Monday, January 31

Manna Monday- A Simple Thing called Love

It's a simple thing.
It's free to give- if we will give it to others. That's the question. Are we loving others like we really should.
Most of us give what we feel like on a daily basis and then we justify our love to others saying "it's all I can do today." But that's not how Jesus loved others. He didn't give what he felt like on a daily basis. He gave all he had to give each day. He gave all he had on the cross- ALL of it so we could have the capacity to love like He loves.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the love of others, but even more, I find myself contemplative about the love I give to others. I want to give more love to those around me- not just the leftovers.

It's a sacrifice.
I have to be intentional about it.
I have to think about it and make it something that's not an afterthought.

I don't want my selfishness to get the best of me and say, "I need more, or I need this." I get in the way of love. Our selfishness is the obstacle we have to overcome in giving love to others. That's why I believe God made it a fruit of the spirit- because we can't do it on our own. God's love is patient (our love can be impatient) and kind (our love can be pretty rude). It's not boastful either (loving others isn't placing ourselves in the conversation all the time.. it's stepping back and letting the conversation be about that person- it's listening to them and not having a comeback all the time.) I could go on but you get the picture of how our love falls short compared to God's love.

I cannot begin to express the love I have for my church, my fellow church members and those members who are now in heaven with Jesus. It is a love that goes beyond any reason. I have no earthly blood connection to them, yet I feel like they are family. We don't get together on holidays but I always wish we could. My church family is so special to me. I believe I can love others also the way I do today because of the earthly example of the older people in my church loving on me as a child. I can still feel their hugs to this very day- 30 years later. That was not their love but the love of Jesus inside their heart poured out to me.

I can love my fellow church members better.
How can I do that? How can you do that?

By taking more time with them, calling and checking on them more frequently. By seeking ways to spend more time with them outside of the church walls. By praying for them and last, by telling them how much they mean to you face to face- in a card or letter. Getting to learn their lives like you and I know the lives of our earthly family. We all can do this better. But we have to be intentional about it.

Do we love like crazy those people God places in our paths like we should? Do we?

Dear friends, let us not try to give love to others out of our own strength.
Let's surrender ourselves to Christ and let HIS love take over and do a mighty work we could never do on our own.

Tell someone you love them in the LORD today. Write them a card or letter. Take them to lunch and pay for their way just to tell them how much you love them. Call and ask if you can pray for someone who has been going through a difficult time.

Love-It truly is a simple thing.

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord."   Romans 12:9-11
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Friday, January 28

Faith Can Move A Mountain

I want to give up
Faith says keep going, God is with you.
I want to give in
Faith says surrender, God is bigger
I don't have the strength
Faith says, God is my strength

I was struck with the fact in my quiet time that the disciples tried to cast out the lunatic in the text of Matthew chapter 17 verses 14-21 and could not. They privately came to Jesus with a question saying, "Why could we not cast it out?" And Jesus said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you."

This is a familiar passage and we all love to hold onto the phrase our faith can move a mountain. But because I am a person of 'how' and like to find out what that looks like in my life, I found it very interesting that Jesus went on to further say, "this one does not come out except by prayer and fasting."

I believe Jesus gave us the key to how our faith can move mountains, how even a little bit of faith, as tiny as a mustard seed can do impossible things, big things, move impossible mountains out of our way so we can move forward. But not on our own strength. Through depending on Him through prayer. The mountain is big, it's in your way, you feel like it's impossible to move. Just like the disciples we find ourselves coming privately to Jesus asking, "why couldn't we do _________?" We try so hard to move that mountain but we can't on our own strength. We're exhausted, worn out, frustrated, discouraged and even perplexed because we thought we did everything spiritually 'right.' But in the passage, there is no mention that the disciples believed they could heal the man nor that they prayed and fasted to heal him.That's what Jesus says to them.

I wonder instead of just talking the talk like we do about faith, that we first believed God could move our mountain, and then committed ourselves to prayer and fasting what would happen? I believe our faith would grow stronger and our concept of God would enlarge. Why do we overlook prayer in our lives like we do especially during those mountainous times in our life? Mountains can be moved but not on our own strength.

If you are standing at the bottom of your mountain today, don't try to climb up on your own. Give it to God and pray. Trust His promises and commit wholeheartedly He will answer.

Have a happy Friday!
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Thursday, January 27

I jotted this post down back in November. But I didn't have room on Joy Treasure until now. Hope you enjoy it today.

As usual, my son is asking more questions about God. How I love each one of them!  While making breakfast the other morning, he asked, "What does God eat for breakfast? Does he eat waffles?" That boy took the words right out of my mouth. All I could do was just stand there and look at his little face. I don't think I have ever asked myself that question. Out of the mouth of babes come questions about God that get us thinking more about Him with a childlike faith. I told him I believed there are lots of good things to eat in heaven. 

The Bible tells us we will share meals in heaven together.

“Isaiah 25:6 is a great example which says, “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well aged wine, a rich food full of marrow (that would be fat! Mm mm!)…” The Bible also tells us in Psalm 63:5 that our “soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food”, and that our “mouth will praise the Lord with joyful lips.” I am liking this rich food thing because that’s how I like to roll! How about you? What's the best meal you've ever eaten- imagine that times infinity and that's heaven! Makes me think of the richest meal I have ever had to the point where I am so satisfied there is nothing else I can eat - like a good steak dinner! Love Those good comfort food meals!

Well, it's a busy day here and I wish I could spend more time with you but I have some other projects I am working on that require my full attention. I pray this post got you laughing but also got you excited just thinking about our real forever home- heaven.

Joy 2 U my friends!

Happy Thursday!!

