Believing the Promises of God - in His Word

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith… Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. ~ Romans 4 [selected 18-21]

Friday, May 30, 2008


Joshua 3:5
5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

I encourage you to read all of Job 38 - as the Lord speaks - and shows how amazing He is... here's just a glimpse of His Hand.

Job 38 - selected
The LORD Speaks

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
2 "Who is this that darkens My counsel
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-
7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
12 "Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place... 18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.
19 "What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth?
34 "Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?
36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

YOU AMAZE ME [song by Michael Neale]
The stars dance
The Moon glows
And I see You
When the winds blow
The mountains applaud You
And the oceans reflect You
The power of Heaven
Revealed in creation
And my heart shouts out
At the wonder of Your Name

You amaze
You amaze me
And my heart bows down before
The King of Glory
You amaze me
You amaze me
And I'm overwhelmed by Your
Great love and mercy
You amaze me

The sun burns
At morning
Revealing Your glory
The darkness is silenced
At the thunder of Your Presence
The power of Heaven
Revealed in redemption
And my heart shouts out at the
Wonder of Your Grace!

All we can do is thank God for His AMAZING love, power, grace and mercy!

Choosing JOY,


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

LISTEN...Before Praying

Psalm 66:16-20
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what He has done for me.
17 I cried out to Him with my mouth;
His praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld His love from me!

Deuteronomy 31:12
12 Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the aliens living in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law [God's Word].

Deuteronomy 32:1-2
1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak;
hear, O earth, the words of My mouth.
2 Let My teaching fall like rain
and My words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.

Joshua 3:9-10
9 Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you...

Judges 2:17 [WARNING]
17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD's commands.

Psalm 81:10-12, 13
10 I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11 "But My people would not listen to Me;
Israel would not submit to Me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices.

[The Solution]

13 "If my people would but listen to Me,
if Israel would follow My ways,
14 how quickly would I subdue their enemies
and turn My hand against their foes!

Psalm 85:7-9
7 Show us Your unfailing love, O LORD,
and grant us Your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say;
He promises peace to His people, His saints—
but let them not return to folly.
9 Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him,
that His glory may dwell in our land.
[all emphasis added]
Choosing JOY,

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Lesson from Asa

I've been studying (again) the life of Asa. I challenge you to read every passage about him in the Old Testament to get a grip on a life that was pleasing to the LORD - but one that didn't end that way. Asa started out with the right heart - but his heart grew proud, bent and cold before he died a miserable death. God was faithful - Asa wasn't. His life is a strong warning for us to guard our hearts and seek the LORD always.

Asa King of Judah
1 Kings 15:9-15
9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother's name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom.
11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his [for] father David had done. 12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his fathers had made. 13 He even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole. Asa cut the pole down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Although he did not remove the high places, Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life. 15 He brought into the temple of the LORD the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated. [emphasis added]

2 Chronicles 16
Asa's Last Years
1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa's reign Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.
2 Asa then took [stole] the silver and gold out of the treasuries of the LORD's temple and of his own palace and sent it to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus.

The short of it is that Asa has his own idea (this time) of how to handle the enemies that are coming against him. He steels money from the temple treasury and offers it in a treaty with the enemy. He had always depended on God in the past - always sought God's ways and plans - but this time (he got too smart for his own good) and made his own plans. And they worked - but not without consequences. He patted himself on the back and left God out of the picture from there on out. He is warned by the profit, Hanani concerning his actions.

2 Chronicles 16 - selected
7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: "Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8...when you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war." 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians. 13 Then in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died and rested with his fathers. [emphasis added]

What lesson are we to learn from Asa?

  • Always seek the LORD in every situation
  • Never forget Who God is and what He has done.
  • Stay close to the LORD and He will stay close to you. [see James 4:8]
  • When confronted with sin or an enemy's pursuit - cry out to God with a broken and sincere heart like Asa's great-great-great grandfather, David did.
Psalm 56 [David's Words]
1 Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me;
all day long they press their attack.
2 My slanderers pursue me all day long;
many are attacking me in their pride.
3 When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.

Choosing JOY,


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Feast on Your Inheritance

The LORD gave me this passage last night - may it bless your heart as it did mine. Ponder it and feast on His word and His promises. They're yours for the asking!

Isaiah 58:11-14
11 The LORD will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my Holy Day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the LORD has spoken. [emphasis added]

Choosing JOY,


Thursday, May 22, 2008

What is My Desire?

Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endures for ever.

1 John 5: 1-4,13-15
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves His child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. 3 This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world.
Concluding Remarks
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.
[emphasis added]

“I believe that my deepest truest desires
are actually the Creator’s desires for me
your true desires are taking you along a continuum
that leads to a wiser, truer you.
Your deep desires are located in that well
that is your very soul, and God created our souls
to constantly move us toward health and wisdom and peace.
Within your soul’s mysteries is hidden
the vision of what you are becoming.”
– Vinita Hampton Wright

Choosing JOY,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

DAY 40 in the Desert of Waiting

Each time I have taken a journey (usually 40-days) with the LORD - I know in advance that He has something profound to teach me. Mostly He teaches me about myself - my frailties - pride issues that need to go - things that may inhibit His kingdom purposes. So I prepare by bracing myself to let go of all He shows me. He did that and so much more these past 40 days. Today as the night comes to a close it is a bittersweet place I find myself. God has shown me so much (this time) about HIMSELF - and who HE is - how faithful HE is - how much HE loves me - that HE desires good for me and all those around me. He has shown me the results of obedience without compromise - and even how to recognize the simple tactic of the enemy to disguise "compromise" as the enemy tries to make us fall for it. I didn't fall for it this time - but I almost did. This time I recognized it right away and God showed me that my pattern could and would change because of that recognition. I said this "ending day" is bittersweet because I feel so wrapped in the Father's arms - so loved and so close to Him that it's a place I never want to leave. He has shown me that I never have to leave it - as long an I remain in Him (the true Vine). I desire to move forward - into tomorrow because I know whenever a journey ends a new one (of much promise) is about to begin. God has been holding out promises to me over these 40 days as I was still and rested in the Desert of Waiting. I dug deep into His Word and devoured it like the most delectable of foods! You might say I have a "sweet tooth" for God's Word! Tomorrow I will set my foot into another territory of my Promised Land here on earth. I may have to fight an enemy or two to take the land that has been given to me - but I know I am already more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ. Bring 'em on! "Enemy - you are under my feet. "

Hebrews 11:8-10
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. [emphasis added]

Now I know why- when I spoke at Bob's celebration service - I called my God - "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (a phrase I had never in my life used before). It was because God put that phrase on my lips that day. It would be a year an a half later when He would show me why. It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whom I have encountered personally and intimately through this journey. I have engaged with Him and He with me. Is it any wonder that He is a God of wonders? Don't ever let me lose my "wonder" of You, LORD!

Give me FAITH to Believe - and a heart to RECEIVE! I'm ready! Bring it all on!

Choosing JOY,


Monday, May 19, 2008

A Little Taste of Heaven

Yesterday was Sunday - a day set apart for the LORD. I want to share what was so special about yesterday - what set that day apart - unto Him.

It began as a blessed morning with my grand-kids - but that wasn't what set it apart. I anticipated what the LORD would speak to me through Pastor Russell Howard's Sunday School class - he spoke on the life of Joseph - and it was all that God wanted to speak to me about my own life. But as great as his teaching was - that wasn't what set the day apart for the LORD. Dr. Powell also had a wonderful message about marriage - present - past and future marriages - but even that wasn't it either - though it spoke to me and blessed my heart.

What set apart the day for the LORD happened during the preparation in worship. It wasn't the beginning choruses and hymns that were sung - nor as the more than 100 choir members stood and sang their hearts out - in a song I think was called: All Rise, nor when I rose to my feet (alone) to give honor and praise to the LORD.

What set the day apart unto the LORD was one choir member who caught my eye as she sang the words to All Rise. I felt the worship in my own heart because of the worship that exuded from her. She was in her sixties (I'm guessing). Her heart poured out with emotion - she could barely sing the words. I closed my eyes several times as we sang but each time I opened them I was drawn to her face. Tears of JOY rolled down her cheeks as our eyes met. I could not help but smile at her - to let her know that my heart was right in line with hers in praise to the God of Universe as we worshiped Him together.

I've been reading several books (this week) - one of which is Don Piper's book: 90 Minutes in Heaven. In it, he shares about his experience of heaven - the sounds, the music and the singing. I couldn't help but think (when I watched this woman singing) that we shared "a little taste of heaven" - what it will be like when we are in the very Presence of Almighty God - our Messiah - Jehovah - and will sing praise from our hearts with JOY.

Psalm 63:3-5
3 But may the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.
4 Sing to God, sing praise to His Name,
extol Him who rides on the clouds—
His Name is the LORD—
and rejoice before Him.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in His holy dwelling.

Psalm 104:31-34
31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in His works-
32 He who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to Him,
as I rejoice in the LORD. [emphasis added]
Choosing JOY,

Day 39 of 40 - in The Desert of Waiting

Saturday, May 17, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

Mark 10:13-16

The Little Children and Jesus

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16 And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.

It's been my pleasure to baby-sit two of my grandchildren for the last two days as their Mom and Dad had a special "date time" to celebrate their upcoming 10th year wedding anniversary. Three year old, Drew, and Tessa (21 months).

We all met up together at Sanibel Island Beach today. Drew prayed for us before me we left the house - that Jesus would help us get their safely since Mom-Mom did not know the way. It was the sweetest sincere prayer out of that little 3-year-old's mouth... and it was answered! We arrived just as Mommy and Daddy were coming back from breakfast.

I have been able to see some of my "heritage in the LORD" unfold this week. Drew has his own children's Bible that is very worn out from use. It is a fat one filled with Bible stories and pictures of all the characters of the Bible. He lives to read that each day [hum - wonder where he gets that from]. His Bible is so worn that it is taped together on the cover and many of the pages. It's called: The New BIBLE In Pictures for Little Eyes by Kenneth N. Taylor with has 383 pages. I highly recommend it for younger age children to get them started knowing God's Word - even the hard parts.

Yesterday we learned about David and Goliath. We also read about David being anointed King. Drew's Mom and Dad just started doing something new at dinnertime every night. When dinner is over - they read one story from Drew's Bible and discuss it. Each person is asked a question about what happened in the story - even Tessa - as young as she is. Then we pray together - each one praying and thanking God for something special that is on their heart. Then we sing.

After we had finished this routine tonight - Drew and Tessa wanted to show Mommy and Daddy what Mom-Mom taught them in the last two days. Mom-Mom brought her own CD with her (a favorite right now [The Patriarch's] a Beth Moore CD that goes along with her Bible study. Drew has a favorite song on it called: EVERYTHING - but he has to turn it up full blast so he and Tessa can jump with raised hands in praise to Jesus as we sing the words together. It is a sight to behold - one I will treasure forever - even if we look silly doing it together!

Here's the chorus:

I want it all .... everything You want for me Jesus
I won't give up ... til I've taken hold of everything
Let nothing, let no one take my crown
Til I stand before You ... and I lay it down,
I want everything.

It goes on to say...

Give me FAITH to BELIEVE and a heart to receive!

The words to this song are very special to me right now too! I'm glad that Drew and I can share it as a favorite! I still can't wait to see what else God is going to do in my life!

Choosing JOY,


Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Teaching DETOUR

As I arrived in FL yesterday afternoon the LORD took time to teach me things even as I studied and prayed on the plane. It was especially nice to think about "riding on the clouds" as I spoke to the LORD from my heart (rather than aloud as I usually pray). I have to admit, I did not like praying silently - it was hard to focus and concentrate. I laugh when I think back to my prayer time at 5AM at home - with the dog and cat by my side - as they listen to me pour my heart out aloud - sometimes in tears of anguish or joy. I think my dog needs counseling for it all! She just can't figure out who I'm talking to - but as the days go by she is getting more and more used to my early morning prayer life. The best thing is - so am I. I even asked the LORD to wake me up at 5AM today without an alarm - guess what?... the clock in the living room chimed at 5 on the dot!

Going to church with my son-in-law was awesome last night. The Pastor taught from James - about faith + works = SANCTIFICATION (the on-going process of growth (holiness) in the believer's spiritual life.) He discussed the controversy over the book of James in contrast to Paul's teaching in Ephesians about faith - but pointed to the simple fact that Paul was talking to Non-believers and James was speaking strictly to [brothers ] believers. The Pastor gave a simple explanation to remember:

  • Paul taught sinners how to be saints

  • James taught believers how to become sanctified [set apart/unto holiness]
Then... we read more scripture about Abraham. I just can't get away from that man - because all that God is holding for my future - my promises - are wrapped up in the those personal encounters with God - just like that of Abraham. From Genesis to Romans - to Hebrews and now James - Abraham is everywhere - and so is his faith - a faith with action behind it - the very faith that God desires for my life - and yours.

James 2: 20-23

20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless [for growth] ? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. [emphasis mine]

Abraham had faith with action. It was present and active and motivated toward what God intended and desired. It was faith with obedience. Let your heart rest on that for a bit as you ponder what God is calling you to take action with in your own life of faith. Will you obey - like Abraham? The reward will be great! There's nothing like a fresh encounter with God Himself.

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wrestle it Through

Last night I spent a powerful time in prayer - in tears - pleading for the enemy to be bound in the life of another. I prayed that they would wrestle through with God - until He blesses. GOD is at WORK - and the enemy hates it. He is coming at many of us with a vengeance to distract and destroy - but He has no claim over those who belong to Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6:11-13 KJV
11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. [emphasis added]

Genesis 32:24-26
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

What is it that you are wrestling through with God (against the enemy)? Put on your armor - praise - prayer and God's Word - and fight - being more than a conqueror and don't let up until you have victory and God blesses!

Choosing JOY,


Day 33 of 40 - in The DESERT of WAITING

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I began today's blog before I left for church - but I'm glad I did not get back to it until just now. Today was LIFE of CHRIST Sunday at our church. There were baby dedications, baptisms, preaching, scripture readings, worship music, as well as welcoming new members into our congregation. What a special blessed day it was! The two people I had prayed would be baptized - God multiplied into a double portion - as four were added to the other three who were already scheduled. Wow! Only GOD!!! Praise Him!

As if that were not enough - right in the middle of it all - someone tapped me on the shoulder in the middle of worship. It was a woman from another one of my Bible studies who I had just prayed this morning would come to church today. She said, "No way," - but God said, "Yes, way, MY WAY," and there she was with the joy of Jesus on her face!!! I could barely contain my own worship and praise to God - I had to literally step out into the aisle so I could worship the LORD in FREEDOM - with hands raised to the heavens in Praise!!!

For those who followed the LORD in obedience today, may God's Word bless your heart.

Psalm 41:11
11 I know that You are pleased with me,
for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 In my integrity You uphold me
and set me in Your presence forever.
13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

Psalm 25: 9-10
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them His way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of His covenant.
Choosing JOY,

PS: God said, "Happy 2nd Anniversary, Stephanie, thanks for listening when I spoke!"
[It's DAY 31 of 40 in the DESERT of WAITING]

Friday, May 9, 2008


What NEW THING is God doing in your life right now - this very moment - in your heart - as He draws you deeper in relationship to Himself?

Isaiah 43 (selected)
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
..."Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.
18 "Forget the former things
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
20... I provide water in the desert
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to My people, My chosen,
21 the people I formed for Myself
that they may proclaim My praise. [emphasis added]

God began a new thing in my life 2 years ago when He spoke to me afresh on May 11th, 2006. Fortunately, I was paying attention to His voice. He then took me and my family on a journey with Him that has been a "TRUST & OBEY" adventure ever since.

Does God want to do a "new thing" in your life today? Are you paying attention to His voice? Seeking Him with all your heart in His Word, praying, allowing the Holy Spirit who lives within you - to burst forth in fresh faith? Will you surrender to His plans and His Ways? Will you allow Him to complete the "new thing" He wants to start in you?

Jeremiah 29:11-13
11 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. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. [emphasis added]

May the promise of this very passage be yours today as you trust and obey Him for every good and perfect gift from above.

Choosing JOY,


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Life Of Christ

This Sunday our church will celebrate another Life of Christ Sunday (we hold two per year). The service will include, Worship, Scripture Reading, Preaching, Baby Dedications, Baptisms, and a Communion Celebration.

Matthew 3:11-16 (selected)
11"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?"15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. 17 And a voice from heaven said,"This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." [emphasis mine]

Mark 1: 4-5
4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

Mark 16:9, 15-16
15 He [Jesus] said to them,
"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

On Baptism

I am encouraging others to come forward to follow the LORD'S command (to be baptized) - as well as His very own example when He asked John the Baptist to do it for Him. John was reluctant - but Jesus said it was necessary (now) to fulfill all righteousness.

Some people think that Baptism is an "option". They don't see it as the command that it is. I don't wish to split hairs over this issue. When someone comes to Christ and receives Him as Savior - the very next step should be - to be baptized. As in the time of the early church - people were baptized (in public) almost immediately upon receiving Christ's forgiveness. They didn't pray about it or wait 3 years - they did it right then - to give testimony to their family and friends of their new life in Christ. And they were joyful and happy to do it!

What a special day this Sunday will be - especially if those who God has called to Himself - will follow Him one more step into the waters of Baptism. From Death to life - the waters are a symbol of the old life and the new - of sins forgiven and eternal life rewarded.

