Friday, April 29

Free Art Friday Winner

First let me say, "thanks" to each of you who entered Free Art Friday. If you didn't win today please keep trying. Don't get discouraged. I will continue to give away free art!

Free Art Friday exists to thank my followers for supporting the blogging ministry of Joy Treasure. If you have been blessed by the blog, please tell your family and friends about Joy Treasure.

Stay tuned for next week-I am giving away TWO small 6x6 canvas' for mother's day that you can put on a small easel on a table. The winner next week will win one for themselves and one for their mother.

This week's Free Art Friday goes to.........

Congratulations Gina!
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Wednesday, April 27

Just for Women Wednesday's- Are you Stressed?

Stress...It does nothing good for anyone, and especially for us women. Why do we let it rule our lives at times?  I recently sang at a women's luncheon and the topic the speaker focused on was stress. What could be a more appropriate topic for women. It's because we let She gave a this test out to the women and asked them examine their own stress level. I thought it was worth sharing with you all today. Test your own stress level right now:

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

1. Do you sometimes take on more tasks than you should? ___
2. Do you often have trouble sleeping or getting to sleep? __
3. Do you have headaches frequently? ___
4. Do you sometimes put off doing things? __
5. Do you often feel fatigued or exhausted? __
6. Do you sometimes get irritable when you have too much to do? ___
7. Do you get sick more often than you used to?
8. Do you neglect to eat well and get some exercise? ___
9. Do you often have muscle tension in your neck, jaw or back?__
10. Do you ever feel like giving up when you are overwhelmed? __

If you answered 3 or less you have a low stress level.
If you answered 4 -5, you have some stress abut it doesn't rule your life.
If you answered 6-7, you realize you are pushed in many directions and need to get a handle on it before your stress level rises even more.
If you answered 8-10 you are TOO stressed and need to determine how to remove some commitments.

You can change your stress level. Did you know that? Our greatest way to begin removing stress is to make priorities and remove commitments that aren't urgent and important. It's learning to be okay with not being everything to everyone. It's ok to say, "no."

Another way to lower your stress level is to lower your expectations. When I first married, I thought I had to cook like Martha Stewart every night. (Ha ha!) No one told me to think this way nor did my husband expect it, but when I didn't deliver the high expectations created in my mind, I got upset at myself and it came out in my attitude. I made stress for myself when there was nothing to stress about. "Why did I have grandiose expectations in my mind," I thought. The way magazines and cooking shows present women to cook and live is not reality. It's for entertainment. Since then, I have learned to cook for real! Sometimes women think they have to meet their own expectations in their mind when clearly no one else knows about them nor expects them. It's ok to say, "Go with the flow."

Stress begins to take its toll on our mind and body when we don't acknowledge we lack control over things we can't change. Truth is, there are situations in life we waste time worrying over when we know there is no way to fix the problem. It's ok to say, "I can't change it."

Some easy ways to remove stress
  • pray
  • go for a walk
  • meet a friend for lunch
  • take a short nap and think of nothing
  • remove commitments-(only take on commitments you can keep and give all your attention to)
  • go on a picture taking scavenger hunt- (look for wildflowers, old buildings, old signs, take pictures of)
  • laugh (learn to laugh at yourself and life-get a book, CD, DVD that makes you laugh)
  • journal your feelings
The best way for us to get clarity in our life is to spend some time alone with Jesus. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28. He is the only one who can give us peace in our life as we face mounds of stress.

