Spiritual Vitamins

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Spiritual Vitamins

Let’s be really honest with ourselves. How many of us actually like exercising? Uhmmm……well I’m sure some of you do. You can count me out on that ‘liking’ part. I know that it is good for you. I realize that the older I get, the harder it is to keep the weight off. Not only the weight, but the other benefits to exercising as well like keeping your heart in good cardiovascular shape. It helps your stamina and being able to not get fatigued as much when you go through the day. I could go on and on with the amazing benefits to exercising. What about taking supplements or vitamins? I’m sure most of us take at least one vitamin a day to keep our bodies going strong.

Have you ever felt weak though spiritually? Like you need a new refreshing from the Lord? Are you worn out? Are you spiritually starving? In the online Bible study I’m doing, Stressed-Less Living, by Tracie Miles, she introduced me to something I’d never heard of before. Did you know that our souls actually need spiritual vitamins? Just like our bodies need vitamins to keep strong and healthy, our spiritual souls need certain ‘vitamins’ to keep our hearts healthy, too. Let’s talk about a few.

  • Prayer – It is just talking to God. Coming before him with our needs, wants, and struggles is what God wants us to do. I have to pray every day. I have to have that strength that prayer gives me to face my day. It is one lifeline to God.
  • God’s Word – Digging into God’s Word every day helps me to have the scripture I need to face spiritual battles that come my way. Believe me, they come my way, ferociously! The devil is just looking and seeking for ways to see me fall. I fall short every day. I need God’s Word, his love-letter to me, to guide my thoughts and actions.

I can definitely notice a big difference when I don’t give God the time he deserves in the morning before I start my day. I am weak spiritually. I didn’t put on the full armor of God and allow him to protect me. Satan is so cunning and deceitful. He will attack me even harder when he knows I haven’t prepared my soul for the day.

Just like our bodies need constant exercise and healthy things put in them to maintain physical strength, our spiritual souls need constant ‘healthy’ things put in them as well. Prayer and God’s Word are two of the most important spiritual vitamins I need everyday. Let’s exercise our spiritual muscle more each day and give God the credit and time he so deserves. It really does make all the difference from having a terrible, horrible day, to having one of peace and joy. I choose the latter. How about you?

Dear Jesus, I come to you asking you to help me to always seek your face each morning by acknowledging that I need my spiritual vitamins to get through the day. I need prayer, and your word to help me be strong in the faith and not be weary as the day progresses. I need spiritual nourishment for my soul. I long for it. I welcome it. May I always give you credit for all the good that comes my way. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me so much. In your name I pray, Amen.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” – Psalm 42:1

“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.” – Psalm 61:1

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105

 

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Little Is Much

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I was on Facebook a few days ago and came across the most lovely quote from probably one of the most influential Christian women in history. How many of you have heard of Elisabeth Elliot? She and her first husband, Jim Elliot, were missionaries to the Auca Indians of Eastern Ecuador. Her husband was brutally killed by the tribe. Elisabeth returned years later to minister to the tribe of Indians who took her husband. Her story has intrigued me for years. How could a woman whose very husband was murdered by a savage group of people want to even return to the land where her beloved was killed? It could only be God. It was only God who could work in the heart of this missionary woman. He is the only one who could replace love with hate, although I seriously doubt that she had hatred in her heart.

This introduction of Mrs. Elliot brings me to a Bible verse, and I want to share it with you.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. – Ecclesiastes 9:10a

It doesn’t matter where we are in life or what we find ourselves doing. If you are an elementary student and you only have the responsibility to do your schoolwork, then take pride in your schoolwork. Do it to the best of your ability. If you are the leader of a big corporation, then make your work the best it can be. If you are a housewife, then make your husband and children a priority. God has put us right where he wants us for the moment. We are in the exact place he wants us to be. Work diligently, faithfully, and all for the glory of God.

If we are faithful in the little things God has given us to do, then he will give us more responsibility as we grow in him and prove to him that we can be trusted. God sometimes puts us in certain situations to see just how faithful we will be for him.

Don’t always look for a way out of your circumstances. God keeps us where we are for a reason. What is he teaching us?

Elisabeth Elliot was faithful. She did what she could to the best of her ability where she was at the moment. When she was on the mission field she worked for God and she had the right heart. She had a joyful heart. Have a love for the Lord that is so deep and strong that no matter what you do, it’s always to glorify him. Let me write what Elisabeth said….”This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.” Can you say this of yourself? This is my prayer.

Dear Lord, give me the faithfulness to always have you in mind as I do my tasks for the day. May I always strive to give you my best. Give me a joyful heart as I work for you. Teach me to be trustworthy, diligent, and faithful. I love you, Lord. Thank you for giving me your unconditional love as I am being molded each and every day for you.