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Wednesday, January 26

Just for Women Wednesdays- Oh Be Careful Christian Woman what you Hear

I Love
attending women's conferences just like every other woman out there, but it occurred to me recently that sometimes we go to them just because everyone else is going and it's the thing to do in Christian women circles. At times we give no careful thought about what our ears will be hearing nor give any thought to the purpose behind why we are going.
Not all conferences are equal. Have you ever thought about that before? There are many conferences put on by false teachers. Sad. But true. We need to be careful that we aren't searching just for conferences with messages that will tickle our ears. We need to search for ones that are seeking to draw us closer to God's word- not just promise us a good time.

When you attend a conference what do you think? Do you even think over what it being said or just take whatever the speaker says to be true? Here are some questions to ask ourselves when we attend any conference:
  • Does the speaker lead me more toward knowing Christ or more toward knowing their feelings?
  • Is their message more about stories than God's word?
  • Is the message of the speaker biblically based and in context or taken out of context?
  • Are my emotions being played with by the speaker's oratorical skills?
  • Is there anything that I heard today that I felt uncomfortable with and what is it? What does God's word say about it? Did other women feel the same way?
  • Do I know anything about the speaker's mission statement or true belief's?
I think we get to the point some times that we'll accept any invitation to any conference because we are so desperate to hear God's word (because we aren't keeping a close relationship with Christ on our own -daily) that we attend any and all of them. We need to be careful and choose wisely the conferences we attend.

Why do we go to conferences?
Connection-We go to conferences to belong with other christian women- we long for deeper connections and fellowship.

Refreshment-We long to be refreshed, refueled and renewed through God's word so we can go out and live more boldly for Christ in our daily life.

Retreat- We go to escape and get away from the everyday craziness of life.

These are all GREAT reasons to attend conferences and I can tell you they are the reasons I have attended them in the past. We need to fellowship with other women, we need refreshment through God's word, and we need to step away from the busyness and craziness of life to be still and reflect on God's word. Although I don't want to be a skeptic (think too critically of every speaker) or be passive (accept everything the speaker says as true and mindlessly not think about anything they said) as I attend a conference, I do believe it is crucial for us to not take something at face value. If we do, it might be easy for us to get taken in by any teacher not knowing they are speaking falsely about God's word. When you become emotionally attached to a speaker it is much more difficult to stand back and look at the true message they are speaking.
I love how The Message describes Matthew 7:15-20 saying,

"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned."

This post is not meant to be all doom and gloom here. It's just meant to get us thinking about how we listen when we attend conferences and to consider choosing wisely the ones we attend. It's easy to get wrapped up in the hoopla. We need to search the scriptures when we hear a speaker to see if what they are saying is true. The Bereans did this when they listened to Paul.
Acts 17:11 tells us, "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Last, there are LOTS of christian women speakers who are awesome and are truthfully speaking God's word consistently.

So become an active listener when you attend a conference.
It will do more for your heart to listen carefully than to attend carelessly.

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Tuesday, January 25

Through the Fire

This post is based around some pics I took back in October at a pumpkin fest. It was a blacksmith exhibit  and he was making something (I can't remember now!) The one thing that caught my attention was how the blacksmith had to put the iron into the fire for it to get hot enough to bend. He couldn't work with it unless it was very hot. The picture above is him placing the piece of iron in the fire. He had to leave it there until the time came when it was ready to begin being shaped.
He then took it out, examined if it was hot enough, saw it wasn't and put it back in the fire.

Finally, it was ready to begin shaping it. So he began to hammering the piece of iron into a shape. He hammered and hammered and hammered.

He kept turning it and beating it trying to get the shape he desired.
Notice how he kept turning the piece of iron from one side to the other.

As I watched the blacksmith beat the piece of iron out, I was reminded that God has to do that with our lives too. I once heard a pastor say, "All sunshine makes a desert." What he was saying was that if everything was always great in our lives all the time, nothing would grow. For flowers, trees, and grass to grow there has to be rain. Nothing grows when its only sunshine.
Same here with this piece of iron. God doesn't want for us to stay the same. We have to have a time of shaping so we can begin looking more like Christ. We can't become more like Christ if everything is good all the time- if there's no fire. It's through the waiting, bending and hammering that Christ makes us into something that can be useful to him, to others.

What is God using in your life right to shape you into becoming more like Him?
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Monday, January 24

Manna Monday-Encouragement for Parents

It's tough being a parent.
And I am no parenting expert.
But I don't want to be just a good parent.
My heart's desire, the craving from the bottom of my soul, is to be a godly parent.

There's a difference between the both.
Have you ever thought about that before?

The difference I have seen between good and godly parents throughout my lifetime have been attributed to one basic factor: God's word had the supreme authority in how they parented because His truth governed the way the parent lived individually and as a couple.That's it. Godly parents weren't more perfect, without fault, without struggles, or without failures. They struggled too despite God's word having authority in their home but never gave up on following God with ALL their heart. They weren't half- hearted believers or Sunday morning Christians. The godly parents I've seen never gave up seeking God's word to provide the wisdom they needed to provide their plan of action for their children. Two characteristics they all have possessed: They were faithful and consistent to make much of God in their home. That has been the major thing I have witnessed throughout the years.

Some of the things I see that keeps good parents from becoming godly parents is themselves. Their insecurities, fears, doubts, life experiences, childhood upbringing, lack of confidence, the cracks in their marriages..... seem to bind them up and keep them from moving out from their chains to the great beyond.