A De-stressing Challenge
  1. Carve out some time in your day this week and go to a new place with your bible. (A change of scenery is good and to be away from anything that reminds you of stress helps you to have a clear mind. )
  2. Take a notebook and write down all the things that are stressing you in your life at present. Rank the things in life that give you the most stress and make it a focus to rid yourself of these stressful situations. Focus on the top two things that are stressing your life. (Ask yourself these questions: "Do I have control over this situation?" If yes, ask God what changes you need to make. If no, be ok to move on with life and not place undue stress on your mind and body stressing over somerthing you can't change. Then ask yourself," Are there some commitments I need to rid myself on and focus on less commitments where I can give all my time and attention?" Make the changes. Last, ask yourself, "Are my expectations real or fairy tale?" Make truth the focus of your life instead of unattainable expectations. ) 
  3. Pray aloud and give each stress to God. 
If this post has been encouraging to you and you take the de-stressing challenge, tell me about it! I would love to know how you de-stress!
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Free Art Friday this Friday

This week's free Art Friday focuses on loving God with ALL your heart.

Deuteronomy 6:6 says, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

Loving God means we seek Him daily and surrender our lives to His truth and commandments. It's keeping Him as our first thought, best thought and honoring Him by living our lives as a sacrifice to give Him glory and point others to His finished work on the cross.

Free Art Friday begins today, Wednesday April 27th at 11am and will run through Thursday April 28th 9pm. You have to be a follower of the blog to enter for this painting. To become a follower of Joy Treasure see the sidebar on how to join. You can join through Face book, yahoo, google, and twitter. All followers must enter their name for this painting by clicking on the comment section in THIS post. Follow the prompting of the comment box.

 I will gather all the names posted in the comments of this post and my son will draw your name out of a bowl on Friday morning April 29th. The winner will be posted on the blog at 9:30am Friday morning.

This Free Art Friday is simply a "thank you" for supporting the blogging ministry of Joy Treasure.
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Monday, April 25

Manna Monday- Fellowshipping Around the King's Table

"Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." Revelation's 19:9

I pray all of you got an extra helping of God's presence this past Easter Weekend.
May we never take for granted the power of the cross.
I must share with you something that has been on my mind.

On Good Friday, we did something different at my church during the LORD's supper- we sang before and after we ate the bread and drank the grape juice. The song was entitled, "Behold the Lamb: Communion Hymn." What was so special about singing this song with the congregation was that the words talked about sitting around the table of the King and having the Lord's supper. My mind quickly was reminded of the scripture in Revelation's 9:19 (see above).I cannot imagine what it will be like to dine at the King's table in heaven.Can you? I know it's real because scripture tells us it is real.

 As I sat in the choir loft watching the congregation sing these words I got goose bumps. All I could do was just smile as I sang and looked at my brothers and sisters in Christ. Sitting in the choir loft gave me the privilege to see everyone come together in one spirit and one focus to worship Jesus Christ. It was the best seat in the house. To me it was the closest glimpse of heaven I had ever encountered in my life. We were communing together remembering what Christ had done to bring us new life and hope. As I looked out amongst my heavenly family in the congregation singing about the body of Christ it was unlike anything I have ever experienced on earth. Normally, everyone sits in the congregation and we in the choir don't get a chance to see each face as communion takes place. I guess that is what made it so special. I wish everyone could have been sitting where I was because I think they would have felt the same thing too.

I can't describe the feeling that came over me, but it was an intimate feeling, a feeling of true joy as I gazed out towards my brothers and sisters partaking of the Lord's supper together. This is a taste of the song we sang below sung by Keith and Kristen Getty.

For as long as I live, I will never forget this communion time on Good Friday. It brings such joy to my heart to know this world is not all there is. It makes me treasure my christian family in the church more and more as I come to realize they too will be with me in heaven. Do I treat them like my earthly family here on earth? Do I love them like Christ would have me love them? Do I encourage them like I should encourage them. I pray I got you thinking of your heavenly home today. This world is not all there is. Praise God!
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Friday, April 22

Never Too Familiar with the Cross

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember how Jesus carried the cross on his back, listened to the crowd mock him as he carried the weight of the world's sin upon his shoulders, and suffered for you and for me so we would never know the sting of death. It's really a day to remember that we are in a right relationship with God because of salvation through Jesus.

Let us not rush through the day and forget about the power of the cross.
I still remember the day Jesus saved me and called me His own.
Seems like yesterday. Where would I be without Jesus? Where would you be without Jesus?

