

The service continued and God was so present.

I actually had to work at focusing on the words of the music, because my heart was so full.

The sermon was wonderful and our time ended with communion, which was the perfect finish to our time together.

My heart continued to swell with joy, for this Sunday was a miracle for me.

I’ve not been able to speak at our church since we moved here.

In fact, my trouble with losing my voice has been getting worse, places I used to be able to speak in have been lost.

The Lord spoke very clearly to my heart during my week about totally surrendering my voice to the Lord.

I thought I had, but the truth was revealed when the Lord asked me if I was willing to lose my ability to speak completely.

“No, Lord, I’m not, but I will. My voice belongs to You.”

To bring myself accountability, I told my husband about it all.

I’ve been working at giving the Lord my voice whenever it’s troublesome, to just be thankful when I can speak and thankful when I cannot.

The surprise wasn’t small when God gave me my voice yesterday.

I was so blessed to be able to pray aloud for the other women during Sunday school, when we closed in song, I was able to join in the singing with my voice.

Surprise and wonder were expressions common while I spoke.

Several people commented on “never hearing my voice before”.

Including our WWII veteran who sits in front of us.

He’s quite elderly and wears double hearing aids.

He smiled at me and said,

“You sure do have a beautiful voice. I love hearing it. I hope you get to keep it.”

I smiled back and replied, “Whatever the Lord wills.”

He nodded and smiled, “That’s right, whatever He wills.”

And God’s will was to let me speak all day long.

We were blessed to have friends and family over and I didn’t struggling at all.

I don’t know how long the Lord is going to grant me a voice, but I’m so thankful for His miracle this Palm Sunday.

The Lord had shown me an area I wasn’t completely surrendered in.

He revealed to me His answer to my prayers to be a light of His love even without being able to speak.

God added just an extra blessing and reminded us all that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 NKJV — Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your incredible love. Thank You for answering my prayers, that I have been reflecting You even though I’ve been unable to communicate well. Lord, thank You for each of those we prayed for. Please touch them and give them exactly what is needed. Lord, let our lives be a continued testament to Your glory, Your goodness, Your ways. Lord, please help us to remember that when You walked this Earth there were those who rejected You, hated You, and even wanted to harm You, yet Your Word was truth, Your ways honorable, even Pilot couldn’t find any reason to

A birthday surprise

My husband’s mother is a sweet lady.

Our children call her Nana.

I call her Mom.

She’s not only a treasure to our family, her most endearing trait is her joy.

When our third daughter was three months old, Mom had a major stroke.

It robbed her of her speech, her ability to read and write, and her use of her right arm and right leg.

Therapy returned her ability to walk and a good deal of her speech returned, although her voice has never been the same.

She worked diligently to relearn to read and how to write left handed.

The doctor’s told us there were no guarantees as to how long she would live, due to the extreme damage the stroke inflicted, and that was 19 years ago.

Mom has endured many more health issues since that stroke and yet her smile is as bright, her laugh is as frequent.

She loves Jesus and others, and it’s beautiful.

God had a special birthday gift for Mom this New Year’s Day.

(Besides turning 70!)

Our granddaughter was born!

All our hearts were touched by this special surprise, because our daughter and husband had already made it known before she arrived that her middle name would be after her great grandmother’s.

Only God could have orchestrated something so special.

We are praising Him for His blessing to our family.

And as I prayed about what nickname to give our newest little beauty, Mom came to mind: joy.

Nothing could be more fitting.

Welcome, Joy!

We are so glad you are part of our family!

Psalm 35:27 NKJV — Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

Psalm 126:3 KJV — The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your blessings. Lord, thank You for our family. We are far from perfect and we have many areas of need, but we look to You for all things. We thank You for the ways You have been with us and Your incredible mercy and kindness. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach us how to walk with You and how to encourage others. Lord, please shine Your truth into our hearts and minds that we might not sin against You or others. Lord, please help us to be diligent in seeing to the cares of others, not just focused upon ourselves. Lord, please guide Baby Joy’s parents as they raise her and her siblings. Thank You for the miracle of life and the great joy of children. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

The gift of patience

1 Thessalonians 1:3 KJV — Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians holds these beautiful words:

“…and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…”

For the follower of Christ, their reason to be patient is their hope of eternity, bought by the precious blood of our Lord Jesus.

Patience is a consequence of a soul secure in Him.

