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

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The Joy Journey

walkerRecently, I fell and broke my hip.  It hurt really bad.  I ended up in an ambulance and on the operating table.  I have spent the last few day in acute rehab learning to walk and take care of myself.  It has given me time for reflection.

Joy Journey is the name of my not-for-profit ministry.  There will be more information about it as I get things set up.  But for now, I want to share with you what I have learned from my accident about the “Joy Journey.”

The joy journey is different from an intentional, goal-oriented life.  It gives room for weakness, exploration and asking for help.  It draws me to God and shows me that He is bigger than my anger, frustration, pain, and fear. It embraces the healthy emotions that are the enemy of the intentional, goal-based life.  The joy journey brings acceptance, contentment, joy, and delight.  It embraces those around me that had been hindrances in the past.  It is continuation and not destination.

In the joy journey, one begins to gain God’s perspective and recognize that the opinions and concepts,  that I held dear, are empty.  It is a new partnership and no longer a competition.

It changes the “I can” mentality to  the “Hey, Father, what’s next step?’query.  No longer am I striving and trying to win the approval of men or even my own approval but God’s alone.

Even if there is no happy ending in sight, no hope of a happy tomorrow, as I allow myself to rest and truly trust God, an overwhelming sense of gratitude  explodes into the midst of the mess and somehow makes it all bearable.

Are you lost?  Has your journey become difficult and confusing?  Are the ‘fixes’ that you have tried not working?  journey (2)Accept that in this journey, all you need to do is to reach out and take His hand and watch your life evolve as you rest and trust in Him.

Attitude is the most important thing that we have control over in our lives.  It comes from a posture of humility before the Lord.  When I have tried everything and I can’t make it work, I finally surrender.  Once the humility comes, the gratitude overtakes everything.

The joy journey reminds me to cherish even the small things in each moment.

I have learned that Father God won’t waste my pain.  He will make something beautiful and redeemable from it.

As I lay aside all ideas of being a victim. and as I change my mind, my heart attitude begins to focus on what I have instead of what I have lost.  I don’t focus on pain. However, I don’t say it isn’t real and that it doesn’t exist, I just choose not to dwell in the atmosphere it creates.

Gratitude and blessing live together.  God wants us to enjoy the life He has given us.  I am one of the most blessed people in the world. I am grateful for His lovingkindness, compassion and goodness toward me.  I express my love back to Him by loving Him and loving others.

happy accident

I will be going home soon and learning to receive help from friends and neighbors as I fully recover from this happy accident.  I would not trade what I have learned through this process.  I am forever grateful that I have paved a new path on my joy journey.

 

 

A New Touch

Walk into the light

Walk into the light

As I think about the coming New Year, I know some things for certain.  I know that my husband won’t die this coming year as he moved to heaven this year.  I also know that the grief will be less in 2016 because it is not so new.  For me, the most important question is what will change in 2016?

Since Joe left, I find myself learning to rely on Jesus, my husband and my Lord.  It is new territory.

When I had friends lose their husbands, I would say, “You know that Jesus is your husband now.”  It was cliché’ and glib.  I had no idea what I was saying.

As a widow, I have missed my husband’s presence.  He is not here to hold my hand and kiss me good night.  Being alone isn’t so bad but what I find is that I miss his human touch.

As I have spent time learning to get closer to Jesus and understand Him as my husband, I have wondered how I would be able to manage with the absence of human touch.Beloved

In a recent Sunday service, the Holy Spirit showed up in an extraordinary way.  The revelation that came to me  was astonishing.  He showed me that when I am in the Spirit, I can step into Him and He can step into me.  We are one in the Spirit.  I don’t think there are words that can clarify exactly what I mean, but it is breathtaking.

He is my Savior, my King, my Owner, my Husband and my Love.  We are one together in the Holy Spirit.  He touches me in a new way and it is truly fulfilling.

I am His bride and the New Year is filled with expectation.  I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.

 

One Way – Revisited

After my last post, I got some very good advice from a friend of mine.  She said that instead of creating vignettes of teaching parables that I should use incidents from own life. At first I objected, but I could see her point.  In truth, this blog is called “Old Lady Brady’s Joy Journey” and I need to tell of all the joys and heartaches that I have experienced and the lessons that I have learned.  So here goes:

This is a rewrite of One Way – the Only Way.

In my ‘wild childNYC‘ and ‘free spirit’ years, I met a handsome man with sparkling blue eyes and white hair.  I was 38 years old and I had been divorced for 7 years. He too was divorced and we were both looking for answers to life.  We met at a ‘New Age’ meditation workshop in New York City.

I saw him across the room and watched as he took a seat on the aisle.  So as not to be obvious, I sat on the aisle across from him.  That was in January, 1980, and we were married by the end of March.  We moved back to my home in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska.  Needless to say, the New Age movement in Omaha was not nearly as appealing as it was in New York City.

Much to my chagrin, Joe wasn’t satisfied and began listening to Christian radio.  I liked being able to chart my own course and felt that God just had many different ways to reach people all over the world – like Buddhism, Islam, Shinto and so much more.  I was content to embrace them all or to embrace none of them.  Joe was not.

He began to take me to meetings by a young man named Andrew Wommack. We would pretend to be Christians because he gave away his cassette teaching tapes.  Joe loved free stuff!  We would sing along, raise our hands and listen to the preacher.  As soon as the meeting was over, Joe would take his grocery sack and fill it with one tape from each pile.

He would then listen to the teachings and tell me what they said.  He would convince me to listen to some of them and I told him that they were nice and if I just substituted a word here and there, it would fit into my New Age philosophy.

One night we were debating the merits of Christianity and New Age.  We had been up most of the night in deep discussion.  Joe had gotten out of bed and was standing by the door when a realization hit me!  ‘You are taking this Jesus thing all together too seriously!’  ‘That’s right, I am!! And  I don’t care if you do or not!” his frustration showed.

I was shocked.  I talked to all my friends and one in particular who said, ‘Go ahead, it doesn’t matter.  All religion is the same.”  But somehow I just knew that wasn’t true.

One night, on my way home, I listened on the radio and heard an old-time tent evangelist named Schambach address the difference between the Muslim faith and Christianity.  He said that the Muslims go to Mecca to see the remains of Mohammed, but Christians go to Jerusalem to see an empty tomb, ‘because Jesus is Alive!!’  He then demonstrated that there is power in the name of Jesus by healing a blind man and a deaf-mute in the name of Jesus.  But when he turned to the man who couldn’t walk and commanded him to rise and walk in the name of Mohammad, nothing happened.  But then he turned and said, “In Jesus name, Arise!” and he did.

In the process of his presentation, the evangelist’s voice was replaced with the sweet voice of God.  I knew it was Him and I began to weep.  I said over and over again, “I’m sorry Jesus, I just didn’t know, I just didn’t know!”

This isn't us - but you get the idea.

This isn’t us – but you get the idea.

When I got home, Joe wanted to know if I had heard the program and with tears streaming down my face, I said that I had.  His face was filled with joy as he embraced me and welcomed me home.  I was not only in my earthly home, but now I had a heavenly home as well.

There is only one way – Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

 

A Pure Heart

Vivian and Abner were pushing forty when they married.  The desire of their hearts was to have a child.  They knew the risks and yet were completely delighted when Viv found out she was pregnant.  They rejoiced in the Lord and began to speak to the little one in her womb.  Every day they spoke of Jesus and read Scripture and put worship songs on in their home.  The atmosphere was filled with the love of God.

The day came when Vivian went into labor and they were filled with anticipation.  It was an easy delivery but immediately the doctor seemed to be concerned.  He took the baby and left the delivery room.  After Viv was put in recovery, Abner and the doctor came in and told her that the baby had Down syndrome.  There would be challenges. There were some health issues that they may face and almost assuredly the baby would have some degree of mental retardation.  The nurse brought the sweet little bundle and laid him in her arms.

“I want to name him David ,” she said.  David slew Goliath and I believe this baby will be victorious no matter what the doctor says.

The years passed and little David was taught about the Lord every day.  He reached his teenage years and had learned how mean other kids were to anyone who was different.  They called him names and bullied him.  He just responded with love and remembered that Jesus loved him.  God began to show him what was true in the Spirit.  He saw angels and heard God’s voice.  He never felt alone.  He had the most amazing child-like trust that those who took the time to get to know him realized that he knew far more about almost all important things than they did.

Then it happened.  A troubled young man came into the school waving a gun, David’s classmates and teachers began to move in confusion.  David quietly said, “Step into the closet and close the door.  There are angels guarding the door.”  Many of the kids responded by crowding into the small space and soon the rest joined them.  The teacher followed them in. David didn’t go in the closet.

He stepped into the hallway and turned toward the man.  He had seen him at church a few times and knew that he was lost and alone.  He called his name, “Mr. Glen, what are you doing?”  He looked at David confused and began to wave the gun in his direction.  David looked at him and said, “You can’t hurt me, I have God’s angels to protect me.  I want to help you.”  Glen raised the gun and pointed it at David and pulled the trigger.  The gun didn’t fire.  He pulled the trigger again.  Nothing.  He looked at David and started to cry.

David walked up to Glen and took the gun and invited him to sit down.  By this time, the police had arrived and they took Glen while dismissing David as a mentally retarded boy who was of no consequence.  David didn’t care.  He knows who he is and who he belongs to.  Jesus lives in him and the heavenly host are his guard.

It was just as his Mom knew when she named him.  This little David defeated the Goliath that threatened the life of Glen and the school children as well as the teachers.

Today’s Lesson:

Unlike David, we are too smart for our own good.  We are not simple in our faith.  Often we complicate things and mix law with grace. We make it all about us.  It is only and always about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and Father God.

Ask God to give us wisdom and purity as we walk as simple children who look to Jesus for everything as we face both challenges and blessings.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.  

Cheryl Meakins

FREEDOM – we celebrate our freedom today, this Fourth of July.  We remember the Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the Revolutionary War that cost so many lives but gave us our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

But freedom was challenged when our nation divided two generations later, experiencing a Civil War.  Brother fought and killed brother – in the name of freedom. The Civil War was launched by the South’s rebellion against a national government’s policies regarding what they believed was personal property: slaves. When Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, the war’s rationale was transformed from states’ rights to freeing slaves.

 

Just as freedom rang clearly from our Liberty bell after the Revolutionary War, after the Civil War it rang for repressed African-Americans in our land. The next swing of liberty rang for the freedom of women – voting and workplace rights.

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Authorized Representative

I lived in Atlanta and worked in the Merchandise Mart where I was an authorized representative for several gift manufacturers.  It was an interesting job.  It gave me the right to ‘represent’ the companies and sell their products.  People came to the Showroom and I took that opportunity to present the features and benefits of the various lines.  They made the decision to ‘buy’ or not.  I let the manufacturer know what had been purchased and the products were delivered to the address provided.  

Authority is what is necessary to do any job.  If you are a policeman, you have no physical power to stop traffic, but you can stand in the middle of the street, hold up a hand and the traffic stops.  If you are the President of the United States, your authority is granted to you by the people you represent.  You have been given the work of acting in the interests of those who elected you.  Authority is the power behind the individual.  An unelected person could not even get into the White House without an escort and even if they were there in the President’s Oval Office, they would not have the authority to make national decisions.

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are assigned to ‘do business’ as authorized representatives of our Lord until He returns.

Righteousness is given to us as a free gift and by the grace of God, this qualifies us to do the  greater works than Jesus did when He walked on the earth.  We can expect to cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead and lead others to the place where they encounter the Lord.  We represent the Kingdom of God.  It is our job to speak of the favor that is given to each of us, not because we have lived perfect, sinless lives, but because of the God’s grace.

When we finally begin to grasp the fullness of who we have become and to Whom we belong, we can take a great sigh of relief and begin to relax in His love.  Then we work for the ‘joy set before us’ just as Jesus did when He knew He was going to the Cross.  We can do the work of the ministry and even face persecution because we no longer belong to the earth.  We belong to the Kingdom and to our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit AND we belong to our brothers and sisters who journey with us.

The main stay of our lives is God’s love and sharing it with our Kingdom family.  This is the foundation for our soul prosperity which includes physical health, emotional health, financial health and spiritual health.  The love of God and His gift of righteousness in our lives act as the fuel that empowers the authority given us to accomplish all that is set before us.

As God’s representative, I don’t judge the people He sends me to.  I don’t judge my brothers and sisters who are also in process.  I don’t judge the leaders that He has placed over me even though I can see they have flaws.  I don’t compare my work with the work of another – we are all essential.  I don’t compare my leader with another – we all have different assignments.  When I know someone is struggling in an area, I cover them with the love of God and His grace and present them before Him in the throne room.  My job is to spread the “Good News” that God loves them, He is not mad at them, and He longs for them to turn their hearts toward Him and spend time with Him.  I am to tell them, as His representative, that He has provided the remedy, for all the ways we have missed it, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ Who took our place and received our punishment.  We can step into His Presence without fear.  He loves us!

Today, I invite you to join me by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus and receiving His finished work into your life.  Become His representative.  It is a life of joy and wonder!  It is a life that throbs with adventure and purpose.  It is Good News!

Are You Religious? Take the test.

The Religion Test:

  1. If church promised a $10,000 door prize at the 11:00 service or Sunday, would you go?
  2. If you could work-out in the gym at church for free, would that make regular church attendance interesting.
  3. If your company offered you double time to work on Sunday, would you skip church?
  4. If church was a really fun place to go with golf tournaments, theater and musicals and a great social program, does that get you to attend?
  5. If you heard that the church was teaching about ways to draw near to God and become intimate with Him, would that attract you?
  6. Or perhaps there is nothing that could draw you away from the sports on TV or a day on the lake.
An affirmative answer to all but the fifth question proves that you are religious about something.  If you answered yes to five, you are interested in really getting to know God which is based on a relationship with Him and His love.

We quickly see what is the most important to us when we consider these questions.  Most of us would go for sure to get the money.  If we wanted to get fit, the gym has a certain appeal.  Turning down the overtime money would be difficult.  The social aspects of a big church serve to integrate you in the community and help to meet new friends.  But . . . how many of us really want to draw nearer to the God of the Universe.

Religion itself is bondage to something.  We think of the Pharisees and Saducees in the Bible.  They were the most religious of all as is some of the church leadership today.  What are you bound to?  Is the organized church the answer?  How do you escape religion and get to know the God that loves you?

How many of us want to really know Jesus Christ?  How many of us want to sit, face-to-face with the Father God and have a conversation?  How many of us want to “be the true church;” to be ‘the called out ones?’  Called out by the Father to hear His voice and walk in His ways?

But, you say . . . “I don’t know how to do that.”  Yes you do.  So do I.  Why is it so hard to start?  What is the fear?  Are we afraid that He will show us the areas we are avoiding in ourselves?  Is it because we think that we don’t need Him?  Are we doing just fine using our own resources?  Or has the demonic realm deceived us and convinced us that we don’t need to get too close to Him?

What keeps us from the joy of knowing the wonderful God that loves us, even before we give Him a thought.  Why are we so arrogant as to think that we don’t really need anyone or anything.  Has  American independence so infiltrated our thought process that we think that we can go it alone and be just fine?   Then, I remember exactly what I had when I was on my own before meeting Jesus Christ.  I was broken and filled with bravado.  I didn’t want anyone to know how wounded I was;  but, everyone knew.  I was the only one who was being fooled.  Are you fooling yourself?

In the Scripture, there is a story of five wise and five foolish virgins awaiting their bridegroom to come for them.  When the time came, the foolish ones wanted oil (a type of the Holy Spirit) for their lamps from the wise ladies who were wise enough to say no.  This is not something that you can do on the preparedness of another.  It is up to each of us to be filled with the Spirit and ready for the encounters that the God who loves us has for us.

My heart hungers for Him.  My flesh avoids Him.  It is up to me now to decide who is in charge, just as it is up to you.  Do I let my heart rule and fall in love with my Lord and live in His grace and glory OR do I let my flesh rule and continue to do my own thing.  Now is the day.  Tomorrow is too late.  He wants me to spend time with Him; to romance Him and to love Him.  He desires for me to walk out Spirit-life.

When I draw near, He will draw near to me.  Then I will wonder, whatever did I think was so important, that I didn’t stop and meet with this One I love.

Old Lady Brady's Joy Journey

My Mama didn’t believe in joining a church because of her Mama’s religion. They taught you would get ‘the Mark of the Beast’ if you did. (I didn’t know what that was.) Grandma’s religion had made atheists of all of her kids because it was, what was then called the “holiness” movement. She wore dark stockings, no make-up and did not believe in having much of anything. There was no radio, television, indoor plumbing and for many years, no refrigerator. She carried wood and coal and used an outhouse until she was 90 years old. Her belief colored all of our lives. Mom and Dad could never agree on what to do about church and so they slept in and sent me to a small church two blocks away.

At that little church, we had a series of pastors, at least two of which I believe loved the Lord. The…

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Is the Presence of God Absent?

We walked into the church hopeful.  We had looked for a long time and we were getting discouraged.  Within a short time we knew we had hit the ‘religion’ jackpot.  There was an active ‘amen’ corner.   The lady that sang the solo had no talent and was chosen for her hair style and lack of make-up.  The reverend was very loud and pointed an accusing finger at the congregation who seemed to be used to the berating.  He talked of the devil and condemned each of us to our own private corner of hell UNLESS we repented from our sin.  I could think of no reason to repent but only had a desire to flee.  If this was ‘church,’ we wanted no part in it!  We quickly delivered ourselves outside to the fresh air and blue sky.  It was not our first disappointment and would not be our last.

It must grieve God’s Father heart that we can be satisfied to sit under this oppression and call it Christian.  Being abused every Sunday morning by a leader who has never even have had an encounter with the Living God.  There is a good chance that s/he is not even a part of God’s family.  This person is what the Bible calls a ‘hireling,’ not a shepherd.  He found a career and used his public speaking skills to try to scare people out of hell, but I think he may just have succeeded in convincing them that if this was what church was about, they wanted no part of it.

Other leaders may not be so overt, but they are all about psychology, or they are a friendly social club that only teaches the easy parts of the Bible  There are so many ways that the church has been infiltrated by the devil and the world.

When we were first brought into the family of God, we were zealous and accepted everything we encountered as coming from Heaven.  After several woundings and our son walking away in disgust, we realized that there must be more to the church thing than what we had first thought.

So, we continued our search to find a place where the Spirit of God actually showed up when we came together.  We love the Lord and spent time with Him on a regular basis.  We really did come into His Presence from time-to-time, but it seemed that the more we hung around certain churches, the less we encountered Him.  Finally we gave up and stayed home.  This was really not a solution either.  At home, we began to drift.  I started reading Christian Fiction instead of the Bible – a voyeur into the lives of people who actually seemed to get it.  My husband just pulled in and his wounds isolated him.  Every so often, I would venture into another ‘church.’  If I could persuade him to come, he would give me a list of why everything was wrong, and he was right!

But I was starved for fellowship – the kind the Bible speaks of – koininea – a coming together in unity and oneness.  Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father were One.  I wanted that and I wanted it with my husband.