Since then, I have heard thousands of messages and sermons about the cross.
But I have to admit, sometimes the cross seems too familiar when you grow up in the church.
You hear about it all the time.

Forgive me LORD for being too familiar with the cross and the work you did for me, for others on the cross.

My prayer for you today is that the cross would not become too familiar to your heart..that you would live to continually embrace the power of the cross in your life and live in thankfulness of the finished work Jesus did for you and for me at the cross in regards to sin and death. REMEMBER!

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Free Art Friday Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered this week's Free Art Friday. I have had lots of fun in my studio this week coming up with some new stuff to give away. I hope you'll come back to see what I have to give away next week. Don't get discouraged if you didn't win. Just keep trying and tell your friends!
If you didn't win this week, please come back next week. I have more artwork to give away!

Very excited about a Mother's Day give away in May.
The Free Art Friday winner on May 6th will win two paintings: one for yourself and one for your mother. Cool!

Here are the results for today's winner.
My son drew the name.
Here are the pictures so you know I'm honest.

                           Congratulations Carol! I'll be putting it in the mail to you this weekend.

Thanks to everyone who supports the blogging ministry of Joy Treasure. I pray you are encouraged in the LORD by the content of the blog. Blessings to everyone this Good Friday.
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Wednesday, April 20

What is Maundy Thursday?

I grew up unaware of some of the origins of the names for Passion week. I knew about Good Friday and Easter of course, but my childhood church never talked about Maundy Thursday. My current church is having a Maundy Thursday evening service as well as a Good Friday service. But I've had a lot of people ask me, "What is Maundy Thursday?" I found this site and thought it was helpful in understanding the orgins of Maundy Thursday. Hope you Enjoy!

He is Risen!

What is Maundy Thursday?
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Just for Women Wednesdays- JESUS:A Woman's Greatest Hope

Women can easily put their hope in a lot of things in this world. We hope the new makeup we purchased will make us look and feel better. We hope each morning our hair will look good. We hope to be included with a gathering of other women. Some women look for a physician to give them the hope of having children. Some women are hoping for the doctor to fix their health issues and hope the medicine given to them will work. Some women are hoping for a husband, while others are hoping their husband will come to know Jesus. Some women are hoping for acknowledgment of a job "well done" at work. Some women are hoping for better tomorrows. Some women are hoping to have more purpose in their life. Some women are hoping for restoration to broken relationships while some women are hoping for their children return to the Lord. We are always hoping for something in this life. But as believers, WE HAVE THE GREATEST HOPE EVERYDAY: JESUS CHRIST.

Our greatest hope is Jesus. He is the One who conquered death and brings life and light to our lifeless hearts. When we are discouraged, Psalm 43:5 says, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,..."

When we get easily discouraged and place our fcous on the things of this world or look to the people in our life to bring hope to our hearts, we are missing the finished work of the cross. We are overlooking the hope Jesus came to bring to our hearts. We should hope in God when we don't have an answer to our question, when our health issues can't be determined, when a relationship seems it will never be restored. When life isn't looking good, we shouldn't forget to remember and remind ourselves of a greater hope yet to come- HEAVEN. If this world never brings us better times, we still have the hope of heaven, the hope of eternity, of salvation- the hope unbelievers don't have because they don't know Jesus.

Believers always have hope.

This Easter week, thank God for the hope Jesus gave you through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is REAL hope!

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Tuesday, April 19

Free Art Friday This Friday!

Thinking about the cross and the resurrection- the reason I have for living! We sing this song in choir and I find myself just bursting out singing this phrase from time to time. This is on my mind a lot this week so I wanted to remind you all of the joy we have in Christ Jesus and to be thankful for ALL He has given us through the finished work of the cross.

This painting will be given away Friday morning, April 22nd at 9:30am to followers of the Joy Treasure blog. (You can join Joy Treasure through face book, twitter, yahoo and google. See the sidebars on how to join the blog.)

