Listen to Your Gut

Have you ever been in a situation that looks and sounds So Right, but the tight feeling in the pit of your stomach is telling you something might be wrong?

I used to ignore that something is not right feeling in my gut, until I realized that every time I ignored it, I was left cleaning up the consequences of bad decisions. Now I have learned that the knot in my gut is God telling me not to move forward, at least not at this time.

Whether the knot in your gut is telling you not to move forward in a relationship, not to sign a contract, or not to continue with your plans, that knot is usually an indication that you should stop and pray for wisdom and protection, or even change your course in direction.

The other day when I was thinking about trusting gut warnings, the belt of truth popped into my mind. When our hearts and souls are engaged in relationships or opportunities, it’s easy for us to get deceived or sidetracked. All lights can be flashing green so brightly that we don’t even pay attention to the stop or yield signs that are directly in our paths. The discomfort in our spiritual gut should alert us to examine our situations and ask God to reveal truth regarding His will and His timing.

Please don’t confuse the gut feeling that I am describing as being when your stomach feels as though it is tied in knots because of fear or anxiety. That is a completely different scenario. The knot I am referring to is not tied to emotions. It’s not butterflies. It’s not fear. It’s usually not even anything you can pin point. There seems to be no logical reason for it, and often we might not even be able to explain why we are feeling it.

So next time you feel that tug in your gut telling you that something is just not right. Listen to it! It very well could be God’s way of getting your attention, so He can protect you from a decision you would have regretted.

May the Lord abundantly bless you!

Jeannie

Not What I Thought

One of the schemes of the enemy is to try to make us think that we’re missing out. This Fourth of July, I really wanted to see the fireworks display. My daughter wasn’t feeling well, but she didn’t want me to be disappointed, so she lovingly went with me down to the Marina to watch the fireworks.

Since the Marina was less than a half mile from her house, I was anticipating the beautiful colors exploding and raining down from the sky as I looked up in wonder. The reality of the situation was that we were so far away from the fireworks, instead of looking up, we had to look straight ahead across the water, where in the very, very, very, very, very far distance we could see tiny little flashes of various colors about the size of my thumb.

Earlier in the afternoon, I had mentioned to a friend that I was taking care of someone’s bunny. When I told her that we would only have to drive a half mile to see the fireworks, my friend was extremely concerned about the bunny. “I know someone whose bunny died because a loud noise caused it to have a heart attack,” she cautioned.

Because of my friend’s statement, I had intended to check on the welfare of the bunny after the fireworks display, but I’m pretty sure it’s safe, unless its ears are so sensitive that the sound of Rice Krispies popping in a bowl of milk sound to it like cannons.

Looking back on the whole evening, I have to laugh. What I had pictured in my mind wasn’t even close to the actual scenario. If I had not seen the fireworks, I would’ve gone to bed thinking that I had missed out on a marvelous display. It made me think about how the enemy entices us with illusions of grandeur in order to keep us from God’s best. When, in reality, what we experience is nothing like what was promised.

My Fourth of July celebration might not have been what I had expected, but it sure taught me about false expectations. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that you always know what is best!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

Forbidden Fruit

Obey is one of those words that we don’t like hearing. From the time we are toddlers, whenever we hear “Obey me”—or it’s shorter version “NO!”—we immediately think of what is being withheld from us. I can’t touch, taste, smell, or do what I want to. But the reality is obedience protects.

This reality of protection in obedience hit home for me one day when I was babysitting a toddler who was determined to destroy both herself and my house. After rescuing her from everything from toilets to outlets, I put her in the playpen for a nap. To little Taylor “No!” obviously meant “Go for it!” How was I to teach her otherwise?

How could I get her to understand that toilets and outlets are dangerous when she couldn’t  comprehend the words drown or electrocute, or even death?

It wouldn’t have done any good to have sat her down and shown her electrical diagrams and explained currents and wiring.  Instead, I had to confine her within the boundaries of the playpen to keep her safe, until I finished a few tasks and could watch her like a hawk.

That evening, I was talking to a friend who was suffering a lot of consequences from making wrong choices. I shared with Him about little Taylor. When he was defying God’s “No’s” all he could think about was what God was withholding from him. Now He was learning the hard way that God’s “No’s” were for his protection.

