Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

We are only a few days away from Thanksgiving Day. For many that means taking time to make sure others have something to be thankful for during this season. Many churches, businesses, and individuals will be donating meals and time to those who are less fortunate. Others of you will have a wonderful day shared with family and friends. For some this will be your first Thanksgiving without a loved one, for others it will be a difficult time because of broken and strained relationships within families.

While all the things I just mentioned are truths, I am praying that each one of us will pause and take the time to truly look at people and things to be thankful for this year.

I am personally thankful for God’s Word. It is what helps me to see and know His Faithfulness, to realize He is All-Knowing, All Powerful, Omnipresent and His absolute love for His children. I am thankful to be one of those children. I’m thankful for Jesus, the cross and the resurrection, which allowed me to be saved from the wrath of God. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit who convicts me of sin daily, who challenges me to desire to live life according to God’s word and ways, and who affirms He is at work in my life daily.

I am also very thankful for each one of you and how important you are to Pure Joy International. Those who have been a part of us since our beginning, and those of you who have joined us along the way. I am thankful for the prayers for the ministry, the staff, board, and advisors. I am thankful for the prayers specifically for each trip out of the country and its preparations. I am thankful for the prayers that go out for the missionary women and their families before, during and following a trip. I am thankful for those of you who give to support this ministry monthly regarding operations, and throughout the year with missionary sponsorships for each conference, as well as for those of you who give a onetime offering at the end of each year. I pray that God blesses each of you a hundred-fold for your faithfulness.

So, during this Thanksgiving week, may we slow down and be thankful for someone or something that has made and/or makes a difference in our lives.

From all of us at Pure Joy International

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Another year ….

Growing up I was never the person who was too concerned about what age I was turning. I did not do the “I’m turning 30 it is the end of the world.” I didn’t do the “I’m fifty and over the hill” thing. I did have one set back several years ago when my older brother had me confused about my birthday. I was never sure about how old I was that year. Ha,ha,ha

Anyway, I never give much thought to my age because my belief system regarding aging is this: Jesus died on the cross at age 33 and was resurrected. When I invited Jesus into my life in 1990, He became my life. Him in me, me in Him. Therefore, I will never be older than 33. My body is confused but my mind and heart are good. Ha,ha,ha

I did have to give a little thought to my age this morning when visiting on WhatsApp with a young couple. We were talking about communication. In discussing the importance of listening, I referenced the “E.F. Hutton” commercial from years ago. They both looked at me like, “Hmmmmm, nope never heard of it.” On the inside I’m thinking, “What? You have never heard of the E.F. Hutton commercial?” So, promptly after our time together, I went on line to see just how old the commercial is. It was made in 1986 with some updates along the way. This couple probably wasn’t even born yet, or maybe were learning to walk/talk. Ha,ha,ha,ha

Maybe more time is passing than I realize. Ha,ha,ha But, I’m taking the journey a day at a time. God’s word has made it clear that there is a season for all things. And He has made it clear all our days are ordained. Check in, done. Check out, still to be determined. (smile)

So, thank you for all the well wishes yesterday: text, emails, cards that showed up in the mail, gifts, homemade cake, etc. I love my family, God’s family, and those that will be part of His family in the days to come. Also, eventually my niece may have to explain to my great nephew the truth that all the flags that are out on Veterans Day are not actually people celebrating my birthday. For now, it is fun to watch him be excited about it! Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha

And, if my brother doesn’t confuse me about my age again, I should have a good year! Ha,ha,ha,ha


And for those that do remember:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Mercy the Key to Forgiveness….

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. But can I just be honest with you? I meet people regularly in my life journey that are bound up by the consequences of not pardoning an offender (someone that has hurt/wounded them). If you want to know how that unfolds it looks like this:

  • Someone offends (hurts) you. You choose not to address it in a timely manner.
  • Hurt turns into anger. You choose not to address the anger. 
  • Anger turns into bitterness. You choose not to address the bitterness.
  • Bitterness turns into hatred. You choose not to address the hatred. 
  • You become toxic to self and everyone around you.                                                                      
The physical manifestations of unforgiveness lead to broken marriages, families, friendships, job related friendships, church family relationships, etc.

So, why do we hang on to unforgiveness to the point that it becomes toxic to us and those around us?  Here are a few reasons that have been given over time (not all of the possible reasons):
  • The hurt is too great, “they” don’t deserve forgiveness.
  • Don’t want to forgive because the person keeps hurting them.
  • The memory of it keeps us from forgiving.
  • Want the offender to pay, to suffer, to experience harm.
  • Unwilling to forgive until the offender takes responsibility for it.
  • Forgiving them will cause them to think what they did was ok.
  • Forgiving them means I must be in relationship with them again.
  • None of us deserves forgiveness. Yet, Christ was nailed to the cross for every single one of our sins past, present, and future because we owed a debt we could not pay. We didn’t deserve forgiveness. But He felt mercy (compassion) towards us and extended Grace. (Forgiveness is always a gift! It is not something we deserve but something we are given.)
  • We need to forgive others for our own good. But that does not mean we have to continue to be subject to continued offenses. Set healthy boundaries.
  • Sometimes we must remind ourselves we have forgiven someone. Unlike God, we aren’t always able to forget things. But we do have a choice to not live in the past. 
  • Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 We must trust God that He sees and knows what has taken place and that He does avenge sin. But, keep in mind, He avenges our sins against others as well.
  • Your offender may or may not ever admit they hurt you. Some because they don’t know they did, even though you think they should know. Others just because they don’t believe they did anything wrong. (We still must forgive for our own spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health.)
  • If I forgive them they will think what they did was ok. Forgiving is not acknowledgement that the action/behavior was ok. Forgiveness is for our own well-being.

So, having said all of this. What role does mercy play in forgiveness? When you have a chance please take time to carefully read Matthew 18:21-35. It is the parable of “The Unforgiving Servant.” But for now look at verses 23-26.

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

Look at verse 27. The servant’s master took pity (mercy, compassion,) on him, canceled the debt (forgave him), and let him go (released him to freedom).

Genuine forgiveness starts with pity (mercy, compassion) toward the offender               
which results in forgiveness from the heart from the offended….
which releases the both the offender and the offended from bondage.

I know I wrote a lot in this blog. And it is only a drop in the bucket on this topic. I have been working on the wording for two weeks. Not God’s wording, He needs no help. But my wording to try and communicate clearly. All this to say……

If you are having trouble forgiving anyone please start praying that God will give you mercy towards that person. Literally, pray for God to do that for you. Many will say I could never forgive that person. No, you can’t but God in and through you can. And it starts with asking Him to give you mercy towards that person. And dear ones, I have heard some crazy awesome stories from those that have trusted Him to help them gain mercy towards an offender, so buckle up. He will amaze you!

P.S. We are presently in the process of working on logistics for our spring conference in Quito, Ecuador. Please begin to pray as we seek Him for details regarding hotel location.