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The night I knocked out my front teeth…

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in Blog | 1 comment

When I was 11, I had a crush on a boy that lived nearby. Let’s just call him, Greg.

Greg was three years older than me and when you’re an 11-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy seems like the coolest person on the planet. I thought he was a super cute but he had never even noticed me.

One summer evening, my Mom and I were coming home from my piano lesson. It was getting dark and had rained earlier that day. When we pulled into the driveway, I could not believe my eyes! Greg was standing in my backyard!

Lucky me!

My Dad and Greg’s Dad were friends.   That evening, Greg and his Dad had stopped by to talk to my Dad about some farm equipment.

An important part of this story comes from the fact that I grew up on a farm where I spent most of my days outside. I had a rectangle-shaped trampoline in my back yard that I jumped on a lot and I was pretty good at doing flips.

You need to remember that this was back in the ‘80s when there was no such thing as a NET around a trampoline nor was there padding around the metal frame.

No sir! That is not the way we did things back then. Safety was not really that important.

Us ’80’s kids just got on that rectangle springy device and jumped and flipped and laughed.  Sometimes, we would fall off and smack ourselves right onto the ground. No worries, though. In our perseverance, we would get right back up and go at it again. It’s a wonder any of us survived the ‘80s!

Well, on this particular evening, when I saw Greg in my back yard, I quickly devised a plan.

As soon as my Mom parked the car, I told her that I needed to go talk to Daddy. I ran out to where they were standing, and in an effort to try to impress Greg, I said with confidence in my voice, “Hey—I can do flips on that trampoline over there. Want to see?”

He said, “ok”, so off we went. I got on the trampoline with complete self-assurance!

This was my chance!

As Greg stood on the ground in front of me, I started jumping. I put everything I had into that moment and jumped higher than ever. I wanted it to be the best flip I had ever done. When I felt the moment was right, I gave it all I had and I did my flip.

I flipped so fast and strong that I over-flipped.   My toes hit the damp trampoline mat and I lost control. My body flung forward right towards Greg. I let out a loud scream as my face fell towards the edge of the trampoline. My mouth hit the large green metal post that held the springs in place as my body did another flip over that bar. I landed flat on my back right where Greg was standing.

This was not the magical moment I had envisioned.

There I was, lying flat on the ground with Greg looking down on me. “Are you ok?” he asked with nervousness in his voice.

I was shocked, embarrassed and mortified about what just happened. I tried to salvage my pride by jumping up to my feet. I knew by the pain I felt in my mouth that something bad had happened to my teeth.

It was dark, so I could not tell if I was bleeding or not, so I got real close to Greg’s face, opened my mouth and said, “Is it bleeding?”

He did not answer me, but instead, just looked at me in horror. In a panic, I asked again, only this time, louder, “I said is it bleeding?” He looked at me like I was some kind of monster and said, “you might want to go inside.” I ran inside and looked in the mirror. It was a bad sight.

My two permanent front teeth were hanging by their roots and blood was everywhere.

Needless to say, the hope I had for Greg to fall in love with me that evening went right down the drain as I headed with my Mom and Dad for an emergency dental visit. Thankfully, and miraculously, the dentist was able to save my teeth.

My whole point of running out to see Greg that evening was because I liked him and I wanted to prove to him that he should like me too. I wanted to impress him with my skills and I wanted him to notice me.

My actions were driven by my pride.

God teaches us in His Word that we are to be humble, not prideful. We are to position ourselves rightly before Him and others. It is not a prideful spirit that brings honor, but instead, it is a humble spirit that obtains it! (Proverbs 29:23).

Plain and simple. God hates pride.

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. ~Proverbs 8:13

In almost every example of pride that we see in the Bible there is a link to failure, not success.   God resists those who are prideful, but he gives favor to those who are humble. (Proverbs 3:34)

My friend, don’t let your pride prevent you from living the life God intends for you to live. Humble yourself before Him. Humble yourself before others.  Consider their needs above your own. Forgive quickly.  Love deeply and serve Jesus wholeheartedly. Do not be motivated by impressing people.  Be motivated by the love and humility of Jesus.

That night back in 1985, I think I lived out Proverbs 16:18 which says: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”  I learned a big lesson through that experience.  Today, I am no longer doing flips on trampolines and I am keeping Micah 6:8 close to my heart.  “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Grateful for you!

