Home for Christmas

A little over a week ago, I, along with many others, awaited the arrival of a family member returning from deployment.  Parents, spouses, siblings, and sons and daughters visited in the hanger for what seemed like an eternity until the doors were opened signifying that their loved ones were almost home. The hum of the approaching aircraft elicited cheers and applause which continued to crescendo as each plane made its final descent and coasted down the runway. Eager wives and children lined the outskirts of the hanger, waving flags and homecoming signs, anticipating the moment when their loved ones would be safe in their arms.

Once the pilots exited their planes, roses in hand, the anxious throng rushed to the planes and swarmed their heroes. Tears of joy splashed on flight suits as spouses clung to one another and small children were scooped into their parent’s arms. The waiting, wondering, and worrying were over. There would be no more sleepless nights. All were now home safe, just in time for Christmas.

A few days later I was at my childhood home in Texas. Once again I was among loved ones, but this time the atmosphere was much different. Instead of making memories, I was living them. As I wandered through the house looking through items to be listed in Dad’s estate sale, childhood memories collided with the memories of caring for my parents and special needs sister during the past 5 years. Mom is now in heaven with my brother, and Judy and Dad were now in Arizona. It’s funny how seasons I thought would never end seem to have gone by so fast.

Shortly, a new family will be occupying the house I grew up in. As my memories fade, theirs will be birthed. I am not sure where the next road will lead me, I just know that since home is where the heart is, it will always lead me home. It might not be to a place I know of yet, but it will always be with my Lord who knows me. Because of the babe who was born in a stable on a star-studded night, no matter where we wander, when we know Him, we will always be home for Christmas.

Whether you are living memories or making them this Christmas, know that Jesus loves you. May this Christmas be your most beautiful homecoming yet!

Be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

The Joy of the Lord

The past few days the Lord has been speaking to me about joy. One of the scriptures that came to mind is Nehemiah 8:10. After Nehemiah tells the people to celebrate, he tells them why: “For the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

When I was raising my children I often begged God for strength to make it through each day. I knew how to rely on God, but I didn’t know how to enjoy Him. I interpreted scriptures about joy to mean that I needed to be thankful and praise God, even when I did not feel like it. While I do believe in offering God sacrifices of praise, Nehemiah 8:10 speaks to me more about relationship than duty.

The defining word for me was the little word “of”

The passage says the joy of the Lord, not joy in the Lord. That means it’s His joy that gives me strength. It’s one thing to know that the Lord fights our battles, but it is quite another to know that He delights in us and rejoices over us. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God rejoices over us with gladness, quiets us with His love, and even sings over us. That’s not just visitation; that’s intimacy!

Hebrews says that Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was before Him. That joy is us. Jesus suffered and died, not because He had to, but because He loved us.

It’s the Lord’s joy for me that strengthens me and gives me joy-joy found only in relationship with Him.

Verse 9 of the eighth chapter of Nehemiah says that the people wept when the words of the law were read to them. The people’s hearts were broken over their sins, but Nehemiah told them to rejoice. God had restored His people to Himself. It was time for joy, not mourning.

Jesus restored us to the Father when He died on Calvary’s cross. His precious blood was poured out like wine for the joy that was set before Him-you and me!

May the joy of the Lord be your strength!

Be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

photo from Pixabay

 

 

In the Moment

 

Today’s post was written by Stacey Tuley, a wonderful lady with a huge heart. May we always remember that we are blessed to be a blessing.

Everyday is a great day to be a blessing right where you are at.

So this happened around lunch time.

I was at the Walgreens at Rodd Field Road and SPID. I arrived ahead of a lady that I was to meet to buy a purse from. She texted she’d be a few minutes late. While waiting on her I was listening to Lauren Daigle. “…In your eyes there’s only grace now…You plead my cause, you right my wrong, you break my chains, you overcome, you gave your life, to give me mine. You say that I am free, how can it be…Yeah ah…”

I watched a man walk slowly and lethargically up to the trash can in broad day light where he retrieved a 1/2 full Dr. Pepper bottle and a bag of some kind of chips. My eyes began to pour as I watched him devour the treasure he’d found. He walked over to sit on a concrete parking marker to finish eating. I realized in that moment that I had to do something. I wanted to immediately go buy him something to eat, but I saw the lady arrive that I was there to meet.

