Resisted Conviction

January 31
Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, 
be resolute, and love without stopping.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Listening to a Bible Study video this week, the term resisted conviction was tossed out in relationship to  situations which can bring about anguish in our lives.  My head was spinning from all I was learning and I placed a question mark next to this phrase, which I jotted in my notes.  As evening settled in, I asked my man....What does resisted conviction mean related to anguish?
Very eloquently he explained it this way.  

"Resisted Conviction is that in-between time when you know you've done wrong, but you push conviction away.  By postponing the day of reckoning, you just make it worse, bringing anguish upon your soul."

Beth Moore writes (and I felt the conviction as I read this):
"God reminds us that He didn't plant His word in us just so we could divert it toward someone else's conviction or deliverance.  That's true even when we have righteous indignation.  We need humility to receive a word from God down into the soil of our humanity.  We tend to take God's message to us and hang it around someone else's neck, but its first target was our souls."

A song we sang with our children when they were young is ringing in my ears again...He's still working on ME, to make ME, what I ought to be.

Yup, I think a huge part of resisted conviction is finding someone else we think needs to be convicted more than we think we ourselves need to be WORKED UPON!
I wish I had learned to love and appreciate the conviction of the Holy Spirit sooner in my life. God is looking for an END RESULT with our lives and conviction is part of the fine tuning process. 

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard-things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.   Galatians 5:22-23

Glorious Day

January 30
Yesterday's 74 degree temperatures symbolized a gift blowing through from God. Broken toe and all I had to get out and walk, it felt so amazing.  Even last night as I went out to walk Moses, the air was balmy reminding me of Florida winters.  As I walked I thought, "This is a glorious day!"
By the time I reached home, the phrase "Glorious Day" had played over and over in my mind and I thought I recalled a song by that name.
Googling the search, there it was.  The story line encompasses more than a summer breeze.  Click on the link below, be moved by the lyrics and sing along!

Glorious Day by Casting Crowns

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and GLORIOUS DAY of the Lord.  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Acts 2:20-21

Come Alive-Awake My Soul

January 29
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
John 4:24

They say 21 days will make a habit and I will have to say, I missed my morning, singing out loud, praise time and fished around for another inspiring God Tube.
The one below came with a devotional by Chris Tomlin.
The lyric..Awake, Awake, Awake my soul had me fired up and ready to face the day.
Do we believe God can breathe life into us?
Do we believe the Holy Spirit can fill us with every good gift from power to peace?
Do we need to be awakened to the reality of God's love and his purpose for our lives?

King of the Universe

January 28
If I am recollecting correctly, the ad I am remembering was for Krispy Kreme Donuts.  It was played on Saturday mornings at a local TV station during what they called a kiddie show.  The "gotcha line" with robust enthusiasm went something like Krispy Kreme....KING of America's Donuts!

Beth Moore, in teaching on James 1:5...
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing.

She makes the point that if God is all knowing and already knows what we need, why can't He just give it to us?  Why do we always have to ask?  Her response....
"The KING of the universe wants a real, live relationship with us.  He's not interested in just being a mind reader.  He's not even interested in just being a provider. He's both of those things, but the role He relishes most is Father. He wants us-frail mortal creatures-to connect with Him and communicate with Him as the dearest relationship in the human existence. He rejoices to hear our voices.  He delights to be our sole and holy source for all things in life."

Talk to the King today.  Tell Him you love you, you trust Him, and you want Him in your life.

It's a Joy Jubilation- Jesus is the Joy-bringer!

January 26-27

Final Days of the Praise Party #20 and # 21
This is incredible!  You are going to Jump for Joy!
Crown Him with Many Crowns by Chris Tomlin

Was there a song, way back when, that had a lyric "Can't get enough of that funky stuff"?  That is the way I feel about a chapter on joy that I read in John Ortberg's book,  The Life You've Always Wanted to Have. It is chocked full of so much goodness, which just sank deep into my soul.

It has been an emotional week watching friends and family face some major health issues. One young woman, whom I love like a daughter, had a miscarriage and our hearts ache for the baby we will not hold here on earth.  Another couple, in a Bible Study we are participating in, each lost a parent.  While they were making funeral arrangements for the wife's mother in Virginia, they received a phone call that the husband's father had just dropped dead in Florida.  The wife lost her father in November.  That's a lot!
The Bible tells us to be joyful always. There's a hint that joy is not linked to our circumstances, but to our Savior.

Below I typed up the highlights of the chapter I read by John Ortberg.  There's no rhyme or reason to them.  Just statements I don't want to forget.

Joy Comments
“Joy is the serious business of heaven.”  C.S. Lewis

Life has two categories.  Living and Waiting to Live. 
The waiting moments are ones when I am not likely to be fully present, not to be aware of the voice and purpose of God. I’m impatient. 

The thing that keeps me from experiencing joy is my preoccupation with self.

Joy is at the heart of God’s plan for human beings…Joy is at the heart of God himself.  We will never understand the significance of joy in human life until we understand its importance to God. I suspect that most of us seriously underestimate God’s capacity for joy.

