Joy-Full

Happy Tuesday friends!
 
Anyone need a dose of *JOY* today?
 
Joy is something that I have focused on in my life for awhile now. Somedays are easier than others. Some days I am just naturally joy-FULL, and other days, I have to make an effort and dig deep to find joy. Can you relate at all?
 
Jesus came to us to give us life abundant! A life filled with JOY that comes only from Him, that others will crave that same type of joy. People who don’t know Jesus personally can live ‘happily’ but I truly believe that JOY comes only through Him.
 
I recently read this quote,
“Joy is the flag that flies above
the castle of our hearts indicating that
the King reigns within.”
~unknown
 
Joy comes from within. Happiness is based on circumstances.
There’s a big difference.
 
Paul was a great example of joy to us. And if you’ve read through the New Testament you will find that Paul actually had a lot of things and experiences in his life that you would not find joy in. Imprisonment, discouragement, persecution… But, he says,
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength!”
Philippians 4:12-13.
 
Paul’s lesson to us is this – no matter our circumstances, we have the ability and right to CHOOSE JOY.
And the opposite is also true, we have the ability to choose being downcast, and discouraged, even bitter or angry. (Oh our flesh can be so powerful sometimes! It’s a constant battle for me!).
 
Have you noticed, even with the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, that we cannot avoid pain and heartache. But, whatever circumstances come our way, we can choose to pursue joy with all of our hearts. By pursuing Jesus, we pursue joy.
 
I pray that for all of us, the pursuit of JOY {aka: JESUS} would be our top priority!
Take note of how your day changes… how do you treat people, react to people, work at your job, how does your perspective change on every aspect of your day…? Write it down. Journal it. Go back to it when you need to choose joy – when it doesn’t just come naturally.
 
You will be astounded and blessed!!
 
Thank you for showing up here… you don’t have to… But I hope and pray you are blessed as we walk this awesome, incredible journey of faith together!! One day at a time…
 
Peace and love,
 
Allison

Grow… in Grace

Lately, God has placed it on my heart that I really need to grow in the area of GRACE.
 
Romans 8:5 says – But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
 
His love is UNconditiional. What else in this world can you think of as “unconditional?” We can’t earn His grace. It’s given. It is the most precious of gifts.
 
I feel like I struggle with the same things over and over. 
One of the things I wrestle with is being gracious… When I look back on my life and relationships, I have a pretty good track record of being hurt by someone, and holding a grudge, or giving up and turning away from that person.
You got it – that is NOT grace.
 
God wants us to grow strong in grace. To live by His example of grace to us.
 

Colossians 3:13 – “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

And…
 
The opposite is may be true as well. Sometimes when we’re being apologized to we say, “It’s ok.” When it’s really not. If someone is apologizing to us, something happened that needed apologizing for. And, it’s actually NOT ok. But, that is where forgiveness, and grace comes in. Jesus showed us His perfect example of grace and forgiveness. When He died on the cross for our sins, He wasn’t just saying “it’s fine.” He was saying, “I forgive you. I love you. I am wiping the slate clean.” For ALL time…
 
And now He asks us, “Will you accept my forgiveness? Will you accept my grace? Will you humble yourself to offer the same to others?”
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Before you answer an enthusiastic “YES! Yes of course!” Take a moment to really think about your yes… My yes, and your yes comes with responsibility. Growing in grace is serious business, not to be taken lightly. Accepting and extending grace is something we grow in. Something we strive for, and must live out probably daily… 
 
When we fail to grow in grace, we face lost relationships, and opportunities. And the one who hurts the most in this – is ourselves. When we allow the root of bitterness to grow, it doesn’t destroy the other person – it destroys us.
 
Here’s the GOOD news (I have to keep reminding myself!): It’s not impossible to grow in grace! We have to remember, and constantly remind ourselves that Christ forgave us – and we must forgive others in the same way. If we are intentional in growing in grace, we will. God will be faithful in our pursuit. He will give us strength and guidance in that area.
 
The stakes are high! We can choose grace, or choose heartbreak.
 
My prayer is that you, and I – choose well…
 
God bless us all!
~Allison

Ill Equipped and Unworthy, Yet; Called

• Jeremiah 1-5 • (2)I am starting to read the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was one of the greatest of prophets that God used to communicate with His people. Through him, we see how God uses the most unlikely people in His kingdom! When Jeremiah spoke, nobody listened! But he consistently and passionately urged the people of Judah to LISTEN. He didn’t give up! He was obedient to God’s calling on His life. Jeremiah had to speak unpopular words. Words of warning to a people who had greatly fallen away from God. {Sound familiar?}

When I read the first chapter, and read a little history on the book of Jeremiah, I was struck by Jeremiah’s courage. By his faithfulness and obedience to God, even when it was uncomfortable, or he didn’t feel equipped to take on the role of prophet.

