Wednesday, January 30

Just for Women Wednesdays- Why You Should Learn from Envy

How do you deal with envy in your heart? What do you do with it? No need to push it aside because the Bible says it can rot the bones (Proverbs 14:30). That's how bad it is!! It penetrates to the very frame of your body. Envy can begin with a tiny thought but unchecked it can go to the depths.
A Heart Changing Question
I am always trying to learn from other believers. I want to be a lifelong learner and not drift through this life and take what's fed to me. I want for truth to do SOMETHING to my heart; not bounce off of it like I never heard it. A couple of the ways I keep learning is by:
  •  reading a Christian book
  •  listening to a pastor online
  •  going over my pastor's sermon notes
  •  listening to other believers in my church in Sunday School
  •  learning from my friends lives
  • journaling about my life
I really want to learn. I have to make myself deliberately listen. It's easier to not listen and just be busy. I try to challenge myself to read one book a month. The book I am re-reading is "The Eve Factor: Resisting and Overcoming Temptation." by Shirley Rose published by Navpress 2006.
When reading any book I highlight the most important "aha" truths/quotes/questions that stand out to me because I want to remember it.
Today's post is centered around the quote below from Shirley's book, page71.
It's one of those parts of a book that hits home to my heart. This was my "aha" moment.
"We can't help it if we see something we want. Be we can determine why we want it so much."  Shirley Rose
Read and ask yourself the same questions Shirley asks:  

We can learn from the sin in our heart by simply asking questions about the root of the sin. But we can't learn from it if we don't acknowledge it and face it head on. The best way to bring it to the light is to stop thinking about it and write it down on a piece of paper. Writing it down brings it out in the open. Then, you can look at it and begin bringing it to the LORD through prayer and seeking scripture. You can begin seeking the root of your envy. If you know why you are agreeing to it, you know how to guard yourself more.
Why should we learn from envy? Because envy steals the life from our body. It poisons us and makes us ineffective for the LORD and stifles our intimacy with the LORD.
A heart checked, confessed and brought to the LORD continually gives life to your life.
But envy dear sister steals the life out of your life.

Be encouraged today!
We don't have to be perfect.
We just need to be pursuing the right things of God!
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Monday, January 28

Manna Monday- Revamp Your Quiet Time

The Daily Dilemma
Ughhh! Why do we battle with spending time with God? Shouldn't we want to set aside time to converse and hang on to the Words of the God of the Universe, our Creator, Redeemer and King every morning? Sounds commendable on paper but in reality, its a real conflict.
The Root of Our Quiet Time Struggle
The Flesh
Daily, our flesh wages war against the Spirit of God inside us. The apostle Paul said, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out (Romans 7:18)."While we are here on this earth, we will struggle with our flesh that procrastinates and rebels against spending time with God. But take heart, dear one. We have  help through Jesus Christ- the Holy Spirit, "...the Spirit helps us in our weakness...(Romans 8:26).

Unconfessed Sin
The other piece of our quiet time struggle is unconfessed sin. Flashback to the Garden of Eden. Remember the famous scene where the first couple veiled themselves with degrading fig leaves (Genesis 3:8-11)? They tried to deal with their own sin and hide from God. In actuality, they broke fellowship with their heavenly Father. Yet God found them. He longed to be close to them again. And He asked them to confess why they were hiding. Truth is, we don't like confessing our sin. It's hard and painful. But the reward is unity with God! Stop hiding under your own kind of fig leaves and come back to your tender heavenly Father. He is waiting.

Three Ways To Revamp Your Quiet Time Today

1. Change Your Mindset
Say "so long" to boring and purposeless quiet times. Adopt a new mindset that believes the most High God who wants to talk to you and desires for you to talk to Him. You are not "doing" something to check off on your "to-do" list. Simply come before God and ask, "I want to love you more. Help me love You more." He wants to have a conversation with you. So talk to Him. Begin the conversation.

