Saturday, August 29, 2009

When You Pray II







Overheard in an Orchard

Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
"I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so?"

Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
"Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me." ~~Elizabeth Cheney

This poem was one my Grandfather quoted frequently. It reminds us that we have a Heavenly Father. I want to pick up my thought from a previous blog about prayer. Jesus told His disciples to start by praying "OUR FATHER".... Now I know for many the thought of FATHER does not conjur up good memories or positive images - but I was blessed with a good Father - I knew he loved me and that he would provide whatever he possibly could for me. When he died I felt forlorn. One of the things I missed sorely was being able to go back home and sit at his table and talk with him. I think I still miss that to this day. Now Jesus called God "OUR FATHER" so that we could understand His heart. A good father is looking for ways to provide for his family and does not expect them to be all worried and concerned about day to day necessities. Another Bible verse tells us to "take NO thought," about where our next meal is coming from or how our clothes will be provided for, because our Heavenly Father knows we need these things. I wish I could say I have always lived like that, but I have not. There have been times when I have been extremely concerned about how those needs would be met. Yet this is the place where prayer BEGINS - !

OUR FATHER who is in heaven - not merely on earth - but one who has resources beyond our wildest imaginations! Once we belong in His family (and He is not wililng that any should perish but that ALL should be family members!) well He takes on the responsibility of caring for us on a daily basis!

Now it is my job to make sure I'm living like I believe that. I don't know if that helps you or not - but I know it sure has quieted my own heart many a time.

May thoughts of OUR FATHER quiet and comfort your heart too.
Joyfully,
Ruth Joy
www.joy-bringer-ministries.org

When You Pray II







Overheard in an Orchard

Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
"I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so?"

Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
"Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me." ~~Elizabeth Cheney

This poem was one my Grandfather quoted frequently. It reminds us that we have a Heavenly Father. I want to pick up my thought from a previous blog about prayer. Jesus told His disciples to start by praying "OUR FATHER".... Now I know for many the thought of FATHER does not conjur up good memories or positive images - but I was blessed with a good Father - I knew he loved me and that he would provide whatever he possibly could for me. When he died I felt forlorn. One of the things I missed sorely was being able to go back home and sit at his table and talk with him. I think I still miss that to this day. Now Jesus called God "OUR FATHER" so that we could understand His heart. A good father is looking for ways to provide for his family and does not expect them to be all worried and concerned about day to day necessities. Another Bible verse tells us to "take NO thought," about where our next meal is coming from or how our clothes will be provided for, because our Heavenly Father knows we need these things. I wish I could say I have always lived like that, but I have not. There have been times when I have been extremely concerned about how those needs would be met. Yet this is the place where prayer BEGINS - !

OUR FATHER who is in heaven - not merely on earth - but one who has resources beyond our wildest imaginations! Once we belong in His family (and He is not wililng that any should perish but that ALL should be family members!) well He takes on the responsibility of caring for us on a daily basis!

Now it is my job to make sure I'm living like I believe that. I don't know if that helps you or not - but I know it sure has quieted my own heart many a time.

May thoughts of OUR FATHER quiet and comfort your heart too.
Joyfully,
Ruth Joy
www.joy-bringer-ministries.org

Friday, August 28, 2009

Connecting the dots / Trust!








We went to dinner tonight with my brother and sister-in-law. What a time we had just conversing about life and things we've been through. It was comforting, uplifting, healing and just plain enjoyable! Have you ever noticed, God just has this amazing way of connecting the dots for us? You know, you struggle through days that are filled with sameness or sometimes madness, or heartache and grief - you know God has ways of working things out - yet it all seems like a bunch of disjointed dots on a page. Then one day out of seemingly nowhere, God just draws a line from one point to the other like one of those "connect the dots" pictures and we get a little glimpse of the truth that HE IS GOD - and He actually does know what He is doing in my life - and He cares, very much! We suddenly realize He is actually working on a bigger picture that we cannot see fully yet but are realizing they are not just random dots without meaning!