Followers interested in being a part of this Free Art Friday need to leave their name in the comment box below this post.Simply open this post 's comment page below, write your name in the comment box. Follow the instructions as the comment box prompts you. Free Art Friday begins TODAY, April 19th at 9am and will run through Thursday April 21st 9pm. My son has been drawing the names out of a bowl Friday morning.
This is my appreciation to those who follow the blog and support the blogging ministry of Joy Treasure.  Joy 2 U!
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Monday, April 18

Don't Forget to Check This Out!

Just added my favorite song to the favorite song of the week page: "We Will Remember." The song is sung by the Prestonwood Choir and I have sung it with my choir too. Love these words!! I am singing them continually to myself as I prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of my risen Savior Jesus Christ. Hope you will click on to it and enjoy it as well. He is Risen!
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Manna Monday- Four Ways to Worship God in Everyday Life

Worship doesn't just happen. You have to plan for it in your day.
You have to continually be thinking about the LORD and His word and find ways to make much of Him wherever you are. Worship isn't just for Sunday mornings. It's a way of life.

Worship simply means, to"bow down." Worship happens when a believer turns away from sin and selfishness, and obediently turning to God despite feelings and circumstances.

There are many ways to worship God in your day. And through the years I have tried to make much of Him wherever I am. I wanted to share a few of them with you today. I pray they encourage you!

                                                                    Washing Dishes

I sing a hymn or praise song while I do the dishes. I can't stand doing them, but when I sing a song of praise to God, I have a better attitude can enjoy doing them because I am not focusing on the mundane task, I am focusing on the God of the universe who loves me and gave me eternal life. When you do the dishes, thank God you are able to be healthy to wash them.


I love having my bible close to me when I am in the kitchen. I'll read a verse and let it sink into my heart as I quietly prepare our meal. I quietly worship Him while I focus on an attribute of God or a phrase from the verse. This is a great time to worship God and thank Him as your provider and for providing all the food you have in your home to nourish your family.


Doing laundry is a time for me to remember all God has done in my life. Make laundry a time you come to Him and remember all He has done in your life.  Instead of choosing a bad attitude while doing the laundry, you will find yourself rejoicing through remembering! 

I love taking time to look upon the beauty the LORD has created all around me. Worship God as Creator. Thank Him for creating things of beauty for your enjoyment. Don't speed by the things He has created during your day. Take a moment to stop and gaze upon it and know that He is God.

Worship is a way of life. There are MANY other times in your day to worship God. The best time to worship Him is early in the morning through reading the WORD. But worship doesn't have to stop there. It can truly be a way of life and change your perspective in your day. But it begins only when you deny self and make much of God.

"Then David said to the whole assembly, "Praise the LORD your God." So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king."
1 Chronicles 29:20
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Friday, April 15

Free Art Friday Winner

Congrats Ashley! Thanks for following Joy Treasure. May you be encouraged in the LORD every time you look at this painting.

I have had so much fun with Free Art Friday, that I will be continuing Free Art Friday for the next four Fridays. Don't get discouraged if you didn't win today. Keep trying! You have to enter your name in the Free Art Friday post to be eligible to win.

Love you all and thank God that I can share my heart for the LORD with you all here at the Joy Treasure Blog.

I pray you are always encouraged in the LORD when you come to this blog.
Happy Friday!
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Going with the Flow in Ministry

God takes me a lot of places through my heart for music, writing and painting. I use all things for Him because all things given to me are FROM Him, THROUGH Him and back TO HIM! But this morning I was reminded of a very, very important lesson when serving God- Go with the Flow!!!!!

"Always be prepared." That's what I have been taught all my life.