After I picked up the purse, she got back in her car and I walked into the store, trying to hurry before he left the area. I told the store manager what I witnessed outside and that it broke my heart. He said, “Yeh,” as he shook his head, “He hangs around here a lot. We try to help him as we can, and he scares a lot of the customers. I’ll go ask him to leave.” I told the manager, “Wait, No, he didn’t scare me, but he’s obviously hungry. I would like to buy him some food.”  The manager said, “Ok, I’ll go tell him.”

I wasn’t sure what to get the homeless man. I knew he needed some protein and a protein carb combo is good for sustained energy so I got him a big bag of beef jerky, potato chips, a large smart water, and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It wasn’t the ideal place to purchase a meal, but my heart just broke in two for him. How hungry and how desperate must one be to eat from a public trash can at a pharmacy in broad day light with people all around!

The song I had been listening to earlier reminded me of something in that moment. I had watched many people in closer proximity to the homeless man see what I saw and keep on walking. Many others were totally oblivious.  I believe that when we intersect a time and a place there is often a bigger purpose than we may realize and where we have opportunity to be a blessing. I thought I was just going to buy a purse from an online garage sale site, but God had a bigger reason for me to arrive there at 12:57 PM today.

Jesus said when someone is hungry to give them food. When they are thirsty to give them a drink. Whenever we do so we are in effect doing it unto God. I’m so thankful that I had $10 to spend to bless this hungry man. I didn’t need to know why he was hungry, what he did or didn’t do to find himself in this place, or perhaps what mental illness he may have. All I knew in that moment was that he was hungry, and it was my job to get food and water into his hands.

The store manager walked out with me while carrying the bag for the man and said, “I’ll see you to your car.” As the store manager handed the bag to the hungry man, the man reached out his hand to shake my hand. I might as well have shaken the hand of God. The man didn’t say much, but he looked me straight in the eyes and said a very humbled and sincere “Thank you.” I told him, “You’re very welcome, God bless you, and I hope this helps a little.” His heart was full of gratitude for the gift, and my heart was full of gratitude that I had been at the right place at the right time as was able to help. I know it won’t change his situation, whatever that is, but sometimes just knowing that someone cares in a tangible way in the midst of your struggle is enough for that moment.

These Things I Know

This past week South Texas was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. Many small cities and towns were demolished, and Houston is still underwater.

In the last few days two of my friends have lost family members and friends to drugs and car accidents.

This past month one of my former neighbor’s husband died of cancer.

It’s so easy during times of crisis to question why?

Why did some Texas towns get destroyed while others suffered mild wind damage?

Why did some houses get gutted while others in the same area remained untouched?

Why did Houston flood, forcing tens of thousands out of their homes?

Why did some people lose their lives in the raging waters?

Why did my friend’s gorgeous, accomplished daughter die of a drug overdose when other addicts are resuscitated, just in the nick of time?

Why did two young people lose their lives in a car crash?

Why did my former neighbor lose her husband to cancer?

To each of these questions I can honestly say, “I don’t know.”

Sometimes life hits us hard, leaving us swirling in a whirlwind of unanswered questions. If you are going through a storm or a season of loss, my heart goes out to you.

I can not give you answers to your questions.

But these things I do know…

I know that you are precious to God, and the same eye that is on the sparrow never takes its focus off of you.

I know that the One who parted the Red Sea is able and willing to part the impossibilities in your current situation.

I know that when you put your hope and trust in the One who promised restoration to the children of Israel, He will move Heaven and earth to restore your life.

I know that the One who declared, “it is good!” after each day of creation, will show you His goodness in the most amazing ways.

I know that no matter how violent the storm, or how intense the heartache, the One who opened His arms wide for you on Calvary is now opening His arms to hold you close to His heart.

I know that The Lord is loving and faithful, and that He will bring beauty from the ashes in your life.

Yes! These things I know!