Well, that's our God! You may have guessed - tonight HE connected some dots for me! :-) Truth be told, if we really stop and think about our lives, God is about a lot more than meets the eye. He is at work in all of our lives doing things that are not humanly possible at so many levels. The hard part is hanging in there while the dots are totally unconnected. That brings us to TRUST! The life long lesson we are ever learning! God was always looking for the Israelites out in the wilderness to learn that lesson. HE was GOD! He was trustworthy! They didn't get it. I want to get it! I hope you do too.

There is so much tumbling about in my heart and mind - but it'll have to be for another time and blog. If you happen to find yourself in one of those disjointed places - don't lose heart - don't give up - keep trusting God and HIS love and plan - one of these days you too will start to see those dots getting connected!
Joyfully,

Connecting the dots / Trust!








We went to dinner tonight with my brother and sister-in-law. What a time we had just conversing about life and things we've been through. It was comforting, uplifting, healing and just plain enjoyable! Have you ever noticed, God just has this amazing way of connecting the dots for us? You know, you struggle through days that are filled with sameness or sometimes madness, or heartache and grief - you know God has ways of working things out - yet it all seems like a bunch of disjointed dots on a page. Then one day out of seemingly nowhere, God just draws a line from one point to the other like one of those "connect the dots" pictures and we get a little glimpse of the truth that HE IS GOD - and He actually does know what He is doing in my life - and He cares, very much! We suddenly realize He is actually working on a bigger picture that we cannot see fully yet but are realizing they are not just random dots without meaning!

Well, that's our God! You may have guessed - tonight HE connected some dots for me! :-) Truth be told, if we really stop and think about our lives, God is about a lot more than meets the eye. He is at work in all of our lives doing things that are not humanly possible at so many levels. The hard part is hanging in there while the dots are totally unconnected. That brings us to TRUST! The life long lesson we are ever learning! God was always looking for the Israelites out in the wilderness to learn that lesson. HE was GOD! He was trustworthy! They didn't get it. I want to get it! I hope you do too.

There is so much tumbling about in my heart and mind - but it'll have to be for another time and blog. If you happen to find yourself in one of those disjointed places - don't lose heart - don't give up - keep trusting God and HIS love and plan - one of these days you too will start to see those dots getting connected!
Joyfully,

When You Pray







Jesus' disciples saw that when Jesus spent time in prayer He received heaven's answers. They saw the importance He placed on getting alone with His Father and so one day they asked Him, Lord teach us to pray.

Jesus said, when you pray.... and then He gave them a pattern to follow which most of us know as "The Lord's Prayer". Sadly The Lord's prayer has been used as a nursery rhyme to soothe us into a religious feeling.

Jesus said, when you pray say, "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Notice where Jesus wanted them/us to start. OUR FATHER who is in heaven. Our heavenly Father who is holy, separate, awesome to be reverenced and honored and adored. Have you listened to yourself pray recently? Now I know prayer is simply conversation with God - but God is not a God of random disorder - anything kind of goes kind of God. Just look at the excruciating lengths of order and precision that the Israelites went through to set up worship to God in the wilderness tabernacle. God cared about the tiniest details down to the spoons, garments to be worn, how many pegs in the boards, etc. etc. - Clearly we see there a God that is VERY attentive to details. So when Jesus teaches His disciples about prayer He instructs them to begin with focus on the Heavenly Father. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be THY name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is done in heaven. Notice up to this point not one thing is mentioned about our needs.

When I listen to people pray, I am astounded! If I did not know better I would think they were writing a letter to Santa Claus or maybe a "to do list for Superman. God is neither one of those - He is not just waiting for our "wish list" and then one morning magically going to deliver it all in our living room with bows and shiny paper because we wanted it. Nor is God going to jump when we say jump to zap all the people in our lives into line as we perceive that to be. God is interested in relationship with us. He loves us extravagantly and has already given us the most lavish gift imaginable - the life of His only begotten Son. When we approach Him, He does expect reverence and our focus is to be on Him and His Kingdom. God needs us on this earth to accomplish HIS will and His purpose and that only can happen by our having the heartbeat we see here in this prayer ... THY KINGDOM COME - THY WILL BE DONE... here in my life, in our world, in my community, in my family, in the lives of all those He has placed around us, those hurting and grieving and suffering. That is where our praying needs to START.