When I went to sing this morning at a Christian women's meeting, I found a piece of the sound equipment that I had borrowed was missing and the entire system wouldn't work. The Cd's I had brought could not be played and the microphone and speakers were completely obsolete without the proper cords. As I began to fret (just a little) I began to consider my options. "I could play the piano," I thought. Over to my left sat a baby Grand piano in the room with no sound system connected to it. Then I thought, "Lord, you have always told me to be prepared wherever I go for you so what do I do now?" I didn't bring my piano book, nor would it have mattered because no one in the room could have heard me play and sing without a microphone. I stood still and prayed and asked God for direction, "What would you have me do?" He said, "Precious Lord." I had written some new verses to the chorus of the old song "Precious Lord"  a few years ago as I sang in the shower. It was a powerful song and was perfect for Easter. I knew at that moment, it was a song I could do on the fly -A Capella. I didn't worry or fret from that point on. I just gave it to God.

God used the song to bless the women in a way that I wasn't expecting. Many of them told me they loved it because they could hear every word and the words ministered to their hearts. But He also used it to remind me that when we serve Him He requires us to be flexible. There was no need to be worried or fretful. He had other plans that had already been planned for me  and for the women today. I just got a clue when nothing worked!

When something doesn't go as planned when ministering to others and serving God, always have something else you can do on the fly. That is what being prepared is all about. Its being prepared if something happens to plan A& B. Today I went on plan C and I was doubly blessed!!!!

Ministry is best when you are able to go with the flow. If this happens to you, stop, consider your options and pray for God to show you what He would have you do. And sit back and relax. HE has everything under control!
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Thursday, April 14

Free Art Friday Painting

This is the Free Art Friday painting my son will be drawing names for this morning at 9:30am. Stay tuned to Joy Treasure to see if you are the winner.
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Wednesday, April 13

Just for Women Wednesdays- The GRASS is the SAME

A few years ago, I left my job to be a stay at home mom. And this is what I discovered:
The grass isn't greener on one side than the other. It's the same. Whether you are working or staying at home, the roles and responsibilities of a woman in a home remain a lot to juggle and manage.

When I first began my new role as a stay at home mom, I quickly learned staying home brought new challenges. I was shocked. I really thought it would be a great big difference for the better. After all, what could be hard about being able to be home all the time? I quickly found that just because I was able to stay at home with my child didn't mean everything was rosy. There were no parties going on all day with other stay at home mothers and no bon bons being eaten either. I began to understand I was in a different kind of world. But yet, it really was the same in a weird way. The house still needed cleaning, the meals still needed to be prepared. The big difference was that there was less money.

Some things that hit me harder than I thought were :My cell phone quit ringing because no one called for business anymore. In fact, no one really called my cell phone anymore. The time I had worked didn't allow me to make "mommy" friends and so when I began to stay home I found myself lost and out of sorts. The fast paced life I had with schedules and appointments quickly came to a jolting stop. This made me feel unimportant which was a lie because I am important to God! No more meetings and performance reviews. No more rewards for doing good work and someone patting you on the back and telling you, you did a great job. The time I stayed at home was- in a way- lonely for adult conversation and mind stimulation.

For a few months, I found myself stumbling like I was blindfolded through this new life. My days went from being an honorable sales person to becoming a housewife. "Who was Ashley?" I thought. Who was she as a person? I began to find that I had unknowingly attached much of my identity to "what I did" than to "who I was in Christ." When people would ask me what I "did," I found them to turn their heads as I uttered the first word, "stay." It was boring and predictable to them. I now knew what it felt like for those moms who had stayed at home. I had crossed to the other side. 

I had always known I had a desire to stay at home one day with my child, but this change threw me for a loop. There was no paycheck coming in for all the work I did at home. I missed my salary. I missed my great insurance. I missed a sense of "accomplishing" something in the day. There was no performance reviews about how I was doing. Just a "thank you" from my husband. That was very much appreciated. I began to live in fear of "what if" we don't have enough money coming in. I had never in my adult life worried about money. Because I had worked since the time I was 16, I was used to receiving a paycheck. It was odd not to have one. I found myself beginning to pray for my husband's job. I had never done that before. I began to pray for our "daily bread." This has been a great encouragement in our marriage and I have seen God answer prayers. I wouldn't trade this lesson for anything. It has brought my husband and I closer together. 

