Thursday, March 31

A Listless Heart

Hey Joy Treasure Friends! Pour yourself a cup of coffee and let this quote from E.M. Bounds sink DEEP into your heart today. It's a convicting one.

E.M. Bounds said, "Morning listlessness is a sign of a listless heart. The heart that is slow in seeking God in the morning has lost its relish for God." 

Nothing like a quote like this to get you thinking about your heart on a Thursday morning. When E.M. Bounds wrote this quote, it was back in the late 1800's and people don't describe things like this anymore. Today we might say, "I can't seem to get up and meet with God' or I can't seem to find time to have my quiet time."  But what E.M. is saying is that a believer has lost his or her interest and love for God if he or she cannot get up to meet with Him in the morning. Below are Webster's Dictionary meanings for the words listless and relish:

Listless- lack of interest, energy or Spirit
Relish- love, fondness, taste

What E. M. is saying here is, let me paraphrase in today’s language- a lack of interest in meeting with God in the morning is more than a feeling but in actuality, it IS the status of your present heart. To be listless in the morning is to be disinterested in seeking God in the morning. Seeking God in the morning takes discipline and we are either seeking Him or not. We are either giving Him our time or not.
E.M. is not giving a go-pass for missing quiet times. In fact, he is calling believers OUT into reality. He isn’t sugar coating any excuse. He is saying lack of desire to meet God in the morning means your heart lacks desire to meet with God period.
Why do I point this out? Because I think we can truly laugh it off or make excuses about missing our quiet time with God. But this apathy you feel in the morning to meet with God, this continual can't seem to get it together in the morning kind of attitude reveals a heart that has become cold toward God.
If you continually find yourself waking up with this apathetic feeling for meeting with God in the morning pray. Don't stop praying. And get up even if you don't feel like it. Watch God do amazing things during that early morning time! 
" Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Psalm 51:2
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Tuesday, March 29

Just for Women Wednesdays-The M Word

Today I am going to scratch the surface of modest dressing. 

I have been searching for a new spring dress and swimsuit and have found it to be an absolutely frustrating process. Too low, too tight, too revealing, too short...the list goes on. As clothes off the rack get more revealing, it takes time to find cute, non-revealing, modest current clothes. But it CAN be done!
When I wear clothes I don't want people to look at me and think to themselves, "Does she really know Jesus because what she is wearing doesn't look like she knows Jesus?" I want my clothes to cover everything and complement my walk with Jesus, not hinder my walk with Jesus.
At first glance, its easy to think, these dresses are cute.

But when you ask the question, "Can I wear this dress to church on Sunday morning?" quickly each dress can be weeded out. The first dress is really, really short. I love the eyelet material but the length (to me) looks like a shirt. This length worn to church can lead men to look at the legs and up and cause them to stumble when they are trying to focus on learning about God. The second dress is too tight. Imagine wearing this dress to church- the color of dress and how tight the dress reveals the models chest area-this will certainly cause a man to think something about the woman- and it won't be about her godly character!!!! The last dress seems to cover the legs and even seems modest at first glance. But take a look closer and the chest area is too low and too plunging. What does that cause a man to look at? The last dress might be an option (I said might!!!!!) if you put a high black cami underneath it. I would buy the last dress only if it were not too tight in the chest area and a cami would cover the plunging neckline.

Dressing for church shouldn't be something we only "do" on Sunday mornings. Modest dressing should be the question we ask each morning before we walk out the door. The next time you look in the mirror ask yourself,  "Do I look like I know Jesus?"
"likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,..."     1 Timothy 2:9
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Monday, March 28

Manna Monday- Is Jesus All to You?

Last night we had a wonderful time of praise and worship at my church. The choir sang for an entire hour and led the congregation in worship through song. I always get a picture of what heaven must be like when we have this annual time of praise and worship. There is nothing like it!!!!! As I sing scripture and praise songs, I am constantly questioning my heart as I sing. Being active in worship is asking questions and responding to truth. So many times it's easy to go through the motions and sing, "Yes, Lord, You are everything to us" but come Monday morning, Jesus is not even called upon in prayer. He is simply an afterthought... not the first thought. He is not everything to us. If He was, we would acknowledge Him first. It is easier to sing that He is all to us than to live with Him being all to us. Let me tell you how I came about this post.

