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.

All the More

My heart and prayers go out to the survivors of the Las Vegas shootings and to all of the families who have lost loved ones. I can not even begin to fathom the depth of their pain and suffering. Today, as hundreds of people are planning funerals or keeping watch at hospital bedsides, I’m trying to wrap my head around it all. But I will never be able to understand the heart and mind of someone who takes innocent lives.

In the midst of abounding evil, I have to trust in God’s abounding grace. Evil robs, but grace is freely given. Romans 5:20 tells us “that where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”

No one can take back the sin that abounded when Steven Paddock took the lives of scores of people and wounded hundreds of others. But everyone can take hold of God’s redeeming grace.

Grace saves us, but it also sustains us and empowers us.

God’s grace flows out of His heart of perfect love. God’s love shines light into the darkness and brings hope and healing in the midst of pain and suffering. God’s love binds up the brokenhearted and comforts those who mourn. God’s love strengthens the weary and surrounds them with His presence. God’s love stirs hearts to pray, to give, and to walk beside the hopeless and the hurting.

Last night, the choices of one man allowed evil to abound. But I am confident, that because of God’s perfect love, His grace will abound all the more!

May you and I continue to pray for all who have been effected by this terrible tragedy!

God bless,

Jeannie

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 5:20 (NKJV).

My Father’s Eyes

Instead of writing a blog post today, the Lord told me to share one of the stories from my first book. He told me that someone needed it today. I love God’s heart! He is soooo good!

My Father’s Eyes

Once when I was praying for a battered woman to have a revelation of God’s love, I saw a picture of small drab squares of material in her head. As I continued to pray for her, the Lord told me that the pieces of material were quilt squares that represented bits of head knowledge that needed to be transformed through revelation and sewed in her heart. Although, at the time, I had some understanding of what God was showing me, the message really hit home one afternoon when I was babysitting my good friend’s daughter.

The little darling was a strong-willed, wide-eyed, brunette who was at the height of her terrible twos. Needless to say she was a bit of a challenge. After one particular trying morning of continuous temper tantrums, she fell asleep in my arms. Not only had she exhausted herself, but me as well. I remember thinking, as I held the toddler, “Thank God she is asleep!” About that time her father arrived.

After coming in the house and taking a few steps into the room, He threw his hands up in the air and sighed. Then he came over to the couch where I was holding his child. I watched in stunned silence as he knelt and reached over and touched his daughter’s face. With an expression of awe and adoration he whispered, “Isn’t she beautiful?! Isn’t she just beautiful?!”

“Beautiful? I thought to myself. “What is he talking about? She’s a little terror!” I watched his fingers gently caress his daughter’s cheek. Then I raised my eyes and studied his face. His tender expression of adoration both confused and captivated me. I felt a stirring in the depths of my soul. Then I saw a glimpse of his heart for his daughter. When I looked back down at his daughter’s face, I saw her through her daddy’s eyes. She was absolutely beautiful! I was still trying to take it all in, when my Father God tenderly spoke to my spirit, “That’s how I see you.”

In that instant a significant part of my childhood was re-written. Images of the disappointment on my father’s face and the frustration in his words to me were shattered. I was no longer the little girl who couldn’t “do enough” or “be good enough.” I was now “the adored one,” God’s beautiful child. It was as if God went into my head and found the little drab piece of cloth that I had stored away—the one labeled “Loving Father,” pierced it with the needle of truth and transformed it into a piece of the finest silk. Then He moved it from my head and gently sewed it to a quilt of love that was being pieced together in my heart. “Head knowledge” had become “heart knowledge,” and my Father God had become Daddy the afternoon I saw both a little child and myself through my “Father’s Eyes.”

I grew up believing that God was distant and disconnected. Although I was aware He saved me from my sins, I really didn’t believe that He knew me or even liked me— much less adored me. It took many years and many revelations, like the one I just shared, for Him to convince me otherwise. But His loving persistence paid off, and I can now honestly say that I am not only known, but loved and adored by my Heavenly Daddy!

