joy pure joyHere’s goes that word again.

Yesterday, after writing about “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy!”, a precious friend replied, I’m working on having Joy this week…….it’s my prayer.”   Well, sista, if you desire what I think you do, you’ll get it.

You see, in Psalm 40:8  it says, I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your instructions are written on my heart.”

When we do GOD’S will and not our OWN desires for our lives, we will find joy.

Now, sistas AND brothers (I know you guys read this too. This is not a “for ladies only” kind of site.  It’s a God thing.), I pray right now, on my knees (hang on…done!), that today you will stop, pray, and seek God’s will for your lives.  Not only to seek it, but truly desire it and do it.  I pray that you will be filled with so much joy today that it will be contagious. Amen and amen.

So, ain’t nobody gonna take your joy but YOU. Take that joy that comes only from God and spread it around.  (Wow, I just imagined a world full of joy.  Sweet!  We can try now, but we will definitely see it when we all get to heaven. I sure hope you’re going to be there.  Click here to help you get your ticket to heaven. Oh, boy, how I’m praying for YOU.)

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these devotionals. Please send a private message to: soakinguptheson1@aol.com

aint nobody gonna steal my joyThe other day at school someone posted a paper in different areas of the school. On that paper it read to “Take one”.  Take what?  Well, at the bottom of the page it had words, in a tag format, for you to rip one off and take like, peace, love, joy,… I guess you could say the “Fruit of the Spirit” list, but I can’t recall all the words on the list at this moment.  Whatever they were, I loved the idea.

When I first saw it, I noticed that no one had taken any words, so I thought that it was just there for us to read. Then later in the day I become aware of some missing tags. So, I scanned the list of encouraging words again, and saw the word joy. I tore it off and said, “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy!”

I carried that tiny piece of paper around in my pocket all day and later tacked it to a board beside my desk. I would feel it in my pocket and then look at it on my board over the next couple of days, and again say to myself, “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy!” knowing that my joy comes from the Lord.

I did keep that word in my mind for a few days, and it seemed to remind me to prioritize and focus on the joy that God gives me each day.  And then, I let it happen…I allowed folks/circumstances to “steal my joy”.  Ugh!

Whether it was a “feel the pressure” type of meeting, the last class period of the day, one of my own children, or whatever/whomever, I allowed my joy to be depleted.  (Hence the dry spell of my writing over the past week.)

I’d pray and open God’s word each day, feel His love and gentle reminders, but in the back of my mind, I still had some joy missing.

I’ve kept a couple of bible-verse-of-the-day scriptures opened on my computer. One is “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”Psalm 27:14. Yes. I know!  But waiting is what I didn’t want to have to do in one situation, but I know that “This too shall pass” and that God’s got this! (Okay, Lord, I’ll wait.  I’ll try my best to wait patiently, but I will wait.)

The second verse-of-the-day was “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.  Ahhh, one of my all time favorite bible verses.  Again…(Yes, Lord, you know what my earthly desires are, and I know You want my desire to be You alone.  Okay.  I desire You and your will for my life.)  It excites me to know that when I turn my focus and desires to Jesus, His plan is always so much better than the plan that I had mapped out in my mind for me.

And then…this morning, before I did anything else, I did my daily chat with God. This time, I was reminded about that word joy in my prayer and asked God to speak to me and through me, and to give me joy in my heart and peace of mind.  I then proceeded to read the verse-of-the-day, and guess what?  No, don’t guess, just read this for yourself: “Your help made me so happy.  Give me that joy again.  Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You.” Psalm 51:12. Hahaha, God was like, “You asked for it.”  And my reply to Him is, “Yes I did and thank You, Lord!”

Just like keeping that tiny piece of paper in my pocket, on my board for glancing at, or on my mind would keep His joy fresh and my heart happy, that’s what His word does for us when we keep it in the forefront of our minds.

I pray that you will keep God’s word in your heart and remember “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy” as long as God’s in control.  Give it all to Him.

To whomever left those papers on the wall at my school, if you ever read this (first of all, please don’t be critical of my grammar, you would keep yourself quite busy editing my entries, hahaha) thank you. Thank you for the gentle reminder that I need His joy in my life ever second of the day.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these devotionals. Please send a private message to: soakinguptheson1@aol.com

in love with godRomans 12:2 is a verse that I knew I’ve written about before, but when I did a “search” for it, I didn’t realize how many times I’d written about it. Well, I didn’t, God did.

