Tag: joy

Look back – Look ahead

birthday-669968_640Usually my birthday is a time I choose to look back on my year and take stock of what has happened.  And look ahead to see what the next year may bring.

This is mid-year for me, but I feel the need to do some checking in on my life.

Today is my Father’s birthday.  And that seems significant. It’s his first year to spend his birthday in heaven.

We used to talk about what it’s like when you die. Especially after my mother passed. Our belief is that your spirit goes to be with the Lord. And that you will experience such a great and wonderful peace as your spirit waits to be joined with a new heavenly body to return to the earth when Jesus returns.

Looking back, it has been both a painful and a joyful year.

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Painful since I was diagnosed with a rare immunosuppressive disease that came with medications that changed my lifestyle. I also lost my father’s reassuring presence here on earth.

And was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just this week had surgery to remove it.

But joyful because I spent precious time with my father at the end of his life. And I saw two sons marry the loves of their lives. And felt the love and support of so many friends as I dealt with the loss of a parent and my health.

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What has your year held?

What losses do you need to grieve and bring to God for healing?

What joys bring you a sense of satisfaction and peace?

Like the words of a praise song we sing at church, the truth of Jesus Christ in my life has been borne out.

“I will look back and see that You are faithful…I’ll look ahead, believing You are able, Jesus Lord of all.”

How has God been faithful to you this year?

What do you need to rely on Him to be able to do in your life?

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He is able, and He is willing.

So many of His promises reiterate just that.  Open up God’s Word, the Bible.  Let His promises speak to you, give you hope.

 

“Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

I am praying you will listen for God’s voice in your life.  And hear it. Through scripture.  Through prayer.  Through nature.  And through your circumstances.

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God’s plan is Light

A poem I wrote many years ago speaks to the truth that our lives do not follow the pattern or plan we lay out according to our own desires and wishes. That’s OK when we are Believers because we trust the One who knows more than we do with the ultimate outcome.

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Part of God’s purpose for His people is that we share the Holy Spirit – the light He has placed in us. As containers of that light it can only get out when there is an opening or hole. Sometimes openings or holes are made when our lives are filled to overflowing and we literally burst with joy!

Other times, God allows pain and suffering to cause splits in us and where the sorrow spills out, the hole that’s left allows His Light to shine through.

Some people seem to spill light from places were joy has been. And some seem to have mostly holes that have been formed by pain. I believe God is with us in both times. He rejoices with us when we are filled with joy. And He cries with us when we suffer.

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It breaks His heart that some choose to do evil in this world and cause others pain. But good can come from it when we minister to people who have similar pain in their lives. We can seek the light from those with similar pain, and we can be the light for others.

As Believers, we are also assured that whatever we endure in this life will be laid down at His throne. Whatever we surrender in the future will glorify Him and we will receive an eternity so glorious we cannot even grasp it in our earthly understanding.

I pray you will be encouraged in the remembrance of your sorrows and your joys; and be empowered to move forward and let His Light shine through you.

My Life poem

My life is borrowed, ‘tis not mine

I cannot hold it selfishly

But give it to the One above

Who gave His all, His life, His love

That I might one day see

I see with light that is not mine

I cannot make one star shine bright

Yet through the holes God makes in me

His Spirit shines, so I can be

A lantern, glowing Holy light

This light alone will light my path

It is a course I do not choose

My way, my will I give to Him

Who walked this earth and knew no sin

With Him I cannot lose

And so, my life, my light, my path

Are not for me, but God alone

No pain or sorrow come to me

That I am not assured will be

Exchanged for glory – at His throne

 

A CHRISTMAS Prayer for you

C – Christ

It is my prayer that Christ would be the focus of your Christmas. May you not be waylaid by all the hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating, baking, doing; but have moments of simply acknowledging the sacrifice of the King and Creator of the Universe, who came to earth in the fragile, vulnerable package of a tiny baby to live on earth and make the supreme sacrifice for us to have the option to spend our eternity with Him.

He is The Christ – The Messiah, The Savior, The Deliverer, The Wonderful Counselor, The Prince of Peace. May He be these things for you all year.

When all the presents have been unwrapped, the food is all eaten, the relatives have all returned home, may you take the generous gift of Christ’s love with you into the new year. May you be mindful of how very much He loves you each day of this next year. May your eyes be opened to the tangible ways He shows you that love every day. May you praise God, each day, from whom all blessings flow; keeping Christ in every day of your year.

 

H – Hearing

It is my prayer that you would hear God; that your ears would be opened and attuned to God’s voice speaking to you. Perhaps not in a real-world audible kind of way – but that you would, nevertheless, have the experience of knowing what He is saying to you. God speaks through His Word, the Bible, through the Holy Spirit in prayer, through the circumstances in your life and through godly people.

May you hear His voice clearly, without the distractions of the world around you or the flesh within you. These voices speak so loudly we often allow them to drown out the spiritual guidance Jesus would give, if we would but listen. I pray that when you hear, you will listen with an open mind and heart. I ask that God would give you clarity and understanding of all He shares with you. May our Lord remove whatever ‘cotton’ has been stuffed into your spiritual ears.

