Joy that is Real

Have you ever noticed that the joy found in this world doesn’t last indefinitely? It can be here today and gone tomorrow. I have definitely experienced this and have found over and over that the only true joy that is never fleeting is the joy found in Jesus. It’s so amazing to me that God gave us the most precious gift of all time by sending his one and only Son to earth in the form of a precious baby, born of a virgin. Truly a miraculous birth! And through his birth, life, death, and resurrection, there is hope for now but not just for now…for all eternity. That is so comforting to me. He died for my sins and took my place. What great love and sacrifice, actually the most wonderful love story ever! His love is never ending and He will never leave me or forsake me. That fills me with great joy when I truly comprehend the meaning of that.

Just think, Jesus knows what it’s like to be both the Son of God and human like us. He is holy and pure and He never sinned while he was on this earth, but he understands what it’s like to be a man. Satan tempted him but Jesus never gave in and always responded back to Satan with scripture from God’s Word, the Bible. So when Satan tempts me with fear, worry, or despair, I try to respond back with scripture too. I wish I did it all the time but I don’t. But I am getting better at it.

Jesus understands these hard days of the pandemic. He experienced a lot during his 33 years on earth. He’s the source of true joy yesterday, today, and forever! He always has been the source since his birth, and actually has been for those hearing prophecy about his coming and looking forward to it with the greatest of hopes. He definitely is my true joy today without a doubt, and He always will be.

My kids gave me a plaque that I have on my fireplace mantle. It says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there.”  A plaque could also say don’t worry about losing true joy because it will be there tomorrow.


Finding Peace in Troubled Times

I cried this morning during my prayer time. I cried yesterday morning, too. This morning, the enormity of all the people suffering in the world right now was overwhelming to me. Yesterday, I read an article about a dad opening an empty refrigerator trying to find food for his hungry 11 year old. It made me think what if that was either of my grandsons who are around that age. There are way too many hungry people right now because of job loss. And there are other stories out there that bring tears to my eyes as well. It’s just. too. much.

I don’t have answers. I don’t know why. But I do know we live in a broken world. I know there are things in the heavenly realms we know nothing about. (If you’re not familiar with the Bible, there’s a book called Ephesians that has six chapters. The sixth chapter talks about the spiritual world.)

So, what do I do in all this mess? These are things that have helped me a lot:

  • Take one day at a time! (the Bible talks about doing that)
  • Count my blessings! Don’t take anything for granted! (the Bible talks about this)
  • Look for ways every week that I can help others! (the Bible talks about this)
  • Trust God and give him all my worries, problems, fears, concerns! (God tells me in the Bible over and over again to trust Him and not to fear. He’s never let me down!)
  • Trust that God is in the midst of all that’s going on, working and helping in ways that I don’t know about.

I do better some days than others, but overall, I’m doing so much better than the first few weeks of the pandemic. Faith over fear is what I tell myself.

I found a song on YouTube recently that I love. It’s one of the things that helps calm my soul if I’m feeling anxiety start to creep up. The name of the song is simple. Here’s the link for  “Peace.”  I feel peaceful every time after I listen to it.

~ Charla


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How To Be Thankful Even When Life is Hard

Have you ever felt unsettled? Things just weren’t going right or your world turned upside down? Maybe you’ve lost your job or maybe can’t find a job. Maybe you’re facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Maybe you’ve lost someone very dear to you either suddenly or through a long illness, or maybe a loved one is suffering with an illness. Maybe you have children who have lost their way and you’re not sure where they are. Maybe a good friend has betrayed you. Maybe your health is not what it used to be. Maybe you’re experiencing depression or fear. The “maybe” list can go on and on.

Life can be hard!  During this week of Thanksgiving, how can someone be thankful when life is hard? How do you do hard and be thankful at the same time?

Being thankful is a choice and is mentioned many times in the Bible. When it says to come before the LORD with thanksgiving (Psalms 95 & 100, etc.), it doesn’t give any stipulations like “when everything is going right” or “when we ‘feel’ like we have something to be thankful for.” There is always something to be thankful for, and we might have to ask God to open our eyes to see the many blessings around us.

  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with  thanksgiving,  present your requests to God.   Philippians 4:6

In every situation..  Not just certain situations.  And thanksgiving goes right along with prayer.  While we are in prayer,  we can give all the hard things in life over to God and give Him our worries.  When we stop feeling like we are in control and realize that God is in ultimate control, then and only then can we stop being anxious.  Somehow that opens our hearts and eyes to see all the things we do have to be thankful for.

The Bible also tells us that we need to come before God like little children.  He is our heavenly Father, our Creator, the God who knows us.

  • He (Jesus) called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.   Matthew 18:2

Have you listened to the prayer of a child recently?  Have you noticed that sometimes they pray for everything, simple things, things that adults often take for granted?  God is the Creator of everything.  They are coming before God with thanksgiving for everything, no matter how simple.

Maybe these two Bible verses can help us to open our eyes, come before God as children, give Him all our worries, and truly come before Him with thanksgiving…in every situation!  When we focus on being thankful to God, our eyes are opened to the abundance of blessings we have to be thankful for… no matter how hard our life is at the time.

Sunday Thoughts: When Tragedy Strikes

We don’t know why tragedies have happened the last few months, why innocent children and staff died at Sandy Hook Elementary; why so many people, several of which were children, died and were injured and lost their homes in Moore, Oklahoma; why people died in a tornado in Granbury recently.  There have been other tragedies as well the past year, the past decade, and throughout history.

But one thing I do know without a doubt is that our God cares, and He is close to those who are hurting.  He will comfort all those who turn to Him for comfort.

There are so many people in churches all over the country who are reaching out monetarily and with their time and sweat to help those who are hurting.  The church where we attend in Texas helped people up north after the hurricane hit so hard a few months ago.  And you know what?  Some of those people from the church who were hit hard up north came down to Texas to help those in the West, Texas, disaster recently.  It really encourages me to hear of all the many things that are being done by fellow Christians all over the country to help those who are hurting, who are brokenhearted, who are grieving.

I am so overwhelmed with the end-of-school things that have to be done, but I hope that I can go to at least one of these places where people are hurting and be of comfort and help to them this summer.  That’s my goal.

The best source of comfort comes from God.  Here are some verses from God’s Word, the Bible:

New Century Version,

  1. Psalm 34:18
    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.
  2. Psalm 147:3
    He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
  3. Psalm 23:4
    Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me. Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.
  4. Matthew 5:4
    They are blessed who grieve, for God will comfort them.
  5. 2 Corinthians 1:3
    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort.
  6. 2 Corinthians 1:4
    He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.

Sunday Thoughts

Just having a lot of Bible knowledge or going to church every Sunday is not what being a Christian is about.  It’s about being transformed into what God would have us become and about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, & strength.  It’s about loving others as well.  It’s about having a servant spirit like Christ and being transformed more and more into being like Him every day of our lives.  It’s about being transformed and changed because of the great love, mercy, and grace that God has showered on us through sending His one and only Son into this broken world… to save us!

Sunday Thoughts: Strangely Dim

Several years ago, when my mother only had a few days left to live, I would sit in her room, reading my Bible.  I knew in situations like those that God was and is always the true source of comfort.  The chorus of one song kept going through my mind over and over again, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”  I knew He was there with me in those very hard days.

Francesca Battistelli posted on Facebook this past week that she has a new song out “Strangely Dim.”  This immediately caught my attention…the words struck a chord in my heart because those words are in the song, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.  I quickly listened to her new song on YouTube and loved it.   No matter what anyone is going through in their life, it’s amazing how the tough things in life grow dim when we have our hearts focused on Jesus.  When we trust in Him, we can talk to Him in prayer and turn any and all problems over to Him.  He not only is God’s Son…He is also our best friend, if we open our hearts to Him!  He can comfort us in the way no person can.

Sidenote:  Francesca is one of my favorite female contemporary Christian music artists.  We (our son, my husband, and I) heard her live at a Celebrate Freedom concert at Southfork Ranch (yes, the one that was in the TV show Dallas) a couple of years ago, and we were impressed with her sincerity and commitment to God.  We were impressed how she was seven months pregnant and was sitting on a stool out in the Texas heat (the stage was shaded and she probably had a fan blowing on her).  She must have felt a great commitment to share her songs.  By the way for those of you who keep up with her, they have another new baby, a little girl.


Song Share: “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave

Here’s a great song “Redeemed” to encourage those who are in Christ. Big Daddy Weave (their lead singer is Mike Weaver) has other great songs that are very thoughtful if you ever have a chance to listen to them. We heard the group live at a Celebrate Freedom Concert at Southfork Ranch (yes, that’s the Southfork Ranch from the TV show “Dallas”) during this past summer and appreciated what Mike Weaver had to say.


How to be Joyful

Philippians 4:4-7  “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 118:24  ” This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Nehemiah 8:10  “…the joy of the Lord is your strength!”


The Dead Sea Scrolls

I’ve been hearing on the radio how the Dead Sea Scrolls are available for viewing in the Metroplex.  It would be very interesting to go see them!  The Dead Sea Scrolls contain Isaiah (a book of the Bible in the Old Testament) which was written approximately 597-538 BC.  It’s fascinating to me that ancient writings of God’s Word were preserved for centuries in the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Here’s just one verse from Isaiah:

Isaiah 40:22:  God sits on his throne above the circle of the earth, and compared to him, people are like grasshoppers.  The world was thought to be flat until the 1400’s, but nearly two thousand years before that, the prophet of God named Isaiah (inspired by God) wrote about the circle of the earth, and God preserved the writings of Isaiah in the caves.  Amazing!

Song Share: “10,000 Reasons” & “Blessed Be Your Name”

I love this new song, “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul”) by Matt Redman.   The popular songs “Blessed Be Your Name” and “You Never Let Go” were also written by Redman and his wife, and these songs have been such a source of comfort and encouragement to thousands of people all over the world. Many well-known contemporary Christian music artists have sung quite a few of his songs, by the way.  If you listen to “10,000 Reasons,” I hope your heart is touched like mine is every time I hear this song.