To Live or Not to Live~ Who’s Choice is it?

I’m going to share something that is becoming deeply ingrained in my me.

It’s a verse that has  challenged and changed everything by changing and challenging the eyes thru which I view everything.

“Today, I lay before you life and death;
choose life”.

Whether you’re a bible reader or not, you have to admit there are some really big thoughts in there.

This is  something that has the power to  change it all for you. Guaranteed .
If you sink your teeth into this juicey morsel, you will taste and see how good the Lord can be.

When I don my other “hat” as  Your Natural Food Coach,
I see one consistent inconsistency  time and time again when  counciling with folks.

It is the “maker or breaker” of whether they will nix their eating demons and rebuild their health.

The secret is in that verse.

It’s all about learning to control that chooser inside.

Not an easy task .

I know that my “chooser” can run a million miles in every direction and, often, none of them are the direction I want to go.

If we ponder the essence that  make this verse  huge we will notice four wee words…

TODAY-YOU-CHOOSE- LIFE.

We choose.

Who does?
WE DO!

When do we choose?
DAILY!!

And what do we choose?
LIFE or DEATH!

What we choose is life or death and we are choosing it  NOW.

From there,  it’s easy to understand how  each choice is either life or death.
With each choice we move forwards toward one or the other.

I am convinced, with every fiber of my being, that there is no neutral ground in choosing.

No gray zone.

Nothing of nil- effect.

Our choices, however slight or flippant, will take us in one of two directions.
Towards Life or Towards Death.

You cannot stand still on an escalator.
You  either go up or down.

Up to Life or Down to Death.

And we are the ones determining that direction with each choice regardless of how  it may appear.

No one will make that choice for you.

Your direction on that escalator will forever and always  be  exclusively between you, your great big beautiful heart and that fella inside named “Will”.

Picture each choice  as a seed that will grow.
It  either grows something lush and beautiful that  bears fruit to enjoy, nourish and bring more life.
Or it will grow some nasty weed, solely consumed with its own self- preservation.
A predator that will ravage your garden and consume anything thats stands  in its way to total conquest.

So I  ask you, what  lush and vibrant life-growing choices have you made today?

I know you made some.

But do YOU KNOW you  made some?

We are a people that are so brutally hard on ourselves.
Grading ourself on all our shortcomings, scribbling across our exam page with a great big red F for FAIL!

But, yes, you have made good choices today.

Most likely they were choices that were hard to make.

That’s why they’re choices.

Maybe you chose to put the cinnamon bun back on the shelf.
Maybe you chose to sit and read a book to your little boy while the dishes pile up in the sink.
Maybe you bite your tongue and extended grace to the guy who just cut you off in traffic.

This is all life, folks.

This all grows great big wonderful life inside of you.

And step-by-step little-by-little we are changed.

If you made yourself get to the gym, today when you really didn’t want to.
YOU CHOSE LIFE!
Spent that time with your Heavenly Father?
LIFE! LIFE! GREAT BIG GLORIOUS LIFE!

Give yourself kudos where you deserve it.
Quit being stingy!

Let out a hoot and holler and a hallelujah!!

Still don’t believe me?
Take a quiet moment and ask yourself.  Ask God.
He  would love to show you where He is proud of you!
He is your biggest cheering section.
He is such a big fan that He sings over you!

Remember, in His eyes you have already surpassed “Conqueror Status”

We make a gazillion choices every day

And YES you HAVE made many, many good ones.

And now, knowing what we know, we will contine up that escalator and make MORE LIFE CHOICES.

These little steps are going to get us where we are going, guys.

Don’t be scared of that fella, “Will”.
He can work with you. He can be your most valued ally.
He just needs to be given his marching orders.
Let Mr Will know right now, that the rules have changed, your mind is set and he will be bent on that and only that which is good.

We choose to set our “choosers” on to life.
We will dig out the weeds of our bad choices with repentance and the grace of God.

With every choice a fragrant harvest comes in  due season.
Circumstances change. We change.

Voila! We begin living life in life, not in the swallows of death.

I love you,
Jo

BLESSed to be a Blessing

 

What fun! What fun!!

Today was random, sporadic  sowing day.

Lunch on Jo! All around!

Love it, love it.

I don’t think the every day ride gets any funner  than this!