What do I mean by that?  They give in to the lies Satan throws at them like, "you can never help your child, you are not a good example of _____________, " or, "they(children) won't listen to you anyway so you might as well give up," and, " I want my child to like me so if I come down too hard on them, they might drift away from me and I may lose them altogether." I could go on about the lies we devour that consume our parenting confidence but I think you get the picture. Nobody is a good example of anything and have it all together so these parenting lies are lies. Call them for what they are! Stop letting them keep you from leaning on God to help you parent.

Think about this and let me be frank here: If God, creator God- the ONE who made the entire universe, the ONE who opened the Red Sea to save the Israelites, the ONE who brought down the walls of Jericho for the Israelites, the ONE who saved Daniel in the Lions Den, the ONE who was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego through the fire and they didn't come out smelling like smoke or were even harmed, the ONE who saved the Israelites from the giant Goliath through the tiny slingshot of David, the ONE who sent JESUS, his only son to die, be buried, and resurrect to give us NEW LIFE in HIM can do all of this...
Isn't He Big enough to help you become a Godly Parent? Yes! He is!

Do not think in this post I am proclaiming that I know everything. I don't. But I want to cultivate my parenting skills because no one ever taught me how to "be" a parent.  My parents taught me through their example what a true godly example looks like, but still, I haven't taken a crash course on becoming a godly parent. It's an everyday on the job experience course! My heart ACHES because I see tons of families discouraged in the way their children are turning out and I want to inspire other parents to embrace the most profound opportunity they will ever have in their lifetime. Being a parent is the most profound, most important legacy you will leave behind. Never give up!

A godly parent is cultivated through first (and daily) surrendering to Christ, BELIEVING in HIS WORD as the ultimate authority, washing every emotion, fear, insecurity, doubt, question, and SIN through God's word and then dedicating it all to the LORD in prayer. Not a one time thing- a continual daily action.

Life Long Learner 
The second ingredient I see of godly parents are that they continually are life-long learners. They are willing to be taught by God and are observant of other parents around them. Why? Because they know they can always learn something from the lives of others-be it a parent who makes good choices or bad choices. They know they can learn what to do and what not to do! Amen!

For the parents who long to become a godly parents- Ask someone you have seen be successful in raising their kids to know and love the LORD, ask them if you can talk to them about it. Take them to lunch and buy their lunch. DON'T let the shame come over you and say, "I can't ask them about __________, they will think bad of me, or I can't let them know my child struggles with __________" We miss opportunities to be a life long learner because even we want to save our face in front of other believers. Somehow it's ok to tell everyone we had a hard time potty training our child, but when it comes to our child being promiscuous, hooked on drugs and alcohol, failing in school, dis-respectful, we cower. That is not of the LORD, that is of SATAN and he wins when we give in to those lies. He wins.  And if they look down on you.... then they are not as godly as you think.

If you are a godly parent that has had success in raising godly kids, don't keep the answers all to yourself- look for parents who are struggling. Ask the LORD to show you parents you can mentor. Pour your life into others.

I want to encourage you today about this discussion. Be encouraged the LORD is with you. He promises that. He is your help. He will teach you. But you have to get over yourself, over the insecurities and let HIM come in and clean your house up. It won't be easy. But doesn't the bible tell us, "But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."Matthew 19:26"
Do you really believe, really trust that with GOD ALL things are possible in your parenting?

Below is a video of John MacArthur discussing  two things that are grabbing the attention of your child today. Enjoy! And be encouraged! You are not alone. Parenting is tough! But it is so worth the effort!

The Pressures of Parenting, Part 1 (John MacArthur) from John MacArthur on Vimeo.
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Friday, January 21

I am a C- My One Statistic in a World of Many

I am a C- (remember that song from church camp! I am C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.)

You know, being a christian is when you're driving down the road and see a fish symbol or a bumper sticker that says, "honk if you love Jesus! " And of course we like to think we swim against the flow too, right! So that's why we honk! But do we really swim against the flow of worldly living? Does following Jesus really make our lives look different? 

Many statistics tell us we aren't doing a good job as believers about all kinds of things. I believe they're probably right. Statistics cause us to think, call us to act, and remind us where we should be placing our priorities. But the people in the bible didn't do everything perfect either! That's why I am not excusing the statistics we read or hear these days, but I am saying, instead of looking at them and getting fired up over what we're not doing as the body of Christ, let's think on how we can change one statistic- that would be me or you. That's the first statistical difference we can make that we have control over. 

These are off the top of my head. They are things I want my life to reflect more of as a christian and why.

C-asting my Cares upon God: 
 We have lots of CARES don't we friends! But instead of laying them before Jesus, why do we try to take them on ourselves? Why don't we lay them down before Him quickly? Prayerfully? Obediently? How we handle our cares reflects how close we follow Christ to others. The bible says, " Cast ALL your care upon Him, for he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

H-umility-  To be about His business serving others, not myself. This looks like serving more than the body of Christ in church, it looks like serving my family like Christ would have me to. It's serving those around me that God has placed in my life. It's acting on being a servant to them right then and there, not waiting and missing the opportunity.

R-epentant-  Sin robs us of a thriving relationship with Christ.(Every believer can say this with the best of them!)  But most of us get up, get going and push the ole' heart off to the side hoping somehow it will work itself out. But it won't work itself out and we know that! Only Jesus can work it out. A life of repentance is continual not a one time walk down the aisle.

I-nvolved-Christ was involved in others lives when he wasn't going to get anything in return. He was involved because He cared for their heart. Getting involved in other's lives requires commitment, it requires an investment of time. It's a sacrifice. It requires stepping outside our normal circles and reaching out to those who need to be mentored, or encouraged.  It requires caring for their heart like Jesus would. 

S-elf denying- Need I say more? Just looking at the word brings conviction!

