Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Chasing Joy

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This world can be a difficult place some times; and during certain seasons of our lives, maybe more often than not. I’ve found myself moving down some good old paths as well as starting new things. I love new beginnings. But I realize new beginnings can be difficult too. New beginnings are even more difficult when you’re navigating them alone.

It’s not that I want to exclude people. In fact, I think, now more than ever, I’ve become more inclusive. But at the same time, I’ve learnt to be completely cool with being by myself. We won’t always have the pleasure of other people’s company especially the pleasure of the company of like minds. And some times, we wish, only wish, someone else would physically come alongside us on our journey. At least I feel that way.

Sometimes, I think, in the middle of all this, we have to chase joy. Joy can be elusive. We have to actively look for joy in the Lord, because the joy of the Lord is where our strength lies.It’s not an easy thing to do. Some days we just want to drown in the pool of our self pity. It’s much easier – less tasking.

Joy requires a little bit more energy than self pity, but its reward  is so worth it. There are some dark days, when the only thoughts that come are thoughts of failure, loneliness, confusion, worthlessness, but joy is always so near if we would only reach out just a little bit.

It usually takes one painful step to get to joy. It takes looking away from all the ugly, closing your ears to the heartless voices and looking up. Just one act and then another. It begins with lifting up your head, your eyes shifting their gaze. Then you utter one word and then another. God… Lord… Father.

Father, help me. Help me. I trust You. I choose You. Help me, I have no strength of my own. Your joy is my strength. Thank You for joy. Thank You for making my life so beautiful. Thank You for never leaving me or abandoning me. I’m so glad You think of me. And You love me, and You’re with me. I cannot be brought down because You lift me up. I can never be ashamed because it is Your face that shines on me! Hallelujah! God is with me now!

So one first move, and then another. Look to Jehovah and give thanks. Thanksgiving is a wonderful expression of our faith in an amazing, unchangeable God (who is Love, by the way). So chase joy; don’t let it slip away. Chase joy in God; He is never far away from His family.

And finally, you can be a part of God’s family by calling on the Name of His Son, the Lord Jesus, who has already paid the price for your sins. Is sin a dirty word? Yes, but perfect to ascribe to us. No one, not one is righteous. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. Call on the Lord and discover the joy of the Lord as your strength! Choose God; choose joy.

You can comment or email me directly if you have any questions about this call to God’s family. You can comment or email anyway!  😀 I pray that you will know God’s joy, love and mercy in Jesus Name. And so it will be.

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

The Twenty-Third Psalm

The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.

Go on…

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Wow. If I’m sheep lying down in the only food I want to eat, and surrounded by it, then that’s where I want to be.

He leads me beside quiet waters.

Again, really feeling this whole sheep with Shepherd thing.

He refreshes my soul.

Sounds like heaven: A soul refreshed. It’s like being in bliss. Like someone diving into cold streams after walking days in the desert. That’s what this reminds me of. And instead of dryness, dust and sand, there’s peace and quiet music, nature welcoming, coolness and a refreshing of the soul. ‘So good it gets all the way to your soul’ kind of experience.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

He does the guiding. I never have to worry that I missed a turn – if I’m the sheep in this story. There are so many possible wrong turns and paths leading to nowhere or much worse than nowhere. But that’s not my problem. I get to go on the right paths. For his name’s sake? Does this mean if He can’t get me on the right path, then “he” has failed? But does the Shepherd ever fail? This is all theory; if I was guiding and I couldn’t guide you right, then it’s on me. But He’s God, and He never fails. I can fail if I’m doing the leading. I don’t want that responsibility – not when God’s offering to guide me!

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Valleys are usually dark. So dark, I can’t see. Fear feeds on my fears. What wolf-like creature could be lurking in the dark? No. I don’t fear because my Shepherd is with me. He must be Super Shepherd. Is there an “SS” embroidered on his cape?

Your rod and staff, they comfort me.

Every now and then when I’m walking through the valley, I feel your touch. Your staff gently redirecting me. No, not there. Left. Go left.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Now the Psalmist is talking about himself as a human. No longer his sheep form.😊 David, a man after God’s heart, anointed to be king! People after his life and his rightful throne. How audacious that he would be dining and drinking to his fill in the presence of those who seek his end! Because God Himself decides.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.

Surely! All the days of my life?! I’m going to try to let that sink in.

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Forever and ever. And ever. The hope after now. After this broken world. We get to be with Him. Lord, friend, lover of our souls. Everything.

This psalm is cool. I could be the sheep. Sign me up. What are the qualifications for the role? Dumb? Helpless? Dependent? Trusting? Seems pretty simple to me. Except those are not words I’d use to describe myself. Maybe God wants me to be that with Him.

If I acknowledge that I really don’t know what’s best and He does; that I can’t do anything without Him; that I completely trust His judgement, then maybe I’ll fit the role of sheep.

When Christ judges at the end of the world, He says He’ll separate mankind into two groups: The sheep and the goats.

Sheep may not sound so desirable but how about goat?! Sheep sounds pretty good to me. How about you? Sheep or goat?😃 Which do you want to be?

Peace!

P.S. The Psalm is Psalm 23:1-6 (the whole chapter), NIV version.

Dreams and the Future · Faith · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Beloved, and Loving the Wind of Change!

I’ve been navigating some difficult things this period of my life; the silence, the confusion…did I say the silence?

It seemed like on the things that mattered to me, God was silent. It seemed like God was unfair for allowing me to experience the pain I did. I struggled some and triumphed some, but I still wondered if God was with me. I knew it but I could not feel it.

