Learning To Breathe In A New Season

Learning To Breathe In A New Season | What Joy Is Mine

I am learning to breathe in a new season of life. Over my life time, to date, I have lived through several different seasons. I am not referring to winter, spring, summer and fall. I am talking about seasons of life. I have lived through seasons of grief, joy, sadness, worry, happiness, and fear to name a few. Today my season is adaption.

We are blessed to have two children living at home still. However, they are learning to become adults in this world and their schooling and jobs take them away from home throughout the week. I find myself at home alone during those periods. This is a new season for me and I am working on adapting to it.

Life is full of different seasons. Some of those seasons we may even repeat. With each season we live through, we have to learn to breathe anew. Whether its going from being single to being married, or going from being just the two of you to three of you, or going from having your parents around to letting them go, or going through a job change, its all new seasons of life to walk through. Each one carrying with it lessons to grow us up in the Lord and strengthen our faith in Him. Even those seasons we might repeat, God is always sanctifying us as his children.

So, how do we learn to breathe through each season we live through?

1. We get on our knees.And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1) Prayer is a powerful tool for the Christian. Coming before the Lord and laying all we have at His feet and seeking wisdom is one of the best things we can do in every season of life. We turn it over to Him and let Him lead the way.

2. We accept the will of God for us.Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17) God’s will for us is perfect for us. His will, the sovereign design of all things, is always best for us, even the trials we endure. He has a purpose for our sanctification and that is to be more like Christ.

3. We rely on God’s strength and not our own. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped.” (Psalm 28:7) All seasons of life will challenge us in some way. Being a wife, a mother, gaining a new friend, going to a new church, suffering a loss of loved one, etc., require strength to endure. Strength found in ourselves will fail because we are weak but strength found in our Lord will prevail because He is faithful. He will help us in each season of life we live through.

4. We trust the plan for our lives. “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” (Psalm 143:10) The Lord has a purpose and plan for our lives. He is intentional and sovereign over every detail. We can walk through our time on this earth knowing that each season is not in vain. God is working in us to further our growth in our faith in Jesus Christ. We just need to trust Him and what He is doing.

5. We understand that seasons will change and bring new challenges. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Being aware that life brings us different seasons is important in helping us grasp how to breathe through each one. Embracing each new season is way better than fighting it. We need to let the Lord do His work in us for our good and His glory.

6. We view each season as a time to grow spiritually. “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.” (Hebrews 6:1) Believe it or not, every season we breathe through grows us spiritually.  We do not experience our seasons in vain. God is purposeful and desires us to be more like His Son. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:29)

7. We walk with a grateful heart. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) This shouldn’t need much explaining. A grateful heart always puts a different perspective on our seasons in life. It is a form of worship. It celebrates the greatness and graciousness of God and a grateful heart helps keep us from feeling negative emotions like resentment, bitterness or anger to name a few.

Seasons of life become much more bearable and joy-filled when we seek and rely on the Lord and not ourselves. Whatever season we are in today, it is my prayer we will seek our God and His will through prayer, trust His well designed plan for our lives and understand we will grow and change, aiming to become more Christ-like, while expressing gratitude along the way.

Are you learning to breathe through a new season of life?

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Monday’s Musings #224 & When Troubled Times Come Upon Us

When Troubles Times Come Upon Us & Monday's Musings #224 | What Joy Is Mine

With all that has happened recently with the shootings in Baton Rouge and Dallas, it is easy to be angry and even feel vengeful. However, these are not biblical responses to troubled times. Proverbs 37:8 tells us, “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” James 1:20 teaches us, “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Concerning revenge, Proverbs 24:29 says, “Do not say, ‘I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.’ 