T-hankful- Thanking God all the time for everything. My thankfulness acknowledges him as my provider, the one who is good, His faithfulness, His sovereignty over all things in my life, His love, His mercy, His power, His presence. And....that my life is always before Him. When I thank Him I am thanking God for WHO he is!

So as I end this post I have been refreshed, haven't you? Nothing like a reality check to get us back on the right track again! These are all ways that Jesus lived that we can pattern our lives after so that the one statistic (the one you and I have control over!) can be of influence to the little world around us. 

Which of these is God bringing to light to you today?

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Thursday, January 20


A friend gave me this book for Christmas and I wanted to share a little of it with you. It's called "Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear" by Max Lucado.
Max Lucado, the author, asks the question, "Why are we afraid." A loaded question, right?
On page 5 Max says, "Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. Courage did that. Faith did that. People who refused to consult or cower to their timidities did that. But fear itself? Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors."
He then goes on to ask the question,
"Imagine your life untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, and doubt, what would remain?" (pg. 6)
Every day when we choose to make agreements with fear, we allow it to come in and weaken our faith.  The truth is either our faith is growing strong or our fear is taking over our faith. Fear steals our joy, and covers up our hope. It's a prison. And the only way out of it is to look to Jesus and let Him free us from the chains.

The times when I've feared things in my life, my fear grew because my faith didn't. I wasn't looking to Jesus first. I was looking to my problem, my circumstance. I was looking to myself to fix the problem when the issue could only be taken care of by God.

The first time when fear comes knocking on your door, stop and ask yourself, "Does this fear do anything for me? Does this fear bring me closer to God? or away from God? Does my fear solve any problem or make the problem worse? What can I gain through letting fear rule my emotions?"

The answer is no. Nothing. Fear does nothing good for you.

Usually we fear things that aren't even reality. We fear tomorrow. We make up things in our mind that we believe "might" happen or "could" happen. We fear the worst.

The only fear we need to have is a healthy fear of God.
Psalm 111:10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever."
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Wednesday, January 19

Just for Women Wednesdays- Taking God's Word with You

Happy Wednesday friends! I wanted to share something with you that has made the biggest difference in my walk with the LORD. A few years ago to keep God's word continually in my mind , I bought a small new testament bible and placed it inside my purse. Whenever I would have some time I would open it up and read it. My small amount of time with my little red new testament turned into a continual conversation between me and God that I treasured. I would read and He would speak to my heart through the written word.

What was the alternative when I would be somewhere? What would be the common thing to read? Magazines. But the messages from magazines don't fill our minds with the right truths of God. These little moments can add up to a lot of moments and before you know it the messages become part of your thoughts.

This little change made the greatest impact in my walk with the LORD. I share this with you because as women we desperately need to hear from the LORD. We get busy.We carry lots of things on our minds. We worry about our families, our jobs, and our health. We fear the worst at times and can then become anxious over the lack of time we have to get all our tasks done. We need a continual cleansing of God's word to wash over our minds and refresh our hearts.

These days, if you have an i-phone, you've got an app for the bible right! I don't have an i-phone so I don't have first hand knowledge of all the apps. But I do know you can read the bible from an i-phone. I have seen someone do this! Even if I had an i-phone, I want my hands on a bible. I want to be able to make notes on it, circle a verse, and let it get all into my mind. 

If you find yourself in need of making a change for the better, buy a small new testament and put it in your purse. It's the greatest treasure you can carry in your purse.
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Monday, January 17

More on Joy Treasure- Uploads Every Monday

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Manna Mondays- How the World Gets into Our Minds

Because of the great response I received over last Manna Monday’s “How the World gets into our Minds” in regards to the Tide commercial, I thought it would be helpful to uncover some more of the messages that are around us every day in the media. We as believers need to stay sober minded and be alert to not let them take root in our daily thinking.
1 Peter 1:13 says, ”Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
This 4G commercial is one that touches on the insecurities of human beings. It’s a funny commercial but what is really being said is actually sad and true. None of us like to be left behind or be the last person to find out funny or important information. With faster speeds for downloading information on our phones, we live in a culture of “right now.”  Drive thrus aren’t even fast enough for us anymore. We want it faster. People are sleeping with their phones at night and have them basically attached at the hip all day long. Our children are growing up in a culture where parents are constantly looking at their phones. What is this teaching our kids? I believe it’s teaching them mommy and daddy can’t stand not to know what “all” is going on out there in the virtual great divide.
It seems everyone wants to be aware of every text message and message posted on face book and twitter through our phones. One message is not enough, we want to know more. We want to feel included and are constantly looking at our phones, checking our face book to see what’s new. We crave to be “in the know” of the latest and greatest information.
And if you have a phone with the 4G network this can become the reality of your world. You can be in the know before everyone else and not get left behind.
Truth is, it’s ok not to have every detail of every person’s life in front of your eyes. It’s ok to get the message a few seconds later. Yes, we want to be able to have access to important messages on time if we need them, but we don’t have to know everything all the time. What does your face book time say about your heart? Are you constantly on it all the time? What does that message say about the priorities in your life?

Self-control is a fruit of the spirit. Let’s not forget. We exercise self-control when we don’t have to know everything about everyone all the time. We exercise self-control to our children when we show them that digital phones and computers don’t have our complete attention. Would they see us praying more or on face book more? I'm just saying! That's a convicting thought!

Remember Galatians 5:22-23“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law."

