The truly godly and spiritual are called to a ministry of restoration. So, how “spiritual” are you?
#youwhoarespiritual #restore #withgentleness #Galatians6 #ministry #reconciliation #restoration #imitateChrist #loveinaction
How are you doing spiritual one in your ministry of restoration? How is your spirit of gentleness?
Have a LOVEly Day filled with LOVE!
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
1 Corinthians 13 – The Message
…for God is Love. 1 John 4:8
…are you living an “Even though…yet I will” life?
I’m guilty like every one else on social media of only or predominately posting the good, the happy, and the fun times. What would social media look like if we all posted all our heartbreaks, relationship struggles, disappointments, brokenness and tears, or uploaded video clips of our emotional meltdowns, family disagreements and arguments. Oh, of course your family doesn’t have any of these. Yeah, right.
Sharing this post today just to say – please don’t think “Joyful Jenny” (as I keep referring to myself lately) encounters only the happy happy, joy joy scenarios and joyful situations all through her days. Especially currently, there is something very painful and heartbreaking my family is walking through. My laughing and smiling posts are not just me putting on a happy face either. Even though all is not completely well, yet I still have the joy that God’s Spirit brings – even though, yet I still am experiencing God restoring the joy of my salvation.
“Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me – now let me rejoice!”
The path along the deep and rugged valley roads of life we never planned to travel on come upon us like a sudden detour sign appearing out of nowhere. Most of us, except the shallow, adversity free minority can relate. These life roadblocks or journey detours occur for various reasons – our own sin or the sins of others, our pride and rebellion, deception, addiction, our modern day idols (yes we have them), or just as a result of the fallen world we are living in.
In this new year, do you desire something new? A better you? A better life? A better way of living?
What do you do “first” every day?
Do you PRAY first or WORRY first?
Do you begin your day feasting on FEAR or FAITH?
Do you wake up worshiping God with songs of praise or singing along with the common place seductive & deceptive lyrics of today?
Do you give priority to what the popular voices in our world are saying or what the prophetic promises of God’s Word are eternally speaking?
Do you spend more time on Facebook than in The Greatest Book of all books?
Is your life filled with destructive drama or life giving peace?
Are you seeking a position, power, prestige or self-gratifying pleasure over God’s presence and purpose in your life?
Have you been happy with your previous ways of living your life?
Have your daily choices and habits led you to MORE JOY, FREEDOM, REST and PEACE?
Are your own habits and choices working well for you? Well, this post is not for you.
But if you are tired of your own ways, your own choices, and your same old results, I challenge you to surrender to something NEW.
Only a fool keeps doing the same thing over and over expecting new results.
The GOD who formed you and KNOWS EVERYTHING about you, and LOVES YOU MORE THAN ANYONE YOU’LL EVER KNOW, is able to make ALL THINGS NEW for you.
Take TIME to realign and submit to The Master’s plan and His sovereign design. Let God write your story all for His glory.
Begin fresh and anew today to put God and His Word first in EVERY area of your life. Prioritize prayer – talk to God FIRST every day before anyone else. WAIT, be still and listen to God to speak to you through His Word FIRST before listening to anyone else.
Seek to obey and do things God’s way. Go higher by going lower. Humble yourself and receive the greatest reward of all.
In God’s presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand, are pleasures that last forever (Psalm 16:11).
In God’s kingdom, surrender leads to success by God’s standards. The kingdom of God is about living life by God’s good and right standards and being filled with the PEACE and JOY of God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
God’s standards are based on His Word and not our own thoughts, philosophies or ideas.
God’s Word trumps the opinions of men.
So, who’s on FIRST in your daily life?
Is it you, another person, another agenda or is God and His plan really first in your heart and life?
Jesus told us the FIRST and greatest commandment:
You must love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31).
Preaching this message to myself too!
Lord, help us to seek first Your Kingdom, Your will, Your purpose, Your plan, and success according to Your definition. May we FIRST fully surrender our hearts – the place where everything in our lives starts. May we love you FIRST with ALL our hearts. As we keep seeking first to know You more and to promote all that is good, pure and lovely through our lives, may you fulfill Your promise to meet all our needs. Amen.
