Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
1 Corinthians 9:25 ESV

We have reached our final fruit of the spirit; Self- Control.
In my opinion, Paul is the epitome of Self-control and also discipline. Like an athlete who strives for a trophy; Paul lived for an eternal prize. His life in ministry was tough and he made sacrifices for his calling.

Early in 2022 I decided it was time to be a big girl and get all my labs checked and have a yearly checkup. Low and behold my whole lipid panel was out of whack.

I found myself staring at a prescription for a lipid lowering agent.

Hold up! I’m only 35…. No way I’m getting on “medicine”!

After the initial shock wore off. I called up my primary care and asked if I could have some time to “get myself together”

I had all the chatter around me…
“Emily just get the medicine and then you don’t have to worry about it.”
“It’s pointless to adjust your diet and exercise, you’ll still end up on meds”

They weren’t being rude; they were just telling me their experience. Not a thing wrong with it, but I knew within my heart that I was not living a healthy life.

As a healthcare professional I know I need certain amounts of exercise, vitamins, and minerals to maintain a well functioning body.

I was missing something important in my life.

Self-Control and Discipline.

This past summer I embarked on an 8-week journey to a healthier lifestyle. The process was tough but I learned to “trust the process”.

I didn’t ask a ton of questions I was able to see the results of other people and I trusted. This meant I couldn’t eat certain things and I had to work out.

Guess what?!?

I was successful. I was able to change the course of my lab values and they starting trending in the right direction. I had an added bonus of losing weight and felt amazing.

After those 8 weeks, I got slack with my plan. I quit planning. I made excuses to not go to gym. I got lazy and let my guard down. I spiraled and derailed.

Sound familiar?

What happened?

My first mistake
I prioritized meal planning and exercise over my quiet time.

How does that make you fail?

Everything about fitness and health is MENTAL! If you don’t feed your spiritual health the physical health will fail.
If you don’t exercise you physical body your spiritual health weakens.

We are going into a new year and it’s the age old story of setting goals and inevitably failing. I want to urge you to set small goals that build on each other and self assess why YOU failed before.
I failed because I didn’t prioritize and now I’m gonna start again and this time I won’t fail.

One of our big quotes in anesthesia

“Don’t keep trying the same thing over and over; it’s the definition of insanity”

Don’t be crazy, make a NEW change and rely on God to help you through it.

I am in no way comparing my health journey to Paul’s life, but his example is what makes me know there is room for it all. Room to foster my relationship with God, room to eat healthy, room to exercise, room to spend time with my family, and room to write for you guys! I must plan and I must make the room. I will set small goals and be prepared for mistakes. When the mistakes come along, dust off and try again.

Here are the steps I’m personally taking this time to ensure I don’t fail! I hope you’ll come along side me and let’s try it out together! No particular order because they will all be happening simultaneously.

Step 1
Utilizing a prayer journal. I’ll attach a link to bottom where I get mine. (I do not get any kick backs or money for sharing this)

Step 2
Setting my alarm ten minutes earlier than usual and praying. I’ve been doing this since Dec 1st. Some days I physically get out of bed and some I just lay there and pray over the topics and people I know I need to pray over.

Step 3
I’ve made personal goals and I’ve shared them with my spouse and close friends. They will keep me accountable and encourage me.

Step 4
Find someone to mentor. Start by praying for them and asking for wisdom on how to serve them. Don’t tell them you’re doing this. Just be a friend. Pray for them and be aware of what is going on in their life. Encourage them and go out of your way to be there for them.

Step 5
Healthy eating, meal planning and prepping in a sensible way.

Step 6
Exercise daily for at least ONE HOUR!

Step 7
Pray continuously. Pray over everything. Pray with the faith and belief God will answer in a way that is in your best interest.

Y’all ready for 2023?
I know I am!

I can’t wait to share what’s next here at life2drybones.com

Prayer journal –> Val Marie Paperr

Did you you miss the last post? You’re not my cup of tea

If you are interested in the fitness challenge I spoke up please send me a direct message via my social media accounts. I would love to share with you!

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You’re Not My Cup of Tea

Not everyone likes you.

Let it sink in.

Accept it.