Let’s continue to unite in prayer for all those who have been affected by the hurricane, and for those who have suffered other losses. For I know that the prayers of the righteous avail much!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie Boatright

Hurricane Harvey and the Body of Christ

Thursday night, while I was praying about Hurricane Harvey making landfall in Corpus Christi, the Lord spoke to me about Harvey, Corpus Christi, and the body of Christ in general. Since Harvey has caused, and is still causing, such mass destruction in other cities and communities, I have been hesitant to share. My heart and prayers are with all who have suffered and are currently suffering trauma and loss from this devastating hurricane.

 

 

Tears of Joy

 

“…I woke up this morning realizing that I can not go on in my life any longer without inviting God along for the journey…”

After reading these words in an email I received the other day, I was so overwhelmed by the love of God that I cried tears of joy. I was literally laughing as I was crying. I wanted to shout! I wanted to share with the whole world what God was doing in the life of this person! I was so overjoyed by God’s goodness, that praise and worship automatically flowed from my lips. Thank you Jesus!

Nothing brings me more joy than to hear that someone has realized their need for the Lord and has chosen to invite Him into their journey. A journey given to God becomes God’s adventure given to us-An adventure of discovery, mystery, and destiny.

Taking hold of Jesus’ hand and letting Him take us down a new path, means discovering more of God’s heart and His ways. Isaiah 55:9 says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts” (NIV).

When I was younger I used to think these verses meant that God could boss me around because He was bigger than me. Now I realize that God’s ways are higher (better) because He knows what is best for me.

Some of the definitions for higher from the online Free Dictionary by Farlex are as follows:

  1. Having a relatively great elevation; extending far upward
  2. Advanced in development or complexity
  3. Far removed in time; remote: high antiquity.
  4. Of great importance
  5. Characterized by lofty or stirring events or themes
  6. Lofty or exalted in quality or character
  7. Greater than usual or expected, as in quantity, magnitude, cost, or degree
  8. Favorable
  9. Luxurious; extravagant
  10. advanced in complexity or elaboration (Copyright © 2003-2017 Farlex, Inc )

In my journey with the Lord, I have learned that His thoughts and His ways are far above anything I could ever think or imagine—He sees what I can’t see, and He knows what I don’t know. His ways are merciful, loving, understanding, powerful, extravagant, gracious, kind, and right. His ways for me are better than what I can imagine, and His loving thoughts toward me are more extravagant than I can fathom.

I tried to respond to the e-mail, but since the e-mail address was connected to a website that is no longer available, I am hoping this person reads this post and stays in contact.

If you read this, my friend, Congratulations on your new beginning! Welcome to the journey! Welcome to the adventure!

My heart is for everyone to trust in God’s ways and let Him direct their paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). If you would like to invite Jesus into your life and give Him your journey, I would love to hear from you! Please contact me at truthrejoices@gmail.com.

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie Boatright

 

 

I Ate the Whole Thing

When I first came to Virginia I had a lot of ideas as to what God’s immediate plans for me might be. As usual, things are not looking the way I thought they would—at least not yet. Instead of spending most of my time connecting with people, I have spent most of my days reading my Bible in my room.

A couple of years ago, when the Lord first told me to read the Bible cover to cover, I thought I would faint. Through the years I had read all of it; just not all in the same block of time. Many times, I had sat down to the table and feasted on hearty meals of entire sections, but mostly I had just eaten bite-sized portions. So in 2015, when I finished feasting on the whole book in less than a month, I felt as if I had accomplished quite a feat. I had eaten the whole thing and was full of fresh revelation.

Shortly after my arrival in June of this year, the Lord told me to read the entire Bible again, but this time I was to read it out loud and write notes. Whenever I ask God, “What do you want me to do?” He just keeps telling me to finish reading the Bible. So, once again, I am feasting on the Word.

Last night, I finished the Old Testament. I love to read about how God showed up in extraordinary ways in the ordinary lives of people long ago! Often, their stories become part of my own as I am encouraged to trust the Lord in all things and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). I figure if God parted seas and placed orphans in royal positions, for such a time as this, He can remove any obstacles in my way and position me wherever He needs me to be at this time.

