Joyful Attachment

You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. Romans 8:9

Who knew that the sweet little Sunday school song I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart was revealing a symbiont relationship. Yes, this feels a bit sci-fi, but it is far from fiction. Before you get visions of Alien, and creep yourself out, let’s look back at the definition. [Woo Hoo! Science and English!]

Symbiosis noun [sim-bee-oh-seez]

  1. the living together of two dissimilar organisms resulting in which both benefit from the association. 2. a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement.

If you know anything about the Holy Spirit, you know this pretty much describes Him. If we have decided to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit is living with us. He is nothing like us, yet chooses to live with us. This is no ‘side-by-side’ arrangement. We are not merely affected by an outside influence commonly portrayed as an angel on our shoulders. He actually lives in us at the heart of our being.

So how does the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart show off this particular relationship? In Galatians 5 there is a section of scripture that describes what the attributes of the Holy Spirit happen to be. Joy is included in that list, as is love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When the Holy Spirit makes His home ‘down’ in our hearts, these come along with Him. Each of these characteristics come in a ‘God-sized’ supply, and since our symbiotic relationship is a beneficial one, they are all available to us at any time.

So why then, do we struggle to love or be patient? Why do we lack the faith or have issues with self-control? How is it these things just don’t come easy? All good questions. The answer may lie in the very noisy conditions found in our hearts.

When the Holy Spirit moved in, our hearts still had a lot of chatter coming from all kinds of voices demanding our attention. It is somewhat like when you are taking with a friend on the phone and her kids are playing in the same room. All you can hear is the noise from the background, and your conversation gets choked out because of all the racket.

First Thessalonians 5:19 says “Don’t stifle the Spirit.” That word stifle is the Greek word σβέννυμι sbénnymi   meaning to extinguish, quench, or suppress. The English dictionary lists a few more synonyms like smother, asphyxiate, suffocate, choke. This verse is essentially saying, “Do not suffocate the Holy Spirit. [You need Him breathing into your life.]” Commentary added.

The smothering process happens when we choose to live by any other voice besides the Spirit’s wise counsel. We tend to push down His advice, searching out other options in books and on websites. We consider our friend’s opinions hoping they support what we want to choose. And, time-after-time, we blatantly cover our ears and shout out all the good reasons or excuses of why our way would be best. But each time we eliminate something that is preventing us from hearing the Holy Spirit, the volume of His wisdom and ways are turned up, making them easier for us to hear and live by.

I think there is another thing is worth pointing out. The amount of love, joy, peace, patience, etc. that become ours may be in direct correlation to the amount of ourselves we have given over to God. A complete supply of the Holy Spirit’s fruit is always available to us, but we must determine to give our entire lives to Him to fully take part in it.

I know, I know. Not easy. Rest assured, we are all a work in progress. The Holy Spirit lends His expertise in all areas of our lives if we will only stop stifling His voice and follow His direction. Then, this most beneficial of all relationships can flourish, and along with it the joy, joy, joy, joy down in our hearts.

Heart, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, self-control, live by the Spirit

 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13


Journaling Activity

  • Write out the following verses in your journal—Romans 8:5-11
  • Make some observations on what this passage is saying.
  • What does it look like to have the Spirit of Christ?


Guess What I Saw!


Over the past few weeks that have actually turned in to months, I have had a difficult time with feeling contented. I have not had a good grasp on it.  If my dear Aunt Bessie could hear my thoughts, she would tell me to quit wishing my life away. Good advice, especially when you get on the latter part of your numbered years. I have decided enough is enough and to combat my woe-is-me attitude, I am going to start reporting special little moments with God. You know, those blessings tucked away in the minor details of life.

Here’s one from yesterday.

My husband and I had a somewhat unusual date after a stressful week. We went to Walmart. But before you judge our lack of romance, you must hear what we did. We filled up a box with things necessary for a family from Afghanistan to set up housekeeping. Our part was buying things for the bathroom. We picked out the necessities—soap, TP, deodorant, band aids, etc.— plus a pretty shower curtain and some towels to match.

