Costa Rica Journal – Not Me God!

I experienced the most amazing time on my first mission trip to Costa Rica.

I’ve shared my story in this journal. 

Just click on the link below.  It does have pictures, it may take a few minutes to download.

Costa Rica Journal

Enjoy!!

Blessings To you!

Joyce

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No Plan B

When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.
Numbers 30:2

Legend has it that when Spanish explorer, Hernando Cortes, landed in Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, in the 1500s, he ordered his men to burn the ships that had brought them there, to remove the possibility of doing anything other than going forward into the unknown.  He was there for a purpose, to take control of this country’s treasures.  He was committed to a victory, there was no backup plan, no Plan B.  It was all or nothing for his soldiers.  If they wanted to get home, they had to conquer the soldiers of the Yucatan and take their ships.  And so they did.

So many times in our lives we live with a Plan B, a backup plan.  If our marriage doesn’t go the way we want it, we get divorced.  If our job isn’t to our liking, we quit and move on.  If our pastor says something we don’t like, we go to a different church.  If God doesn’t do want we want him to do for us, we give up on him.

Joseph was a following of God who had no Plan B.  He had dreams as a young child of his family bowing down to him. His older brothers didn’t think much of this idea and one day they decided it was time to get rid of him.  They sold him to a group of traveling gypsies and off to Egypt he went.  He was sold as a slave to a guy named Potiphar, who was the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.  One day he was falsely charged with rape and thrown into prison.  Life wasn’t really going so well for Joseph, he went from bad to worse, yet he never cursed God nor turned his back on God.  One day Joseph was brought before the Pharaoh and he interpreted his dream and the Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph that he put him in charge of all the land of Egypt, second only to himself.  Joseph ended up saving not only Egypt during an intense time of famine, but also his family, including his brothers who began this chain reaction of pain so many years before. God honored his commitment of faith.

We live in a society that lacks commitment.  But as a follower of Jesus, we need to be different.  The Word tells us:  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

I have a couple of questions for you to ponder; do you have a Plan B?  Is it time to burn your boat?

Father, thank you for teaching me how to be committed to you.  Thank you for the examples of commitment that you give us, the greatest being your love for us.  When I am ready to give up, give me that burst of encouragement that I need to stay just a little bit longer. 

I love you Jesus.
In your name I pray,
Amen

God Bless You!

Love,
Joyce

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones
But Words Can Kill My Spirit.
The Lies That Get Stuck Inside.
Now Available!
http://www.sticksandstones.cc

Life Is Messy

Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
Proverbs 14:4

This past week, I went to Dallas, to a Leadership Conference.  It was a wonderful trip.  I was dropped off at the airport, caught my first flight and connecting flight with no problems or delays, was picked up by the hotel shuttle and taken to a wonderfully relaxing hotel room, with all the amenities.  They served dinner and breakfast, free of charge.  The shuttle whisked me back and forth to the conference and at the conference I was fed spiritual food that hit the spot. 

I was hanging out in my hotel room that last evening thinking how cozy it was there, how few (no) responsibilities I had and how easy it was to read my Bible and spend time with God.  How close I felt to God those three days … all by myself.

The trip home was just as easy, relaxing.  I got to spend time with a good friend over breakfast and then back to the airport and again, peaceful flights.

As I picked up my luggage, I called Bobby to let him know I as ready for him to pick me up, as he was waiting in the cell phone lot for me.

I grabbed my bag and headed outside.  And I waited and waited and waited.  And no Bobby.  When the traffic finally died down, I saw Bobby’s truck down the way a bit.  Wondering why he’d stopped there, I headed towards him.  As I got closer, I saw him talking to a policeman.  The guy wasn’t very friendly to me and motioned me into the truck. 

I got in and asked what was going on.  I was met with that cold silence of someone very agitated.  Finally, Bobby shared with me that Chase had left his seatbelt to look for me in the crowd of people and a policeman on a Segway saw him out of his seat and pulled Bobby over and was considering giving him a ticket.  Bobby was not happy, to say the least.

He was annoyed at Chase, annoyed at the policeman and apparently annoyed at me. 

Nice welcome home. 

I was about to comment on the warm welcome I was receiving … then thought better of it.  I kept my mouth shut.  When the police officer returned and let Bobby off without a ticket, we pulled away.  I chatted quietly with Chase most of the way home.  When I got home, I asked what was for dinner.  Left over spaghetti seemed to be my answer.  Again, I was about to comment on the lack of dinner preparation, after all, I had been gone for four days, but instead, I warmed up a bowl of spaghetti and ate it quietly.

I was sitting on the couch while one football game was blaring over the radio, another one on the TV.  Ummmm … this is peaceful I thought.  And was about to make a comment how many football games could someone really concentrate on at one time, but I kept my mouth shut.

