Hope and Encouragement

Are You a Joy-Robber or a Joy-Giver?

As I hung up the phone after listening to a litany of complaints from a friend who’s a self-described ‘stress-mess’, I was aware that the lengthy conversation that solely focused upon her ‘trials and tribulations’ had a draining effect upon me. My heart certainly went out to her as she’s gone through several challenging ‘life issues’ in a short period of time, and I definitely understood why she felt so down and discouraged. As she shared, I imagined her as a person who’d been swept up by the ocean’s undertow who comes up for air, thinks they can finally breathe and get solid footing again, but instead gets taken under by the next crashing wave. Maybe you’re feeling that way too. Are you someone who has become weighed down by the trials and tribulations in your life and feel that you have lost your joy? Or, do you know of such a person?

 I don’t know anyone in the world who would ask to be put through really tough situations or experience a lot of suffering, do you? And most people are far more adept at finding things to complain about—even when things are going well overall in their lives-- than they are at finding things for which to be thankful. So it is truly a rarity to find a person who is full of joy in the midst of suffering. 

 This past weekend I was blessed to attend a ‘celebration of life’ service for a precious 48 year-old woman who lived her life fully for the purpose for which she was put on this earth—the glory and praise of her Savior and Lord Jesus! She battled ovarian cancer for over 3 ½ years, experiencing excruciating pain during the last several months of her life as her entire body was riddled with cancer. Despite her pain, she always wore a huge smile that radiated her love for the Lord and for others. She didn’t waste her time complaining about her health, on shaking her fist at God for ‘cutting her life short’, on grumbling ‘Why me, Lord?’ or on succumbing to despair and depression. She knew her life ‘was not her own’ and her purpose was to glorify God with her whole life (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), so she entrusted it completely into the almighty and always loving care of her Heavenly Father. Her focus was upon glorifying God and serving others even in the midst of her pain and suffering. All of those who knew her well testified that she exhibited joy throughout her life, joy which could not be extinguished by her diagnosis, or her pain and suffering. 

 Her life testified to the truth of the statement made famous by John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. She was fully satisfied with God, even when her life didn’t go as she would have chosen, and her satisfaction and joy in Him led others to experience joy in her presence, and caused them to draw near to and glory in the God whom she loved. Her joy in the Lord also brought comfort and peace to her husband of 25 years, her beloved mother-- who is a dear friend of mine-- and to her three brothers and countless nieces and nephews, her church family, and her countless friends. Her joy and praising of God in the midst of her suffering not only gave her strength to carry on till the end of her life on earth, but it also was uplifting and life-giving to all those who knew her! 

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 God longs for us to praise Him-- not because He is an egotist, but because He knows that when we fix our eyes and thoughts upon Him we will be ‘lifted above our circumstances’ and realize that there is nothing too big for God! He inhabits the praises of His people; when we praise God we are taken into His Presence, where there is indeed fullness of joy! (Psalm 22:3; Psalm 16:11) We need that joy at all times, but especially when we are going through tough times! We must press through and overcome our natural tendency to focus upon ourselves and our circumstances and lift up praises to God—even, and especially-- when we don’t ‘feel like it’. When we praise Him and enter into His presence, we will find that the joy of the Lord will be our strength that will enable us to endure amidst the trials and tribulations we face. (Nehemiah 8:10)

 You might say, “But Julie, you don’t understand what I’m going through!” Perhaps your marriage is rife with conflict. Or you have a prodigal child. Or you have financial difficulties that you can’t see how to solve. Perhaps you’re in poor health, or even have a terminal diagnosis. Maybe you’re feeling like the world’s falling apart all around you and there’s nothing you can find for which to be thankful and to praise God.

 I’m sure I don’t understand all that you’re going through, nor do I need to. But I can assure you that God understands your situation completely, He’s there by your side, and He’s bigger than whatever is overwhelming to you. He longs for you to BELIEVE that truth so you will go to Him, so that you will praise Him, and so that you will find joy in His Presence…the joy that will be your strength to carry you through your circumstances, and the joy that will be contagious and cause others to look to God, the Source of your joy! 

 There is so much wisdom in the expression, “What you focus upon expands.” If your focus is upon how horrible your circumstances are, that thought will begin to consume you and ‘take you under’, like the undertow in the ocean. Being consumed with thoughts of yourself and your circumstances means you can’t simultaneously be focused upon God or upon serving and ministering to others. The reality is that if you are self-absorbed you won’t have joy yourself, and will be a ‘joy-robber’ instead of a ‘joy- giver’. Newsflash: no one enjoys being around someone whose sole focus is on him or her self, particularly if they spend a lot of time complaining and grumbling about their life! People love to be around people who are full of joy, not full of woe! For our good and God’s glory we are commanded to love God and to love others, which means being God and other focused rather than self-focused, (Matthew 22:36-40) We are also commanded to continually praise God, for our sakes as well as for His glory-- and there is always something for which to be grateful! (Psalm 34:1; 104:33; 113:3; Philippians 4:4)  I am so inspired as well as convicted by the story of Corrie ten Boom’s sister Betsie who praised God for the fleas in the beds in the German concentration camp where the sisters were taken, because the fleas kept the guards away and allowed them to share the gospel with other prisoners. That is definitely keeping a ‘God and other focus’ instead of succumbing to self-focus, and a clear demonstration of rejoicing in the midst of ‘trials and tribulations’!  How could she have such joy in the midst of such suffering? Because she firmly believed and stated: "There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still." (from the book The Hiding Place)

 Would those who know you best say that your focus is more on yourself and upon your circumstances, or upon praising God and serving others? Are you a joy-robber, or a joy-giver? How joyful are you when your focus is on yourself and on your circumstances?  Contrast that to the joy you have when you are keeping your eyes fixed upon God and praising Him and serving other people. 