2. Take Inventory of Your Questions
When you want to get to know someone more, you ask questions. Start asking God to teach you truths you don't know in His Word (Memorize Psalm 25:4 and pray it back to God). Take a notebook and label it "Questions for God." Make a list of every question you have for God. Maybe it's about His character, attributes, a life story in the Bible, a topic in life that you are unsure about. Then seek it out in the Bible first. Once you have searched the scriptures and prayed about it, then purchase a book from your local Christian bookstore, https// or online at on what you are desiring to learn more about. Read all you can from real pastors and Christian authors. God uses other people to teach us too. It's amazing what insight you will gain by searching scripture first, praying about it, and then reading from other believers. A whole new world of exciting knowledge and truth about God will begin to infiltrate your heart and overflow into your daily life.

3. Make A Quiet Time Place
Just like you have a place for your makeup and kitchen utensils, make a place for your quiet time materials. Decorate the inside of a drawer and make it appealing to the eyes when you open it. Keep the items in a special basket or storage container in your den, kitchen or living room. Purchase your favorite color journal or CD to play. Use praise music to get your mind off of the world and onto Jesus. Buy a coffee mug that you only use during quiet times. Carve out a nook in your home where you go and make it as special as you can. Make it a place you love to go to!!Most importantly, keep your schedule away from the quiet place because your mind will start  to wander.

Take the Joy Treasure Challenge
There is no time like today to get started conversing with the God of the Universe.
He loves you. He longs for you to know Him (Psalm 139). 
Attempt one of these three things today. 
Complete all by the end of the week. 
I would love to hear how this post encouraged you!
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Thursday, January 24

Just For Women Wednesdays- 5 Ways to Supercharge Your Prayer Life

Do you want a more effective prayer life? A supercharged more purposeful way of praying? Does your heart yearn to pray more than "God be with me" prayers? That's what happened to me a few years ago. I came to a crossroads in my prayer life where I was tired of praying the same prayers. I was ashamed when I listened to myself pray a bunch of words without purpose and passion. As I listened to myself, I thought, "This cannot be prayer that is effective"(James 5:16-17). I craved to be able to talk to God with passion and purpose instead of praying the same words from my limited vocabulary. I learned to pray God's Word back to Him. It has made ALL the difference.

Even now, there are times when my prayer life becomes stagnant. I don't chastise myself. I shake things up and get myself energized to pray again.

Five Ways You Can Supercharge Your Prayer Life
1. Soak Up the Word-
Staying away from God's Word steals the energy out of prayer. You are praying out of your limited vocabulary and dry heart. Think of a sponge. It soaks up water so it can be used to clean things. It is no good if it is dry. But when soaked with water, the sponge can go on and on and on with being useful. Nothing will supercharge your prayer life than to study a passage and pray it back to God. Find a passage. Write a verse down on a notecard and pray it back to God. Do this for a month. See how it changes your prayer life.

2. Think Bigger-
Time to get off the merry-go-round of dry prayers. Pray scripture and think more about others when praying. If your prayers are only about you, you need to think bigger. Praying bigger begins when you can pray for others. Take a day where you pray only for others e.g. Sunday School Class, co-workers, neighbors, family members, etc.

3. Get Outside-
Do something totally different and go prayer walking. Take your prayers outside and talk to God. Pray for your neighborhood by walking by each house and praying for the family inside. Go to your church and get a group of women to walk and pray for the ministers and ministries to prosper. Walk around the schools and pray for God to give them strong hearts to stand boldly for Him.

4. Challenge Yourself to Pray Diligently
Jesus was right when he told the disciples, "Couldn't you keep watch with me for one hour?" (Matthew 26:38-40). Our human capability is weak and we get tired of praying. Prayer is hard work. It takes energy to pray, especially to stay praying. Challenge yourself to not grow weary of praying for something or someone. Just like you would schedule lunches, meetings, or school deadlines schedule your prayer life. Determine a time to pray once a week where you are uninterrupted.