So being on both sides of the fence I have found that being a woman- whether you are working or staying at home- is difficult either way. Each has its challenges and difficulties. Being able to stay at home with my child has shown me how to make better use of my time and find things for us to do. When I want to have adult conversation, I make it happen. I don't sit by the phone waiting for it to ring. I know what I want to accomplish in a day and if I get certain things done, that is my own performance review saying, "yay! good job Ash!" Being a stay at home mom is great, but it's not rosy either. There are issues to deal with that a working mom doesn't have to deal with and vice versa.

So what is the point of this post?
  1. Be thankful where you are. God has placed you there for a reason. Make the most of it.
  2. Stop looking at what other women "are" or "are not" doing and know each place has its pros and cons.
  3. Enjoy each day to the fullest. We only have each day to live it out fully for God.
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Tuesday, April 12

Free Art Friday This Week!

Free Art Friday is coming this week again!  I am giving away one 8x8 painting on Friday morning in honor of the resurrection of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Enter
You have to be a member of the Joy Treasure Blog. To follow the blog simply see the side bars for how to join. You can join through google, twitter, yahoo and face book. Just because you are a follower doesn't mean you will be entered into Free Art Friday.  Leave your name in this post under comments from now until Thursday evening, April 14th, at 10pm. My son will draw names Friday morning and I will post the results at 9:30am. Thanks for following Joy Treasure. This is my way of saying thank you for supporting the blog ministry of Joy Treasure.
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Monday, April 11

Manna Monday- Prayer's Achievement Record

What do you really think about prayer? Do you come to God in prayer when you are desperate or do you daily bow the knee with humility and submission to God's authority? Prayer matters to the believer but oftentimes, the believer doesn't think much about the power of unceasing prayer. Prayer changes us to become more like Christ. Prayer ignites our hearts to get on board with God's agenda. Prayer relieves worry and stress and allows our hearts to experience the peace of God that transcends all understanding. Prayer helps us think clearly. Prayer helps us see God. What you think about prayer makes a difference in your life. And if you need some encouragement that prayer really matters and works, just look at the long list of its achievments in the bible.

I love this excerpt from E. M. Bounds  about the acheivements of prayer in His book Classic collection on prayer:
"The records of prayer's acheivements are encouraging to faith, cheering to the expectations of saints, and an inspiration to all who would pray and test its value. Prayer is no mere untried theory. It is not some strange unique scheme concocted in the brains of people and set on foot by them-an invention  that has never been tried nor put to the test. Prayer is a divine arrangement in the moral government of God. It is designed for the benefit of people, and intended as a means for furthering the interests of His cause on Earth and carrying out His gracious purposes in redemption and providence. Prayer proves itself"( pg. 208).
So many times we give prayer an afterthought when it should be our first thought, the first and continual action in our daily lives. It is prayer that is proven in the Bible to be the avenue God uses to draw His children closer to Himself, to grow our faith in believing Him and growin our faith, and the tool He provides us to use for His Kingdom Work. Yet, prayer is personal too.

God Cares about the Tiny Details
When I was in college, before working at my summer job, I would excercise at a school track close to my workplace. I arrived at the track one morning only to find no one was walking that morning. I began to pray something very small- but big to me at the time- please bring someone else to walk with me. I didn't want to be alone on that track.

Well, up came a black mangy dog walking around the track who walked with me for two miles. Not one person came to the track that morning until I finished walking. That dog walked me to my car and then he ran off. It was the strangest thing, the most unlikely thing. Or was it? A loving Father wants to take care of His children and when we come to Him, asking Him to take care of our smallest need, that matters to Him as well. I learned that day that God cared about EVERYTHING- big or small, my prayers were all the same to Him. God grew my faith through a black dog.