~Joy

 

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When God Speaks at Wal-Mart

Posted by on Nov 12, 2016 in Blog | 4 comments

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

~Philippians 2:3-4

Did you catch how clear these verses are?  Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition.  Whew!  Now that convicts me!

I think most of us want to be patient and self-less people and in theory, we know these are attributes of followers of Christ.  This is not news to us, but I wonder if you, like me, ever struggle with actually living it out in your daily life?

Too many times I look out for my own personal interests instead of the interests of others.  It is as if MY time is more valuable than someone else’s time.

The other day, I stopped by Wal-Mart on my way home from work, just to pick up a few items.   I only needed THREE things.  Of course it was a Monday and of course it was getting close to 5:00 pm.  Looking back, I realize maybe this was not the best idea I had ever had, but regardless of my lack of judgment, there I was.

I was making great time zipping through the aisles UNTIL I went to checkout.  I made a quick pass through and examined the checkout lines.  The self-checkout line seemed to be a mile long.  I noticed a lady wearing strappy red shoes at the end of that line and I felt sorry for her.  I quickly went to find a faster, full-service line.

As I quickly pushed my buggy along the aisles, I found a checkout line with only one buggy in it!

SCORE!!!

I jumped in behind a young lady and her toddler and waited.  This lady’s buggy was full, but I felt sure it would go fast.

As I waited, I watched as the young lady in front of me was having trouble with her toddler misbehaving.  The toddler was picking up items and dropping them one by one.  I found myself getting irritated because it was slowing down the checkout process, but I remained positive and still felt sorry for the lady with the red strappy shoes in the one-mile self-checkout line.

As the young lady’s last items were scanned, I felt happiness in my heart until the young lady dug around in her purse and whipped out a stack of coupons.

I resisted from letting out a loud sigh of despair, but I could not hold back the look of disappointment that came to my face.

“Oh no,” I thought.  “Maybe the self-checkout line would have been quicker.”

The cashier started scanning each coupon and of course some of the coupons did not work.  Some were out of date.  Some were for products the young lady did not even purchase.  Some had restrictions on them.  One by one the coupons were scanned and I was relieved when the last one beeped with success.

Just as I thought it was almost my turn, the young lady scanned her credit card and wouldn’t you know it?  It would not work.  The cashier did not know what to do and said, “There must be a problem with the machine.”

INSERT MY FRUSTRATION!

After trying several times to get the card processed, the cashier had to call for the manager to come over and help.

As I looked up, the lady with the red strappy shoes (who was in the mile-long self check-out line) was exiting Wal-Mart with her paid items.  I mumbled under my breath and made a mental note to always choose the self-checkout line.

It was too late for me to change lines now.  I was stuck.  It had been a long day and I was busting at the seams to get home.  I was frustrated.  I was tired.  I just wanted to leave Wal-Mart.

It was then that I felt God’s Spirit speak to me.

Through my frustration and impatience, God reminded me of those verses in Philippians about valuing others more than myself.

My heart began to soften and my frustration faded.

As I watched the young lady struggle with her toddler, God reminded me about how hard life is.  He brought to my mind how difficult it was for me to complete a Wal-Mart shopping trip when my children were toddlers, and how being a Mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

As I watched the cashier desperately try to process the young lady’s credit card, God reminded me of my first cashier job in college.  I, too, felt insecure when something went wrong with the credit card machine.  I thought back to the time I meant to charge a customer $15.00 but instead, I charged them $150.00.  I was so nervous as I called my manager over to help me correct my mistake.

Right there in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, God convicted me about my attitude and He reminded me of the importance of showing compassion, patience and kindness.

When I finally did get to checkout with my three items, the sweet cashier told me it had been a hard day for her and that she was sorry it took so long.  She also told me she was new as a cashier and was still learning.  I smiled and said, “It’s no problem.  I’ve been there too.”

I believe one of the biggest “proofs” of our faith is how we treat other people.  When we get frustrated, complain or mumble, we do not please God.  What pleases Him is when we use kindness and patience with others.  He is pleased when we put someone else’s needs above our own.

The truth is, I had a bad attitude and was in too big of a hurry that day in Wal-Mart.  I am grateful the God of the Universe spoke to me and reminded me of His Truth.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where your patience is running thin, I hope you think about these verses in Philippians.  I hope your heart softens and you show the love of Christ in that situation….even if you’re in the middle of Wal-Mart!

~Joy

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
~Colossians 3:12

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Make a Memory!