 What are some things for which you can praise God, no matter what your circumstances are? 

 Praise Him for Who He is: consider His attributes…like Almighty, Beautiful beyond description, Creator, Deliverer, Everlasting, Faithful, Etc. Something I love to do and encourage you to do is to praise God for an attribute of His for every letter in the alphabet.

 Praise God that you are not alone: that He is your constant companion, with you at all times and He will never leave or forsake you. And nothing is impossible for Him!

 Praise Him for His gifts to you: Think of all that you do have because He is the ‘giver of every good and perfect gift’! (James 1:17) ! Thank Him for things like the air you breathe, your ability to see, smell, touch, hear and walk; for a roof over your head; a warm place when it’s cold or a cool place when it’s hot; running water; a bed with a mattress; food to eat; freedom to worship; medical care; your family and friends; etc. Try to come up with 5 different things every day for which to thank and praise God and you will become more aware of the myriad of blessings all around you…which will ‘keep your head above water’ and you won’t feel so overwhelmed when the waves come crashing on you…you will even be able to praise Him for the waves, and the strength He gives you to surf upon them rather than to be crushed by them! 

 Lord, help me to keep my eyes fixed upon You, and not to fix them upon my circumstances and myself. Help me to see all around me the blessings that I daily take for granted; train my eyes and heart so that I see something new each and every day for which I can praise You! And when I even begin to grumble about my circumstances, immediately turn my eyes back onto You, the giver of every good and perfect gift and remind me that You know, are bigger than, and are able to meet my every need! Thank You for the trials and tribulation in my life which I know You can use to conform me into Your image if I will keep my focus upon You and praise You regardless of my situation. May I be found faithful to rejoice at all times, and especially in the midst of suffering, so that others will see that You are the Source of my strength and be drawn to You, the One Who is worthy of all honor, praise and glory!

Written by Julie 


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12 Gifts You Have Because Jesus Died and Rose for You!

I remember as a young girl looking so forward to Easter and all it entailed—dipping hard-boiled eggs into cups filled with various pastel dyes; unwrapping and eating way too many foiled chocolate eggs; buying a new dress, hat, shoes and even white gloves to wear to church on Easter morning before heading over to my grandparent’s house for an outdoor Easter egg hunt with our cousins and a delicious dinner. I was blessed to know our celebration had to do with Jesus’ death and resurrection. Raised as a Lutheran, our family went to church every Wednesday during Lent, attended Maundy evening services where we celebrated the ‘Last Supper’, and spent most of Good Friday afternoon in church hearing the seven ‘words’ Jesus spoke from the Cross. I recall thinking it very strange that the day on which Jesus died was named ‘Good Friday’—what could be ‘good’ about His death?--and thought it should’ve been called ‘Bad Friday’ instead. I also confess that at the time it didn’t seem like such a big deal that one person would die so that the rest of the world could live. 

 That was until I became an adult and knew without a doubt that I had sinned against God in thought, word, and deed. God graciously revealed to me that Jesus went to the cross for my sin. He didn’t just die the death that others deserved; he died the death that I deserved to die for my rebellion against Him, a holy God. As I studied His Word for myself, I realized more and more why ‘Good Friday’ is truly GOOD!!! 

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 On my own, there was no way for me to ever be set free of my sin, my guilt and shame…but there was and is a Way, but only ONE Way! Only Jesus, the ‘unblemished Lamb’, the sinless ‘Son of God’ who chose to become the ‘Son of Man’ could atone for my sin. No one else could pay the debt I owed to God for my sin of rebellion against Him. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Confucius, nor any other person who has ever lived, because everyone besides Jesus has sinned against God, and everyone else has or will die. ONLY Jesus came from the Father, is ‘one with God the Father’, rose from the grave-- and by doing so overcame death-- then ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of His Father, living to intercede for those who put their trust in Him. (John 6:38; 10:30; 16:28; Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:19; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 7:23; 12:2-3) 

 Jesus alone could do what you and I and no one else could ever do; pay the debt that we owed because of our sin against God. And there was only one price that could be paid in order to pay our debt, and Jesus was willing to pay it. The cost was His very own blood. And, by paying that debt, Jesus freed us from the death penalty that we deserved, which included hell and damnation. Only Jesus’ blood could deliver us from death and hell and restore us to a right relationship with God the Father. (Romans 6:23; John 1:12; John 3:16) His death and resurrection made it possible for you and I to receive total and complete forgiveness for our sin—to have the debt we owed due to our rebellion against God cancelled once and for all time. His death alone could bring reconciliation between you and me—sinners— and a holy God who hates and will judge sin. What a life-changing passage is found below in Romans 5:6-11 (verse 8 is bolded): 

 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ESV

 Jesus didn’t wait for us to get cleaned up before dying for us; He dies for us ‘while we were yet sinners’! Don’t listen to Satan’s lies when He tells you that Jesus couldn’t love you because your particular sin is too big. Jesus knew every sin you would ever commit when He went to the cross on your behalf, and He died and paid the debt for every one of them! Your sin is not greater than the power of Jesus’ blood that was shed to wash away your sin! God’s love for you is so much bigger than your sin! How great is His love for you? Consider His outstretched arms on the cross as He hung there dying for you. His love led Him to take your place on the cross and to make it possible for you to spend eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven.