Now, lets move past it. We can’t please everyone and I truly don’t think the Lord expects us to. We only need please Him. Not everyone likes you and there are people you don’t like either, but we must treat everyone with gentleness. The ones we don’t like and the ones who don’t like us.

But HOW?!?

If you are a parent you have to repeat this word quite frequently around that 1-2 year old. “Be gentle, sweet touches, soft touches, not so rough!”
This is usually my convo with my two year old in regards to our cat, but it helped me teach her how to be around humans too. I didn’t start by using the word gentle only, I would rub her head or face while saying “Gentle baby”. After a short time, she recognized what the word meant.

This technique is the same when learning how to be gentle in demeanor. You have to practice it first.

I love using my logo bible software. It helps me dig more into scripture and learn words better. One of my favorite commentaries is the Bible Knowledge Commentary (BKC). The BKC explains gentleness this way- “marks a person who is submissive to God’s Word and who is considerate of others when discipline is needed”

Let’s dig into some verses

“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Submissive to God’s Word
If you want to be able to exhibit gentleness then you have to examine yourself. If your full of wickedness, soft actions and reactions aren’t going to flow out of you.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Help My Unbelief

The deeper I dive into the fruits of the spirit, the harder it gets to write. I am pretty sure that is no coincidence. Paul started with the all encompassing fruits and narrowed down to the root of our salvation.
Today we land at faithfulness. This is one of those churchy words that we seem to see all the time. In hymns, Sunday school, holidays..etc.
The reason we see it so much is because its that important.

But what is it?

The greek word for faith is Pistes which translates as assurance of belief, faith, trust, value, proof

I only know of one person in the Bible who exhibited the fullness of Faith. Jesus. He taught multiple lessons on faith throughout His time here on earth. One story that always shakes me to my core is mentioned in Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-28, and Luke 9:37-42.

I’m going to jump between the three so I pray you can follow me.

One thing I want to mention about studying the Bible is the importance of translation. All the different versions translate from greek to English (NT) and Hebrew to English (OT). With the above translation of “faith” you can see how we have multiple versions. Like our bibles have different versions, the disciples have different ways they describe this lesson they learned.

None are wrong, and all encompass the same lesson.

I don’t own multiple versions of the Bible, Get you the Bible app and you can swap between versions whenever you need to! When I prayed over this topic I knew there was a story about a man who said “help me with my unbelief”, and I knew there was a time Jesus said “this can only be done by prayer and fasting”

As I searched the Bible app for these phrases I realized it was a version problem and I swapped to the new King James Version and found them both..and they were same story..haha. Thank you Lord.

I say all that to help you see how I study. I say it so you can study it yourself. I wish I could say that I can spout off books and verses off the top of my head, but I can’t. We have the technology so USE IT!

Don’t believe what I say. You have to go dig in and read yourself. I’m just a vessel here, following FAITHFULLY a calling God gave me 😉

Let’s get to it!

We start off with a boy with an unclean spirit. He was mute, would fall out and foam at the mouth.
The disciples had tried to cast out the demon and could not. So here this poor dad is begging Jesus to help his son. (Mark 9)
Mark 9:23-24 And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes. 24. Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe, help my unbelief”

    Help my unbelief

This is the basics of faithfulness. We can’t do it alone. We need help. Praise the Lord Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit our Helper to see us through our unbelief (John 14:26). Let’s ask for help now.

Dear Lord,
Help me with my unbelief. Help me in the small things and the big Lord. I believe because I have accepted you into my heart, but my flesh evades me. It makes me doubt. The enemy uses this against me and I pray now and every day you will help me die to that fleshly desire and remain faithful in my walk with you. Amen.

The next part I want to point out is where the disciples asked “Why could we not cast it out” (Matthew 17:19b)

We see first a common person who struggles and admits he needs help and then we have the disciples on the other side who feel like failures.

Jesus’s response…well lets just read it..

Mark 9:29(NKJV) “and he said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and FASTING.’

Matthew 17:20-21(NKJV) “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard see, you will say to the this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

Luke did not mention this part-probably cause he was a physician and doctors don’t want to admit failure….I am only kidding here 😉

Prayer and fasting

    How do you handle the real hard stuff? Prayer and fasting. Fasting is a tool I have learned over the last few years and I can’t even begin to mention all the beautiful responses I have had from true prayer and fasting. In my disciple group I teach how to start off with small things like, sugar, social media, caffeine..etc.
    You choose a time frame and you refrain from the substance. When your body craves it, you pray. Once we have done this a couple of times; we move on to fasting from food.