Jesus came as the Joy-bringer.  The joy we see in the happiest child is but a fraction of the joy that resides in the heart  of God.  G.K. Chesterton speaks of this:
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.  But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. “

As an exercise in contrast, imagine for a moment how the opening sentences of the Bible might read if God were not a supremely joyful being. Imagine Genesis if God approached his work as we so often do:

In the beginning, it was nine o’clock, so God had to go to work. He filled out a requisition to separate light from darkness.  He considered making stars to beautify the night and planets to fill the skies, but thought it sounded like too much work; and besides, thought God, ‘That’s not my job.’  So he decided to knock off early and call it a day. And he looked at what he had done and he said, “It’ll have to to do.”
On the second day God separated the waters from the dry land.  And he made all the dry land flat, plain, and functional, so that-behold-the whole earth looked like Idaho.  He thought about making mountains and valleys and glaciers and jungles and forest, but he decided it wouldn’t be worth the effort.  And God looked at what he had done that day and said, “It’ll have to do.”
And God made a pigeon to fly in the air, and a carp to swim in the waters, and a cat to creep upon dry ground.  And God thought about making millions fo other species of all sizes and shapes and colors, but he couldn’t drum up any enthusiasm for any other animals-in fact, he wasn’t  too crazy about the cat.  Besides, it was almost time for the Late Show. So, God looked at all he had done, and God said, “It’ll have to do.”
And at the end of the week, God was seriously burned out. So he breathed a big sigh of relief and said, “Thank Me, it’s Friday.”

Of course, Genesis looks nothing like that. Instead it throbs with the refrain “God said, And it was so…and indeed, it was very good.”

On the first day, “God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.”  The first day was a Dee Dah Day!  And God did a little dance.  And the next day God said to the light, “Do it again.” And the light did it again, and God danced once again.  And so it has gone every day down to this one-down to the morning of the day you were born; down to the morning of the day in which you read these words.
So it is with God, but not with us. 
For we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
 We will not understand God until we understand this about him; “God is the happiest being in the universe.”…And God’s intent was that his creation would mirror his joy.

“To miss out on joy is to miss our on the reason for your existence.” Lewis Smedes

Joy is a command. Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice.”
Joylessness is a serious sin; one that religious people are particularly prone to indulge in.”

Your joy is your responsibility.

Sinday, Sumday, Sonday

January 25
As hard as I try, I still am not very inept at texting on a smart phone.  In my husband's frustration with his phone the other day, he exclaimed, "I have an idiot phone!"  While attempting to type the word Sunday,  it first came out sinday and boy did that get my attention.  More than likely, today I will sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

Typing again, instead of Sunday the screen read sumday.  This old mind began ticking.  What will the sum of our days represent?

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

The sumday, switched in my mind to some day....
...every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.   Romans 14:11

Day #19 of Praise

I decided to go with female gospel singers today.
CeCe Winans and I Surrender All

Tanya Blount and His Eye is on the Sparrow

The Mind

January 24
The mind is an amazing thing!  The other night I dreamed about pirates (actually, a reference had been made in a Bible Study I am doing to pirates) and as they were attacking our ship, I was hiding my wedding ring so they would not steal it.  In the morning I awakened and realized I did not have my wedding ring on. While preparing dinner the night before, I had taken the ring off and in the middle of the night my mind recognized this void and turned that into a dream about pirates!  Pretty amazing!

This realization set me off on a scriptural study of the word mind.  Woot!  The Bible states we can be out of our minds, double minded, like minded, of 1 mind, and we can have depraved, troubled, poisoned, peaceful, changed or renewed minds.  The recommended advice is to set our minds on Christ and remember  God knows our minds!

Now there's a lot to think about!  :-)

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:6

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.  Romans 15:5

Set your minds on things above not on earthly things.  
Colossians 3:2

Day #18 of Praise
Moses, our bulldog, is barking at me. My hands are lifted high, I am singing out loud and clapping.
The angels around Shiloh are dancing!  Praise doesn't get much better than this.
Below are two links to 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
The first one is powerful. It is done in black and white, with these young musicians singing their hearts out to the Lord. There are not lyrics to follow though, so if you don't know the words you may want option two, because you are going to want to sing along.

Friends #2

January 23
"A Friend's Rejection"
“If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.”  Psalm 55:12-14

Man, I tell you, I don't think there is much worse than being betrayed by a close friend, family member or lover you trusted.  Praise the Lord and I ask for continued grace and protection, I don't think that has happened between my husband and myself, but we've endured the other two categories.

Boyd Bailey writes:

The worst kind of rejection may be the rejection of a friend. You expect it from an enemy, but not from a friend. It doesn’t make sense that someone you communed with around Christ would come back and crush you with rejection. Rejection integrated with religious pretense is rough. It challenges our trust in people in general, and our faith in God in particular. With a recognized  foe you can see it coming, however, with a pretend friend it takes you by surprise. You feel ambushed by unauthentic living. One day you are laughing together around life’s little peculiarities and the next day you are dazed by the anger of an unstable man. It is haunting and humbling at the same time. You don’t know whether to lash back or  languish in disillusionment. Friendly betrayal is frightening.