It is an understanding of who God is and what He has done.

It’s also an opportunity.

Patient obedience to pickup our cross daily and follow Christ is a privilege.

It draws our hearts closer to our LORD and it helps us to be a testimony to others.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6:11‭-‬12 NKJV

Our diligence in following Christ is a testimony to those around us.

Thus our patient attitude of hope is a witness to the world.

This Christmas let us give the gift of patience.

James 5:11 NKJV — Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

May we be patient and steadfast in shining the truth of Jesus Christ in mercy, gentleness, kindness, compassion, and grace with those God has placed in our lives, loving as He does.

For all times and seasons are in His hands, and:

“The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” Psalm 145:17 KJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your gift of patience. Thank You that it is through Your salvation we can rest in hope of eternal life. Lord Jesus, only in and through You do we find the ability to be patient, gentle, kind, merciful, compassionate, and loving. Lord, on our own we are simply unable to wait patiently, because it is through Your hope we have peace. Thank You for that. Thank You for Your birth, Your death, and Your Resurrection! Thank You for Your Holy Spirit which teaches and admonishes our hearts. Lord, please help us to be people of patience, peace, and joy. Thank You. Amen.

Out of the mouths of babes…

When our oldest was an only child we got a video camera.

I wanted to make home movies to help us catalog her growing up.

As her siblings were born, they too were caught on video.

But the recorder broke when they were still small.

I didn’t throw it away, I packed it for a future day when we’d get it fixed.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about the thing, until last night.

Handsome found it in the back of our closet.

I was uninterested, as I knew we’d drug the thing, still broken from one place to another, but I’d never gotten it fixed.

When our son came back out of the bedroom to tell me Daddy had it working I was sincerely shocked.

“But it’s been broken for over 10 years!”

“Dad has it playing. Come and see.”

All packing stopped and we spent the evening watching home movies on our recorder.

We laughed.

We cried.

It was really special.

It’s strange how the memory can forget things.

I remembered music was a big part of our everyday, but I was surprised at how many videos included music.

Of course there were the normal Christmas programs and a school program, but when we were just at home there was so many of our daughters singing and dancing to music.

My heart was so blessed by the joy on their faces and the sound of their voices.

This morning the Lord took me to:

Psalm 8:2 NKJV — Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

And my heart is full of gratitude.

What an incredible privilege it is to praise the Lord!

What a joy it was to hear our children sing songs of praise.

How grateful I am for the opportunity we still have to praise God daily.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for the ability to praise and worship You. Lord, thank You for Your blessings which are more numerous than the stars. Thank You for the way Your Word brings us life, truth, and love. Lord, I worship Your holy name and I thank You for the breath to be able to speak Your praises. Psalm 8:9 NKJV — O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! Amen.

A Father’s love

Isaiah 12:1 NKJV — And in that day you will say: “O LORD, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.

Isaiah 12:2 NKJV — Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ ”

Isaiah 12:3 NKJV — Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.

Isaiah 12:4 NKJV — And in that day you will say: “Praise the LORD, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.

Isaiah 12:5 NKJV — Sing to the LORD, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth.

Isaiah 12:6 NKJV — Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

God is our perfect heavenly father and his love for us is incredible.

The person speaking to the LORD begins with the acknowledgement that God was angry with them.

For what parent wants to see their child harm each other or themselves?

When we sin, we are choosing to harm both, and it doesn’t please the Lord.

But the words don’t end there:

…”Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.”

Through Jesus’s gift, we can have salvation:

“‘Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'”

And it’s this understanding which ignites praise, worship, and sharing:

“Sing to the LORD, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth.”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your love. Thank You that You are a good father and You didn’t leave us when we chose to sin, but instead You made a way for us to be saved. Lord, I don’t want to sin against You, nor do I want to fall into sin by ignorance or carelessness. Please help me to “draw water From the wells of salvation” with joy daily. Truly understanding Your will for each day and walking humbly in Your Word. Thank You so much for Your gift of salvation! I praise Your holy name, Jesus! Amen.

Odds and ends

I’ve been trying to get some things finished up and make time for stuff I’ve put off.

With all the changes of late, I’m needing to get some projects either done or gone.

Throughout my life, I’ve had “projects”.

Normally, some form of craft.

As a child my mother taught me to embroider, just simple stitches, but I would gladly run for my work to show grownups.

I also remember decorating all kinds of things with buttons.