So, instead of creating a new devotional for Romans 12:2  (the verse-for-the-day), click on some oldies but goodies:

Total search: Romans 12:2

For different topics (Ten times!) click on the link below:

Enjoy growing closer to God each day. Fall more in love with Him every hour.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these devotionals. Please send a private message to: soakinguptheson1@aol.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe often read, hear, and state from memory Jeremiah 29:11. But what about those verses that follow it?

It was pressed upon my heart today to read and soak in some more of God’s goodness in verses 12-13. I ended up reading the entire chapter to gain the whole perspective.  Once again, I found God’s word to be of peace, comfort, love, and true.  He never disappoints.

Take a look for yourself:

“Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will search for me, and when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:12-13

I like how The Message translation writes verse 13: “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

Jeremiah 29:1 informs us that, “This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.”

Listen, you may not have King Nebuchadnezzar holding you captive right now in your life, but you may have something or someone else trying to keep you away from God’s goodness. You may even like the situation you are in.  But, boy oh boy does your Heavenly Father have some of His awesomeness waiting for you.

Don’t just dab your toes in the sea of seeking the Lord. No!  Jump in with all you have.  Even if you’re a little bit afraid leaving the security of dry ground.  Go for it!  Jump in The Living Water and allow Him to soak in.

Call out to Jesus, go to Him, pray to the Savior, and do this with ALL your heart. Get serious about finding God.  Like the Lord says in the Good Book, He’ll “make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

peace in him“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2

When I read this I just felt His peace fall on me. A smile came across my face just being reminded that when I busy myself with life, my soul finds rest in God.  He is never shaken.  Our Savior is solid!

I just wanted to share these verses with you so that you too can be reminded of and feel God’s comfort.

That’s all…just something sweet and simple.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

There's just something about this picture that makes me smile.  We have no clue what the five of us were laughing about, but I sure know it's good for the soul.

There’s just something about this picture that makes me smile. We have no clue what the five of us were laughing about, but I sure know it’s good for the soul.

For some of you more seasoned citizens, allow me to teach you a couple of texting abbreviations you may or may not have seen.

I’m thinking that God was the originator of SMH (shake my head) and LOL (laugh out loud). Don’t you just know that He just “Shakes His Head” and “Laughs Out Loud” when we make our own plans?

Proverbs 19:20-21  says, “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”  Yes, we sit and brainstorm options, dream, make grand plans, etc., and not that there is anything wrong with that. Believe me, Tim and I sit and dream and  solve the problems of the world, others, and ourselves every week in the comfy conversation setting of our backyard.  But, God has a phenomenal plan for each of us.  We just need to make sure “we” don’t manipulate circumstances so that things happen the way “we” want them to.

What we need to do is prepare wisely, seek His will, and watch Him unveil the beauty He has planned for us.

  • “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
  • “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
  • “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11
  • The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
  • And so many more verse!

 

  • Is God SHisH and LOLing at you? Release yourself from so much pressure, and allow The Main Man to do His thing.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

Be white knuckled for God.

Be white knuckled for God.

Have you ever heard or wondered yourself, “Where did God go?” Well, I’ve search scripture and I just can’t find anywhere a time when God was the one who left. It was man who did the leaving.

In Deuteronomy 13:4 we read, “Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone. Obey His commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him.”  I like the different versions that read at the end of the verse: hold fast to Him, never leave Him, and hold on to Him for dear life! Amen!  It is for you life, and it is dear to Him!

I remember a pastor saying one time that he often hears people say “Lord, be with me, or so-and-so, when ….” And the pastor’s response was, “There’s no need to ask God to be with you. He is always with you.”  (We need to be a little more specific when we pray.)  That has stopped me in mid-sentence at times when I find myself praying, “Lord, be with me…”  I’ve had to change my words to “Thank You, Lord, for being with me.  Guide me…Show me…”

In Deuteronomy 13:1-4 it is talking about those times when we will be tempted or asked to serve other gods.  That’s when God is testing us to see if we truly love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Be wise, and if it ain’t God, then it ain’t right. :)

So wherever you are and whatever you do, please remember that the Living Lord is always there with you. So make sure that you don’t walk away from Him.  Hold on to Him for dear life!  Get “white-knuckled” for God.

“He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6b

Click openbible.info for a plethora of scripture assuring you that He will never leave you.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

 

time to eatGood morning. Let’s eat.

