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

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

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 

His Covenant of Peace

I’ve quit watching the news. I don’t miss it, frankly. My husband and I used to watch the 6am news together in the morning’s while drinking our coffee and waking up to the day. But, it’s been several months now that we decided to just shut it off. It probably coincides with election season. Enough said.
 
Although it’s important to be informed, and aware of what’s going on around us, I found that being filled with the news first thing in the morningt robbed me of peace. The news is so often unsettling, negative, and disturbing. I do believe it is vitally important to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and to use that knowledge to PRAY.
So I do get my news, I just don’t start my day with it.
 
But, having said that, we have made the choice to start our day more peacefully. Have you noticed it doesn’t take much to drain our souls of peace? Some of us start our day off running the moment our feet hit the floor. And some, like me prefer to start out slowly with a half pot of coffee, and quiet music.
 
Once we move on with our day and go about our work at home, or away from home – little by little we deplete ourselves. We give to our kids and spouses, we give to our jobs, we give to our co-workers and friends.
 
Giving is all good. But if we give without taking the time to receive – we will find ourselves depleted and empty. Running on ‘fumes.’
 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t function well (at all) feeling depleted. When my reserves run low, everything, and everyone suffers for it.
 
But here’s a beautiful promise from the book of 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.
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Ahhh… take a moment… breathe in the promises of that verse. Let it soak in. Memorize it. Write it down on a sticky note. Highlight it. Circle the words that stand out to you. ❤
 
Though our lives or our world around us be shaken, His unfailing love CANNOT be. His promise of peace CANNOT be removed from us. When we put our full faith and trust -confidence and hope in the person of Jesus, we are unable to be robbed of the peace that only comes from Him. The world around us may offer a temporary peace or sense of well being – but it is so often fleeting and completely dependent on circumstances. But the peace of God that transcends all human understanding is eternal. It lasts and cannot be removed.
 
Claim it today. Own it. Trust in it. CLING to it. I know I have had to tighten my grip on MANY occasions in my life and struggles. But even in the darkest of days, I never doubted His love. I may have held Him at arms length at times, but I always knew to the deepest of my core that He loved me.
 
Do you ever feel robbed or depleted of peace? By looking honestly at where or from whom we seek peace, we may find that we are seeking in the wrong places. It’s ok – we can change course so easily. I have had to switch course many times… Our God is so very patient with us, isn’t He?
 
Today, I am wishing each one of us peace and the assurance that He loves us with an everlasting, unfailing love that will not, and cannot be shaken.
 
Blessing’s on your day, friends!
 
Allison

Roots

Good morning!

True confession time folks: I indulged in something last night. I watched not only 1 but 2 episodes of a reality show on TLC. Have you ever heard of “My 600 lb. Life”? You guys. I got sucked in. Like big time sucked in. Even with my husband’s eye rolls, and side comments, I couldn’t stop watching it.

I can’t tell you how sad that show made me. Every person on the 2 episodes I watched was in pain, had horrible trauma as a child, and was so very, deeply unhappy.

As I went to bed pretty heart broken for these people, yet; embarassed that I watched the show… A few thoughts kept whirling around in my head.

Every person on the show had deep roots of pain in their lives which, probably combined with some genetics, led to their massive weight gain.

Roots. I have watched my husband cut down countless trees at our cabin, and our home. Chain saw in hand, buzzing down those big trees. But when that part is done – the roots remain. And those of you who have cut down trees will attest to the fact that the trunk and roots are a HUGE pain to get rid of. There’s no easy way…

As I thought about the roots of pain in my life, and how those roots manifested themselves in disappointments and choices. God just flooded my thoughts with words of hope and encouragement.

The hope we have in Christ creates new roots in our lives. Roots that grow deep and spread wide. They are firm, and hold strong. Through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, we have spiritual roots. Roots that will withstand even the strongest storms.

Think of Jesus as that strong ax or chain saw cutting through the painful roots to give space for new roots in Him, When we cut away the roots of our past pain we create a big hole that can be filled with new, healthy roots of faith. The Holy Spirit of God fertilizes and enriches the soil around those roots, and the growth is beautiful and unlimited. We are ALIVE.