Progress Report

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ImageStressed Less Living, by Tracie Miles, has really opened my eyes to some important things in my life. This is my fourth Online Bible Study that I have done and God is really challenging me through this current study.

I am a worrier. What????? Yes, I said it. I say I trust God with all my heart and want Him to just take the garbage that I have in my life…..fears, insecurities, doubts, etc., and lay them all at the feet of Jesus. I struggle with leaving them at the feet of Jesus. Do any of you precious friends ever do this? I take them back. I leave them and then I pick them back up and carry them with me. God wants us to have such an unwavering trust in him that he tells us in the book of Psalm that he has it under control.

“In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.”                       
Psalm 22:4-5  NIV84

Our ancestors and people in the Bible have proven God at his word. We can, too. This verse tells us that they trusted and God delivered  them. Look at the last part of that verse. “In you they trusted and were not disappointed.” Friends, we can trust in almighty God. We can have the confidence that he will do what he says he will do. He will not disappoint. God is waiting for us to lay it all down at his feet and just let go and let God work. Many times we make life harder than it really is.

In conclusion, do we really trust God at His Word? Do we have the confidence in him to believe he will not disappoint? Precious souls, let’s all just learn to give it all to God and let him transform us into something amazing for him. That’s all he ever wants to do. He says my weary friend, stop struggling with giving me your problems and then taking them back. I’m enough. I’m all you need. I love you.

Matthew 11:30 – “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Dear Lord I come to you today, asking you to personally help me to have the unshakeable faith and trust in you that I so desire. I know you only have my best interest at heart. Your hope for me is to prosper me and not to harm me. May I believe your Word and lay my problems and worries at your feet and not pick them back up.

Dedicated to One Special Lady

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The post I am writing today is a very personal post but one which has impacted me tremendously. My mother was an influential part of my life from the time I can remember talking to taking my first step. She taught me life, how to love the Lord and put Him first in my life, and living in the moment. I love her with all my heart and have the deepest respect for her. I didn’t always feel this way.

My mother developed Muscular Dystrophy after she gave birth to me. Her father had it and naturally she was a carrier of the crippling disease. I asked her what her first known symptoms were. She told me she would kick her right foot out a bit when she walked and people began to notice. I was around age 2 or 3 when my mother noticed these first symptoms. She had some testing done at a local hospital and the diagnosis was confirmed. She had Muscular Dystrophy. The type she had would be a very slow progressing type that would develop through the years, getting worse all the time.

I didn’t seem to really take notice of her disease until I was in high school. She needed help to walk so my dad would take her arm and walk with her. She functioned well and did just as much as most normal people except it took her much longer to accomplish a goal or task. It pains me to say that I was embarrassed by her condition. I would see other young girls with their mothers out in public shopping and doing the typical mother-daughter things together. Silently to myself I would think why isn’t that me? Why does my mother have to be this way? It isn’t fair!  I can’t go out with my mother and do fun things like all the other girls get to do.  I was raised in a Christian home where both my parents loved God with all their hearts. I knew what right and wrong were. I knew my attitude stunk when it came to my mother and her condition. Secretly I wished I had a mother that could take me places with no trouble. My mother had to have help walking. She needed help because the least little pebble or rock in her way would make her fall. Falling was a great fear for her.

My parents were very involved in the church. My dad was choir director, deacon, and song leader. My mother played the piano. Could she ever tickle the ivories!! I loved hearing her play that piano. I remember countless hours at home growing up hearing her practice with my dad singing in the background. My mom needed help getting up and down from the piano at church. My dad would go over and help her down to her seat. Her disease couldn’t stop her from playing the piano, at least for many years. Even sitting in church I would have those feelings of embarrassment when my mom had to have help with anything. How selfish and shallow my teenage thoughts were!!