The Greatest Words of all:
Matthew 24:35; Hebrews 11:6; Romans 5:8, 10:17, 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Philippians 4:6-7; Psalm 34:1, 96:1, 139:13-18; John 3:16-17; Isaiah 43:18-19; Revelation 21:5
My prayer for all my family and friends this Christmas is for each one to truly experience the peaceful PRESENCE of Christ. May each of you be blessed with TIME to quiet your mind, heart and spirit and encounter the PEACE and JOY all year our Savior brings.
You can experience His presence today – no wrapping, no lines, and no cash or credit cards needed. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving…
I’m looking forward to just enjoying His presence this Christmas
and I hope you will too.
Where my gift giving capabilities end,
the gift I desire most to give to others is always freely available and is truly priceless.
I love giving gifts to others. It’s one of my love languages. Obviously, I’m not alone in this. Especially this time of year, everyone’s in the Christmas spirit and gift giving mode.
However, my giving and my time are limited, but the gift I desire most for others is UNLIMITED AND TIMELESS.
Christmas is not just about gifts and presents or even special times with family and those we have not seen for quite a while. All these things are good and special and these are a few of my favorite things and the things I love about Christmas too. Most of all, Christmas is about celebrating the Gift of God’s presence. The gift of God’s presence compares to no other gift or experience I’ve ever received or encountered. I’m personally realizing this more as time goes on, and especially as family traditions change and keep changing. This is the one constant that remains and never changes –“…and be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” – Jesus. His presence brings PEACE and JOY and pleasures forevermore! Even when we are not able to give or receive the exact material gift we were hoping for, our house is not decorator ready, no beautiful family portrait Christmas cards get sent, no memorable family trip gets planned, we can’t even get everyone together for the annual Christmas worship event or holiday meal, etc. (you get the picture) or, on a deeper level – the prayer, hope, or dream we so desire to see fulfilled for a special loved one, family member or friend remains on our “wish” list – the greatest gifts of LOVE, JOY and PEACE from God’s Spirit forever remain. The unconditional and never ending love of God, the supernatural peace that transcends all our surrounding chaos, and the joy of knowing the Savior of the world overrides every unmet expectation, sorrow and loss.
Like numerous others, I always get very sentimental around this time of year – often shedding tears unexpectedly while wrapping gifts or listening to all the beautiful Christmas music. Christmas stirs up memories of loved ones who will no longer join us at our family celebration – many are now glorying in the presence of Heaven, and some will miss our gathering because of various changes and choices dictated by our earthly situations.
Now, more than ever, I personally treasure God’s presence
that forever remains with me year after year.
Yes, for many Christmas is just another holiday; but for followers of Christ, Christmas is truly a Holy Day of celebrating the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ the Word made flesh. We celebrate His birth and worship Him as our mighty Savior and King.
He came as a gentle babe and still gently calls to all today.
Do you hear what I hear?
Will you believe, not just in Santa Claus,
but in The Christ of Christmas, and receive Him today?
He came as a child and will return as the King of kings.
Light and life to all He brings.
In order to know Him we must come in childlike faith
to receive all the love, grace, forgiveness and healing
of the long ago newborn babe and soon coming King.
As we humbly bow in worship as the wisemen did to honor Him,
we experience MORE JOY
than anything in this world even comes close to offering.
This makes our soul want to sing,
“Glory to God in the Highest,”
peace and good will to ALL from our Mighty God and Counselor,
Everlasting Father and
Prince of Peace.
Yes, God brought His present to us as a babe in the manger. Jesus, The Messiah, “Immanuel – God with us” walked among us as the perfect, sinless son of God, and then sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins. All who call on Him can be saved forever to live with Him throughout eternity. You can experience His presence today – no wrapping, no lines, and no cash or credit cards needed. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving…
I’m looking forward to just enjoying His presence this Christmas and I hope you will too.
JOY TO YOU ALL!
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!
With Love and Prayerfully,
In His presence is fullness of JOY; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore!
…but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:10-14
For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
He came as a child although He is The King of kings. In order to receive from Him we must come in childlike faith to receive the salvation He brings.
As I reflect on the lyrics to many of our timeless and treasured Christmas songs, I am reminded of the powerful truths penned so many years ago that carry the true Christ-centered message of Christmas. Amidst all the business of the season, the gifts most needed are the peace and joy that knowing and worshiping King Jesus brings.
God’s PRESENCE is the best PRESENT of all! MERRY CHRISTmas!