When troubled times come upon us, we must always consult the Word of God for answers. When we run with our emotions, we will, without fail, speak the wrong words or take the wrong action. By wrong, I mean against what God requires of us. So what does God require of us? “The Lord requires of [us] but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with [our] God. (Micah 6:8, brackets mine) Justly defined is “to do what is morally right.” Mercy defined is “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. To walk humbly with God is “to submit our understandings to the truths of God and our will to his precepts and providences being brought into obedience of God.” (Matthew Henry)

J.C. Ryle suggests, “the best remedy in troubled times is faith in Christ’s love and power.” We need to exercise faith in, and lean wholeheartedly on a sovereign Savior who knows all and sees all. During troubled times, we should be asking God to increase our faith in Him and not take matters into our own hands. Remember the promise in Isaiah 26, verse 3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Perfect peace for those who stay fixed on a holy and righteous God. “Inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, under all events.(J.C. Ryle)

Troubles times will come. Trying events will happen. They will stir us up deep in our soul to feel things that we ought not to. Yet, there is hope. Hope to overcome the negative we feel when troubled times happen in our world. That hope is Jesus Christ and He has overcome the world. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.(John 16:33) 

Today, in light of all that is happening in our world, let’s pray and ask God to give us a perspective that is His perspective, to give us hearts that love like His, to help us seek Jesus and the peace He offers and to remind us that He is all knowing with a purpose in place.

Well, another week is upon us and I am looking forward to what you all will share. Thank you for being here.

Monday's Musings #224 | What Joy Is Mine

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7 Days of Joy: Hope and Heaven

 7 Days of Joy: Hope and Heaven | What Joy Is Mine

Day two finds us talking about joy in Hope and in Heaven.

Most of us know the story of the thief on the cross. His story is found in Luke 23. His is a picture of hope and heaven. He, along with another criminal, hung alongside Jesus during His crucifixion. As he hung on his cross next to Jesus, our Savior, his eyes were open to see the One he hung next to. He rebuked the other criminal, who patronized Jesus, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:40,41) 

Both of these criminals were under the same sentence of death for crimes they were guilty of. Jesus was innocent of all that He was accused of yet they crucified him between these two men ” as if he had been the worst of the three.” (Matthew Henry) Jesus was numbered as one of them.

One of the criminals challenged Jesus to save himself and them. Reminded here of all the good works Jesus did and miracles he performed, this criminal mocks Jesus. He doesn’t see the Savior as the Son of God sent to save the sinner from the wrath of God.

The other criminal was made aware that Jesus was innocent of all the charges brought against Him. He knew Jesus had no reason to be there on the cross. He may not have given Jesus much thought before that moment but in that moment he knew who the Messiah was. After he rebuked the other criminal for his mocking of Jesus, he immediately asked Jesus to “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42) 

Spurgeon writes this: A certain preacher, whose gospel was very doubtful, said, “Do you, who have been living in sin for fifty years, believe that you can in a moment be made clean through the blood of Jesus?” I answer, “Yes, we do believe that in one moment, through the precious blood of Jesus, the blackest soul can be made white. We do believe that in a single instant the sins of sixty or seventy years can be absolutely forgiven, and that the old nature, which has gone on growing worse and worse, can receive its death-wound in a moment of time, while the life eternal may be implanted in the soul at once.” This is what happened to the criminal who asked Jesus to take him with Him into Paradise (Heaven). When the criminal asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.(Luke 23:43) This is the hope found in Christ Jesus. This is the Hope we can rejoice in!

Jesus offers the sinner the hope of a better existence on earth and life eternal in Heaven with the Father. Look to the cross and see what Jesus did for all of mankind. Do as the criminal did and receive Jesus as your Savior. Then, rejoice in the hope of a new life and the prospect of spending eternity in Heaven. “Hope comes from the promises of God rooted in the work of Christ.” (John Piper)

This can be true for us today. There is JOY found in the Savior and the hope that our lives are rescued from the bondage of sin. Just like the criminal. And that eternity awaits the rescued. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

7 Days of Joy  Series | What Joy Is Mine

Sunday we will look at joy in trials and suffering.

Day 1: The Gospel

Day 3: Trial and Suffering

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Share Jesus With These 5 Helpful Tips

Share Jesus With These 5 Helpful Tips | What Joy Is Mine

We all have people in our lives that we desire to share Jesus with. A family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor. However, with our best intentions, we often don’t know how to go about sharing Jesus with them. We may know the gospel well but feel uncomfortable talking about it with others. I know how that goes. We want to but we fear what the outcome will be or how it will be received. It makes sharing Jesus more challenging than it should be. So, today I want to share with you 5 helpful tips that will assist in building the confidence we need to speak the gospel boldly to others.

