Wednesday, November 7

Just for Women Wednesdays-



Women have a longing.
A DEEP longing.
A desire for something more in this life that cannot be quenched by anything else. 
We are unique creatures created by God, and we do a good job trying to fill the void of our hearts. 

Silently, we go on seeking and find that:
Macy's and Bloomingdale's can't soothe it.
A quick run to Target can't dampen it
Black Friday can't diminish it.
Extreme Couponing can quell it.
A nice home can't fill it.
A positive mental attitude can't demolish it.
A wonderful husband and family can't pacify it.
Good dates (if single) can't content it. 
Fabulous vacations can't suppress it.
Promotions at work can't suffice it.
Sweet friends that love Jesus can't be substituted for it. 
And yes, even good hair can't snuff it out.

We have a longing to be filled.
A longing to have enough.
A longing that we try to seek in finding other things.
But our greatest longing is to be known by God and to be satisfied in our hearts by knowing Him.
 
We know Him first by knowing Jesus as our Savior (John 14:6, Romans 10:13), and then by growing in our relationship with Him by reading His Word. Yet, the reading of His Word for some of us believers can be quite boring. Opening the pages of the Bible can at times be tedious and uninteresting. Why?

I am convinced being satisfied in the LORD and being excited about His WORD all goes back to the center of our prayer lives. Do we even pray for God to satisfy our hearts with only Himself?

Listen to the prayer of longing from the Psalmist:
  • "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14
The word "satisfy" in Hebrew means to "became satisfied, drink their fill, get enough, fed to the full, have in excess, abundance." The Psalmist is asking to be filled by God and God alone. He is asking for God's love, grace and mercy to fill him and not the things of this world. 

The Psalmist desired for God to be the satisfaction of his life and that being satisfied in Him would be the foundation of His day. What a great thought! What a wonderful prayer! When was the last time you asked the LORD to fill your mornings with His love? When was the last time you even had a desire to be filled by Him instead of by worldly things?

Begin by praying for God to satisfy you with Himself.
Ask Him to give you a love for His Word and that the Holy Spirit would cause His Word to come alive in your heart.
He will do it.
He will do it!

 
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Monday, October 22

Manna Monday- A Beautiful Mind


One of the things I have been asking the LORD lately is to give me a beautiful mind. "Please give me a mind that is more like Christ, than more like myself, God!" I pray. I desire for my mind to be a reflection of His Word, not my sinful thoughts. I yearn, for His thoughts to become my first thoughts. And, as much I want it, it doesn't happen just by going to Bible study or church each week. It simply does not happen. SIGH. Why? Because I leave my thoughts to well, my own thoughts which are sinful because I am naturally born into sin (Romans 8:5).
 
By the time Monday morning comes along, every thought about the sermon, Sunday school lesson or bible study has left my mind like a balloon floating away into the deep blue sky, taking me back to the comfort of my old habitual thought patterns. UGHHHHH!!!!!
 
"Enough," I said.
 
Recently, I have been resolved, determined, to get back to memorizing Scripture.
It has been an amazing journey this past month. I have memorized five Scriptures.
FIVE!!!!
 
Yes, you CAN memorize Scripture. You just have to do one thing: do it!
 
Here is what I do:
Find a Scripture. Write it down on a note card. Study each word. Ask myself questions about the verse like :
  • What does this Scripture mean?
  • What new truth am I learning from Scripture that I have never thought about before? 
  • What new thing am I learning about God? Is there something I am learning about how my response should be toward Him?
  • What is God telling me to do in this Scripture?
  • Is there a sin I need to confess?
  • What encouragement from Scripture am I receiving this morning?
Then I write a prayer on the back of my scripture praying the Scripture aloud. This is a picture of one of the verses:
 
As I go back through each Scripture, I am in awe of God's love for me, and in awe of how I am changing. The key to changing is discipline. It's not going to happen overnight. But it DOES happen day by day! May we become like the Psalmist in Psalm 119 who was in love with the Word of God:
 
"My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times." Psalm 119: 20

Praying this encourages your you wherever you are in your walk with the LORD this Monday!!!





 
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Wednesday, October 3

Just for Women Wednesdays: Praying Deep

 
This is how I pray everyday.
 
It's hard to be so bold dear sisters, but I have to ask you a question, "Are you praying deep?"
 
Are you praying beyond yourself? Beyond your own limited vocabulary? Have you come to a place where you don't even desire to pray much, or if you do, do your prayers sound stagnant and boring, like a repeat of an old song? Have your prayers become like a two liter bottle of Coca-Cola that looks good on the outside to everyone else in a group setting, but when at home and opened, tastes awful due to it's lack of fizz? Is this your prayer life, dear one? It's OK if it is, because every day you have a new opportunity to come back before the throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16) and pray.
 
This was the question I asked myself recently because I don't just want to pray words anymore, I want to pray scripture. I had gotten out of the daily discipline of praying God's Word and I wanted to get back to that discipline. I don't want my prayers to be shallow, I want to pray DEEP. I want to pray beyond my fleshly self. I want my prayers to go beyond my limited vocabulary and fleshly will and go deeper into God's vocabulary and will. I want my prayers to speak His language back to Him. I want His words, to become my words. The only way for that to become a reality is for me to pray beyond myself and to pray scripture.
 