    Ya’ll.

    This is tough, but it truly opens your heart and mind to what God is wanting to tell you. If you are at an impasse with a decision, your marriage is struggling, your job is terrible, illness, debt, infertility then this can only be hashed out with prayer and fasting. These disciples got a hard demon to cast out and their unbelief in the power they had from Jesus, failed them.

    Stop looking at your circumstance as punishment and fall on your knees. Sacrifice food to pull you even lower so that you must depend on his spirit to satisfy the physical hunger. The physical hunger will humble you and He will deliver you. Start small and watch your faith grow daily. Be faithful in the process and He will be faithful in His deliverance.

    Dear Lord,
    We live in a society that loves to boast. We boast about our skin care products, our hair tools, our favorite cheese dip, bean dip, recipe, our children and all the things. Lord I pray today we stop and dive into what we should be boasting about; you and your faithfulness. I pray our faith would be strengthened daily by reading your word and boasting about it on Facebook, instagrams, twitter, at work, at church and everywhere. I pray we would move mountains with our faith. We read in romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and I pray we cling to that promise. You are faithful and I pray you would help us all in our unbelief through prayer and fasting. You are our redeemer and friend. Thank you for answering all of my prayers. Thank you for telling me no when I needed it.
    In Jesus name
    Amen.

    Need to catch up? See last weeks post here Oh My Goodness

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Oh My Goodness!

For some reason I have struggled writing this blog on goodness. We don’t live in a time of a lot of human goodness 🤪.

In order to truly understand how to exhibit goodness you have to understand the goodness of God. I know deep down there are numerous amount of people who live in the belief “God doesn’t see me or care about me”

You see, it is the flesh that causes us to correlate His goodness with our circumstances.

It’s easy to blame it on satan attacking but truthfully our flesh gets the best of us and we tend to see only the negative. That my friend, is selfish. At the end of the day its not about you. It’s about Him. Until you can lay down that selfish mindset you won’t be able to show goodness to other people.

So right now, I want you to stop.
Bow your head and pray for conviction. I’ll get you started.

Dear Lord,
Show me where I’m being selfish. Help me see the goodness you have shown me. Help me look past my own circumstances. Help me Lord. I don’t deserve your goodness, but you gave it anyway……….

Amen.

Now.
I hope your heart is softened to hear this next part.
In my research on this fruit, I found a few definitions/explanations of goodness.

GOODNESS—in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good

Goodness- the quality of moral excellence; especially as a quality that is not stagnant, but actively working itself out

Goodness (agathōsynē) may be thought of both as an uprightness of soul and as an action reaching out to others to do good even when it is not deserved. (Bible knowledge commentary)

That last part is where I want to set up camp.
You can’t show goodness to others who don’t deserve it if you don’t first realize the goodness you’ve been shown and don’t deserve.

This is the root of our faith. God sent His one and only Son as a living sacrifice for us all. He was beaten and placed on a cross that He did not deserve.

He died for us.

If you don’t believe that and accept Him in your heart; you will not be able to produce this fruit.

Goodness is a selfless fruit.

We’ve all heard the term “oh my goodness”

I had to use urban dictionary to get a good idea of how to describe this

A phrase uttered in total disbelief and astonishment (urban dictionary)

This definition sums up goodness well.
Goodness is astonishing and people won’t believe why someone would give goodness to people who don’t deserve it… that my friend opens the door to the conversation you need. The ones that leads people to Jesus.

Do the work to look at the goodness God has shown you, and do the work to show Goodness to those who don’t deserve it.

None of us deserve it and living out goodness brings people to the one true King.

Sixty Pound Engagement Ring

I’m gonna take us to the book of Ruth to discuss this weeks fruit of the spirit; Kindness. Ruth has kindness woven all throughout it. I encourage you go read the whole book…it’s only four chapters..it won’t take ya long.

If you’ve never read the story I want to lay some groundwork.

This was the time when the judges ruled and due to a famine at the time a family of Bethlehem; Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons went to sojourn in the country of Moab. While in Moab, Naomi’s husband died, and Her sons married Moabite women; Ruth and Oprah. Ten years later Naomi’s sons died.