As the years moved along one by one, my mother grew slowly worse. Her home now was a wheelchair. She no longer needed a cane to help her keep steady as she walked, eventually ending up with a wheelchair and hooked up to oxygen. Muscular Dystrophy slowly atrophies the muscles and her lungs were failing. She needed help getting a deeper breath. The last two years of her life were the worst. I watched her lose weight slowly. She couldn’t eat much at a time for fear of choking. She became a shell of a woman I once knew. Her little body now felt like a skeleton when I hugged her. Probably the most profound way I knew God was with me was the summer before my mother passed, I helped bathe her. I had never done this before. My dad always did it. But she specifically asked me to for some reason. I now know what it was. My dad later told me he didn’t know how much longer she really had to live. He knew she was slowly dying day by day. That hot summer day as I filled the bathroom sink with water and poured the liquid soap on a washcloth to bathe my mother, tears began to slowly well up in my eyes. I didn’t want my mother to see me starting to cry so I tried to hide it the best I could. As I bathed her and looked at her skeleton frame, I knew she was dying as well. It literally hit me for the first time in my life. This lady who had raised me, sacrificed for me, and would have taken a bullet for me didn’t have much time left in this life. All those negative feelings I had for her came rushing over me. The embarrassing thoughts I had of my mother when I was a teenager shamed me at that very moment. How could I have been so selfish? I felt so guilty. At the same time I felt at peace as well. This was a time I could be with my mother because I didn’t know for certain how long she would be with us. As I continued to bathe her I began to remember just exactly who she was.

My mother was a strong, Christian woman. Although she couldn’t participate physically in many things in the church, she prayed. She prayed and she prayed and she prayed. I can honestly say she was a prayer warrior. I remember seeing her sitting in her chair at home when I was growing up with her Bible in her lap. In her relations with other women and men she was gracious, gentle and godly. We had many late night talks about boyfriends to what kind of chocolate we liked! I cherish those talks we had. My mother told me she asked the Lord to just let her raise me and to see me raise my children. She knew her disease would eventually take her life. God granted her that wish. He answered her prayer.

As I write this post, tears roll down my cheeks. I love my mother with all my heart. She taught me how to be a true Christian lady. It will be four years this November that my mother went to be with Jesus. She fell asleep in her chair and never woke up. She went peacefully. She didn’t experience any pain.

Why am I writing all of this about my mother? Yes, it is painful to think about her struggles and difficulties on this earth. Now I can rejoice because she is in heaven with a new body that is free from any pain or ailment. I write about her because the Lord used her to speak to me and tell me that He is here. God is with me no matter what I am doing, no matter where I am going, no matter what I am going through. I have to say that summer before she passed when I bathed her God spoke to my heart in a profound way. I could almost hear him speaking. God doesn’t speak audibly but I heard him with my heart. He let me know that He was preparing to take her soon. That all those feelings of embarrassment I had as a teenager were forgiven. God knew I loved my mother with every ounce of my being. That’s all that mattered.

Yes, God is here. If you acknowledge Him, He will make His presence known. I want to end with my mom’s life verse. Romans 8:28 says….And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. If I am half of the lady that my mother was, I will have accomplished what she set out to do. Mom, this is for you. Know that your life here on this earth was not in vain. You impacted my life more than you’ll ever know. You taught me to love the Lord with all of my being. For that, I am eternally grateful.

An Introduction

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I have to admit my first attempt at this blogging thing is rather scary to say the least. I feel unqualified to write my thoughts for the world to read. Think about it. I’m writing my deepest, most secret thoughts and sharing them to anyone and everyone. Wow! It is humbling in a way. It feels wonderful to let out these thoughts and maybe some secrets with you. I’m just an average person who is not extremely talented, but wants to share. That’s it!! Give your heart to people. Just be who you are. Say what you feel. This is exactly what I’m doing. So, here we go on this journey together!!

The title of my blog, Joyful Heart, says what I want to ultimately have. You see, I love the Lord God with all my heart, soul and mind. I pray every day for God to use me in ways to bring glory and honor to Him. Everyone strives to be like Jesus every day. Jesus was the ultimate example of a joyful heart. May I always remember this. Do I accomplish this each day? I can answer that with a resounding NO!!! Not even close! I fail. each. and. every. day. God knows this. He is waiting on me to come back to him as a daughter and say, “I need you, Lord. I can’t make it without you.”

So you are probably thinking, what makes a joyful heart? Well, to be honest all I can say is just staying close to Jesus each and every day. Making that commitment to always put Him first in everything you do. Staying in His Word. Talking to God in prayer as a best friend. You see, true joy doesn’t come from your circumstances, but from the deep wells of your heart in spite of your circumstances. Does this make sense? No matter what is going on in your life, you can have true joy. Knowing that Jesus has it all under control no matter what. Happiness is based solely on your circumstances, but joy is based in Jesus.

Perhaps this little blog post I wrote today will touch someone’s heart. I hope it does. I’m not perfect in any way, but I love One who is perfect. He can give you joy unspeakable in spite of the most distressing circumstances. Why don’t you give Him a try? Let go and let God take your life and troubles and you will see what I’m talking about. My friend, it won’t be overnight. Stay faithful, stay in the Word, stay on your knees in prayer, stay close to Jesus. Little by little, day by day, He will become real to you. Let Him become your best friend.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.”  Isaiah 26:3