The prayer I prayed today is Psalm 31:3. It's in the picture above this post. I write it down, search it out in study and then memorize it. It's my journey back from praying with fizzle to praying with fire.
 
As a student of the Bible, I love to understand each word. My question this morning was, "what is the difference between 'lead' and 'guide.'" There is a difference. Did you know that?
 
lead- "bring, put, to go in a direction of, turn eyes toward."
guide- "to lead or guide to a watering place, bring to a place of rest, refresh. "
 
Like David, my prayer is that God would lead me in His direction, not my own, and that He would guide me to a place of refreshment. I am so desperate for Him, for his rest, for His Words to water my dry life. Aren't you?
 
If you find yourself  today just like me, I pray that you too, would be encouraged in your heart that there is a better way to pray.
 
Pray beyond yourself.
Pray God's Word.
 
I am so thankful for being able to serve you as I write this post. I am praying this blog continues to inspire, encourage and bring you much joy in the faith.
 Thank you for coming by today! I love you in the LORD!!!!
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Wednesday, September 26

What's a Woman to do with Jealousy?


How do you deal with jealousy? Do you quickly recognize it and give it God or do you let it find a comfortable place in your heart and take up residency? Listen girls, jealousy is a destructive pit that if you don't get a handle on it quickly, can overtake your mind, attitude and actions. Jealousy can move from a temptation to a new way of life. It can ruin your daily thinking and keep you from praying. It can lead to a deep root of bitterness that comes out in everything you say and do. It can be the foundation where other sins are birthed. Don't discount jealousy today and pass up this post. We all need to be reminded of this treacherous temptation. 
 
I still remember a girl from high school that I was so jealous of. I didn't want to be jealous of her because she was so nice, but I was. She was pretty, smart, wore cute clothes, seemed to never have a bad day, was liked by everyone, and every teacher adored her. Every time I would see her, I would just feel so awful about myself. So my natural mind would say, "I wish I was like her."
 
Can anybody relate? Anybody?
 
 
Here's today's truth: God did not create you to dislike yourself.
Get that into your head even if you have to say out loud. He is pleased with "you" His creation. There is NO other YOU!!!
 
When you and I take our eyes off of God and His Word and place our sole focus on what we "wish" we were like, (that we see in other women) our natural mind will take us into the disastrous pit of jealousy every time. We will wallow in the mucky mire and feel awful about ourselves. That awful feeling will turn into hatred towards another woman for making us feel that way. So then this jealousy has birthed another sin, the sin of hatred. We will not be able to get out of the pit of jealousy unless we determine to come back to God. Until we decide we want to be with Him instead of being with our jealousy. If we choose to stay in the pit of jealousy, our minds will naturally begin to adjust to a new normal, and jealous thoughts will have its way and ruin our thought processes.  
 
What I have come to find out as an adult who loves and follows Christ, is that jealousy is always going to be lurking in the least unexpected places. That's why we've got to be watchful and let God's wisdom be the pursuit of our thought lives. The wise woman, the woman who places her aim on learning God's Word in her mind, learns how to recognize the temptation to be jealous and quickly seeks to stomp it out with prayer and truth. Otherwise, the natural mind aims at raising jealousy to the new normal. And what happens then is that we begin to live in defeat instead of in the victory of Christ.
 
Remember the Life of Joseph
Think back to Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37:4). The more his brothers kept their eyes on the favor Joseph received from their father, jealousy overtook their minds. Their minds changed  their attitude and their attitude took over their actions. For we know that they sold their very own brother into slavery (Genesis 37:28).
 
A Real Life Jealousy Plan:
1. Confess who you are jealous of to God.
2. Pray for that woman.
3. Find Scripture to help strengthen the natural state of your mind.
4. Do it over and over again until God has broken you free.
 
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Monday, September 17

Manna Monday- Three "I Will's" of God


Isn't it easy to forget the promises of God?
One day, you are praising Him for each of His promises, and a few weeks later life has thrown you for a loop and you are struggling to remember where each promise you once held on to so dearly is found in the Bible. I am convinced if we will keep God's Word in front of us, we will have more peace, more strength, more joy, more clarity, and more wisdom if we will just open our Bibles. It's all there, in God's written Word. The one obstacle between us and our Bibles is, well... our own selves. We all struggle to keep God's Word at the forfront of our hearts and minds.
 
This Monday, we focus on the "I Will's" of God. Will does not mean "might" or "maybe." It is a word grounded in certainty.
 
Say this verse aloud today.
You will find it a great encouragement as I have found encouragement.
 
"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
 
This Monday is a new day with new opportunities. A new day to receive a new Word from the LORD as you read the Bible. Think about how the God of the universe delights in you. Think about how he quiets your heart with His love. Think about how rejoices over you, His creation.
This is solid truth for our minds to be focused on today. Turning our hearts and minds towards God's promises instead of on our impossible problems nourishes our soul unlike any soul food.
This Monday, rejoice over God's promises of "I will."He is a God of certainty, not uncertainty.
That brings me great comfort and I hope it brings you great comfort too!
 
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Monday, September 3

Manna Monday-Is Your Joy Shallow?