Let’s learn to keep a balance with all this new technology and not let it rule our lives and hearts. Taking time to practice the discipline of self-control by carving out time to not look at our phones, face book, and twitter can allow us more time to spend giving our full attention to God and to our family. It’s good to have this technology but not’s let fall prey to the thought that we are going to be behind everyone else if we don’t hear it first.
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Sunday, January 16

A Story about the "Amazing Grace" Song

     This morning my pastor introduced us to a man who came to know Jesus while in prison. He is a picture of God’s grace. The man ran from God throughout his lifetime living the way he wanted to live and not thinking about any of the consequences.  He came to a point where he wanted life instead of death. He hit rock bottom and that is what it took for him- God got his attention.
     It was refreshing to see a person who God really changed from the inside out in his late forties. Sometimes we (those of us who have grown up in the church) grow cold to the fact that it doesn’t matter what age a person may be, Jesus can still change them. Growing up in the church, I have witnessed countless numbers of people accept Jesus Christ when they are young. I don’t get to see lots of “new man” stories of older believers. But I believe a person who accepts Jesus later in life has a passion for God’s grace that’s deeper than the average church member. what they have gone through and what they have come to understand about God’s salvation is encouraging to hear. we, in the church, grow cold to the fact that Jesus STILL CHANGES people. God forgive us!
     While watching him talk, you could see in his eyes the light of Christ shining through to others. Praise God to be able to see such a shining light for Christ!
     I still can’t believe more people wouldn’t want to know our Jesus. But I am quite aware that they are deceived and Satan has blinded them to see the truth of Jesus. God’s grace is beautiful. It’s free and there’s nothing like it in the whole world. I pray you will not give up praying for a person God has placed in your path that needs to hear about a savior. Keep sharing about Jesus and keep praying for them.
Enjoy another “new” man story in this video.
Thank you God that you still change people! You really do!
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Thursday, January 13

30 Quotes from Oswald- #11-Alone with God

As always, these quotes are taken from  Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest" Journal. Published by Barbour and Company, Inc; Uhrichsville, OH.

Hey friends! I pray this post finds you well today! I'm super-excited to be sharing my favorite quotes from the Oswald Chambers devotional again! There is nothing like a good ole' quote from Oswald.

Today's quote come from January 12th page, "Have you ever been Alone with God?"  

He says, "The only One who understands us is God. The greatest curse in spiritual life is conceit."He goes on to say, "As long as we are not quite sure that we are unworthy, God will keep narrowing us in until He gets us alone.  Whenever there is an element of pride or of conceit, Jesus cannot expound a thing."

I don't want for anything to get in the way of being able to hear Jesus 'expound' his truth to me. What about you? So many things get in the way of being able to hear God's voice: sin! Pride and conceit can come in the smallest form and fashion in our lives. Sometimes we might not even know it because we have not had time alone with God. Time alone with God helps us to acknowledge our sin and then repent from it.

Pride may sound like this: "I know all about that Jesus. I've got that one covered, and I don't need another lesson there. How about we learn something else!"  On the other hand, it may sound like this, "I deserve to be....and I deserve to do....."

Conceit is defined as, "A favorable and especially unduly high opinion of one's own abilities or worth."
Our culture demands for us to think highly of ourselves...that we aren't that bad. It's everywhere. 
I agree with Oswald on this one. The greatest conceited thought a believer can fall into is one that says, "Well, at least I'm not doing this or that like such and such is."  The church is so guilty of this kind of thought process. This rationalization of sin keeps us from being teachable (hearing God teach us) while placing ourselves quietly on some type of pedestal above others. How do we keep this in check? By reading God's word and reminding ourselves that we are sinners( no matter how big or small the sin in our eyes). It's all the same to God.

We are unworthy.
I'll say it again!
We are unworthy.
We are unworthy.
I am unworthy.

Is Jesus narrowing you in a bit to come be alone with Him? Maybe its temptation, heartache, an illness, a broken relationship, discouragement or a disappointment that's bringing you closer to His side. Stay there. Don't leave. Listen for Him. He'll speak. 

"When they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples." Mark 4:34

Get the noisy thoughts and questions out of your head when you come to Him. Don't let those thoughts even have a place to continue dwelling. Tell Jesus everything. Confess it. Because it's then you can hear Him speak over your life. And that revives, refreshes the soul better than anything this world can offer.
I pray you'll  find time to get alone with our wonderful Savior and get the noise out!

I'm so thankful for you today! 
Please tell your friends about the discussions going on here at Joy Treasure.
Encourage them to drop by and see for themselves.

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Wednesday, January 12

Just for Women Wednesdays- Making Comparisons

There are lots of things I like to talk about when it comes to being a woman. And I love to hear what other women are learning in their life too. I believe its vitally important to be a life-long learner. That's what Wednesdays will become here at Joy Treasure. I don't know how it will go, so hang in there with me. And please.......tell me what topics you would like to hear about here on Wednesdays.
Leave the topic in the comment box.

Today I want to talk about something we all deal with as women- how we compare our selves to each other.

God doesn't want us to compare ourselves to each other..... but we do. It's part of our sinful nature but something through Christ, we can overcome with the help of His word and Spirit.

At any time you can be going about your day and there it is, a thought of comparison. Maybe its a commercial on television or the computer that prompts you to think about what you 'wish' you had. Could be a picture on a billboard or be caused by picking up your favorite magazine and reading through the 'best' whatever. It could even be personal- that you like a friends hair, makeup, or clothes. It may be something about their character that you adore and wish you were like. Maybe its the way they can accomplish a task consistently. Maybe its the way they follow Jesus. The list could go on forever....! You know what I'm talking about! What's funny about comparing is that one day you think you have it beat and the next you find it's not. Over my lifetime, I've come to find when I even start to compare myself to others, I stop, take a step back, and ask the question, "What's going on with my heart? Why am I craving to be 'like' whoever or 'have' whatever." When I stop, ask this question, and bring it back to the LORD, I can always find  the right perspective through looking at it through His eyes.
A Lesson Learned
A story that stands out in my mind about comparing was when I was in junior high school.
I wanted a pair of Guess jeans so bad!! They were the rage and all the girls were wearing them at school. The girls who were wearing them were skinny and mostly tall- looked like they were made to wear Guess jeans. Or should I say, Guess jeans were made for them! But me...well, I wasn't tall and my body was never meant to wear a pair of Guess jeans. Ever. Did I say ever! But I thought if I could get my mom to buy me a pair, which at the time were ($60), I would be content.