I'll continue this thought tomorrow.

My fortune cookie tonight said I was to write my life events in a journal :-) I'm not sure I've added any life events but I am at least journaling.

Joyfully,
Ruth Joy
www.joy-bringer-ministries.org

When You Pray







Jesus' disciples saw that when Jesus spent time in prayer He received heaven's answers. They saw the importance He placed on getting alone with His Father and so one day they asked Him, Lord teach us to pray.

Jesus said, when you pray.... and then He gave them a pattern to follow which most of us know as "The Lord's Prayer". Sadly The Lord's prayer has been used as a nursery rhyme to soothe us into a religious feeling.

Jesus said, when you pray say, "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Notice where Jesus wanted them/us to start. OUR FATHER who is in heaven. Our heavenly Father who is holy, separate, awesome to be reverenced and honored and adored. Have you listened to yourself pray recently? Now I know prayer is simply conversation with God - but God is not a God of random disorder - anything kind of goes kind of God. Just look at the excruciating lengths of order and precision that the Israelites went through to set up worship to God in the wilderness tabernacle. God cared about the tiniest details down to the spoons, garments to be worn, how many pegs in the boards, etc. etc. - Clearly we see there a God that is VERY attentive to details. So when Jesus teaches His disciples about prayer He instructs them to begin with focus on the Heavenly Father. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be THY name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is done in heaven. Notice up to this point not one thing is mentioned about our needs.

When I listen to people pray, I am astounded! If I did not know better I would think they were writing a letter to Santa Claus or maybe a "to do list for Superman. God is neither one of those - He is not just waiting for our "wish list" and then one morning magically going to deliver it all in our living room with bows and shiny paper because we wanted it. Nor is God going to jump when we say jump to zap all the people in our lives into line as we perceive that to be. God is interested in relationship with us. He loves us extravagantly and has already given us the most lavish gift imaginable - the life of His only begotten Son. When we approach Him, He does expect reverence and our focus is to be on Him and His Kingdom. God needs us on this earth to accomplish HIS will and His purpose and that only can happen by our having the heartbeat we see here in this prayer ... THY KINGDOM COME - THY WILL BE DONE... here in my life, in our world, in my community, in my family, in the lives of all those He has placed around us, those hurting and grieving and suffering. That is where our praying needs to START.

I'll continue this thought tomorrow.

My fortune cookie tonight said I was to write my life events in a journal :-) I'm not sure I've added any life events but I am at least journaling.

Joyfully,
Ruth Joy
www.joy-bringer-ministries.org

P.S. God's Word FIRST!








I have to balance what I've written about listening for God to speak to us and having a hearing ear with this. There are well meaning people running about saying they hear from God for themselves and do not need God's Word or any one else. That is error. I too have seen people use God for exuses to do all sorts of things that are not Godly at all, or are simply just what they want to do. God is not a fool and will not be mocked. I do believe we can hear God in our daily lives as I have already posted, but do not support the abuse of that concept! When God speaks to our hearts it will always line up with Word which is the FIRST place we should hear from Him anyway. Secondly, people who tell others that God gave them a message for someone else - well again - God is not a gossip or a fool. I believe there are many today that call themselves prophets that just deal in "familiar spirits" and it has nothing to do with GOD! When we know God's Word and are in relationship with the Good Shepherd we learn to "know His voice" and cannot be easily led astray or fooled.
Joyfully,
Ruth Joy

www.joy-bringer-ministries.org

P.S. God's Word FIRST!