Sound familiar? In Genesis, God places Adam and Eve in a Paradise of “Yes’s”. He only gives them one “no”. They are not to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

If the serpent (devil) had told Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree because it tasted better than the fruit from the other trees, she might not have fallen. But the enemy didn’t deceive her with the fruit, he deceived her through a lie—a lie about the goodness of God. If he could get her to doubt God’s heart for her, he could get her mistrust God and convince her to sin, bringing death, disease, fear, destruction and every other wicked thing that could harm her into her life. The more she believed the lie, the more appetizing the forbidden fruit looked.

The devil still uses the same tactics today. That is why we struggle with obeying God’s “No’s”.  When we choose to sin, we might not always be aware that we are doubting God’s goodness, but we are. Whenever we deliberately make a wrong choice, we are inwardly telling God that we doubt His heart for us. We see Him as withholding, instead of holding out His hands to bless us.

God wants to withhold evil from us; not to withhold what is good for us. But, unfortunately, you and I sometimes  have to get shocked a few times or nearly drown in tears from our decisions until we realize that God really knew what He was talking about when He told us “No!”.

God is a good father and He knows what will truly bless us (his children). The devil wants to steal from us and rob us of our peace. God wants to give us peace, and part of that peace comes through obeying Him and resting in His care for us. Trusting leads to obedience—and obedience leads to rest. May you and I purpose to trust Him, obey Him, and rest in His care!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

Genesis 3:1-7

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17 NKJV).

Testify

I used to think testimonies were about taking tests, now I see them more as testaments of God’s faithfulness.

One of the definitions of testament in the Merriam Webster’s On-line Dictionary is a tangible proof or tribute.  Since testimonies testify to the love, glory, and power of the Lord, they are given to us, not just to grow us, but to reveal who God is to others. This is why God told the Israelites to set up stones of remembrance when they crossed the Jordan.

“Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe;  and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:5-7 NKJV).

This is also why over the past 30 years I have written down testimonies of God’s faithfulness in my life.

I don’t know about you, but, many times, I have been mightily impacted through the testimonies of others. That is why I encourage people to share what God has done and is currently doing in their lives. Often, we are unaware of the treasures we are holding onto until we share them. You could be holding onto the very story that someone desperately needs.

If you have a testimony you would like to share, I would love to post it on this site! Your story will bring to God glory and often become a part of another person’s story, when one day, they too, will say, “I read a testimony that inspired me….”

If you feel the Lord stirring you to send your testimony, please email it to me at truthrejoices@gmail.com . Be sure to let me know whether or not you would like me to include your name when I post it.

Thank you!

May the Lord abundantly bless you!

Jeannie

 

He Who Dwells

 

Through the years, as my relationship with the Lord has shifted from being that of a fearful orphan to being a beloved daughter, the Holy Spirit has often brought me new understanding concerning scriptures I used to recite. A recent example would be Psalm 91.

I used to view Psalm 91 as my 911 Psalm. It was the Psalm I read when I was in trouble. It was the Psalm I posted in its entirety on the wall above my bed when I was terrified at night. It was the Psalm I claimed when I was in the midst of trials. But recently I have been thinking about Psalms 91 in a new way.

Whenever I would read or recite Psalm 91 I would fly through the first two verses and get down to the business of claiming and declaring God’s protection and deliverance. But the past few days I haven’t been able to get past the first verse: “He who dwells in the secret place of the most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”(Psalm 91:1 NKJV).

Could it be that in my rushing, I had missed the whole message-It’s not about rescue as much as it is about dwelling (relationship).

Below are a couple of definitions of dwell from the The Online Free Dictionary

1. To live as a resident; reside.

2. To exist in a given place or state: dwell in joy.     

In Acts 17:28 the Word says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (NKJV). In order for us to live and move and have our being in God, we must have an intimate relationship with Him.  He needs to be our habitation not just our hang out. Instead of defaulting to Him we are to dwell (live) in Him.    

You and I don’t need to run to a shelter in the midst of a storm if we are already living in a shelter. We just need use the resources that have been made available to us. To me this means drawing close the heart of God and receiving the love, peace, and joy He has for me as I rest in His care.

During the years when I used to view God’s presence as a place to run to, I was often running from Him, because I didn’t feel worthy and I didn’t trust His heart for me.

When you and I dwell in God’s presence we are transformed by His power. In His presence, faith replaces fear and acceptance replaces abandonment. In His presence, our minds are transformed, and we no longer see ourselves as slaves but as beloved sons and daughters (God’s princes and princesses).

Instead of just viewing God’s presence as a fortress, may we make it our habitation and relish our relationship with Him.