I still remember holding my breath trying to pull the jeans up to my waist. They were too tight in the thighs and too big in the waist. Flattering, I should say! No. Not at all. I convinced my mother (begged her!) that I would wear them. I did, for a little while . But they simply weren't made for me.
Guess jeans didn't change my life. They didn't bring me more friends or popularity on the days I wore them. They made me come to understand that God created me, Ashley, uniquely wonderful in His eyes, to be me. Not other girls. Guess Jeans wouldn't bring me contentment, only God could.  

I went back to the department store that spring and tried on all kinds of jeans. I found a pair that fit me best. (they weren't Guess!) In the end, I came to see that my comparison led to a craving of something that I thought would make my life better. And comparing what I didn't have to what others had... would prove to be an endless game. I didn't want for my life to become a worthless chase after nothing.That's what happens when we keep comparing and trying to obtain what we think we 'need' to have. So whenever the latest fad comes about, I just think back to the lesson learned from those pair of jeans.

I always laugh when I think about Guess jeans.

Thank you God for using a pair of French jeans to teach me that I was made for more than to just wear a pair of designer jeans.
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Tuesday, January 11

God of my Everything

 As I nestled snugly into my bed with one of my favorite books the other night, something jumped out at me that I wanted to share with you, my friends! (The Attributes of God: Deeper into the Father's Heart- Volume 2 by A.W. Tozer)  I broke the quote up into two parts because I want us to be able to really think about this and let it sink into our hearts. Here goes: 

Ouch! Tozer doesn't sugar coat anything. He tells it like it is.

How do we as believers drag God down in our thinking? In my life, I would say I have dragged God down in my thinking when I've failed to make much of WHO God is. I know His word, but there are times when I don't bring my thoughts back to what I know to be true about Him in the bible. I drag God down in my thinking when I only come to Him when I need something. I drag God down in my thinking when I doubt what He is up to in my life. When I don't believe anything is possible through Him. 

Tozer explains how he believes believers drag God down in their thinking by only coming to Him when they are in trouble. It is so easy to come to God when times are bad, but when times are good He is still God and worthy of our praise, worthy of our devotion. I don't want God to be God of just my troubled times. I want him to be God of my every detail. God of my every minute. God of my every hour and day. God of my good times. God of my everything. Don't you?

Not a long post today but something I think we ALL can benefit from when it comes to elevating God in our thought life.
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Monday, January 10

Manna Monday-Our thoughts of God

"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary." Isaiah 40:28 (KJV)

Do you ever consider the "majesty" of God consistently? I can say, I try, but I don't always meditate on the majesty of God like I should. I want to though. 
J.I. Packer says, "The word majesty, when applies to God, is always a declaration of his greatness and an invitation to worship. The same is true when the Bible speaks of God as being on high and in heaven; the thought here is not that God is far distant from us in space, but that he is far above us in greatness, and therefore is to be adored. "Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise" (Psalm 48:1). 
I agree with Packer that we don't make much of God in our thoughts like we should. We fail to reckon with the reality that everything about God is limitless. Everything. Abundantly glorious. Instead, we clutter our minds with shallow thoughts about our self or other things and hardly leave any room for thinking upon the greatness of God. How often we forget there are no limits to His knowledge, power, love, and understanding, forgiveness,- that His ways are unsearchable and His kingdom is unshakable. I could go on...And when we do take the time to consider the great ways of God, are we accepting His greatness as an invitation to worship Him? Or, do we look at these great truths with familiarity and say, "I know God is great, I know He did this, I know He did that" and miss opportunities to respond to His majesty. Let's not become too comfortable in our thoughts about the greatness of God. God is not like us. He never wearies, and is high above us. He is continually worthy of our praise.

Ascribe Him much greatness today in your thoughts.

Reckon with the reality of his greatness!

As usual on Mondays, I am praying for you all.
I'd love to hear from you!
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Sunday, January 9

Free Art Friday is Coming

Free Art Friday is BACK! But only when Joy Treasure hits 80 followers under the original follow status of 64. I will also do a face book Free Art Friday as well. So stay tuned to Joy Treasure for more info! If Joy Treasure has been a blessing to you, please pass it along to your friends and encourage them to join so they can be eligible to enter Free Art Friday to win a piece of free art. Blessings to you friends!

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Anticipating A Snowy Day

This was the scene just a year ago.

A wonderful snowy day.

That's what they say is coming our way- some ice and snow. Who knows? It hardly ever snows here. Everyone in town awaits this wonderful sight. People are hurrying around buying milk, bread, and batteries. So, enjoy the view and maybe, just maybe, there will be new snow pictures I can share with you all. That would be a great delight!
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Saturday, January 8

Journey with me through Grace!