 
Is your joy shaky? Shallow? Stunted by your life circumstances? These are the questions I asked myself recently as I read a book by the late, great pastor Charles Spurgeon, "How to Have Real Joy." Great title isn't it! It's what everyone wants to know. People want to be happy. They want to know joy. They want to know how to get it and keep it. Spurgeon defines what the believer already has in his heart throughout the book. What's interesting to me is joy is not what you think it is.  His thoughts about joy given by Jesus to the heart of a believer gives me so much to think about. I wanted to share one of his thoughts with you today. Have  you ever thought about someone having shallow joy? Listen to how he describes shallow joy. I think you too will find it quite thought provoking. 
"This joy of the LORD in our spirits springs from an assurance that our entire future, regardless of what may happen, is guaranteed by divine goodness. We are joyful when we know that, as children of God, the love of God toward us never changes. The believer feels complete satisfaction in leaving himself in the hands of eternal and unchangeable love. However happy I may be today, if I am in doubt about tomorrow, there is a worm in the root of my peace. Although the past may now be pleasant in retrospect, and the present satisfying and enjoyable, if the future looks gloomy and frightening, my joy is shallow." 
(Source: How to Have Real Joy, Charles Spurgeon, pg.72-73, Whitaker House)
 
This thought about shallow joy makes sense. God gives us His Joy. Because joy is a fruit of the Spirit, the way for it to grow is spending time with Jesus (John 15:1-11). But when we turn away from Jesus and let doubt come in and takeover out thoughts about our future, our joy is not growing. It is not deeply rooted in Jesus. It is deeply rooted in our circumstances. If I believe that God is over all things (Ephesians 1:22), is working for my good (Romans 8:28) and has a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), I need not worry (Matthew 6:34). My joy is shallow when I turn my heart and mind away from believing God's Word. My joy is shallow when something happens and I think God is against me. When I think that nothing good will come out of a bad situation, my joy is shallow. 

Dear sister, when the storms come and we find ourselves thinking this way, our joy IS shallow. It reveals our joy is not deeply rooted in the promises and truths of Christ but in our own control. It reveals that we have not been abiding in Christ like we should.

You have the joy of Jesus in your heart.
Grow the joy God gives you by spending time with Him and reading of His Word (John 15:10-11). When the storms of life come, the joy of the LORD will be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). 

 

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Monday, August 27

Manna Monday- Life is Fragile, Live Joyfully

 
Have you ever stopped to think about how fragile life is?
One minute, and your life can change. One word, and a relationship can be broken. One thought, and a sin can be birthed. One wrong decision, and a lifetime consequence becomes a reality. One glance toward an invitation of discouragement, and your attitude can head south. One turn, and an accident can happen. Life is fragile.
 
Each minute is a moment
So why not live joyfully?
  
James 4:14 says, "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone." What are you doing with the minutes of your life? What are you doing with those "one" things that can take you away from living in the joy of Jesus?
 
My challenge to myself and to you is to take each day, each moment and live in the full measure of the joy of Jesus. How do you do that? I am going to tell you a secret that you already know. And it's not my opinion, it's the very words of Jesus. The joyful life is experienced to the fullest by spending time in His Word and by obeying His Word (John 15:10-11).  Jesus deposits HIS JOY inside your heart upon salvation in Him..... and it is always there in your heart. The problem with joy is that we let sin cover it up, turn away from spending time with Jesus and in turn, our hearts don't treasure His JOY. As a fruit of the Spirit, joy is produced more in our lives when we spend more time WITH CHRIST!!  (John 15:11; John 16:24; John 17:13).
 
 
As you begin this new week, think about how fragile life is. Think about how each minute is a moment. What are you doing with the minutes of your life?  Are you living in constant drama, constant discouragement, constant frustration over the circumstances of your life? You don't have to dear sister! Although life is fragile, the joy of Jesus is stable and secure and can help you move through any storm with confidence. Joy is finding deep satisfaction in God's promises which never change. His Word can be trusted. The more we choose to live in the chaos of life instead of in Christ's joy, we will miss the fullness of the joy of Jesus. It will be covered up because of our sin. Because He is the source of joy, we have to remain where He is. That's why trying to draw near to Him through the reading of His Word is vitally important. Try to memorize a scripture or read a passage a few minutes a day and see how that time well spent can produce more joy in your life than you can ever imagine.
 
Each minute is a moment. Live joyfully!
 
 
 
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Tuesday, August 21

The Prayer that Really Matters


All prayers matter, right?  YES!!!
But what is the prayer that really matters?
Is there a prayer that really matters? And if so, what is it about the prayer that matters?

Over the past year, this question has captivated my heart as I have been praying consistently over the same thing. "What is it about prayer that really matters?"

The Prayer Path
I come humbly to God.
I lay my burden (that I cannot bear) down at His feet.
I wait. wait. wait.
I feel confident that I have laid the burden down at His feet.

Silence.
Nothing has changed.

A few days later, the request comes rushing back to my mind.
I see no answer.
I doubt.
I become anxious fearing the future.
Discouraged.
Filled with a little disbelief. Hating the disbelief but knowing I need to fight the disbelief.
So I turn.... I turn back to the Holy Scriptures.
I read.
My heart is encouraged.
My mind is filled with truth instead of emotions.
I come humbly back again to God believing that He hears me.
I lay my burden (that I cannot bear) down at His feet.