Reproaches from those we have been intimate with cut to the quick. They know our strengths and our weaknesses. They know where we are vulnerable. They know how to exploit our struggles, taking advantage of our good will. It is like you have been emotionally naked with someone, and now you feel embarrassed because of his or her indiscretions. What happened to the person you once knew? How could you have been so deceived? It may have been a decade of deceit embedded in your marriage vows. It may have been financial fraud and embezzlement over a long period of time. It may be a hidden addiction that has all the while hijacked your relationship for their creditability.
Our Lord Jesus of course had one for whom he trusted to the point of managing the money. He was close to Christ in proximity, but far away in faith. For Judas it was all about the cash. It was money that motivated him in the beginning, and money that was his downfall in the end. Money motivated men may be pleasant on the outside, but they are full of themselves on the inside. They set you up for their own selfish plan. We see it after the fact. It is so clear. But in the beginning we can be easily deceived. Therefore, really get to know someone before you heavily invest. In time they can be trusted.
Lastly, avoid the temptation to reject those who have rejected you. This is our natural response. However under the influence of the Holy Spirit our right response is to forgive their failings, regardless of how radical their behavior. We are all candidates for sin, even gross sin. Without God’s grace and the accountability of a committed community of believers, we are deceivers with the best of them. The worst deceivers have been the most deceived. Paul stated well our role toward those trapped in sin, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Yes rejection by a trusted friend is fiendish and false hearted. However we are called to be forgiving and pure hearted. Do not stoop to their standards that are sub par with your Savior’s. By God’s grace rise above rejection!"
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the grace to accept those from whom I feel rejected.

Day #17 of Praise  (Don't miss praising the Lord with Jaime Grace today)

Friends #1

January 22

The Wisdom Hunter is a devotional to which I subscribe online and recently there have been excellent devotionals on friendship.

Check out the 
"Friends Warn Friends" is based on some passages in 1 Samuel.
“Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there.” 1 Samuel 19:1-2

“Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 20:42

Many, many years ago a friend called me to share that she had heard someone, whom I thought was a godly friend and fellow church member,  talking about me in a less than friendly manner.  She knew I'd invested highly in this relationship and wanted to warn me.  A week later, working at a school clothing sale another older Christian friend told me a similar scenario when encountering this individual.  So I called this woman and asked if it was true.  The insults weren't awful, but they were making fun of me for the way I dressed (usually in designer overalls or kid friendly clothing...this woman dressed magnificently, wore perfect make-up, of which I wore none) and the way I decorated my house (again, not by an interior designer, but crafty and in ways I felt were fun for our children and their friends). Denying none of the comments, her response was that I really shouldn't consider a person who would repeat those things to me as a friend.  My intent was to clear the air and continue on in the friendship, but it ended. 

Boyd Bailey, the Wisdom Hunter writes:
"Friends warn friends. They warn them of danger to their physical safety. It could be harm from someone who wants to inflict pain or it may be a circumstance that carries economic risk. It may be the discovery of disloyalty from a mutual friend who threatens a coworker’s employment. Loyalty does not withhold information from a friend that can help them make the wisest decision. A loyal friend warns a friend while there is still time to make a safe transition.
Do you have a friend who is gullible about someone else’s good will? Is evil crouching at their door waiting to pounce on their uninformed ego? If so, you may be God’s instrument to instruct them in the way to go. Your friend may be so close to the situation that they have allowed their emotions to cloud their good judgment. Because they trust you, you can help them verify their assumptions. Use your relational equity and assist them in taking a step back to wait and pray."
Most importantly, friends warn friends to not forsake their faith in Jesus Christ

While I think Mr. Bailey has some excellent points, I think it is alway important, when a "warning" is passed on to go directly to the source.  Confrontation in love shows you care about the relationship and especially among believers, God's desire is to see restoration.
Ten years later, the woman I made reference to above, invited me to her home.  She had taken on a leadership role in our church and became convicted by the Spirit over what had happened in our relationship.  I expressed to her how sad I was that we had missed serving the Lord together all those years and that our children, who had been good friends, missed out on so many things we had done together as families.  It ended well, yet the relationship never re-established as her husband took another job out of town.  

Mr. Bailey posted another entry this week about the importance of praying for the Holy Spirit to take the lead in a confrontation.
"Most of all prepare your heart in prayer before you confront someone who has hurt you. Spirit-led confrontation gets the best results.  Your offender's accountability is ultimately to the Lord. Jesus is their judge, not you, so trust Him to plant the seeds of your sensitive speech into the soil of their soul. They may not own up immediately to their actions, but that is between them and God.  Manage your anger productively with caring confrontatio and courageous conversations."

