Archive | February 2014

Life’s a Beach

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Here is an excerpt from today’s blog…

At the beach, I have definitely found my “happy place”. The beach is the place where I often hear the voice of God clearly and miraculously speak to me from the thunder of the waves and the beautiful longing of the sunset.

So … today … in honor of the “Winter of 2014” … I thought that I would share with you some lessons from the beach!

1 – My life is so small. 

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As I walk along the beach every afternoon, I feel so small in comparison to it all. I don’t feel insignificant … {Continue Reading}

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The Gift of JOY

JOY road signEveryone I know desires to live a joy-filled life.

Young moms and seasoned moms are desperate for it …

Teen-age girls long for it …

Widows and widowers search fiercely to rediscover it …

Empty nesters, single women, corporate executives, divorcees, and college students all wonder where joy can be found.

Depression and discouragement place themselves within easy grasp, don’t they?  Frustration and sadness are usually within whispering distance.  No one needs a GPS to find the blahs, melancholy or hopelessness.

If we all long for it so intensely, where is it? Where is joy?

Depression and discouragement are known for their strong and paralyzing hold on men and women like you and me.  However, I have found that His presence is well-able to demolish the chains of sadness and disappointment.

            Will you continue with me on this amazing journey to joy?!

A Baby Named Joy

There were a group of shepherds who were defined by an inky and black existence.  These men, who were the lowest dregs of society, spent night after hopeless night taking care of someone else’s dumb sheep.  These uneducated men had no chance of promotion or pay raises.  Their lives were defined by sheep drool, sheep dung and the perpetual echo of a sheep’s “ba-a-a-a”.

However, one night that began as the carbon copy of thousands of other dark, cold nights, the world of the shepherds was instantly invaded by the announcement of a great joy!  The heaven’s exploded in rare and glorious colors and the angels of eternity made a grand pronouncement into the hopeless world of the shepherds:

“And behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”  (Luke 2:10-11).

The eternal reason the angels could announce joy had invaded Earth was because joy had come in the person of a Baby named Jesus.  Heaven opened its portals that night and joy splashed into our lives forever.  He came into our inky darkness and the joy of Heaven dripped into our world.

No matter how hopeless and dark your life seems to be, always remember that a Baby was born whom heaven had named “joy”.  The life of this Baby changed everything for every person in all of history.  His presence has come to earth and with Him He brought the joy of the atmosphere of heaven!

A Garden of Joy

I don’t know much about agriculture but this is what I do know:  when a farmer plants cucumber seeds … cucumbers will grow.  When a gardener plants sunflower seeds … sunflowers grow in that place.  It is true in every branch of agriculture and botany that you will always reap what you have sown.  If you plant radish seeds, you will not be harvesting carrots.  If you plant a rosebush … there is no need to worry that turnips will grow in that place.

However, the Bible makes one exception to this valid and scientific rule:

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting”  (Psalm 126:5).

Harvest of JoyIf your life has been nothing but pain and sorrow and tears, let me assure you that your life holds more potential for true joy than someone who has lived with a white picket fence guarding the tulips of their life.  The Bible says all of your tears are going to miraculously reap a harvest of joy and rejoicing.

God takes the tears of disappointment and sadness, fertilizes them with His presence, and out of that place of deep pain will erupt an abundant harvest of joy.  You are never immune to this miracle or left out of this promise.

Only God can take your worst defeat, your greatest pain, and your moment of raw sorrow and turn it into His miraculous and irreplaceable joy.  Only God.

Here He Comes!

And now, if you are still struggling to find this solid by-product of His presence, let me just encourage you today to be grateful.  Spend some time this very minute in heartfelt worship and thanksgiving and before too long the ripples of joy will begin.

When you begin to sing in spite of pain and disappointment you will discover the most glorious gift of all … He has arrived!  He will come walking to you across the years of disappointment and gloom.  He does not come alone but with Him comes the dynamic gift that follows Him wherever He goes … the gift of joy!

*** This blog is an excerpt of Carol’s newest book, “No More Ordinary!”  To pre-order your copy today, click here.

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Journey to Joy – Week 2

Life is a JourneyAll of our lives are a journey … a journey from somewhere to somewhere.