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Blog | 2 comments

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Fall is in the air and it thrills my soul! It is my favorite time of year as I love the cooler temperatures, the colorful trees, and the smell of pumpkin spice.

This is the time of year when I pull out my crockpot and make chili beans, vegetable soup, homemade chicken and noodles and all of those warm, “feel good” one-pot meals.  

I sip hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows), wear wool socks, thick sweaters and boots! OH yes—fall is the most wonderful time of the year, for me.

Some of my most favorite memories are centered around the fall season. Memories of family get-togethers, camping trips, pumpkin patches and snuggling on the couch with those I love on a cool October morning.  

What about you?

What comes to your mind when you think about the fall season?

I worked at Union University (in Jackson, TN) for three years and my Dean, Dr. Sheila Mitchell, would make a statement from time to time. We would be talking about an upcoming conference or a family vacation and she would say “while you’re there, make a memory.”

Dean Mitchell is one of those people who lives her life to the fullest! She has wisdom to know that life is precious and the moments we have are gifts from God. She is quick to tell you that there is always something to be grateful for and that life is too short to be miserable.

Why focus on what’s wrong with your life when you can have a heart of thankfulness and focus on what is right with your life?

Dean Mitchell lives with purpose. Not only does she live her life to please God, but she also lives her life to serve others. She plans creative way to make special moments with her family, friends and those around her. It might be an evening boat ride on the lake with her husband, or a special tea party with her granddaughter.

She knows how to love other people well and she works hard at making special moments with them. When those special moments come, Dean Mitchell fully embraces the moment. She doesn’t just let it slip away unnoticed. She soaks in all in and takes a snapshot in her mind that she tucks away as a treasured memory.

You and I have a role to play in making our life count.

God created you and me for a reason. He has kingdom work for us to do and He has good things in store for us!

It is easy for us to feel weighed down with the many responsibilities we have.

We need to clean our house, do the laundry, pay the bills, go to work and the list goes on. But, we also need to invest in our marriages, plan special outings with our children, show love to a friend in need, serve someone in need and take time to soak in the beauty of God’s creation.

There is much more to life than just the work we need to do.

Be determined this fall season to make special memories.

It is serving others that brings about the most joy so do your part to create special moments with your family, friends and those around you.

This fall season, start a new family tradition. Take your kids on a fun adventure. Serve at a local ministry. Plan a weekend getaway with your husband.

Put energy and time into planning something special as you love those around you.

As your special moments unfold, I hope you will stop and thank God for His goodness. I hope you will stop and soak it all in. I hope you will stop, take a snapshot in your mind of all God has done and “make a memory” that will last a lifetime.

So glad you stopped by!

~Joy

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.   ~Psalm 7:17

 

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That was a BIG mistake!

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Blog | 2 comments

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To say this past spring was stressful, would be an understatement! For our family, it was one of those taxing seasons of life where we had several major life stressors hit us all at once. It felt like my life was caught up in a demanding whirlwind and although I tried to hold things together, I was not sure how I would get through it all.

Have you ever been there?

Have you ever been at your breaking point with everything going on in your life? Have you ever thought you might not survive it?

During this stressful season of life, I worked late one Friday night and picked up a chicken sandwich on the way to Ellie’s soccer game.  This restaurant has THE BEST BBQ sauce, so I asked for a side of it to put on my sandwich.

Yeah, that was a BIG mistake!

When I got to the field, the game had just started.   I was super hungry and could hardly wait to enjoy my delicious chicken sandwich!  I sat down, unwrapped my sandwich and opened the container of BBQ sauce. At that exact moment, out of nowhere, a soccer ball came flying off the field.  It must have been traveling at lightning speed as it headed straight for me.

The soccer ball hit the BBQ sauce container and then it hit me upside the head, sending sticky gooey BBQ sauce all over me! To make things even more entertaining for all those standing nearby, I was wearing a white shirt!

It was not a pretty sight!

I was covered in BBQ sauce.  It was in my hair, on my neck, dripping down my arms and all over my white shirt!  To make things even more fabulous, there are no bathrooms at this soccer field, only a couple of porta potties each with their own hand sanitizer dispenser inside.

Are you kidding me??  Hand sanitizer is useless when it comes to cleaning up BBQ sauce!

So, as the BBQ sauce is dripping down my body, There are no paper towels anywhere in sight and NO RUNNING WATER!