♥Heart Encounter ♥

  • How about you? Do you believe that God adores you and sees you as beautiful? Why or why not?
  • It wasn’t just the words my friend spoke to his daughter that touched my heart. It was also his expression. He looked at her as if she were a work of art. She was, and so are you! Do you believe you are God’s masterpiece?
  • Although my father loved his family, since he was rather controlling and critical, I saw God as being the same. I didn’t understand my value because I didn’t “feel” I could ever “measure up” to my earthly father’s nor my Heavenly Father’s expectations. What was or is your father like? How do you view your Heavenly Father?
  • I often talk to people about the father wound. But this past year I have met many people with mother wounds. I’m beginning to realize both wounds, not only affect the way we view ourselves and God, but they also affect our relationships. Have your relationships been affected by father or mother wounds? If so, how?
  • In Romans 8:15, Paul uses the term “Abba Father” to describe our relationship with God. The Strong’s Concordance tells us that Abba is also used as the term of tender endearment by a beloved child. It describes an affectionate, dependent relationship with the child’s father, daddy or papa. In the story, I mentioned that Father God became Daddy. To me the word father denotes authority or relational position, but Daddy speaks of passion. Do you believe that God is passionate about you? In your heart has He become your Abba Daddy?

As I mentioned earlier, it took years and many revelations for me to understand God’s heart for me. Without his being aware, my earthy father ended up participating in some of those revelatory moments. A few years ago I had the privilege of sharing with my father, not just my childhood pain, but the revelation and restoration God has brought me. Now that God has brought more healing to both of us, praise God, I have an earthly Daddy as well as a Heavenly Daddy.

Let’s Pray:

Daddy God, thank you for the beautiful quilt you are sewing in my heart. Continue to renew my mind with the Word and with your words of healing, as you bring me revelation and change my “head knowledge” to “heart knowledge.” Show me how my relationships with my earthly father and mother have affected my relationship with you and others. Thank you for loving me. I know you are passionate about me. I want to be passionate about you! I love you, Lord! In Jesus’ Name…..Amen!

 

Reflections:

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He’s Got You Covered

For many years, I attended a church that supported a number of missionaries. When the missionaries would come to the states on furlough, they would often share testimonies on Sunday mornings. Many of their testimonies mentioned God’s supernatural provision and protection. I always felt privileged and honored to hear the hearts of the missionaries; however, the testimony of one particular woman has stayed with me until this day.

She was a single woman who pastored a church in a very hostile area in Asia. She shared about an altercation where some men were threatening to kill one of her adopted Asian sons. When a knife was pressed against the young man’s chest, the mother bear in her took over and she jumped in harm’s way. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a man getting ready to smash a brick into her head.

I don’t remember whether she looked up or closed her eyes, but as she prepared to die, she felt feathers brush across her shoulder and face, and she heard loud thuds. When she looked down, the men were all lying flat on the ground. When they came to, they ran away.

For many years I had tremendous fear issues. I even had night terrors. The Lord had to give me some powerful revelations to set me free from torment. One revelation was when I woke up and saw an angel at the foot of my bed. I heard in my spirit, “He will cover you with His feathers.” The next morning, I wrote down Psalms 91 in its entirety and taped it on my wall.

I have personally seen God intervene many times. During some of my darkest seasons, people who had no clue what was happening in my life would come up to me or call me to tell me that they had been led to pray for me at a particular time or on a particular day. The timing was always when I had either been in danger or when I had cried out to God in the midst of desperate situations.

I don’t know what you’re going through today. But God does. The Lord loves you. He is always there for you. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Draw close to Him and give Him your cares and worries. For He is already moving in your behalf, stirring hearts to pray for you, and dispatching His angels to cover you with His feathers.

You can place your trust Him-He’s got you covered!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

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

 

 

Taste and See

God desires to speak to us, and He often does so through personal experiences. A couple of weeks ago, I posted my first youtube video. It was about a God encounter I had when I was surrounded by dragonflies. After I posted the video I realized that although the message was clear, the glare had made it difficult to see the dragonflies that were swarming in the trees.

Knowing that others would not be able to experience what I had experienced made me think about chocolate. Let me explain.

If the only encounter you or I ever have with a bar of chocolate is hearing someone else describe their experience, our understanding would be very limited. We might know what chocolate looks like. We may even be holding a list of its ingredients. If we are familiar with sugar, we would even know that it would be sweet. But unless we actually bit into the bar and personally tasted its distinct flavor and felt it melt in our mouths, we wouldn’t truly experience chocolate.

It’s the same with the Lord. The Bible tells us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” You and I must have a desire for something before we taste it. When it comes to hearing God, it’s easy to try to live off other’s experiences, instead of tasting His goodness for ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. I love to hear testimonies! They inspire me. But if you and I only learn about God through the God encounters of others, we will never truly know God’s heart for us or learn how to hear His voice.

The Lord cloaked Himself in humanity so we could have an intimate relationship with Him. He wants to walk and talk with us every day. His beauty surrounds us, and so does His presence. But our vision is sometimes limited because of the glare.

Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines glare as (to shine with a harsh uncomfortably brilliant light) or (to stare angrily or fiercely.) Both of these definitions can explain why people are often blinded to God’s goodness and unaware of His presence.

