J is for Joy

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.”
Hi Everyone! Welcome to week 10 of the ABC’s of Contentment. Today’s word is Joy and we’re going to talk about how to find Joy in the small things. The idea came from a nurse I work with at the hospital. He is from Michigan where the weather is gloomy. In order to make people smile, someone came up with a different phrase for each day of the week. I thought I’d share them with you:

Merry Monday
Terrific Tuesday
Wonderful Wednesday
Thankful Thursday
Fantastic Friday
Super Saturday and Sunday

Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
On Merry Monday, I have a dog at home that loves her squeak toy. She makes me laugh. What’s one thing that makes you feel merry?

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
On Terrific Tuesday, one of my favorite summertime activities is swimming. It makes me feel like a mermaid. What’s terrific in your day?

Psalm 139:14b “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
On Wonderful Wednesday, I think about the great times I have with my kids at the Awana ministry. The verses I have memorized from Awana have served a wonderful purpose in my life as I share the gospel with the kids and others. What’s one thing that’s wonderful in your day?

1Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
On Thankful Thursday, I’m thankful I get to volunteer at the hospital, hear people’s stories and encourage them. What can you be thankful for?

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
On Fantastic Friday, I get together with a group of special needs friends twice a month. There’s an acceptance that is not often found in the world for those who are different. There’s a good example of laying down one’s life for another. Have you seen an example of this? What’s something fantastic?

Psalms 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
On Super Saturday, I worship at church and my special needs friends have events like holiday parties, proms, movies, etc. They really know how to rejoice and be glad in the day the Lord has made! What can you rejoice in? What’s something super?

Psalms 34:1-2. “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
On Super Sunday, I get to sleep in. That’s great because I have a busy week. Sometimes my mom and I take a drive up the coast and admire God’s creation. What small things can you think of that bring you Joy? How can you find ways to say, “Thank you Lord for this day; you are so good?”

That’s it for the letter J and I’ll see you next week when we talk about the letter K for Kindness. Bye and God Bless.
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I is for Interdependence

It’s really interesting writing the scripts for these videos and then filming them on camera. You’ll find that what I wrote is always the jist of what I said but it never comes out quite like that in the video. No matter what I’m speaking purely from the heart as Christ’s Ambassador and having fun! Thanks for watching!

I is for Interdependence
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Hi everyone and welcome to week nine of The ABC’S of contentment. Today’s letter is I and it stands for Interdependent. I got the word from one of my favorite Christian mentors, John Eareckson Tada. She’s paralyzed from a diving accident and has her own disability ministry. She says:
“God designed my disability not to make me ‘independent,’ but ‘interdependent.’” I’ll leave a link to her website in the description when I post the video. Anyway, I live at home with my mother. She’s not exactly a handywoman, but she tries. One time, the sprinkler was broken. She looked at it but didn’t know what to do. She left it alone for a while because she didn’t want to make the problem any worse. After a few weeks, she decided it was time to try again. She went to the hardware store to get a part and came back and tried again. When she came back, she cut off the main valve to the sprinkler without realizing it was the main source of water, and it got plugged up!
When she told me, we both laughed. “Think of the parable of the branches, she said, “When we cut ourselves off from our source of strength, what happens?”
Mother’s right. How many times have you felt overwhelmed and said, “I can’t do this!” Did you ever stop to think that maybe you’re overwhelmed because you’re trying to do it all by yourself? I need help with things that most people would take for granted – like getting dressed. Without Jesus, I couldn’t handle the challenges of CP. Like Joni, I’m interdependent. Being interdependent on people has helped me learn to lean on the Lord.
The last time we met I told you we would talk about the next step that comes after you accept Christ as your Savior. After you accept Christ as your Savior, the next step is to make it a priority to gather together with other Christ-followers on a regular basis. If I didn’t go to church and I wasn’t around like-minded people who shared the same values, I wouldn’t be so positive. The second thing is to read God’s word (The Bible) daily. Here’s another reason why it’s good to be around like-minded people. This is one that’s easy to say but can be hard to do because it’s easy to get distracted with other things in our culture. My suggestion is to get together with a group of people who want to study God’s word weekly and pick a book of the Bible to read together. Then when you meet, you can talk about what you read. If you’re new to the faith, I suggest you start reading in the book of John. It’s a good book that talks about Salvation and gives a clear picture of who Jesus is. The last thing is to pray. When you meet with your group of people, ask each other, “Is there anything I can pray for you about?” No one was ever meant to do this by themselves. The Bible talks about how those who are in Christ are members of the Body. Learning from each other’s experiences is how we grow and deepen our walk with Christ. Anyway, that’s it for the Letter I. I’ll see you next week when we talk about the letter J which stands for Joy. Thanks for watching. Bye and God Bless.
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H is for Healing

If you notice a little more stuttering and hesitation than usual, it’s because I filmed the video first this time and then I wrote the script. It’s also why even though I say in the video there’s two parts to spiritual healing, I actually describe four. I realized it after I filmed the video.  I was trying to stay on schedule with filming videos and getting them up so that people would keep coming to my channel. I hope you hear the message and know that I’m speaking purely from my heart. This is all part of living dangerously right? Thanks for watching!

