Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday - 10/29/09

“Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
Isaiah 51:3

I am very thankful to the Lord that...

1. God does not change. He remains the same. "I the LORD do not change." Malachi 3:6

2. God is truth. He speaks and then acts. He promises, and He fulfills every promise. "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19 "You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed." Joshua 23:14

3. These rainy days are snuggly days with our "tender plants". Lots of teaching opportunities, too! "Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants." Deuteronomy 32:2

4. Surprise "stay well days" at home from school with mom (like Tuesday of this week) are fun and heart-warming (and productive through team work...the basement play room is sooooooo clean)! "A cheerful heart is good medicine..." Proverbs 17:22 "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." 3 John 1:12

5. God indeed strengthens my heart by His grace...and even more so when I have cut out all white and beige foods (flour, sugar, rice, pasta) again. And I am thankful for sugar-free ice cream as a little sweet treat. But I am still wishing Ben & Jerry's would bring back Carb Karma Chocolate! (Yes, I have requested that on their site!) OK, here is where I wish God had mentioned ice cream in scripture! It's one of those simple pleasures in my life. "It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods..." Hebrews 13:9 (is ice cream a ceremonial food in my life? Hmmmmm....)
He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."
Psalm 50:23

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Blessed Eyes

"Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said privately,
'Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.'"
Luke 10:23

Gracious God Who Sees Me,
Hear my heart's prayer for my family.
May our eyes see You vividly throughout each day.
Bless our eyes with the joy of recognizing and acknowledging Your undeniable activity in our lives and all around us.
May our eyes see and behold You, our Creator, in creation.
May our hearts seek You unceasingly.
May we taste Your sweet presence with keen awareness.
May we smell Your beautiful aroma enveloping us.
May we faithfully grasp the hem of Your garment.
Bless our eyes that we may see You.
Blessed eyes, Lord. We desire blessed eyes.
We are seeking You Lord with blessed eyes.
We love you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
"They kept looking for Jesus..."
John 11:56
I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me.
Proverbs 8:17
Playing on
"The More I Seek You" by Kari Jobe
The more I seek You, The more I find You
The more I find You, the more I love You
I wanna sit at Your feet
Drink from the cup in Your hand.
Lay back against You and breath,
feel Your heart beat
This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand.
I melt in Your peace, it's overwhelming

Friday, October 23, 2009

Holla Loya!

"From the lips of
children and infants
You have ordained praise."
Psalm 8:2

In the words of my friend, Heather: "Hello, my name is Sharon, and I've been a bad blogger."

It's been a tiring week. A good week, but a tiring week. Jim was in North Carolina most of the week on business and just arrived home last evening. We were content to all be under one roof again. Lots of healthy busyness at home, at work, ministry, etc. One of our cherubs was home one day this week and feeling just a tad bit under the weather. Here it is Friday already. I've been quiet on the blog this week while my hands have been away from the keyboard and tending to other things. "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders..." (1 Thess. 4:11-12)

Today is cleaning day, and I was just in Gabrielle's room where, opened on her bureau, I saw this praise song she wrote to Jesus in a journal she just bought at "School Store" yesterday. This is just too sweet, so I had to share it.

"Holla Loya to the King
Holla Loya to the King that died for us
Holla Loya to the King that whasht our hearts clean
Holla Loya to the King that saved our lives.
Can we get a shout out for the King!?!? Holla!
I hope this made you smile!

"And again they shouted: 'Hallelujah!'"
Revelation 19:3

Monday, October 19, 2009

Disturb Us, Lord

A long-time friend shared part of this with me last week. I was intrigued and Googled for the entire prayer. I pray it blesses, encourages and challenges you as it has me. Perhaps I've been sailing too closely to the shore. Disturb me, Lord. May my dreams and vision be completely yielded to only Your perfect will and Your dreams for me.