5. Make A Prayer Basket
 Sometimes prayers get tossed by the wayside because we don't make time for them nor do we have a place to pray. Buy a pretty basket and put it by your bed or your favorite chair in your living room. Place a Bible, prayer journal and note cards in it with a pen. I have books about prayer inside my basket. Sometimes reading these books (mine are by E.M. Bounds and John Wesley) help spur my thoughts and energize my prayers for the day.

Start With One Thing New
I pray you are encouraged today and that these ideas can help supercharge your prayer life.
There are five things. You don't have to do them all at once!! Pick one and start it today.
I would love to know if they are helpful.
Blessings to you dear sisters!
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Wednesday, January 16

Just for Women Wednesdays: The Comfortable Sin

The Comfortable Sin: What it is and How You can Break Free From it

I recently had a conversation with a lady who revealed how she never felt "good enough" about herself. She then apologized. I quickly told her, "Your God's Daughter! That is better than GOOD ENOUGH! That is GREAT enough!" Then I shared how I too had struggled in the past with this same thought in my own life. The difference now when Satan tried to tempt me to believe this comfortable lie was that I go back to scripture and remind myself WHOSE I am!!!

The Root of "Not Good Enough"
The root of this comfortable, yet destructive thought, simply stems from the sin of doubt. It stems from taking our eyes off of the truth God has clearly revealed in scripture about WHO we are in Christ and turning our eyes onto our own limited capability, our past failures or mistakes, and on any harmful word someone accused of being in the past. Never, does any woman set out with the intention of letting the sin of doubt rule her heart and attitude. Never, do she begin the start of her day proclaiming, "Lord, today I am going deny you as being the LORD of my thought life.I am going to doubt who I am in You." No. Instead, as Satan is perfect at doing, he throws a lure for us to consider. Remember that he cannot make you think this. He can only tempt you to think this. It's your choice to accept the lie and doubt who you are in Christ.

Why Can Doubt Become so Comfortable?
Doubt can become like your favorite blanket you snuggle under to keep warm. You don't always want it, but it's there when you want to crawl underneath it and hide. One doubtful thought or acceptance in your mind can become who you begin to believe you are in this life. Before long, you have entertained doubt 30 times in a day and it is begging to stay another day, and then another, and so on. After a month, you have become so comfortable with the doubtful thought that you don't even recognize it as an evil house guest in your heart anymore. And yet it is,doubt,destroying your confidence in Christ and keeping you from living on purpose for God. Doubt is pictured so clearly in Matthew 14:22-33. The disciples are in the boat during the fourth watch of the night and they see Jesus walking on the water and become afraid. 

Turn your attention to two words in Matthew 14:26:
  1. "Saw"
The eyes are the pathway to doubt. One glance at something we like or we are uncertain of, opens the door  to entertain questions that fire against the truth that we know and believe. We must learn to guard our eyes.

     2. "Fear"

Fear shouts at you and tells you you are not going to be OK. It tells you to look at your circumstances and forget about God's limitless ability and ongoing presence. It paralyzes your heart. We must learn how to use scripture and prayer to handle our fears. 

What Jesus Said About Doubt
As the story continues, Peter wants clarification that the "ghost" the disciples see on the sea IS Jesus. So he asks Jesus to "command" him to come out of the boat and walk to Him on the sea. Now I have been in 50 feet of ocean water off The Big Island of Hawaii before and been so scared to bits to swim in water so deep. I can't imagine what I would have done if I would have seen Jesus and heard him call me to walk on the water. I most likely would have done the same thing Peter did. So Jesus answers his request and bids him to come to Him. Peter exits the boat and begins to LOOK at his surroundings:

 Darkness (fourth watch of the night- 3am in the morning- Matthew 14:25)
 Wind/Waves (Matthew 14:30)

And then Peter sinks.

Jesus said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt (Matthew 14:31)?" 

Breaking Free From Doubt
This is WHO YOU ARE in CHRIST! And so much more!!!

