"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

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Aside

Feelings

coasterWhy do we think that we have to feel something or it isn’t real?  Feelings are fickle and we even buy them by riding on roller coasters or going to scary movies.

Morris Albert wrote:

Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.
Teardrops rolling down on my face,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.

You know that within the year he met another woman that caused him to forget the feelings that he had for her in the first place.

We do this with God too.  I didn’t feel anything so it must not be real.  Or I can’t see Him and I only believe what I see.  You can’t see the wind but you can feel it – does that mess with you?

We can’t see God and so some dismiss Him out of hand.  But He is more real than anything that we see or feel orHoly Spirit understand.  He witnesses to us in the Autumn colors, the Spring flower, the majestic mountains and the snow flakes.  It is beyond random chance that these miracles could happen.

Open your heart and allow the Spirit of God to bring change and I promise that in time, the feeling will follow!

Will You Trust God or Will You Help Him?

What hurts??  It hurts when people whom I hoped would be my counselors and mentors turn to criticism and disciplinarianpoint out the things that I know, all too well, need change in my life.  These are things that I have spoken to the Lord about and He assures me in His love that He is dealing with them.

It is not the job of anyone on earth to beat us until we change.  The love of God is rich and pure and never beats us.

angry windIt is like the old story of the wind and the sun.  The wind bet the sun that it could get the man walking down the road take off his coat.  The sun said go ahead.

The harder the wind blew and beat against the man, the tighter the coat was pulled around him.  After hurricane force winds, the man was sheltered near a building and still in his coat.

Then the sun said, “Now it is my turn.”  He shone down on the man and warmed the air and the atmman and sunosphere with his soft rays and soon the man took off his coat and stopped to enjoy the warmth.

Let us let God our loving heavenly Father do His job through the loving brightness of His Son change us into His image.

Trust the Holy Spirit to do the job.  He is more than able.

Wounded by God’s People – Anne Graham Lotz (from Fox News)

Anne Graham Lotz new book, Wounded by God’s

We have all been wounded in church.  It is a proving ground to see if we can love with the love of God in spite of how we feel.  This post by Fox News about  Anne Graham Lotz is worth our time and consideration.  Can we love God and love His people no matter what our   emotions say?

Matthew 22:36-39 – 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  38 This is the first and great commandment.  39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Note by Joyous Bells

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Did you used to go to ?

  Why aren’t you going to church now?

Without implying you are a statistic, research indicates that 83% of all American adults    consider themselves to be Christian, but the majority of them are unchurched.

  Why?

The primary reason people avoid church, pollsters say, even though they consider    themselves Christian, is because of wounds they have received within the family of faith.

Has that been your experience? Is that why you are hanging out on the periphery of God’s people?

I understand. I, too, have been driven from church fellowship by wounds that were inflicted on me by other church members.

The primary reason people avoid church, pollsters say, even though they consider themselves Christian, is because of wounds they have received within the family of faith.

I have found myself living as a “believer in exile,” not running from God, but tired of putting up with those who call themselves by His name, yet behave in an ungodly manner.

Jesus understands, too. It never ceases to amaze me that the most vicious lies, the most violent attacks, the ultimate rejection of Jesus, came not from the Romans or the Greeks or the pagans or the secularists, but from Israelites who were considered, by themselves and others, the children of God. God’s people.

One primary reason I have not forsaken my own Christian faith is that I know Jesus “gets it.” He was literally wounded…crucified…by very religious people who considered themselves God’s representatives on earth, but were nothing of the sort. They were wicked, sinful pretenders.

So I refuse to let religious phonies destroy my heart for the One who loves me, who understands and feels my pain, and who draws close http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5009066883744508&pid=1.7&w=129&h=186&c=7&rs=1to me when I am wounded. I refuse to be robbed of life’s greatest treasure—a personal, permanent, passionate relationship with God through faith in Jesus, and the healing of wounds that He offers.

As painful and devastating as wounds inflicted by God’s people can be, they have made me more determined to authentically live out what I believe.

I am deeply motivated to know God. I want to know Him as He truly is, not through the distorted reflection of those who call themselves by His name. And I want to make Him known to others as accurately, winsomely, clearly, and compellingly as I can.

And God is knowable. He has declared that He is light. (1 John 1:5) Since one of the primary characteristics of light is that it makes itself visible, God is saying He has made Himself visible.

He can be clearly seen in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. And He can be seen in the pages of the unique revelation of Himself, which we call the Bible.

If your focus in on the people of God, the Light can seem dim or even dark. So don’t look at them. Look at Him.

Try God…again.

Anne Graham Lotz, is author of ten books. Her latest is “Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts.” She is president and CEO of AnGel Ministries, a non-profit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through his World. Lotz is the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/08/are-believer-in-exile-invite-to-try-god-again/?fb_action_ids=641477249210106&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%22641477249210106%22%3A370866879709859%7D&action_type_map=%7B%22641477249210106%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D#ixzz2ePSOJCQY

Aside

Religion is ugly . . .

church lady What time is it?

It is Sunday – time to go to church again, time to put on the fake smile and the nice clothes and pretend that  everything is all right.

It is time to watch Miss Anna walk around like she owns the church, greeting people and being pulled into her  little clique of insiders as she moves through the congregation.  She belongs and wants you to know it.

Time to dodge Miss Anna as she comes up with the beaming smile and asks, “How are you doing with Jesus?”   I never know what to say and I wonder if she is talking about my Jesus.  I never feel like I belong.  I feel like an  outsider even though I asked Jesus into my life ten years ago.

It is time to listen to another sermon about what is wrong with me.  Pastor seldom talks about Jesus.  I ask  myself, “Is this why Jesus died in such agony?  Is this why He descended into hell?  Is this why He rose again  from the dead – so He could provide us the freedom of resurrection life?

The only time I hear about the resurrection is Easter.

I don’t see anyone at church who is free.

Today’s Joy Message:

It is time to know that religion is ugly and cuts you off from the glory of God.  It is stupid and ignorant.  So how did we become religious?

Once upon a time, long ago, Adam committed treason and we were trapped in his Fall.  The enemy took the truth of God’s Word and twisted it forming a system in us called religion.  It teaches us how to kill God and failing that – how God wants to kill us.  Religion teaches that we earn a right standing with God through legalistic rules and regulations that are man-made.

In the beginning of time, God knew that we would need to be free from this deception of religion.  He provided the Way through Jesus Christ who spoke of the Kingdom of God and our Father God’s love for us.  He told us that God is good and only does good.  His Spirit still speaks to us today and fills us with His love.

God hates religion because it thinks it speaks for Him, but it doesn’t.

The  time will come when the self-appointed ‘holy’ people will want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they cast out demons and healed the sick, but He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  If God can use a donkey, He can use a religious person to get a blessing to someone through the spoken Word about the God he doesn’t even know.  God always looks after His Word to perform it.

The traditional church is not the same as the true church which is the body of Christ.  They love each other and minister to one another and the world.

Time for today’s challenge.  Examine your church life – is it alive and active or is it man’s traditions void of life and love.

  • Are you a ‘church lady’ or ‘holy man’ who is really impressed with your own self?
  • Do you truly know God?
  •  Have you allowed the Lord to take over and help you really be the church yourself?
  • Are you free to listen to the voice of the Lord and then do what He says

The Resurrection of Christ – King Jesus Ministries.  An amazing teaching.

Rest? Who Has Time to Rest?

Every day is full.  It is Springtime after all.  I feed the hummingbirds and are they ever hungry!  I have gardening to do including opening the fountains and cleaning the outdoor living spaces.  The house needs to be power-washed and the deck must be painted.

I am busy with church.  Friday night, I will be making food for a special dinner.  The annual church tent sale will require some time, as well.

I have started a new business and try to spend about four hours on the phone each day getting it up and running.     This has nothing to do with the day-to-day household chores.

I love to blog and it has been totally neglected by my “busy-ness.”

I can always find something that needs to be done and I know that I am not alone in this.  “Martha, Martha” is not a quote that I want to hear from Jesus.

When I read Ransomed Heart’s blog,  I was convicted that I had things out-of-order.  Here is a quick quote from that post.

All you athletes out there know that runners need rest days to recover and repair muscles in order to get stronger. Runner’s World says, “It is important to realize rest days are when improvements are actually made as opposed to during the days when the runner is training.”  Who knew?

Intentionally resting is vital for all of us.”

She ends the post with the quote our church has on our tee shirts.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

So, the question is, “Why, when I know resting in His Presence is my necessary food, do I put it at the bottom of my ‘to-do’ list?”

Today, I am laying aside all that creates pressure in my life and going into the throne room to rest in my Daddy’s everlasting arms.  I will trust Him that all will wait until I get re-acquainted with the One who loves me.

Will you?

Excellence – not Perfection

Perfection

Once again Abigail had blown it!  She had cleaned the house and thought she had covered every corner.  When her husband, Kyle, came home, he lost it!  Look at this drawer!  It is a mess.  I am so sick of you not doing things right!  She rushed over and began to straighten the offending drawer.  She sighed.  Nothing she ever did was good enough.

Yesterday he had run his finger over the top of the door and found dust.  He raved.  She felt again like nothing she ever did was good enough.  The day before, he told her he  had written a date on top of the refrigerator a week before and she hadn’t found it.  He ridiculed her.

She tried.  She really did, but it was impossible to please him.

Today’s Lesson:

Often we think God is as demanding as Kyle.  Even though we try, we can’t live up to the Law that we see in Scripture.  We may say a swear word or we get angry at our kids.  We don’t pray or read our Bible every day.  We are sure that we have disappointed the Lord and soon we give up trying to reach Him.

The Good News!

God knew we could never be perfect and that is why He gave us the Law so that we could see the futility of trying to do it on our own.  He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for all of our sin and imperfection.  He did what we could not do.  He has released us from all condemnation.

He looks at us as little children.  If your toddler spills his milk, you don’t give him away or tell him that he is useless.  You clean it up and fill the glass again and use a cup that won’t spill.  You help him learn how to manage new challenges so that he can become a responsible adult.  It takes time to develop a child into a person of excellence.  It is done step-by-step and moment-by-moment.  You love them, encourage them, discipline them and give them room to make mistakes.

God is much nicer than you are.  He is Good and  His Loving-kindness endures forever!

It is  Satan who has made us think that God is our critic.  He is not.  He knew we couldn’t live the life we see in the Law – not even  the basic ten commandments.  Jesus had to become a man and dwell among us and pay the full price for all the things we have done and will do.  He covered everything including our thoughts, actions, attitudes, all kinds of sin and fears.  When we accept what Jesus has done, He begins to complete the good work He has begun in us.  He won’t stop or give up on us.

He might put us on hold if we get too rebellious but He waits patiently for us to turn back to HIm.

Excellence

When we yield to the Spirit of God, we begin to become who has intended us to be.  He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.  Everything!  He has made us the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  He has sent His own Holy Spirit to live in us to help us, lead us, guide us and comfort us.

He is nicer than the most loving parent and He brings us into people of excellence and not perfection.

Perfection!  “It ain’t ever gonna happen – so get over it and enjoy the patience and the love of God who restores us and loves us at all times.”

There is a process that happens over time as we yield to the leading of the Lord and it yields excellence.  When you mess up, confess it to the Lord, and walk free of the guilt and shame.

 Tell the devil to ‘shut up!’  He will want to continue to beat you with your failures.  He thinks he is so clever.  He tempts you to do wrong and then beats you for doing it.  

Freedom!

God sees that you have made a mistake and as soon as you confess it, you are released it and you are free.  I love the Scripture that says, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free!”

Trust Him with all the circumstances of your life and live free!

Share a time that you when you knew you were free!

Seed……….Time……… and then Harvest

Seed . . .

Cristal was so excited.  It was her first garden.  She had gone to the store and bought some wonderful heirloom seeds.  After having gotten on the internet, she learned that she had to till the soil, add nutrients, and get it ready to receive the seed.  She worked very hard.

When the seeds were in the ground, she marked each row.  In one row, there was carrots and another had beets and yet another had onions.  When she went to the nursery, she bought some tomato plants and some pepper plants.

Impatiently, she waited for the seeds to break the ground.  She would move the soil and peek at the seeds.  It seemed that they were just lying there.  She watered them again.  The next day, she looked and still there was nothing, so once again, she moved the dirt so that she could look at the seeds.  It was very disappointing.

Time . . . . .

Her grandmother called and asked her to come to visit for a week.  Cristal hated to leave the garden, but grandmother seemed lonely.  She went out and watered the garden very good and then packed the car and left for her visit.

When she came back home, she turned off the car and ran back to see the garden.  To her shock and suprise, there were little spears of life coming out of the ground.  Tiny plants were pushing their way up toward the sun.  She scratched her head in wonder.  She had left them alone and they had sprung forth from the seed that she had placed in the good soil.  She had only to wait.

Her mouth watered in anticipation of the day, when the full plant would bear its bounty.  “Time,” she thought, “time is an important part of the process.”

Today’s Lesson:

Christians plant seed in so many ways.  It can be money, time, smiles, clothes, furniture, houses, cars and lands.  We must remember that there is life in the seed.

The seed we plant will bring forth a harvest after its own kind.  We, too, get anxious to receive a harvest.  We will worry our seed, but we need to remember the lesson that Cristal learned.  It takes time.  Time is the key to the harvest.

We have quoted Ecclesiastes and said, “Seed-time and harvest” thinking it was about seasons, but the lesson is about waiting and resting.  We lay the foundation – till the soil of our hearts by giving our lives to the Lord to change us into suitable ground to bear the seed.  We  give our tithes and offerings to the place where we are being discipled.   We give our material goods to those who have need of them.  We give our time in service to others.  When we get weary, we may think that we won’t receive a harvest.