Today, God opened my eyes to the thorn in my side. I said to my Father, now, in my mind, I am free, but I do not feel free. I asked Him to MAKE me free. He showed me something WAY bigger than I could ever have anticipated. He freed me from the bondage of ignorance. He blew on me a wind of change.

God made me realize that He is love, and as large as He is, He wants to pour every drop of Himself into me! So I saw through His eyes, how precious I was (am) to Him, and I began to thirst for every drop. I have become convinced – FULLY convinced – that God wants to give it ALL to me!! To Him, I am worth every drop of His amazing love. I am precious in His sight. All His love is for me to desire and receive and experience. I am the Beloved of God!

Today, I cried out to my Father, “You are just! And Your judgements are fair O God!” God is indeed just and merciful for allowing me to go through the darkness and pain. I could not see it when I was in it, but when I came out of it, I saw that it was by the mercies and love of God that He took me through the valley of darkness. I praise You God, for You are merciful; all Your ways are true!

Now, I can begin again, in full assurance of God’s love because He patiently took me through this place from which I have come. I am eternally grateful. I would have given much to know what I know today. Dear fellow sojourners, if you see me, you will see a thirsty soul, thirsty for the love of God. You will see an insatiable soul, because I will never say enough! Oh God! Your love is better than life and I want EVERY drop!

    

Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Be Hopeful

Life is sometimes bland, crappy, and occasionally interesting. Be hopeful. Don’t just “be hopeful”; be JOYFUL in hope!

That’s basically all I have to say in this post. Cool isn’t it? (Or not.) It’s the truth. 🙂 

I’ve been struggling with cynicism. I, the optimist, have faced my biggest challenge yet: REALITY. You see, I’m a dreamer. It’s my design to dream – a lot. I forget sometimes that God uses the real stuff to test me. By test, I mean to cause me to grow. We don’t grow when everything is green and perfect. That’s a heaven type experience really. We grow when we are faced with affliction. 

The thing is I’ve been trying to follow Jesus’ way because the Bible says that “Christ, even though He was a son, learned patience by the things He suffered.” I’ve been working on my patience, but it turns out that I’ve been numbing myself to the pain – the suffering. 

If you are going through some suffering, I urge you as God is urging me, to be hopeful. And not just hopeful. Be JOYFUL in hope.

It’s not easy. It’s straight out difficult. But so very rewarding. Joyful people are beautiful. Faking smiles doesn’t help anybody. Smile. Laugh. Dance. Sing. Cry if you have to, but for your sake, REJOICE!

“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17 NIV)

  

Everyday Life Hacks · Faith · Life Hacks · People · Relationships · Spiritual

The Hurt

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” (Romans 5:3-5)

I realize that I need the hurt to teach me what love is. The hurt does something to my character because I choose in Christ to be helpless- to be unable to do anything about the hurt. Like Jesus Christ said “I choose to lay down my life. No one takes it from me.” (John 10:18 paraphrase)

The hurt makes me able to feel- to bear a burden on behalf of another person when I take their wrongdoing towards me upon myself. 

Without this hurt in this age- this imperfect age- there can be no true love. Love hurts because people hurt.

I accept. 

Thank You LORD.

Imperfection

Humility

Brokenness 

Patient endurance 

Pain

Forebearance 

Perserverance

Helplessness

Disability

Weakness

Thorn

Shame

The Cross…

Bible Studies · Faith · Spiritual

A Prayer Close to God’s Heart

Dear LORD, You are present everywhere, every time, always.

You are infinite, rock solid.

You are here now and in tomorrow. You are everything and in everything.

You see me and hear me and You listen. I can listen to You and hear You.

Your words are life- You are life. Everything You do is good. Everything You say is truth.

I want to be with You- long to be with You. I want to know Your love that’s infinite.

Father, please fill me with Your purpose- fill my heart with Your love and the knowledge of Your love. Help me see Your fingerprints in everything. Help me listen for Your voice as You speak to me inwardly.

My heart is a book- please write on it. Mould me and make me as You want to. Fill me with Your love and the knowledge of Your love. Help me tell always of the good news of Your wonderful grace.

You are everything and in everything- fill me with You LORD. Let me rest in Your presence always, and experience Your goodness, always.

LORD, You are good, always. You are my rock and shield. I love to dwell in Your secret place. Fill my heart and mouth with songs upon songs of praise to You.

I love You LORD. Let me rest in Your love and be close to Your heart.

I love You Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit. Let me rest in You forever.

Teach me. Heal me. Keep me. Bless me. I wait for You- for Your words. Please use me to sow seeds of Your love.

Amen. 😊

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11 December 2014

11 December 2014

God, who is so merciful to me, has given me a fresh and hopeful view of life: A life where I can expect good things in every form, where I can savor good relationships, where I can grow through patience having its complete work, a life that is rich and full and beautiful, but simple, where I can simply live and love and give… and receive, where God is my Shepherd, where God is my everything.

I feel like in this life everything tastes good potentially: the good and the bad. I feel this way because I have seen God in my life use the bad things and the things that seem bad to mold me into the person that He wants me to be.

I love You LORD.
Thank You.
🙂

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21 November 2014

21 November 2014

When it’s time, it will happen –all by itself. It doesn’t need you to keep it alive by constantly thinking about it. It will happen all by itself- it will take care of itself. You can spend your time now, fully focused on other things, because it doesn’t need you to happen-it doesn’t need you to keep it alive.
Thank You LORD!

GOD

IS

MY

SAFE

PLACE!

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11 November 2014

11 November 2014

Psalm 139: 1-6

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. You know when ii sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before and You lay Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

🙂 Thank You LORD!