Listen for God's Voice (Matthew 14:27)
Remember God's Promises (John 10:28)
Don't Fear Life's Circumstances (Matthew 14:27)
Pray (Matthew 14:30)

Peter looked at his circumstances and turned away from looking at Jesus. 
Fear caused him to sink. He prayed for the LORD to save him and Jesus did. That's how he broke free from a weak instance of faith. He looked back to Jesus.

You can break free from doubt. Let go of the circumstance or doubtful thought and hold on to Christ. Hold on tight!!!!! You know you are looking away from Christ like Peter did when the feelings you feel on the inside overtake your faith steps on the outside. The next time doubt knocks on the door of your heart and causes you to think that you are "not good enough," or life is "scary" trace the thought back to it's root--doubt. Memorize scripture ( a verse or two) to remind you of what IS true. And say so long to the lie.


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Monday, January 14

Manna Monday: How to Change Your Worship For the Better

Drawn by me, Ashley. Psalm 63:2, The Message

A Sunday Morning Worship Confession
Every Sunday I go into the sanctuary and I worship the LORD through song and the reading of the Word. And on some Sunday mornings I find myself a little tired. A little apathetic. A little distracted by life. And it's in those times I examine my heart and ask myself these questions, "Am I really devoted to You Lord? Can I truly say You are enough?" Then I say, "My flesh is weak. Oh LORD, please help me love You more and know You more. Speak to my heart today. Give me eyes to see Your truth and ears to hear Your Word." And He speaks to me through the reading of His Word when He opens my eyes to a word, a phrase, a new way of thinking as I read. He also uses the message of my Pastor to speak to my heart as well. And my heart is revived to live another day in this world. But what if I never asked those questions and just kept on wallowing in my apathy and "distractedness?"

Questions Can BE good!
Have you ever felt this way before?
If you have, it's OK! It's normal.
Our flesh and spirit battle against each other (Galatians 5:17)
But the question is,"who will I let win?" 
My flesh or my spirit?

How to Change Your Worship for the Better

Changing your worship on Sunday mornings and throughout your week, begins by changing your thought life. You've got an adventure with God to live! Put away the mindset that church is something you do and replace it with the truth that the God of the universe wants to speak to you through His Word and for you to talk to Him through prayer. WOW!! Dear one, there are not enough words in our finite minds to worship God in the way He is due adoration. That's why He gave us the Bible. And tucked away in the middle of the book is the beating heart of worship-Psalms. It's a great place we can turn in our Bibles continually to help us get out of the apathy pit.

Take for instance Psalm 63:2 that I drew in my journal this morning. 
Psalm 63 records the time David was in the wilderness of Judah. David was in a barren place and less inhabited place. Just because he was serving God didn't mean he wouldn't feel alone or unsettled at time. So what did he do when he found himself there? 

Three Truths that Kill Apathetic Worship

1. I am God's and He is Mine.

David begins in Psalm 63:1 saying, "O God, you are my God;.." He is stirring himself up to grab hold of His LORD. He is not a God who is someone else's God. HE IS GOD. WE ARE HIS. HE IS OURS! 
2. Resolve to Keep Seeking God

David goes on to say, "earnestly, I seek you;" He was resolved to seek God in the wilderness, when the surroundings of life didn't look spectacular or glorious. This truth should encourage every apathetic heart in a desert place. 
3. Beholding God In the Secret
David desired to behold God in the secret place with his eyes like he had in the sanctuary. It's easy to worship God on Sunday mornings when there are LOTS of people singing along and listening to the sermon. But what about the secret places of your life? The places no one sees? When you are by yourself and your life circumstances threaten to steal every ounce of your joy, pray this prayer (Psalm 63:1-2). It's in those dry circumstances that we FIND God because our desire to seek and behold Him stirs us to grab hold of Him. 

My Prayer For You
I love the Message Translation of Psalm 63:2 which says, "So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open drinking in your strength and glory."This is my prayer today for own life. But it's my prayer for the women who come to the Joy Treasure Manna Monday post and read it today.

May you be like David, eyes open drinking in God's strength and glory.