Perhaps your life has been a journey away from abuse toward emotional and physical health.

Maybe your life’s journey has encompassed education, travel, and scintillating relationships.

Did you start life as a victim in a dysfunctional family and now you are proud to say that you have built a victorious family of function and faith?

My life’s journey has often lingered in the land of depression but I can confidently say, now, that joy is my home address!

Joy Defined

In the fifth grade, my beloved teacher, Miss Sullivan, taught her curious class of eleven-year-olds, that in defining a certain word, one should never use the word itself in the definition. The rule Miss Sullivan taught all of her eager learners is an accepted grammatical rule that most savvy writers and wordsmiths follow implicitly.

However, I have discovered, it is nearly impossible to define the word “joy” without using the word itself in the definition.

The Hebrew definition of the word simchah is: “joy, mirth, gladness; the joy of God.”

The Greek definition of the word chara, is: “joy, gladness; the cause of occasion of one’s joy.”

Due to my frustration at being a grammar elitist and knowing that substance is lacking by using a word in its own definition, I decided to dig deeper and valiantly endeavor to find the root definition of the word “joy”.

“Joy wrought by the Holy Spirit” was a definition that resonated a bit stronger in my frustrated soul because at least it gave some credit to the Holy Spirit.

And then, at last, I came upon this definition from a Hebrew dictionary I found among my father’s archaic library: “the blessedness that the Lord enjoys.”

Although this definition uses a derivative of joy in the word “enjoys”, I found myself completely agreeing with this ancient meaning found among stacks of dusty, dog-eared books.

Joy is the atmosphere of heaven

Joy is the atmosphere of Heaven. It is the air God the Father himself breathes in every day of eternity. And because joy is Heaven’s delivered gift to me while I walk on planet Earth, it is my delight and strength to experience the blessedness that God on His throne enjoys.

Wow … put that in your heart and marinate in it!

Joy is God’s gift to us as we snuggle into His presence and hunker down into all that He is and all that He gives.

You Are Cordially Invited …

Have you ever been invited to dinner at a dear friend or family member’s home and then been forced to sit and watch hours of family, vacation and holiday videos?  Well … consider yourself invited over to dinner at my life because I, too, am going to force you to view my journey to joy!

Last week, we lingered over scenic view #1 in this verse, You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11

Today … welcome to scenic view # 2!

“Do not be grieved [or depressed] for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

You have an enemy who desires that you would live in a constant state of debilitating, relentless depression and discouragement. This enemy is unable to change the fact that you are Heaven-bound and have been guaranteed eternal life. He can do absolutely nothing about your entrance into Heaven’s gates. Since he can’t touch eternal life, what he attempts to do is to ruin abundant life. Don’t let him do it!

You have a God who wants to inject you with His joy because it is God’s miraculous, perpetual joy that will deliver strength to your life this side of heaven’s glory.

The devil does not want you strong. This diabolical laughing stock of a shadow of absolute nothingness wants you to be the weakest version of yourself possible and so he goes about it in one singular way: the devil attempts to steal your joy.

The devil is not after your marriage, your health, your finances, your children, or your relationships. What He is after is your joy and the way that he tries to access your joy is through your marriage, your health, your finances, your children, and your relationships.

Do not let the devil have your joy that Jesus died for! Stand toe to toe … nose to nose … with the accuser of the brethren and have a stare down. Hang onto your joy and declare in his face,

“Devil, you weak, whining, immature caricature of all that is not holy, you will never … not ever … not in a million Sundays … or in a thousand eternities have my joy. One of us is going down and it ain’t gonna be me!”

If you release any of your joy to the enemy it will turn you into a weak, whining, and ineffective Christian because the joy of the Lord is your strength.  Other than your salvation, I believe that your joy is the most valuable commodity you have been given while walking the surface of planet earth and sucking in oxygen.

The powerful gift of joy is able to give you indomitable strength during your days of pain and trauma. If there is anything the devil hates more than a Christian … it is a joyful Christian.

Hang onto your joy.  Don’t ever let go of  your joy because joy is what will give you the strength to fight and to carry on every day of your life!

Don't let go of your JOY