As anyone can imagine, Naomi was heartbroken and just wanted to go back home to Bethlehem. Ruth went with her despite Naomi’s efforts to have her return back to her mother’s house.

As widows, Naomi and Ruth were able to glean in the fields. This was the process for the poor, sojourners (travelers), widows and orphans to collect grain from the corners/borders of the field.

As many of you know, Ruth ended up in the field of Boaz. When Naomi realized that Boaz, a relative, was taking a liking to Ruth she set her on a mission. She gave her specific instructions (Ruth 3: 1-4)

Ruth followed her instructions (Ruth 3:6-7)

Instructions that mimicked that of a marriage proposal.

“So she lay at his feet until the morning but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, ‘Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.’ And he said, ‘Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out. ‘So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city.” Ruth 3:14-15 ESV

When I was in college I started watching the TV sitcom, “Friends”. My favorite part of the show has always been the love story between Chandler and Monica. The relationship started in secret and was always backward from the start; right down to the proposal where Monica proposed to Chandler. Not the normal sequence of events, but entertaining and melted all of the fans’ hearts. Love stories now are different than they were for the Israelites, but this love story has stood the test of time. We can still appreciate and understand the love and kindness many centuries later.

Ruth had just followed Naomi’s every instruction at the threshing floor with Boaz, and then “lay at his feet until morning” (Ruth 3:14). I can’t imagine the anxiousness she must have felt lying there throughout the night. Before she left she held out her shawl and he gave her 6 ephahs of barley (60 pounds) to bring back to Naomi (Ruth 3:15).

With all the anxiousness, I am not sure I would have been prepared for 60 pounds of barley to be dropped in my arms to carry back. In today’s culture, proposals end with hugs, laughter, and ring pictures on social media; not 60 pounds of barley. I can just picture her hunching over to carry it. I now know Ruth was not only strong emotionally, but also physically!

One big question I want to unpack is: Why did he give her barley? This could be for two reasons. The first was to conceal her and have it appear she was finishing the night shift. Let’s be honest, not a real good look having a lady leave the threshing floor at the wee hours of the morning. They would be the talk of the town!

The second to send a message to Naomi. Back in Ruth 1:21, Naomi was devastated and empty, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty”. This gift of barley is showing Naomi’s provision.

He is saying “I got you, boo!”.

The relationships between Naomi and Ruth, Ruth and Boaz, and now Boaz and Naomi are pure examples of kindness. The Hebrew word for kindness is hesed; the term reflects selfless compassion, kindness, and grace that is fundamental to God’s nature.

Marital security was important for women. What is so cool about Naomi is despite her hopelessness she still knew God was faithful and she clung to her faith in the law. Boaz could see the faithfulness of Naomi, the kindness of Ruth, and the opportunity for redemption.

Just like a mother who sees her daughter come home with a ring on her finger; Ruth was coming home with a large amount of barley to signify the rest and redemption Boaz would provide for their family.

Ruth’s kindness to Naomi by staying with her shows us her belief in our God and her turning away from the Canaanite gods. Ruth’s journey to Bethlehem is such a neat parallel to when Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem. Just as the field was no coincidence, the stable where Jesus was born was intentional. God led the Magi there just as he led Ruth to Boaz’s field.

God used Boaz on a threshing floor to give Ruth her kinsman redeemer and Jesus was born in a manger of a lowly stable as our ultimate redeemer.

The characteristic of Kindness is selfless. If you are only thinking about yourself and how you will benefit then kindness is not a fruit you are producing. Try and analyze this. Sit quietly, try and think about the last truly kind thing you have done. Let’s follow the path of Ruth and be kind; even if it leads us to a foreign place of discomfort.

Dear Lord,

I pray that kindness would be a fruit we seek to produce daily. I pray we can wake up every morning and ask for a way to show true compassion and kindness to someone. I am so thankful for the kindness of Ruth and Boaz. Their kindness paved the way for Your sons birth.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Right Now is not the Right Time

“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15 ESV

Oh the wonderful conversation of patience. If you are a parent, you probably say “hang on, be patient” a million times a day. I know I do. It was actually my daughter’s teacher that planted the seed of studying the fruits of the spirit. I had said my usual “be patient” statement and my oldest quoted back at me “Patience is a fruit of the spirit”. This is the same one who said chocolate milk is a fruit of the spirit..so there’s that, but hey she understands that fruits show goodness.