During Praise 150 last night there was a song titled "All to Us." One thing about worshipping through song is that when we bring our whole heart to God through song and place all our focus on Him, worship through song can be a very cleansing time. It was a time of renewal for me last night as I sang on praise team. A phrase in one of the songs we sang captured my heart. It simply said, "Jesus, You're All to Us."  I kept asking myself as I sang, " Jesus, I want you to be everything to me, but sometimes Lord I admit you are not everything to me. I fail to acknowledge you. Forgive me. Sometimes you are my last thought when I am busy or running behind or have too much to do. Jesus I want you to be ALL to me ALL the time." I kept asking myself "Jesus, Are you really ALL to me?"

What does it really mean for Jesus to be ALL to us?
You have to look at the life of Paul. He was content in every situation good or bad because Jesus WAS everything to him. Jesus was his best thought, his first thought, the One He lived for. Jesus was the reason he lived, he breathed, he preached. Jesus guided his living. Jesus guided his choices. Jesus impacted his love for others. Jesus was his purpose for living and everything he did pointed to Jesus.

It's easy to praise God in the sanctuary when everything is going great in life. For some believers, Jesus becomes like a great accessory that they can add to their amazingly good life. But Jesus isn't an accessory. He is God (John 1:1; John 10:30-33). Think about these questions:
  • When you have all the material possessions you want... Is Jesus ALL to you?
  • When your 401K is growing continually.... is Jesus ALL to you?
  • When your job is going well and you have no financial needs, is Jesus ALL to you?
  • When you have no health issues and you can physically do anything, is Jesus ALL to you?
  • Does Jesus mean more to you than your family? than your home? Is Jesus ALL to you...more than these?
Jesus is to be everything to us. He is to be more than the food that we eat and the clothes that we wear. He is to be our joy, our peace, our hope. He is to be our comfort. He is to be everything to us ALL the time, not some of the time.

Is Jesus ALL to you? I want to be like Paul who said, "For me to live IS Christ..." Philippians 1:21.

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Friday, March 25

Finding Order

Happy Friday Joy Treasure Friends!
I am praying you all experience an extra portion of God's awesome presence this week.
Press into Him and don't let go of Him.

I can always stand some good ole self-examination and when it comes to finding order, this devotion gets right to the point and gives me something I can actually "do" instead of wishing and thinking about finding more order in my life. Loved this devotion from Charles Swindoll in his book, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life." Wanted to share it with you all because everyone can use more order in their lives! Amen! Think about this Friday. Weekends are an awesome time of reflection. Use it to your advantage this weekend.

Swindoll writes:
"If the truth be told, however, most of us don't struggles with being TOO orderly. Our problem is the other side of the coin. And the result is predictable: We burn up valuable energy and lose precious time because of it....Maybe a few questions will help prime the pump of self-analysis:
Do you often lose things?
Are you usually late for appointments and meetings?
Do you put off doing your work until late?
Are you a time on the phone or with TV?
Are you prompt in paying bills and answering mail?
Is your reading limited to only the essentials rather than heaver works?
Many unfinished projects lying around?
Does your desk stay cluttered? How about the tops of tables and counters?
Can you put a hand on important documents right away?
Can you concentrate and think through decisions in a logical, well-arranged manner?"
Swindoll goes on to say, " with the problem in a simplified manner. First admit to yourself that you could stand a change here and there. Try to be specific enough to pinpoint a couple of particular areas that keep bugging you. Don't bite off too much, just one or tow trouble spots you plan to deal with first. Write down your problem. Maybe it would be:
I am usually late to a meeting. More often than not, I have to hurry...and even then, I am five to ten minutes late.
Once this is done, think about several practical ways you can conquer the habit and write down a plan for correction. Work on only one or two projects a month. Too many targets will frustrate you. Don't forget to pray.
Isn't this an awesome devotion! A biblical way of looking at life is how we grow stronger and more like Christ. Taking time to reflect and be honest with ourselves is how we move forward and get out of our bad habits. But we have to LOOK at our life. We can't just keep rolling along living in disorder. Disorder not only affects us, but it impacts others around us. God is a God of order. Think about creation. He created each day in perfect order and then on the final day he rested. Let's get out of any habit that is causing us to lose precious energy from sharing and living our lives to the fullest for Christ.