Prayer of Sir Francis Drake
(written in 1577)
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps."
Proverbs 16:9
"'For I know the plans I have for you,'
declares the LORD,
'plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Serendipity Sunday - "Day by Day"

"Come near to God and He will come near to you."
James 4:8
Updated 10/19/09 at 7:50 PM - "MICH" - enjoy your serendipity! Congratulations!
When I was in youth group as a teenager, we would have little weekend retreats called a "Serendipity". A weekend full of surprises and discoveries that encouraged us in our walks with the Lord. "Serendipity" quickly became one of my favorite words. I remember these "Serendipities" well and the warm memories still linger in my heart. We would draw nearer to God during our youth group Serendipities, and our friendships were sweetened as well.
Today is my first "Serendipity Sunday" post. Perhaps you will receive a little serendipitous gift that will draw you near to God.
For the last two years, my favorite devotional has been "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. Love love love that devotional! It quickly became my favorite gifts to give to family and friends for birthdays or special occasions. I am still reading Jesus Calling over and over, but I discovered another devotional serendipitously that is really blessing me: "Experiencing God Day by Day" by the Blackaby brothers.
Share with us one of your favorite serendipitous treasures from God's heart to yours. A verse. A word of encouragement from a friend. An unexpected blessing. Share a sweet serendipity that still warms your heart. A serendipitous gift of the "Day by Day" devotional may be your next surprise blessing!
"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in his temple."
Psalm 27:4

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Simple Pleasures Saturday - 10/17/09

"The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, He saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you. "
Psalm 116:6-7
Blessed By The Simple Pleasures
Sleeping in on a rainy day Listening to His rain dance on our roof top Hearing the cherubs whisper excitedly together as they make a surprise together for Daddy and Mommy in one of their bedrooms Receiving the wonderful heart-made surprise from our cherubs Kissing their "soft spots" and squeezing them tightly A hot cup of coffee Warm apple cider with breakfast A weekend of wide-open hours because sports activities are cancelled due to rain The afterglow of sister-friends gathering in our home last evening to grow in the Lord Assisting a dear friend this evening as she ministers God's Word to other women through her culinary gifts Planning ahead for Sunday dinner tomorrow (home-made chicken pot pie) and a Sunday afternoon relaxing with the family and watching our home-town team play football Spending time with Him in His Word and prayer...His sweet presence and faithfulness to give us our Portion...
What simple pleasures are you enjoying today?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday - 10/15/09

“Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
Isaiah 51:3 (NIV)

I am very thankful to the Lord!

1. Joshua injured one of his toes on his left foot (no, believe it or not, not playing tackle football) and it was just a "subtle chip fracture" not requiring any special attention! His x-ray was Friday 10/9, which is a day school was closed for in-service ! "Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise Your glorious name." 1 Chronicles 29:13

2. Gabrielle's teeth and bones were all protected by the Lord when she "went too fast" over a neighbor's bike ramp and she flipped on her bike. Her precious face met with the sidewalk very hard. God protected her teeth and bones! Her beautiful face was scraped up and bloody, but it could have been a lot worse. We are so thankful. (Also thankful that Mommy's heart kept beating when I heard her blood-curdling scream all the way inside our kitchen.) "The hand of our God was on us, and He protected us..." Ezra 8:31

3. For "Aunt Anne" (my sister) who loves our cherubs so much. She is "fun personified", and they love her with their whole hearts. They could see her ten times in one day and get just as excited to see her each time.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16

4. For my bloggy friend, Jill, who designed my "Simple Pleasures Saturday" button (in 10 minutes flat)! Thank you, Jill! Here is Jill's design site: "He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers...all of them master craftsmen and designers." Exodus 35:35

5. For the 6 AM Wednesday morning men's Bible study/prayer group at our friends' home in which my husband participates. They call themselves "The God Squad". So thankful for my husband's godly friends and that he is an awesome, godly friend to them, too. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
6. For my sister-friends who love on me lavishly in prayer and by keeping the bar raised high. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16
7. For God's faithfulness in confirming to me over and over that He establishes the work of our hands! "May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17

Share your thankful heart with us today!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Psalm 119:44-45

"I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts."
Psalm 119:44-45

For our cherubs' morning devotions, I have slowly been going through Psalm 119 with them. I heart Psalm 119! My NIV Study Bible refers to it as "a devotional about God's Word". It makes wonderful sense to me, therefore, that it is the longest Psalm, having 176 verses. Each verse talks about the treasure of His word, His precepts.