Our elderly lady neighbor taught me to crochet.

Mom is left-handed so she couldn’t teach me as I’m right-handed.

I had mounds of paper crafts, everything from drawings to construction paper cut-outs.

As a teen I branched out into painting.

Watercolor was my favorite, but I did acrylic and oil.

I also dried flowers.

After I got married I started scrapbooking and did a little rubber stamping.

I also sewed.

My favorite craft is crocheting.

Anyone might guess this if they saw what I get for Christmas!

As of right now I have three sewing projects which have gotten pushed aside.

However, I have been able to finish up most of my crocheting.

The final project is making a replacement table runner for my dining room.

It’s nearly finished and I’m excited to see it in use.

As I prayerfully work through my projects, I’m so thankful for the opportunity.

Part of the reason I make things is my desire to “work with my hands”, but the main reason is the joy of doing something useful, to glorify God.

For life has taught me that things are always changing, but the possibility of using what I have for Him is constant.

Whether I’m piecing scraps of old jeans for a blanket or cooking a meal for our family, I’m blessed to be able to give my time to God.

I want all that I do to bring honor and glory to God.

Proverbs 31:30 NKJV — Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the different gifts and abilities which You bless each of us with. Thank You that these things can be used for Your glory. Lord Jesus, unto You do I want all my efforts to be focused on. Lord, I don’t want to do anything from my own desires or my own ideas, but instead I want to be centered upon You in all things. Lord, it is easy to get caught up with the busy of life and to forget to check my heart and my schedule with You. Please do not allow me to stray into my own ways, but instead call me, that I might return quickly to You. Thank You, Jesus for Your patience. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for teaching me so much each and every day. May my life bring glory to Your name. Amen.

Choosing joy

There’s choices each day.

So many, at times they can feel overwhelming.

One of those choices we all make each day, sometimes minute by minute, is what we choose to do.

What we think on, what we meditate on, what we listen to, what we read, all are choices.

These choices either build our faith or tear it down.

When faced with uncertainty, tragedy, and pain we have a choice.

Despair or trust.

Will we praise God through the current circumstances or will we complain about the havock?

Throughout history we see God using the things Satan meant for evil and turning it to good.

As followers of Christ, we need to choose to find joy in Him, even in the midst of incredible pain.

For we can choose joy even while we suffer.

Acts 5:41 KJV — And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Yes, there will be trials and tribulations.

Yes, we will struggle, suffer, and experience tragedy.

No, it won’t last forever, because Jesus promises eternal life in Paradise.

And thus, we can choose joy.

Not a false pretense of faking it.

Not denying the fear or hurt or loss we are experiencing, but in those things choosing to cling to Jesus.

Choosing to praise Him for He is worthy.

Choosing to find hope and joy in life eternal.

It’s not easy, nor is it popular.

Yet God’s Word is truth and in it we find our example:

Luke 23:34 KJV — Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Romans 5:8 NKJV — But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In God’s Word we have the answer.

Romans 5:3-5 NKJV — And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:28 NKJV — And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

In His promises we can find joy.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for life eternal in You because You sacrificed Your life on the cross. Thank You for showing us how to handle tragedy, fear, and pain. Please continue to guide and direct us as we walk daily with You. Lord, let our hearts be full of Your Word and our lives settled securely in Your truth. For this is not our home, that awaits us in heaven. Praise You, Lord Jesus! Amen!

The joy of family

It was a lovely week, which ended in a lovely weekend.

Our Anne was able to come home for the week.

My mom’s foot has healed so well that she is no longer under restrictions.

Thus, Anne could be here.

Our Bell was also here for a few days, Thursday through most of Saturday.

To add to the blessings, we got to watch Bubba and Faye on Saturday while their parents had a day together.

Although, Bell had to leave Saturday night, everyone else stayed over.

Yesterday, we all drove South.

Anne was to return to Grandma’s.

Handsome and I needed to restock the booth, and of course Tim and Sis were returning home.

The house felt empty when we got back, but I know that’s simply the “drop down” after all the excitement.

Not unlike the feeling one gets when Christmas is over and it’s time to pack it all away.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how valuable each stage or season is.

To cherish time with others, but to also realize there is value in alone time.

To see God working in us when we are together and when we are separate.

Because He knows every season and is working through each one.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV — To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

And I want to hold tightly to Him in all things.