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
Proverbs 18:17

Day #16 of Praise
An oldie by Michael W. Smith "Friends"

Recognizing Differences & Shining Like Stars

January 21
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of  the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.   1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Jesus came to save the Jew and the Gentile alike.  We are all God's children, yet we are each individuals with unique personalities, physical traits and God given gifts.  Our common bond is a heart that yearns for its Creator. While it is the Holy Spirit who is wooing us, the allure we respond to takes on different forms. The scripture reading for the day may be exactly the same, but the setting on a Sunday morning quite different.  High church with a regal orchestra and traditional hymns may pull one person into the presence of the Lord, while another's heart sores with arms raised high as a praise band's drums, guitars and keyboard reverberate through the air with flashing lights and no candle glow.  On another whole level the worship may be out on a dusty African plain with wild animals stampeding in the distance or individuals hidden in a basement ushering up hushed tones of praise and thanksgiving that once more they have been able to hide away and worship together.

While I thank God for the diversity of worship styles, conviction set in on Saturday as to my tolerance of and grumbling about differences in other areas.  I am presently in a situation with the Lord where he seems to be going over me with a fine toothed comb...picking out the gnats.  We were listening to an ACC basketball game and there was a female commentator.  She drove me nuts. First my thought was, isn't there a girls' game she could be working?  The  more I listened the more irritated I became. It was as if she wanted to be "one of the guys".  At one point I said to my husband.  "I bet her father is a sports nut whom she is trying to please and he is so proud of her."  "Get a grip Boo," I thought.  Who was commentating that game was not of eternal value.  My grumbling was gross.
My husband took the high road and pointed out the TV station was most likely trying to attract female viewers.  He found it rather amusing that it ruffled my feathers.  (I'm not much of a feminist and probably never will be.)  The joy of the game was lost on my juggling about judgements.  I needed an attitude adjustment and to memorize Philippians 2:13-15

...for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

Day #15 of Praise  Kim Walker Smith singing "Spirit Break Out"

Put ME First

January 19-20th
God has us covered, we just have to hang with Him.  On the 14th I started a new Bible Study with a delightful group of women. In the midst of my preparations, I allowed my regular devotional routine to slip away a bit. Had I continued on a commitment to read Sarah Young's, Jesus Today, daily I would have had this wonderful insight to share with many of the woman, myself included, on the challenge of keeping God and our study of His Word and His Ways first!
This was the entry on January 13th. Instead of taking the extra few minutes to do this, I more than likely took a peak at Facebook, checked out Valentine's ideas on Pinterest, took photographs of something, baked an extra goody, picked up my knitting, turned on HGTV or fell into a multitude of other distractions.  None of which are as fulfilling as time with the Lord.

In the past I have used designed scripture related notepads.  When I save up some cash, I am going to make some that have written at the top of the page:  
#1 Spend time with God today.

Thanks for being here with me on Boojoyful and grabbing a bite of the Gospel from the perspective of a member of the NFL (Nuts for the Lord).
Enjoy the scriptures below and what Mrs. Young has to say, written as if Jesus was speaking to her:

"In everything you do, put Me first, and I will direct you and crown your efforts with success.  Putting Me first sounds so simple and straightforward.  But the world, the flesh, and the devil war against your efforts to do this.  You can easily justify letting other things creep into the space and time you had set aside for Me.  If this happens only occasionally, it is just part of being human.  However, if you see it becoming a pattern in your life, watch out!  Your priorities may have been gradually shifting-until I am no longer your First Love.
Putting Me first is not an arbitrary rule; it is the way to live vibrantly, joyfully-close to Me. It is also the way to live purposefully, letting Me direct your steps. When I am your top priority, other things fall into their proper place.  So delight yourself in Me first and foremost.  As you walk in the Light of My Presence, I open up the path before you-crowning your efforts with success."

In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.  Proverbs 3:6

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Revelation 2:4

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.   Psalm 37:4

If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  I John 1:7

Days#13-14 of Praise
 We are going to rock out a bit today with a group called Building 429.
The song, This is not where I Belong.

Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside 
Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing but am I alive 
I won't keep searching for answers that aren't here to find

All I know is I'm not home yet 
This is not where I belong 
Take this world and give me Jesus 
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me 
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea 
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I'm not home yet 
This is not where I belong 
Take this world and give me Jesus 
This is not where I belong
Find More lyrics at

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You 
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I'm not home yet 
This is not where I belong 
Take this world and give me Jesus 
This is not where I belong

All I know is I'm not home yet 
This is not where I belong 
Take this world and give me Jesus 
This is not where I belong

Where I belong, where I belong
Where I belong, where I belong

Not Overlooked

January 18
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 
Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Luke 12:7

This week on Godtube there were two stories that stirred my heart on the subject of how each person is precious in God's sight and never overlooked by God.  We in our humanness, do look the other way at times when we encounter uncomfortable situations.  The two young ladies in these stories are different from most teenagers.  One has an in operable brain tumor and great limitations. The other has downs syndrome.  The way "community" has reached out to these gals will fill your heart with joy.

After viewing these stories consider doing what I did and ask yourself, what are the situations I look away from.  The people who are out of our comfort zone, may not just by looking different, but maybe you avoid them in the grocery store aisle because they talk too much.  Could they be lonely?  Maybe it is the young mother who is losing her cool. Could you offer to help?  Maybe it's the creepy crawler in the gas line.  Would you get out and pump for them and chat at the same time?

