Friday, August 27

It's been a long week and I have not had any desire to post anything until this evening.

I want to tell you about how God spoke to me at the hospital the day my father got his port put in for chemotherapy.

As my father's name was called, the nurse said to me, "You can come back in about 30 minutes." The doors shut. The waiting room was nearly empty. Just a noise from the morning news was heard along with elevator doors opening and shutting in the background. My mind was heavy. This was a day I would not forget. In just one week, my father had been diagnosed with cancer and now we were  beginning chemotherapy. There was no one I could run to except God. He was calling me to come to Him.

As I waited to go back with my father, I opened my bible and turned to Psalm 103. As I began reading, quietly I praised God for this day. I didn't feel like praising Him. But praise was due His name. Even on this day, I was determined to praise Him. To seek His face. It was a fighting of the flesh that I have never quite experienced. Here is what I read:

Psalm 103:1-5,
" Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

As time alone in the waiting room ended, I walked back to my father's room. A few minutes later, a minister from our church came in to visit. It was a nice break from the reality of the hospital. As he got up, he asked if he could pray for us. As we all held hands, he began praying part of Psalm 103. A tear came to my eye. God was speaking to me through His word from Psalm 103. I was to remember HE was to be praised and to remember ALL His benefits. Never could I have imagined that God would speak to me twice from that passage within one hour. I knew immediately God was telling me to trust Him as 'Healer.' To praise Him no matter what.

As my father was received back into the room to recover, he wanted a fresh cup of  coffee. I said, "OK daddy, I will do what I can." As I entered the hospitality room, I came to two empty coffee pots. Completely empty.

I sighed.

There were notes everywhere instructing people to  not open the coffee pots. So, I walked to the nurses station and asked a unit clerk if I could make the coffee or if she could find me someone who could. Instantly, she arose and came into the hospitality room to make the coffee. I thanked her. I then asked if she knew if it was OK to drink coffee before receiving chemo. She said, "Yes. I only know that because my daughter started chemo last week." Stunned, God was showing me that morning, I was not alone in adjusting to the fact that a loved one was starting treatment. There was another lady who knew exactly what I was going through. We both looked at each other and realized the Lord had placed us there to encourage each other. All because of two empty coffee pots. She needed a word of encouragement and I was needing a hug.

Even while suffering, God used me to encourage another through sharing Psalm 103. I didn't have to have it all together to share His word. I just had to open it despite my feelings. He was going to speak through His word not only to me, but even use me to share truth with another. What a lesson I learned that day about the power of God's word.
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Friday, August 20

Hello, I'm Still Here!

Hey friends! I just wanted you all to know I'm not going anywhere. I am still here! I have had to be away this week for very good reasons. Please stay tuned for more this coming week.

Blessings to you this weekend. I pray you all are enjoying God and enjoying time with friends and family.
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Sunday, August 15

For those of you who drop by Joy Treasure weekly, I am sorry I have been away for a while.
While this week has been one of the greatest weeks of my life, it also has been one of the worst.

My father was diagnosed with cancer.

At times I want to cry, and then I want to praise God. But through it all, God has loved on my family through the lives of fellow believers in this short time. I have always been the one on the other side and now I know what it feels like to feel such pain, such sorrow.

We are just beginning to walk on this journey physicians call "treatment" and who knows what each day will hold. It's not fun. It's like a storm cloud follows you around and never leaves. Within this past 24 hour period there have been a roller coaster ride of emotions. I am mentally exhausted. That is what my flesh says.

Now, the Spirit inside says to me, "Lean not on your own understanding, but in all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5-6). "My burden is light," (Matt. 11:28). "Nothing is impossible with God."

As I was drying my hair this morning, I began to think about Jesus and how He considered the cross set before Him and His asking God to take it away. But He knew ultimately God had appointed this suffering and soon He would be walking toward the cross. He couldn't walk around it, He had to walk through it.

Of the many blessing we have as believers, the one thing we truly have is the presence of God. He is with us. Think about it, the very name of Immanuel, "God with us." Who is like our God? Who can compare?

HE Never leaves us.
HE Goes before us.
HE Guides us.
HE Carry's us.
HE Protects us.
HE Restores us.

