Today’s Devotions – 1 Corinthians 6:11

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11

I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and I believe in God the Father. I am a sinner who has been forgiven and my eyes are on the Father and my heart is full of His Word.

I am a sinner who tries hard everyday to live as Jesus did. With only love in my heart and complete faith in our God. Yet I still become angry and I still worry and become fearful at times.

And yet, I know and I believe and I can feel that I have been forgiven. My sins have been washed away. I believe that God waits for all of us. To come back to Him and to receive His love and forgiveness.

1 Corinthians’ lesson to us stresses that correct living is rooted in correct thinking. In order to live out our forgiven new lives, we must live with love in our hearts for one another. That is only possible when we make Jesus the center of our lives.

I wish you the most blessed day ahead so that you might be filled with hope and joy.

Life’s Instruction Manual

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3

Do you ever feel that if we just had an instruction manual it would make it a whole lot easier to get life right?

Lol, yeah, me too.

But we were given the most thorough and in depth instruction manual that not only tells us exactly how to operate our lives in the chaos that life throws at us all but also offers real answers to the questions that inevitably pop up and seem to weigh on our hearts and minds and distract us from what is truly all that matters.

God gave us His Word. We were given the Holy Bible.

In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

We were given direct access to our Creator. The One who made us, made everything, and knows exactly how it all works best.

“For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

The bible is the greatest instruction manual ever written. When I began finding my way to the Lord, and I began to get past my fear of “reading the bible,” I discovered that no matter what I searched for, I found! And with those answers, a peace I had never known before.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

In the world today of instant information and satisfaction, the Holy Bible offers us the same. In it we are told “Ask, Seek, Knock.”

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

As I’ve drawn closer to God, become mature enough over the years to openly admit when I don’t know something, and basically gotten out of my own way, the entire way that I see life and death and everything in between has changed. So much so that I want to stand up high and shout it out for the whole world to stop what they are doing and to hear!

I am nobody. I am the least of the entire world, no special gifts or offerings to the world. And yet, even I the least of all, has felt God’s love and attention. Even a sinner such as I, has been forgiven and stand as a witness to God’s glory and power and righteousness. I tremble in fear on my knees in the face of His truth.

Those who know your name trust in you, for you Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10

The Lord always keeps His promises. And as one who has always had more questions than any curious 4 year old with the “why…?” questions, I can assure you, the answers are in our instruction manual!

Have a wonderful and blessed day.

Today’s Devotions – James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

Life hurts! But our faith in God, His Word, His promises, His love; these things heal our hurts and turmoils. Heartbreak, loss, and worries are all part of what God tells us to bring to Him. Struggles, disappointments, and defeats are all proof that we continue to try.

Just after Christmas I celebrated a milestone birthday I never imagined being alive to see. I’ve been asked if I’d ever like to be young again or even 20 or 10 years younger. OH, HECK NO! I’d fight you tooth and nail to leave me right where I am. It was a very long, terrifying and hard (and a fantastic, amazing and wondrous adventure) journey to find my way back to our Father in heaven and I wouldn’t look away for anything.

I have felt the hurts, suffered the heartbreaks and loss. I have failed and been defeated. I used to look at what I went through and think to myself “Somehow I got through that.” Now I see that I didn’t get through anything. God brought me through.

God will bring you through everything life throws at you.

And here is a little more truth:

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

Have a blessed day, full of hope and joy!

Romans Road

As you can probably guess, (and I am sure that I’ve mentioned it), I love reading the Holy Bible. I love the fact that With Hope & Joy exists, too, in hopes that we will find fellowship together!

Very recently, a dear friend showed me a series of scriptures called “Romans Road.” It is the plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is beautiful and I want to share it with you.

I have been moving closer to God for a long while now at this point in my life. Not too long ago I read somewhere, as we begin to understand more of what the Word is telling us, we go through another stage. For me, it has been both painful and uplifting. I’d call it confusing, but that isn’t exactly how it feels; it feels as if a shade was lifted and the beautiful day has come even closer. It feels like a baring of my innermost heart and soul.

A hundred times a day I call out to Jesus to help me refocus my mind on only Him and our Heavenly Father so that I might know that I am surrendering to God’s will and not my own.