Today, I am heading up to our local drug store to take one of our daughter's harp CD's to a lady who works the register there.  It probably took me 15 minutes in her line the other day, but I watched her patiently pour her love and interest into three elderly customers' lives. It was so beautiful, I actually told the lady in front of me to go ahead of me so could watch this woman some more.  She genuinely cared about these lives and did not overlook the needs she saw in them.

Day #12 of Praise  Beautiful by Francesca Battistelli

My White Bird is Back!!

January 17th
Just in time for today's snow, my Holy Spirit bird is back!!!!  If you recall reading about this "dove" (actually a sea gull) in years past you may remember, one year after seeing him for several days, the rest of the Trinity showed up and there were three of them who would fly back and forth in the cove. The Father and Son have not arrived yet, this year.  I am struggling to recover from a broken toe and still cannot get anything comfortably on my feet with the exception of slippers and flip flops, but hopefully I can squeeze into my snow boots this afternoon or tomorrow and capture a picture if the bird appears soaring in the forecasted snow.

Just like the first time he appeared, I was in prayer mode yesterday seeking the Lord. My pondering was the topic of how to best pray for someone and l Iooked out our bedroom window and there he was!!!!  A reminder to me that when we do not know what to pray, the Spirit will intercede on our behalf!

When I think about this sign of peace, love, hope and comfort which this bird represents in my life the words of God to Jacob (by then named Israel) come to mind.  So I want to speak (type) them over you as a reminder to each of you of how much God loves you and does not want you to be afraid or dismayed.

God says to you,  "My child, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

A God given mentor of mine, whom I met through writing Boojoyful, read this and responded with Psalm 86:17
Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, 
for you, Lord have helped me and comforted me.

Ah, the gift goes on!

Journey with James-Drastic Change

January 16
Here's hoping the Lord will allow me to do some double hitting the next 8 weeks as I am in an in-depth Beth Moore study.  I'd love to just be able to regurgitate what I learn each day from her study, but more than likely God will set me on some different paths with Boojoyful and s t r e t c h me, reminding me to allow the Holy Spirit to do the work.

I do love how this study of the book of James begins referencing  1 Corinthians 15:7:
Then He (Christ) appeared to James.
Realize this appearance was after Christ had been crucified, so it was probably a real show stopper!
Jesus' half-brother had not believed Christ was whom he claimed to be while Christ walked on earth.  Obviously, from the book of James, we learn those beliefs changed drastically.

People change...a 25 year high school reunion is proves that. Christ's profession, you might say, is a redemption service, it is all about changing lives.  He came to save sinners (we'd all be in that basket).

I've just started reading a book by John Ortberg called The Life You've Always Wanted.
In the preface the writer states: "The Christian gospel insists that transformation of the human personality really is possible.  Never easy. Rarely quick. But possible.  I see it happening in people sometimes-occassionally even in myself.
It begins to happen anytime people become intensely serious about learning from Jesus how to arrange their lives. Wise people across centuries have devoted themselves to this.  But the Way of Jesus needs to be restudied and reapplied to every age and social setting."

Many of the women in the James study had prayer requests related to God giving them a passion  for studying His Word.  The word passion  packs a powerful punch!  There are two verses in The Message which should stir us on to be passionate in our desire to see our lives drastically changed to  be more like Christ's.
Jesus said, Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.  
Matthew 22:37

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.
Lamentations 3:25

Bring on the passion in our lives today Lord and change us from the inside out!

Day #10 of Praise
Change me from the Inside Out by Hillsong

All About Me

January 15
...complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.  Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well.   Philippians 2:2-4

Speaking to a young woman the other day, she was elated to have found out she was pregnant with her first child.  As I inquired to her family's reaction I received a very honest reply.  "Well, my sister-in-law thinks it would be fun for her to get pregnant again and go through this with me. Actually, I would rather she didn't, as I want this pregnancy to be all about me." Well, that's honest.

It is the "all about me" attitude that brings about disappointment for us time and again though.  Our real joy in life comes when "It's all about Jesus" and we follow his ways of being concerned and caring for others.

Day #9 of Praise
It's all about you Jesus

God of Angel Armies

January 14
We have a driveway sensor which beeps three times through our home security system to warn us when someone is approaching our property. It is one of my favorite techno gadgets! Gives me time to put on my lipstick before I answer the door!  That is a big HA, HA for those of you who know me. It's more like it gives me time to get our of my PJ's!
Early yesterday morning before sunrise, it sounded, then sounded immediately again and again.  I jumped out of the bed and ran to the window expecting to see jeeps full of intruders launching an attack on Shiloh or possibly a herd of very heavy set deer.  There was no one visible, so then I assumed it was our angel army!

There is a message in music!  Below is a wonderful interview with Chris Tomlin and following that his song, "Whom Shall I Fear".