Friends, we have the absolute best message in the world to share. We have the message of absolute freedom, peace, love, and joy. Why, then, is it so hard to share?

Have you ever felt ill equipped, or too unworthy to share your faith with someone you know? So did Jeremiah! We’re all in good company. The difference between Jeremiah, and myself is he was obedient to His call, and so often, I am so disobedient to God’s calling. I am pretty good at coming up with excuses like, “Well, it just wasn’t the right time…” or “When I know my Bible better I will…” or, “I feel so unworthy… I’ve made too many mistakes in my life…”.

There are a thousand excuses.

But, here are God’s words of promise to each of us today –

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations….Do not be afraid, for I am with you,” declares the Lord. “I have put my words in your mouth. See today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

{Jeremiah 1:5-10}.

He has appointed YOU, and I to go to the nations and share His life saving and life giving message of restoration and freedom in and through Him. When He gives us a job to do, you can be sure that He will also provide the strength, wisdom and provisiion to do it! IF we are obedient to His calling.

“Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them… Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land… they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,”declares the Lord.

{Jeremiah 1:17-19}

YES! THAT has got to stir something within you today, right? Doesn’t that make you stand a little taller and straighter? Does that promise give you a little more confidence, and a little more passion? The time is now!

We CAN do this! We’ve got the best message in the world. It’s just WAY too good to keep to ourselves! Today, share that love with at least ONE person!! I dare ya!

Blessing’s and strength and joy to you today!! You got this!

~Allison

Invade My Space, Oh God

“Fall Afresh”

Bethel Worship

Awaken my soul, come awake
To hunger, to seek, to thirst
Awaken first love, come awake
And do as you did, at first 

Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me

Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul
Pour in me to overflow

Come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade
Spirit come and fill this place
Let your glory now invade

This morning, as I sat at my desk in my office at my shop, this song came on over my shop speakers. It constantly amazes me at how God gives us just what we need at the very moment we need it.

I woke up feeling pretty good this morning! I had some sweet time in the Word, and as I got ready for work, ran an errand and drove to work, a cloud started to form. A heaviness. I could feel it. There was a darkness and dreariness that settled into my heart, and I could literally feel the physical weight on my shoulders.

Why, you ask? I don’t really know.

What I DO know is that we live in a constant spiritual battlefield. As I’ve grown in my faith, and relationship with the Lord over the years, the spiritual war going on around me has become so evident there is absolutely no denying its presence.

When we have faith – we have the LIGHT of Christ in us. And, just as real as His light is, we have the DARKNESS of Satan and the forces of evil all around us. We are hard pressed on every side it seems. Pressures, stresses, big decisions, demands on our time, our resources and our bodies.

And we find ourselves in a position of BATTLE.

“…for our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

~Ephesians 6:12

Ephesians 6:12 is my #1 life perspective changer. What if we saw our lives, and our world through the lens of Ephesians 6:12? How would our attitudes, our motives, how we react to situations, our prayers, and our every breath CHANGE?

Just rest on that for a moment… our battle is not with our spouse, or our children. It’s not with our boss, or co-workers. It’s not with our friends, or family. It is with the present darkness that surrounds us and seeks to devour our very souls.

So now that we know that. What do we do about it? Are we left alone to fight this ever present battle on our own? Absolutely NOT! I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Are you ready?

God wins. He has won. He will win. Every. Single. Time. It’s a done deal. It’s the only thing in this world we can count on as TRUTH. 

As I sat at my desk, staring at my computer, and this worship song came on over the speakers, His Spirit reminded me that God wants to fill even THIS space with His glory, and His Spirit. He was saying to me: “Allison, allow ME to INVADE this space, allow me to fill your heart, your mind, and your soul with MY Spirit. Not the spirit of darkness, and heaviness. I want to refresh you from the inside out with MY presence. For where MY Spirit is – Satan cannot dwell. At the very mention of MY name, Satan MUST flee. Allow me to invade and dwell at this very moment. I will never fail You. I will never leave you. You are my child, and I am your God. Trust me for I am faithful, and I love you.”

Today, please join me in inviting the Spirit of the Lord to dwell within all of our hearts, in our work places, our homes, in our decisions, in our moods, and our souls. Allow the invasion of His glory to fill every single space in our day.