I love you ALL! And I have prayed for you this morning.

What things in life do you need to change! WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU AND SHARE WITH JT READERS! 
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Wednesday, March 23

Just for Women Wednesdays-Becoming Beautiful

The bible says,"Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31:30). What is beautiful? What is true beauty?

The world would have women believe beauty exists only if you have a flat tummy, long straight hair and flawless skin. That's not so!  Even this kind of beauty fades. And when it fades, its gone. You can't get it back no matter how hard you try. I was reminded today upon the death of famed actress Elizabeth Taylor, that not only was she known for her acting ability, she was mostly applauded for her unbelievable beauty. But her beauty faded and is gone. Where is it now? What is left behind now that she is gone? What did outer beauty gain for her? Men, money, fame, notoriety. I use her as an example not to write about her, but to get us, as women, to ask ourselves the question, "What is beautiful? What is true beauty?"

Let's face it, we all want to be beautiful on the outside. We chase after it and don't even realize it. That's why we spend money to fix our hair, buy our clothes, and slap make up on our face. There is a certain look we are going for. When a woman gets ready for the day, there is a certain confidence that occurs on the inside of her as she gets herself together on the outside. Personally, I feel better when I have my hair fixed to start the day. It makes me feel ready for any task ahead of me. But realistically, there are days a ponytail is the way its gonna be. I have learned to fix that ponytail to where I am confident to walk out of my home knowing that even still, God thinks I am beautiful.

This year I am noticing more wrinkles on my forehead. They used to show up only when I would laugh or make a funny face. Now, they are becoming like an old friend. I could do something about it like many other women have, but why? Or should I ask the question, "Who for?" As I grow another year I am learning to appreciate my wrinkles-every one of them and in turn work on becoming more beautiful on the inside. My wrinkles stand as a reminder to me of a long life of laughter! Amen!
As the years leave their mark upon my face I come to see what true beauty really is...fearing God in the heart.

As I have matured in the faith, I have come to admire true beauty in Christian women like:
a beautiful mind washed by the Word of God.
A woman who isn't afraid to pray on the spot with someone or tell them about Jesus.
A woman who gives wise counsel based on God's Word instead of opinion or feelings.
A woman who is not shaken by her circumstances but relies more strongly upon God.
A woman whose family (husband and children) likes being around her is beautiful to me- that her attitude is one where ALL praise her. (An attitude like Jesus- humble spirit)
A woman who considers a task and takes steps at accomplishing great things for God.
A woman who knows how to take care of her household and place her family's needs above her own.
A woman who doesn't have to always say something in a group of women to 'outdo' another.
A woman who still dreams of trying new things and never considers herself "too old."
A woman whose lips continually speak love for God to others.

These are the qualities I want to grow into becoming.
There are more, but these are the ones off the top of my head.

What do you dream of becoming as your outer beauty fades? What is true beauty?

I don't want to be known for my jewelry, or my hair, or my clothes. I don't want to be known for my house or my decor.' I want to be known for my love for God and for others. It's a constant battle to live in this world with its images of false beauty. But it can be done and it can be attained through seeking God above ALL things. Beauty is deceitful- it fades. But a woman who fears God is still being talked about long after she is gone. That's what I want to become. How about you?

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Tuesday, March 15

Parenting with Purpose: Teaching Kids Responsibility

Responsibility, it's a big word.
It's a word that will grow our children into mature adults.
When do we introduce responsibility to our children?  If we, as parents, don't introduce it early on, it will be more difficult to teach them as they grow older.