I initially set out to buy the tea of the two dear ladies sitting across from
me it my favorite litte get away spot,  Neepawa’s home-grown, organic and nummy claim to fame; the  “Prairie Seasons Bakery”.   bakery pic

However, as I get up to the counter, i find out, ummm  nah, opps,  not just tea… they had lunch.

So what do you think is  the first thing that grips me?
You bet,  fear.

After all, it is FEAR BASHING WEEK!!

The brakes squeal inside me!
CHA-CHING…. I can hear it now…

I see the DOLLAR SIGNS!! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Phone Bill’s due, Jo!!

Hydro Bill’s due, Jo!!

Gloria the Wonder Jeep needs to go back to the  Car Doctor, Jo!

But no, I choose.
I’m pressing in and I’m laying hold.
I’m resisting the fear!

Because I know that sweet voice, and that persistent nudging that pokes my
spirit constantly..

I certainly couldn’t back out with logic.
“Ummm, sorry God, I just thought they were having tea…”
God would never buy that excuse.

Nope, blessed to be a blessing…
Thats me.

Thats how God sees it!

And, I am believing God.

BLESS Key One... set in motion.

I start to let the joy rise up in me when I just imagine them, coming up to the
counter, and Grant’s  big ole smiley face on the other side of the till
say….” its all taken care of, ladies”

The joy is bubbling me up now.
Yup, Lord.
Lets do er!!

$26.00 two lunches, my tea, and my son’s fresh made garlic bread to go.
Not so bad. The sting isn’t hurting a bit.

HA!! Take that FEAR~~

I love being a sower.
I love to give.
I love being a blessing.

I deeply believe it is what God placed in all of us, when we became that new creation.

Key 5~ its God’s M.O.
Its how He operates and its how He intends for us to operate.

Nothing can stop the blessings, once one starts to pour out into other
peoples lives.

But this is the COOLEST PART EVA!!!!!

Not even 15 minutes after, leaving the restaurant, I was given 30 cans of soup.
Mushroom, Tomato, and Chicken Noodle….

SOUP!?!  You say, with a snicker…

OK, not my favorite either.

But definitely the kid’s when they are home alone after school,
waiting on working mama,  supper, and that looooong 2 hours in between.

That’s just my God.  Always looking out for what concerns me.  My kiddos!

**************************

Its 2 pm, my day is half over, and nothing all week has filled me with such
excitement and expectation.

What’s next in this crazy every day faith walk??

Dunno, but as soon as I do,  you will too!!

Do Bad Habits turn Daily Devotionals into No-Do-Votionals

Self- Discipline ,  Self- Control, or the absence thereof…

Are they turning  the time you spend in  daily devotions and time with God into a power struggle?

Does having to break bad habits, replacing them with good habits,  seem like an unending battle to you?

Well, for this gal… you bet.good habit, bad habit

I seem to have immaculate vision when it comes to seeing  my own shortcomings.

The  glare from my horrible habits are  brilliant  so I really shouldn’t have to put on my precision vision to find them. But I do, and I am  pristinely aware of them;  constantly looming over me.

They tease and taunt me.
Reminding me of all I’d be;  of everywhere I’d be, if I only didn’t have THEM.

Undisciplined, lazy, destructive frustrating bad habits!

It feels like I am, forever, on a seek-and-destroy mission.

There always seems to be one of the critters on the chopping block.
Just one more kur-chunk and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be a better me.

Developing a Christian devotional life; one that is quiet before God, spends time with God, visiting, praying, listening and learning is the oxygen to our spiritual walk.

Without it, we will  just shrivel up inside.
And to be honest  (just call me Frank) my self-discipline in the area of daily devotions,  really stinks. 

Where self-discipline stinks; Bad habits abound!

Daily devotions, not to say anything of morning devotions, are a challenge in self control.

I find I get busy.  Too busy for God? You ask ( shocked and appalled!)

Well, yes but no…  busy… but  disorganized is a more accurate word.

My day’s agenda can take the look of a three-ring circus.

And when time comes to do something it does not want to do, that lazy flesh of mine whines and complains something fierce.

Disorganized, overwhelmed, and spread pretty paper-thin… that seems to sum up my world.

( do hear some amen sista’s out there?)

But to not avoid it any longer,  lets get back to that dreaded “D” problem, shall we?
Discipline…

For those who have it down to a science, Ms. Frank here,  tips her hat.