 Not only did Jesus’ death pay our debt and thereby set us free from the penalty of sin, which is death, but His triumphant resurrection from the grave made it possible for you and me to be set free from the power of sin in our lives as well! We now have the power to resist our own self-will and the lies of the enemy and we can choose not to sin! By the work of the Holy Spirit-- Who is alive in all who put their faith in Jesus’ atoning death-- we have the power to choose not to sin. Did you realize that? Do you truly understand the power that is available to you if you have received the gift of salvation that Jesus purchased for you on the cross? You don’t have to sin anymore! At the cross we not only leave behind our sin—our dirty rags-- we are also able to exchange our filthy rags for Jesus’ garment of righteousness! (Isaiah 64:6; Philippians 3:9) We go from being powerless against sin, to being able to live righteously and victoriously through the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in all who put their trust in Jesus! (Galatians 5:16) It took a long time for me to grasp all that Jesus’ death and resurrection purchased for me—and I’m sure I won’t have full understanding until I am joined with Him in Heaven. Below are some of the incredibly wonderful gifts I have because Jesus chose to die in my place, overcame death and the grave, and ascended into Heaven. All of them are also available to you if you are already a follower of Jesus, or, they can be if you choose to humble yourself, ask Him to forgive you of your sin, and choose to give Him your life and follow Him.

·    I am forgiven and set free from the guilt and shame of my sin! (Psalm 32:5; Acts 10:43-44; 1st John 1:9)

·    I have salvation in Christ! (Romans 10:10)

·    I have a new life! I am truly a ‘new creation’ because I have been ‘born again’ and Christ now lives in me! (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:19-20)

·    I am able to obey God, bear fruit that lasts, and live a life that is pleasing to Him! (John 15:1-17; Colossians 1:9-14; Galatians 5:16)

 ·    I have an advocate with the Father who lives to intercede for me, whose Name is Jesus! (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1)

·    I have the Holy Spirit who dwells within me and leads me into all truth, teaches me, helps and comforts me! (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16: 7,8,13; 1 Corinthians 2:10)

·    I am set free from worry, anxiety, and fear and able to experience the peace that surpasses all human understanding! (Isaiah 26:3; John 8:36; Philippians 4:6-8; 1 John 4:8)

·    I have power and strength and can do all things through Him! (Philippians 4:13)

·    I am able to abide in Christ, obey His Word, and thereby bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (John 15:4-10; Galatians 5:16; 22) 

·    I am no longer a slave to sin, but I am now set free to be a slave to righteousness. I know the Truth that sets me free from the lies of Satan; I am no longer ignorant of his schemes and deceitful ways and I can resist him and not succumb to his lies! (John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Romans 6:18; James 4:7)

·    I have a new family that is comprised of other believers from throughout history, and from throughout the world, from every tongue and tribe and nation! (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Revelation 5:9; 7:9)

·    I am a child of God, and as a child, an heir, and my inheritance is abundant life on earth and spending eternity with God, and with others who put their trust in His atoning work on their behalf, in Heaven! (John 3:16; 10:10; 28-29; 1 Peter 1:4

What about you? Do you realize all that is available to you because Jesus loved you so much that He died, rose from the dead, and now lives in you and intercedes for you? If you know you have been set free, are you walking in the freedom that Jesus purchased for you…that He gave His very life for you to have? Are you faithfully ‘going and telling’ others that they too can be set free from the shame and guilt of their sin? That they can have the power to live righteously before God because of the power of the Holy Spirit Who will reside in them if they choose to put their trust in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross on their behalf? Have you thanked Jesus today for choosing to go to the cross for you? And have you thanked the Father for His amazing love and His willingness to sacrifice His Beloved Son on your behalf?

*If you have not already committed your life to Christ, you can. He is longing to be in fellowship with you and for you to receive the love He has always had for you. He just asks you to ‘come to Him’. Simply humble yourself and tell Him that you are a sinner who needs a Savior. Acknowledge that He died the death you deserved to die when He took your place on the cross. Ask Him to come into your life and to live in you so that you can live a life that is pleasing to your Heavenly Father.  Please feel free to reach out and contact us at the link below if you would like some more information on how you can grow in your relationship as a follower of Jesus. https://www.trueviewministries.org/contact

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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A Challenge This Week to Overcome Insecurity!

Do you sometimes feel insecure?  

Have you ever found yourself comparing yourself with others? Or ‘keeping score’ in your mind about what others have done or accomplished?

Do you feel like a victim sometimes?  Or feel that you are owed compensation for your losses?