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

Naptime

“No naaaap!!!!” The ordeal had begun. My daughter had put her then rambunctious two-year-old down for his daily nap. Since I had been staying in the next room, I had the privilege of experiencing the sorrowful symphony in its entirety. It began with wails from the brass section and progressed to the ear piercing high notes of the woodwinds and strings-not to mention the intermediate interjections of the percussion, represented by the pounding of toddler feet against the sheet rock.

As I sat on my bed with just a wall separating me from the drama, I thought to myself, “Come on, Rhett. It’s just a nap. You need to rest. Why are you fighting so hard.”

It was then I remembered the first time God had told me to lay down and be still for an hour. Since “It’s off to work we go” had been my Christian matra for so many years, rest and laziness were synonymous to me. Being still was for sick people, not for a busy home schooling single mother of four.

As I dutifully trudged to my room to lie down and quiet myself before the Lord, I didn’t wail, scream, and kick the wall, but I was internally screaming, “NO NAP!” as my mind, will, and emotions played an encore performance of protest.

My first attempts at being still and resting were more pathetic than productive. I was waiting for instructions or for the next prayer burden, but I heard nothing. After my allotted hour, I would get up feeling less rested and more frustrated.

On the third day, all that changed. I was begrudgingly lying on my bed, watching the clock waiting for “naptime” to be over, when I started to complain: “Lord, just tell me what I need to hear because I have a million things to do. This whole being still thing is a waste of my time!”

God is a good father. When He speaks to us He doesn’t condemn, but He does convict. What I heard him speak to my spirit convicted me to the core of my being. “If I brought you the man of your dreams, and you were lying next to him, just doing nothing, would it be a waste of your time.”

My entire marriage I had longed for my husband to connect with me emotionally. Being still was not about God wasting my valuable time. It was about Him valuing my heart. It was about Him drawing me out of my works mentality into a deeper relationship with Him. It was about emotional intimacy.

Being still taught me to rest in His presence and to be refreshed by His love and care for me. Being still brought more restoration to my soul. And, in time, being still gave me much revelation.

Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God…”

We can learn much about God and experience Him through reading the Word, praying, worshiping, and serving others, but to “Know Him” (truly connect with His heart) I believe  we must also embrace “nap time” and be still in His presence.

The funny thing is that even though my grandson fought naptime, he would eventually be still and fall asleep, waking up renewed and refreshed to enjoy the rest of the day.

If God is drawing you to be still and experience more of Him, don’t fight it. As you release your will and rest in His love, you will be renewed and refreshed, allowing you to more fully enjoy Him and the life He has for you.

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

I’ve Got This!

The more I understand God’s love for me the easier it has been for me to trust Him. When I was younger, anytime the Lord told me to step out in faith or make a change in direction I would panic and fire back questions asking for specifics. I figured if I knew all the details concerning the whats, wheres, hows, and whens I would be able to trust the Who (God.) Since most of the details would usually not be revealed until the last minute, I would continuously worry and strive to make things happen. Needless to say this was not productive nor healthy.

Back in those days when I used to play 20 questions with God I was unaware that trust is built in relationship, not just in obedience. I was also unaware that my Father God knows exactly how much information I need for each step of my journey. He goes before me and prepares the way. As I step into my next season I receive His grace for that season. If I were to know the detailed road map before I had the grace to handle the directions, I would not grow in my relationship with Him, and I would not develop character through the fruits of the Spirit. To be honest, if I saw it all before I had God’s grace to experience all I would be tempted to pull a “Jonah” and high-tail it in the opposite direction. Thankfully, God knows my true needs as well as my heart.

A few months ago I woke up one morning hearing two words in my spirit: “Virginia/June.” I have learned when I hear something I believe is from God, to both pray and wait for confirmation. Shortly after praying, I received a call giving me confirmation.

Even though I knew the where and a general when concerning my next season I had no clue as to the hows. During the months that followed, whenever I would pray for wisdom, the Lord would speak three simple words to my heart, “I’ve got this!” And I would be flooded with incredible peace.

For the first two months I had no clue how God was going to orchestrate everything that needed to happen for me to move. But in May the puzzle pieces started to come together. As usual the puzzle doesn’t look anything like I expected. My incredible, loving, Daddy God has arranged a wonderful place for my special needs sister and father to live, as well as providing the finances I need. Not only has He swung the door to my next season wide open, He has already been preparing my heart to minister His love and life as soon as I walk through it.

Once again, I am amazed how God Has put everything together! But I am even more amazed at how He has put my broken heart back together. There were many years when I would have doubted and worried, but this time, I actually had peace and trusted Him to insert the missing pieces in the right places. From the moment He first told me “I’ve Got This!” I really did believe that He had it!

