Jesus Loves Me!

There is the sound of meals rolling down the aisle of the ward and the distinction of plastic utensils for every meal or the calling of staff for the starting of a group to attend.

During the weekdays it wasn’t bad. We kept busy with groups and doctor visits but weekends were awful. You may wait around all day in the hopes of a visitor, but most of the time was spent in your room or pacing the hall. There was rarely enough staff to take us out in what was referred to as outside. Ounce you got out, there was a very high chain-link fence to keep anyone from leaving. The other option was the TV room, which was also only assessable when there was enough staff to watch everyone. These rarely happened because the unit was usually under staffed.

During one of my hospital stays I met a precious little angel, we’ll call, Annie. This dear soul had down syndrome, was blind, heard voices (schizophrenia), and loved Jesus with all her heart. When the voices got really bad the only thing that would calm her down was singing, “Jesus Loves Me”.

She didn’t spend anytime outside her room with the general population. It never occurred to me to ask the staff why. I can only guess that it was too much stimuli for her to handle. There were a couple of us that would visit her during our down time from groups and meals. Any time we would hear Annie screaming we would get to her as soon as possible to hold her hands and talk to her about what the voices were telling her and the fallacy in what they were saying, pray with her and if all that didn’t work we would sing, “Jesus Loves Me”. As she started feeling better she would join us in singing. Such a simple song, that rang out the words of truth. A song that brought such comfort and healing.

For some reason that none of us will ever know why, they decided Annie should be transferred somewhere else. This made Annie very scared and anxious. I was with her holding her hand singing to her right up until the guys with the gurney started to take her away. I told one EMT “Sing the song ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to her, it calms her.” He said, “You’re a Proverbs 31 woman.” My heart warmed, my throat tightened up & tears ebbed on my eyelids (as is happening as I write this) and I smiled as he wheeled her away. There in a Psychiatric Hospital a patient, not as an employee, he saw something in me; in the psych ward where the most humiliating labels come from, that touched my heart and sent it souring higher than any bird you can imagine. That moment though my body was locked up, my heart and soul were in heaven!

I’ve been hospitalized over 35 times and I could tell you how God met me each time. Some people may see all of these hospitalizations as a failure of me not trusting God or of God not meeting me when I needed Him the most. But that could be nothing further from the truth, in each and everyone I can see how God has blessed me. He has either used me, open my eyes by someone else or both.

Sometimes I wonder why God chose to bless me with the thorns He did. But then I’m reminded that God can meet you anywhere no matter what the circumstances. I’m also reminded how truly blessed I am. I’m truly blessed the more bows in your arsenal the more lives you are able to affect. For that affect I’ll ask God for as many as He feels I am capable of handling.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the hospital and if God calls me to go again; wherever He calls I’ll go.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

Not At All – Changed My Life!

 

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He said, “Humility is not thinking poorly of yourself, it’s not thinking of yourself at all!” This sentence took a weight off my shoulders that I had been baring the majority of my life. A weight that would changed my life! For at least 42 years I had been carrying a weight on my shoulders and back of what humility was. I was gravely mistaken.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family and that is quite possibly where I came up with the idea that humility comes hand in hand with beating yourself up. You see at the age of 13 I thought that God would sooner forgive Hitler than forgive me. I know that God doesn’t play favorites but back then I didn’t have a well-developed understanding of grace. My family life didn’t have grace and mercy in it. So I understand why I didn’t grasp God’s grace because it was never displayed in my home life.

I now know that God forgives all that seek His forgiveness. Whether that be Hitler or myself or any other name you’d like to put in.

Sunday January 28, 2018, Reverend Curry Jr. spoke and said, “Humility is not thinking poorly of yourself, it’s not thinking of yourself at all!” When he said this it hit my sternum and went straight through to my heart. It was like my spirit came alive. Like I had been dead and was just called forth like Lazarus from the grave. My heart leap for joy! I don’t have to think badly of myself any more. I know longer need to berate myself every time I see or hear the word humble.