Take a moment, and just pray to be awakened from our spiritual slumber that we can so easily become accustomed to. It’s an unsettling place to be, isn’t it? I need this today… I need a Godly perspective instead of a ME perspective. Do you? He will be faithful in providing the refreshing. All He needs is our permission.

God bless your day! 

Allison

Take a Peek!

This morning, as I was having my quiet time, I came across some verses on prayer.

I Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
Romans 12:12 – Always be prayerful…
Ephians 6:18 – Pray at all times and on every occasion.

As Christians, we hear a lot about prayer. Many of us were taught to pray as young children. And some are probably pretty new to prayer.

Prayer is a really broad topic in Christian circles. There is just SO much to discuss, and learn. Right?

For me, this morning, as I tried to apply them to myself, right then and there – my focus was directed toward my every day, every moment CONVERSATIONS with God.

Living in a constant attitude of prayer.

after_the_rain

I read a wonderful quote by one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado –

“Think of prayer less as an activity FOR God,

and more as an awareness OF God.”

I love that! Sometimes, I admit, prayer can become one of those “to do’s” and something to check off my list for the day. Which, now when I t hink of it in light of that quote – is more FOR God. I love thinking of being more AWARE OF God.

How does that play out for us as we go about our day? Well, it’s acknowledging His presence in and around you, at all times. It’s praising and worshipping Him as you stand in line at the grocery store – thanking Him for His presence with you at that moment. It’s lifting up the co-worker who’s in the next office or cubicle in prayer. It’s blessing the gal who waits on you at the coffee shop. It’s asking God for His protection of our kids throughout the day. It’s thanking Him for the blessing of the car you’re driving to work. Catch my drift?

It’s DWELLING with Him, and allowing Him to transform even the every day – mundane aspects of our lives.

When we do that – every day, and every opportunity and activity we have throughout our day is an adventure, don’t you think? It sure makes things more exciting when we live in the expectancy that God can and will show up in every small and big way throughout our days on this earth. I want to live in that type of expectancy! It’s refreshing, and exciting! Living in a way where we are anticipating a God moment right around the corner is a pretty cool way to live. Yes?

“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer,

and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen while several persons

are at the same time calling for different things,

I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon

my knees at the blessed sacrament.”

– Brother Lawrence, “The Practice of the Presence of God”.

God BLESS your day!

Take a peek around the corner… what’s there?  Have fun!

~Allison 

Water… I Need Water

The other day, I must have been dehydrated. Knowing me, I probably drank way too much coffee, and ignored my water intake. Can you relate? By the end of the day, after working all day, chugging as much coffee as I could into my body, and then working out at the gym after work. I. was. Parched.

As I left the gym, I stood at the drinking fountain slurping as much water as I could, and when I got home, I guzzled more.

I was thirsty.

When you get to a point of being dehydrated, the urge to quench that thirst is overwhelming isn’t it? When we get dehydrated our thoughts gets fuzzy, our organs don’t work properly, our skin and hair get dry, our joints get achy because they need lubrication to move properly, and the list goes on.

We. Need. Water!

God created us to be thirsty – for Him. Have you ever experienced “spiritual dehydration?” I sure have. It’s not pretty. So, what are the signs of spiritual dehydration?

  • A short temper.
  • Worry and fear.
  • Guilt and shame.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Resentment and anger.
  • Insecurity.

Anyone? Anyone? My hand is up high! And I have to ask myself: why do I let myself become so spiritually dehydrated? It happens far too often I’m afraid.

John 7:37-38 says: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to ME and drink. He who believes in ME, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Are you thirsty for Jesus? Are you looking to Him to quench that thirst for your souls first? OR, are you looking to other people and things in this world to quench that thirst?

I think it can be so easy to look to our spouse, a friend, or a material possession to fill the empty spaces in our lives. Yes, God has placed special people in our lives who encourage, and build us up. But, the issue with seeking out our earthly support system before God, is that we are human. We are not perfect. We will fail each other, and disappoint each other. We may even give poor advice or direction out of our own humanness.

When my husband and I were in Canada a couple weeks ago, we got to see some beautiful, amazing waterfalls. The water and energy flowing down the mountains was truly awesome. When thousands of gallons of water are rushing down from the top of a mountain – nothing and no one is going to stop it going to where it wants to go! Yes?!

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Just like that rushing water, the Spirit of God within us is unstoppable.

But there is something that must be in place for that to happen.