Are you self-consumed and trying to outdo others for attention?  Or judge others and find yourself in self-pity or full of conceit?

Lastly, do you ever determine that you must take charge, protect your interests and manipulate the situation to get your way?  

Insecure people will often experience one of the above situations on a regular basis.  Insecurities come when we make ourselves an idol instead of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  When we are thinking about promises Jesus makes (the Word), the lessons His Spirit wants to teach us (the truth), or the person of Jesus (the way), we do not compare…because we recognize that we have been bought with a price.  That we are not our own, that God takes care of our interests, that He is in control and that even when you are not able…God still is!  There is always hope when we take control of our thoughts and align them with Jesus’.   

So what do you do if you want to reduce personal insecurities?  

There are several things you can do and I’m going to focus on one of them today.  

  1. Build your identity in Christ, not your performance.  Your performance does not define who you are, God does.

  2. Allow God to work in your heart and ask Him to reveal where you are too self-sufficient or self-promoting.  Ask Him to help you be more God-sufficient and Jesus-promoting.

  3. Discover & practice your God-given purpose in life, not someone else’s (stop trying to act, talk, present, or do anything the way someone else does it…do it the way you were created to do it!)

  4. Learn to give and receive affirmation.  


Giving compliments is a gift

When people are insecure, they have a hard time accepting affirmation even if they are good at giving it.  If I say, “I love your shirt, it’s really cute.” I will get a response that removes the value of the shirt or compliment that sounds like this, “Oh not really, I’ve had it forever…I got it on clearance…” as if to tell me, “it’s really not that cute, I’m not worthy and neither is this shirt of your compliment.”  If I were to tell you that a compliment from another person is like a gift that they bought and wrapped to give you on your birthday, would you still totally reject it?  When your insecurities keep you from accepting compliments, praise or affirmation at face value then you are rejecting a gift that another person wants to give you.  

In working with people over the years I have learned that often insecure people are insecure because they judge others harshly and therefore feel as though the internal thoughts of others are equally as harsh toward them.  To overcome this I want you to practice giving genuine compliments to others wherever you go.  Find something truthful, that is positive to say to brighten someone else’s day.  Your challenge this week is to genuinely compliment someone each day.  God tells us that it is a greater blessing to give than to receive.  The second part of this challenge is if someone compliments you, that you simply say, “Thank you so much,” with a big smile and receive the kindness.  

God loves you so much that He holds nothing back!  He was even willing to give His very own Son!  “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  

Thank God for all that He has done for you, and receive His love and then share it with others.  You can have security when you live your life from the outpouring of His love for you and for others.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you have been given the mind of Christ~

Love ya,

Jamie

Romans 8:32
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Can I Really Trust God...with My Children?!

This week I was on the phone visiting with someone I love dearly who’s battled cancer for the past 4 years and will be undergoing surgery next week to remove several tumors. We were discussing some of her concerns regarding the surgery and what would happen if something went wrong during the surgery or if it isn’t ultimately successful. My friend said to me,  “I do trust God. My issue is just with my kids.” She has two unmarried children in their 20’s; understandably, she desires to live to see them get married and have children of their own. She also would like to be around so she can make sure that their lives will turn out all right. 

 I’ve known her for years and we always speak frankly to one another, so I said, “The kids really aren’t the issue. The root of your concern is: “Can you really trust God?”  

 Whenever we say, “I trust God, but…” we reveal that we really do not trust God. Not totally. Not in the way that He’s called us to trust Him. And not in the way that will enable us to experience total peace—regardless of the circumstances that we face. The ‘but’ shows that we believe one or more lies that stand in the way of our seeing God for Who He is—totally, completely, at all times and in all situations, trustworthy

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 Our children are a priceless, precious gift from the Lord! However, they also can be ‘idols’ in our lives and the greatest stumbling block to our fully  putting our trust in God and His Word. Anything we love more than God is an idol in our lives, and we’ve been commanded to love and put our trust in Him above anyone or anything else, including the love we have for our children. We must dispel lies about our children and our relationship to them, and embrace the truth, if we’re going to ‘let them go’ and be able to experience the freedom and peace God longs for us to have. It is only in knowing and believing the truth that you will be set free from your fear, worry and anxiety regarding your children! (John 8:32)

  •  Lie 1: That our children are ‘ours’. Truth: Our children are first and foremost God’s-- Who created them for His ‘pleasure and glory’ (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 139:13; Isaiah 43:1,7; Colossians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11).  God has entrusted us with raising our children so that they will come to know, honor, love, and obey Him—which is for their ultimate good--and so that He will delight in them and be glorified through them. Yes, God wants us to take delight in our children too, but it is important that we remember that ‘our children’ are really ‘His children’.

  •  Lie 2: That we know what is best for our children. Truth: God is the wisest Person in the world and He always knows what is best, including everything that pertains to our children. His knowledge and His ways are infinitely higher than ours. (Job 12:13; Romans 11:33; Isaiah 55:8-9) He is also Love, and everything that He does is based upon His love for His creation. So not only does He know what is best, unlike us, God never has a selfish agenda. He always and only wants what is truly in the very best interest for ‘His’ and ‘our’ children. We can trust God Who knows all, and Who knows them best and loves them most! This syllogism always brings me joy: God is Love (1 John 4:8), and Love never fails. (1st Corinthians 13: 8) God= Love; Love never fails…therefore, God CANNOT fail. He can’t fail you, and He can’t fail your children! 