Instead of Manna Monday this morning, will you pray for my father? Will you pray for healing and clarity of treatment. Even now as I write, I consider it all joy when trials come our way.
It is my opportunity to press into my Lord and Savior and draw even closer to His side.
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Wednesday, August 11

Quote 7 from Oswald Chambers

This seventh quote from Oswald Chambers speaks to the very heart of any believer.

Ever say to yourself, "what if?" "how will I....." "If only?......." These aren't the thoughts we need to be embracing. In fact, in my own life, they are the very words that lead me away from daily seeking God. Before I know it, these thoughtless words lead me to a place of defeat and unrest. I've found God's word to be powerfully true in 2 Corinthians 10:5 when it says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." I have found mentally practicing taking thoughts captive like a cowboy lasso's a horse has helped me to get a hold of them. Bringing them back to myself proves useless. Bringing them all back to God provides freedom to walk forward.

Within the past year, there have been storms that could have shaken my very existence. As I considered the storm, set my thoughts on God's word and brought them back to God, I have become stronger. I've seen God provide and my faith has increased.

Here's how I've learned to take thoughts captive in my own life:
a. Is this thought a reality? Or a lie? Does it go against the truth of God?
b. Does this thought show my dependence on God or myself?
c. What scripture can I find to fill my mind with truth?
d. Pray through the scripture and release my thought to God.

What Oswald says about life and how we don't know what the next day will bring is a great way of helping us ask ourselves in times of storm, "who do we trust?" He says,

"There are stages in life when there is no storm, no crisis, when we do our human best; it is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely. If we have been learning to worship God and to trust Him, the crisis will reveal that we go to the breaking point and not break in our confidence in Him."
(this quote in bold print was taken from the August 12th page from "My Utmost for His Highest."

Who are you trusting when a crisis arises?
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Monday, August 9

Manna Monday

Good Monday morning friends! I pray you all had a wonderful weekend!
Monday is here again and as I write this post, the sun is shining and the birds are singing.
All is quiet in my house!!!!! What a wonderful time morning is before we start out on our day's journey.

This morning's verse from Psalm 139 is quite personal.

Have you ever noticed how many times people say, " she has her mother's eyes," or "he has his father's nose,"when a new baby is born? Examining Psalm 139:13, we find God is the one made the color of the eyes and determined the shape of the nose. God is the weaver and spinner of life inside the mother's womb. HE determines the how everything will be woven together to create a wonderful creation. Even we as humans don't have any control of what actually goes on inside the womb. A mother can take care of her body on the outside. She can visit the doctor , eat right, get enough sleep, and do all she can to make sure the child is brought into a safe environment. But she cannot put all the pieces together inside the womb nor can she determine what the child will look like. All of those secrets are kept by God only to be revealed at birth.

God is a personal God. He created us to be exactly like we are.

There was a time when I didn't like the way God made me. I am short and petite and struggled with being short in junior high school. Everyone was taller than me. But, I could either let that thought, ruin my entire life or come to terms with that is exactly how God made me to be. In eighth grade, I finally said to myself, "God made me short and He is pleased with what He has made." Psalm 139:13 had a lot to do with my letting go of questioning why God had made me short.

God's truth brings us back to the mind of God. It leads us away from our insecurities and questions about life.

As you go about your Monday, remember God made you exactly like He wanted you to be. He is please at YOU His creation!
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Friday, August 6

Set your mind on.......

Congrats Julie! This is the painting from last Friday's Free Art question.

A few years ago, I found myself looking at my circumstances instead of looking up towards God. I would struggle and stumble on my own, but I knew the answer to my dilemma was resting only in the bible. It was a matter of me being diligent to seek the Lord with my whole heart. So there I was listening to my pastor preaching one Sunday morning. I found myself distracted, discouraged and unable to listen to what he was teaching. All of a sudden, I felt an urgency to pray. I said, "God, I need a word from you this morning. I need to hear from YOU, only through YOUR word. Give me a word this morning."

My pastor preached on.

I kept praying.

As I continued listening, a peace came over me.

