Joy in the Morning

Joy. I just can’t seem to drop that theme.

Hello, Thursday Morning guests! It’s a fresh start moment. A new day. Glory awaits you.

Maybe it comes in the sunrise. Maybe in the first smile from a precious infant. For me, it’s the glow inside my heart. I can’t lose this feeling, and that’s a good thing.

It started with, “and when they saw the star…”

That was enough to get me started because I knew what followed. They rejoiced with great joy!

The coming of the Savior resulted in joy filling those who understood. Even before His birth, His presence within Mary’s womb filled the unborn John with such joy, he leapt in Elizabeth’s womb.

Okay, that’s joy, pure and simple.

Though our observances of Christmas can result in a temporary joy, gift-giving is a small part of the true celebration.

It’s the gift that has already been given that results in true joy.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” [1 Peter 1:8-9]

This is the season for joy. Maybe it keeps popping up for me because I was struggling. I dreaded the season. I wanted it over. You may feel that right now.

But when I saw the star…

When I read the scriptures and listened to my favorite Christmas songs, joy stirred within my heart. If you concentrate on you and your feelings, you’ll be depressed, plain and simple. So bundle up and step outside on a clear night. Look for the star.

Look within your heart. Lift a prayer to God. Read scriptures that instill joy and peace. Find a devotional to help prepare your heart for the holiday and beyond. These are things I did to get past the “woe is me.”

Once I stirred up the joy—true joy in my heart—peace followed. My prayer for you is that you will find that same peace and JOY and comfort. You are loved.

Note: Check out these devotionals in YouVersion (an online Bible app): A Jolt of Joy, (Carol Mcleod) and Ann Graham Lotz’s Jesus in Me. Or, you can find full versions of these on most bookstore sites.

When Christmas Comes

Christmas comes, whether we’re ready or not.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I hope the speedy approach of the holiday hasn’t frazzled you. If so, may the  “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, …guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

This holiday season has been a struggle in our family. After a long illness and some heart issues, we thought Mom was no longer able to remain on her own. I was going to care for her. I made myself willing and available, even if it meant I had to pause my work.

Love sometimes requires sacrifices and hers would be as great as mine. Since Dad died, she has wanted to remain independent and she has, to a large degree. But with the decline of her health, we had come to realize she could no longer remain in her small second-story apartment. Alone.

I wasn’t ready for any of this. I was busily dashing to and fro, chasing that perfect gift for each name on my list.

But Christmas comes, ready or not.

If the list was never finished, my family would understand. Some changes are not to be missed. I had a feeling this would be one of them.

But something happened to interrupt our best-laid plans—something completely unexpected.

I was on my way to my weekly bookkeeping job, where I intended to turn in my letter of resignation. But, my heart wasn’t in it. That still, small voice was whispering and I felt uneasy, as though something was off, but what? So, I prayed, “Father, if this is not right, make it plain to me. Help me do the right thing.”

I had just pulled in to the bank to make my client’s weekly deposit when the phone rang. My brother was on the phone. He’d just taken Mom for her weekly doctor visit when he was going to ask the doctor about moving her. But, he didn’t end up asking, because her heart rate had normalized. She was showing signs of renewed strength, and the infection she’d suffered for almost three months was finally responding well to the daily IV antibiotics.

Because of this new development, my brother felt that it would be best to let her remain where she is.

. . . [Pause to Breathe].

God had delivered a miracle to us. He had healed her most dire health issues and strengthened her will.

We are still guardedly watching her, but for now, she’s rejoicing and feels that this is the best Christmas gift anyone could give her. A Christmas Miracle.

Published on http://www.InspiredPrompt.com

The Promise of Easter

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning! I hope you’re having a wonderful Holy Week. A time of remembrance and thankfulness. Sing Hosanna!

We are a joyful people at times, especially when we remember the sacrifice. And the ongoing sacrifices of those around us, who give of themselves on a daily basis to keep the message strong and vital. He is risen!

I’m looking forward to Sunday’s special service. But this is also a time of remembrance for me. I keep recalling my cousin’s sweet but silly telephone greeting, “Happy Easter Egg!” Whenever anyone called on Easter, he’d greet them in that way. This is his first Easter in Heaven, thus the reason for my reflections.

The joy of sacrifice. We’ve all been there, especially if you’re a mom or a spouse. Sometimes you’re called upon to give up something, like your leisure time, or that last cookie that had your name on it. Many of you give up something important for Lent. It’s a time to think and pray and remember the greatest sacrifice of all. The One who gave up everything but gained the greatest thing of all. Life everlasting, not only for himself, but for all who believed in Him.