As the history of the Bible unfolds, so does the heart of God toward His people. His invitations for fellowship are often ignored, and nations became so corrupt that parents were even sacrificing their children. They had to either repent or face destruction. Over and over again, God speaks warnings through the prophets, telling the people to repent, but He also makes it clear that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He just wants them to turn from their wicked ways So they can live (Ezekiel 33:11).

This past week as I read all the accounts of the prophets, I often felt as if I were eating Brussels sprouts. I hate Brussels sprouts! Even though some of the other stuff on the prophetic plate is inviting, mainly the promises and fulfillment of restoration, I have a hard time stomaching the wrath of God that was poured out on the nations. Sin was rampant and had to be punished. God was Holy and had to cleanse sin. The message I kept hearing through the pages was clear: I created you. I know what is best. I want a relationship with you. I gave you laws to live by, and the evil things you are doing to yourselves and others are breaking my heart. I have to deal with your sin to get to your heart.

Over and over again, when God warns the nations, He says someone has to pay for the sins. The warnings and fulfillment of destruction that was prophesied to the nations was ugly. But sin is ugly. That is why Jesus had to come.

Thankfully, in the midst of the plateful of undesirable things to eat, there are sprinkles of sugary treats—promises of One (the Messiah) who would pay for the cost of sin once and for all.

Tomorrow I will be starting on my dessert plate. I am more than ready to quit chewing on Brussel sprouts. Just give me Jesus!!! I love to read about the life and the heart of my wonderful Lord and Savior, whom bled and died for us all. Instead of reading about captivity and destruction for the punishment of sins, I get to relish each bite of the freedom for captives and the ransom that was paid for our sins.

Yes! Matthew, here I come! No more Old Covenant. The New Covenant is revealed. Just give me Jesus! And when I am through feasting on His love, His heart, His Words, His sacrifice, His redemption, and His promises, I can once again sit back and say, “What a wonderful meal! I am so thankful that I ate the whole thing!”

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

John 3:16-17 “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (NKJV).

 

 

 

You

While sitting in church one Sunday preparing to take communion, the Lord spoke to my heart. He said, “Lift up your cup.” As I raised my hand to eye-level and studied the small container of red liquid in front of me, I could clearly see the lines and swirls of my fingerprints pressed against the clear plastic. It was then I heard in my Spirit “When I was on the cross I saw your fingerprints. I knew that you would be, and I knew everything about you”

Up until that day I had acknowledged Jesus as my Savior, but I saw myself as just a speck in a crowd of millions of people. I didn’t realize that if I had been the only person who had ever lived Jesus would have died just for me. But that is exactly what He did. Jesus gave His life only for me. He also gave His life only for you.

When Jesus was dying on the cross He saw you; not just as part of a collective body of humanity, but you individually. He knew you before you were even created. As He hung on the cross in agony, He looked through time and saw you and knew that He was taking your place. As He breathed His last breath, He saw the day when you would take your first breath. He knew and loved you then, and He knows and loves you now. Do you know Him?

One of the lies that kept me from enjoying the Lord was that I thought I somehow had to earn my salvation. Realizing that it was only God’s free gift of grace and not my good works that saved me, took me off of the roller coaster of daily wondering whether I was heaven assured or hell-bound.

Have you exchanged your sins for the free gift of grace Jesus gave you when He died on Calvary? If not, then I would encourage you to pray the following prayer with me: Sweet Jesus, I need you! I am I sinner. Forgive me for all I have done. Thank you for washing away my sins and dying in my place so I can live with you for all eternity. Thank you that from this moment forward I am in

Sweet Jesus, I need you! I am I sinner. Forgive me for all I have done. Thank you for washing away my sins and dying in my place so I can live with you for all eternity. Thank you that from this moment forward I am in relationship with you. Be Lord of my life and reveal your heart to me and daily lead and guide me in all ways. In Jesus’ name Amen!

If you have given your life to the Lord but have been riding the I hope I am going to heaven roller coaster it’s time to get off. Thinking that we are responsible for our salvation is a hook of the enemy to make us feel unworthy and keep us in pride. God adores you! Take hold of His grace and walk in the joy of your salvation!

Have an amazing Easter as you reflect on Christ’s loving sacrifice and His glorious resurrection!

Be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV).