“You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” (John 16: 20)
“Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16: 24)
Joy. God makes me laugh sometimes. I love the way He works. It’s never by accident or random. He is so intentional. Lately, I have really been thinking about joy and experiencing it in a way that I never thought possible. So when I read the verse that my sorrow will turn to joy, I actually laughed out loud! And this wasn’t a mocking or sarcastic snicker; this was a laugh knowing that God is truly who He says He is. I am totally humbled and amazed by the fact that God can turn sorrow into joy. It really is possible. Even when we are in the deepest places of despair and hopelessness, God can and will do great things. He knows the desires of our hearts and just wants us to trust Him and connect with Him. I love how He tells us to ask so that we can receive… so that our joy can be complete.
Jesus, I love You. I am amazed by You and how You work in my life. After experiencing such deep loss and pain, I had finally reached a place of acceptance of my circumstances. I was no longer hopeless or in a pit of despair, Lord, but I felt like the spark in my heart was gone. You, Jesus, were not finished with me yet. I love how You surprise me, God, with exceedingly more than I can ask for or imagine. Thank You, Jesus, for returning joy into my heart, igniting that spark again. Lord, You are worthy of praise and adoration. You truly restore the years that the locusts have eaten. Thank You. I love You endlessly!
Filed under 66 Books, John, New Testament
Tagged as 66 books, Bible in a year, Christ, joy, love, New Testament, redemption, transformation, trust
“Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” John 2:11
I often think about miracles and how Jesus, during His earthly ministry, performed so many. They were all so tangible and amazed people. In this passage He turned water into wine at a wedding feast. In others, He raised the dead, multiplied the fishes and loaves, walked on water, calmed a storm, and so so many more. I wonder what it was like to see such displays of God’s glory. I wonder if my faith would have been so much stronger had I been in the presence of Jesus on a daily basis. I wonder if I would have ever doubted Him.
The cool thing about all of this is that Jesus still performs miracles today. Where He once turned water into wine, He has turned my heart of stone into a heart of flesh. He has shown me love beyond all I could ever have imagined. He protects me. He provides for me. He has opened doors that I thought were closed forever. Jesus knows my heart and knows exactly what I need. He is the great Redeemer. He is still in the business of revealing Himself through signs and wonders in my life.
My prayer is that I would never stop looking for Him. I long to see His hand working miracles in my life. I can’t wait to get to Heaven to see the completion of the beautiful tapestry that He has woven together for me. All that He does for me is working together for my good.
Thank You that You are still a God of miracles. I pray that I would always have my spiritual eyes opened to see how You are working for me. May I never grow complacent in my pursuit of You. Strengthen my faith, Lord. I love You, Jesus.
“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because Your Father delights to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:31-34)
Our family has so much. There are days when I look around my house and am actually sickened by the sight of all of the “stuff”. Over time we have accumulated so many things that we thought that we needed. A few times a year, I whirlwind around the house, organize and load up the excess, do a drop off at Good Will, and then vow never to buy another thing! In fact, after returning from a missions trip to Haiti this summer, I had determined to never buy another useless item. Yeah, so ask me how that is going…
And now, we have entered in to the Christmas season. Walking through Target the other day, I noticed the stacks of toys on the shelves piled up very high above the height of the steps. Once again, I found myself vowing that I would not cave into societal pressure to buy my kids more “stuff” that will end up at Good Will in a few months. Yeah, so ask me how that is going…
Clearly Jesus tells us to sell our possessions and give to the poor. God wants us to choose priorities that are designed to reap inexhaustible heavenly dividends. These are what should be the treasures of my heart. Yet I am so sucked in to this world. Sure, we have adopted families at Christmas, donated to charities, served at shelters, and we have even gone and helped the people of Haiti. But I still find myself frustrated at my weakness to give into the temptation of the lies that tell me that things will make me happy. I know the truth. I know what God has to say about material possessions, but I am still so easily swayed.
Thankfully God is full of grace. He knows where I am weak, and He knows when I fail. But praise God! He loves me anyway. AND I think that He has placed a stirring in my heart. Obviously I have a long way to go in this area. But I do know that I am beginning to move in a new direction here. The things of this world are so temporary, so unfulfilling. God is working on my heart and beginning to transform me into the woman who He wants me to be.
Thank You for loving me so much and for being so patient with me. Forgive me, Lord, for having a heart that clings so tightly to this world. I praise You for being willing to grow me into a woman after Your own heart. I love You, Jesus!
Filed under 66 Books, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament
Tagged as 66books, Bible in a year, Bible reading plan, Christ, Faith, Forgiveness, God's word, mercy, New Testament, transformation, truth
“The Lord protects foreigners and helps the fatherless and the widow…” (Psalm 146:9)
When my husband died a few years ago, so many people surrounded our family to help us in a lot of ways. We had meals delivered several times a week. Friends drove my kids to practices. People would grocery shop, mow our lawn, clean our house, and do many other errands and tasks to relieve some of the burden for me. What a huge blessing this was for me. God totally provided and took care of our every need. As time passed and our family settled into our “new normal”, we got into a routine. Thankfully, I was able to take care of most of those tasks on my own. For the most part, we are doing well and into our groove. However, there are days when I find myself completely overwhelmed with my kids, life, and all of our emotions. In moments like these I feel so alone. So different from everyone else. So frustrated. So longing for what I had. So envious of others. I even tend to feel so forgotten… But when I read that God helps the fatherless and the widow, I am encouraged. I am not alone, nor am I forgotten. He is faithful and loving and has me and my children in the palm of His hands. When I find myself worrying about how my kids will cope without a father, again I come back to this truth. God specifically mentions the fatherless and the widow. I feel like God will keep an extra watch on us since we are some of His vulnerable children. He will never leave us nor will He forsake us. God’s promises are true. And for that I am so thankful.
Lord, thank You that Your Word provides comfort and peace to me. I praise You for Your unfailing promises. In my greatest times of fear and frustration, I am so grateful that I am reminded of Your love and protection. When I am weak, Lord, You are strong. Thank You for Your unfailing love. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament
Tagged as 66 books, Bible in a year, Bible Reading, Bible study, Faith, fear, God's word, hope, love, New Testament, truth
“I rise before dawn and cry out for help, I put my hope in Your Word. I am awake through each watch of the night to meditate on Your promise.” Psalm 119: 147-148
A couple of weeks ago, I was plagued with a bout of insomnia that nearly drove me crazy! There is nothing quite like being awake in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, watching the hours roll by on the clock, knowing that the time to wake is nearing quickly. Ugh! For me, it is the most lonely feeling, knowing that there is no one to talk to and share the insomnia with. The frustration of knowing that I should be asleep just fuels anxiety, keeping me wide awake. And, knowing that I will be tired during the day makes me feel completely defeated!
A couple of nights in, I decided that I was not going to let not sleeping bother me any more. If I slept, that would be great. If I didn’t sleep, oh well. Sure enough, I awoke at 2 am. I flip-flopped in my bed over and over trying to sleep. However, I did not panic or fret about being awake. I decided that I would use this time to recite verses and pray. I went through the list of anxiety verses that I had memorized over the past few years. Then I chose to meditate on the verse “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). I repeated this verse over and over in my mind. Eventually, it began to calm my spirit. I was crying out to God for rest, hoping in His promise that if I came to Him weary that He would give me rest. I didn’t necessarily fall asleep, nor did I necessarily sleep through the night the next night. But, God did come through. Even though I was awake through a chunk of the night, I was resting, not sleeping. I was resting in Him, in His promise. This was a sweet place to be. My heart was calm and at peace, and I did not feel so lonely.
I have been sleeping much better lately. But what I learned through this ordeal was that when I cry out to God, He hears me. His Word is Truth and provides hope to His people. What a great God He is!
Thank you that I can trust in Your Word and hope in Your promises. God, You never fail. You are absolute Truth. I am so grateful that You give a peace that surpasses all understanding, even in the midst of turmoil. Jesus, I love You. Amen.