If you, like me, are getting ready to walk into a new season, I would encourage you to trust the Lord and wait on His perfect timing. Not only does “He Got this!” He’s also Got you!

May the Lord abundantly bless you!

Jeannie

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7 NKJV).

Much Fruit

Sometimes when we are going through a trial it’s hard to see anything good coming out of it. Quite a few years ago I was going through a season of intense physical and emotional suffering. One day, as I was getting ready to leave the house, I saw a picture in my mind of a large bowl of fruit. As I thought about the meaning of the fruit bowl, I heard the Lord speak to my heart: “Thank you for letting me entrust you with this trial. Much fruit will come from it.”

Before then I had thought of trials as tests, not opportunities to trust and to be trusted. God is all about relationship. Relationships are built on trust, not tests. God knows our hearts. He is not trying to see what we can achieve. He wants to grow our trust so He can entrust us with all He has created us for.

He is a Good Father, not a strict teacher. Like any good father, He teaches through many experiences to grow us and to equip us. Not to see if we will pass or fail.

Knowing He is good allows us to rest in His love in the midst of unlovely circumstances. As we draw close to Him and trust Him He will bring forth much fruit—the fruit of our testimony and the fruits of the Spirit manifested in our lives.

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8 AMPC).

“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]” (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

 

Going Somewhere

Going Somewhere

Lately, it seems as though I am being pulled in many different directions. Before I leave for Virginia for a season I am trying to meet with as many friends as I can, as well as sorting, packing, selling my books I still have on hand, writing, preparing messages to teach next week, taking care of my special needs sister….you get the idea.

You would think I would be going nuts trying to get everything accomplished, but actually, I would much rather be busy than bored. Maybe that is why I like to walk at the bayfront when the wind is stirring the waters.

Right now, there is no doubt that I am definitely going somewhere soon. But there have been seasons in my life when I felt as if I were going nowhere.

 

Last Spring God told me to turn over the care of my father and sister and go elsewhere. I stepped out in faith and obeyed. After visiting in three different states, I returned and stayed with a few friends awaiting my next direction.

 

I was looking into renewing my teaching certificate and getting a “real job” but every time I made a move in that direction, God stopped me. In November I came back to my dad’s house for a week to take care of my sister while he went to a wedding in California. Unfortunately, the day before the wedding, he fell and broke his hip, and has not been able to live at his house since then. So to make a long story short, I am still here at his house.

 

After a few weeks of caring for my sister again, I, felt as if I were going nowhere. I thought that maybe my extended stay was keeping me from accomplishing the things God had put in my heart to do. My current circumstances reminded me of an experience I had had years ago when I was living in Arizona.

 

I was volunteering at the hospital on one of my days off and had just entered the elevator with a cart full of supplies I had gathered from the storeroom. After maneuvering the cart to the back of the elevator I pushed the button to ascend, but the elevator didn’t budge. I waited a minute just in case someone was exiting on another floor. Then I pushed the button again…Still no movement. Just as I began to envision myself being stuck inside for an indeterminate amount of time, the doors opened and to my surprise, I was staring into the face of the same woman whom I had conversed with in the hallway before boarding. That is when I realized I had been pushing the wrong button. My effort had resulted in my going nowhere.

 

Needless to say, once I recognized my mistake, I quickly corrected it, exited on the second floor, and made my way to my destination with no further hindrances. Although my extended stay in caring for my sister again and my elevator experience felt similar, I realized that there was a world of difference: On the elevator, I was pushing the wrong button. In returning to my dad’s home, God had pushed the right button. Repeating the same mistake didn’t take me anywhere, but obeying God always takes me somewhere, even if I do not recognize it at the time.

 

As I look back on these past seven months I am in awe of all God has done. I am thankful for all I have been able to accomplish at my father’s house, and I have been blessed in more ways than I could ever have imagined. Once again, God has shown me that when He puts me in specific places, the rewards outweigh the struggles. Whenever I am in His will, even when it feels as though I am going nowhere, He is always taking me somewhere.

 

If you are in a season where you feel as if you are going nowhere, I would encourage you to ask God for wisdom. He might show you that you have been pushing the wrong button and repeating unhealthy or unproductive behaviors. But He also might reveal that your seemingly nowhere season has been taking you somewhere you were not aware of. Somewhere you never could have gone without your present circumstances, even

if that somewhere is just to a deeper relationship with Him.

 

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Psalm 33:4  For the word of the Lord is right; and all His work is done in faithfulness” (AMPC).