Day #8 of Praise
Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin

It's Bible Study Time Again

January 12-13
We've just made it through the first full week of the new year and for some people that meant embarking on a new formal Bible Study.  The group I am a part of starts this coming Monday and we will be stopped in our tracks by the less than tactful way James blurts out some truths.  The group our daughter is facilitating began last week in Nashville with a brunch and informal time to meet one another and pick up their workbooks.  The introduction to "One in a Million" by Priscilla Shirer reads:

"The Egyptians in Exodus 1 were intent on enslaving the Israelites, wearing them down so that God's chosen people would become disillusioned and not live up to their destiny. Of the original two million Israelites who received God's invitation to enter the Promised Land, only two actually entered it! Similarly, modern day Christians often hear and understand the promises of God each Sunday morning at church but then rarely choose to experience them in everyday life. In One In A Million, Bible Teacher Priscilla Shirer invites us to change that pattern for good, living beyond our circumstances and expecting to see God move in miraculous ways day after day. Without a doubt, we can find and follow God's purpose for our journey. We can make it to the Promised Land!"

While meditating this week in Jesus Today, Day 10 had an excellent entry which I'm sending our daughter to share with her group and thought I'd pass it along to all of you and hope whatever path you are on this weekend, jungle thick or smooth sailing you will endure and enjoy it more remembering the Lord goes with you!
Speaking in the voice of Jesus, Sarah Young writes:
"Trust me here and now.  You are in rigorous training-on an adventurous trail designed for you alone. This path is not of your choosing, but it is My way for you.  I am doing things you can't understand.  That is why I say, 'Trust Me!'
The jungle is thick, and you cannot clearly see what is before you, behind you, or beside you.  Cling to My hand as you follow this trail in shadowy darkness.  Although you cannot see Me, My Presence with you is rock-solid reality.  Find hope in Me, beloved, for I am taking care of you.
Focus on enjoying Me and all that I am to you-even though your circumstances scream for resolution.  Refuse to obsess about your problems and how you are going to fix them. Instead, affirm your trust in Me; wait hopefully in My Presence, and watch to see what I will do."

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.   Isaiah 50:10

Why are you in despair, O my soul? Any why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.  Psalm 42:5

Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.  
Micah 7:7

Day #7 of Praise
Praise this weekend to Brandon Heath's song, "Jesus In Disguise"
(May we learn to recognize His Presence)

Treasure Hint

January 11
Typing the title Treasure Hunt, it came out Treasure appropriate for what God wants us to be taught today.
Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21

Leaving to go out of town one time, I decided to leave a note for would be robbers.  I placed one in the silver drawer and one with my jewelry.
"Jesus would not be happy with you for robbing!  Please do not do this!"

Equally as true is the reality that Jesus is not happy with us cherishing our treasures more than we treasure our relationship with him.  The STUFF that really matters is found in our hearts and no one can steal Jesus from there!

Day #6 of Praise
I thank God for the gifted musicians he has placed on earth.  Can't wait to hear the music in heaven.

The Typo-He Still Loves!

A grandfather, grandson and great-grandson sharing a moment of love.
I love the hands of the youngest on his father and great grandfather.

January 10
Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, 
just as Christ loves us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2

A reader of Boojoyful asked me one day, "Do you type the Scriptures in each day or cut and paste what are sometimes long passages?"  I should have inquired as to the reason she was asking, probably some of my typos, as I do usually type them out. Being a visual learner, I explained, the Word seems to implant in my heart deeper if I type or write it out.

Do you see the NIV translation "typo" in today's verse?  Reading back over it I realized there was a compound verb tense disagreement, but writing the present and past tense verbs "loves" and "gave" were accurate in that Christ is alive and currently loving us, although He gave himself up years ago.
Heading back to the NIV, I realized I had made a typo, it was written just as Christ loved us, I assume relating to the act of sacrifice on the cross.  The present tense verb just spoke loudly to me, so I began to search other translations and came across The Message, which left me quite satisfied by the active love I feel from Him today and the act of love he portrayed on the cross. 

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. 

Mostly what God does is love you! What a powerful evangelical tool!
Let's list out the life instructions left for us in this passage and challenge ourselves to enlist in this course of love.
1) Watch what God does, then do it.
2) Keep company with him and learn a life of love.
3) Observe how Christ loved us. Love like that.

Day #5 of Praise

This song of Chris Tomlin's is perfect for reflecting on God's Amazing Love

Where is your DELIGHT? The Way is the Word!

1991 (Purple must have been popular that year too)
January 9
Blessed is the one who does not walk in the step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners talk or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1 1-3

If someone approached you today and asked..."What do you delight in?"  How would you respond?
The fabulous British TV series, "Downton Abby" has started back up this week with Season 3!  Just look on Facebook and see how delighted people are that it is finally here!  (Confession...I have really enjoyed this program myself.) there's another addictive delight.
Maybe you are like me and you delight in your children or grandchildren and could sit and watch them all day.  Possibly you're  in love and you delight in the person who holds your affections and spend time plotting how you can be together.  Are you a fitness or sports fanatic, spending hours at the gym or easily labeled "faithful fan extraodinaire"?  Food is another delight of mine...I enjoy new tastes, fresh herbs, and fabulous sauces.  Are you crafty or have a specialized hobby? Investing time in something that delights us is a great stress reliever.