My countenance has completely changed. I’m being asked by everyone I see what has changed? I share this great revelation! That true humility is not thinking poorly of yourself but not thinking of yourself at all! Once you’re doing that you can focus on what is really important which is God and the things of God. That is what we are here to do. That is our purpose. To glorify God. What an awesome purpose to have! How great the Father is to give that to us! He could have glorified Himself. He didn’t have to use us. Yet He did. Aren’t we blessed!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 24 Legalism & Grace

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Today I’m grateful for the grace that God shows me when it comes to my legalism.  This is something that God has been working on for many decades and I’m pleased to say that I’ve come quite a way, I’m also sad to say that I have a long way to go.

It saddens me when I read things like Galatians 5:2-4:

Mark my words!  I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  4You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Bare with me here, I see my legalism as a form of circumcision because it obligates me to the law and negates the grace of Christ and stand in the way of my relationship with Him.  For those reasons I take firm warning from Galatians 5:2-4.

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As much as I struggle with legalism it breaks my heart that I’ve allowed it to come between me and my Lord Jesus Christ.  I long for a relationship with Him and the last thing that I want to do is fall away from grace.  I want what Galatians 5:1 states:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.

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I want the freedom that Christ offers and I don’t want to allow myself to be burdened again by the yoke of slavery, mainly my legalism.  So I ask God to continue working with me in this area of bondage.  That He make me keenly aware of when I’m struggling with it.  So that I might ask forgiveness and wisdom in how to get out of it.

I’m grateful that God is gracious with me in this area of sin.  I know He wants to see progress in this as much or more than I do.  He is so loving and patient with me when I come to a verse that seems one I can perch my legalistic hat on.  These days knowing His grace those verses cause me confusion, with questions like, “How can that be when God says?” or  “I don’t understand wouldn’t that mean?”  When I hear those questions I can usually assume I’m struggling with that ugly old friend legalism.  Being that I want to rid myself of that friend and things still get caught in my head, I seek wise counsel and that helps to quench the old demon.

When I’m in the midst of legalism my relationship with Christ suffers but if I ask the Holy Spirit to help me find the truth to find grace my relationship with Christ is restored.

God is gracious with us as long as we are earnestly seeking His will.  He is patient and long suffering for our sake.  What an awesome God we serve.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Faith or Fear

A lot of what I’m sharing today I got from a sermon from my pastor Mike Erre called “Faith in an age of Fear”.  I was so impressed by it that I decided to share it and my thoughts on it with you my readers.

Matthew 6:19-34 are our verses for today.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body if your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light but if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you to much more valuable tan they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers in the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans fun after all these things, and you heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The passage starts about storing up our treasures in heaven.  This is more than just talking about money but where your heart is.  What is your main focus on things of this earth which will decay or the things of God which will never decay?

Then Jesus puts it another way talking about the eye being the lamp of the body.  During Jesus day an unhealthy eye was one who was greedy and cheap and miserly.  The healthy eye was generous, helpful and thought of as good.  The healthy eye would be carrying out God’s will while the unhealthy would not.  One is storing up treasures in heaven the other on earth.

Then He talks about the serving of only one masters either God or money.  How we can’t have it both ways it’s either or.  Either your heart is with God and that is where your treasure is or your heart is elsewhere with some other idol here on earth where moth and vermin destroy and thieves can steal.  Since we can’t take it with us it is important we make the right choice.

Mike Erre made a very good point that in America we see the don’t worry passage and think God is going to give us good things and supply all that we need.  But there are Christians who love the LORD that don’t have food or drink or clothes what do we do about that?

He believes and I agree with him that the don’t worry follows the other passages in the same train of thought.  Let me try and explain the grass of the field is thrown in the fire it is not all good for the grass.  In that day and age the birds of the air were used for sacrifice again not all good for the birds.  What they do have in common is that they don’t worry about their food or death or anything they just exist as God intended them to.

Verse 33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Could this verse in the light that bad things do happen to those that love God, actually mean by seeking his kingdom and righteousness that the things of the kingdom, peace in the midst of turmoil, faith in the face of fear, and joy in the midst of mourning are all ours to have?  Could it mean that there is an even more fulfilling and abundant life to be had than what we are told on this earth via commercials and peer pressure?  I believe the answer to be “Yes!”

I look with new eyes at the do not worry verses and realize that my hope is in God alone and whatever He has in-store for me His grace and mercy will be sufficient for me.