Knowing her teacher used this as a form of teaching my baby warmed my heart. Jesus also used culture current stories to bring home messages. These are called parables. Luke 8:4-14 is where Jesus tells the parable of the sower. I would like for you to go on and read that story in verses 4-8.

You’ve got time ..I promise.

This story left the disciples puzzled. They wanted to know the meaning. Sounds a lot like us as Christians now; we want to know the meaning right now. Jesus goes on in verses 11-15 explaining the meaning behind his story. He ends by telling us those that those seeds that grow in the good soil, hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart. The key part here; “and bear fruit with patience”.

The Greek translation of patience is forbearance. Forbearance is quite a big word that leaves you like…HUH?

The Hebrew translation of forbear is: cease, desist, and refrain.

Becoming a parent has taught me the true form of patience. There have been times my kids make my blood boil to the point I want to literally shake them, but I refrain. I stop, breathe and refrain from doing the human thing I want to do. I’m not gonna lie my human side has come out a lot and I’ve not refrained. I have not shaken my kids, but I have spanked them in anger.

I learned real quick with my oldest that she responded better when I walked away. Keep in mind she would still be in her fit, screaming, wanting what she wanted RIGHT NOW.

When I ceased, desisted, and refrained she would come to me. She would come to me and sit at my feet to look at me. Sometimes the crying would continue and a lot of times she would quiet.

I would pick her up, hold her and use that moment to teach.

Her biggest lessons have been when her impatience reached a tipping point of a full on tantrum.

Sound familiar?

Have you been in a tantrum with God, waiting on an answer, waiting on relief, waiting for a change in your situation?

Patience.

After several times of this scenario playing out, my oldest would quit with the tantrums. She would know when I walked away that she had become impatient and she his learning to understand when I say no; that it is for the best.

There is a reason you hear the term “child like faith” all the time. We must have the faith in our Father like a child has in their parents. Faith that no matter what, He has our best interest in heart. He sees all of it. He sees the beginning, the end, and all the in between. He knows what we need, when we need it, and how much.

Refrain from the tantrums, cease the chaos and walk away from the situation. Go to the Father, look up and allow Him to hold you in His arms and teach you the lesson. Those lessons all add up to a child of God who knows how to produce the fruit of patience.

Lord,

Teach us holy patience. Patience to understand you will provide. I pray we can use this patience to transcend all facets of our life. When we learn patience with you; we can use the lessons in all of our relationships. I pray that each of us will be patient with every scenario that comes our way. Lord I praise you for the lessons. I praise you for metaphorically walking away and making me come to you by sitting at your feet and wanting to know how I can change my plight. Thank you for Jesus and every lesson he left us here on earth. Thank you for the promise of His return.

I love you

Amen

Privacy Promotes PEACE

PEACE (שָׁלוֹם, shalom; εἰρήνη, eirēnē). A pervasive concept in the Bible that most commonly relates to a relationship of love and loyalty with God and one another.

When I see the word peace I think about Miss Congeniality. All the contestants got up there and answered questions that inevitably lead to “world peace” and then Cheryl, Miss Rhode Island talks about her perfect date.

“April 25th, because it is not too hot, not too cold, and all you need is a light jacket”

Living in the south we rarely see days like April 25th, but that statement, when heard immediately makes the mind think of peace. Peaceful weather. It is unbelievable the number of Christians that are unable to truly experience the peace that God gives.

We find our peace from our Heavenly Father, but there is the second part of that… “and one another.”

It’s been two and half years since our world experienced a pandemic. It was the furthest I’ve seen our society from peace in my lifetime. I watched so many families in discord, friendships ended, jobs ended, and lives were lost.

The biggest place for unrest was on social media. It was legit, ridiculous. I can’t think of another word.

I want to take a current world scenario to show how we can be more peaceful in our presence online. There are many facets of the word peace.

Throughout my own life, I’ve experienced incomprehensible peace from God. Today we are talking about a fruit of the Spirit. This type of peace is the peace Christians must live out.