Sharing one of my favorite renditions of “What Child is This?” by the gloriously gifted artist, Andre’ Bocelli:
I’ve created choreography to this song and repeated sharing it through various dance groups and students since 2009. I’ve printed the original lyrics below written originally in 1865 and published in 1871 by William Chatterton Dix from Great Britain. Dix was an insurance company manager who suffered a serious illness and depression. During this time, he experienced a spiritual renewal that led him to write several hymns including the timeless and treasured lyrics of “What Child is This?” – lyrics printed below.*
Christmas is all centered around the birth of Christ, God’s greatest gift to the world. A gift of endless love, amazing grace, and everlasting Truth that brings joy to the heart and sets captives free. May the presence of His love, peace and JOY be yours not only at Christmas but every day of the year. When you experience the Christ of Christmas, every day can be THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!
*What Child is This? (Lyrics written by William Chatterton Dix, 1865)
What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Two (2) Verses below not recalled often today:
(1 of 2)
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
(2 of 2)
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
…This, this is Christ the King…
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby;
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
…This, this is Christ The King…
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story wereastonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
God give us grace.
Let us take our rightful place
– humbly submitted to You,
as all our pride is totally erased.
May we arise in boldness
– empowered by Your Spirit,
as we daily seek Your face.
Strengthen us to
defeat our enemy and all his lies,
as we run with mission towards
finishing our race.
Keep us focused on the prize of Heaven
as we follow all Your ways.
Your love, Your light, Your truth,
Your freedom – help us always to embrace.
All our lives are for Your glory,
so we will trust You with our restoration
Let us reach out as You lead us
to bring others to Your grace.
Thank You Lord for this day!
Thank You Lord for Your grace!
Time is such a treasure.
Taking time for what lasts throughout time is time well spent
and is usually what our hearts treasure the most.
Many of us don’t even know what we treasure most anymore, because we feel we don’t have enough time, or, we don’t take time to discover what matters most to us.
We all need to know who we are – our true identity – but that takes TIME.
We all need to know that we are loved unconditionally by God – but that takes TIME.
We all need to know that we are valued – not based on what we do but because we are created in the image of God – but that takes TIME.
We all need healing for our wounded and broken hearts – but that takes TIME.
We all need to know The One who created us – but that takes TIME.
We all need to know why we were created – but that takes TIME.
We all need community, connection, and fellowship with others – but that takes TIME.
We all need to experience loving relationships – to love and be loved – but that takes TIME.
Knowing defined as having knowledge, comprehension and understanding of the above to the degree that it affects the very core of our being, our character, our attitudes, our decisions and lifestyle choices.
Knowing all of the above requires TIME with God and TIME with others. Perhaps that is why Jesus told us the greatest commandment of all was to love God and to love people as we love ourselves. LOVE will cost us TIME. Those whom we love, we will desire to spend TIME with – this is true in our relationship with God and with others. Through spending time with God in His Word, with others, and times alone in reflection, we discover the truth about God’s character, the truth about others we are in relationship with, and we ultimately discover our truest selves. That is, if we take enough time for these truths to be revealed. In order to love ourselves, and see ourselves through the Father’s eyes, we will have to be okay with spending some time alone with God in order to really receive the Father’s unconditional love for us.
When the enemy of our souls isn’t successful at stealing our salvation by grace through faith, he works overtime to entrap and ensnare us with time spent on the things our hearts don’t treasure in the end at all.
Loving God and loving the beloved ones He has placed within our lives
are gifts we should always treasure.
I haven’t always been blessed with the privilege of being able to take as much time to reflect, ponder and pray, as I do now, so it is truly a treasure to me, and this makes my heart overflow with gratitude. Yes, I’ve gone through years past with the hustling and bustling about from daylight to late night where juggling responsibilities as a help mate, mom, chauffeur, ministry leader, and dance teacher amidst a household full of committed schedules and extra-curricular activities, etc. etc. were definite time hindrances to pondering on such timeless and treasured things. Today is different. This season of my life is different. Thank You, Lord. And I truly believe this is another one of those “desires of the heart” blessings that Psalm 37:4 speaks of that I am enjoying during this time in my life. As we delight in God, He begins to awaken things inside of us we never imagined were there. During my early morning meditation on some life giving truths, I purposefully turned on the sounds of the gloriously soothing voice of Christy Nockels, listening to one of her newest albums entitled, “Be Held – Lullabies for the Beloved.” As the song, “His Banner Over Me” enveloped my study space, my reflecting mind took me back to the young children I taught to dance to this song (another version) many years ago. Then, suddenly, my spirit was arrested and I followed the prompting to move from my writing desk to my comfy cushioned chair, lean back and close my eyes. “Stop. Rest. Be still.” These were the gentle whispering words I heard. With lifted arms, soaking in the Father’s presence, as a flow of heart echoing tears released down my cheeks, I could sense I was receiving more of God’s healing into this older child’s heart. This was a time to treasure the Father’s presence.