I have to balance what I've written about listening for God to speak to us and having a hearing ear with this. There are well meaning people running about saying they hear from God for themselves and do not need God's Word or any one else. That is error. I too have seen people use God for exuses to do all sorts of things that are not Godly at all, or are simply just what they want to do. God is not a fool and will not be mocked. I do believe we can hear God in our daily lives as I have already posted, but do not support the abuse of that concept! When God speaks to our hearts it will always line up with Word which is the FIRST place we should hear from Him anyway. Secondly, people who tell others that God gave them a message for someone else - well again - God is not a gossip or a fool. I believe there are many today that call themselves prophets that just deal in "familiar spirits" and it has nothing to do with GOD! When we know God's Word and are in relationship with the Good Shepherd we learn to "know His voice" and cannot be easily led astray or fooled.
Joyfully,
Ruth Joy

www.joy-bringer-ministries.org

An ear to Hear







"Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9

Those words were what Eli the priest told the boy Samuel to say when God was attempting to speak with him. God had stopped speaking to Eli due to his failure to discipline his sons. It's a serious thought - Can our disobedience to God stop up our ears? Hearing requires action.

Listening is an art. A long time ago I heard someone teach about "listening" for God's voice. They encouraged us to imagine ourselves as large receivers ready and waiting to pick up any communication that might come through the air waves. You know the receivers I mean - sometimes you see a huge one on someone's lawn or out here in the country on the top of a hill - strategically placed to make receiving signals possible as well as prolific! So maybe we need to place ourselves strategically too in a state of readiness to receive whatever message God would like to communicate to us.

We live in a world that is full of more sound than perhaps ever before - from channels to tweeting, ipods to blackberries, the sounds are endless. How in the world are we going to be able to tune in to hear God's voice through all that competition? It takes some training, time and attentiveness for sure as Samuel learned. It also required his willing heart. "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."

Have you ever been speaking with someone and midway they start looking across the room at someone else and focusing on another conversation and you realize they are no longer listening to you? I'm afraid I've been guilty of that myself. It does not help the conversation! We all have that basic human need to be HEARD. Many times Jesus said, "he who has ears to hear let him hear" ... Jesus wanted to be heard! Now I'm not just talking about hearing "audio" sound either. Jesus wanted people to hear him with their hearts in such a way that it would affect their daily living.

We do not need multitudes of people to hear us - matter of fact if we have one person who really listens to us and hears our heart it is usually enough. Not so with God, He actually wants ALL of us to really HEAR Him and get His heart and allow it to transform our daily living. Wow! When I believe that it makes me want to say along with Samuel, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." I remember as a child on the way home from church my Mom would ask us to tell her what we had heard in the sermon that day. It was easy for us to remember the humorous parts but she was not satisfied with that - she was trying to train us to listen to what was actually being said as young as we were. I am thankful for that training today and can still remember many things I've heard in sermons throughout the years.

You've heard a Mom tell her child "now you need to listen to me" she does not just mean "hear my audible voice" she means DO THIS NOW! God has spoken to us through His Word very clearly and HE want us to hear it in such a way that we will stop everything and DO what we have heard from His word NOW! Do I have an "ear to hear" what God is saying to me today? It is the most important message in the universe. He has literally moved heaven and earth to rescue us from eternal death and give us instead eternal life. It's a message of extravagant love that never changes and never ends. It requires our attention and demands our response. It requires daily obedience to live in a way that shouts to those around us that God is alive in us. It will move us to love those around us as HE loves! A tall order but possible because of Calvary! May our hearts always bow in "speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."
Joyfully,
Ruth Joy
www.joy-bringer-ministries.org

An ear to Hear







"Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9

Those words were what Eli the priest told the boy Samuel to say when God was attempting to speak with him. God had stopped speaking to Eli due to his failure to discipline his sons. It's a serious thought - Can our disobedience to God stop up our ears? Hearing requires action.

Listening is an art. A long time ago I heard someone teach about "listening" for God's voice. They encouraged us to imagine ourselves as large receivers ready and waiting to pick up any communication that might come through the air waves. You know the receivers I mean - sometimes you see a huge one on someone's lawn or out here in the country on the top of a hill - strategically placed to make receiving signals possible as well as prolific! So maybe we need to place ourselves strategically too in a state of readiness to receive whatever message God would like to communicate to us.