Something I’ve picked up recently regarding social media is how isolating it can be. We have become a culture that posts everything we do on the internet.

I want to paint a picture for you.

There is a set of girlfriends. They love spending time together. They enjoy each other’s company and genuinely encourage one another. A busy season is in full swing and it’s impossible for them to all hang out. Schedules align and two of them happen to get together. Their kids play, their husbands visit and they eat dinner together. You take photos because you want to look back and remember your children playing together. Fun is had, you go home and think, “man that was fun”.

15 years ago that would have been where it stopped. The other girlfriends may or may not know that y’all got together and that’s ok.

With the current culture….

The photos pop up on social. Your friends who miss you, see them and everyone else does as well. No biggie…all had fun and it was an innocent time to visit.

The truth of it is this-

Satan creeps in and convinces your close friends to be jealous. He fills their minds with lies. The other people think “man I wish I could do stuff like that, man I wish I had kids, and yet again satan creeps into their minds and whispers lies.

Loneliness, envy, grief, and unmet expectations swirl in the group around you.

This is not peace.

Is it your fault? Nope.

Did you do anything wrong? Nope.

Why does it have to be posted? Why can’t it just be time with some friends and you have memories to look back on years later?

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the little ones following you and how your actions affect them. What we post on social matters. I’m not saying you can’t post fun events on the internet, but what I am saying is at the least stop and think… How important is it that I post this? What am I posting it for? Am I seeking likes, loves, and comments on my cute kids?

I watched an entire nation get turned upside down by what was posted on the internet. Measure up your motives before you post. The world doesn’t need to know your every coming and going. Privacy can indeed, be a doorway to peace.

Dear Lord,

Guide us on how we post on social media. Lord I pray we would consider people’s feeling before we post anything on our accounts. Social media is a beautiful thing that can truly bring you honor and I pray as Christians we would seek wisdom from you before we post anything. Lord I love you and thank you for for the platform I am able to have because social media exists. I pray I can honor you with it.

In Jesus name

Amen

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Pure Joy

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control: against such things there is no law.“ Galatians 5: 22-23

Two weeks ago I was a part of a women’s retreat with the theme “Pure Joy”. Here in the south our churches have experienced revival through men and women’s retreats. We’ve watched God move powerfully in our families, community, church, and friendships.

Each retreat I’ve experienced a major revelation that catapulted me closer and closer to my Heavenly Father. It has been quite the pruning process to be honest. All of the past retreats positioned me at this one to truly experience pure joy.

I wanted to share the joy that I received, but first I want to tear apart the word joy.

A lot of times when you look at the Greek and Hebrew translation of words you will get several words in the English language that equate to the Greek and Hebrew language.

For example: Love, the fruit of the spirit we discussed last week has several.

Hebrew-loyalty; joint obligation; faithfulness, goodness, graciousness; godly action

(I am in no way a language expert or bible expert so full disclosure; I’m gonna mess this up, but I pray you’ll see my point. )

I find it cool that both translations are Joy. It is a pure word. The Hebrew word also has the word jubilation as part of the word.

At our retreat I experienced the Hebrew translation of Joy; JUBILATION.

Here’s why.

Over the past few years myself and a few friends have been on a journey of obedience in ministry. Blogs, retreats, websites, writing, and serving have inundated our lives and we’ve been alongside each other in this journey. We’ve shared our passions and we’ve shared our fears. At this retreat I got to watch three of my besties live out their passions and it was the most beautiful experience.

I’m gonna start with Mallory.

Mallory was our retreat director and she has a nack for the details. She has a passion for seeing women come to Jesus and a natural ability to coordinate the process. Watching her in her element was so incredibly cool. Mal, you’re the bomb and I love you.

Next up, my incredibly talented singer friend, Alecia.

This girl has a beautiful gift from above that she uses to usher in the Holy Spirit to a crowd of people. She exudes what worship is truly about. I watched her overcome numerous battles getting to that stage and she did it with grace (she won’t agree, but its true). Alecia, you are incredible and I am proud to call you my friend.

Check out her blog and subscribe: Woven Word

And last, but certainly not least, Amanda May. AKA A.J.May

Amanda was our spiritual director and when I tell you she spiritually directed….dood. I watched her step out and literally preach the word like I’ve never seen her do. All the time she put into those lessons were evident. All the time she spent on her knees was evident. She brought the gospel to a room full of 133 women and people’s lives were incredibly changed. Amanda, you are a jewel. I couldn’t do life without you. Thank you for your faithfulness and encouragement.