I attended a small 7:00 AM fellowship in my small town.  There was a young man there that changed before my eyes.  He went from being a good denominational man to a radiant expression of the Presence of God.  He kept inviting me to come to a small church he attended.  He assurred me it was different.  I was intrigued.

When I went, it was definitely different – totally different from church as usual.  The leader claimed to walk and talk with God on a daily basis and taught the Word of God with authority.  Not completely convinced, I went several times before I asked hubby to come with me.  He came but not with a happy heart.  I could tell he was impressed but sitting for a long time is hard on him and the guy could talk!  After two and a half hours, the meeting broke up.  My dear man told me that I should go to this fellowship, but it wasn’t for him.

So with his blessing, I continued to go.  I changed so much that he knew something was up.  One day, he decided it was time to visit with the leader and he found a man-of-God who not only affirmed him but drew him into a friendship.

We began to attend as a couple.  God has done amazing things in our lives in the last six or seven months.  Now we sit through sermons that can last much longer than two hours and still be hungry for more.  We are learning to enter into and abide in the Presence of God.  He is not just Almighty God to us anymore; He is now our Papa – Abba – Father God.  He loves us and we know it.  We love Him because of it.

This fellowship has become our family.  We are now involved in going to the streets to invite people into His Presence.  It has changed our lives forever.

If your church doesn’t have the Presence of Father God in their services and if it doesn’t show in the lives of those who attend, find a place where God is present.  It makes all the difference.

Is your church abiding in His Presence.  Are you?

Hearing God’s Voice

I don’t want to share with you the twisted road that the devil had me on before I came to the knowledge that Jesus died for me and He did it because Father God loves us so much; It still amazes me that He sacrificed His own Son on our behalf. And, as if that wasn’t enough, He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and bring us into Father’s Presence.

My testimony is NOT about what I did before, but what I DO almost every day.

When I first met the Lord Jesus, I fell in love with Him. I discovered that the only way to have a relationship with Him was to spend time with Him. So, that is what I did. For months and months, I spent time in the Bible and talking to Him. He introduced me to God the Father and invited me into the Heavenly Throne Room.

To prepare my heart when I want to meet with Him, I put on loud worship music so I can shut out my surroundings and sometimes I open the Bible – I shut my eyes and I am transported into Heaven and the Throne Room.

I know, I know; you are saying, “Whoa! What do you mean, you go into the Heavenly Throne Room!”

You see we are not citizens of the world anymore. We belong to our Family in Heaven where God is our Father and Jesus is our big Brother. We have imaginations given to us by Father God. (The devil has corrupted them and many people don’t think they are okay anymore, but they are.) So I close my eyes and ask Jesus for permission to enter into the Throne Room (He is the Door.)   He is seated at Father’s right hand. I come in and I am engulfed in Light. I feel the cares of the day fall off and I take my seat next to my big Brother, Jesus. From here I find out what the Father’s will is for me.

OR sometimes, I just crawl up in Father God’s Lap and call Him “Abba” (Hebrew for Daddy”) and tell Him everything that is on my heart and rest in Him. Sometimes, I just sit on the floor and look at Them and watch all the angels.

It is really a wonderful. I can go there anytime. The more I go, the easier it is. You can do it too. Don’t be afraid. Your imagination was given by Father so that you could see Him. He is able to help you see the right things. It is always a good experience.

He loves us and wants us to know Him. He wants us to love Him – romance Him, if you will. It is how you have a wonderful relationship with someone you love. There is no relationship without alone time intimately with the other.

So much of what the world has done tries to convince us that we can find this level of intimacy with another person here on earth, but it is just not possible. But I promise that when you shut everything else out, He will meet you and love you as you love Him.  Learn how to open the door to your heart any time, any where!

The Scriptures uses the symbolism of the Church as the Bride of Christ. There is no relationship more intimate than a Bride with her Lover and that is who we are to Him.

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