Romans Road is a collection of verses, human assembled, so some collections have more, some less, but for the most part Romans Road consists of five parts.

The Problem. The Human Problem.

The first part of Romans Road confirms that every human is sinful and that God is holy. It explains to us how deep this problem is and the consequences we face. God set into place laws for us to obey. Disobedience to God is sin. God has written His laws in our hearts, on our conscience.

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

Romans 3:10

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and this way death came to all people, because all sinned –

Romans 5:12

The Consequence.

Consequences are often difficult. This one is even bigger. The consequence of sinning and breaking the laws of our eternal and infinite heavenly Father is eternal death and hell.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Romans 1:20

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Roans 6:23

The Hope and Promise.

God created us, for His purpose. Jesus Christ is the good Shepard and we are his lost. No matter how far we fall, God waits for us to come to Him.

But God demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

The Assurance.

We can be saved. Through confession and faith in Christ Jesus we are saved. It is a very humbling and beautiful joy to believe and know is true. There is no more fear of death because Jesus broke the power of sin and death on the cross and with His own blood, for us.

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10

For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:13

The Result of Salvation.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1

For I am convinced that neither death no life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Romans 10:17

When my friend told me about Romans Road, I was drawn towards looking into it. Now, I take comfort in these scriptures as an easy collection to share with others what it communicated throughout the entirety of God’s Word.

What do you think? Know that you are welcome to share here. I wish for you to have a wonderful and blessed day!

Surrender to Faith

“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Mark 14:36

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Mark 14:38

This is what Jesus says at Gethsemane to Peter, James and John. This is what Jesus is saying to us. Jesus knew what was coming and prayed to God His Father, crying out to Him and even in these moments, He says, “Yet not what I will but what you will.”

This is pure love. Faith. Trust. Surrender.

As I prayed, cuddled in for the night, ready to begin my last ritual of my evening, I asked, as I do, that God help me to share what was in my heart in hopes that in the sharing, an answer might come.

I opened my Bible and read Mark 14 again. My mind could not let go of one scripture: Mark 14:38 – Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

The words wouldn’t come.

I spoke with a trusted sister about how this made me feel (the scripture, not the lack of words), how deep my love for God is and how content and joyous reading, studying and sharing God’s Word is for me, and yet how I also felt upon reading Mark, a deep shame. God’s love is so perfect, I want to reflect that goodness and joy so that others can see, and yet every day I must still ask for forgiveness anew because of my weaknesses and my sins.  

If I tell you how incredibly over-full I am with all that is happening in my life, since my surrender, will you understand?

I am not sure I can put it into words. I’ve tried so many times, to share it with my mentor, my children, my mother, and here with you, and as I read what I’ve written each time, it is not enough. It is just so… big.

Without the blinders over my eyes and God’s Word so strong in my heart, my daily sins are a constant frustration for me. I’m working on it! But the other overwhelming part of me that is filled to bursting is full of fear, awe and joy and that is what makes me so still and quiet.

Sharing it with you, this feeling that has come with my surrender, is such a small part of the whole. I am sitting back, each day, and watching my life unfold. The Holy Spirit is helping me to be still and wait and as I wait the glory of God’s blessings, His wisdom and His purpose, are breathtaking in that only the Master could make something so beautiful from something so ruined.

This is to urge you: if you ever need encouragement, just breathe and call on the Lord, call out to the Holy Spirit that God placed in you. Call out, so that you too can be helped to still your body and mind and rest, so that you too can watch and rejoice in His love. Because no matter what we pray for, worry over, work towards, if we really leave it in God’s hands, He will bless and keep us.

It is frightening for me. Is it for you? I feel almost as if I will float away without the load I hadn’t realized I was carrying. I still have two jobs, I still work very hard and keep our home welcoming. I have responsibilities and obligations. But the worry over if I am making a good decision or not, or how will I do this or that; those pressures, worries and anxious thoughts are simply not there.

So as I continue to pray, study the Word and call out to the Lord when I feel weak, I am happy. I hope you are too. If you aren’t here yet, not quite to the point of surrendering everything to God, the Creator of everything with the perfect plan, just know in your heart and mind that He is waiting for you.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16-17

I am saved and I am surrendered. It is an absolutely amazing and beautiful fact.