Those who know me know that I love breakfast time. And, those who know me also know that when I don’t eat two things usually happen; I either get grouchy or very quiet (probably so that I won’t be grouchy).  So, making sure that “Stephanie” has food is a priority.

Friends would make fun of me when we would go out late at night to eat (that right there informs you that I was most likely in my early twenties) and I would order French toast with a side order of toast. Tim would jokingly say, “Why not order the whole loaf of bread?”  Well, why wouldn’t you?

This morning when I read the verse-for-the-day I was reminded of my love for breakfast any time of the day. In Psalm 63:1 we read, “God—you’re my God!  I can’t get enough of you. I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.”

Okay, so French toast isn’t God, but I sure do love my time with God too, actually…even more! Way more!  I wake up each morning hungry for a word from God.  I can’t wait to see what He has to share with me each morning.  But that thirst for God doesn’t just happen in the morning.  Just like when I was served breakfast for an evening meal, God serves up delicious food throughout the day.

Jesus is The Living Water. He is The Bread of Life.

  • John 4:14, But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
  • John 7:38, Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
  • Revelation 21:6, And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”
  • John 6:35, Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

 

Are you hungry? Time to eat!  God has something scrumptious ready to serve to you.

If you’re hungry for a little more? I just noticed that this isn’t the first time I’ve written about French toast. Enjoy reading these.  (Oh, how I would love to eat some Bimini bread right now. Mmmm)

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

trust in the lordWhoa!!! Am I putting on the brakes to be stopped by God’s amazing word, or am I accelerating to move on in His direction? Right now I’m thinking both.

Tim and I have been talking, a LOT, about some possible changes in life. We’ve been praying about a couple of areas specifically. (Nothing crazy, just normal life changes.) This weekend I said something like, “We just gotta to step out in faith with God…He’s got this all worked out.”

This morning I was excited to get into God’s word to see what He had to share with me today. Well, in two different sources, they both talked about walking by faith and trusting in God!

When I opened the devotional book Jesus Calling and turned to today’s reading, I was like, “Whoa!”  One sentence read, “Though you don’t know what lies ahead, I know; and that is enough!” Amen.

Then, I turned to “the-verse-for-the-day” on biblegateway.com and read, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:4. Trust! Faith! Yes, Lord!

Stepping out in faith, whether your situation is big or small, is most often a scary thing. Why? Because we are not in charge, the future is in Someone else’s hands, and we just have too many questions that we want answered revealed to us now.

I can just imagine God sitting back on His throne with a smirky yet sweet grin looking down on me every time I’ve stepped out in faith. Why? Because He’s going, “I told you so. My way is so much better than yours.  Thanks for trusting Me so that I can shower you with blessings.”

Friends, give your life decisions to God. Ha!  Not just a decision, but go ahead and give your life, your day, this second to walking in faith with Him.  Trust God to guide you in the direction that He wants to go.

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” Proverbs 19:21

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

pocket of promisesTen years ago I was waiting in the deli line at a local grocery store (Publix). They always had a carousel of inspirational books for all ages. While waiting on any of my orders, I’d take a gander through the books to keep me occupied.  I came across “A Pocketful of Promises” published by Honor Books.  For ten years I’ve carried this little book around.  It has traveled the world with me, gotten beat up in my purse, and been shared numerous times.  I treasure my “Pocketful of Promises” book.

I have written before about how it was with me in my closet during a “filled with fear” moment. (Click here to read.)

Just a couple of weeks ago, I took a picture of a couple of pages on “Encouragement” on my phone and sent it to a friend who needed to read some verses and a little note from God.

Last night it found itself with me again in my closet when I came home and cried for fifteen minutes and prayed to God.

(Hmm, I just typed “it found itself”. Well, the book isn’t a living thing, but the words in it are from The Living God, and is God-breathed.  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 .)

Having God’s word close to your heart and hand is important. Read Psalm 119:9-16 to see how we are to keep it, use it, where to put it, and what it does for us.  “It” is God’s instruction book on how to live.

Read God’s word. Have little spirit-filled devotional books close at hand for quick reference or a boost of encouragement. Watch how the words you read, that were written by God, comfort, refresh, and discipline you.  See how your life is filled with peace. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.

Happy Anniversary to my little “A Pocketful of Promises” book. Thanks, little beat-up book, for helping me and others through some difficult times, and just when I need some scripture for pleasant situations as well. Thanks for being a quick reference to bible verses that fit any situation.

Do you need a little “joy” in your life today, my friends? Here’s a couple of pages about joy from the book:

joy pages

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.