God knew we'd need relief from this earthly life.  Sun, snow, rain, lakes, mountains, fish, birds, all of creation shouts come away with me and be delighted in who I AM.  Once we sit with Him, we learn there is more depth to the delight. We realized He left a way for Him to speak directly into our hearts, minds and souls, with words that teach, comfort and bring hope, grace and salvation.  The Way is the Word.

When your delight is in the Word of God your life changes.  There is still time for all the other earthy joys, but our souls find solace in what they were searching for when we read the Bible.

Day #4 of Praise with an oldie from Fernando Ortega

I Feel Like Dancing

January 8  
Be Holy, therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, 
set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.  
1 Peter 1:13 

We've just passed through a season of gift giving.  Some people had their hopes on things they did not receive. Next month, Valentine's Day enters in and again hearts will be disappointed when what they had hoped for does not appear.  God promises us a day is coming when Jesus Christ will come again and for his followers there awaits a revelation that will not disappoint, but will bring us to a joyous completion.
Sunday, in church, there was a woman who was dancing at her seat during the worship time. People were looking at her with raised eyebrows.  I met this woman last month and know that she is a new believer in Christ and is going to be baptized this coming Sunday. She can't help but dance knowing her sins have been forgiven.  I felt her joy and wanted to dance along.  You see...her hope is set on the grace of God given through Christ Jesus' sacrifice!  Now that is a great reason to dance!

Day #3 of Praise   By Plumb

Well, everybody's got a story to tell And everybody's got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there's beauty here So, I guess you're tired of holding on
I can't let go, I can't move on I want to believe there's meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out "God please take this"?
How many times have you given me strength to Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn't plan Wondering how I got to where I am
I'm trying to hear that still small voice I'm trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out "God please take this"?
How many times have you given me strength to Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you God, I need you now.

Though I walk, Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid Please stay, please stay right beside me With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out "God please take this"?
How many times have you given me strength to Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you God, I need you now.
I need you now Oh I need you
God, I need you now. I need you now I need you now

January 7
Wash and make yourself clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.  
Learn to do right, seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. 
Isaiah 1:16-17

January 5th's Biblegateway verse above gives us quite a project list.
1) Confess our sins
2) Stop doing wrong.
3) Learn to do right  (for that behavior doesn't come naturally)
4) Defend the oppressed (Start by trying to brighten their day)
5)Take up the cause of the fatherless (Invite a single mom and her children to dinner, attend the 
    children's sporting events, inquire at a local school or college about ways to support students without 
6) Plead the case of the widow or widower  (Plan a dinner/evening event for a them. Those evening              
     hours are the toughest times of the day.)

As we look back over this list, we think...How will I find time to do these things?  The Jesus Today devotional I am reading had this quote (the author writes as if Jesus were speaking to her):
"Dare to ask great things of Me, remembering who I am."

When we are working as to the Lord, nothing is impossible.  Watch and He will place the areas of ministry before you and provide the time to carry out His will.

Now to Him how is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us."
Ephesians 3:20

It is when we step out of our skin and into His hands with servant hearts, wanting to do His will, that the greatest work gets done!  So, off we go on this great adventure!

Today's praise song, Amazing Grace,  will thrill your heart.  It is sung by blind, Italian, tenor, Andrea Bocelli, who lost his eye sight by the age of twelve. He was born with congenital glaucoma.  As I watched it I thought of his parents and how blessed he was that they encouraged him in his love for music.  Made me think of the list above, the oppressed, the fatherless, the widows/widowers and how God wants us to encourage them to find their God given gifts, use them to bring God glory and thus find joy!

Day 2 of Praise

What to Do

January 5-6
Grabbing a notebook I decided to launch out on a 21 Day Spiritual Makeover. "They say" (my husband and I always laugh, wondering who "they" are) it takes 21 days to make a habit, so we shall see how long this lasts.  Each day I plan to write down the Biblegateway Verse for the day, read a short devotional (or 2, or 3, or 4),  work on an ongoing Bible Study, commit to listen to at least one praise song and spend time in listening prayer.
I also made a column I called "Kingdom Investments" and will record ways I invest in my marriage, children/grandchildren and others.

Micah 6:8 was a great verse on Biblegateway in The Message translation to start off with yesterday;

But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously-take God seriously.

Day 1 of 21 Days of Praise Exposure to New Songs
     "The Proof of Your Love" by For King and Country

If I sing but don't have love I waste my breath with every song
I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise. If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don't have love I leave a bitter taste with every word I say

So let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love

If I give to the need soul but don't have love then who is poor?
It seems all the poverty is found in me.

So let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died Love is sacrifice
Oh, let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love

When it's all said and done WHen we sing our final song Only love remains Only love remains

Let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love

Inny and Outies

January 4
While changing the diaper of one of our grandsons I exclaimed, "Oh, no, he has an outie!"  "I know," his mother replied, "my husband has tried to push it back in."  Researching this issue I came to find out only 10% of the population appears to have outies and it is just random chance which causes this to occur. Bless his belly button!  We will love him just the same.