Silence.
I pray.
I wait.
I pray.
I wait.

Days pass.
Months pass.

Silence.

I begin to question God again like a sheep that has gone astray.
"God, do you hear me?" I say. "Where are you? I need you!!"
I turn to read the words of the prophet Micah, "But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." Micah 7:7
Micah is confident. Me,....not so confident.
My heart rejoices in his confidence in the LORD. I want the same confidence for my own heart.

Still Silence.
Days later, nothing has changed,

I turn to read the words of the Psalmist, "Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him" Psalm 4:3

I believe the LORD hears me but I still don't see an answer.
Reflection.
I am sorry LORD. I have been acting like an impatient child who calls out his mother's name 11 times in the grocery store. But am I really impatient, OR am I becoming more dependent on my heavenly Father instead of myself?

Persistence in prayer matters. The Bible says so.

More reflection with a question.
"What does God really want from me?" I question myself.
Dependence. Half- hearted dependence? No.
Total, complete dependence. Everyday, all the time. YES!!

You see, the more we don't see Him answer, the more we come seeking Him. The more we come searching for Him. Calling out His promises to Him. Believing He WILL answer just like His Word says He will.

Webster's Dictionary describes this as persistence: Inclined to persist; having staying qualities; tenacious of position or purpose.

Listen to Luke 11:8 when Jesus is talking about the prayer that really matters:
"if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence." (NLT)

"yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs." Luke 11:8 9 (NASB)

Then I am reminded of Romans 12:12:
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (also means persistent in prayer.)

Listen to the words of the commentary on Luke chapter 11 verse 8.
He does not promise to give blessings "at once." He promises only that he will do it, or "will answer" prayer. But he often causes his people long to wait. He tries their faith. He leaves them to persevere for months or years, until they "feel" entirely their dependence on him, until they see that they can obtain the blessing in no other way, and until they are "prepared" to receive it. Often they are not prepared to receive it when they ask it at first. They may be proud, or have no just sense of their dependence, or they would not value the blessing, or it may "at that time" not be best for them to obtain it. But let no one despair. If the thing is for "our" good, and if it is proper that it "should" be granted, God will give it. Let us first ask aright; let us see that our minds are in a proper state; let us feel our need of the blessing; let us inquire whether God has "promised such" a blessing, and "then" let us persevere until God gives it. (Source: Barnes Commentary http://bible.cc/luke/11-8.htm)
Thank you God that you tell us in your Word over and over again that persistence is the key that matters in all praying. Thank you that persistence leads to dependence on You. Help us to be a people, fixed on your will and purposes and not our own. Help us learn through prayer how to depend on you for everything. Grow our faith in the waiting and help us to cling closely to your promises in your truth that believe that you hear us. Thank you for being the God who sees and hears!
                                                                                                           In Jesus Name, Amen.
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Monday, July 30

Manna Monday-Keeping it Real On Joy Treasure


Hey JT Friends!
One of the things I really try to do here on the Joy Treasure Blog is to keep it real. So here I go! I am not some blogging machine that can always give you the best advice, or point you to the right scripture or tell the best stories. I get tired, busy, behind in cleaning my house, struggle with with being a wife, mom and friend. Life is hard. But I have learned, it's OK to have these kind of days. 


Lately, I have been out of town a lot and I have been trying to blog and encourage you here on the Joy Treasure Blog and on the Joy Treasure Facebook Page. But the truth is, I am tired sister. I have lots of things to do in the next couple of weeks. My son is starting school soon, and I want to spend all the time I can with him before the summer is over. I need to refuel with my LORD and get revived so I can be a vessel to encourage your walk with the LORD. I don't want to move forward in my own weak strength. I want to be strengthened by Christ. At present, I feel like an empty pitcher that is out of water. I can't pour out anything to you because there is nothing to pour out. And when I get this way, I stop blogging because I don't want to try to make something up for you. I want to be a woman yielded to the LORD, following Him in seeking the truth to encourage you.


I have had these times before, and I have learned that in these times, I find the LORD more real to me than ever before. It's in being dry that I find the truth of Jesus being my "Living Water"(John 7:38). I share this with you here on the blog because I know you want to know that I struggle too. I do dear sister!!! You want to know that I am not some Christian lady who is always giving, always quoting scripture for everything and always prays. I don't always do this. I struggle. I trip up. I get discouraged. But, I come back and spend lots of time with Jesus and get refueled and become stronger in Him, not in myself.


My blog break will be for two weeks. I will not be posting any new content. 
While I'm out, look around on the JT blog at older content during my blog break. 


I am thankful for your support here on Joy Treasure.
Look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks!!!

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Wednesday, July 25

Just for Women Wednesdays- The Ugly Struggle with Body Image


Can I share something with you? I want to be tall. I REALLY want to be tall!!! But, I am not. Not at all. Not even close. Not even kind of close. Not even the average height. But you know what?  It's OK. It's really OK! It has taken me a long time to proclaim it, but it's true. I like being short. God made me this way and He is pleased with my stature. And if He is pleased, I am pleased.