To allow His Spirit to move in and through us, we must give it permission to move. We must give His Spirit access to our hearts, souls and minds. One word that comes to mind when I think of that is: SURRENDER. We need to be willing to surrender our will to Him with both hands up in the air saying, “I can’t do this in my own strength. I need you, Jesus.”

Being willing to surrender our own will, to the will of the Father means setting aside our wants and desires.

Easier said than done, right? I’m selfish! I want to hang on to my ‘stuff’ (my material possessions, my people, my money, my time). It’s hard to completely surrender to God every part of me. It can make us feel vulnerable, or exposed. Yet; we also believe that our security is found only in Him. But as human beings, that is such a hard concept to LIVE day to day!

Picture the ‘flow of living water’ in the verses above. When we are filled with the living water of Christ, it spreads out. Water goes where it wants to go. It seeps into the crevices, and if there’s no space, it’ll find a new route and space to fill.

So it is with Christ in us – through His spirit He has no boundaries.

The question is: will we let Him?

If you feel spiritually dehydrated, if your soul is crying out and parched. Only Jesus can fill that void, and quench your thirst. His living water will satisfy in a way our world and the people in our lives cannot.

Seek living water today, friends! We CAN do it!!! God bless you!

~Allison 

Shhh!!!

“The tongue is but a small, soft flesh. Yet it is capable of breaking the strongest bonds and destroying the most powerful of relationships.”
“The tongue has no bones but it is strong enough to break a heart.”
The tongue. Small, but powerful. The power to build up, and tear down. Words are on the ‘tip of our tongue’, or words ‘roll off our tongue,’
This morning I read James chapter 3 which talks about taming the tongue!
James 3:9-10 – With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers (sisters) these things ought not to be so.
God’s timing is always so perfect isn’t it? I’ve been struggling with a situation and relationship in my life over the past few days. I’ve thought, and even said some unkind things in my hurt, and bitterness. Proud of it? Nope. Not at all. The last few days I’ve been actually quite bummede about the situation.
So this morning, when I read those verses, they just hit me like a ton of bricks. All people are made in God’s likeness. That puts us all on the same playing field, right? There are mean people, there are kind people, there are selfish people, there are sweet people. We were all made in God’s image. We are no different. That fact is sobering to me and it changed my perspective on that current relationship I’m struggling with, as well as all of my relationships with people.
Being people who love God, and called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), we are called to a higher standard. A Godly standard. We are called to consistency. Being contradictory in what we profess to believe, and how we behave is not living a Godly life. I truly believe that out of the depths of our hearts our tongues speak. So, what we harbor deep within us, is eventually what comes out. Whoa.
If you want to understand “who” someone is, listen to how they talk. It’s quite telling. And I confess, over the past few days some of the words I’ve spoken have been ugly. I was hurt, frustrated and confused – and… in a place of weakness, I allowed those feelings to be more powerful over me, than my love and devotion to Christ. Yuck! Double yuck.
Through my time in His Word this morning, God softened my heart toward this person, and showed me where I needed to change. It was made very clear to me, that perhaps the situation won’t change, but my attitude about the situation has the option to change. That’s HUGE. BIG stuff. Life altering, really.
I realized in that moment that my bitterness had absolutely zero impact on that person – but 100% impact on ME.
I was the one struggling and feeling bad about the situation, not the person I was upset with. My attitude affected me, and only me. {Well, and maybe my husband who had to listen to me vent.}
Once I realized that it was indeed ME who needed to change, a flood of peace fell over me. The other day, I wrote about God’s covenant of peace with us. His unshakeable promise of unfailing love and peace freely given.
Isaiah 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of PEACE be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Isn’t it beautiful how God weaves His Word together with the circumstances of our lives? How he shapes and molds us? Oh how I needed to be redirected this morning. God gently reminded me that I can always switch my sail, turn my rudder, or change the address on my GPS when I’m going in the wrong direction.
Thank God He speaks so clearly and boldly through His Word and His Holy Spirit! He knew this morning, that I needed some major tweaking in my attitude, and my heart. When I hear people say the Bible is not relevant to today I know those people have not read it lately. It is powerful, it’s alive, and unchanging. The Word of God is like no other. Cling to it. Make time for it. Be open and willing to listen, and act upon it. It’s truly life changing!
We often overlook the power of the tongue. So, if your tongue occasionally gets you into trouble, like it does to me… Pray for control over it – God hears our prayers, and will answer it.
God bless us all in the journey… He is with us every step of the way, guiding, helping to change our course, and encouraging along the way. If we listen, and obey – we live lives of peace, joy and freedom from the sins that so entangle us.
Live free today friends!
Allison 😊