Hi everyone and welcome to week eight of the ABCs of Contentment. Today’s letter is H and it stands for Healing. This is a big one! This is the whole reason why I started this series. Because, like I’ve said many times, when people see me out in public, they want to pray for my physical healing. This isn’t a bad thing, but again, I believe there’s more than one type of healing that as a culture we often miss. The verse that goes with Healing is found in the Old Testament in Exodus Chapter 4 Verse 11. The Lord and Moses are having a conversation. Moses isn’t too sure about rescuing the Israelites from Pharaoh. He has doubts about himself and the Lord is talking to Moses and the Lord says, “Who gives human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes them blind? Is it not I the LORD?”
That verse can apply especially to the surgery I had when I was six years old. Like I said, doctors thought that I would be able to walk without a walker, but God knew how the surgery was going to turn out even before the doctors did. And for some reason, it wasn’t God’s plan for me to walk without a walker. God had another plan for my life and that’s okay. I’m content with that; or at least I’m constantly working on being content with that. That’s hard, but I’m working on it. Being content and being healed is a lifelong journey. There’s four parts to spiritual healing. The first part is admitting that we need a Savior; and that we need God. We’ve all sinned and done things wrong against God’s will; so the first part is admitting that. The second part is believing. Believing that God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross. The third part is confessing. Confessing with our mouth we’re sinners: that we need a Savior and that we can’t handle life alone. I know I can’t. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had God in my life, I couldn’t handle the challenges with cerebral palsy; it’s just way too much. The fourth part of spiritual healing comes after accepting God’s gift of Jesus as our Savior. Just because we accept Christ doesn’t mean that everything is going to be smooth sailing. I know that as I face my physical challenges. Because I’m work on being spiritually healed and I’ve accepted God’s gift for me, I’m able to help the kids at church and I’m able to help at the hospital. People want to talk to me because they see I’m in a wheelchair and they see that light. But again, it’s a lifelong journey. No one is ever spiritually healed until they get to heaven. And if anyone is interested in a fact, one of my favorite Christmas carols is “Hark The Herald Angels Sing.” The third verse says:
“Hail! the heaven-born Prince of peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!”
I really believe what they’re emphasizing here is spiritual healing. Jesus came to earth to heal our relationships with the Father. Nothing against physical healing, but physical healing wasn’t His primary goal. I’ve seen people in my 36 years of life that have full use of their bodies; their arms, their legs, this & that, and yet emotionally, they’re still looking for many voids to be filled. Because I’ve been spiritually healed, I’m not perfect, but because I’ve been spiritually healed, I’m still working on it. There’s a lot in my life that has been filled that probably wouldn’t be filled if I didn’t have the daily physical challenges of cerebral palsy. When I post the video, I’m going to leave a prayer in the description. If you’re interested in praying that, you can read it, then pray the prayer and watch and see what the plan is that God has for your life. And when you pray that prayer, I’d love to hear from you. See you next time everyone when we talk about the letter I. I is for Interdependent. Bye. God Bless.

Here’s the prayer that’s also on YouTube:
If you’re interested in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your savior, pray this prayer or something similar: Lord, I can’t handle my life alone. It’s too much responsibility. I need you to come and take the weight off my shoulders. Show me the bigger plan you have for my life. I need that deeper kind of healing. Please come into my life and show me how to be content in all circumstances. Show me how your power is made perfect in weakness. From now on, I choose to follow your plan for my life and not my own. I can’t wait to see what the big plan is. Amen.
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G is for Glory

G is for Glory
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
2 Corinthians 4: 16-17
Hi, everyone, welcome to week seven of The ABC’s of Contentment. Today’s letter is G and it stands for Glory. We look around in our world and it seems like there’s trouble everywhere. When we watch the news, we hear about a new illness or something else that causes cancer and then doctors find a new treatment or cure. Yay! Just when they find a cure, a new illness is discovered and we ask ourselves, “Does it ever end?” Have you ever considered that maybe the reason for your hardship is to bring glory to God? Think about it; we live in a very fast-paced society. We’re always busy. In today’s American culture, God’s word is being pushed out of many things. We’re going here and there; we don’t do a whole lot of pausing. Suddenly, when a hardship such as an illness happens, we pause and reflect more on our lives. One of my former caregivers used to tell me, “The very same God who created the jackrabbit is also the very same God that created the tortoise.” She said that when she was trying to encourage me to use my muscles and do what I can for myself with cerebral palsy. I’ve heard that saying so many times now and said it so much to the patients at the hospital, I have it memorized. Trust me, I know it, but it’s hard to apply it. My caregiver is always saying, “Remember what you tell the patients.” Even though my body can often only do one thing at a time, my brain is often thinking of several things. I’ve noticed when you have something that doesn’t go away you tend to think about God more. In our broken world, it seems those people who have full use of their bodies are often even more spiritually disabled on the inside. For instance, because of my physical limitations as a child I really enjoyed Awana, a Bible program at my church that focuses on Scripture memorization. Because I can’t move from one spot to another easily without help, I had more time to memorize the verses and think about what they mean. I’ve been serving in the Awana program for 19 years and sharing the gospel with children. As I’ve become older, things have become tougher and those verses have really helped me lean on the Lord. I’ve found that as kids get older, they often lose interest in the Awana program and move on to other things. Maybe if I didn’t have this disability, I would lose interest and not have a deep relationship with God, and I wouldn’t be able to share the gospel the way I do. I’m reminded how God is glorified when the kids at Awana have said to me, “Thank you for being my leader.” My friend Jessica told me about today’s song called “God of Breakthrough” by Mack Brock. My favorite part says:
“Who can turn our failures into glory?
Who can bring a hope to any story?
Only You can. Only You can.”
How can you bring glory to God through hardship? Thank you for watching and I’ll see you next time when we talk about the letter H for healing. Bye and God Bless. 
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