  •  Lie 3: That we can control our children’s lives and that we can keep them safe from all harm. Truth: God is Sovereign over all things, and He alone is all- powerful and able to keep us as well as our children safe from evil (Psalm 41:12; 91; 121:7; Proverbs 12:21; 18:10). Like me, you’ve probably heard countless stories of God’s divine intervention in situations-- like the person who miraculously survives a tragic car accident, escapes a home fire, or misses getting onboard an airplane that crashes. It’s easy to believe that God is Sovereign in those situations, as well as in the ordinary day-to-day issues of our lives.

    But what about when ‘bad things’ happen to people and/or their children? Have you wondered, where was God then? Have you questioned whether you can trust your children to a God Who allows ‘bad things’ to happen? I can assure you that He’s also Sovereign in those situations, situations you and I likely wouldn’t have chosen or allowed! Have you ever noticed that some of the ‘bad things’ in your own life were the very means God used to draw you—or someone else-- closer to Him? God is able to work all things together for good and for His glory for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! (Romans 8:28)! He longs for you to believe in your heart—not just in your head— that even what you consider to be ‘harmful’ , He is more than able to use for good! Consider Jesus. He learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). And it was His very suffering and death that made possible abundant and eternal life for all Who put their trust in Him! God is able to make beauty from ashes! Even that which we most dread; our death, and especially the death of our child! A very close childhood friend of mine had her life ‘cut short’ in the opinion of many when she died of cancer. However, her prayers that her father would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus were answered through her ‘untimely death’. There is nothing that God cannot use for His divine purposes, and He always has an eternal perspective, something we all too often lose sight of. When we keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus and upon eternity, we will be able to trust God to use even death for good and the glory of His Name! (2 Corinthians 4:18; Colossians 3:1; Romans 6:5) You can rest assured that you and your child will not live one day more or less than has been foreordained for him or her (Job 14:5;Psalm 139:16).

    You can’t control many things that you might like to regarding your children. However, there is something that is essential that you do if you want to protect your children from ultimate harm and evil and help ensure that they live a truly abundant life: Choose to love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, and model that kind of love for and trust in God before your children. Obey Him even when it’s tempting not to do so, teach your children that God gave us His commands to protect us and to ensure freedom from the bondage of sin, and instill in them a love for His Word and the assurance they can trust His every promise! Walk in humility and reality by letting them know that you may fail them, you cannot always protect them, and as much as you love them, that Jesus is the only One Who ‘will never leave or forsake them’, is always and only ‘Faithful and True’, and loves them with an unfailing, everlasting love! (Deuteronomy 31:6; Revelation 19:11; Psalm 107:8;Psalm 103:17)

Knowing-- and most of all believing--the truth about God and His Sovereign and Loving character—will lead you to the revelation that You can trust God with what matters most to you—whether it is the children that He’s entrusted to you, or anything else. Believing that truth with your heart, soul, and mind is the key to your experiencing the peace, joy, and true freedom God longs for you to have, regardless of the circumstances in your life.  That is your inheritance as the dearly beloved child of your all powerful, always loving, all wise, Heavenly Father, and the legacy He longs for you to pass on to the children He’s entrusted you to raise for His glory! May you find your rest and joy in fully trusting Him Who alone is fully trustworthy!

 Assignment: Write down on a list everything in your child’s life that causes you to be fearful, worried or anxious. Then scratch out everything you can’t control. Set goals around the things that you can control/manage. (Jamie and I will be happy to help you learn how to set measurable, achievable goals for those things you can control/manage—such as the time your children go to bed or come home from curfew, having a Bible study time with your kids, their screen time, etc. If you are interested, reach out to us at https://www.trueviewministries.org/contact.)

 Lord, help me to let go of the fallacy that I love my children more than You do; that I know what is better for them than You do; that I can control their lives or provide for them better than You can. Increase my faith in Your Wisdom, Goodness and Your Power so that I might truly ‘let go’ of my children—or of whatever else might be standing in the way of my fully trusting in You. I love You, Lord, and I long to please You by surrendering my will and desires completely to Your perfect will; may my will be consumed by Yours! I profess that I CAN and WILL trust the Man Who died for me with my greatest treasure…my life, and the lives of my children and other loved ones!  

Written by Julie

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The Key to Having Peace, Joy, and Supernatural Strength

 I have found that all too often professing Christians give lip service to the word of God. Why do I say that? Many Christians say they believe God is sovereign, good and trustworthy, but they don’t really believe that. If they did, they would experience the peace, joy and strength that are promised to those who fully put their trust in Him. How do I know that? Because I was one of those people who professed a belief in God but my life belied my words; the fruit of my life then was anxiety, stress, exhaustion, and lack of inner peace and joy. God was a slice of my life, but He wasn’t my life! I have experienced the difference between saying I believe in and trust God, and truly trusting Him and living in complete dependence upon Him. It’s like the difference between an empty cup and a cup that’s not just filled with but actually overflowing with peace, joy, and supernatural strength!

My life has radically changed since I surrendered it to the Lord over 25 years ago. Before that I would have said that I believed in God’s Word and in Jesus as my Savior. However, I didn’t really know God or His word and my life sure wasn’t focused upon Him or upon doing His will. My life was 'me' focused, it was all about doing 'my' will and living for my pleasure rather than 'God focused', about doing His will, and living for His pleasure. That kind of living led me to where such a lifestyle will always and inevitably lead—to stress, worry, and fear because eventually you find out that there are things in this world that are WAY beyond your ability to control! Like job losses. Broken relationships. A poor health diagnosis. Loss of loved ones. And as long as we are deceived into thinking we are in control of our lives and that we know what is best for us, we will be in a state of striving to control what we cannot, and therefore we will be unable to experience the peace, joy, and rest that God longs for us to have. Peace we can have through Jesus regardless of our personal circumstances, and regardless of what is going on in our nation or the world. That kind of peace can only be found by putting our lives into God’s far more capable hands, and trusting Him for every aspect of our lives. 

I discovered the key to experiencing peace, joy, contentment and supernatural strength when I finally came to the ‘end of myself’ and cried out to God, telling Him I was done living my life ‘my way’ and that I was ready to live it ‘His way’. I chose to take refuge in Him and to submit to His authority over my life; as I did, I found that He can be depended upon for He is sovereign, all wise, all knowing, faithful and true, and always at work for my good. When you know His character, you will trust Him fully, and when you trust Him fully, you will experience His perfect peace.

You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Isaiah 26:3 Amplified

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This verse emphasizes that in order to experience perfect, constant peace that your mind must be steadfastly fixed upon the Lord. It is not glancing at the Lord every now and then; it is keeping your gaze upon Him. And it is having the confident expectation that God WILL do what He says He will do! It is knowing that God cannot fail, for His very nature is love, and love never fails! (John 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:8)

 God has never once failed me since I have put my trust in Him! I have found that as I have kept my eyes fixed upon Him and counted on His faithfulness and His goodness-- even when I haven’t understood His ways-- I have been flooded with His peace. 

 Over the last year and a half my husband and I have faced a situation that we would never have chosen. Had we gone through this same set of circumstances before we surrendered our lives to the Lord, I am certain we would have been ‘basket cases’; FULL of worry, anxiety, and fear. But I can attest that when we learned of the situation, our initial response was, ‘This didn’t catch God by surprise even if it did us.’ Then we prayed together and declared, ‘We can trust the Man Who died for us to give us everything we need!’ (Romans 8:32) And He has! We not only have had peace, but we have also had joy in the midst of this trial. We rejoice in knowing God can be nothing other than faithful, for that is His very nature! It is truly the trials of life that stretch our faith, and reveal what we really believe. I am so grateful for this time of testing and ‘waiting upon the Lord’! We have gained a deeper revelation of God and His totally trustworthy character, and we have grown deeper in love with Him! 

 Our daily ‘bread’ has been His Word that has nourished us. Matthew 6:11; John 6:33

 God has been our refuge and our strength, our very present help, and the Rock upon whom we have leaned for strength. Psalm 46:1 

Our eyes have been fixed upon Him, knowing He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2

 Our lips have declared His praises and made us aware of His Presence, for He inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 22:3

 Our ears have been attuned to hearing His voice giving us His direction as to what we should do. Isaiah 30:21; Proverbs 3:6

 We have tasted and seen that the Lord is good and that blessed are those who take refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8

Not long after I gave my life to the Lord someone asked me what my favorite verse was. I remember telling them it was Isaiah 40: 31. I had head knowledge of the verse at that time, but now I have experienced the truth of this passage that assures us that when we know we have no strength apart from Him, that He will give us His strength and renew us by His power! He has been so faithful to do this for me, and I want to testify to His goodness, and to not only the peace and joy that is found in Him, but the strength that is found in Him as well!

 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become tired or grow weary;
There is no searching of His understanding. 
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who has no might He increases power. 
Even youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired. Isaiah 40:28-31

 Are you experiencing the ‘peace that surpasses all human understanding as you keep your heart and mind on Christ Jesus’? (Philippians 4:7) Have you experienced the joy of truly surrendering your life to Christ, of totally trusting Him and allowing Him to ‘take over’ your life? Are you weary, and do you need the strength that is found in Him alone? 

 Lord, I have been guilty of saying I trust you when in fact I have been putting my trust in myself and in my way of doing things rather than really trusting You. I long to have the peace, joy, contentment and strength that is found when my mind is steadfastly fixed upon you and continually expecting you to do what only You can do. Help me to truly ‘let go’ of thinking I am in control or that my ways are higher than yours, and by your grace at work in my life empower me to completely release my life into your unfailing, loving care! Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief! And give me an insatiable desire to be in your Word so that I might grow in my knowledge of You so that I can know that You are always faithful and true! Amen 

 If you would like to know more about surrendering your life to God and how to be set free from fear, worry and anxiety, please reach out to us at https://www.trueviewministries.org/contact

Written by Julie 

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This One Thing Can Transform Your Marriage 

After almost 40 years of marriage I have learned a lot of things I should not to do, and several things I should do, if I want a God-glorifying, satisfying marriage. But there is one thing that I have learned that is most important if I am to have the marriage that I truly desire, and that God longs for me to have. My marriage, like most Christian marriages, started in front of a church altar. There we said our vows before God and the attendees. I know there was a brief sermon as well as prayers that emphasized the importance of God in our marriage; however, at the ripe old age of 23 we were so ‘star stuck’ and convinced that our love for each other was all we needed for a great marriage that I know we didn’t tune into the pastor’s words, or much of any other wise counsel given to us at the time. I think many marriages start off the same way ours did: a perfunctory acknowledgement of God’s role in the marriage, and then shortly after the wedding vows have been uttered, living as if the marriage is just between and dependent upon the two of you. 

 It is good to recognize the need for God to be at the center of your marriage at your wedding ceremony, but it’s far, far more important to realize your need for Him every minute, every hour and every day of your marriage. As we grow in our maturity in Christ, we recognize more and more the truth of God’s Word that, ‘apart from Him we can do nothing’ (John 15:5). That is as true in our marriage as it is in our individual lives; we desperately need to be aware of our need for God to be ‘front and center’ in our marriage if we desire it to be all that God intended it to be when He instituted this special union. Since He’s the one who came up with the idea of marriage, you can be confident that He’s the greatest authority and expert on marriage in the world. He’s also the greatest advocate you could ever have for your marriage. He’s for you, He’s for your spouse, and most of all-- He’s for your marriage! And, He’s available to you 24/7—and at no charge! God alone has the power to transform you, to transform your spouse, and to transform your marriage! He is able to redeem your marriage, to sustain it, and to enhance it!  All He asks is that you choose to entrust it to Him!

The best way for you to know that you are entrusting your marriage to
God is to do this one thing: invite Him to come into and take over your marriage. What do I mean by that? I mean that you pray and commit every aspect of your marriage into God’s expert, tender, loving care, and His almighty power! The marriage that is fully surrendered to God and to His will for it will enjoy the greatest intimacy, mutual love and respect, and the joy of ‘oneness’ that God intends for it to have.

I encourage you to pray the prayer below— or a similar one— with your spouse. If he/she is unwilling to pray with you, or you don’t feel comfortable even approaching them about praying it with you at this time, I encourage you to pray it on your own for your marriage. God is waiting to be asked to intervene on behalf of your marriage! We have a miracle-working God Who is not only able to fix ‘broken people’, but also to heal, restore, and redeem ‘broken or troubled relationships’! Trust Him: He is more than able!

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 Entrust your marriage to God, and see what He can and will do!

 Lord, I confess that my spouse and I have ignored the reality that we desperately need you to be at the center of our marriage. All too often we have tried to accomplish our will for our lives rather than to ask you to reveal to us Your will; often we have done things ‘our way’ rather than Your way and we have reaped the consequences of leaving you out of our lives. Lord, I/we invite you to come into our marriage and to completely take it over. Into your hands, I/we commit my/our marriage and ask you to do what only you can do: redeem where it needs to be redeemed; sustain us where we need to be sustained; enhance that which is good. Thank You Lord for Your love for me and for my spouse, and for your desire for our marriage to be a union that reflects your love. I/we desire for our marriage to be all that You created it to be, and I/we ask You to give me/us the faith to believe that You are able to transform our lives and our marriage into something beautiful for Your glory and kingdom purposes! Oh, Lord, how we need you! Please come into our marriage and take it over so that it is all that you created and desire it to be! Into Your hands I/we commit our marriage. Amen.

If you feel inadequate and need more wisdom, knowledge and understanding…ask God to give you the desire to read His Word (the bible), the Source of all truth, wisdom, knowledge and understanding…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit my/our need for wisdom, knowledge and understanding and open up our minds to Your truth, guidance and instruction

If you are having communication issues…ask God to give you His ears to hear your spouse, to give you His words for you to speak to your spouse in a way that your spouse will hear you, and to give you His heart of love for your spouse…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit what and how we communicate with one another

 If you are having issues with physical, emotional, or spiritual intimacy…ask God to give you His perspective on your spouse so that you can be a vessel through which His love flows through you and meets the physical and emotional needs of your spouse…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit our physical, emotional, and spiritual issues

 If you are having financial issues…ask God to take over your situation and to show you what, if anything, you should be doing to address the issue, and to trust Him as Your Provider…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit our financial situation/issues

 If you are having issues with your children…ask God to give you and your spouse His wisdom and His heart, mind and spirit regarding how to raise/respond to your children...Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit our children’s lives, and how we are to raise, counsel/coach them

 If you are having issues with in-laws/family members/friends…ask God to give you His heart of love for the people involved and to respond to them with His truth, wisdom and love…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit our issue/s with our family and friends

 If you feel weary and overburdened...ask God to give you His strength, patience and perseverance...Lord, into Your loving and capable hands we commit our bodies, souls, and spirits

 If you feel fearful for the future…ask God to increase your faith in Him so that you will grow confident that He is over and above every circumstance that you are facing today and that will arise in the future...Lord, into Your loving and capable hands we commit our lives and our future

Once you have committed your marriage into the Lord’s hands, I encourage you to listen to His leading, ask Him to give you the ability and faith to do what He has called you to do, and then obey Him and rely upon His power to work in you. If you find that you try to ‘take back’ that which you have committed to God and to do things your way again rather than His, immediately confess it to Him, and recommit it into the Lord’s hands. Remember, God loves you with an unfailing love; He has a plan for your marriage; and He is available to help you at all times. He is more than able to make your marriage ALL that you desire it to be…and even better than you can possibly imagine!

