Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Thanksgiving Prayer

I really enjoy this time of the year. The stunning fall colors and autumn landscape is both beautiful and majestic to me. The slower pace of the season allows me time to cuddle up with a good book or do some creative writing. One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving – I enjoy spending time with family and friends and enjoying a delicious meal together. However, what I enjoy most about this holiday is reflecting on the many blessings the Lord has given me.

So, before I prepare the turkey and all the trimmings, before I welcome guests to my home, and before we sit down to eat our Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy each other’s company, I thought I should at least take time out to whisper a prayer of thanks for God’s many blessings.

Lord, I thank you for how you kept me and my family this past year.
I thank you for my husband and children and parents who are still here with me to enjoy.

I thank you Father, that I never seen a day that I didn’t have food to eat or a place to sleep.

Lord, I thank you that even though sometimes our finances were limited, you provided unexpected blessings that got us through the challenging times.

I thank you that despite my physical ailments, you provided relief for my pain, and gave me strength to endure.

I thank you Father, for the encouragers and positive people in my life who inspire me and support me in my life’s journey.

Lord, I thank you that you didn’t allow the haters and the agitators to unnerve me and knock me off my game.

I thank you that you allowed me to just be me.

I thank you most of all O God, that you gave your Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins that I may be saved and be in your family eternally.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your joy abound.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Heart's Desire

I read this today in my devotion from "Crosswalk" and thought I would share this hoping it would help someone as it has helped me.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 NIV

THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY'S VERSE...Rather than seeing this as a way to get our wish list granted, let's see it for what it really is -- an invitation to seek a love relationship with God above all other things. In finding him, we will find our priorities properly aligned and our hearts tuned to know what is really valuable and what is not. Then we will see that what we have in him is our heart's greatest desire.

MY PRAYER...Awesome and Gracious Father, I confess to you that so often my heart is full of selfish things. But in moments like these, Father, I recognize that you are what I most need and your will is my heart's desire. Please kindle your Spirit in me so that I may see through any selfish, deception that would rob me of having you first in my life. Forgive me when I'm petty, selfish and shallow. May I know you as much as is possible for a mortal to know you, not so that I may be full, but that you may be honored. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.

May your joy abound.

Resource: Crosswalk.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness

It’s been a while since I blogged. I have been pretty busy with the many activities that fill my day. One of the activities I have been working with recently is A Better Way Ministry, a faith based organization that works with churches and social service agencies to create awareness about Domestic and Family Violence. With October being the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I thought I should share some startling statistics that many may not be aware:

According to the American Institute on Domestic Violence:

· 85-95% of all domestic violence victims are female.

· Over 500,000 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year.

· 5.3 million women are abused each year.

· 1,232 women are killed each year by an intimate partner.

· Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.

· Women are more likely to be attacked by someone they know rather than by a stranger.

Domestic Violence is a pattern of violence or intimidation in an intimate relationship by one partner against another, designed to establish power and control over the victim. It may include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse, isolation, threats or stalking. (source ywca.org)

Domestic Violence not only affects women, but men are also affected.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of Domestic Violence, please contact your local social service agency or call the National Crisis Hotline at (1-866-937-9922).

May your joy abound.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Power of Forgiveness

I am so pleased to introduce to my blog readers a book that has been written by a dear friend. This Christian fiction book is entitled “Journey to Jordan” by Donna Deloney. This is her first novel, and I tell you... she has done a great job with it. I was fortunate to have read the rough drafts of the first chapters years ago when we worked together in Chicago. To see it finally completed and on the bookshelves is a great joy. If you are looking for a good Christian fiction book to read, I highly recommend this one.

This book tells of a moving story about forgiveness and faith in God. Forgiveness is something that we all struggle with from time to time, however, the bible tells us: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15) Holding on to painful memories, past indiscretions and hurtful experiences not only rob us of our joy, but of our closeness to God. Forgiving others of past wrongdoings and sometimes even forgiving ourselves, free us to have a more intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Congratulations Donna on your accomplishment with this book and thank you for sharing a life lesson on the power of forgiveness.

May your joy abound.