It is hard to love a God you do not know. And it is hard to know Him when there is no communication. May this be a year of growing to know Him more deeply by hearing His voice as He teaches You, leads you, guides and directs you, encourages you, and rejoices over you with singing!

 

R – Revelation

May you receive from God a revelation of how to use your gifts and talents this year. May He tell you and show you how to spend your energy and time this year in ways that will satisfy you immensely and bring honor and glory to Him.  God made you unique and special – He puts it ‘fearfully and wonderfully’. You have very specific gifts and talents wrapped up with a personality and passions, and having had personal experiences that create a one-of-a-kind You! May our Lord reveal to you how to unwrap that gift that is uniquely you. And show you how to share the gift that you are with the world.  And may that Revelation inspire and direct your path.

He has placed something in you that is meant to be shared! Tell Him that you are ready to listen, and ask Him to reveal to you how to do it step by step.

 

I – Invigoration

I pray God will invigorate you in following the Revelation you Hear from Him. That means placing ‘vigor’ in you! ‘Vigor’ is robustness, potency, strength! May He fill you with the energy and power you need to follow through everywhere He leads you. May God give you the invigoration and inspiration to excel at all the opportunities He brings your way this year.

May He also give you the ‘vigor’ to meet any challenge He allows into your life this year. Some days will flow easily, almost effortlessly, and you may not be aware that He is the One empowering you to be able to accomplish all you do. Other days, you may have to audibly call on Him to muster the energy and strength you need. May He always answer your call with strength equal to the task. May you rest in the knowledge that God has prepared you for whatever happens. Nothing ever takes Him by surprise! May He help you and guide you through whatever comes along.

May He invigorate you: body, mind and spirit.

 

S – Someone

May God bring Someone alongside you who will be a godly presence. One who will be like iron sharpening iron in your life. One who will help you keep Christ the focus of your life. One who will remind you to listen to God’s voice, hold you accountable to be obedient to Him, and joyfully give thanks to Him with you. It may be someone you already know, or it may not. It may be someone you expect, or it may not. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. May you be open to His choice of a helper for you, for this time and for His purpose.

 

T – Time

May God show you, teach you, how to take authority over your time. Ask Him where to set limits, what to make priorities, and how to stay disciplined in those areas. May God show you how you are currently spending your time, and where you need to make changes. Ask Him what to let go of so you can make room for what He is showing you is important. May you not be a slave to the ‘tyranny of the urgent’, but make time to do what is important, not just what seems ‘urgent’ at that moment.

May He help you appreciate His perspective of time, understanding that He often works behind the scenes in ways that are invisible to us at the time. When you need to be patient, may God show you how to wait patiently, prayerfully. May you let God help you find the right balance in resting and doing, knowing both are important.

 

M – Mirth

May God give you times of laughter, merriment – complete and utter joy – that override your circumstances or attitude. May joy come, renewed, every morning. And may there be laughter in each day that brings strength to your bones and healing to your body! May our Lord God, give you the focus you need to be able to enjoy everyday moments, and see life from His perspective so you can appreciate every blessing He abundantly showers on you. And may He give you the ability to laugh, even in the face of trouble, as you rely on Him, the Author of your faith, to carry you through anything that comes along; knowing that God will never ever leave you or forsake you. As laughter is good medicine, may you be well medicated all throughout the year!

 

A – Attitude of Gratitude

I pray that you would see all the things in your life that are blessings from God. I pray He would open your eyes to understand that even things you take for granted, are gifts. May you be thankful for every morning you wake up and the sun is shining, for every step you take in your own strength and power, for every breath you draw in and exhale. May you appreciate being able to think clearly, and speak audibly, and move freely. May you thank God for the times you live in – not cave man days, or covered wagon days, but right now, when we enjoy so many modern day miracles and life-saving medical advancements and transportation and communication technological wonders. May you appreciate the fact that you live in a country where we are still free to become whatever we want, and purchase what we need for life and comfort, and worship God as we please. May you voice your gratitude for your friends and loved-ones who pour into your life, and allow you to pour into theirs. May you fully acknowledge God’s hand in the seven wonders of the world: to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to think, to laugh, and to love.

May you thank God daily for the beauty you see around you, the blue of the sky, the brightness of the sun, the sparkle of the stars, the glow of the moon, the colors of the sunset (or of the sunrise if you happen to wake before it), the mountains or trees or flowers, the wrinkles of laughter, the smiles of friends, the furry pets who love unconditionally.

May your attitude of gratitude overcome even the difficult days. And when it would be easier to complain, may you be able to rejoice in giving thanks.

 

S – Safety

May you enjoy safety and security in your home, in your travel, at work, at rest, and at play. May God safeguard your health; not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.

To use words from Psalm 121: May your help come from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. May our God not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed He will neither slumber nor sleep. Our Lord watches over you and will be your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; He will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Amen.