Lord God, let me walk boldly in faith and keep these scriptures ever present in my mind when I am tempted to fall away from a bold walk with you in my journey of faith.  I want to stand confident in Your power, grace, mercy and unchanging will. Lord help me to do just that and confront me when I falter.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 13

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“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  –  John 14:27

As one that struggles with General Anxiety Disorder, I’m ever so grateful for the peace that Jesus left as an inheritance for me.

“The word bequeath in this verse is a term used in the execution of wills.  In preparation for death, people usually bequeath their possessions, especially those things of value, as a blessing to those they love who are left behind.

Jesus knew He was about to pass from this world and He wanted to leave us something.  He could have left any number of good things, like His power and His name, and He did.  But He also left us His peace.

You don’t leave junk for people you love – you leave them the best you have, Jesus had a special kind of peace that surpassed anything mankind had ever known.  He knew it was one of the most precious things He could give.

From: “Ending Your Day Right: Devotions for Every Evening of the Year”   –  Day 12/3  by Joyce Meyer

Knowing that peace is one of the greatest joys of being a Christian.

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The peace you have when you’ve prayed over a matter, listened to God or just waited for peace over a matter so that you know what your doing is in God’s will.

The time you thought about buying something and didn’t have peace and decided not to make the purchase and the peace that came with that decision.

Or the tug on your heart to visit a friend or call a friend and the peace you felt and possibly even joy after following your heart, when you learned that you were just what that friend needed at that time.

When praying over something that hasn’t come to pass but you receive a peace about it.  What a blessed gift from God.

All of these and I’m sure you can think of even more ways you’ve felt the peace that only Jesus can give.

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But may I venture to say that being in His will, obedient to Him is the only way you can receive it.  Outside of Him this kind of supernatural peace does not exist. So we must be rooted in the vine to attain it.

I’ve known anxiety most of my life but I’ve also experienced the peace that only comes from Jesus.  That peace is a blessing that I’m eternally grateful for.

All you have to do is ask Him for that peace but if He tells you to do something you better do it, because with obedience comes peace.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude Days 1 – 3

Hi there! I know it’s been quite a while since I last posted a new post, but here is my own challenge for the month of Thanksgiving. To post at least one post each day and that post be a post of gratitude.

As you may notice I’m 3 days into the month so I’m going to give you three different things that I’m grateful for.

Starting with what I was grateful for on the 1st was that our community made a good showing for the meet and greet for our new property manager and the caretakers of the property. In the past for forming community meetings this has not been the case and it was so nice getting to know new neighbors better or at all. It was also great how the management was interested in getting to know us and our concerns for the property. I really am blessed to be living where I live.

The thing that I’m grateful for for the 2nd day of the month is that as much as I needed to get done I was still open to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit when urged to visit with an old friend. I was able to be there with information the friend needed at just the right time. Obviously, God’s doing and I’m just grateful that what was a nice visit was also an opportunity to be a blessing to another. God is so good that way, as long as we stay open to His leading.

The thing that I’m grateful for today the 3rd day of the month is: That is is another beautiful fall day in Southern California and for my very dear and wonderfully hard working boyfriend. Who loves me more than I deserve but I love him all the more for it.  I’m so blessed by God that He brought Ron into my life and I pray that I never take that blessing for granted.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart.

PRAYER NEEDED

PRAYER NEEDED.  Let’s pray for this family in need.  Pray for wisdom for the doctors and healing for the son.  Pray for a miracle.  God is in the job of miracles. After all He is “The Great Physician”!  Most importantly pray for God’s will and for the families strength and faith to accept that if it means no miracle or healing. But since we know that God loves His children we stand with them believing that love will mean a yes to healing.

Our ways are not His ways nor our thoughts His thoughts.  So we must be ready if  God sees fit not to heal.  That doesn’t mean He loves that person any less than any other it just means that He has a different path for them to follow  and to grow from no matter how painful that path may be.  As Paul prayed for the thorn in his side to be removed, he learned it was not God’s will to remove it and look at the ministry he had with it.

Likewise it is not ours to decide who will be healed and who won’t that is why we join as one and pray for healing until it is answered.  One way or another.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart