Let’s be honest. Life is filled with ups and downs. Oftentimes there are more downs than ups, and it’s important to remember where our hope lies.

Our hope is in the Lord—and sometimes the things that seem so important really aren’t. Other times there are pretty big and scary things we have to face.

No matter what the issue, my faith and trust in the Lord help me to deal with whatever I’m facing. My go-to verses to remind me of this are Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and He will guide you.

I’ll admit I have trust issues, but when it comes to the Lord, I completely trust Him. Knowing He is in control and that He loves me and wants the best for me is literally the only way I make it through some days.

He wants the best for you, too. Isn’t that great news? I claim this verse often. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

God’s peace is incredible.

I hope these verses encourage and remind you that He is on your side. He is there for you and He loves you.

Kimberly Rose Johnson, an award-winning author, married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly, has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. She holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/.

 

 

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On my birthday, as my newest book, Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience released, I pondered “What is joy, really?”  As I look back, seems God had me on a learning trajectory to find then live out joy.

As a child, first born daughter of an alcoholic dad, I was naturally joyful but our home situation was chaotic and unpredictable so when things got volatile due to my dad’s anger or his own depression, I retreated and became a sullen, sometimes, pouty and often emotionally teary-eyed little girl. But God had something greater, something better for me and He also has something better for you, too!: JOY!

Recently, I gave a speech for my Joy Jubilee birthday bash, and I shared a few things I have learned about joy—for the next few weeks, I will share them with you too—in bite-sized nuggets.

Joy is Relationship

The book of Philippians is often tagged the book of JOY, and the first chapter of Philippians is all about RELATIONSHIP:

I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, . . . 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart (Phil 1:3-7)

This thread of relationship continues through out the book, like in this verse from Phil 4:1 where Paul calls the believers at Philippi his JOY!:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (Phil 4:1)

Today, apply these relationship verses by:

Thanking God and praying for those you love—those who bring you joy.

Tell those you love HOW they bring you JOY and thank them.

I want to personally invite you to be a part of my FREE online bible study on Discovering Joy in Philippians:A Creative Bible Study Experience  Using Facebook Live I will teach and you can share and comment on our JOURNEY of JOY. It begins Sept 18 and runs 12 weeks. Register today.

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 48 books, and her newest, Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience is co authored with Bible teacher, JeanE Jones and artist, Karla Dornacher, is available in most Christian bookstores and online stores. (Harvest House) For many “extras”: audios, blogs, video tutorials, a leader’s guide, go to https://www.discoveringthebibleseries.com/the-books/discovering-joy-in-philippians/

Speaking of relationships: More than 30 influential Christian leaders have endorsed Discovering Joy!

There is no joy without Jesus! Only happiness that depends on happenings. Knowing Christ brings Joy. This is what our distraught world needs. Read Discovering Joy in Philippians, a new creative Bible study experience.

Jill Briscoe, author and international speaker
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In 1998 we moved from California to Atlanta, and a new friend asked, “What do you miss about California?”

Of course, the main things were family and friends, but then it hit me. “The Redwood Forest. It’s beautiful and Majestic, and I learned life-lessons from those giant trees.”

When you drive into the National Park and get out of your car, you enter a new world—an eerily quiet one. Your eyes scan the height of the magnificent trees, some 300 feet tall only allowing a trickle of light to peer through. The fringed tops seem to touch the sky, and you almost topple backwards.

But the strength of each gigantic tree is not in itself. Redwoods are held up by the strength of the “families” which grow in a circle. For every foot in height that these nature’s skyscrapers grow, the tree sends its roots three feet horizontally—some only six feet underground.

The roots grow toward each other, intertwine, and root-wrap. When severe storms blow in from the Pacific Ocean, the trees sway and bend, but they don’t break.

We humans do the same. We root-wrap with others. When storms blow into our lives, we sway and bend, but we don’t break. Ask the Lord to show you who needs root-wrapping.

Who has root-wrapped with you during a storm in your life? Send them a note of thanks.

The greatest root-wrapping occurs when we place our hand in the hand of Jesus. He will never let to.