It was a small thing really, but it allowed us to touch someone we will not meet and pray for their family. We also remembered the excitement of having our first place in a new town. It made us thankful for the resources God has given us to give to someone else. It brought us together in worshipping God through loving a neighbor. Now, that is romantic.

I am grateful that God handed us an opportunity that would fulfill so many needs. What a beautiful blessing wrapped up in a simple box of bathroom supplies.

So from time-to-time, I am going to post a report beautiful view I have witnessed. Join me in telling of the goodness God packs into seemly ordinary happenings of each day. Let your view of what God is doing encourage others.

 I will sing about the LORD’s faithful love forever;

I will proclaim Your faithfulness to all generations with my mouth.

Psalm 89:1

Treasured Identity: At Peace


You will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.
Isaiah 26:3


Treasured, identity, Peace, peaceful, salvation, war, righteous

I stood there, feet on a tiny, rigid mesh platform looking to the ground a hundred feet below. I should have been scared out of my mind, but I wasn’t. I felt at ease, and perhaps even a little exhilarated.

When I arrived at the “ropes” course earlier that morning, I put myself in the capable hands of the guides. Geared up with the appropriate attire and instructed on the basics, I stepped onto the first jumping off point and set out on adventure that would eventually land me high in the canopy with a grand view. Little by little, I gained confidence in the process, replacing uncertainty with peace.

I think the key to my peace rested greatly on my trust in the professionals and my equipment. But that didn’t come automatically. There was a testing process. Each time I hooked onto the cable and let myself glide through the air, it reinforced the words of the guide. Through the practice, I gained peace in my circumstances.

Peace with God doesn’t necessarily come automatic either. We are human after all. We have waged war with God over our choices. And even when things are seemingly peaceful between God and ourselves, the enemy sneaks up. He whispers in our ear how we could never measure up to God’s standard. We listen to his lies and see trouble where there was none.

The truth:

When we surrendered our lives over to Jesus, we were automatically at peace with God.

The problem:

We don’t always trust that knowledge because we have been at war for so long.

We continue to battle with Him out of habit. We don’t believe things will work the way He says they will. We doubt. We refuse. We flounder. But over time, the proof of His word shows itself in our lives, and our faith increases along with our peace.

So, begin here. Keep your mind dependent on what God has to say about you.

“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 Romans 5:1 HCSB

You have been declared righteous by your faith. You are now at peace with God. Period. Not just on your good days, but every day.

This brings me back to my illustration. When it came to the gear, the instructor was the one who put it on me. She buckled it in place and made it secure. I had nothing to do with it. This is sort of like when God justifies you. It’s Him Who clothes us in righteousness, not ourselves.

Then, once on the course it was important to follow the directions my instructor gave. It would make all the difference in the outcome of the journey along the ropes. This is really a great picture of what comes next after you have agreed to follow Jesus. Each step of the way, God has provided practical instructions for life in His words found in the Bible. Putting them to practice will start to rewire that brain that wants to fight with God, allowing a peaceful unity with Him, instead.

But before you freak out and think you don’t trust enough to hook yourself to God and jump off the platform into the unknown, remember that right with you will be the Instructor, the Holy Spirit. It is His job to remind you of the right way to live and warns you of danger. Once I was fully clothed in the appropriate gear and given very basic information on the ways of the ropes, the instructor went before me, encouraging me as I followed her example. Each time I chose to follow, I found myself higher and higher in the canopy with more faith in the process and at peace in my spirit.

Isn’t that the desired place? More faith and at peace? I believe God wants it that way. That peace—εἰρήνη eirḗnē in the Greek He provides for us is tranquility, safety and security, and even prosperity. [Prosperity according to God’s economy. A later discussion.] Trust God at His word. You’re at peace with Him if you have taken the step to trust Jesus with your life. Now, practice living in it. It will lead you to a very pleasant vantage point with a wonderful view.

 “I saw the Lord ever before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope. . .You have revealed the paths of life to me; You will fill me with gladness in Your presence.”

Acts 2:25-28 HCSB

Haven’t decided to follow Jesus? Don’t wait another minute. Go here to check out how.