This struggle began when I was in Junior High School when I realized while everyone around me was growing taller, taller, taller....I myself was not. No. I didn't even grow one inch after the age of 12. 


As I grew older, I would dream about what it must be like to be one of those tall statuesque models while looking at teen magazines. I would think, "I wonder what it is like to be able to wear that shirt or those jeans." Clothing in the eighties did not provide the options that it offers today for a small woman. During this time, the more I began to fixate on being tall, the more I disliked the height God made me. The more I disliked the height God made me, the more I didn't like myself. You name it, I have been called it. It has taken me years to overcome this height barrier and embrace my small stature. It's only because I focused my mind back on God and His Word in Psalm 139:14 that I have been able to overcome the reality of my short self. Mining the rich treasure God "wonderfully made" me has changed my perspective. Choosing to choose the truth of God instead of what's popular in the world has made all the difference in my thought life.


Why do I share this struggle? I share my height struggle with you, dear sisters, because I want you to know that I still have to fight it sometimes. And If I have to fight it, I bet there is something you have to fight too. And it's OK. We all have body image struggles at some point and time. I wish I could say I never think about being tall anymore. But sometimes I do. It's rare when it happens. Every now and then it rears its ugly head when I meet a very tall woman or I find myself in a crowd where there are lots of taller women. And the feeling can come crashing on my heart like a tidal wave and I begin to feel....short. Overlooked. Insignificant. And I have to talk to myself and remind myself of God's promises and pray when this happens. And soon, I am good. But it has taken me years to get this way.


I wonder what you are struggling with this day? What about your body image is stealing the joy of being God's daughter and believing that He has wonderfully made you? Bring it to the LORD. Take your thoughts to the scripts (scriptures, that is!). Let God's Word powerfully wash over your harsh criticism of yourself and bring you to a place of peace. And if and when it rears it's ugly head again at you, go back to Psalm 139:14 and say to yourself, "I am wonderfully made. God is pleased with me and that's all that matters."


Prayer:
Dear God, I sometimes don't like _______________ about my body. Forgive me for letting it steal away precious time from seeking You. Help me to overcome this hold it has on me. Make my mind a place where your truth reigns instead of my insecurities reign. Your Word tells me that I am beautiful in your sight and that you have made me and are pleased with me (Psalm 139). Thank you for hearing my prayer. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Monday, July 23

Manna Monday-Boring or a Blessing? A Real Life Thought about the Bible






Sitting in my airplane seat yesterday afternoon, I was tired, ready to get home and the selfish thought of wishing I had more room to move my arms around came creeping into my mind. It's not like I am a big person and am stifled by the lack of space. I am a small woman and can fit into many small places and still have some room. Being a stature challenged person in a big world can have benefits on a airplane. But it's my attitude that was getting a little big. I knew if I didn't get a handle on it, it would begin to get a hold of me. So I had to talk to myself. "Be thankful," I said. "You get to go home and not be delayed anymore." 


So as I got settled into my seat and found a comfortable spot to rest my arms I began to relax. And then the flight attendant began talking about what to do in an emergency. Yada Yada Yada, I thought! "How many times have I heard this before?" I thought. She was talking, but I wasn't listening. The same familiar and needed safety message was vitally important. Quickly, I began to look around the plane and noticed everyone looked the same way as she spoke the safety instructions. Bored. Checked out. Uninterested. 


Then, the LORD gently whispered to me, "Ashley, this is what you can be like when you come to my Word. This is what believers can be like on a Sunday morning as they listen to a sermon." I was so convicted because I began to think about the times when my mind wanders off and I can write something off from the Bible off as boring. But it's in these times, dear one, that we need to press in and draw more nearer to God and His Word and listen.


Does the Bible seem boring to you? Do some of the familiar passages simply sound familiar and you think to yourself, "I know about this story!" It's OK to say "yes." Through saying "yes" you are admitting that you want to know more about His Word and go deeper with Him. You are tired of milk and want some meat. Dear sister, the Bible is NOT BORING. It's alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). God's Words are as sweet as honey (Psalm 119: 103). They make you wise and can restore your soul (Psalm 19:7). But you have to read it and mine the treasures. They don't automatically come into your mind and heart.


Are you in need of something sweet? Are you in need of help to make you wiser woman? Are you in need of restoration? Dear one, you have it. It's the Bible. Open it. Get into it. Find a book to help you understand a passage in a deeper way along with reading the Bible. 


Action Plan
This week, determine what you want to learn more about and buy a book to go along with your personal study. Pray through the topic/passage and seek God. He will open your eyes to something you have never known before. There are so many study aids or books to add to your study of God's Word. Go to  www.christianbook.com to help you find a book to read along with a familiar passage.


Know this dear sister: when you begin to feel bored about God's Word remember, this is good! This is a hunger pain that wants to be filled by deeper truth. A blessing awaits you around the corner if you won't give in to scripture boredom. You will have to work for your blessing through study and prayer, but in turn you will mine a great treasure of truth. And all this stems from a feeling of boredom.