If we believe that God is harsh, uncomfortable, angry, or fierce, we will either try to hide from Him, or we will exhaust ourselves doing good works to try to earn His approval. Both will keep us from tasting His goodness.

When the Samaritan woman ran to share her testimony, she didn’t just tell the town’s people about her Savior, she invited the people to experience the Messiah for themselves. “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”John 4:29 (NKJV). The people followed her to Jesus. After Jesus had spent a few days with the townspeople, many more heard his message and believed: “Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but we have heard Him for ourselves'” John 4:42(NKJV).

God wants us to experience Him. Not just hear about Him. He wants to be our Father; not just our Creator. He wants to open our hearts, our eyes, and our ears so we can enjoy Him. He wants us to experience life with Him and through Him. Oh!  May we taste for ourselves and see…His goodness…His love…His kindness…His compassion…His heart! May we delight in Him. His presence is so much sweeter than chocolate!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (NIV).

 

God is Faithful

 

God never leaves us nor forsakes us. I pray you will be blessed today with this encouraging word from Lisa Brooks Gerdes. She is a woman who’s life is a testimony to the faithfulness of God.

Tomorrow marks the 19th anniversary of my husband’s passing. WOW, 19 years! It was a suddenly that you don’t expect. Just two months prior to his passing we had adopted our 2 foster sons. God’s timing is perfect. If we had not finalized the adoption, it would have been a fight to keep them. My sons were 14, 11, 7, and 3 years old. We have walked closely with the Lord in those years, some brutal times, some really good times. People remark about my strength, I really am not strong on my own, but I know where my strength comes from.

My sons may have grown up without their earthly father, but The Father was here. It’s powerful when I go to the Lord in prayer and remind Him He is a Father to the Fatherless, and ask Him to deal with His sons. I continue in prayer that each one of them will walk in the fullness of all He has for them.

While our income dropped, through the grace of God (and tithing) our standard of living has increased. God’s new higher math. While my married friends quit inviting me to gatherings, I made friends with the single moms. We gathered together for meals, encouragement and helped each other paint and make repairs to our homes.

I truly believe everything we go through we have a choice, waller in self pity or use it for God’s glory. Have I always done it well? NO. but I strive to do better each day, and I really am not the wallering kind of girl.

The Lord showed me earlier this year that I have been hiding and it’s time to step into all that He has for me. Thank you to those who have encouraged me through this process and will continue to. It’s a process. It has some missteps, and some backsteps, but I am pressing forward.

I am grateful the Lord has surrounded me with people who love fiercely and unconditionally. (David Bendett, Amber Bendett, Tanya Simpson Land, Lauri Tumbleston Lamenca, Myra Oliver, Daniel Skip Long, Connie Bugg Simpson, Rosalinda Cavazos, Patti McBride, Marilyn Gloetzner, Susanne Mayeux, Kim Shepard Gutierrez, Michelle Galvan, Anne Garl, etc. I didn’t realize how many there are) I have a team that work together, cover each other and me. I could not do this work without each of you and together we have much to do.

Someone recently remarked I was like a modern-day Ruth taking care of my Mother-in-law. There is a difference, I pray MY God will become her God.

I write this today to say whatever you are facing today God is with you, call upon His name and you will be amazed at the things He does.

A Memory

Some people have a gift of capturing beauty in photographs. Others capture beauty through their words. My friend Shelly is gifted in both. In today’s post, Shelly paints a beautiful memory with her words.

A memory:

On our way home from Dallas today, we stopped at a Wendy’s. After we sat down, a middle-aged man entered with a tiny, elderly woman. He gently guided her to the line and showed her the menu board. He carried her small purse, handles frayed, to a table and went back to retrieve her and their trays.

He helped her unwrap her food and made several trips to gather the extras for their meal.

Her back was to me, but his merry eyes lit up each time she said something. I crossed near them to dispose of my trash and I saw him reach across the table and pat her cheek gently. “Mom, you’re such a beauty. I hope you know that, ” he told her.

She smiled and dabbed her mouth as she nodded her head slightly. He steadied her shaky hand when she pulled the fork upward for another bite.

I had to stop. “You two…it’s wonderful.”

He grinned. “Well, she’s still my best girl, aren’t you, Mom? Even though you’re 94, we still enjoy our dates, don’t we?”

She nodded and her eyes crinkled softly as she patted his hand.

I don’t know what their story was before, or where the road led them after, but in that moment, they were perfection. Pure, righteous, holy.

contributed by Shelly Smith Morales