Surrender the Fight

Please know that I would love to learn of and from your surrender, if you’d like to share it. I would like to share my own true surrender as my life continues to unfold. God’s presence in my life is one I feel driven to share. To write it all down, although I am afraid I may never find the words to adequately describe our Lord’s amazing grace in my life.

“Surrender the Fight,” because as hard as I tried, I could not think of a better word than “fight.” My own surrender, what I consider my own deep down truth of surrender, feels like a fight.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:7-8

Oh to be sure, I feel deeply loved, free and that I am overflowing with joy and love. I feel settled; at peace. And yet I keep finding (becoming aware of) thoughts and feelings that only belong to the old me. Feelings of worry, overthinking, and I find myself slipping into the ultra-focus my old self used to win whatever battle I was facing.

What? Wait! “I gave this all to God. My faith is all and completely in our Lord Father!” Gosh. The fight. I feel as if I am fighting myself. My surrender is real. From both my heart and mind. And yet, the enemy (or is it me?) puts these over complicated, worrisome and anxious thoughts into my mind and it takes a bit before I realize that this is none of my business any more.

My history with surrender is the snatch and run. I find myself lost and surrounded by strangers and disaster, and then when I am finally beaten down and exhausted I cry out to the Lord, begging Him to lift me, to carry me away from the hurt, confusion and mess.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:10

God is all that is good and right and perfect and He always comes. He always rescues me and builds me back up, making me strong again. The joy always returns.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Along with the strength and joy, so does also the confidence that my old self worked so hard for, and so long towards returns.  I refer to “my old self,” because I see that confidence now in a different light. Jesus’s light.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.

Matthew 16:25 (MSG)

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Proverbs 26:12

The confidence I am referring to is that confidence that encourages me to now snatch back all I gave over to God and move forward, ahead of God and His plan. Rewriting it on my own, I am sure, because that never ends well.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Matthew 16:25 (NIV)

No more! I am surrendered to God.

I call out to our Lord, and ask that He remove those sneaking thoughts, reminding myself that I am surrendered in faith and that I have nothing to fear. I will continue to praise God and thank Him each morning, pray, chat and invite Jesus to accompany me throughout the day ahead and ask that the Holy Spirit help me to adjust the cross I carry with me.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Maybe you already know all this and are smiling as you read and remember your own surrender. Maybe you never felt the fight I am referring to, and if not please know I am nothing but happy for you. I laugh about it too, go ahead, you can laugh. However long it takes for me to understand something, I eventually get there!

The written account of my own surrender begins with Surrender It All.

May our Father in Heaven protect and love you always.

An update about With Hope & Joy: I am working right now, behind the scenes, to improve everything. My love for God and His Word is the beyond everything else in my soul. My intention is to provide for you is what I looked for when I began to move closer to God.

Surrender It All

My mind has been overwhelmed with one word, one feeling so strong it fills every bit of me. I have been trying to find the words to share this with you for weeks now. It is so much more in every way than anything I have ever consciously been sure of, wanted or decided.

As I pray each morning, usually as I am walking to work, I ask God the Father to guide me as I carry my cross and to remind myself to call out if ever and whenever I feel overwhelmed by thoughts or feelings that I do not want. But for weeks now, maybe even longer, and recently insistently, I ask myself, “Have I ever truly surrendered to God?” My intention is to always, forevermore going forward to be completely surrendered to God.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Surrender to God; every moment of every day. I want and pray to our heavenly Father to help me not only to surrender but to keep me from doing what I have done in the past; surrender pieces of me, then snatch back what I have handed over to our Lord, thinking “I can do this now”, yeah, not so much.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:33-34

Without fail my past has proven the sequence of what will unfold: I hand everything over to God, start to feel rejuvenated and as if I am now or once again on the right path and without realizing what’s happening (what I am doing), I run and snatch it all back out of the Father’s hands and take off (usually at a sprint). Running ahead, once again, with no conscious thought of anything but carrying my own load (in my mind, “as I should be”).

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

Well, we here know how that works out for us. Without God in control, there is no control. Oh sure, there are fleeting moments that feel like happiness and we can still see the beauty of the world God gave us. Eventually though, for myself, I look around and peer ahead and behind searching for the familiar and realize that once again, I am lost.

How many times has the Lord come searching for me, calling my name, leading me (sometimes carrying me) back to the path He has made? The old me would feel shame, but I feel no shame. All my mistakes, all my failings; all were planned and known long ago by my Creator. I am new.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41

I want to fully and permanently surrender my mind, my body and my will back to my Father in heaven, my Creator. I want to be fully His to use as He created me to be! Don’t we all? To be completely and utterly filled with the joy that we are promised? To truly be what each of us, as parts of one body, were created to be?

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:4-6

With Hope & Joy is here to offer you hope and joy. We could help each other along on this momentous and glorious choice and finally give over to the only One who has true control. The Father who loves us so dearly and has a much better plan for each of us than any of us could possibly hope to imagine.

Surrender to God’s Love

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26

As I was reading through the notebook I keep to write down scriptures I want to share through Today’s Devotions, I realized that Lamentations 3:22-26 spoke so much more to the surrendered me.

Surrender continues to be a daily battle with myself, through the habits I have created or possibly it is the evil one, trying to mislead me; either way, I will stay surrendered.

My first thought as I read Lamentations 3:22 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,” is to thank God. To thank him for His great love and also for being God, who does not break His promises, not ever. He helps me, every day, to keep my eyes and mind on Him, to be able to work hard, to take care of my family, to find compassion and forgiveness for those who hurt me and to understand He has it all in hand. It is all because He gives me the strength, He gives me the love in my heart, more than plenty to share, and it is He who is giving me the understanding of His Word.

In Lamentations 3:23 “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Every single morning, I thank God. I have always been an incredibly early and happy riser (thanks, I am sure, in part of growing up on a dairy farm) and there is little in the whole world that compares to the sunrise while knowing the day is brand new, no mistakes have been made, no tears shed, and the incredible possibilities of what the day might bring make me so happy to be alive. Add to that (because it is really first) the fact that God too loves the new day just as much. He must! To renew all of His love and compassion for us, it is a great and perfect love!

So as we continue to read, Lamentations 3:24 “I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” This is my surrender. I will wait for the Lord. He provides what we need. He provides exactly what each individual needs; He knows what I need. And as badly as I think I want to do, go or have anything in particular, I want God’s will for us (my children and myself) more than any thought or sorta idea I may have. I believe. I have faith. I carry my cross (I may struggle with it, but I carry it). I will wait for the Lord.

Lamentations 3:25 continues, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;” I have felt Him there, my whole life, even during that time when I ignored Him completely. He never once turned His back on me. I know it must be the same for us all, because He says this is true and God does not lie. My hope is in the Lord. Whether He directs me to do or say whatever is next or He chooses another to do or say to or for me, I am not afraid because this is not a surprise to God. And every single time we look for Him, seek Him, He is there. Every time.

And Lamentations 3:26 “it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” I generally study and understand the NIV Bible (New International Version), but I also like to check The Message Bible when I am not 100% certain of a true meaning. So in The Message, Lamentations 3:26 says “It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.” Oh yes. Again, my surrender comes to mind. To wait quietly, and to not run full-bore into whatever it is. To wait quietly, to hope, to pray, to talk it over with the Lord, whatever it may be. Nothing is too big or small. He is our Father and He wants us to wait for Him.

These scriptures are beautiful to me. My surrender to God has changed my life so completely, I have not yet been able to put it into words to share with you. I will continue to pray about it and I am certain, when it is time, God will give me the words. It brings home to me the timing of God’s plans. If my life had taken this turn even a few short years ago, looking back even I can see it would have only led to disaster. The Lord is opening my eyes and heart to so much more right now.

Have a blessed day full of hope and joy!

…I’d like to assure you again, my goal is to never use the Word out of context, to make my own point. I want to only share with you the hope and joy that the Word has brought to me and my life, in hopes it will be something we can share in fellowship.

My favorite Bible is my Parallel Bible with the NKJV (New King James Version), NCV (New Century Version), The Message, and Comprehensive Study Notes all in columns on the same page. This Bible was a gift years ago now from my mentor and dear friend. It’s drawback for me is that I carry it with me- from my desk to the kitchen, sometimes with me wherever I’m going away from home, church when I am able to go, and to bed for my bedtime study. Well, the pages are super-fine and as you might imagine, it is a big Bible. When I noticed the binding was becoming weak, I switched to the Bible version that I referenced just as often, the NIV (New International Version). So now my Parallel Bible sits on the L of my desk and I use it only there, and generally so that I can feel that I truly understand what the Word is saying to me.