1. Know your testimony. All believers have a testimony. We all know the exact moment Jesus called us to walk with Him. We know the circumstances or situations that caused us to seek Jesus. Everyone’s testimony of faith is unique to them and worth sharing. Know your testimony well and always be ready to give it when God moves you to. …always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)

2. Develop a friendship. This is an important part to being able to share the gospel with someone. It all begins with building a relationship with that person. By doing this, we are building trust. In building trust, they will be more apt to hear what you have to say to them, especially about Jesus. This friendship must be built on honesty and sincerity. Think about how Jesus ministered…in kindness and in love. He was sincere in his care for the lost.

3. Know their story. In sharing the gospel with someone, we must be sure we know them. Learn their story by being truly interested in who they are, their background, and so on. Be interested in their life honestly and wholeheartedly. Don’t pry but listen and learn as you grow that friendship. In being invested in them truthfully, they will be willing to hear about Jesus and the free gift of salvation through His death and resurrection. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

4. Be a good listener. James 1:19 says, “… let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak…” We can’t know their story if we don’t listen. Sometimes we can be so excited about sharing our faith in Jesus that we forget to listen to the one we’re sharing with. Being a good listener will help us know how and when to approach the topic of salvation when talking to our unsaved friend. Really desire to hear their story.

5. Seek the Lord for guidance. Most importantly, always seek the Lord for direction when desiring to share Jesus with others. God knows them so much better than us and will show us how to minister the gospel effectively and timely. We should always hold in prayer the person we desire to minister to as well as ourselves as we minister.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)  We are commanded to share Jesus with those around us.

We are to “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.(Psalm 105:1)  Sharing Jesus with others is a wonderful calling and one we should embrace without fear. One note I want to make here: even if you are the one who has nurtured a heart to know Jesus but they pray to receive Jesus through another avenue (church, christian concert, pastor, etc), do not be disappointed it was not with you. You did just as God had planned. Your role was important in that person’s salvation. Instead, be grateful and receive your fellow believer into God’s family with JOY.

 

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Shared at Missional Women, Sunday Stillness, Weekend Whispers
 
 

When Trusting God Doesn’t Come Easy

 When Trusting God Doesn't Come Easy | What Joy Is Mine

There have been times in my life when I have found myself struggling to trust God with the moment I was living in. This doesn’t make me a bad person. It does make me a real one. My questions are real. My doubts are real.

Sometimes even a child of God struggles to trust the plan and purpose God has for them. Even more so when it is a difficult and trying time they must endure. We begin to question Him and our faith in Him. In this tribulation, is God still God? Am I still on board with Him or floundering under the weight of what I am going through?

Trusting God doesn’t always come easy. When we are placed in a moment in life that requires us to experience what we don’t want to…(I mean, we go kicking and screaming), it is then we need to trust God with all our heart, mind, and soul. In our own strength, we cannot change what path we are on. However, seeking the Lord for guidance will bring about the peace of mind we need and desire.

Trusting God doesn’t mean we succumb and give up. It means we seek the will of God and follow His direction. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8,9) If He calls us to be still and wait on Him, then we do just that. If He gives us an action to perform, we get moving. If He gives us the words to speak, we speak them. No matter how hard it may seem to do, we need to trust our Father and do as He asks.

Trusting God does mean placing every detail in His hands. It means letting go. It means saying to yourself, But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:14,15) Releasing control gives the Lord power to work His goodwill and purpose in our life. Why wouldn’t we want that? Why would we choose to distrust our loving Father?

Now, I will say that we may not like what we’re going through and trusting God means we have to endure it, but keep in mind that God will not put upon you any more than you can take. Your yoke will never be beyond your capability to walk strong in the Lord and come out better than going in. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)

Trust Without Borders

I share this with you because I am currently reading through a wonderful devotional called “Trust Without Borders” by Arabah Joy. This book, found in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, is one I am so glad was included. I had seen it but now I have my hands on it and am reading it as my daily devotional. I believe it is going to be a humbling and sweet 40 day journey.

 

Included along with “Trust Without Borders,” in the faith section of the bundle, are four other faith building books that will make up some of my summer reading. What Joy Is Mine? Books that encourage my walk with God.

 

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**Some photos on my blog are my own labeled NCPhotography. If any of my photos anywhere on my blog catch your eye, please email me for permission to use them in any way. I appreciate your cooperation in helping my photography stay protected and properly credited. Thank you.  
 
Shared at Thought Provoking Thursdays