One morning last week before the cherubs woke up for school, I was preparing for their little devotion time and reading Psalm 119. Verses 44 and 45 popped off the pages of my Bible that morning! I got so excited! Always obeying His Word, we can walk about in freedom! Not in arrogant freedom, but in humble, peaceful, secure freedom!

I was sharing this with my girlfriend, and she said she had just read the same passage in the Amplified Bible and loved it. Check this out:

"I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it].
And I will walk at liberty and at ease, for I have sought and inquired for [and desperately required] Your precepts." (Psalm 119:44-45 AMP)

Soak this in, dear friend. Soak in His love and truth. Hear it. Receive it. Love it. Obey it.
Walk at liberty and at ease. Seek, inquire and desperately require His precepts.
Oh, He is our portion. I feel like I was just at the buffet!
Happy Treasure Verse Tuesday! Share a treasure verse with us!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Take My Hand And Walk Where I Lead

"Jesus took her by the hand and said, 'My child, get up!'"
Luke 8:54

"Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me,
I took courage and gathered..."
Ezra 7:28

[Early July 2008]
Jim and I held hands tightly as he lay on the surgical stretcher in the hospital surgical preparatory room. His was not a serious or life-threatening procedure, rather just a removal by a plastic surgeon of a large unwanted and unsightly growth on his upper lip. However, he was going to be "put under" for the procedure, and I think any medical issues tend to put life's precious priorities and blessings into focus very quickly.

We prayed together as we held hands. The surgical assistants stood by patiently and respectfully as Jim and I went to His throne room of grace together. Tears trickled down my face as I kissed his face and they wheeled him away.

Thanking the Lord that I was the one who was privileged to be Jim's wife through life, I made my way to the waiting room and hunkered down to work on my Bible study. Before I knew it, the waiting room phone rang with a voice at the other end telling me I could come and sit with Jim in the recovery room. His lip looked perfect and they were preparing to release him.

I walked out to our car to pull it up to the hospital entrance so I could pick Jim up there after the nurse routinely escorted him via wheelchair. As I touched the car door handle with my hand, I thought about the sweet blessing it was to hold Jim's hand before surgery. Healthy and loving hand holding.

At that exact moment, God lovingly whispered a clear message on my heart. "Sharon, you have been doing some unhealthy hand-holding in your life. You are trying to please [a person]. You have been wanting their approval on what I am leading you to do. No more unhealthy hand-holding. Let's have only holy hand-holding. Just obey Me completely. Trust Me unwaveringly. Follow Me humbly. Honor Me quietly. Look to Me only. Keep your eyes fixed on Me. I will take care of everything else." "...what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs." Matthew 10:27

Wow! He was right. And for weeks before this whispering from the Lord, He had been giving me scripture after scripture during my quiet time about His mighty right hand. He was gracious to make this crystal clear to me now. I was looking for approval from someone. I wanted unhealthy hand-holding. As I sat in my car, I bowed my head and heart before Him. While Jim was having an unwanted growth removed from his lip, I was having an unwanted growth removed from my heart. I confessed my sin to the Lord and asked for His forgiveness. I thanked Him for exposing this "ugly" to me gently, lovingly and faithfully. I promised to seek only holy, healthy hand holding from that point forward. I promised to keep my eyes on Him alone, not on any person. "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" John 5:44

Since that day, God has taken me on the most precious and deep journey of faith, trust and obedience. He has taken me step-by-step on this journey. I don't want to move one toe unless He tells me to. I want to follow Him, to hold HIS mighty right hand. If He says "Go", I want to go. If He says "Wait", I want to wait. If He says "Stop", I want to stop. He's holding my hand faithfully and I am not letting go! Hand in hand, He is establishing the work of my hands. (Psalm 90:17)

It has not always been easy. It's actually been very difficult at times. I've probably been judged, miscategorized, and misunderstood by some. But as He gives me the grace and wisdom to humbly and quietly follow Him, my heart has always been peaceful knowing that I am holding His hand as He leads me.