I would love for you to share your secrets to a structured, organized DISCIPLINED devotional time at the end of this post so we can all learn and grow.

Because  I  would love to share with you what is helping move me there at lightening speed.

Daily schedules,  written lists, and time management skills aside, there are two things I have learned and two things that are growing powerfully in my heart~

NUMBER ONE~ No more Self-Condemnation

I was the Queen of  Condemnation as I have  mentioned before

If I couldn’t keep my bible reading/ daily devotional/ personal bible study consistent, I would condemn myself straight to hell.
No pass go, no collecting $100.

If I could not magically transform myself to defeat my bad habits and build good ones, then,  certainly I was a hopeless pagan and I would just sit and wait for the earth underneath me to open up and swallow me whole.

Self-Condemnation; horrible place to be, don’t you agree?
So I have learned to not camp there any longer.
Which takes me to…..

NUMBER TWO~ I work my KEYS!!!!

Yes sire!!!

I work my KEYS and the condemnation flees!!

When condemnation and guilt come knocking I don’t curl up like a ball anymore.

No, I get in fight mode now.
I begin to soak in the reality of God’s love for me.
I let that LOVE begin to build me up and strengthen me, instead of fussing to find my own strength.
I begin to  throw the truth of all God said about me back in the face my enemy.
The Hope, Peace and Confidence all flood in.

Confidence to know that I am a step closer to once-and-for-all breaking  my bad habit and the creation of some new stronger, GOOD habits.

With the BLESS keys I found 5 tools to actually break these old habits and 5 tools that develop new ones.
The keys gave me the direction to go, when I had no idea and was fumbling my way along.

Now, each day that I take a little step forward supernaturally grows into a stronger bolder step.

Aside from freeing me from condemnation and  equipping me to change my habits,  theBLESS You keys do one more thing.

They keep me plugged in with my Father God.
Even when I don’t have time for devotions to plug myself in.

As I said before, daily devotionals, prayer times, and personal bible studies are so very very important.
They are our spiritual oxygen.

I found that these keys, once they become…. (oh, do I dare say)…. HABIT, run like a silent program, in the background of your spirit, always keeping you in tune with God.

Not to replace your intimate time with God, but to always keep you in a place of intimacy.

Don’t let Bad Habits and Poor Self- Discipline rob you of your goals and dreams!

Not so long ago, I committed myself to re-read the May I BLESS You book, and blog everyday how it works for me, so you could see these keys in action. I’ve been using them as my daily devotions, working and concentrating on a new key a week.

Umm… but, if you’ve been watching the dates of these posts, you’ll see I’ve been MIA.  (blush)

Poor self-discipline, bad habits.

That’s it, bottom line. My only excuse.

But the victory in this post is this… you get to see the keys working in me, in a very real way, in my poor habits.   You’ll get to  watch  me use the keys to walk out of them.

Isn’t that a twist-a-roo???

Actually, if I may, I’d like to take a moment to encourage anyone who is walking through the book right now, and is  feeling tired and overwhelmed…

Press in, with me, set yourself a standard and discipline in this area.
Make it your good habit.

Sow yourself a seed.
It  is well worth it.

What you will see growing in me, as I continue to post, will grow in you too!
(So make sure you bookmark this blog or become a follower. You don’t want to miss a thing.)

I definitely have not arrived, but I now I have a map of  the road and the journey is just beginning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I got honest and real about my self-discipline struggles.
Here’s your turn….

Are you struggling with building better habits?  Do you condemn yourself every time you fail?

Do you have you flesh and habits under control?
Or do you still jump thru some old hoops that you would love to get rid of?

What about your devotions with God?

devotion time with GodAre they a wild adventure that you can’t wait to go on every morning?
Maybe you and God meet in the evenings?

Or have you learned some of your own secrets to walking every moment, in a sweet place of fellowship with Him.

I would love to hear how self- discipline and habit building (or lack of) has effected your walk with God.
Lets encourage and cheer each other on!

BLESS and Budgets

Ok, here it is.  

The grunts and gears of it.

The rubber is finally meeting the road.

You have been peeking into Jo’s world, watching me   deal with a dodged  confrontation, and not bite some heads off...

But this is what you are all wondering, I know…

How does the BLESS keys really stand up in the nitty-gritty reality of bills and moolah.