“Journey to Jordan” can be ordered through Amazon.com or through the publisher at HollyGrovePublishing.com.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Time to Relax

Okay fellow bloggers. It’s been awhile since my last post. Business and church commitments as well as summer activities have kept me quite busy these days. Summer is supposed to be a relaxing season, but for me it seems to be the busiest. However, I did manage to get in a quick vacation with my family. We spent some time recently in Wisconsin Dells at the Kalahari Resort. Wow did we have a fabulous time, as you can tell by the pictures. An escape from the daily pressures of life was just what we needed to be revived.

I’m thankful that my husband was able to take time away from his pastoral duties to spend quality time with his family. I’m thankful that my daughter Courtney and her little girl Jayla were able to join us on this trip. We truly enjoyed this special time with them. I’m also thankful for a well-behaved son Jared who truly enjoyed the water park.

Most of all, I thank you Lord that you allowed our family to share this enjoyable time together so that we could be refreshed for the ministry you have placed us in.

May your joy abound.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shine Your Light

I have been praying a lot lately concerning some goals that I want to accomplish. The wheels are constantly spinning in my head. My brain is overflowing with creative ideas, but there is a roadblock. What’s stopping me? … Me. I’m the roadblock. I thought I was holding off because of fear of failure, because of fear of opposition, because of fear of the unknown. But, in reality it’s something much deeper and yet so simple.

I came across a famous quote the other day which really resonated in my soul. I hope it will bless you as it has blessed me.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
*A Return to Love - Marianne Williamson

I encourage you, child of God, to grab hold of your dreams, your goals, your life ambitions and pursue those things that please God. “Let you light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify the father in Heaven.” Matt 5:16.

I’m letting my light shine… how about you?

May your joy abound.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Mother's Joy

With Mother’s Day soon approaching I started thinking about my role as a mother and how it has brought me great joy. I am blessed with two children; a daughter who is 22 and a son who is 10. (Yes you counted right… a 12 year gap). Both of them have their own unique personalities and dare I say… challenges, but I couldn’t ask for more obedient, adorable and loving children than the two that God has given me. I take little credit for it, but know that God has shown me favor with them.

Lord I thank you for trusting me with this awesome privilege and responsibility. My life has been more blessed, and more fulfilled because of it. Lord I thank you for my own mother who selflessly gave of her best so that I may have a full life. Her unrelenting love still endures. Lord I thank you for my grandmothers, who though they are with you now Lord, they have left me with unforgettable memories of how they made much work with the little that they had. Lord I thank you for all mothers who tenderly nurture their children so that they can grow up to be caring human beings. But most of all Lord, I’m thankful that I know you intimately and can share with my children the unfailing love you have for all of us.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! I pray that God will continue to bless you on your life’s journey.

May your joy abound.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Enduring the Thorns

On this past Sunday at church, I was enlightened by our guest speaker for our Missionaries’ Annual Day. Glennschella Taylor serves as a foreign missionary with her husband in Africa, and spoke of her experiences there and abroad. She said something powerful that stuck with me. She said “a ministry without thorns will bear no roses.” Think about it.

Thorns on a rose bush are needed to help protect the rose from plant eating animals that may destroy it. As a rose bush need thorns to help the roses grow, so do we need thorns in our life to help develop us. The thorns we face in life come in many forms, some very painful and sometimes may seem unbearable, but they are all beneficial to help us grow and blossom into what God intended. Isaac Hayes once said that “if you enjoy the fragrance of a rose, you must accept the thorns which it bears.”

Lord give me strength to endure my life’s thorns, no matter how they prick me, so that I may mature into the beautiful rose God meant for me to be.

May your joy abound.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Joy in Simple Things

I'm so excited to finally start this blog. I've been wanting to do this for a while now. My goal in writing this blog is to express my inspired thoughts in a creative and meaningful way. I named this blog "Oh My Joy!" because I want to remember the joy I have, no matter what situation or circumstance happens in my life. "Restore unto me the joy of my salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit" (Psalm 51:12) is one of my favorite scriptures. There are so many ways that God shows us His grace and mercy. I find joy in the simple things and I want to share these inspirations, in hope that they may inspire others.

Just the other day, my husband and I were looking outside the window as a cardinal landed on a crabapple tree in our yard. Watching this beautiful bird eat from this tree was a joy to behold. I started thinking of when Jesus said "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?" (Luke 12:24) Here is a picture that I captured of the cardinal.

May your joy abound!