Dear LORD, I know this feeling of boredom and I know that you have rescued me from this feeling at times. It's in these times You have given me some of the greatest treasures of truth. I pray if any woman is feeling this way about Your Word today, that You would enable her to move beyond this feeling and seek You. Please help her not to give in to the fleshly feeling of boredom and walk away from You empty, but to come to Your table, eat, and be filled by your life giving truth. You promise it!!! Thank you!!!
In Jesus name, Amen

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Monday, July 16

Manna Monday-Do You Trust Me?


"But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 
Psalm 31:14


Recently, my son began questioning the future events of the day as to whether or not they would happen...aka "are we going to play with my friend?" We were running errands and it wasn't time for our play date. As I explained and provided answer after answer to his questions, the phrase, "Do you trust me?" suddenly came pouring of my mouth. My little fella quieted down and said, "yes, momma. I trust you." He knew I would take care of him based on how I had taken care of him in the past and therefore, he trusted I would take care of him that day and get him to his play date


As my mouth directed my son to focus on my character and that I would take care of him like I had in the past, immediately, I thought about how God says the same thing to me when I come questioning the timing of events in my life. I tell God I need to do "this" and I need to get "here" and I really hope that He won't forget "that" and all the while He is saying to me, "Do you trust me?"


And do I?


The older I get, the more I see that trusting God is not merely talking about trusting Him, but praying through life circumstances immediately instead of whining, complaining and questioning His goodness.It's quickly placing my mind off of my circumstances and back on to His promises. It's human nature to automatically question and complain. My son wanted to whine and ask lots of questions. But he is maturing as he grows older and it didn't take long for him to immediately get the picture when I said, "do you trust me?" 


Trust is hard to see because it is not something that is tangible without a relationship. It's through a relationship with God that we learn to trust Him. It's hard to trust Him if you don't know His Word. Through His Word, He reveals His character, power and who He is. My son trusted me because he knows my character. He has a relationship with me. He spends time with me. He knows what I will do based on what I have done in the past. I have shown him that I will take care of him in the past and he can trust me to do what is best for his future. It's the same with God, but in a much better way. I am a sinner and God is God. He is pure, holy and wonderful. He is all powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise. He sees the bigger picture in our lives when we don't see it and don't understand it. He has shown us in His Word that He is "who He says He is" and will do "what He says He will do." And He asks His children to "trust" Him. To "believe" Him. To "rest" in knowing that He has taken care of everything.


As I close this post today there was something else I thought about as my son quit asking and complaining about when we would get to the play date. He was learning that before he could get what he wanted, he would have to go where I would lead him. In other words, he was gonna have to wait and trust me as I ran errands and  believe that I would not forget where he wanted to go. The time had to be right. I knew he would not understand the list of what I had "to do." He just knew it was not time to play yet. It's the same with God. We don't see how he is working, but He is. He knows what He is doing. And we simply have to follow His lead even when we don't understand.


I don't know where you are today in your walk with the LORD dear sister. Some of you may be hurting right now. Trust God. Some of you may be fearful of an upcoming test result. Trust God. Some of you may be asking "why" your child has learning difficulties and social difficulties and you don't understand. Trust God. Some of you may be wanting to do something different in your work and you don't think you can step out and do anything different. Trust God. Some of you may be in a marriage that is not going well and you have come to the end of your rope. Trust God. Some of you may be single and longing to be married and wonder anymore if God hears your prayers for a spouse. Trust God.


Trust God. 


Come close to Him and hear him say to you, "Do you trust Me?" and then follow after Him step by step keeping your eyes on Him. He will not let you down. He will not let you slip. He will not forget you. He will not forsake you. Why? Because He loves you. 


He loves you.






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Wednesday, July 11

Just for Women Wednesdays-Getting Out of the Mud of Emotions



"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1Peter 1:13


Do your emotions seem to get the best of you some time? Do you ever feel frustrated about having to deal with the same emotion again and again? You pray. You read scripture and pray some more and still, it feels like you can't move forward out of the muddy mucky feelings. 

There are two things you need to do  first when you feel like this: A Mind Check and a Mouth Check. These two checks will reveal what you are dealing with. Once you know what you are dealing with, then you can move forward to get out of it.

Mind Check:
Everything begins in the mind and left to its natural state, it can produce nothing beneficial for a believer. That's why Paul preached to "renew" the mind through the reading of God's Word (Romans 12:2). The Bible says, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:2). Ask yourself this question, "What earthly thing is taking my mind away from focusing on Jesus, His Word, and keeping me from thinking about life with an eternal perspective?" Is it coveting something someone else has and you can't have it, which then produces anger, bitterness, envy, or discouragement towards that person or someone else? Is it fearing the uncertainty of your future which in turn produces thoughts in your mind about unbelief or anxiety, etc...  


Action Plan:
Write the emotion(s) down on a piece of paper.  Getting the emotion out of your mind and putting it out in the open will help you to begin moving out of the muddy mire of defeat. Next, find one scripture that addresses the emotion and memorize it. Focusing on one scripture is doable and doesn't make you feel overwhelmed. You might want to add scripture later, but lets at least be focused in our pursuit to get out of the mud pit!!!  Last, give the emotion to God through prayer. Every time you begin to feel the emotion, let the frustration you feel about the emotion coming back, lead you straight to the arms of God and not to the mud where you like to wallow. Give it to God again. Practicing this over again is how you begin to make a habit of bringing your emotions to God instead of the mud pit. The thoughts that you let rule in your mind determine how long you will wallow in the muddy emotion. The longer you think about the emotion, the longer you are making a conscious choice to choose your self and your feelings over choosing God.