It…was….totally ….awesome (insert sarcasm)!

Normally if this kind of thing happens to me, I can laugh it off and roll with the punches.  Not this time.

Remember, this happened at a time when I was already mentally and emotionally drained. I did not have a positive, “can-do” attitude. Instead, I was feeling very low and overwhelmed with life.

Being hit in the head with a soccer ball and bathed with BBQ sauce did not improve my emotional stability!

I really don’t know how, but I managed to hold it together through the BBQ sauce immersion. People around me tried to hide their laughter because they felt so sorry for me. I remained calm but if you could have peered into my soul, you would have seen that I desperately wanted to cry.

Sticky and gooey, I watched the game, but near the end of the game, it started pouring rain like something I would imagine happened during the days of Noah and the flood. We quickly packed up our chairs and ran as fast as we could to the car, but by the time we got there, we were drenched!

I looked like something out of a horror movie. The rain caused my black mascara to run down my face, there was mud all over my legs from running in the rain and don’t forget that my white shirt was stained with dark red BBQ sauce.

It was not one of my finer moments.

We made it home safely in the torrential rainstorm and when I walked in the door, I could not hold it together any longer.

I fell completely apart.

I found a place to be alone and I cried like a baby. At that moment, for me, life felt too hard. It was too much. I felt like I was going to break!

It has been a couple of months since the BBQ sauce incident and do you know what happened?

I did not break. Instead, I survived.

Eventually, the stressors of that season of life settled down and life slipped back on track.

As I write to you tonight, I want to share with you a few things God reminded me of as I think back to this spring:

First:  Life is stressful and there will be seasons of life that make you feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed does not make you a bad Christian.  It does not mean your faith is weak.  It means you’re human.

When those tough seasons come, you and I need to run towards God, not away from Him. We need to remind ourselves of who HE is, soak up His Word and stand firm on His promises. He is always with us. He will strengthen us!  He will never leave us!

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

~Isaiah 41:10

Second:  When life feels too hard, it’s ok to cry. Throughout God’s Word, Godly people cried out, expressing their emotions of sadness and despair. Faithful men like King David who poured out his heart to God when life was hard. Blameless men like Job who grieved and mourned over his life’s tragedy. Even our Lord Jesus who, in the Garden of Gethsemane, cried out to the Father as He felt overwhelming sadness and anguish.

My friend, you and I both know that life is not always rainbows and sunshine. Life is hard and sometimes it feels overwhelmingly hard, but our God is good all the time! God wants us to lean on Him and trust Him at all times (and that includes the hard times).

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

~Psalm 62:8

Third: Never EVER bring a side of BBQ sauce to a soccer game, especially if you plan to sit near the field. Take it from me; just eat before the game.

Grateful for you!

-Joy

 

 

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JOYTIME 2016 featuring music artist, Natalie Grant!

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

JOYTIME 2016

THURSDAY, JUNE 16th     First Wesleyan Church High Point

1701 Westchester Drive, High Point, NC

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Meet and Greet Ticket holders:  Doors open for you at 5:15pm.  Parking attendants will direct you on where to enter the venue.  You will be provided a delicious meal from Above and Beyond Catering  and ice cream from Brusters of High Point!  You will have reserved Gold Circle Seating during the event.

You will have photo opportunities with Natalie and Joy so bring your cell phone/camera!

 

 

General Admission Ticket holders:  Doors open for you at 6:00pm.  Seating is general admission. Event begins at 7:00pm            Event will end by 9:15pm    

For additional questions about the event, you can contact Sandy Robertson at sandy@joytime.org

Right now, we do still have limited tickets available for purchase at the door for $25.00!

We can’t wait to see you there!

 

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It will be the best you’ve ever had!

Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Blog | 4 comments

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Ocean Isle Beach (OIB) is a quiet, family beach community where folks drive their golf carts on the roads and where life seems to slow down a bit.  It’s a small quaint place that Bryan and I enjoyed taking our children to when they were younger.

OIB is home to one of the sweetest ice cream shops around that serves the most delicious homemade strawberry ice cream.  I mean to tell you, it is yummmmmmy!

Years ago, my cousin Adam, and his family, vacationed with us at OIB for a week of fun and sun!  As we prepared for our trip down to the coast, I told Adam and Candace about the things we could do at OIB.  Of course, I mentioned this fabulous ice cream shop and the delicious strawberry ice cream.  I remember telling Adam it would be the best strawberry ice cream he had ever had!

