“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV
*Lately, I have been on a quest to add more fun into my life. I realized that I needed additional fun when my husband and I went to see a romantic comedy at the movie theater and after the movie I could not control the tears that ran down my face. My husband looked at me totally perplexed (ladies, you know the look), he assumed that after viewing a fun, romantic comedy, I would feel encouraged and uplifted, but instead a deep sense of sadness filled my heart. I felt as if I was “missing out,” that everyone else was having fun, except me (do you hear the violin playing? LOL). And so began my quest for FUN!!!
The next day my husband and I sat down and made a list of the things we considered, “fun.” Of course, our lists were completely different! My husband, who is a ex-paratrooper and Golden Knight for the Army, listed various adventures, such as: jumping from planes, mountain biking, getting his pilots license, watching Brave Heart and Blackhawk Down. My list consisted of things such as: more girlfriend time, dinner parties, buying new shoes and travel.
So my husband began watching his war movies, doing his “guy stuff” and I bought some new pair of shoes (sorry honey), met girlfriends for coffee and together we hosted a few dinner parties, but these activities DID NOT SATISFY our desire within.
Finally, one morning during my quiet time with God, I asked Him why we were having such difficultly implementing fun into our lives?
Then God led me to Psalm 16:11:
“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The truth is, nothing on earth will bring us eternal joy. Don’t get me wrong, a mountain bike and new shoes are great, but both will eventually end up in the junk yard!
The truth is, we were looking for fun in all the wrong places! Only the Lord can provide the JOY that can satisfy your soul. Fun is fleeting, but JOY is eternal.
EXTREME JOY is only found in God’s Presence, JOY is seeing God bring breakthrough and healing into people’s lives, JOY is telling people about Jesus and how good HE is!!
As Psalm 16 sank into my spirit, a smile spread across my face. I found what I had been longing for in the Word of God. My quest had been fulfilled! That following weekend, my husband and I hosted a Bible study and I sensed God’s Presence in our home. As I looked around the room I thought to myself, “NOW THIS IS FUN!”
Lord, forgive me for looking to the world to bring joy and satisfaction into my life. Nothing this world offers can bring me eternal peace. It is only in Your Presence that I am filled with supernatural joy. And this joy is not dependent on my circumstances. I choose to no longer look for fun in all the wrong places, for it is only in Your Presence that I am filled to overflowing! Amen.
*A Published Article by Tracy Hurst, “Atlanta Christian Chronicle”, June, 2004
“Behold I will do a new thing, and it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19.
*When I was a little girl, I loved stuffed animals. I had so many on my bed each night, that I barely had any room for me! I named them all one by one and if any of them fell off the bed during the night I would apologize to them and purposefully place them closest to me the next night. While my obsession of having hundreds of stuffed animals has lessened with my growing age, I will admit to having one stuffed animal, named “Brian” during my college years. He was a fluffy white bunny with long ears and a smile. I loved him deeply and my bunny saw me through the best and worst of times. I would hold onto him tightly each night and snuggle with him, especially after a long day. During the hard times, he would absorb my tears into his mangled fur as they fell from my face. Needless to say, what started out as a beautiful bunny began to resemble a tattered lamb.
When I married my husband, Michael, we each selected one thing we wanted the other person to get rid of prior to our honeymoon. And can you believe that he chose for me to get rid of my beloved white fluffy bunny?!! While letting go of Brian was not any easy task, I felt consoled because I would soon hold tightly onto my new husband in this new season of life. I was counting on him to perform all that my bunny had these past eight years.
Unbeknownst to me, with the letting go of my beloved bunny, I shifted my hold onto my husband and also my best friend, Kelly. This was all well and good until Kelly moved into her beautiful new home – in Egypt (okay, so maybe it wasn’t literally in Egypt, but it sure felt like it – LOL)!! Don’t get me wrong – I was thrilled for her, but to my dismay her new home was fifty minutes away from mine! I would never have thought of myself as someone who held tightly onto things. After all, I did move every few years and I considered myself very adaptable. But Kelly and I had planned to get pregnant at the same time and that she would watch my children when I worked a few days each week and her recent move upset our beautiful plans.
It was at this point that God began to speak to me that I had been holding tightly onto things throughout my entire life. God graciously revealed to me that the only thing I am to hold tightly onto is Him. People will move, relationships will change, but God never does!