Colossians 2:6-10 – Alive in Christ
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

May we allow Him to cut through those rotted and pained roots in our lives. May we be mindful of new growth enriched by the Spirit of our Living God. May we dig deeper, and grow wider in our knowledge and faith in He who brings life abundantly. May we be kind and non-judgemental. May we see through Spiritual eyes and not worldly ones. May we lend encouragement and hope to those we meet. May we be bold in sharing the life changing faith we have in Jesus. May we pray for those who are hurting. May we find the peace that surpasses all human understanding through Christ alone.

Be so very blessed today. 

Allison 🙂

Knock Before Entering

1 Corinthians 13:5 – Love is not rude.

In his book “A Love Worth Giving” Max Lucado writes,

“Jesus always knocks before entering. He doesn’t have to. He owns your heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But He doesn’t. That gentle tap you hear? It’s Christ. “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” {Revelations 3:20}. And when you answer, He awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.”

Behold I stand at the door and knock.

Let’s just sit on that for a bit… Our Savior Jesus, is no steam roller! He certainly could come rushing in, but he doesn’t. He quietly, gently knocks and awaits our answer. He knows that we are much more willing to answer the door when it’s a gentle tap, rather than a loud and forceful pound.

The Greek word for rude means: shameful or disgraceful behavior. I don’t know about you, but those two words are not words I’d like to be referred to as. Shameful. Disgraceful. They are powerfully descriptive words aren’t they? Sometime throughout our lifetime, I bet we’ve all used either of those 2 words. What memories are conjured up when you read them? Probably not very pleasant ones.

Years ago, when I was preparing for an over-seas mission trip, part of my training involved cultural sensitivity training. As visitors to a foreign country, we were essentially going to be ambassadors for the United States, and as missionaries, we were also ambassadors and representatives of Jesus Christ. The lessons I learned in that training have stayed with me throughout my life, and have helped me in many ways. Having cultural sensitivity is an asset when traveling in a foreign country, but it also applies right here in my every day life.

Recently, I was having major technology and computer software issues at my business. I was beyond frustrated, and frazzled. I had spent hours and hours on the phone with tech support, on hold, and being transferred multiple times from tech to tech, and department to department. To say I was at my wits end was an understatement.

Only by the grace of God was I able to stay calm. But, let me tell you, when I made a conscious effort to be kind, patient, and friendly, the level of customer service went up, and up, and UP. Being kind is so worth it! I not only got help with my computer problems, but I was even able to share my faith with a tech support woman in the Philippines!

God opens doors when we are open and willing.  Because I was kind, and respectful, this gal who was patiently helping me was willing to listen to me share my faith in Jesus. It was brief, but she was open.

My kindness in that instance didn’t mean that I wasn’t frustrated with my situation. I was definitely frustrated. But by not allowing myself to take out that frustration on someone else, it provided me with an opportunity to allow the light of Jesus to shine, and encourage her that day. Only God will ever know how that brief conversation impacted her life. But I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity. It taught me a very important lesson on how to treat people. Even strangers I will never meet in person, or see.

Being kind is so much better than being rude. Rudeness is not how we should represent ourselves, or our faith in a loving God.

We are ambassadorsfor Christ!

As Christians, we have the added responsibility and privilege of representing Jesus to others, rudeness cuts off any form of witness we could possibly hope to have. If we treat someone rudely and then expect them to be open to what we have to share about Jesus with them, the only thing that person will absorb is the fact that we are a hypocrite. I don’t know about you – but that word is not something I want attached to my name.

God calls us to a much higher standard than that.

Colossians 4:5-6 says: Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.”

When we are kind, walls and barriers are torn down, and hearts are softened.  Kindness puts the other person as a priority over ourselves. Isn’t that just what God asks us to do? To humble ourselves before Him, and others, so that we can serve with pure motives and a joyful heart?

There aren’t many things in this life that we can control. But one thing we can is our attitude. Maybe we’re not perfect at it all of the time. But overall; we have control over how we treat others in our lives. Strangers or friends alike.

Romans 12:8 says: Do your best to live in peace with everyone.

Let’s just commit to doing our very best. Let’s be willing to allow God’s BEST to flow in and through our lives. He’s standing at the door of our hearts gently knocking.

What will your answer be?

Daily His,

Allison