Journaling Activity

  • Add to your journal Romans 12:9-21. This passage is titled Christian Ethics or Christian Virtues in some Bibles.
  • Make some observations on how practicing these concepts might bring peace to you as well as peace to others.
  • Which of the actions from the passage in Romans can you apply today that will give your life a new path ending in a new perspective?
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to assist you in living in peace.

Treasured Identity: Daughter


Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God,”

1 John 5:1


I am a child of God.

I am not trying to brag. That is not really my intent. I am simply stating the reality of my life. It’s what happens when you are born of God.

What does that mean anyway—this being born of God? John, one of the disciples of Jesus, put it this way in his gospel, “But to all who receive Him [Jesus], He gave them the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. . .” John goes on to say our citizenship nor our parentage will make us God’s children. The method of has nothing to do with bloodline, but rather, a choice to believe.

The Greek word for believe, πιστεύω pisteúō, means to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to place confidence in.

Perhaps that last bit—to put confidence in—is the defining factor of whether we are children of God. This word confidence is actually what we call faith.

Having faith is really a put your money where your mouth is action. It’s more than just knowing something. It is believing and allowing your actions to show it. This is the taking up your cross and following (Jesus) position. Head knowledge is not enough. God’s truth must reach all the way down to your feet as you follow Him through life.

Following God is not always easy, because you will find He’s in the business of going places you might not choose to go and reaching out to people you never thought you’d be involved with. But, I am glad He chases after those who don’t know Him. That’s how He found me, and I’m grateful for the chance to now choose to pursue Him.

So, here I am, a child of God, and every day I get to know Him a little better. Being His child does come with certain responsibilities. The family business, although it has its challenges, is never boring, and the rewards are priceless.

 The man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence indeed is the LORD, is blessed.

Jeremiah 17:7



Identity Crisis

Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.

Deuteronomy 7:6  New Living Translation


girl-517559_1920“I want what you have,” a friend confessed. After years of being involved in each other’s lives, she had noticed a difference in mine. I was confident and at peace. She said she knew it was the result of having Jesus in my life.

She went on to say it was not organized religion she was seeking. Its flaws had long turned her away from that. There was nothing that was appealing about it to her. It was the relationship she craved. The one I had with Jesus had caught her attention and she wished she could have it too.

Confident and peaceful did not happen overnight. I fought against God for my own agenda. I reasoned with Him about His standards. I doubted. I rebelled. I quit. And through it, God waited patiently for that moment when I would eventually stop struggling and turn to Him. It was then that my life began to transform.

Although the average onlooker could not see that my life was all that bad—I had resources, a family, and even happiness—but, I also knew that it was not the life God desired. I had Jesus in my pocket like a trump card to cheat hell, but my mind and heart lacked His presence. I was tired of living a life shamed by the sin I carried.

What I was missing was Jesus had taken my sin to the grave when He died. I didn’t ask Him to. He just did it. It was a gift I was told. Out of love and desire, He died for me. I was rescued from the fate sin had placed on me. Once I accepted that, Sinner was no longer my identity. A completely new list of names to go by became available to me through my relationship with Him.

Some may wonder then, did I magically quit sinning? Even on my best days, I do not get it right every time. I struggle with doing the right thing like every other human, but because I am now a child of God as John 1:12 says, I can go to my Father for advice and correction without fear of being condemned [Romans 8:1]. I am at peace with God because I have developed a connection that is honest and real with Him, not based on fear or ritual.

Working in women’s ministry, I often see how much women struggle with their identity. Their pasts haunt them, making them feel undesirable and powerless to be anything but what their thoughts whisper. Their lives reflect their attitudes about themselves, and the relationship they should be enjoying with God is distanced and impersonal. Who would want to be involved with someone who couldn’t pull it together anyway? They listen to the lies and punish themselves, forgetting what Jesus did on the cross.

The truth is if we have decided to accept God’s gift of salvation, we are no longer the same. I agree that it takes time to change our minds about things we have thought true, but not impossible. A transformation can take place but it will involve doing some throwing out of the old thoughts and replacing them with some new.