I finally told Kelly of my struggles and asked for her forgiveness for being selfish. She of course was wonderful, and reaffirmed that no one could ever replace me in her life. Our heart-to-heart talk was a blessing and we made a pact to work hard at getting together even with the new distance between our homes. I then hung up the phone with her and prayed for the Lord to bless her new home and our friendship.
Next, I had a heart-to-heart talk with God.
He showed me that by holding onto things tightly, He wasn’t able to bring new blessings into my life. Tears filled my eyes as He spoke this truth to me. Then I happened to look over at my little Maltese dog, Noah, and it hit me just how much he looked like my old bunny “Brian.” He was soft and white with fluffy ears. Yet, I love Noah so much more! I also found out that a new friend of mine is moving into a neighborhood down the street from me. I began to realize that God has many new blessings to bring my way, if I will just let go and trust Him to bring them to me.
We can let go and grab onto Jesus because He is already holding onto us!
Truth be told, I still miss my mangled bunny and I will forever miss the close proximity of my best friend, but I now know that I must let go and “Behold, I (the Lord) will do a new thing, and it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
You see, if we will just let go and grab onto Christ, a new thing will appear.
So, let me ask you, Is there anything you are holding onto tightly? If so, I encourage you to let go and hold tightly to God’s Word and His promises for you this New Year because if you do -The best is yet ahead!
*Update since article was written in 2003- Kelly and I got our hearts desire to have children together and are still best friends today even with the distance between us. God continues to teach me to hold tightly onto Him for He is the one holding me and He is forever faithful. As we enter 2014, I believe that God wants us to “Expect Him to do the unexpected in our lives.” God has many NEW things He wants to bring into our lives in 2014!
**Above Article was my very first published Article in the Christian Chronicle, 2003.
Description: The continuation of our Be Healthy discussion with guest Tracy Hurst. This week we explore how our emotions affect our physical health, and how our bodies affect our emotional health…and how to truly BE healthy in mind, body and soul.
Click here to listen: BE Healthy Part 2 (www.bestillbefree.com)
THIS WEEK’S VERSE:
“My beloved friend, I pray that everything is going well for you, and that your body is as healthy as your soul is prosperous.” (3 John 1:2)
(If you haven’t listened to Part 1, click here!)
A Message from Monica:
Whoops. We were so excited to continue our talk with Tracy about physical health that we didn’t discuss a verse at the top of the show. But I (Monica) found the above verse in The Voice translation the other day, and it’s as if it leapt off the page and took root deep into my heart.
At the core of these two weeks on Be Healthy is this verse, you know? We want our souls and bodies to be healthy and prosperous! Because at the end of the day, we aren’t going to be able to DO all that God has called us to do (and face it, all that we have to do in a day), if our bodies are operating at 50% and we feel run down, sluggish and consistently down.
We have to BE healthy before we can DO what God has ordained for us to do.
So confession time:
I haven’t been healthy lately. My soul and my heart and emotions have been pretty healthy (relatively speaking…there’s always room to grow). But my body — my physical health — is pitiful. The past few months in particular, I’ve felt run down, lethargic, on-edge, headachy and generally feeling like I’m in a fog.
I hate feeling tired after just going up the stairs in my house, you know?
The frustrating part was that I’ve been exercising regularly and watching my food intake. However, I just realized I was watching the calories of the food I was eating, but not the food itself.
Don’t laugh — but I will always sacrifice real food calories for Cheez-Its calories.
And Cheez-Its calories — while delicious and satisfying in the moment — are not enough to fuel my body.
I’ve listened to this unpublished podcast episode no less than four times in the past two weeks, because I need help here. And I kept remembering what I said in the podcast about Michael Hyatt and his discipline in regards to physical health. And then I came across that verse from 3 John,
“…and that your body is as healthy as your soul is prosperous.”
And suddenly, one night last week, I had enough. I’m not even kidding — I went to bed determined to make a change, and on Tuesday morning at 5:30 am I made one. And for the past six whole days in a row, I’ve cut out most sugar and processed food. Because my body (at FORTY) operates best on a clean diet.
(I’m not saying this is what everyone should do — I’m not a nutritionist or expert whatsoever.)
(And I haven’t throw out the Cheez-Its yet.)
(The kids…you know.)
I say it to commiserate with you that we are all struggling to be healthy!
Just because discuss a particular topic on the podcast, it doesn’t mean we’ve learned it and mastered it. It’s always a process. And someone might be doing awesome when it comes to physical health, but struggling emotionally. Or kicking butt with spiritual health, but fighting with mental health.