This year, my pastor is preaching entirely on the subject of grace. I'm going to share some truths with ya'll that stand out to me from his sermon notes. To locate the page, click on 2011- All About Grace at the top of the blog under the Joy Treasure heading .
                                     I'll update the page weekly.
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This video is such a great reminder of how we can get so comfortable in our daily life and put off doing the things Jesus has asked us to do. We hear His voice, but we say, “Ok, Jesus, a little later, I will do it.” We let the comforts of our life lead us away from living out true purpose. We miss a blessing from God when we choose being comfortable over being obedient. Enjoy! Happy Saturday!
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Friday, January 7

More About Jesus Friday- Why Did Jesus Weep? (7/20/2010)

My son and I were in the car the other day when he asked me to tell him some bible stories. (This is a great time to talk to your kids about the bible.They are all ears while driving.) I told him all the typical stories you tell children such as David and Goliath, Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Jonah and the whale, the boy, 2 fish and five loaves. And then I got to telling him about Lazarus dying and Jesus weeping over Lazarus' death and then bringing him back to life. At first I thought, "Now Ashley, why are you telling him about Lazarus dying. But then I thought, because its a truth from the bible and he needs to hear now that Jesus brings us life. I want for him to know that Jesus is the only way to new life. I want him to know this truth now even if he doesn't understand it. It's a seed I am planting in his young heart. But as a child would ask great questions, he asked me sweetly, "mommy why did Jesus weep?"

Prompted by son's question, I was reminded Jesus felt my sorrow. I began to rejoice in that truth while driving in my car. I knew why Jesus wept, but it was a great reminder to myself of the humanity of Jesus Christ. He really wept. He felt something. He grieved at the death of his friend. And yet, sin brought sickness and death into the world and I am certain Jesus was thinking about this too.

Jesus was God, but He was also man. And as a man, he knew the sorrow that life on this sinful earth could bring. As Isaiah 53:3(ESV) tells us, " He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."

When I am experiencing sorrow, Jesus knows how I feel. I don't receive sympathy from Him. I receive ONLY EMPATHY because HE knows the pain I feel. He knows more pain than all the pain I will ever feel in my life put together in one big pile. Who else can empathize with us like this?

No one knows our deepest sorrow like Jesus does. Don't become familiar with this truth and say "yeah I know, I've heard it a lot." Let it sink inside your heart. Let it minister to you. The things that keep us up at night or the heavy burdens we carry around that no one knows about-Jesus knows. He knows. He knows yours sorrows be it big or small. He feels them-every one of them and they matter to Him. Think about all the friends that come to you and share their burdens and sorrows. Can you empathize with them every time? No. Sometimes you can because life experiences have taken you places where you can empathize. But not every time. Jesus can empathize with us EVERY time. That's worth some praise today don't you think!

John MacArthur, one of my favorite pastors-beside my own church pastor, breaks down this passage quite beautifully. (Interesting commentary about the professional mourners... I can only imagine the chaotic scene and how some of them were wailing professionally!)
Click below and be linked to Why Jesus Wept.

Why Did Jesus Weep? (7/20/2010)

Jesus knows friend.
Thank Him for being a Savior who knows your sorrow today.
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Thursday, January 6

Hey JT friends!
I can’t thank you enough for stopping by Joy Treasure. These past two weeks 6 new followers joined the Joy Journey! YEAH GOD! I treasure each one of you and love hearing your comments. Keep those comments coming!!!! And welcome to my new friends! Each of you (even if you haven’t followed JT yet) are truly a blessing to me and I am honored that you would drop by this blog. To God be ALL the Glory! Amen!
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Friends Remind Us We're Normal!

Okay, so I thought this was too funny not to take a picture of. On the right is my purse and on the left is a friend of mine's purse. Anything look familiar?

One thing I am going to work on this year is to not make my purse my personal file cabinet. I lose time because I can't find anything. Imagine that!

The great thing about having friends is that you realize people are the same in so many ways. We all struggle with all kinds of things. For me, I struggle with my purse being chocked full of papers. I am just being honest here!

Thank you God for friends! They help us to not take ourselves so seriously and teach us that we are normal in so many ways! Amen! Hope you all enjoyed a laugh today and that you have some friends you can thank God for. Tell them you love them and are thankful for them.
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Wednesday, January 5

When God shows you Fruit

As believer's we are supposed to bear the fruit of the Spirit. But sometimes I think we forget we're producing fruit and then God shows us that we ARE bearing HIS Spirit. Here's how God showed me that I was producing the fruit of kindness.

I love to organize my office each January to help start my year out on a good note. With all that being said, I found myself so engrossed in purging my office that I didn't take a shower all day long nor did I wash my hair the other day. And in between the cleaning, I had to keep a four year old entertained! (The list is too long to write about keeping my son entertained...but I was successful!) Needless to say I felt my appearance was....what's the word....icky. That's how serious I was about getting rid of piles of papers on my desk. (That I had piles of paper on my desk is an entirely different post!) With my husband out of town and no food in the fridge, my stomach began to growl like a hungry bear not to mention my hungry little bear cub's tummy too. Seeing that it was six in the evening and I hadn't left the house all day, I was going to have to go out and get something to eat for me and my son. That would mean I would at least have to try to get myself together. (You know.... put the hair up in a ponytail and slap on a few dabs of makeup, put my lip on, and of course a few ear bobs.) I looked well... at least put together. And it was dark outside so who would notice anyway right! I guess it's a southern thing that's engrained in me

As I pulled into the drive-thru I was just being myself...saying please and thank you. I didn't think that I was "being extraordinarily nice." But I must have been different from some of the other customers driving through before me.

I drove up to the window, paid the cashier and she closed the window. (Nothing out of the ordinary.) We waited a few minutes and when she returned with our dinner, she said, "I put an extra cookie in their just for you because you have been so nice to me." "What?" I thought. "What did I say or do that was so nice?" Didn't see that coming!!!!! I knew my tone was cheerful but I didn't think anything was over the top super extra nice. I was just being me. Can I just say, that God made me smile as I left the drive thru with my extra chocolate half-dipped chocolate chip cookie. He did. Here's why.