Then, as my pastor ended the sermon, there it was. His last point: Colossians 3:2, "Set your mind on the things of God, not on earthly things." Like a dagger to the heart, I knew what God was telling me. Convicted, I said Lord, "I'll stop looking at my circumstances and will look only to You. Forgive me. Help me walk forward in freedom."

God had given me a word no one else could give me. I had a specific direction to walk. Immedliately I knew He was telling me to stop looking at how my circumstances would turn out and look to Him instead. He was the one in control and heard my every prayer. But He was calling me to walk in obedience to Him despite what I could see.

Whenever I read this verse, I think back on that intimate moment where the LORD spoke so boldly to me through His word during a sermon. He has done that many other times (not through sermons!), but in other times in my life where I have come asking Him to show me a word. This particular time in my life, I was greatly discouraged and afraid. Even though I didn't know what the end result would be, I could trust in the God who was leading.

Months later, He answered my prayer in a mighty way. Whenever I think back on the months before he answered my prayer, I stand in awe of Who God is. He is a personal God who desires the best for His children. Like a father corrects his child, so did my Heavenly Father correct me. "Don't look here, look here," he said to me. I listened and began looking towards the things of God, not on earthly things. Oh, the difference that word has made in my life.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." God's word has a purpose for our living. Let's not miss that it is there to change us.

How is God speaking to you through His word? Is He correcting you? Teaching you? Training you for righteousness?

Press into Him and ask Him to speak. Then be ready to listen.
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Wednesday, August 4

Quote #6 from Oswald Chambers

Oh, how I love Oswald!
Did I say that before? Well, it's true.

What a joy to read through this devotion again and again! The problem with reading through any devotion is oftentimes there are so many gems to mine. Sometimes you miss them. That's why going back through your devotional books are always a great way to revive your heart as you journey deeper with God. Take time to sit and savor what is actually being said. I have enjoyed sharing with you some of my special treasures on the Joy Treasure. I pray you are encouraged.

Today's quote comes from the July 11th page of "My Utmost for His Highest," published by Barbour and Company.

The devotion is grounded from Philippians 3:10 which says, "that I may know Him."

Oswald says, "The initiative of the saint is not towards self-realization, but towards knowing Jesus Christ. The spiritual saint never believes circumstances to be haphazard, or thinks of his life as secular and sacred; he sees everything he is dumped down in as the means of securing the knowledge of Jesus Christ."

On vacation as a child, I remember watching candle makers dump a new candle down into a container of colored wax. The candle maker would dump, shake, and place the candle out to dry. Sometimes it would not look finished because it needed to be dumped into more color. Sometimes the candle needed just one color. But, the candles that needed more color would have to cool off so they could be dipped again into other colors. More color would add more depth to the candle. The finished product was exactly as the candle maker would have planned it to be.

There are things in life that God dips us into to make us shine more boldly for Him, for His glory. His desire is for us to have a more secure knowledge of Jesus. Sadly,we are quick to question, grumble, sigh and stomp ourselves into thinking about how we can figure out the best solution to our circumstances. We can't figure it out. All we know is that God has us exactly where He wants us and is working all things for the good.
When I think about this quote, I consider God being like my candle maker. He knows exactly what colors to dump me into to make me into what HE desires me to be. He knows how long the process will last. He knows if I will need more time to dry or more time for color. He is my Creator and my Creator knows me, His Creation.

When I turn towards working on myself by myself or my circumstances, change will only go so far. But when I let God lead me through my circumstances,then I gain a more secure knowledge of Him. The end result turns into exactly what HE fashioned me to be- more like His Son, Jesus.

As the candle maker dumps the candle into the colored wax, so does God
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Tuesday, August 3

The older I get, the more I become a believer of what Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Thank you God for putting this verse in the bible as a true reminder of the power of a cheerful heart! No medicine can do for me what a cheerful heart can do. There's something about that kind of spirit.

You and I know it when we see it in others, and we know it when we have it ourselves. And when we don't, even then we know it too! In fact, everyone around us knows it at that point! On the flip side of that coin, is the second part of the verse," a crushed spirit dries the bones." Being around people who don't have joy, but see the negative and are quick to throw out criticism is not like good medicine. It steals every inch of life away from the soul as you try to deal with that person. But sometimes, it's not other people who dry up your bones. Sometimes, it's you who dry your own bones up by agreeing to let sin come in and rule your hearts. The only thing left are dry, dull bones. And then, there's nothing left to give to God, to others, and to our families. Why? Because we are dry. Dry to the very bone.

Look what the bible says about a cheerful heart:
  • Proverbs 15:15
    "All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast."
  • Proverbs 15:13
    "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7
    "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
What's going on in my heart doesn't go unnoticed; it can be seen by others. More importantly, what's going on in my heart can be seen by God as to whether I give reluctantly or under compulsion. I can't fool God to whether I am a cheerful giver. He knows the motive behind my giving. And last, my favorite is Proverbs 15:15, "the cheerful heart has a continual feast." This kind of heart does not go lacking, but feasts on the goodness of God and all His truth. Praise God for this word today as we consider the countenance of our hearts!
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Monday, August 2

Free Art Friday Art Winner-

Thank you to EVERYONE who participated in Free Art Friday! It was wonderful to hear the ways God provided and took care of the tiniest details in your lives. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. I will post the other stories in the comment section. Please keep the comments coming.

I chose Julie's post because it showed how she trusted God despite what she could see over the period of a year. One of the things particularly hard is trusting God to provide when you don't see how He is going to provide. There are so many barriers that get in the way of trusting God to be our provider, mainly sight. So many times, we let our circumstances determine our attitude, dictate our thoughts, and lead us away from God instead of drawing closer to His side. Julie did not let her circumstances lead her away from God, she let them lead her right to His side.

God Provides: From Julie, A Joy Treasure Reader

God showed me He is my provider in 2005. Stan was overseas in Kuwait for the second time. Caleb was only 6 months when he left. It was so hard for Stan
to leave his little boy, and a month after he left we found out we were
pregnant with twins. The Lord provided for me in an amazing way that year
through my church family, friends and my family! I could never thank the
Lord enough for how He was with me that year and how He used others to show
His love to me. Stan was not able to come home for the birth of our girls.
The Lord provided a doula for FREE to help me through the labor. My mom was
able to be there even though she had just found out she had breast cancer.
She had just had a mastectomy two weeks before she came, and wasn't even
able to hold the girls, but was still there to hold my hand through it all!
My church family brought me meals every other day for 3 months after the
girls were born. I had an endless supply of diapers and the love and support
was amazing! I was so touched and so blessed! It still brings tears to my
eyes at how the Lord took care of our family that year! He brought Stan home
safely, and he has given us five beautiful, healthy children! God takes care
of His children and blesses them over and over again! He is SOOO good!

Thanks Julie! What a testimony of how God provided for your every need in 2005.
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Manna Monday- Verse 11-12

Hey Friends! I pray your Monday is off to a fabulous start! There is so much to be thankful for as we begin this new week. Our two Manna Monday verses are combined into one this week.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

Nothing can hide us from being seen by God. If we think hiding in the darkness will keep us away from God's view, we are deceived. Often people think if they conduct their business at night, no one will see or know what they are up to. Not true. God knows.
To help us wrap our minds around verse 12, there are a few Hebrew meanings that will help us to discern what's being said.

The Hebrew word for darkness in verse 12 is choshek(kho-shek')which literally means the darkness. It figuratively means misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness -dark(-ness), night, obscurity.

The phrase shall be light translates to 'owr (ore),meaning illumination or (concrete) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.) -- bright, clear, + day, light (-ning), morning, sun.

"For the darkness is as light to you" literally means the darkness is as "bright, clear, daylight" to God. He sees everything that goes on in the night: the destruction, the ignorance of people thinking they are hiding, the sorrow that goes on in the night, the wickedness. What people think is obscure to everyone else is not obscure to God. He sees it all.

A lot of times we read in the morning paper, or wake up to watch the morning news and find out what evil deeds have taken place during the night. It is unsettling to us. But it should not be because God is in control, all knowing and the night is as "light" to Him. Remembering this truth should give us peace when we consider what is hidden in the night. It's as light to Him.

What a treasure from God's word to ponder and consider this week.

Have a great Monday!
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