We live in a world that is full of more sound than perhaps ever before - from channels to tweeting, ipods to blackberries, the sounds are endless. How in the world are we going to be able to tune in to hear God's voice through all that competition? It takes some training, time and attentiveness for sure as Samuel learned. It also required his willing heart. "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."

Have you ever been speaking with someone and midway they start looking across the room at someone else and focusing on another conversation and you realize they are no longer listening to you? I'm afraid I've been guilty of that myself. It does not help the conversation! We all have that basic human need to be HEARD. Many times Jesus said, "he who has ears to hear let him hear" ... Jesus wanted to be heard! Now I'm not just talking about hearing "audio" sound either. Jesus wanted people to hear him with their hearts in such a way that it would affect their daily living.

We do not need multitudes of people to hear us - matter of fact if we have one person who really listens to us and hears our heart it is usually enough. Not so with God, He actually wants ALL of us to really HEAR Him and get His heart and allow it to transform our daily living. Wow! When I believe that it makes me want to say along with Samuel, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." I remember as a child on the way home from church my Mom would ask us to tell her what we had heard in the sermon that day. It was easy for us to remember the humorous parts but she was not satisfied with that - she was trying to train us to listen to what was actually being said as young as we were. I am thankful for that training today and can still remember many things I've heard in sermons throughout the years.

You've heard a Mom tell her child "now you need to listen to me" she does not just mean "hear my audible voice" she means DO THIS NOW! God has spoken to us through His Word very clearly and HE want us to hear it in such a way that we will stop everything and DO what we have heard from His word NOW! Do I have an "ear to hear" what God is saying to me today? It is the most important message in the universe. He has literally moved heaven and earth to rescue us from eternal death and give us instead eternal life. It's a message of extravagant love that never changes and never ends. It requires our attention and demands our response. It requires daily obedience to live in a way that shouts to those around us that God is alive in us. It will move us to love those around us as HE loves! A tall order but possible because of Calvary! May our hearts always bow in "speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."
Joyfully,
Ruth Joy
www.joy-bringer-ministries.org

Listening








I don't know how it is for you, but I find myself amazed repeatedly at how, when and where God finds ways to speak to me when I am listening.

I grew up in a good little box that forbade viewing movies especially at the movie theatre! Eventually I got over it and decided to go to the movies ocassionally. I think that is why it gives me a hearty chuckle that when on the rare ocassions I do go to see a movie God speaks to me from the BIG SCREEN! I do realize most people do not go to the movies to hear God speak to them, but it's a vehicle He uses with me for sure!

I went to see Julie & Julia the other day and you guessed it - there God was speaking to me! Now it's not like I don't attend church so He has to get my attention somehow. I am the wife of a Pastor and a Pastor's daughter, etc. I can say that quite honestly, by the time I was 20 I had attended more church services than most people ever attend in their whole lives! :)

Back to Julie - she was struggling to believe she was a writer, she was struggling to finish what she started and that is where we started to connect and God started nudging me. My husband tells me to write - no, I would have to say, urges me to write. I did start writing a book for women in abuse relationships almost 2 years ago but have stopped. Lately I've been praying that He would help me to finish what I've started and show me how to get myself going again. Well there was the answer in the movie, Julie started a blog and kept it going until she was done. So here I am - I've decided to LISTEN to God's message from the big screen to me. I've started this blog and intend to continue as long as necessary - or at least until I finish that book and maybe beyond!

Hearing from God is not as difficult as we sometimes make it. When we look and listen for His voice, He will speak. Sometimes it's the tiniest whisper in our heart of hearts. Sometimes He's laughing out loud with us from the big screen. Sometimes He's just shining on us through His creation. Sometimes He's singing to us through the song we are listening to. However it comes, when we are listening for Him, God does speak! Even when my life was filled with grief, God found ways to speak to me in the most unlikely ways, but that's another blog. I think too we need to want to hear HIM.