Check out her website and subscribe: Play for the King

Ya’ll I stayed in tears the whole weekend. Joyful tears. I was so incredibly proud of my friends for being obedient in their callings. This was not an overnight process. This was years in the making and to watch it unfold was indeed a jubilation. That feeling of joy is something that only God can give. He let me experience it because of obedience.

Living out our lives is full of bumps, bruises, loss, tragedy, illness…etc. Most of which we can’t control. The joy that God gives, allows you to still feel joy when you’re in the midst of those battles. He always provides and when you come out on the other side you will be able to witness the wonder working power of our Father.

God is so Cool.

Dear Dad,

I am still in a state of awe. You are amazing and worthy of all the praise. I watched you show out in the lives of my best friends. You used them in mighty ways and I thank for letting me be a part of that. Lord I pray that this reader can search their heart and find the joy. I pray that this fruit you give us will be lived out. I pray the joy we exude will bring people to you and leave them thinking…”I want what they have”. Thank you for our retreats, thank you for the ministry opportunities you’ve given each of us.

I love you.

Amen.

If you missed last week check it out here: The LIttle Ones are Following You

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The Little Ones are Following You

“But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control: against such things there is no law.“ Galatians 5: 22-23

“To be filled with the Spirit means that the believer will demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in his or her life.”

Billy Graham Christian Workers Handbook, p. 158

We had our annual tailgate Sunday at our church this past week. I always love being able to visit with our connect groups and letting our kids run free on the church campus. It is so refreshing to watch each parent take their turn going out to the field and being the one to bring the kids back in.

It’s a subconscious thing. There is no “Hey tag your it”, it just happens and its a beautiful thing to watch. When my turn came around I went out to stop some kids from venturing into a sketchy little spot that I knew if the little ones followed, it would be catastrophic.

I want to also add I had no voice. We had come off our women’s retreat and between Louisiana weather, sinus issues and singing all weekend I could barely muster a whisper.

As I walked out to the kids, I had to get real close to them so they could hear me. The boys were actually not doing anything wrong and in any other situation they could have played where they were, but there were little ones all around who were watching and wanted to go with them. When I got to them and asked them kindly to would come back in so the little ones wouldn’t follow them, they turned politely and listened to my strained request.

Of course they sweetly obeyed and came right in and we never had another issue.

As I left that afternoon I thought about what I had told them and realized that is exactly what God is telling us when we have to refrain from some things because certain people are watching.

It’s easy to just say, “It’s none of their business what I am doing, I’m not hurting anyone…etc”

That is not true.

That is where I want to go with the love part of the fruit of the Spirit today. Love is a topic that could go in many directions. There are infinite amount of ways to show Christian love. When you refrain from doing something you really want to do because you care about the little ones around, that is a sacrificial love that is 100% a fruit of the Spirit.

Christians who are young in their faith can’t easily combat satan. It takes time to learn how to endure and recognize when the enemy is attacking.

Those kids never once doubted my instruction, they knew those young ones could very easily stumble to a devastating end if they followed them.

“Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” 1 Corinthians 8:13

There are some things that are not “wrong” for us to do, but we must analyze each scenario and ask for guidance on rather or not that task will cause another to stumble.

This is love.

Love that puts the well being of others above our own desires. Those sweet boys probably thought “Man that’s not fair, I wanna go throw rocks in that creek” but they turned around and respected the elder that told them, not right now.

Are you weighing your decisions by the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Right and wrong isn’t always black and white but praise the Lord we have an elder we can look to 24/7; 365. He will help us know when we need to step back and look for the little ones following us.

Dear Lord,

Forgive me for the times I have dived head first into creeks without a care as to who was following me. Multiple times thought out my life I have taken no regard for the ones around me and how my actions effect their walk with you. Lord I pray conviction on the reader. I pray you would speak truth in their life and show them where they need to be exhibiting this type of Christian love. Love that is produced by your Spirit in their life. Thank you for bringing me away from the lifestyle that does not honor you and into the truth that can spill into the lives of others. I love you.

Amen.

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