Mouth Check:
What comes out of your mouth reveals the state of your heart. What is the tone of your words lately? What words are you choosing to use? If you whine, grumble or use sarcasm, you are in the mucky muck. The worst use of words is the under-the-breath-grumbling that comes out when you want to talk to yourself but don't want anyone to hear. God hears!! It doesn't please Him! All of these emotional use of words reveal that you are in need of some heart surgery...to let the LORD of LORDs search your muddy heart and clean it so it is renewed again (Psalm 51:2)


I found this to be interesting about how women differ in their emotions from men:

"The American Journal of Sociology, Robin Simon, Ph.D., and Leda Nath, Ph.D., presented the results of interviews conducted with 2,904 men and women across the United States about how frequently they experienced various emotions. They found that men and women had nearly the same number of emotional occurrences in a week, but women had more negative emotions and men more positive. Source (http://www.livestrong.com/article/162532-list-of-10-most-common-emotions/#ixzz20I0AifBJ")
Women have more emotions that can bring them down than bring them up. That's why we need to be careful and alert to renew our minds through the washing of the Word of God. We can't think positive on our own for a long time. We will become negative again! But with God, His Spirit, and the reading of His Word, we can fill our minds with solid truths that can withstand the change in life circumstances. 


Don't you want more truth in your mind than harmful, negative emotions? 
Then get going and do what the Bible says! He will help you!
Choose to live in truth instead of in the latest emotion. 
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Tuesday, July 10

A Woman, a Hair Cut, and Submission?

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

Do you ever mess up so bad in making appointments on your calendar that you want to pitch a fit? And you know pitching a fit is not godly. So you don't. But inside, you are frustrated at yourself and you really want to pitch a fit! It's tough being a woman sometimes! 

Well, this is what happened to me recently and submission to God had everything to do with this life lesson. Let me give some background information...I never miss a hair appointment! NEVER! I plan them months in advance because my hair stylist is a mom who doesn't work everyday, so she is difficult to get an appointment within a week or even a month... you get the picture. 

Now, I am so glad some of you don't have this problem with your hair cuts. Maybe you cut your own hair, or your friend cuts it, or your sister, or husband. That's wonderful! I don't have that luxury in my life! 

The planning of my hair appointment for the month of June got all mixed up when I forgot to account for Vacation Bible School. I made a mistake and set the appointment for the last day of Vacation Bible school. So then I had to cancel the appointment because I was teaching on that Friday morning. It was kingdom work y'all and that took precedence!!! That put me three weeks late for a hair appointment.

Long story short, I have been in a huff inwardly since I haven't been able to get my hair done.   My roots are down to my ear (kidding of course!, But they are long!) and my length actually has grown out which hilariously I have received more compliments of the length than I ever have in middle of the dead heat of summer. Isn't that something! 

Hilarious!!
Seems like a boring post about a blond (who pays for being blond), but it's real life for me dear friend, and I know it will encourage you today. 

You are probably asking, "What does your hair appointment have to do with submission, Ashley?" 
I will tell you what it has to do!

Because my appointment was three weeks past due, (three weeks for a girl who gets her hair done every four- five weeks), God convicted my heart and revealed to me that even when I make a mistake like setting the wrong dates for my hair appointment, He wants me to make the best of it and lovingly submit my attitude to Him and not complain about it to myself and to others. He longs for my attitude on the outside to reflect my heartitude on the inside.  God wants me to bring all of my frustrations about the silliest of things in life and submit my attitude to His authority and Word. 

Often, we consider submission in reference to marriage and obeying authorities in charge. But submission to God is in everything! And many times, we don't think about submitting our attitude to the LORD. We like to submit to Him in other things but not our attitude! Our attitude is revealed by the words we choose to say and the thoughts we choose to think and the facial expressions we choose to portray. So on the outside, we reveal that we are being selfish and choosing our selfish feelings instead of submitting to God's Word. And everyone can see it! Submission to God is heart that yields to Him as LORD and obeys His Word. 

When I was beginning to have an outward attitude about my hair that was not reflective of the heartitude on the inside, I was reminded of the following verses:
"...give no opportunity to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27) 
 "Do all things without grumbling or questioning," (Philippians 2:14) 
God used this little frustration to convict my attitude and bring it under the submission of His Word. He revealed to me that I was to make the best of my hair until it was time for my appointment and not grumble about it. 


What about you dear one? What is God using in your life to change your attitude? Yield to Him. You will be so glad you did!

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Thursday, July 5

Just for Women Wednesdays- The Cure for a Jealous Woman

"When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. 
                 So she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I'll die!"   Genesis 30:1  

Can you imagine being married to a husband that had another wife? Now imagine that the other wife was your sister! To top it off, your sister had no trouble having children while you remained barren! Imagine the deep pain, the inner turmoil that would exist. It would be too much to bear day in and day out! How would you feel about yourself? What kind of thoughts would run through your head? Imagine with me how the sight of Rachel's sister, Leah, blessed upon blessed to have children might have taken her to a very conflicted place as she herself remained barren.


The story of Rachel's struggle to have children is one that speaks to all women. Why? Because at the root of her desire is the sin of jealousy. Women struggle with jealousy. There, I've said it. You can feel better now knowing you aren't the only one!!! Jealousy is not just about not having children. It's about wanting what others have. Jealousy crops up in the most unexpected places. You can have your quiet time with Jesus and then midday be wherever...Wal-mart, Chick-Fil-A, the mall, vacation, the park, work, church and even inside your home and a jealous thought can arise. Maybe it's a cute outfit you admire and you can't afford a new outfit. Maybe it's another's woman's physical fitness you admire and you can't seem to discipline yourself to get yourself to the gym. Maybe you want to be married, or if you are married, maybe you want to have children. Maybe you want to stay home if you work, and work if you stay home! Wherever jealousy presents itself, hold fast dear one, and be encouraged!!! There is a cure for jealousy- Jesus. The more time we spend with Him, the less time we spend being jealous! 


Jealousy is a rebellious thought. Have you really thought about it like that? We have become so comfortable laughing off our jealousy. But inside, there is turmoil. There is unconfessed sin. Jealousy goes against choosing to think about truth. It is rooted in pride and envy which focuses on YOU instead of on GOD.

A commentary describes the jealousy of Rachel saying:              
"Envy is grieving at the good of another, than which no sin is more injurious both to God, our neighbour, and ourselves. But this was not all, she said to Jacob, give me children or else I die - A child would not content her; but because Leah has more than one, she must have more too; Give me children: her heart is set upon it. Give them me, else I die, That is, I shall fret myself to death." (Source:http://bible.cc/genesis/30-1.htm)
Wow! Did you catch the phrase, "grieving at the good of another." These words reveal the depth of jealousy Rachel had for Leah. Rachel proclaimed she would "die" if she didn't have children. Listen, dear sister, the words that come out of our mouth, reveal the state of our heart. They reveal what we really are thinking inside our heart.


What do you do with jealousy? What do you do with those inner thoughts of envy that can swim around in your head if you let them? Here are four ways to walk you through that jealous thought.


1.Turn Away from Jealousy 
Don't turn your eyes and then keep walking in jealousy....TURN your body and go the other way!!! What is the other way? Go straight to your Bible and start reading. Searching God's truth will begin filling your mind with good thoughts instead of rebellious thoughts. 

2. Confess Jealousy Quickly 
Take the jealous thought captive. When a criminal is taken captive, a mugshot is taken of him or her. Do the same for your jealous thought? Take a mugshot of it. Name the jealous thought on a piece of paper and put it in a place where you can see and be reminded of it. Delaying your jealous feelings instead of confessing them quickly will continue a mindset of jealousy. It will stifle your relationship with God. If you continue in a mindset of jealousy, you are becoming friends with the rebellious thought and giving it permission to return. Jealousy will eat you alive on the inside and eat up all the good truths and leave you bitter. Don't let it find a comfortable place in your heart. 

3. Pray for Your Jealousy
Just because you pray one time about jealousy, doesn't mean it won't return. Keep praying and fill your mind with scripture instead of jealous thoughts. Get your mugshot out and look at it and bring it back to the LORD. If you are jealous of another woman, pray for her by name and thank God for all the things He is doing in her life (Romans 12:15). Rejoice with her!! Jealousy has no company with Jesus.

4. Accept Where You Are
The more we spend with Christ, the more we become like Christ. God has placed you where you are. He is working!!! Embrace the life He has given you at present. Instead of focusing on what you don't have, focus on what you DO have. 

Dear one, jealousy WILL find it's way into your life. The question is, "what will you do with it when it presents itself in your mind and heart?" Roman 12:15 instructs us to "rejoice with those who rejoice." Rejoice with that other woman who is physically fit and be inspired by her to get yourself back to the gym. instead of being jealous of her, learn from her. Rejoice in the good things that are going on in their lives. Learn from other women instead of compete with them. 


Last, don't let jealousy steal your day. Life is TOO short to be a jealous woman.


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Sunday, July 1

Free Art Friday

 So, I guess I should have planned my Free Art Friday better this past Friday! Sorry for the inconvenience to all who entered.

My helper decided to visit the grandparents Thursday night and spend the night so he wasn't here on Friday morning and didn't return until late Friday night and then he was tired. Boy, this helper job can get a little complicated. On top of that, we had a Sunday School Fourth of July social at our home last night. Great fun, but....lots going on. We are all rested up now and were able to draw our winner this afternoon. YAY!!! Thanks to my son for his drawing for this month's winner!  (Note: My Ipad is not taking the correct size picture so when I switch them over to the blog they won't enlarge. If you can't see the names here, I have listed the names of those who entered.
 Stacy Hart, Heather Redd, Heather Goss, Lindsay Wilbanks, Tonya Lewis, Leslie Harper, Anna Parker, Stephanie Odle, Amy Williams.
 Down in the Dr. Suess bowl they go!!
 And we got one!!!! Who is it?
Congratulations Lindsay Wilbanks!!!! 
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