What a glorious walk I am enjoying with my Savior. What precious places He has taken me in my relationship with Him. Treasures of His love I savor every day. He's keeping my eyes fixed on Him alone. He's holding my hand with His gracious Hand of favor. He's holding my hand with His mighty right Hand. I am holding His priceless Hand that took the nail for my sin. My Redeemer is holding my hand. The healthiest hand holding ever.

Take His hand and walk where He leads. Keep your eyes on Him alone.

The gracious hand of our God is on everyone
who looks to Him,
but His great anger is against all who forsake Him."
Ezra 8:22

"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You." 2 Chronicles 20:12

May the favor of the Lord our God
rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:17

"The LORD's right hand is lifted high;
the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"
Psalm 118"16

I know there are times your dreams turn to dust
you wonder as you cry
why it has to hurt so much
give Me all your sadness
someday you will know the reason why
a child-like heart simply put your hope in Me
Chorus:take My hand and walk where I lead
keep your eyes on Me alone
don't you say why were the old days better
just because you're scared of the unknown
take My hand and walk
don't live in the past cause yesterday's gone
wishing memories would last
you're afraid to carry onyou don't know what's comin
'but you know the One who holds tomorrow
I will be your Guide
take you through the night
if you keep your eyes on Me
take My hand and walk where I lead
keep your eyes on Me alone
don't you say why were the old days better
just because you're scared of the unknown
take My hand and walk where I lead
you will never be alone
faith is to be sure of what you hope for
and the evidence of things unseen
so take My hand and walk
just like a child holding daddy's hand
don't let go of Mine
you know you can't stand on your own

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Simple Pleasures Saturday

"The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, He saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you. "
Psalm 116:6-7

Blessed By The Simple Pleasures

Quiet early morning devotion time without having to end at a certain time to take a shower and get ready for the day Raspberry preserves on whole grain toast Cherubs sleeping in and enjoying a quiet morning Lemon Chiffon candle burning in the foyer Folding laundry while listening to the Worship Channel on TV Jim having a "manly" breakfast at IHOP with a good buddy Braiding Gabrielle's hair and kissing her "soft spot" Ruffling Joshua's hair and giving him a squeeze Listening to the cherubs play nicely together (Wow!) Gorgeous autumnal colors with the signature of our Designer on the trees outside our windows A second cup of coffee Color for my half-inch salt and pepper hair roots this afternoon Running a few errands at a relaxed pace

Thanking the Lord for all these things

What simple plesure are warming your heart today?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday - 10/8/09

“Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
Isaiah 51:3 (NIV)

Wow! My FIRST "Thankful Thursday" post. I have much for which to be thankful and try to express my sincerely thankful heart regularly here on Joy In The Truth. Giving thanks to Him in all circumstances brings glory to His Name. I believe a thankful heart ushers us into His presence. Truly, a thankful heart is a happy heart.

Today I want to join in "Thankful Thursday" (which several of my Bloggityville friends already do regularly). Thanks for welcoming me to ride along! Thank you Sonya at Truth 4 The Journey (who is a friend of my friend Chatty Kelly).