We all have that thing called "selective hearing" - remember when Mom would call us to do some chore that we absolutely did not want to do? We found it easy to tune that right out! Remember how we could hear the things we LIKED to hear, the telephone ring when we were waiting for a call from our sweetheart (could run a marathon to get to that phone) that was before the age of cell phones! :-) Or remember the tune of the ice cream truck on a hot day even when it was still 7 blocks away!? I guess we need to make God's voice one of our "selections" is what I'm trying to say. He loves to be "selected" by us.

I love to listen to people and their stories - I know now that it is a gift I can give others - to LISTEN to them. I do listen and respond to women all over the country who reach out in painful circumstances looking for answers as they struggle with abuse in their relationships. They are looking for someone to listen to them and hear their anguish. God loves to listen to us too. If we desire Him to speak to us - He will - it will not always be what we want to hear but He will speak!

I don't know where this blogging will lead - but now at least I have begun. It is my prayer that you too will hear God speak to you no matter where you are or what is going on in your life, because He does still speak! Are you listening?


"Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9
Joyfully,
Joy
http://www.joy-bringer-ministries.org/

Listening








I don't know how it is for you, but I find myself amazed repeatedly at how, when and where God finds ways to speak to me when I am listening.

I grew up in a good little box that forbade viewing movies especially at the movie theatre! Eventually I got over it and decided to go to the movies ocassionally. I think that is why it gives me a hearty chuckle that when on the rare ocassions I do go to see a movie God speaks to me from the BIG SCREEN! I do realize most people do not go to the movies to hear God speak to them, but it's a vehicle He uses with me for sure!

I went to see Julie & Julia the other day and you guessed it - there God was speaking to me! Now it's not like I don't attend church so He has to get my attention somehow. I am the wife of a Pastor and a Pastor's daughter, etc. I can say that quite honestly, by the time I was 20 I had attended more church services than most people ever attend in their whole lives! :)

Back to Julie - she was struggling to believe she was a writer, she was struggling to finish what she started and that is where we started to connect and God started nudging me. My husband tells me to write - no, I would have to say, urges me to write. I did start writing a book for women in abuse relationships almost 2 years ago but have stopped. Lately I've been praying that He would help me to finish what I've started and show me how to get myself going again. Well there was the answer in the movie, Julie started a blog and kept it going until she was done. So here I am - I've decided to LISTEN to God's message from the big screen to me. I've started this blog and intend to continue as long as necessary - or at least until I finish that book and maybe beyond!

Hearing from God is not as difficult as we sometimes make it. When we look and listen for His voice, He will speak. Sometimes it's the tiniest whisper in our heart of hearts. Sometimes He's laughing out loud with us from the big screen. Sometimes He's just shining on us through His creation. Sometimes He's singing to us through the song we are listening to. However it comes, when we are listening for Him, God does speak! Even when my life was filled with grief, God found ways to speak to me in the most unlikely ways, but that's another blog. I think too we need to want to hear HIM.

We all have that thing called "selective hearing" - remember when Mom would call us to do some chore that we absolutely did not want to do? We found it easy to tune that right out! Remember how we could hear the things we LIKED to hear, the telephone ring when we were waiting for a call from our sweetheart (could run a marathon to get to that phone) that was before the age of cell phones! :-) Or remember the tune of the ice cream truck on a hot day even when it was still 7 blocks away!? I guess we need to make God's voice one of our "selections" is what I'm trying to say. He loves to be "selected" by us.

I love to listen to people and their stories - I know now that it is a gift I can give others - to LISTEN to them. I do listen and respond to women all over the country who reach out in painful circumstances looking for answers as they struggle with abuse in their relationships. They are looking for someone to listen to them and hear their anguish. God loves to listen to us too. If we desire Him to speak to us - He will - it will not always be what we want to hear but He will speak!

I don't know where this blogging will lead - but now at least I have begun. It is my prayer that you too will hear God speak to you no matter where you are or what is going on in your life, because He does still speak! Are you listening?


"Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9
Joyfully,
Joy
http://www.joy-bringer-ministries.org/
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