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Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine”

When life tries to get us down, sometimes looking to put a smile on someone else’s face is just the medicine we both need.

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Sometimes life hurts.  When the heart aches with grief, God is there to comfort us and help us find the strength to overcome with His joy.

“The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10 

“Joy is a steady, inner strength that has the ability to surpass and override our most discouraging situations.  Joy is actually the tool God has provided to help us through the hardships of life, and yet, oddly, it is usually the first thing we let go of when life gets hard.” –  Fulfilled: Learning to Live the Life God Promised

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Ephesians 1:7-8  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding”

God lavishes” (to bestow in generous or extravagant quantities) His rich grace on us.  How different would my day look if I truly lived with understanding that God generously gives me extravagant quantities of His favor?   I need to stop and take that in for a minute.  Living a God-Fulfilled life is a journey filled with daily reminders of the gifts of God’s grace.

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My life has been so full recently, with lots of wonderful things… a newly published book, a newborn grandson, ministry, a beautiful family and friends.

Have you ever noticed that when your life is so full, even with lots of good things, you can find yourself tired and lacking inner strength?

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God’s great LOVE reaches out to rescue us in every unique way that we personally need Him.   Over the many seasons of my life God has reached down and rescued me in so many different ways.  Each time His personal touch has given me just what I needed in that moment.

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It was Christmas 1977, although there were many gifts under the tree for me there is only one I remember receiving.

Being twelve years old at time didn’t appreciate it then the way I do now because it was a dictionary.  Yes that’s right, among all the typical presents a preteen girl might receive on Christmas morning, I opened a hard bound High School dictionary.  Given to me, with a handwritten dedication from my sweet mom, who among many things was a lover of words.

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“I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  – Psalm 32:8

This scripture has always comforted me to know that God sees and God knows… everything about me and my life.

I suppose it would be different if the verse didn’t say “loving eye” - it would be far less comforting to think of God looking down at every intimate place of our life with a judgmental eye… But thankfully, God doesn’t see us through the lense of criticism – God’s loving eye is on you.

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Everything we experience in life reaches far beyond the surface and affects our soul… We were never meant to maneuver through life on our own.

Our soul is designed to need God.

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“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10

Joy is actually the tool God has provided to help us through the hardships of life, and yet, oddly, it is usually the first thing we let go of when life gets hard.

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I am so very thankful that God always brings hope and restoration to every broken place.  This weekend my husband, Kurt and I celebrate our twenty-nineth wedding anniversary.  We have been through a lot, especially in the early years of our marriage.  I vulnerably share our story in my book, releasing next month. There was a time when the brokenness in our relationship seemed unrepairable; but nothing is impossible with God!

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“…We count as blessed those who have persevered.” – James 5:11

In general I consider myself to be the type of person who presses through adversity, but sometimes I feel like quitting.  Although the reasons I feel like quitting always differ based on my circumstances there are a few similarities I’ve learned to recognize anytime I am tempted to quit.

If I notice the following things, I hold on and start looking for God’s promises because I know that anything worthwhile will take perseverance.

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The weight of condemnation is a heavy burden to carry.  It taints our mind with harsh criticism and complete disapproval of ourselves or others.

Are you hard on yourself?

I tend to be harder on myself than I would be with anyone else.  It would be very easy for me to dwell on my mistakes, but I learned a long time ago that there is a big difference between Condemnation and Conviction.  

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“Lord, the one you love is sick.”   – The simple, yet heartfelt message sent by Mary and Martha to Jesus concerning their brother Lazarus.  I have read this passage of scripture many times, but Joanna Weaver’s insightful book and study guide, Lazarus Awakening has brought this small sentence to life in my heart, in a much deeper way.

“In a sense it can be said of all of us – Lord, the one you love is sick.”   And yet, nothing is too big for Jesus to reach beyond and overcome.

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I am so excited to have one of my sweet friends and author of two books, Jenni DeWitt share on the blog this week!  She writes with genuine honesty while sharing faith-filled hope.  I know you will be inspired and encouraged by her!

Guest Post by Jenni DeWitt

My five-year-old son recently finished a three-year cancer treatment for leukemia. Those three long years, I had dreamed about the end of treatment and how wonderful it would be.

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“In your unfailing LOVE you will LEAD the people you have REDEEMED in your STRENGTH you will GUIDE them” – Exodus 15:13 

God sees.  Our need for grace and redemption is never hidden from His sight.

God loves.  With unfailing and unconditional compassion He redeems our soul to make us whole.   His arms wrap us in His mercy as we learn to rest securely in the safety of His embrace.

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