I am so thankful to the Lord for:

1. God's Word, His Truth, His salvation, His grace and mercy, His unchanging and unconditional love. I am thankful His Word delights our souls! "I will delight in Your decrees. I will not neglect Your Word." Psalm 119:16

2. My husband, Jim, and our cherubs, Joshua and Gabrielle. They are treasures to me. I am thankful to the Lord for these good and perfect gifts from Him! "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

3. My girlfriends who love me purely, who are committed to nurturing our friendship, who boldly and gently speak the truth in love, who bless me beyond measure with their grace and who don't throw out the baby (me) with the bath water (my yet-to-be-refined uglies)! "The pleasantness of one's friend springs from [her] earnest counsel." Proverbs 27:9

4. My part-time job as assistant to two of our youth pastors at church. It is a privilege to serve the Lord by serving them. On Monday, I was extra-thankful for my job (the best in the world!) because our office is on the other side of the wall from our sizable sanctuary where "Rush of Fools" was LIVE doing a special Monday morning chapel for our high school students! My desk was shaking and my chair was rocking! How about singing worship and praise while I worked!?!? "Exalt the LORD our God and worship at His footstool; He is holy." Psalm 99:5

5. For a "secret" friend of mine who generously and thoughtfully went to the nail salon I frequent and paid for my manicure on Tuesday (before I arrived). You know who you are, and so do I. You touched my heart! Thank you. "...let beauty treatments be given to them." Esther 2:3

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.”
Psalm 100:4

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Psalm 133

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows His blessing, even life forevermore."
Psalm 133

Dig Deeper: Blue Letter Bible

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." Matthew 5:23-24

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Squash Blossoms

"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of one's friend springs
from his earnest counsel." Proverbs 27:9

The waiter at the Blue Sage Grille flawlessly described the dinner special to my two girlfriends and me, as we stole away for a rare and delightful girlfriend dinner last evening. "And it is topped with a Squash Blossom", he said. Well, I had never heard of a Squash Blossom, but I just loved the sound of it! So autumnal. So inviting. So unique. So interesting. "Squash Blossom!"

The three of us enjoyed a delicious dinner and lots of chatter. As our taste buds were treated to some vegetarian victuals, we soaked in the precious time together, fully aware that it is an all-too infrequent treat to be with girlfriends. To switch hats from "girlfriend" to "football mom", Erika had to leave shortly after our triad shared a dessert together (pineapple sorbet over coconut caramel, surrounded by pineapple and mango salsa and miniature apple pastries).

Cheryll and I relocated to the Starbucks across the street for some cozy conversation in over-sized, plump purple chairs. As she ordered her Pumpkin Spice Latte, I shared my finite Starbucks wisdom with her and suggested the "no foam" option (smartly shared with moi by my friend Lysa) so that she could enjoy more of the actual latte. (Neither Cheryll nor I claim to have much "Starbucks Savvy", so we felt rather special adding the "no foam" request.)

Earlier yesterday, I spent a few treasured hours with my friend Lucille shopping at Trader Joe's and enjoying a quick lunch at Jules Organic Thin Crust. A few days ago, my friend Heather and I talked for an hour about special, enduring friendships that we want to nourish so reverently and carefully before the Lord.

As Cheryll and I sat talking last evening in Starbucks, I quietly thanked the Lord for serendipitous, sweet, honest and refreshing friendships. My heart is so very thankful for the friendships He has given me as gifts. Reverently before Him with a deeply grateful heart, I want to take the time to nourish and cultivate the friendships He has given me. Whether they are sprouting friendships or deeply rooted ones that have weathered decades, I truly care about each one so dearly. If we are blessed with seeing each other once a week, once a month or once a year, I want to honor Him by caring for the friendships He has given me as He leads.

As we mutually care for our relationships in such a way to honor Him, family becomes friends and friends become family. Treasure the treasures He has given you. Pray. Make a phone call. Send a hand-written card. Nourish. Cultivate. Water.
One of life's greatest treasures: a friendship deeply rooted in His love and truth, garnished generously with grace, sincerity and care.

Is the Lord putting it on your heart to reach out to someone in friendship? Maybe even someone who seems like they are "fine" and doesn't need another friend? Listen to His still, small voice. Reach out. Don't squash the Spirit...a beautiful friendship may blossom.

My dear girlfriends, I love you and care about you deeply. I am humbly blessed and thankful for each one of you. My prayer is that I honor Him with our relationship. For His glory.