Sure enough, while on our trip, we made our way to the ice cream shop and out of all the flavors available, Adam chose strawberry.  Smart choice!

I just knew he would love it as much as I did, so I paid attention as he took his first bite.  His expression was not as joyful as I had hoped it would be.  I wanted him to tell me how fabulous this strawberry ice cream was, but instead, he just told me it was good.  (Insert shock!)

GOOD?  What did he mean, good?  It is fantastic!

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Here we are—back in 2009!

Adam and I have laughed about this strawberry ice cream story many times since that OIB trip.  When we talk about it, he jokingly says, “Joy, you over-promised and under-delivered.”

What about you?  Have you ever over-promised and under-delivered?

Maybe it wasn’t about how wonderful a flavor of ice cream was, but maybe you told someone you were going to do something and then you did not do it.  Maybe you told a friend you would be somewhere and something came up so you were unable to go.  Maybe a coworker asked you to pray for them and you said you would, but then you forgot.

Maybe like me you have had good intentions and you really wanted to stick to a commitment that you made, but life got in the way and you backed out of your commitment, letting someone else down.

From time to time, we break promises.  We don’t follow through.  We are not true to our word.

We over-promise and under-deliver.

It happens to us all.

Lately, God has been reminding me of how important it is for me to do what I say I am going to do!  He has been reminding me that I should be careful not to overcommit myself to things I do not plan to stick to!

He has been reminding me that I should be a person of my word and that my integrity is vital to my walk with Him.

Talk is cheap!  Living out my faith takes action!

Jesus emphasizes this point through the parable of two sons:

 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’  “’I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.  ~Matthew 21:31a

The first son did not agree to go work, but he changed his mind later (another version says he repented), and he went to work.  The second son said he would go to work, but then he did not go.

Which son pleased the father?

When you and I fail to keep our word, it affects our trustworthiness.  It causes people to lose respect for us.

It also affects our friendships.  Friendships are typically based on trust and it’s almost impossible to trust someone who does not keep their word.

My friend, you and I need to be people who are trustworthy.  We carry the name of Christ.  We are to be like Him!

People should be able to count on us!  When we say we are going to do something, we should not need five reminders to do it!  If we say we are going to do it, then we need to do it!

You and I are human and of course none of us are perfect, but that does not give us an excuse to repeatedly not follow through on our commitments.

God’s Word is clear that our words matter!  We are accountable for our words—all of them!

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”  ~Matthew 12:26

Let’s be ever-more cautious to be a person of our word.  When we make a commitment to do something, let’s be determined to stick to it!

Well, I know you have a craving for a delicious scoop (or two) of strawberry ice cream!  If you get the chance, make the drive down to Ocean Isle Beach and enjoy some at the local ice cream shop!  Regardless of what my cousin Adam thinks, there’s a good chance it will be the best strawberry ice cream you’ve ever had!   🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

~Joy

For more about keeping your word, check out this link:  https://www.openbible.info/topics/keeping_your_word

 

 

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What is Maundy Thursday?

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in Blog | 1 comment

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Today is known as Maundy Thursday! What exactly does that mean for us?
 
It means today is a day to stop and remember!
 
The night before he was crucified, Jesus met with his disciples to share a Passover meal together. Many important things happened that evening. Maundy Thursday is about remembering those things.
 
We remember his body that was given for us.
 
We remember his blood that was shed for us.
 
“Maundy” is a latin word that means “commandment.”  
 
That evening, Jesus washed the disciples feet and He gave us a new commandment.  
 
He gave us a commandment of love!
 
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:34–35
 
My friend, may you and I remember and live out that commandment of love!
 
I hope you have a blessed Maundy Thursday!
~Joy
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Life-Changing Ministry Opportunities for Students!

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Are you a student, (16 and older) or know any students looking for a job and ministry opportunity this summer?
If so, please read today’s guest posting from our friends at
SummerShine!
 
I started working with SummerShine when I was in college…spending a few summers in Myrtle Beach, working and serving were easily some of my greatest experiences.
 
Fast forward to this past summer, when my husband and I got an opportunity to step back into a SummerShine role. I have hired the SummerShine teams for the past 8 years, but it’s been 7 years since I actually got to work at a campground. The Lord opened a door this summer and my husband and I stepped out in faith to go. We drove to South Dakota, and spent about six weeks on the campground…and, the blessing was ours.
 
