Friday, April 9, 2021

Life's Pressures




I've been experiencing something weird lately:  a low-level thrum of anxiety experienced in my body. I can tell it especially when I'm tired and maxed out. I can feel it in my limbs right down to my toes.

Between all the "have-to's", the "should do's" and the "want-to-do's", my body says, "Sorry, no can do!"

The choosing is about to kill me!

I vote to forget the "should-do's." Anybody with me?

So, doing what I know best, I go look in God's Word. I look up pressure in The Passion Translation, because I figure the King James Version doesn't use such a modern English word, and I find this:

We look away from the natural realm and we focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!
So consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave in under life’s pressures. After all, you have not yet reached the point of sweating blood in your opposition to sin. Hebrews 12:2-4 TPT


If I'm going to do like Jesus did, I'm going to focus on the joy ahead of me. That's how He fought the pressures of life.

How do I do that? Well it seems to me my word of the year for 2021 comes into play. Seek. If I seek Him first, the Word promises me all the less important things will be given to me. Abundantly. (Yes, it really says that! Look here.)

I figure that means the answer to life's pressure will also be given to me.

The joy set before me is an abundant life lived in union with God. He never gives me a burden too heavy for me because He shares it with me when I hang out with Him. Someday this will be a reality in my resurrected body.

Today it's a reality in my spirit, and I must keep reminding my emotional self to clue in the physical.

How do you handle life's pressures?

~~~

I just want you to know how highly I value those of you that make your way to the Journey to read my words! I believe encouraging others with the written word is a worthy calling. Thank you especially to those who respond. You make it worthwhile.
I don't want you to miss a post, so why not sign up to subscribe? It's easy-peasy. Just enter your email address in the sidebar right above my profile.

If a post resonates with you, please consider sharing by clicking one of the social media buttons at the bottom of this post.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Save Us Now




I love to picture the crowds when Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday a couple thousand years ago. I feel like the excitement started as a small hum as a few people began calling out "Hosanna," and laying palm branches in the road before Jesus as He rode along on a donkey. Others picked up the refrain "Hosanna, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord," until the sound swelled into a roar that the whole city heard.

The word "Hosanna" means "Oh, Save Us Now."

On that first Palm Sunday, the people were hoping for a deliverance from Roman rulers.  They didn't understand that Jesus came to bring spiritual deliverance, not a physical deliverance at that time.

Over two thousand years later, things are much the same. People are dissatisfied with their government and are longing for change. Once again, the masses are just sure that if the right person was in charge everything would be different.

We just can't see our greater need of a spiritual deliverance.

Speaking for myself, I need saving. Of course, I need salvation. I cannot earn favor with God.  I cannot earn eternal life.  I am a sinner who wants to repent. I must trust in Christ, and believe on His name.

But in addition to that, I need to be saved from myself. I am my own worst enemy.

Most of the time, I know what I should do.  For example, Matthew 28:41 tells me, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I know I need to ever be in a vigilant state and to pray that I won't fall.  But, I'm lazy or I grow complacent and think, " I've been doing so well, I don't have to worry about falling." Beware! Thinking I won't fall is an invitation to disaster.

I know I need to keep my thoughts on good, true, lovely and pure things. [See Philippians 4:8] Yet, it is so easy to fall in the trap of watching or reading the news and start dwelling on all the things that is wrong in my world.  Pretty soon, I'm depressed.

I know I need to rest. In fact, God thinks rest is so important, He set aside a whole day for resting. Instead, I over-commit and over-book myself to where there is little time to just "be."  Sometimes, the most creative ideas come when you are doing nothing.  If your mind is jammed-full of thoughts, how can there be room for inspiration?

I think the next time I mess up, I'm just going to pray "Hosanna!" Please save me now, because this is all too much for me.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 TPT


What about you? Are you ready to call for help? "Hosanna!" 

~~~

* adapted from an earlier post


I'm linking with the communities at Inspire Me Monday, #TellHisStory, InstaEncouragements Link-Up, #TuneInThursday, HeartEncouragement


Friday, March 26, 2021

Spring praises

It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to drop in on my friends from Friday's Fave Five. I'm in awe of the hostess of this vibrant community, Suzanne, who has shared five highlights in her life each week for 627 WEEKS! Talk about consistency! 

This spring, I can praise for so many things. 

I'm thankful it IS spring, and I'm thankful 2020 is behind us.