In Galatians we read, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

What are you sowing?  Are you giving smiles or frowns, joy and laughter or complaints and sarcasm?  Are you sharing the material goods and the money God has entrusted to you?

Harvest!

Remember this important lesson – we reap what we sow –  later than we sow and greater than we sow.

Think of the corn seed.  You put it in the ground and in time the plant comes up and the ear appears with row upon row of corn for seed and eating.  It is a good picture of how the principle of sowing and reaping works.  Don’t eat all your harvest but sow some of it again to continue reaping a harvest.

What are you sowing?  Share a time when you reaped a harvest.

The Renegade Vine

Shelly was in a high rise building with thick darkness. The city was in a complete blackout.  She was on the twenty-fourth floor and knew there was no elevator service.  Walking the stairs wasn’t a good idea because she didn’t know what or who she would meet.  She was truly alone. The batteries in her flashlight were dead and she couldn’t find the matches to light her only candle.  She was completely alone and quiet for the first time in many years.

She sat on the couch and listened to the silence that was intermittently broken by a distant siren.  She put her head back and sighed.  This was just one more dark day that punctuated the depression she had been feeling.   Thomas had left her for his administrative assistant three months ago.  She had been reeling ever since from the emptiness of the apartment and of her life.  Now this darkness closed in around her.

It had been a long time since she considered that God was watching over her or that He even existed.  If He did exist, she believed that He had forgotten her.  Yet now, in her despair she cried out, “God, if you are out there, help me!” The cares of her life began to lift and inside she heard a still small voice saying, “I have always been here.  You have only to ask for My help.”   A peace that she had never known came upon her and caught her by surprise.  Over the next few hours, she sat in God’s Presence and He ministered His love and healing acceptance to her.  “There is no condemnation for you, my child,” He told her.  “You are loved and have always been loved by Me.  I never left you and I know your pain.  I have a better way.” Shelly gave her heart to Jesus during the long dark night and when the daylight began to come through her windows, she was new inside.  There was joy and it felt wonderful.

She had been trying to live her life without Jesus.  She remembered that she had loved Sunday School as a child and Mrs. Pearson had led her in a prayer when she was ten.  God let her know that all this time, she had been His and He was just waiting for her to seek Him.

Today’s Lesson:

Shelly was trying to live a fruitful life apart from God.  She had been self-sufficient or at least she had tried to be.  She had music playing or the television on when she was alone.  At work, she managed multiple tasks and had been promoted to a Regional Manager.  Her life was filled with noise and activity.  She was never quiet and seldom alone.

She had turned off her power source and was winging her way through life.  She knew it wasn’t working

When the blackout forced the quiet and the solitary hours, she slowed down long enough to hear the voice of her Lover, her Father, her Savior: her God.

In the Scripture, there is a story of the Vine and the Branches.  Shelly had become a renegade branch.  She was trying to make leaves, blossoms and fruit apart from the Vine.  It seemed to work as long as the life force was still remained in the branch, but soon, the branch had nothing to draw on and it withered.

Shelly had withered and was striving to live apart from God.  She was empty and alone.  When she finally became still on that dark night, she heard Him and she knew that apart from Him, life was empty and without purpose.

Today Shelly is a different person.  When the lights came on, she searched her storage unit and found her Bible which she devours each day.  She is looking for a place to worship. The lights are back on not only in her apartment, but in her life.

I Commit All to God in 2013

When I got the review from WordPress and found out that people in 76 countries have been reading my stories, I was totally blown away.  I want to thank each of you for looking at this blog.  Happy New Year.  I wonder where we will be 2014.  I know for sure, if we don’t start now, we will be looking back and wishing we had.

I found a wonderful Scripture in Job 5:8.  It says “I would seek God and unto God I would commit my cause.”  This year, I am starting a new business venture and it is set to kick off today.  Seeking God, I commit this new venture to Him.

I have spent a lot of money (for me) to develop web pages that will help me and those I select to become successful!!  There are many wonderful tools that I can share with others.

I must confess, I have butterflies, but as with any business, you have to spend money to make money.  Very soon I will post a blog that tells you how you can apply, if you are interested.  While I don’t promise that you will make $1 million, those who will be serious can develop a nice income as a result of their effort.  The amazing tools and support makes success not only possible but highly probable.

I am also part of a group of friends that are committing to live wiser lives this year by eating healthy and normalizing our weight once and for all.  We are starting after New Year’s Day.  Stay tuned for my progress!

Watch for my announcement!!!

 “What are you seeking and what cause do you have in 2013?”  Let me know.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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