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Friday, January 11

Free Art Friday!!

"Three Free Tips on How to Make Meaningful Artwork in Your Home."

So I normally have a heading above each blog post, but do to Blogger's or should I say Booger's inability to upload my heading this am and the other day, you will have to envision it in your head!

For a creative person, this is hard to let go of not having a colorful heading above the post. But you don't want the heading, you want the tips, right! Smile!

Go to my Facebook Page, Joy Treasure, and watch the video for the tips.!/photo.php?v=10200361773747198&set=vb.221667614544049&type=2&theater

If you would like to keep up with me and my joyful adventure with God on a more regular basis, please go to the Joy Treasure Page on Facebook and "Like" it. You'll then be able to stay connected to what I am learning and sharing more frequently.

Thanks again for your support here on Joy Treasure.
I blog for Jesus and to encourage YOU!!!!
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Tuesday, January 8

Inside the Head of a Grieving Person- My Story

To all my precious readers who follow my little blog about the JOY of JESUS where I try to encourage you towards a life that passionately pursues Christ as your joy and treasure, this is for you:

So I haven't been blogging for a while. I haven't been able to write or think clearly. I almost even lost my voice to sing and my joy in painting. It's because I lost my father to lung cancer after Thanksgiving.

Time seemed to have stood still the day my father's cancer returned in late summer. I can remember every detail like it were yesterday. It was a nightmare. The worst of the worse I could never have imagined I would have to walk through. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever thought my father, who never smoked a day in his life and took care of his body, would ever be diagnosed with lung cancer. But, I learned that he was exposed as a child to a family of aunts and uncles who smoked all the time and drove him around in a car with all the windows rolled up. It's the reason him having lung cancer came to make sense to me. It's not fair is it? But it's reality dear sister. And I can't change what God has allowed. I have accepted this loss and am walking through the grieving process in a slow and healthy way holding on so tight to the hand of my sweet Jesus. He is so good. I can testify to that truth!

What's Inside the Head of A Grieving Person? 

I can only speak about myself.
I am sharing this information here so if there is anyone out there who doesn't understand what people are going through when it comes to the grieving process, or if someone is grieving over a loss and needs to know they are not alone can be encouraged, this is the reason for this post.

Sometimes I look like I am doing pretty good. But inside, I am grieving. There are a lot of emotions, life changes, grasping new realities, questions, and thoughts that are taking place in my mind. While the world moves on and the sympathy cards stop coming, I am still missing my sweet daddy. I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I will never see my father here on this earth again. That's a hard truth to swallow. I experience good days and laugh. And then I remember the loss of my father and some days are hard. Very Hard. That remembrance can come through seeing his favorite color which was yellow, hearing a Chuck Berry song in a restaurant or smelling the aroma of Polo cologne. It sometimes can come to me when I see my son using my dad's cane in the house because he wants to be close to his "papaw." It changes and I know it will continue to change. For me, I began grieving when it became evident my father was going to die from lung cancer. That his fight he fought so hard was not making a difference anymore. Everyday he worsened felt like a slow walk toward the grave. This kind of death makes you think about eternity in a way you never have thought about it before. Little things you used to get flustered over are meaningless. I remember one morning looking around at everyone I passed at Target and having the thought, "Their life looks great." People in the store were smiling and shopping. Families were enjoying being together. Fathers were holding their children. But my father was dying. My father was struggling for his life. Life seemed good for them. So it seemed. But not for me. Not for my mom. Cancer became the dark cloud hanging over my family for months. And this time daddy was not going to be healed permanently on this earth. This time my prayers shifted from, "God heal him and give him more time on this earth" to, "Lord, please take him away from this cancer and heal him permanently in Heaven." That's a hard prayer to pray when you're loved one is still with you. It's a hard prayer to pray because it is saying, "LORD, I let them go to You." It's a "letting go" prayer that we don't naturally want to pray.