Yesterday, flu like symptoms set in and I had an "inny" day and didn't venture "outie".  I'm stopping to pray right now for school children who have returned to class after the Christmas break and I am asking the Lord to find ways to pour his love upon those children who feel they are not apart of the "inny" group, but have been ousted by their peers.

From a Biblical perspective what is God wanting to teach us.  I've been studying about the life of James and there were some major in's and out's as the Jewish Christians were being taught by Paul (a Jew) to accept Gentile Christians.  Circumcision was a major point of dispute, along with some other "law" issues.  Read Ephesians 2:11-14, which end with this statement...
For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility.

For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcised has any value.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Galatians 5:6

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.
 Romans 3:22

The phrase "In Christ" kept speaking to me and I began to look for more verses related to this "in group" which is available to us all.  
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1  

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,  who has become for us
wisdom from God-that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
1 Corinthians 1:30  

...know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Christ Jesus.
So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ
and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
Galatians 2:16

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
Galatians 3:26

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God had called me heavenward 
in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 3:14

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Are you in Christ Jesus?  Is your life different because He is dwelling in you?  Read back over all the benefits of being IN fellowship with Him!  Maybe we should come up with a secret handshake. :)
Ah, not necessary for the Holy Spirit does a great job of making himself known in one another.


January 3
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds.
James 1:2

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

When entering a new Bible study I often wonder...."What is God preparing me for?" Yesterday, two studies I am currently embarking upon had me chow down on these verses first thing.  Whew, maybe we best close those books!  (The studies are Beth Moore's, James, Mercy Triumphs, and Sarah Young's book, Jesus Today.

Cheers to choices!  God gave us free will to choose not only the paths we will take, but the way we will react to the bumps in the road. Joy leads to jubilation, where jealousy, retaliation and vengeance are a heavy load of junk which keep us burdened down.  In our toughest trials we can look for God's training ground.

Everyday there are lessons if we listen.
One of our grandchildren dropped my laptop and the glass screen broke on one side. I was quick to forgive because it was our grandson.  I thought...had it been an adult or someone I was not real fond of, I would have wanted justice and asked them to purchase me a new computer.  Saying, "that's ok" it is not of eternal value brought much more joy!

We purchased a "bounce house" to pass around for use with our grandchildren and also at the school.  It was deflated and outside under our deck over Christmas and had collected some rain water and leaves.  My feathers got ruffled and I was copping an attitude over the neglect and others not seeing the importance of caring for our possessions. Instead of voicing my emotions, I prayed for God to keep my mouth shut.  My husband and I lugged this BIG thing inside and began toweling it down and spreading it out over sofas and chairs to allow fans to ran on it overnight. Yesterday, my husband called for me to bring the camera downstairs.  He turned tension into laughter and we made a memory!  We also found out the bounce house fits in one of the rooms downstairs and can work as an air mattress when we need more sleeping options!  This was much more fun than me being mad!

These litte trials are minor compared to what James was talking about...persecution to the point of death, beatings, imprisonment...we each know someone battling divorce, loss of a loved one,  a serious illness, maybe someone whose home has been flooded, destroyed by fire or repossessed due to financial difficulty.  These are the kind of trials which leave us crying out for a peace that passes understanding and a longing to know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.

Consider is such a key word in the James passage. When tribulation comes if we will train ourselves to consider what God may want to teach us through such a trial we will come out stronger, a little more like Christ and a lot closer to God for wadding through the muddle holding his hand.


January 2
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
Isaiah 40:8

Yesterday, I spent some time rewinding tapes on our VCR!  Yes, we still have a small television with a VCR and some wonderful old tapes from the 80's.   "Kids' Praise 4"," Cars, Boats, Trains & Planes by We Sing", and numerous Winnie the Pooh and Berenstain Bear videos.  Now you can't tote them around like an iPad and the grands grow a bit impatient waiting for them to activate, but occasionally we come across one of them which captivates their attention.

Cleaning up the baby toys, I had to laugh at the wind up plastic television screen toy.  Babies now have iPads and iTouches that run for hours with the touch of a finger versus this toy which runs for 30 seconds after being wound up!

Exercises have certainly evolved over the years too.  I have no clue what P90X means or "Down Dog".  I did catch a glance at some 'burpees" being attempted in our family room over the holidays and watched many of our adult children roll this way and that on a big foam cylinder.  Several of them had their own concoctions they placed in the blender each morning with everything from spinach to peanut butter and magical powders!  Regular old crunches and a tread mill just don't rate in the world of fitness.

Fashions, fads, fitness, and funky fixtures come and go, but God's word never becomes obsolete.

Amazing can it be?

January 1
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19
We baby sat this past weekend for two of our grandsons.  As I nuzzled up against the six month old, I thought.."How can it be that I have such a passionate love for my grandchildren the moment I lay eyes upon them?"  Immediately, I thought of the parallel of how instantaneous God's love is for us the moment he creates us in our mother's womb.

The photographs I caught of our daughter returning home after being away from her babies for three days were magical.  I imagine we will experience the same sort of emotions when we fall into the arms of Jesus in heaven. Pour joy from all recipients!

May your love for Christ grow deeper each day in 2013.