Well, it works.
BLESS works every where, with everything.

If you let it.
Ah!!! Yes, a catch… the disclaimer.

BLESS works if you work it.

And between you and I, my daily budget is the one place where I am stretched and challenged the most.

Take today, for example.
2 weeks after the holiday finds me holding the first pay stub of the New Year.
A pay stub that is several days shorter because of holidays.
A pay stub that is showing the tell-tale signs of a recession, and an unprecedented drop in sales.

In my other hand, I hold the damage of the past couple months.  A heat bill that would choke a Canadian moose,  the cost of Christmas goodies, a long list of fix-its that has to be done on Stinky Mike’s jeep, plus the usual expenses..

I am a single mom of 3.
whether you agree with it or not, I spent most of those years on the welfare , never making ends meet, falling into the gap of  “the system”, having to look up to see the bottom of the poverty line.

I have since left the “system” to enter the workforce and , unfortunately, more times than not, the income is better on the “system”.

Truth be told, discouragement  is never far from my shoulder.
It is always looking for an opportunity to pounce.

I only share this all with you is to make you understand this~

But THE ONLY REASON I have been able avoid the cold fingers of depression is because of the BLESS keys.

It is these keys that keep me from drowning, from month’s end to month’s end.
They are my assurance. My sure-fire guarantee from heaven itself.

No matter what I see with my eyes, I know these keys are the KEYS to turning it all around.

So, here I am today, bills in hand, “surprise” expenses popping out of the blue as they sometimes do, but no lump in my throat.
I can swim up for air.
This time I am not going down.

Even as I open those little brown envelopes, one after another, after another, I am walking thru my steps….

B…..L……E (ah, yes, Jo… pay attention to “E”)…..

So,  is this an encouragement, for you? I hope so.

Do I have complete victory in my bottom line.
Nope…..

But I will tell you this, in the past week that I have recommitted myself to walking through the book again, I have felt an amazing rush of peace. It is solid

In all areas, but especially in finances.

The last key deals very specifically on how to bring increase into your life, while the preceeding keys build the foundation.

Tonight, I am going to curl up with Key 5 and jump in head first.

Keep reading, I will post praise report by praise report as it begins to work.

Irene’s Day

 

I opened the little card.
It was addressed  “Joanne Smith, c/o Neepawa Furniture Centre”.
With the words  “PRIVATE!  Confidential!!” written in large shaky handwriting across the front.

It was a little THANK-YOU card.
It had come from Irene, and it was an answer to prayer.

Her husband, Thomas, had died a month ago,  and I hadn’t heard from her since.

Part of me wondered if our friendship, which had been built around Thomas, will now dissolve.
A lot of me hesitated to contact her, because of the obvious upheaval her life would now be in, but also, secretly, because I felt an enormous weight over Thomas’ death.

I had to lay many what-if’s at the foot of the cross over my darling Thomas;  many questions I will never have an answer to on this side of the pearly gates.

But, here it was in my hand.

A lovely little note, thanking me for the flowers, the support during Thomas’ illness and an invitation for tea.

Today was TEA DAY.

As I drove out to Irene’s,  I reminded myself of what this was about, and why I was doing this.
I went over my BLESS keys in my head. I prayed them.

Yes, I pray them.
They are not just a “to-do-list” of proper behavior or etticate.
No,  they are keys that can supernaturally release the power of the Spirit of God in your life.

I know me.  I know that all I would want to do during  during tea, would be talk.
I would want  to talk about me. I would want to talk about my world, my problems.

If I let it, I would make this entire visit all about numero uno.

But Irene is a gift. Irene is a divine set-up.  Irene was my purpose for today.

So, today,  I chose to put me, myself and I to the side, and make Irene “numero uno’

BLESS does that. BLESS has trained me to do that so easily!

And the best part of  BLESS keys is that, not only was I able to love on Irene, but  none of me felt like I was missing a thing!  I never feel begrudged when I placed myself “second”.

I never feel like I have “missed out”, or “not been heard” anyway shape or form.

The beauty of this is that when the steps are working, I am the one that walks away floating on air.

Strange, I know, but completely true.

God meet me, by being a blessing to Irene!

What an amazing day!  What an amazing woman!

Thank you God for Irene!!

I LOVE HER!