1 John 5:14-15 says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him."

We know the long list of prayer achievements in the bible. But what about your personal prayer achievements? What prayers has God answered in your life? Where has God shown you His power, His love, His understanding, His protection, His authority, His work, His peace? There's nothing more encouraging to the soul than to write a list of all the prayers God has answered in life. If you want to turn your heart to remember God and be encouraged that He is working in your life, take a piece of paper and write them down one by one. By the end of it you will be praising God and your heart will be revived just by remembering ALL God has done.

Praying for you today like I normally do on Monday!
Thanks for joining me on the Journey to treasure Christ in everyday life!
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Friday, April 8

Free Art Friday! And the Winner is..........

And the first winner is:

And the second winner is:
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Thursday, April 7

Free Art Friday- Remember and Rejoice

Hey friends!
Thanks to everyone who placed their name in the post. I LOVED hearing from you all! Thank you!!!
Sorry I didn't get to post the pics earlier today. Here they are now- pics of the TWO pieces of art I'm giving away in the morning. Hope you all enjoy!

First piece my son will draw in the am: Remember

Second piece of art my son will draw: Rejoice

I give away art to encourage believers in their walk with the LORD. My prayer is that each time you look at a piece of  my art you would meditate on the love, forgiveness and joy in Jesus Christ!

 Blessings to you all and Happy early Friday!!! Thanks to EVERYONE who commented for Free Art Friday!  See you in the am at 9am!

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Wednesday, April 6

Just for Women Wednesdays- Being Deliberate in Friendships

There is no greater blessing than a Godly Christian friend. Can I get an Amen on that! My life is better and changed because of amazing Christian friends God has placed in my life. Stop and say your friend(s) name aloud right now. Thank God for your friend(s). Now look at how you treat them. Do you keep in touch with them? Do you see them face to face often? Do you know some specific things to be praying for for your friend? Do you tell them you are praying for them? Have you sent them a card lately? Do you call and leave them a message on their phone even if you can't reach them and talk to them? These are some things I have been thinking about lately. I admit I fall short... but I want to be a better friend. Don't you?

The cure for loneliness is making personal connections. There is something the Internet cannot do for our friendships that personal connections CAN do. Cultivating Godly friendships take time, effort, and energy. It doesn't just happen. It's work and it takes being deliberate. Trying to keep up with everything else in a week can bring a woman to kick her friendships to the wayside until she has time to "really talk" to her friend. But what we do when we give in to this type of mentality is actually turn down the volume on our friendships. Then we wonder why we feel disconnected from our friend.

So what's a woman to do to keep the friendships burning brightly? I've identified three simple things you can do today to help you be more deliberate in your friendships. It's nothing new but it will get you to thinking about being more deliberate in being a godly friend.

ake a phone call once a week. Each Sunday look at you calendar and consider when you are going to call your friend. This simple action can keep you from forgetting your friend and letting "life" get in the way. A phone call is important because it really shows your friend you care enough to call and keep up with them. Maybe you call them on the same day of each week to make it easy on yourself. Find what works best for you to be able to keep a commitment.

chedule face to face time with your friend at least once a month. Keep a specific time that you meet with your friend. Otherwise time will get away and it can be months before you see your friend face to face- one on one. For example- Maybe you meet the first Monday of each month to have lunch. Maybe you meet once a week after work to walk and talk. Whatever you do, meeting face to face with friends can boost your spirits make you feel connected to your friend instead of feeling isolated from them.

rite a note of encouragement to your friend. Tell them what you see in them and how thankful you are for them. There is no email, no face book message that is better than the handwritten personal note of a friend. When I receive a handwritten card, I feel so loved. Don't you? Keep cards and stamps around so you won't have to scramble to find one.

I pray this post has encouraged you like it has encouraged me. Life is crazy busy. Either time will run you or you will run time. These three simple things are not difficult to do. But if you have a friend you want to keep each of these three things will change your friendships for the better and will make all the difference. Quit giving excuses about why you can't meet and be deliberate with your friendships. Give them the time they are due and be realistic with each other about finding a time to meet. Decide together you will keep it. Then watch your friendship grow and grow and grow!!!!