I was quickly reminded that JESUS in my heart shines through to others without me even knowing it sometimes. HE is the one that gives me the joy inside my heart and you know what...people can see it. They really can see it. Even when I haven't had a shower or washed my hair...on the kind of day when the last thing I want to do is get out of my house and go somewhere...some stranger saw JESUS in me.

Being kind and considerate to others can make a difference in their life. I don't know what might have been going on in the life of the cashier, but my kindness coming through a few words like, "Can I please have..... and thank you... was enough for her to think something of me and my dirty hair.I laughed because I didn't look by best. I actually looked my worst and still Christ in me brought someone joy. How cool is that! That is the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we grow in Christ and bear fruit, people can see it and call it for what it is.

God showed me I was bearing the fruit of kindness in my life in an ordinary mundane drive thru. He let me see it and not take credit for it. I don't think I have ever thought of it that way before. I think it was the first time that I could see that kindness was beyond being nice. It was the fruit of His kindness shown to me through the gift of salvation that I could show His kindness to others. The reason for this post is not to make much of myself,  but to make much Christ whose Spirit lives inside my heart. It is to encourage you to look and listen to when God shows you the kind of fruit you are bearing. Also, when He shows you the fruit you AREN"T bearing.( Unfortunately that one really hurts- an entirely different post!)
The bible tells us 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I think sometimes we write things off in our life. Especially little things like being kind.We say we are just being nice, or trying to be helpful. But I can tell you I was stunned last night at that drive thru. God clearly revealed to me, "Ashley....look, it's me in you that is producing this fruit. You are yielding to me and I am showing you that I making you more like Me." Wow. Kindness is something the world is not well acquainted with- especially when people are hungry. I waited kindly and patiently and I guess that is what was different. Different enough for the cashier to give me an extra cookie!

Has God revealed to you that you are bearing His fruit in your life? How has He shown you? Do you even recognize the fruit you are bearing to be His spirit or do you write it off and not think anything of it?
Let us not become complacent and forget about the fruits of His Spirit. They matter because the world can see it.
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Tuesday, January 4

A Simple Way to Invest in Someone's Life

I'm always looking for practical ways to live out God's word.( This is something I think you will LOVE!)

As I've said in previous posts, I have Moody radio blaring from my bedroom all day long when I'm at home. I want God's word and sound teaching to fill my home as I go about my daily tasks. (Especially...when I am cleaning. Did I mention I'm not fond of cleaning?) I figure the more I hear God's word, the better my cleaning will be!...and my attitude. As I wash laundry, clean toilets, scrub sinks and fold clothes, my mind focuses on God's truth. It's been the best change that's made the biggest impact in my life. God and I have lots of talks as I clean.

Well, as usual, I was cleaning today and had Moody radio on and what did I hear? Chuck Swindoll. When I visited his website I found something so special that he shared about his mother. It's called a Promise Notebook. I was so inspired to pray over who God would have me to make a promise notebook for that I wanted to share it with you all. The one thing face book, twitter, texts, and email can't do is have a personal touch. There is something about giving someone something that is handwritten and has God's word on it. The impact can be so powerful that you might think it's too simple.
Never underestimate the power of the written word.
Click on the link below and you'll be sent to the video:

What a treasure Chuck Swindoll's mother must have been. What a treasure it must have been to receive such a notebook from her. I can't think of a better way to make a difference in 2011 than to make a promise notebook for someone.

Last, YOU are why I write, why I keep blogging!
THANK YOU for your comments and for dropping by Joy Treasure.
If this blog means something to you, please share it with your friends.
Joy 2 U!
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Monday, January 3

Manna Monday- How the World creeps into our Minds

I am not trying to be a church goody goody but we must be wise to how a worldview creeps into our homes, into our computers, into our minds.

What is Tide really trying to say here about the mother? What is omitted speaks volumes. The mom quietly borrows her daughter's green shirt, goes out and has a great time and gets a stain on it and doesn't tell her daughter what she did to the shirt. Instead, she doesn't say a thing (ha ha right!) and then pours Tide on the dried stain and wallah.... the shirt is clean and quietly put back into the daughter's closet. Two times the mother can come clean about what she did with the shirt, but she doesn't.

What she omits is supposed to be funny, right! Wrong. To me it's sad because it makes light of lying. What kind of example does this promote? When I see this commercial what I see is a mom who lies, doesn't come clean with her daughter and the commercial is supposed to be funny and make me want to go out and buy this stain removal because it gets dried stains out.

I'm not telling you to stop buying Tide detergent. I am asking you to look, listen and be alert to how the world makes light of sin. Commercials are one way the world chisels down the truth of God. Lying is lying in the eyes of God. Big or little, to Him its all the same.

The bible tells us to stay alert and to keep our minds clear. We need to be on guard to not let the world's view of sin, such as lying, be something we take lightly.

1 Peter 5:8
"Be alert and of sober mind..."

Proverbs 12:22
"The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy."

Does the bible tell us that God laughs at our lying and thinks its funny sometimes? No. It says he detests lying lips. As a mother, it is my responsibility to be trustworthy to God and then to my family. How I live IS an example to my family. If I omit things, which is lying, I am teaching a standard to live by in my home and it promotes an atmosphere that omission is permissible. And guess who is watching and learning...? Children.

Friends, think about what you watch, listen to how the world tries to make light of little things like this commercial. It's not funny.

This post is simply to redirect our minds back to God's word and to not make light of little white lies.
Hope I got you thinking this Monday morning!
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Saturday, January 1

Beth Moore "Drive-Through Religion"

I could not have said it better myself!!!

 My prayer for youis that you would draw closer to The LORD and not settle for anymore drive-through religion.

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