Over the next few weeks and months, I plan to take a look into what God’s own words say about us and our identity in Jesus. My hope is to replace some of the negative self-talk with words taken from Scripture. I’m in this with you. Transformation takes time but is so worth it. In the end, you too will have a peaceful confidence that will draw attention to Jesus.

. . .you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.

As a result, you can show others the goodness of God,  

for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9 New Living Translation

Journaling Activity

I am big about writing out scripture. There is something soothing about it to me. It makes me slow down, helping me notice the words and the thoughts behind them. I encourage you to find a journal if you don’t have one already and give it a try. I use a plain old composition book that you can find in the school supplies for a dollar. I also use colored pens because it seems to enliven the text for me.

  • Take the scriptures from this post and write them.
  • Look them up in other translations.
  • Spend time pondering them.
  • Jot down your thoughts.
  • Look up the word treasured.

Is there something that keeps you from believing God treasures you?

Start a conversation by leaving a comment or talking with a friend.

I am praying that each women realizes that she is treasured by God.


Wild Fire

fire-175966_1280The smell of smoke lingers in the air this morning. Summertime in California. Of all the threats of natural disasters we face in our state, wild fire is one of the worst. At the moment, there are several burning. Destroyer of landscape, property and lives, it is a reminder of how precarious life can be.

A few years back, while traveling one of the wilderness parks in our area, I saw firsthand the destruction forest fire can have. One moment we were enjoying the views of a lush green vegetation and then, just around a bend in the road, the stark reality of a devastating inferno came into view. Where there had been life now only barrenness remained. What took decades or perhaps even centuries to create, fire had taken its toll in just minutes.

As I gazed out over the terrain, I was struck by the form of the bare land. Its structure had been revealed because the vegetation had been burned away. All the hills and valleys were in full view. The large rocks and the solid earth which could not be destroyed by the flames remained sound.

Life also has a way of catching fire. We strive to create an environment of beauty, happiness and success. All is going well, then flames seem to engulf everything. They storm across the landscape of our comfortable lifestyles taking with them the security we thought we possessed. Destruction and barrenness, disappointment and grief come. Breathing is difficult until the air clears. But it’s then, we see all is not lost. In fact, something has endured the flames.

The day my fire broke out didn’t actually come as a surprise. There had been signs that something was smoldering long before the flames came. I was having such a great time singing Kumbaya and roasting marshmallows, I just chose to ignore it. When the blaze finally erupted, it did its work quickly, destroying dreams and relationships in its path. The devastation seared my soul and left me choking on the smoke for months to come.

But what seemed complete destruction was not so. As I came out of the haze, I could see the foundation that God had built into the relationship He and I shared. He had laid the groundwork far in advance, so when disaster struck, there would be something left that was permanent and steady to stand on.

And that’s what I did. As I stood looking out over what had occurred, I realized the fire had given me a new vantage point. My perspective was changed. The things I believed to be a permanent landscape in my life were burned away but a truly constant and firm Presence remained. I could clearly see God’s unbelievable strength and compassion working in my situation.

As with all burn areas, things started to grow again. Life resumed. I recovered. It was during this time that I really turned to God’s word for strength. It watered the new growth that was occurring in my spirit. After a while, it was hard to tell a wild fire had ever burned through. The scars have slowly disappeared from sight as time has repaired the damage. But more importantly, my roots have grown deeper into God’s indestructible foundation.

I imagine there will come a day fire will burn through my life once again. It’s inevitable as the smell of smoke in summer in my part of the country. However, this time when it happens, I will understand its value.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” 

Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭28-29‬ HCSB

August 17, 2016 My husband and I and 82,000 others are currently evacuated from our homes due to the Blue Cut Fire in California. We have been notified all is well in our neighborhood and we are just in waiting mode for the all clear to return to our house. Our grandchildren were very concerned about the house, as you can imagine. They did not want us to have to build a new one. They said we would not be able to make a new one seem old and they like the old. Sweet babies. I think it is the memories the old invokes in them. I would have to agree.