Proverbs 18:24a says, "A man that has friends must show himself friendly..."

Are you showing yourself to be friendly to your friend?

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Tuesday, April 5

Free Art Friday coming This Friday!

Free Art Friday begins today!!!!! To be able to be eligible, you have to be follower of Joy Treasure either through Facebook or through Twitter, Yahoo or google. Directions for joining the blog are in the sidebar.

To win a paintingIf you are already a follower of Joy Treasure, you do have to write your name in the comment of this post if you want me to put your name in the bowl. Otherwise I will not know you are interested in winning the painting. Simply go to the comment section of this post and write your name. I will take all the names in the post and put them in a bowl and will draw them on Friday morning. You can only sign your name once in this post.

You have TWO chances to win this week!
Free Art Friday will be open from 9am today and run through 9pm Thursday April 7th. After that it's over! I will let my son draw the names out of the bowl. I have two paintings size 8x8 that you can place on a table in a small easel.
Free Art Friday begins now!

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Monday, April 4

Manna Monday- Humility: It's a GOOD THING!


Humility is a GOOD thing! So many times we don't like eating a piece of humble pie in life but when we come to see what God is doing through it, we are always repentant and thankful God has drawn us to Himself through being humbled.

My Story: A Time of Humbling
I have always been able to sing pretty well so when I tried out for a college singing group that offered a  nice scholarship, I thought it was a sure thing. In my mind, I was prideful. But God had other plans. He was going to humble me and I no idea He was going to do that! I wasn't chosen to be a singer in the group, but was asked to be a second keyboardist in the band. At first, I was stunned. I thought, "Play in the band? I don't play in a band, I sing." But when I took a step back and looked at learning something new, I took the challenge. It's only now that I can look back on that specific instance where I can see God was humbling me to draw me to Himself, to teach me not to put any trust in my singing ability and to make me more usable through learning how to play the piano so people could sing along with me. But at the time, I sure didn't feel like there was a greater purpose from my being humbled!

God knew I didn't like having to play for people to sing along with me. I preferred playing the piano for people to listen. But He wanted to stretch me and make the talent He gave me more usable. But He knew I wouldn't do it on my own. So He humbled me to get my attention and to place me in a position where I had to learn how to do it. Today I am able to lead women to worship God through playing the piano and singing at the same time. What I learned in that band years ago prepared me to be able to lead women in worship today. Thank you God!

Humility is a GOOD thing. It's the state of mind we should have everyday. But living in this world, we can easily succumb to the world's view of pride and let some it spill over into our lives. Sometimes we do think we are better off than others. Sometimes we do think we are "something special." Sometimes we do think we are "gifted" in a certain area and no one else can do what we can do. Sometimes we do think we have it all together. But as believers, we aren't supposed to think like this at all. Romans 12: 3 tells us what our mindset should be: "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

The Israelites Humbling
"Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."     Deuteronomy 8:2

When Moses was speaking to the Israelites, he directed them to look back on their wilderness wanderings to remember how God was with them, and led them through the desolate desert. He led them to consider the reason for God's humbling- so He could know what was in their hearts. As believers, we are to remember and look back on the times God has led us through a time of humility. We are to acknowledge His provision and grace for us. And through it all we are to learn how to cheerfully serve him (not grumble because we aren't getting to do what WE WANT to do but to do WHAT GOD WANTS US TO DO.

Through times of humbling we are to place our complete trust in Him despite what we see or how grim the circumstances look. God cares most about our hearts. He cannot use a prideful hearted christian. But He certainly can humble them to draw them  close to Himself to be taught and to place their focus back on God's bigger plan instead of their own plan.

 Has God been humbling you lately? Don't be discouraged, press into Him and listen. Submit to His authority and know He is working things out for His good and your good!
 As Augustine said, humility is first, second and third in Christianity." Source: From Biblos:

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