 Written by Julie

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A Revelation of God’s Love…From Outside a Bathroom

I firmly believe that if we have our ears attuned to God’s voice and our eyes fixed upon Him, we will understand that God can reveal Himself to us in every situation in our lives. The circumstances themselves may not be entirely pleasurable—as in the case of His revelation to me last weekend—but I rejoice that no matter the circumstances-- God is able to reveal the depth of His love for me, and for you.

So, how did He speak to my heart last weekend? My husband and I were watching our 2½ year- old grandson and almost one -year old granddaughter while my son and daughter-in-law are away on a much deserved weekend retreat. We thoroughly enjoy our time with them, and yet-- as most if not all grandparents will attest—we understand why God had us bear children in our younger years! (Except for biblical characters like Sarah and Abraham, and they had lots of servants to help them out!) After a wonderful, packed day with our grandchildren, my husband and I were exhausted, so following a couple of hours of respite, we ‘hit the hay’. I had just fallen asleep when our grandson let out a cry of terror. I rushed to his crib and found that he had thrown up all over his crib. I immediately took him to the bathroom, he threw up once more, and then I sat with him on the floor for some time to see if he was going to have another bout. He didn’t seem feverish and said his tummy felt fine, so after getting the soiled sheets off the bed and putting fresh linens on it, I laid him back down. No sooner had I put him down and gone to my room to go back to sleep, I heard him cry out again. He had gotten sick again.  We went back to our vigil on the floor by the toilet.

After quite some time, I thought it was safe to put him back down again—after of course changing out the bed linens—but regrettably, it was not; he got sick again. I finally decided the only way he’d be fine is if he lay on me and near the toilet, but not on the bathroom tile floor again because it was too cold. So I moved the rocking chair from his bedroom to outside of the bathroom. He snuggled next to me, and assumed a position where he slept fitfully, and I slept not at all.  He became more restless and I was uncomfortable, so I thought it would be a better idea for us to both lay down outside of the bathroom on the carpeted floor together. By this time, he was thoroughly exhausted, had eliminated everything from his tummy, and fell right to sleep.

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Once he was asleep, I knew I could go into the bedroom right around the corner from him and go to sleep—which I desperately needed at this point—but I also knew it was important to him that I lay right next to him in case he awoke again feeling sick or just needing my comfort. So that, along with the fact I’d already gone through several sets of sheets, ruled out putting him back into his crib. I thought about taking him to the bed where my husband and I had been sleeping, but I was concerned that my grandson could awaken and get sick again in the bed and I didn’t want to risk his giving the virus to my husband. So I remained right by his side on the floor. And, as I lay there, gladly choosing to forfeit my comfort and restful sleep for the remainder of the night in order to be by his side, I felt Jesus speak to my heart:

“Like John (my grandson) you were sick—sick with sin—and you needed me to come to your rescue. I didn’t leave all of the glories of Heaven to come down to earth to take care of you and then to leave you on your own. I came to be Immanuel—’God with you’— to remain with you in order to provide for your every need. I have given you the Holy Spirit to dwell within you, to guide and teach you, to encourage and comfort you, and to remind you of my constant Presence and unfailing love. Just as you were gladly willing to give up your sleep and comfort for John’s sake and to do all you could for him throughout the night, remember that I am always by your side, always at work on your behalf, and I will never leave or forsake you. If you ever doubt how much I love you and what I am willing to do for you, remember what you were willing to do for John, and know that my love for you is far, far greater than your love for him could ever be. You will grow weary and eventually fall asleep, but I neither slumber nor sleep; I am continually by your side, watching over you, ready at an instant to do what is best for you. As John trusts you, how much more should you trust Me?! I know that you would do all in your power for John, but you cannot provide for his every need. Only I can. And only I can provide for all of your needs. And I will. As you delight in having John by your side and watching over him, I delight in being by your side and continually keeping watch over you; I rejoice over you with singing!

As I lay there next to my grandson who had finally fallen peacefully asleep by my side, my heart was bursting with joy! Joy because my Heavenly Father had used this unforeseen circumstance— one that I would not have chosen— to reveal to me the depth of His love for me, the constancy of His presence, protection, and provision in my life, and He gave me a keener awareness of the joy that He experiences watching over me and caring for my every need. How great is our Father’s love for us, His beloved children! How blessed we are to have such a good, caring, loving Lord and Heavenly Father!

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 121 ESV

 If you ever doubt your Heavenly Father’s love for you, I encourage you to think of the love you have for someone on earth and what you have done-- or would be wiling to do for them-- and then contemplate how much greater your Heavenly Father’s love is for you! And just as I didn’t take my grandson into bed with my husband due to my love for my husband and concern for his well-being, keep in mind that at the same time that God is watching over you, He is also watching over others and doing what is best for them too. He alone is able to provide for everyone’s need and in a way that is best for everyone. God is always at work on your behalf, and on behalf of all of those He loves and who love Him!

Written by Julie

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