Releasing our burdens, our broken dreams,
and our broken hearts to the Father only occurs as we take time to be with Him.
We are not just saved by God and then we are done.
God continues His saving, redeeming, healing, comforting and restoring
work within us until all our time on earth is done
– that is, as we surrender our time to Him for this treasured work to be done.
“Be Held” – isn’t this what our Abba Daddy desires for us to experience? Yes, the grace of being held by God like a father holds his child. Our Heavenly Father’s grace covers us and makes us feel securely loved. The arms that once graced the wooden cross are open wide still today longing to wrap His loving embrace around your heart. The Father desires to hold us all in His loving arms, if we would only come and sit in His lap – you know – open up the Psalms – play music that permeates the atmosphere with the sound of Heaven, calls you to His throne wherever you are, and reminds you that the God of all time desires to hold you and spend time with you. That’s where all the healing, peace, and joy flow – from the Father’s heart. Have you ever desired to just hold your toddler, but they were so fidgety with energy or so distracted by all the sights and sounds around them that they began to squirm, kick, and wiggle their way right out of your arms? (If you are a parent or grandparent, you get this. If not, perhaps those who are pet owners can relate to it with your puppy or kitty.) As adults, we are frequently too busy to simply sit still in the Father’s presence and “be held” – there’s either no TIME or no desire. Just as we desire to hold, comfort, and express love to our own children, so does the Father God desire to hold, comfort and pour out His love to us as His children too.
Being held by God may seem like a foreign concept to you, but if more of us were experiencing the loving comfort, peace, and healing of God on a consistent basis, perhaps the TIMES we are living in would be a little less turbulent, or at least, our own hearts might be more consumed with the peace of God and faith in God through the tumultuous times we are living in.
If setting aside time alone with God is not a common practice for you, I encourage you to start making this a priority, preferably daily, or, at least weekly. Eliminate distractions, turn off your phone and all other media related devices, turn on peaceful and spirit calming worship music and open up The Bible. Begin with the Psalms (such as Psalm 34, Psalm 103, Psalm 107, or Psalm 136 – a few good ones to start with) or The Gospel According to John or 1 John. Take time to pray, reflect, rest, and “Be still and know that He is God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Lord, I pray for the ones I love and the ones You love to begin taking more time to be still in Your presence, to rest, to sit, to wait, to listen, and to receive all the beautiful and timeless treasures You desire to fill our days with. Thank You, Lord, for giving me TIME to just be with You and be held by You today. I know for sure that all our days and times are in Your hand, and all our best times are yet to come. Amen.
When we take time to treasure what matters most,
we find the true treasures that last throughout all time.
Heaven will be a place of endless time
for all the beautiful things that honor God our Creator
and the treasures of His faithful and beloved ones.
Time withheld from God keeps us from being held by God.
“If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing I’d like to do, is to save everyday ’til eternity passes away, just to spend them with you …” These lyrics from the touching song, Time in a Bottle, by Jim Croce are gripping. Isn’t it comforting to know that eternity does not pass away, and that the redeemed of the Lord will spend all our days with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Lord, teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12) Amen.
“For such a time as this, I was placed upon the earth to hear the voice of God and do His will whatever it is…” song lyrics from “For Such a Time as This” by Wayne Watson
Everything Has Its Time
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
I will bless the Lord at all times… Psalm 34:1
The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
Other Scripture References: Mark 12:28-31; Romans 5:8; Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:7-10; Psalm 40:8; 2 Timothy 1:8-11
When we don’t take time to COME APART from all the demands and stresses of this life and spend time being refreshed in the presence of God, we end up COMING APART in some way physically, spiritually, emotionally or mentally.