This has not been a journey I never would have picked nor do I ever wish anyone would have to go through. It is the roughest place I have ever been. And I am not the one who had cancer. Day by day I watched my strong father become weakened by cancer's grip. I watched him willingly submit to the LORD's will without a whimper or curse. Of all things, the LORD has made it evident even as I walked through this hard place that my ministry focus is to teach others about the joy of Jesus. I can tell you dear sister that my greatest test in regards to joy was discovering joy in the midst of a caring for a dying parent. In the hallways of a cold, sterile hospital, I found joy. In the corner of the hospital cafeteria where the food had lost its taste, I found joy. In the hallway of the hospital when a friend called to encourage me over the phone, I found joy. Sitting in the chair next to my father's side, I found joy. On the night my father died and I saw that his spirit was no longer here on earth, that there was no breath coming from his mouth, I found joy. On the day his body was buried in a casket, placed into the ground and I had to say goodbye to the loving face I had known all my life, I FOUND JOY. JOY IN JESUS. I HAVE HAD IT EVER SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL WHO TRUSTED JESUS. AND KNOW IT WAS BECOMING MORE REAL TO ME THAN EVER BEFORE.

God did not create us for death. He created us for life!!! Eternal life!!(John 3:16) And sin has come in and taken over this world. And Jesus IS the only remedy for sin's reconciliation. Jesus is the only way we can get back into a right relationship with God the Father (John 14:6). All my life I have believed this, but now I really know this in a new way. I can sing about heaven now because it is more real to me than ever before. I can read the Bible now with more passion because it is more real to me than ever before. When I think of Heaven now, I used to think about Jesus. But when I think about Heaven now, I think about Jesus and my father. I don't want to live this life on earth anymore in a half-hearted way. I want to live here and go out with a bang and have the Savior say to me when I reach Heaven's gate, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

Oh dear sister, what you believe about heaven is true (Revelation 21:3). Don't lose heart. We really leave this earth and go to be with Jesus if we have trusted Him as our Savior.
What To Say To Someone Who Is Grieving
There is nothing you can say to someone who has lost a loved but, "I am so sorry" and "How are you." You may feel like you need to talk more to say something meaningful to them, but you can't comfort them. Only God can heal the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). You can ask them if they have any needs. You can send them a card when the cards have quit coming. You can bring them flowers when the flowers have stopped coming. You can text them and let them know you prayed for them today. You can go and sit with them or take them to lunch or dinner and let them talk. But there is nothing, nothing you can ever say to make the pain go away. This I believe is where people stumble. It's in our nature to help people and say or do something. But what I want to encourage you to do to those you know who have lost a loved one is to keep them on your radar. To say "hello" to them. To sit by them in church. To walk alongside them and just be. Don't talk. Just listen. And let them know they are still thought about. Still prayed for. Still loved. This is what you can do.
So here I am in a place I never chose but God allowed me and my mom to walk through. My daddy is at peace. He is walking again and cancer can never overtake his body again. I imagine he is talking with Abraham and Moses. He is seeing loved ones he lost long ago and so many other people.... I can't even imagine he is talking to!!! Most of all, He is seeing his faith in living reality color. He is seeing Jesus.
Oh dear Heavenly Father, YOU are still good. Even when we lose our loved ones here on this earth, You are still good. You are still with us. You are still our help. You are still our joy. You are still our hope. You are still Love. We are always on your mind. Our names are written on your hand. Our inheritance is secure and our hope is eternal. You still have purpose for us here on this earth and you will help us find our way through the grieving process. How I thank you for your precious Word. The WORD that gives Life to these dry bones. The Word that is sweeter than honey. The only Word that rejoices our hearts. Oh thank you for leaving us with Your Word. Your Word is from Your very breath which is from your very heart. Thank you we can know your heart. Thank you we can know your mind. Thank your we can know truth in a world that makes up its own truth. May every person who reads this post be blessed, be encouraged, be enlightened, be hopeful that there is so much more to life than paying bills, going on vacation, and having a nice home. May you awaken hearts to know you more and love you more. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen
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