Not unlike the small yet wonderful embrace of my grandson or granddaughter, I want to cling to Jesus with that kind of innocent pure love.

But that kind of relationship requires me to let go of other things.

I can’t cling to Jesus if I’m trying to hold on to the world, or even other people.

He has to come first for me to give Him my best.

I’m so thankful for it.

Because I can find joy, pleasure, and wisdom in any stage.

Philippians 4:11 KJV — Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Paul spoke in respect to physical needs, but the truth is applicable to all of life.

I’m still learning this lesson, but it’s a beautiful journey and a blessed walk.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word and Your truth. Thank You for my family and the gift of time together. Lord, thank You for teaching me so much daily and showing me how blessed each stage is. Lord, I want to cling to You more each day. Please continue to help me learn how to let go of other things and hold fast to You. Lord, I praise You for all Your wonderous works! I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Finding hope

1 Peter 1:3-4 NKJV — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

Unless we truly understand the truth of these words, we will miss finding hope.

Because true hope, confident expectation, is through Jesus Christ.

Acts 4:12 NKJV — “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Thus, when we believe on the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ and we accept His payment for our sins, we are granted hope, confident expectation, of eternal life.

Our future lies in heaven with Him.

Therefore, nothing on this Earth is permanent.

No circumstance is everlasting.

No pain endures past the grave.

Jesus said:

John 14:3 NKJV — “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Thus, finding hope resides in understanding salvation.

Finding hope requires our complete surrender to God.

It’s also a beautiful daily practice.

Romans 12:12 KJV — Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

For the follower of Jesus, our hope is in Christ and in this truth we can rest secure, patiently hopeful.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for salvation. Thank You that You know what each one of us needs each day. Lord, help us to daily rejoice in our hope, to be patient in tribulation, and steadfast in prayer. Help us to view life through Your Word. Lord, please continue to polish and hone us as we seek to honor You every day. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.

A letter

My dear friend,

I wanted to write to you and let you know what God has been teaching me.

I’m also praying for you, as I don’t know all you are going through, but Jesus does.

Uncertain times can bring fear and doubt, but for those of us who know Jesus, it is a place of surrender.

Which is where we should live as believers.

In fact, surrender is a pleasure, because it frees us of thinking we are in charge or that we have to do or must be whatever.

With total surrender we get to wait upon the Lord in peace.

To walk forward in Him and not worry.

It’s what Paul said:

Philippians 4:11-14 NKJV — Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul had learned the practice of daily surrender and he knew there was nothing that he could not endure, because Christ was his Master and through him he could walk whether hungry or full.

Too often, especially in our culture, we think we “have to do…”.

Yet, it is only true if we were given the task by God.

Him and His Word is what we must obey and listen to, not our flesh, not our family, not our neighbors.

At least not any of those before we listen to God and His Word. (We should always check what we “heard” to make sure it aligns with scripture. God doesn’t contradict Himself.)

We must have a teachable spirit, because often God will guide and direct us through the voices of others, but that’s why our relationship with the Lord and studying His word must come first.

Only with a heart completely surrendered before God can we truly hear those around us.

Life was not given for us to live unto our selfish desires.

Nor to achieve our own made-up priorities.

Life was given as a gift, but we should give it back.

Sin has marred the heart so much that we can never find true life without first giving ourselves to God completely, without even a piece left out.

True surrender means Job:

Job 1:21 NKJV — And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

This is surrender.

Job understood all that had been trusted to his care was not his and could be removed at any time.

His life was not his position, family, experience, nor his stuff.

His life was God’s and he would praise him no matter the circumstances.

That is where true joy is.

In finding that one can truly praise God no matter what is occurring.

That I can trust Him no matter the obstacle or the emotion.

There is nothing to despair, because my Savior lives!

There’s nothing I need to prove to others, because my Savior lives!

What does man think of me? It doesn’t matter.

My Savior lives!

What blessed joy!

What grand design!

How great is our God!

May God bless and keep you my friend,

Love, Hope

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your love! Thank You for salvation! How grateful I am to You for Your gift of friendship to me. I’m so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who love me as they do. Lord, please lift up my friend and bring them to a place of rest and trust in You. Heal their heart of past hurts and restore them to faith in You. Lord, let them see themselves and others as You do. Let them walk with understanding and truth. Lord, please open the scriptures to them, that they might find the Way. Let their hearts find peace in surrender. Let them put all their trust in You. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.