May God bless all those who are obedient to His command.

Choosing JOY,


Monday, May 5, 2008

One Seed - Much Fruit

As I ran my finger over the cover of a little booklet called The Greatest Discovery written by Jim Cymbala [Pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle] this morning, I stared at the picture showing a dandelion flower that was past blooming - into its "feather dust" stage. Half the seeds were scattered in mid air. I thought about this 40-Day journey that I am on with the LORD right now. Today is Day 25.


If you've been following the title Labels for these Blogs you'll have noticed that this Journal period has been entitled:

A Handful of Seeds - Centered on God's Word

As I am in the Desert of Waiting during this 40-day journey - God continues to point me to Prayer and God's Word. Did you know that even in the desert there are beautiful plants that bloom?

God continues to work for "Good" to those who love Him... Every seed of His Word that He plants in our hearts - is for good - for His kingdom purposes. Remember that EVERYTHING God does - is connected to Seed Time and Harvest. Ponder in your heart today everything that happens to a seed before it can produce fruit for the harvest: Dying, buried in the ground, the outer shell fallsoff, it is watered, new life shoots forth from the darkness - toward the light of the Sun. It receives nourishment from the Sun and water from the rain - then it will bring forth the harvest of fruit it was intended to produce. And its fruit will be the same as that of the tree.

John 12:24

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Matthew 13:32

"Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

Romans: 8:28

28 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. [emphasis added]

Psalm 84:11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless [upright]. [emphasis added]

Galatians 3:15-17

15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed,"meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.

Words and Music by: Chance Scoggins

Every promise that You’ve made
and every dream… that You’ve given
I believe the moment that You said it –
it was done!
So even at my final breath when I’m…
standing on the edge of death I know
You’ll find me holding onto the Hope…
of days to come!

Choosing JOY,

Saturday, May 3, 2008


The month of May marks the first anniversary of this Devotional Blog that God has given me the privilege to share with all of you. Often, I am asked why I sign it, "Choosing JOY". It goes back two years ago when God first spoke to my heart and showed me how to choose JOY in the midst of circumstances filled with pain and sorrow. One day shortly after that, I sought to change how I was signing all my e-M updates from "Choosing Joy", to "Reaching for Joy". But GOD... stopped me before I could hit the "send" button. He instructed me in His gentle way to go back to "Choosing Joy" - revealing to me that "reaching for it - is never enough"! He showed me that JOY is always available - but I must choose to clothe myself with it daily! How about you?

Notice from all these passages HOW Choosing JOY is not empty - but full of:

  • Praise
  • Sacrifice
  • Instruction of Truth
  • Celebration
  • Fellowship
  • Community
  • Caring
  • Feasting together at God's table
  • God's own Presence
  • Prayer & Worship to God
Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.

Deuteronomy 16:14-15

14 Be joyful at your Feast—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Ezra 6:15-17
15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy.

17 For the dedication of this house of God they offered... [sacrifices].

Nehemiah 8:10
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

Esther 9:22-23
22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. 23 So the Jews agreed [chose] to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them.

Job 33:26
He [Job] prays to God and finds favor with Him,
he sees God's face and shouts for joy;
he is restored by God to his righteous state.

Psalm 16:11 KJV
Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 43:3-4
3 Send forth Your light and Your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to Your holy mountain,
to the place where You dwell.
4 Then will I go to the altar of God,

to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise You with the harp,
O God, my God. [all emphasis mine]

My prayer is that many of you have now set out to "Choose JOY" daily in your own lives as a testimony of what our LORD Jesus Christ has done for you and for me. Together, may we lift holy hands of praise, offer our lives as living sacrifices to our God, and share the JOY of our hearts - His very Presence!

When Praise Demands a Sacrifice
words and music by Russell Mauldin and Sue C. Smith
When praise demands a sacrifice…I’ll worship even then
Surrendering the dearest things in life
And if devotion costs me all
He’ll find me faithful to His call
When praise demands a sacrifice... I'll worship even then!

Choosing JOY,


Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Cure for Loneliness


Psalm 42:5-6

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your Hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.

Psalm 25:1-2

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in You I trust, O my God.

Psalm 86:3-5

Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to You all day long.
Bring joy to Your servant,
for to You, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.
You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to You.

Psalm 119:1-2

1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless [upright],
who walk according to the law [Word] of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they who keep His statutes
and seek Him with all their heart.

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

May you live to be a blessing to others this day!

Choosing JOY,