You see, while I was in Dallas, I realized that no matter how peaceful or how spiritual I could be when I was all by myself, my strength comes from the family that he has given me.  And sometimes that family is messy.  Sometimes Chase and Carson fight.  Sometimes Bobby and I fight.  Sometimes Zeke and Jack fight.  But working through the challenges is where my faith grows.

And when the day is done, and we all settle down for the night … there is no other place I’d rather be than home sweet home with my family!

Father, thank you for the most amazing time of recharging.  Thank you for messages of truth and deliverers of those messages.  Thank you for allowing me the time away to refresh my spirit.  And Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me such a special family who I love so much.  And thank you for teaching me how to keep my mouth shut. 

I love you Jesus!
   In Your Name I Pray,
   Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

 

White-Out For Life

I was at the bank the other day, and the girl messed up the paper that she was working on.  I asked her if it was serious and she laughed and said, “Nope, I’ll white it out.”  And the mistake was gone.  We laughed and I said, “Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if we could white-out parts of our life that easily?”

As I drove away, I started thinking, always the thinking.  We do have white-out for our life.  Jesus Christ.  God sent his son, to die for us, to wash away all our sins, all our mistakes.

David tells us,  As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  (Psalm 103:12)

Isaiah confirms the white-out concept, Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord;  Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  (Isaiah 1:18)  

And John brings it all home, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (I John 1:9) 

I don’t want to live with the sins of my past staining my life, I am so thankful that I have a Savior who has cleansed me from it all – Jesus is my white-out!

Father, thank you for taking the junk of my life, for cleaning me up, and setting me on your path to life eternal with you. 

I Love You Jesus.
       In Your Name I Pray,
      Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce
The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

Are You Hungry For God?

Earlier today I was listening to a song by Michael W. Smith. When the song ended, he asked, “Are you hungry for God?” In Matthew, I was reading about the day Jesus climbed up on a hillside with his disciples, those who were committed to him, and he explained to them how to live out this new life that they were a part of. The beginning of his message explains who is going to be blessed. Matthew 5:6 states,

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Being blessed is such a special concept. It’s much more than just being happy. Happiness comes and goes, like the wind, but being blessed is contentment, inside. That sticks with us, regardless of the situations around us. God stands for righteousness, God is righteousness. So basically, Jesus was telling his followers, if you hunger and thirst for God, you are blessed and you will be filled.

We are going to be filled with something. We have a choice. It’s either the things of the world … or the things of God. Whichever we feed on.

I want to fill myself with God.

Father, I do want to hunger and thirst for you. I know, so many times when my spirit is dry, it’s because I’ve let the world fill me up. Lord, help me to make the right choices. To always choose you and your ways.

I Love You Jesus.
In Your Name I Pray,
Amen

God Bless You!

Love,
Joyce

Improving Your Communication Skills

From the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. 

The principles recommended are:

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them, a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism: and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime-repeat them years after you had forgotten them.”
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want. “Self expression is the dominant necessity of human nature. When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making others think it is our, let them stir the idea themselves, they will the regard it as their own and they will like it, and maybe eat a couple helpings of it.”
  4. Become genuinely interested in other people. If you want others to like you, if you want to develop real friendships, if you want to help others, at the same time as you help yourself, keep this principle in mind.
  5. Smile. Your smile is a messenger of your goodwill. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds.
  6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. The information we are imparting or the request we are making, takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual.
  7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.
  8. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest. Talking in terms of the other person’s interest pays off for both parties.
  9. Make the other person feel important – and do in sincerely. Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours
  10. The only way to get the best of ;an argument is to avoid it.
  11. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “you’re wrong.” Don’t argue, instead use diplomacy.
  12. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Remember the old proverb, “by fighting you never get enough, but by yielding, you get more than you expected.”
  13. Begin in a friendly way. Remember what Lincoln said: A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”
  14. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  15. Let the other person do a great deal of talking.
  16. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  17. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. An increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.-if you get only that one thing from this book, it may easily proved to be one of the stepping-stones of your career.
  18. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  19. Appeal to their nobler motives. Make people feel that you consider them honest, upright and fair.
  20. Dramatize your ideas.
  21. Throw down a challenge. Every successful person wants a chance of self expression, the chance to prove one’s worth.
  22. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  23. Call attention to peoples mistakes indirectly.
  24. Talk about your own mistakes, before criticizing the other person.
  25. Ask questions, instead of giving direct orders.
  26. Let the other person save face.
  27. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation ;and lavish in your praise.”
  28. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  29. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  30. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Experience’s of most people show that you are more likely to change attitudes this way.