A Simple Task
Start with a simple task. If your child is little, allow them to learn a task such as putting up their stuffed animal or putting up their shoes in a certain place. They can remember little things like this. Don't underestimate their ability. My son is a preschooler and I can tell you it would be easy to put off giving him tiny responsibilities. It's hard when they are little because it takes time to make sure they understand the task and you have to take time to teach them. But our children learn consistency if we model consistency for them.

At the age of three, I noticed my son was able to put things in the trash and in the sink. The first task I ever gave him consistently was the job of putting up his plate after he ate. I was amazed at how excited he became to accomplish such a simple job. Putting up his plate is now a daily habit and I don't have to ask him to do it anymore. Currently, we are working on learning how to put up our toys and clean up our messes. This is a work in progress but slowly and surely we are getting there. Just the other day, I spilled something on the floor and he came up with a mop and began mopping up my mess. I just smiled and thought, "keep on teaching him Ashley, he is getting it."

The Problem if Parents Don't Teach
If parents don't teach their children responsibility, they won't learn it. They will grow into children who think they are owed and don't have to work for anything. Part of teaching responsibility for the parent is learning how to let go and give your child more freedom to make mistakes. They have to learn from their mistakes.
Would I still like to put up my son's plate? Absolutely! But if I don't get into the habit of teaching him now, he will come to expect me to always put his plate up as he grows older. Part of the reason children aren't learning responsibility in today's society has nothing to do with them, but all to do with their parents lack of teaching them.

As believing parents, God has given us our children to raise to love and know Him. He has given us the responsibility to be good stewards of what He has given us in our children. Can we do a better job at being purposeful in teaching them about the LORD? YES! Can we do a better job at learning how to become responsible at any age? YES! Don't give up! Keep looking for ways to teach your child responsibility. You aren't raising them to depend on you forever.

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Monday, March 14

Manna Monday- Our God is Unshakable

Good Manna Monday morning! It's been a long time! Three weeks to be exact. I can't tell you how thrilled, how delighted I am to be able to be back blogging about the Joy of Jesus with you, my friends! I am not one to write much about current news, but I wanted for us to take time to reflect on the Tsunami that hit Japan. I have been astounded by what has been happening across the ocean.

More than 10,000 feared dead, millions without food and water. I can't imagine what I would be feeling if that were my home, my state, my country,... my friends and family who were found dead.
As I have been watching the news reports about Japan, one news reporter asked the question, "What kind of force, What kind of water can do this?" A lady interviewed was asked how she survived and said, "We slept three nights in a car." A Japanese Red Cross worker stated to a reporter this disaster was beyond their ability to help. "The entire coast of Japan from north to south has been devastated," he said.

I couldn't help but think about how unshakable our strong foundation is in God. Even when our life circumstances change or are devastated, God is still God. He is more powerful than any tsunami, any hurricane, any volcano eruption.  Isaiah 40:12 says, "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?"  Only God can measure the waters in His hand and knows the exact number of particles that make up the dust and sand. No one else can do that!

One of the reporters stated, "the people I've met are strong, they are happy despite having nothing and are resilient." What if this was the testimony non-believers could give about us as believers? What if this was the continual testimony of our lives despite having much in life or having little? This was Paul's testimony. He said, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

Our God is unshakable. There is nothing, no one who can influence Him or cause Him to stumble. If you experienced your own personal tsunami that devastated your life and everything you had known, would others be able to say your faith was unshakable in God? When the world around you becomes a wasteland, would you find God unshakable?
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Saturday, March 12

Coming Back!

Hey Joy Treasure Friends!
I have been on a much needed break from blogging and have been very productive. I have learned I can't do everything and do it well unless I am focused. Just wanted to let you know I will be returning to blogging starting this coming Monday March 14th. I also will be having an Easter give away in the month of APRIL and will be giving away three paintings leading up to Easter Sunday. Stay tuned. It's gonna be a great month!
So thankful for you all and look forward to reconnecting! Tell your friends and family to join Joy Treasure for paintings will only be given to followers only. Have a great Saturday and take time to rejoice in the LORD!
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