We met families from all over the world, experienced God’s beautiful creation in the Black Hills of South Dakota and took part in loving and working alongside broken people, just like us!
 
Daily, in our jobs, at school, at church even, we don’t know what the Lord has for us. The decision to be available, to share a word of hope, to tell someone about Christ, is something we have decide to do.
 
We have to look for those opportunities.
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SummerShine has reminded me that the Lord longs to use us in the places He puts us! He doesn’t want us to just treat every day life as the mundane, and wait to go on a mission trip. He wants us to be open to His work while we’re cleaning a bathroom, checking in a grumpy customer, or playing with kids!
 
May we continue to see where we can minister. May we continue to seek His heart for those around us…and may we be willing to go where He’s called us!
 
If you are a student, (16 and older) or know any students looking for a job and ministry opportunity this summer, check out www.summershine.us. We have some awesome locations available for students to learn, work and share their faith in across the United States and would love to have you on our summer ministry team!
 
Cathleen Thore Jones
Director of Operations
SummerShine Resort Ministry
336.302.4542
www.summershine.us
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I hope God never asks me to do that!

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Blog | 2 comments

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FEAR!  I’m pretty sure we all struggle with it from time to time.  We are fearful of many things:  public speaking, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, losing a loved one, financial hardship, spiders, snakes, and the list goes on.

What about you?  What are you afraid of?

I wonder if in your walk with God, you also have fears.  I wonder if you ever feel afraid that God may call you to do something you do not want to do.

How would you complete this sentence?

I hope God never asks me to do ___________________ because I’m not sure I would do it.

Fear is a normal emotion.  We all feel afraid from time to time.  Some fear is good and some fear is bad.

There is a healthy fear that prevents us from jumping off a 10 story building, or driving 90 miles an hour down the highway.  This type of fear can help us make wise decisions about things that may cause us harm, but not all fear is good.

There is also a paralyzing fear that can prevent us from taking steps of faith.  The Bible refers to this type of fear as “living with a spirit of fear.”  Living with a spirit of fear means we are too afraid to do what God is leading us to do.  Living with a spirit of fear discounts the Holy Spirit’s power, and it diminishes our boldness of faith!  This type of fear does not come from God!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  – 2 Timothy 1:7

Today, my friend, I want to remind you that Satan is the father of lies and he will use fear to place you and me in a state of bondage.  He wants us to doubt God and he wants fear to drive us to being an ineffective Christian.  Satan will use fear to deceive you!

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  -John 8:44

When you feel God urging you to do something, and you begin to feel afraid, I want you to remember God’s Truth.  I want you to remember that if you are a child of God, then you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you!  The Holy Spirit’s power raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11) and that same power lives inside of those who are saved through Jesus Christ!

You and I are called to be people of COURAGE!  Over and over again in God’s Word, He tells His children to be STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!

Think about that!  You are called to be COURAGEOUS, not a coward!

When you feel afraid of what you believe God is calling you to do, remind yourself that you serve a God that desires to be known!  (Jeremiah 9:23-24, John 17:3)

He loves you and He wants an intimate relationship with you!  (John 1:10-13, John 15:5, Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16)

As you spend time with God, alone, in prayer and through reading your Bible, He WILL speak to you. (John 10:27)

As you listen for His voice, He will direct you on what He is calling you to do.

It is your job to respond to God’s call.  You have only two choices….obey or disobey.  Often, it’s then that the enemy jumps in to bring fear to your soul.

When a spirit of fear hovers over you, you need to respond with courage!  First, acknowledge that this fear is not from God.  Next, go to your knees in prayer and open the Word of God for clarification on how God is leading you.  Last, trust God by taking the next step of faith.  (Psalm 62:8,Nahum 1:7Proverbs 30:5)

Remember that blank you filled in at the beginning of this post?

I hope God never asks me to do ___________________ because I’m not sure I would do it.

What if God asks you to do that very thing?

Will you trust Him and have courage to take the next step of faith, or will you live in a spirit of fear?

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4

Let us stand firm on God’s Truth!  Let us be strong and courageous!

Let our faith always be bigger than our fear!

Grateful for you!

-Joy

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The Christmas Hairdryer!

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in Blog | 3 comments

The Christmas Hairdryer

Every Christmas, as I gather with family, the story of the Christmas hairdryer emerges.