We are all in the same race, running toward the same goal. Let’s just be real about it and cheer each other on, you know? (tweet that)
So Tracy shared some incredible insights with us this week about how our physical health can be affected by our emotions…and how our emotions can be affected by our physical health. There is such great content in this podcast — you have to make time to listen!
Here are a few highlights:
- What we think impacts how we feel, and how we feel impacts our body.
- Our bodies will tell us when something is wrong! Stomach pain, headaches, etc. may be symptoms of emotional issues that need to be addressed.
- When your body is speaking to you through back pain, headaches, stomach pain, etc…it’s God’s way of telling you to slow down and BE.
- Medication helps our bodies feel better, but our emotional health might not be where it needs to be if we don’t process our emotions and change our mind and the way we think.
- Even in the Bible, God brought health in mind, body and soul to many people (example: Elijah).
- God wants you to be whole — mind, body and soul.
- Women need more sleep than men, like 7-8 hours! (Tracy said it so it’s true.)
- We need to be able to recognize when to say no, so that we can nourish our bodies and our souls.
- Our bodies need to operate at full capacity so that we can fulfill the destinies God has for us!
- 30 minutes of physical exercise a day can have the same effect on your body as taking a low-dose antidepressant.
Isn’t that all so rich?? You have to give yourself 30 minutes to listen to it if you haven’t yet. I promise, you’ll be so much healthier for it!
Monica Steeley: www.elevateideas.com
Good Morning and Happy All Saints Day!
I have had the privilege of being on “The Dottie Coffman Show” talking about the “History of Halloween.” No matter what your personal belief is, Halloween has become a beloved holiday in America. But where did its origins come from? How did the church try to redeem this day in 690 AD with the help of a Pope? And how has American made Halloween it’s own? If you enjoy history, knowledge and want to learn more about Halloween, then you will love this show – it’s unbiased, factual and just plan interesting….. Just click on the link below:
Dottie Coffman Show
Click here: 31 Oct 13 DCS WIMO final
Thanks for tuning in and Part 2 will air next week which gets interesting and moves from history to “The pro’s and con’s of Halloween.”
And check out Dottie Coffman: www.dottiecoffman.com, like her page on Facebook and sign up for her newsletter! Dottie Coffman is a Talk show host, speaking about real life issues, with real people
To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3, AMP
In Isaiah 61:3 a great exchange occurs. God gives us His beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of morning, the garment of praise instead of a heavy, burdened and failing spirit. Friend, I don’t know what you have been through in your life, but I do know that Jesus gave His life for you on the Cross. He exchanged your sin, sickness, and every curse and nailed it to the Cross in exchange for His mercy, healing, grace and salvation. One day while reading Isaiah 61, I was led to write down all that God had exchanged in my life and I pray that it will bring encouragement to you today.
I know what it’s like:
To be abused, but I also know what it’s like to forgive my abuser and to be set free
To have thoughts of killing myself, but I also know what it’s like to carry the life of my daughter inside my womb.
To be full of fear to the point of rocking back and forth with my Bible in hand just to make it through the night, but I also know what its like to see God’s angels moving on my behalf.
To feel alone in this world, but I also know what it’s like to have the honor of Jesus being my EVERYTHING
To live in depression and despair, but I also know what it’s like to be pulled out of the pit for God’s glory.
To worry to the point of almost losing my mind, but I also know what it’s like to be renewed in my mind through God’s Word.
To barely get out of bed, but I also know what it’s like to experience God’s joy that comes in the morning.
To wonder if my dreams will ever come to pass, but I also know what it’s like to have faith that God never withholds anything good for me but He only sets me up to be blessed.
To be diagnosed with liver-failure and need a liver transplant, but I also know what its like to have Jesus miraculously heal me.
To only have oatmeal in my pantry to eat for dinner, but I also know what it’s like to see God provide all of my needs through the body of Christ.
To run for my life to an abuse shelter, but I also know what it’s like to have God make purpose out of my pain and know that my best days are ahead of me.
To be told that I am stupid and invaluable, but I also know what to read in the Bible that Jesus died on the Cross-for me and that I am the apple of His eye.
My question for you today is: What do you need to exchange?
It is my prayer that we will embrace the Great Exchange this Easter Season.
Upcoming Women’s Conference – Cumming, GA
SHINE WOMEN’S CONFERENCE – EASTGATE CHURCH – 2013 from Eastgate Church on Vimeo.