So when you are reading these posts, unless otherwise noted, the scriptures included are from the NIV (New International Version).

Today’s Devotions – Proverbs 16:3

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3

Focus on the Lord

Focus on the Lord. So, I was reading Proverbs 16 and I found myself coming back to Proverbs 16:3. My new life is focused on being still and following the Lord’s will. Too many times in the past I have run ahead of the Lord, too full of myself in my head to hear Him call to me that I was heading in the wrong direction.

This is important, because I am not a new believer. I know beyond all else where our blessings, huge and seemingly small both, come from. Everything good and perfect comes from God. And yet, yes, off I went, full-bore, blind and unprepared for what was ahead.

What Proverbs 16:3 says to me is “focus on the Lord.” Since the day that I fully surrendered to God, I remind myself every day to “focus on the Lord.” He will fulfill His promises, according to His will and I know that His will is perfect and wonderful.

So I will pray, refresh myself every single morning in His love, and know I will go to work, do my best and commit everything I do to the Lord. I struggle with myself when I feel thoughts that were the “old-me.” Thoughts that urge me to just “go for it!” on any dumb, old-habit-inspired idea, reaction, or conversation that goes through my mind. I know it is one of two things- it’s either just simple bad (sinful) habits or it is the devil, trying to lead me off the Lord’s path.

Either way, as long as I focus on the Lord, listen to what His Word says, pray and talk to Him about it. (Not just the worrisome or bad! Remember to talk about your ideas, hopes, dreams and your day!) I have faith that the Lord is and will direct my steps. Keeping my eyes and focus on the Lord, slowing down everything I do (even my verbal responses to others, reminding myself, “Is this what Jesus would say?”), praying, even just quickly asking God to guide me (lol, I just thought: “what, like God may be busy and not paying attention?”), because I want to be surrendered. God’s will. Not mine.

I wish you a wonderful day ahead, filled with hope and joy!

Today’s Devotions – Psalm 107:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

Through this Psalm, we are given such a real-life and historical example that could just as easily be our own lives and time and I am moved again to give such loving and glorious thanks to the Lord.

No matter how far away from God we have gone, His love endures… forever. Endure (verb) is to suffer patiently, to remain in existence; to last.

Isn’t that incredible? Isn’t that beautiful? (Isn’t that a relief?!)

As I am sitting here at my desk looking up at the wall I built to make a corner for my desk in our basement, my heart is so full of gladness as I look at the framed and matted prints, candids of my children and the framed and matted print by Ralph Kozak of Jesus Laughing, I am unable to stop smiling.

If I could wish for anything, I would wish for anyone to feel as I do when I read the Word. The Word fills me with hope and joy.

Have a blessed day filled with hope and joy.

Today’s Devotions – Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24

Good morning! These scriptures are such a grounding in love and happiness for me. No matter what we are doing, by choice or must, we can do so with love in our hearts and joy and smiles on our faces.

Paul’s instructions are to remind us that in all we do, we are serving our Lord. Demonstrating enthusiasm, passion and a good attitude makes a tremendous difference in our own lives and in our influence of others. No matter what our station in life is, from housekeepers to highest-paid leaders, we are all working for God’s honor.

Most of us have had difficult days at work. Some of us have experienced difficult coworkers and abusive leaders or supervisors. My young daughter has endured physical and verbally abusive bullying in school. Many mornings start with tears as she doesn’t want to go to school and she becomes incredibly stressed.

When these difficulties arise in our lives, and the instinct is to pull back, talk back or quit; I remind myself (and my daughter), we do not work for others, we are working for the Lord. That is why we must always do our best with love and joy in our hearts. For a sixth grader, school is work! And in Colossians 3:23-24, each difficulty in these situations is eased.

It is knowing that people (and ourselves) all endure situations, have issues we know nothing about and having pasts we didn’t experience and yet are still deeply loved and planned for by God our Father, and that is where our focus must stay, on God. With our focus on the Father, knowing that God knows what is happening, allows for the frustration or hurt to be set aside and for us to keep working.

Because, all we do, we do for the Lord.