You see, when I was little girl, my Dad, sister and I went to buy my Mom a Christmas gift. My Dad is such a great guy, but this particular year, he was a little behind on buying my Mom’s Christmas gift. It was Christmas Eve and off we went to the department store in town.

Interestingly, my Mom rode with us. Once my Dad parked the car, my Mom stayed inside the car while my Dad, sister and I went into the store to pick out a gift that expressed our devout appreciation and love for her.

I was four years old and my sister was nine. We did not know what a young wife and mother would want for Christmas so my Dad decided on a hairdryer.

You know, something practical and useful!

We purchased the hairdryer and I was beaming with excitement! I was so happy about this gift that I was about to bust! I thought a hairdryer was the most glorious gift ever decided upon and I could not wait to see the joy on my Mother’s face when she opened it on Christmas morning!

I was so elated that in fact, I could not wait until Christmas morning!

As my Dad carried the hairdryer in the plastic shopping bag to the car to put it in the trunk, I ran and jumped in the back seat. My Mom was still sitting patiently in the front seat of the car.

Before I could even get the door shut, I was overcome with delight and said, “Mama, we bought you a gift. I can’t tell you what we got you, but I’ll give you one hint.” My Mom’s eyes were wide with anticipation as she waited for my hint. Then I proudly said,

“It’s something you dry your hair with.”

Around Christmastime, this story resurfaces in our family. We enjoy a good laugh about that Christmas Eve, but do you know what really makes me smile? The fact that I still remember the joy I felt in my heart over the Christmas hairdryer.

It did not matter to me that it was a hairdryer. What mattered to me was that we had a special gift for my Mom. I loved her so much and I could not wait to give it to her!

When I think a little more deeply about the gift of the Christmas hairdryer, God nudges my heart about the most special gift He gave over 2,000 years ago in His son, Jesus. My heart is convicted because sometimes the weight of the world feels like it is on my shoulders and I lose my perspective about what really matters in this life.

I wonder if you ever feel that way?

Do you sometimes feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? Do you sometimes worry about your life and forget that God is in control?

Do you ever find that you have lost your excitement about your faith?

It’s normal to feel that way from time to time. The important thing is that you do not settle for being in a spiritual slump.

The important thing is that you find the courage to confess your sins, repent and get back on track with God!

As we begin 2016, let’s be diligent to spend more time in prayer, more time reading our Bibles and more time serving others. It won’t happen just because we want it to happen. Like all relationships, our relationship with God takes work!

We can have great intentions but not make any progress because we do not implement a plan. We need to implement spiritual disciplines into our lives that grow us closer to God.

We need to seek after Him with all of our heart!

Here are a few ideas that I have found helpful:

  • Go to bed 30 minutes early or get up 30 minutes earlier than normal so you can study your Bible and pray.
  • Pick a Bible reading plan and stick with it. You don’t have to read the Bible cover to cover in just one year (although that is a great goal to have). Pick a plan that works well for you.
  • Download a Bible podcast or Bible App (like the daily audio bible https://dailyaudiobible.com). Set a time and listen everyday.
  • Start praying with your family or change up your family prayer time to go deeper into God’s Word.
  • Start a “joy jar”. A joy jar is an empty jar you can decorate and place in a prominent place in your home. On a regular basis, have your family write down moments of “joy” where God has answered prayers throughout the year.
  • Memorize scripture. You can use simple 3 x 5 note cards. Write down one verse a week and start memorizing. I have found that posting the verse in my car is a great way for me to memorize scripture. Read and study the verse over and over throughout the week. You’ll be amazed at all the scripture you can memorize in a year.
  • Join a Bible study at your church or at a friend’s church. Plugging in at your local church is so important for your spiritual growth.
  • Get your mind off of your problems and invest in others. Get busy serving!
  • When you feel discouraged, stop and count your blessings!

As a little girl, I was thrilled about the Christmas hairdryer gift, but you know what? As followers of Christ, you and I know the GREATEST gift of all, Jesus!

Sometimes we don’t feel as excited to share Jesus as we once did. This often happens because we get too caught up in the cares of this world. We lose our perspective and drift away from God.

The good news is that we serve a gracious God and we can come back to Him!

Do you want a closer relationship with God? You can have it! You need the right perspective, a plan, and perseverance!

Be determined to make 2016 a year of dramatic spiritual growth!

Grateful for you!
~Joy

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

-Jeremiah 29:13

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