Rising Above The Daily Grind 

“Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord don’t be dejected and sad for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10

Joy, where does it come from and how do we keep it on a daily basis? 

This is a question that has been on my mind over the past couple months. For those of you who live in Houston, TX and listen to KSBJ radio, that was the main theme throughout the holidays — Choose Joy!!! Listeners called in and shared their challenging circumstances and made a conscious decision to choose JOY! It was inspiring to hear them declare they would not let that situation steal their peace and happiness, and it was a great reminder that “joy” is a choice and many times we must choose it to feel it!

In the dictionary, joy is an emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. 

 Now I don’t know about you, but keeping that feeling of joy is not always easy in the fast-paced, demanding world we live in today! Just turn on the TV, listen to the radio or drive in rush hour traffic and we will experience negative thoughts and feelings — it seems like everywhere we turn someone or something is trying to steal our joy. In times like that, we need to stop and remember what is truly important in life and who is in control!

Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 

That scripture has helped me through many of life’s challenges and in spite of the inevitable struggles that we all face, we are not alone. Jesus has not abandoned us, and if we remember that the ultimate victory has already been won, we can find peace and joy in the midst of our trials. 

I found confirmation in Today’s Jesus Calling message, which says it so well . . . “Give up the illusion that you deserve a problem-free life. Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties. This is a false hope! As I told my disciples, in the world you will have trouble. Link your hope not to problem solving in this life but to the promise of an eternity of problem-free life in heaven. Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy into seeking Me: The Perfect One.

Although life often distracts us from our joyful state, if we stay focused on Jesus and believe that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, as found in Romans 8:28, then we can use every situation to help us learn and grow.  

Graham Cooke, a great author and evangelist, says that every struggle we face is giving us an upgrade and taking us to a new level of trusting and building our faith!

My message is, don’t let life’s daily grind, get you down–just keep your eyes on Jesus and He will give you strength, comfort, peace and most of all joy as you journey through this thing called life here on earth! 
We will find our true stress-free, perfect life when we get to heaven at some unknown time in the future!!!

Here’s to joy,
Deb Hicks

Connect with Deb at www.bowlofsplendor.com

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~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Will You Answer His Call?


I have been reading the Jesus Calling Devotional by Sarah Young for over a year now and I’m always amazed how each day it seems to speak to me and my specific situations. This week, I decided to make a special place in my bedroom — my prayer corner, where I can sit quietly and truly begin to absorb fully the message of these daily devotions. I find that it’s a great way to begin my quiet time and always leads to prayer and journaling. I have so many things to be grateful for and when I write them down it just seems to remind me how blessed I am and also reveals some new insight that I wasn’t even aware of and helps me to get clarity and understanding.

This message below, dated November 9th, from Jesus Calling seemed to speak to me louder than usual:

“Sit quietly with Me, letting all your fears and worries bubble up to the surface of your consciousness. There, in the Light of My Presence, the bubbles pop and disappear. However, some fears surface over and over again, especially fear of the future. You tend to project yourself mentally into the next day, week, month, year, decade; and you visualize yourself coping badly in those times. What you are seeing is a false image, because it doesn’t include Me. Those gloomy times that you imagine will not come to pass, since My Presence will be with you at all times.
When a future-oriented worry assails you, capture it and disarm it by suffusing the Light of My Presence into that mental image. Say to yourself, “Jesus will be with me then and there. With His help, I can cope!” Then, come home to the present moment, where you can enjoy Peace in My Presence.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
—Luke 12:22–26

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
—Deuteronomy 31:6

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
—2 Corinthians 10:5

I am always amazed that the message is exactly where I am. How do they know? The Lord is always right and He always amazes me with His perfect timing.

I love this message as it is saying everything I am feeling right now.
As I journaled I wrote:

Lord I give it all to you — specifically my dear son, I’m letting go and releasing him to Your wonderful awesome and totally amazing care. I know he is in the best of hands and You will mold him into the man You created him to be, Lord You knit him together in my womb and know every hair on his head, and I lovingly give him back over to You; I release all the iniquities, all of the condemnation, all of the negative thoughts that I have had in the past, those I currently have and pray that I do not carry them any longer into the future. I will speak positive, strong, life-giving thoughts towards him as I know the plans You have for him are to prosper and not to harm him and to give him hope and a future. Lord I speak Jeremiah 29:11 over him and know that You are in control of the situation completely. I trust You and know that You will love and guide him and impart Your wisdom, grace and compassion to him, in Jesus name. Amen.

As I sit in my prayer corner in my room, I am comforted to know every day, every hour, every minute that Jesus, You are with me. I can sit and talk with You and share all my concerns and worries and leave them in Your loving, capable hands. Lord help me to remember to talk with You continuously and to always consult You first when I have anger, uneasiness, condemnation or just need a friend. Help me learn to turn to You first before opening my mouth and saying anything. Give me the discernment I need and the words to say the right thing. Help me to listen better and talk less. Give me ears to hear and eyes to see the other side of the story. My goal is to show love and compassion to everyone I meet!

I encourage you to find your own special prayer corner and to set aside a time each day and begin to read, pray and journal. It will truly transform your life and deepen your walk.

-In Christ & Love
Deb Hicks