I'm thankful for sunshine and yellow crocuses, like the ones my friend brought to me from her garden:





Nature has planted little bouquets of these beauties up and down the roadways bringing joy to every traveler. I often think of stopping and taking close-up photos of them but always tell myself I don't have time ...

I'm thankful for my family, both at home and in my church. I'm thankful for those I can see in person. We might not hug as much as we used to; but there is no substitute for seeing their sparkling eyes.



The biggest news around our house currently is that my husband is healing from open heart surgery and then another stay in the hospital that resulted in an ablation to take care of an A-Fib problem. The days have flown by while we focus on meds, rehab and rest.

I praise God for improvement and am believing for a total recovery. During this time, I've been delving into the Word and finding a lot of joy out of The Passion Translation. In 2021, I'm reading the gospels over and over again each month to really get down into my soul who Jesus is and what He said and did while here with us on earth.

It's rocking my world. 

I'm also thankful for an app I've been using on my phone: the One Minute Pause. (It's free. I may have mentioned it previously.) It's a creation of John Eldredge; and he recently updated it to include pauses that focus on mental strength. I've sure needed uplifting in that area in these last few weeks.

I want to end with a portion of Scripture he uses in one of the pauses focusing on worship. It's not the same translation he uses, but The Passion Translation is so beautiful:

My heart explodes with praise to you!
    Now and forever my heart bows in worship to you,
    my King and my God!
Every day I will lift up my praise to your name
    with praises that will last throughout eternity.
Lord, you are great and worthy of the highest praise!
    For there is no end to the discovery
    of the greatness that surrounds you.
Psalm 145:1-3

Don't you love the idea of your praises lasting throughout eternity?

And, It is so true, there is no end to the things we can discover about our God. Every time I dive into His Word, something new is revealed. Every day there is something about Him to praise.

I am just so thankful. What brings thankfulness to your heart? I'd love to know! Please share in the comments, and consider linking your own post to the Friday's Fave Five community.


~~~

I just want you to know how highly I value those of you that make your way to the Journey to read my words! I believe encouraging others with the written word is a worthy calling. Thank you especially to those who respond. You make it worthwhile.
I don't want you to miss a post, so why not sign up to subscribe? It's easy-peasy. Just enter your email address in the sidebar right above my profile.

If a post resonates with you, please consider sharing by clicking one of the social media buttons at the bottom of this post.


I'm sharing this post with my friends at Grace&Truth



Friday, March 19, 2021

Redeem


Whenever I write on a word-prompt, I always wait a little while, letting the word roll around in my mind. What does the word mean? How has it been used? Can I think of an example from real life illustrating the word? And most importantly, does the Bible say anything about this word?

Today's word at Five Minute Friday is redeem, which means to purchase back.

GO
When I was a kid, my mom collected S&H green stamps. I often would help her paste them into books. It was fun to look at the catalog to see what prizes could be redeemed for a certain number of books.

I remember there were such cool things to save for! One thing that sticks out in my memory was a sewing machine. I could be wrong; but it seemed like you had to save hundreds of books to get one of those.

I laugh now, because having a sewing machine means WORK I don't want to do.

Not far from where we lived, there was a place called a Redemption Center, where you could go and turn in your books of stamps and get whatever your heart desired. FOR FREE!

I'm a little sad redeeming S&H green stamps have went the way of rotary phones, cameras using film and typewriters.

However, there is a commodity way more valuable than stamps needed by every human, and that is time. It's true there are only 24 hours a day for each person and nothing can be done to increase the amount.

It's also true many of us spend our time foolishly.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 NKJV

STOP (My five minutes ran out; but I must finish!)

How do we redeem time? We use our smarts and take full advantage of the time we have.

So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes. Ephesians 5:15-16 TPT

I'm learning how to use my time wisely. I have to be honest, it's taken me a lifetime to even begin using time in ways that count. I can get lost down a rabbit trail - or a scroll of social media - in an instant and spend hours there.

I don't want time-wasting to define me. These are evil times. I have no idea how much longer I have. (You don't have any idea, either.) I am asking God to help me live each day as He wants.

I think you could call that redemption.

~~~

Hey, I love it that you dropped by! It would be an honor if you would subscribe to receive my posts by email. Just enter your email in the box labeled, "Follow By Email," just above my profile in the right hand column.

Also, you can find me at Instagram under jerralea

I'm also linking this post up with the communities at Grace&Truth

Saturday, March 13, 2021

A Symphony of Prayer




The prayer of agreement is a powerful thing.

It only takes two; but it requires unity.

I ran across this translation of Matthew 18:19 and it sparked my imagination:

Again, I give you an eternal truth: If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer, my heavenly Father will do it for you.
Matthew 18:19 The Passion Translation

Imagine an orchestra waiting to make beautiful music together. They must wait for the direction of the conductor. If they don't, all would be chaos.

When the Holy Spirit moves on a couple of friends to agree, their praying in unison is like a beautiful melody in the ears of heaven. It gets God's attention.

And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we also know that we have obtained the requests we ask of him. 1 John 5:15 The Passion Translation

It's never good to be a lone ranger; instead let us reach out to others to pray with us. Praying together is not only powerful, but beautiful.

~~~

Hey, I love it that you dropped by! It would be an honor if you would subscribe to receive my posts by email. Just enter your email in the box labeled, "Follow By Email," just above my profile in the right hand column.

Also, you can find me at Instagram under jerralea


I'm linking up with Sunday's Scripture Blessings

Saturday, March 6, 2021

I Long for Green



I live in the midwest where there are seasons.

Right now, I am smack-dab in that season where winter is loosening its grip and thoughts of spring are tapping on my shoulders with every sunny day.

It's the time of the year where most days the landscape is less than desirable. Mud brown sticks and dried out grasses and patchy yellowy tufts are all I can see as I travel the roadways.

It's boring.

I'm longing for daffodils to spring up and buds to add some spring green to the grayish branches of trees.

I long for green.

This is also the time of year when not only my physical surroundings can be dull; but my mental atmosphere can be lackluster and tedious.

All the holidays are over and nothing left to anticipate.

And then, one morning, I open up the Word and these words leap off the page:

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” Matthew 11:28-30 TPT

Yes! A refresh is what I need; and the idea of Him being my oasis fills my soul with peace.

He says He is gentle. A gentle person is easy to please. A gentle person doesn't rebuke with harsh words.

Best of all, all that is required of me will be pleasant and easy to bear. How can that possibly be? Because when I have drawn near to Him and take the yoke HE gives me (not the one I've picked out for myself), He will make the yoke easy. 

Why? Because He shares it with me.

Do you want that, too? Just come.

~~


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Perceive



Revelation-knowledge is a delicacy, 
sweet like flowing honey that melts in your mouth.
Eat as much of it as you can, my friend!
For then you will perceive what is true wisdom,
your future will be bright,
and this hope living within will never disappoint you.
Proverbs 24:13-14 TPT

How do you perceive true wisdom?

You approach God with reverence, in awe of who He is.

The starting point for acquiring wisdom
is to be consumed with awe as you worship Jehovah-God.
To receive the revelation of the Holy One,
you must come to the one who has living-understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 TPT

You ask for it, as much and as often as you like.

And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace. James 1:5 TPT

You meditate on His Word.

Wisdom is a gift from a generous God,
and every word he speaks is full of revelation
and becomes a fountain of understanding within you. Proverbs 2:6  TPT


If you want wisdom, you'll be ingesting as much of His Word as possible. Remember, we need daily bread - spiritual, as well as physical.

May 2021 find you feasting on the riches of His wisdom.





Welcome to the last day of the #Write28Days challenge. During the month of February, I examined what my world looks like after 2020. I feel we are ever closer to the Lord's return. What would it look like if I lived everyday with that thought in mind?


This could be my last February 28th before He comes.

The truth is, it IS the last February 28th for some, because He comes back every day for somebody.

It could be me. It could be you. It could be every believer.

My prayer is to leave an impact. What about you?

So then, prepare your hearts and minds for action! Stay alert and fix your hope firmly on the marvelous grace that is coming to you. For when Jesus Christ is unveiled, a greater measure of grace will be released to you. 1 Peter 1:13 TPT


#28daysin2021ofintentionality

I don't want you to miss a post. You can go here to see all the links in my series as they go live each day.

~~~

Hey, I love it that you dropped by! It would be an honor if you would subscribe to receive my posts by email. Just enter your email in the box labeled, "Follow By Email," just above my profile in the right hand column.

Also, you can find me at Instagram under jerralea

I am linking this to the community at Inspire Me Monday.