So what do you do, REALLY??

 

When a dear ole’ friend,

  1. hasn’t called in ages
  2. doesn’t reply to your emails
  3. doesn’t accept you invitation to join  your FACEBOOK FAN PAGE
  4. doesn’t acknowledge your FB posts and chats

But…

keeps sending random, generic forwards that say,

“wanna make a crazy, ridiculous amount of money in some ridiculous, crazy online gimmick???  Well then, follow this totally un-affiliated  link to http://www.make-a-gazillion-dollars-in-2-days-without-doing-a-thing.com

???

 

Do You…

Huff and Puff??

Scream and Stomp??

Roll your Eyes REALLY REALLY dramatically before, after and during huffing and puffing, screaming and stomping????

NO!! Of course not!

First you grab yourself by the collar, drag yourself to the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say
“SELF!! Get over yourself!!”

Then you stir up your BLESS steps from deep in your belly and pray for the long lost buddy.

“Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for Mr Long Lost.
I thank you for the friendship and the fellowship.
Father, I thank you that he is your child and you have him safe in your hands.
I thank you that he is called by your name, and he hears your voice and obeys your voice.
I choose to love him unconditionally, patiently and kindly and to only see the very best in dear brother, Long Lost.
Father, I speak your provision over him.
Thank you for meeting all his needs.
I thank you that you are his source and have promised to perfect all that concerns him.
Father, I ask that you would speak to me clearly about anyway I can be an encouragement in his life, by word or by deed.
Father if by anyway, I have caused a division in this fellowship I pray you would show me so I can make it right.
Lord, I will be not only a hearer of your word but a do-er also.

And in all things I will give you the glory.

In Jesus name,  Amen”

Be BLESSed

Jo

Wonderful Wednesday

 

It had come up in my heart to work thru the May I BLESS You keys again.

Does that surprise you?

If you are familiar with the BLESS Keys, you know that it is something that is always perpetuating, always growing.

It is something I never want to get comfortable in and certainly never stop and feel like I’ve arrived

So I opened my book up and guess what?

I am having trouble getting past Key One .

I choke.
My heart gets faint.
The chapter seems much grander than it was when I first wrote it.

The world can throw so many distractions at you, in such a short time.

Yes, we mustn’t  get weary in doing good.. fight the good fight of faith and all that.
But lethargy can seem to sneak up so quietly.

I have become weary and distracted

So, I ‘m thankful to be getting back into swing of things.

I know walking thru the book again will only bring good results.
I am so thankful for the truth and power I find in its pages.

A New Years resolution has found me back at the gym trying to lose some Christmas “stuffing”.
It didn’t take long to  realized what a lazy butt I had become in a short time.

Lazy butt, lazy abs, lazy biceps.

Our body’s muscles and our spiritual muscle are very similar in that way.

What a toll even a few weeks over the holidays can take on your faith muscle.

Chapter one is like bench pressing a steam train right now.

But heave- ho, here I go.

The juice is beginning to run again.

The adrenaline is flowing and I am feeling an excitement that had slipped and I never realized it was missing.
But now.. oh, how I missed it.

I sat down again tonight,  trying to slug my way thru Key #1,   feeling like I was getting no where, as I mentioned, when I realized something.

Somewhere in the past 4 days, my spiritual ears have turned on and tuned in again.

Wow!!  I have been hearing little things in my spirit constantly all week!

Key #1 WAS WORKING!!! WHOOP!! WHOOP!!

Even when I didn’t think it was!!

The revelation shook me to the bone!! I am THRILLED!!!

I HOOTED AND HOLLERED AND DANCED IN MY LIVING ROOM!!

I was hearing that sweet still voice of God speaking to me about the things in my life again, and what wonderful things they are!!

Such a powerful thing!  Such a Supernatural book!!!

Even when I  think nothing is moving, YES!! It is!!
Silently, and deeply, I am changing!! My world is changing!!

I guess thats what keys do.

Use them and they open things… whether you are ready or not.  🙂
The work is all done by the key.

Its late now, and I’m going to wrap this up.

But if you are reading along with me, please keep reading.

Oh, and post a comment and say “hey, Jo”
I would love to pray for you by name.

I am so excited about what crazy adventures are to come in the days ahead.

And I can’t wait to share them all with you!

you are in my prayers,

Jo