Lynda T. Young is co-founder of Kindred Spirits International (KSI) whose outreaches include children’s hospitals and Amani ya Juu refugee women’s mission in Africa. She is a speaker and author of the You Are Not Alone book series which includes Hope for Families of Children with Cancer, Hope for Families of Children with Congenital Heart Disease, and Hope for Families of Children on the Autistic Spectrum. She earned a Masters of Religious Education (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Masters of Education (UNC Chapel Hill, NC.). She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, CLASS, SPEAK UP, and American Association of Christian Counselors. A speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, she lives in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, with her husband, Dr. John Young. kindredspiritsintl@yahoo.com.

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In Bible study on the Book of Exodus, our lecturer said the Ark of the Covenant was a “portable Eden.” It was a gold box God told the Hebrews to create so He could once again dwell among His nomadic people on earth and be in covenant with them as they traveled.

Once the temple in Jerusalem was built, God then dwelled there, in the midst of the land He’d promised them. It became “Eden.”

That talk sent a flutter through my chest. Why? Paul told the Corinthians that their bodies were the temple since the one in Jerusalem had been destroyed. It has never been rebuilt, by the way. Not that it needs to be because God now dwells in the hearts of believers.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1Corinthains 3:16).

That makes you and me portable Edens!

So, Eden is not a lost world. It still exists. The peace that passes all understanding still resides. Faith, trust, and compassion flourish. This wondrous place now travels with us wherever we go in this un-Eden-like world. It is our “go to” spot whenever we need it. Better than comfy pants or chocolate.

If this portable Eden is always with us, and thus God is, why are we not more serene and content?  Something to ponder. Also, if our hearts contain that marvelous, fruitful place called paradise, why do we try to bring the seeds of worry, strife, anger, and bitterness through the garden gate? Those need to stay outside. We don’t need to haul them inside to dwell where only God should.

Where can we find God today? He still dwells in Eden, a heartbeat away.

Photo credit: simon-wilkes-691856-unsplash (royalty-free photos)

Julie B. Cosgrove is a professional speaker, freelance writer, and award-winning author of twenty-one faith-based books. She is a digital missionary on staff at Power to Change (Campus Crusades Canada) assisting twenty-seven-plus volunteer writers from all over the world to produce free, daily devotionals as well as meaningful testimonies and articles. The two websites, The Life.com and Issues I Face, have yearly readership in the hundreds of thousands in five languages. Her blog Where Did You Find God Today? reaches readership in over fifty countries. Visit her website www.juliebcosgrove.com. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she’s an INSPY Award semi-finalist and a Grace Award Finalist. She was awarded Best Religious Fiction 2016 and Best Cozy Mystery 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors. Another cozy mystery, One Leaf Too Many is the ACFW Book Club book of the month for August 2019.

 

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“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3 NIV).

Spinning is a popular form of exercise almost everywhere now. Although, in my neighborhood, spinning has a totally different connotation.

When I hear the word spinning, I immediately visualize a gym with a spinning class. Don’t you? But in my neighborhood, bicycles are not used for exercise per se. Yes, they are a means of exercise for my neighbors, but their primary purpose is to provide transportation by spinning to and from their alfalfa fields before sunrise.

As I watch my neighbors spinning by my house in the early mornings, I sometimes long to take a spin with them. Not to help them cut alfalfa but to stop my fruitless spinning and set my priorities on these people I came to serve, instead of focusing on the 100 things on my to-do list for the day.

When I step down from the merry-go-round of life, I find refreshment from being with God’s people and enjoy His beauty around me. I focus on the reason God has me here in this place of service (Bolivia)—to spread the Good News. It’s not easy to step off that merry-go-round. Some days I keep on spinning, and some days I wobble as I come to a halt. However, it is always possible.

Each day is a new opportunity for service. It’s easy to allow each day’s tasks (our plans) to keep us from God’s checklist for the day. But, when we ask God to establish our plans (to-do list) and take control of our spinning, He will establish our to-do lists and prioritize our days. Everything will change when we commit our plans to Him. The spinning out of control will cease, and our days will be fruitful and calm.

Try and see. The verse says He will—not He might. He keeps His promises.

Peggy Cunningham and her husband Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. Learn more at www.PeggyCunningham.com.

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