So, Easter is a celebration, but it’s also a time for reflection. I hope it’s a reset for you, like when you reboot the computer or your phone. A renewal that will set the tone for the rest of your year and maybe the rest of your life.

In the final chapters of the last book in my Kinsman Redeemer series, Annabelle Cross gets a lesson in renewal and a second chance. She alone has the power to change her life going forward. In the book, she sings the beautiful hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness. God never changes, His compassions never fail. His mercies are new every morning. And as Annabelle sings the final verse, something truly special happens. To find out what that is, you’ll have to read the book. 🙂

Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer
And to guide
Strength for today
and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside
Great is Thy faithfulness…

P.S.: As promised, a bit of exciting news! The final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series has a name! Yes, Annabelle’s Joy joins Annabelle’s Ruth, and Sutter’s Landing to complete the series. Expected release date is August, 2019.

Also, I am signing a contract with Write Integrity Press for another series. This one will be suspense. Tentative series title: Journey Home, Book 1 title, Illusion. Possible release date for Illusion is Fall, 2020.

A Great Thought

Who inspires you? Who has planted that great thought that changed your life or way of thinking about something?

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning readers! Welcome. I hope you’ll leave here this morning, encouraged to go out and make a difference in the world.

One easy way to do that is to let joy shine out from you.

Here’s a simple truth: If you have joy inside, it will find a way to show off. 🙂 Sometimes a smile is all it takes. A heartfelt one is especially effective.

Notice how the light flows through this open window? Imagine the dark room as your neighbor, a coworker, or friend who’s going through a difficult time. You can be the source of that light.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 says this:

“We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”

Who inspires me?

I have a couple of dear friends who are going through tremendous difficulty. Yet, whenever I see them, they’re smiling. Not the bland, forced smile, either. The all-out, joy-down-in-my-heart smiles.

I’m smiling right now at the memory! Whenever I’m tempted to feel sorry for myself, I think about them and the countless others who endure daily pain and tribulation.

I’m most inspired by the Word of God that gives me daily strength and inspiration.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;—Psalm 16:11

So, make someone’s day better today. If you make the effort and are rewarded with a smile, that will make your day better too.

Big news next week! See you then.

Healing Laughter

Isa laughing“Don’t laugh!”

“Don’t you dare laugh!”

My husband used to say this to our sons when they were pouting or crying over something. It never failed to bring a smile to their faces. Within moments, they were laughing.

Laughter heals. It’s a proven fact. When’s the last time you really laughed? Laughed till you cried? It feels really, really good. And a night out with friends who can bring on that kind of laughter is strengthening. A vital element in the healing process.

What if you don’t have friends like those?

  • Watch a funny movie or television show.
  • Find a comedian you enjoy. (There are videos on YouTube featuring your favorite comedian/comedienne.)
  • Spend time with a favorite pet.
  • Hang out with kids.
  • Visit a library’s (or bookstore’s) humor section.
  • Go bowling with friends (Miniature golf, swimming, etc.)

I don’t have pets, but I love to watch those funny videos on Facebook. Facebook provides lots of opportunities for laughter as well.

Laughter is infectious. Laughter triggers positive health changes in your body, like strengthening your immunity, releasing stress, boosting energy. Who doesn’t want that? Remember endorphins? Naturally produced chemicals that make you feel great–yes, I could use a healthy dose of those.

dog-1033155_1280Learn to laugh at yourself. Lighten up! Let go and enjoy yourself. You can totally turn a situation around if you’re willing to laugh when you do something dumb. So you made a mistake. Is it worth getting upset over? Losing your cool, stressing out? I’ve chuckled over my stupidity many times.

I had a favorite aunt who had that down to a science. She was one of the happiest women I’ve known, though she’d seen plenty of trouble in her life. I think of her when things happen. How would Aunt Jen handle this? She’d laugh and make up some funny saying about it. She’d tell the story of what she’d done and make others laugh. One thing she never had a shortage of–friends.

kitten-1040950_1280

Sometimes you have to purposefully inject humor into your life. Set aside time to watch a funny video or movie. Call a friend who always makes you laugh. If it’s difficult for you, start small. Install a humorous screensaver on your computer and/or phone.

Remember to smile, because smiling is also contagious. Yes, others may wonder if you’re nuts, but they’ll probably still smile back.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13 NIV