Depend On Jesus First

Dear Friends,

After receiving a thoughtful comment about hard work, passion and depending on God, it is good to have a clear understanding on what is of paramount priority. Dependence upon God must come first. This is the premise of salvation. Jesus has already done the hard work for us by taking upon Himself our sins while on the cross. We must believe in His work on the cross. However, after our salvation, we are rewarded by our works in Christ. Your vital union with Christ lays the foundation for any work God calls you to. Anything you do for Jesus is passionate when you do it because you love Him. Let passion for Jesus fuel the joy in your heart in all the work He calls you to.

We are saved through faith. We are rewarded by our works in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the Crux of all belief, salvation, work and reward. When your works are premised upon salvation, you will naturally depend upon Jesus knowing that without Him, you cannot perform what He calls you to do. Then your works will produce much fruit. You can work and be very busy, but if your work is done in the carnal flesh and not in submission to His Spirit, it will not produce everlasting fruit.

Jesus blesses you every time you obey His Word and His voice in your heart. The little kind word you give someone when you’re feeling cranky or quiet act of kindness you show when no on is looking is always acknowledged by Him. Salvation literally changes the meaning of work as we know it. Because with Jesus, whatever you do, you do for Him. And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

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No New Year’s Resolution

Dear Friends,
Happy and Blessed New Year! Some years ago, my friend Melissa asked me to begin the new year with a 3 day fast. That precious time of prayer and fast brought me so much closer to the Lord that it has become an annual staple for the beginning of each new year. What I have found is that I cannot make good on any new year resolution. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41 No matter how strong my intentions are, I fall short of following through on my word. Isn’t it wonderful that God always keeps His Word! So I have changed my approach. I trust in God’s Word and not my own.

Only God can bring my new year resolution to pass by His Word and not mine. I simply have to want it. This year the Holy Spirit visited me on January 1 as I began my 3 day fast with a very clear Word: Full Surrender. He wants me to fully surrender everything to Him and hold on to nothing for myself. The Holy Spirit fell on my filling me with a complete peace enabling me to let go of everything. He did it and not me! Secondly, He reminded me He has given me His authority, but not control. The only thing I have control over is myself. Thirdly, he will bless me with congruency so that my feelings, thoughts, emotions and behavior all line up with His will as I honestly express them. Fourth, I asked for His joy. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be my disciple. Nehemiah 8:10; Luke 14:33

What New Year’s Resolution did you make? Might it be something only He can make good on for you by His Word?

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Legacy Lives On

Get ready because Joy’s life lives on in her granddaughter Kristie! When she asked me to create a Bible study for her women in Phoenix God’s anointing fell all over this project. The result? The Phoenix Girls Short and Sweet Bible Study exclusively designed for women on the go in ministry. The theme throughout is living a life of balance, meaning and purpose with passion. This 21 week study on the Book of John has Phoenix Girls’ stories interwoven in every chapter giving great take away value to each lesson. Stories of dealing with everything from diet, depression, alcohol, sexuality, kids, marriage, work, stress, growing up, rejection, forgiveness, lonliness and much more.

You’ll find yourself saying, “If she can do it, so can I!” It is the most relational study I have ever seen. You will end up with a deeper more abiding relationship with Jesus. Let’s face it. It’s all about Him! He loves you so much, He died for you so you can have eternal life with Him. Living His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven is easier with women who face the same stuff you do every day. Due out in January of next year, I will definitely keep you updated on its publishing date!

Remember, God already has friends in your life who are meant to be there. Pray and ask for Holy Spirit revelation on who He wants you to connect with. Go for it!

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Ode To Joy

Dear Friends,

This is a note of mixed joy and sadness. Friday, my dear and precious friend Joy passed away at 1:05pm. She was 89, it was her time to leave this earth and she lived strong to the end. She is now at peace with Jesus in heaven!

Joy truly enjoyed God, daily abided in Jesus and loved every person she met. This was the greatest common bond in our beautiful Godly friendship.

One of her favorite Scriptures was John 15:7
“If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”

Joy said, “If I want what He wants, I will be praying for what He wants, so of course He will answer my prayers. My answered prayers are simply the consequence of abiding in Jesus.

“I am the branch on the Vine, and Jesus, Himself, is the Vine flowing through me; that makes me a child of God in the sense that when I pray, the Father sees me as Jesus. When He sees me in the righteousness of His own Son, He will not deny me. I know God is wonderful and that He loves me.

“When I speak to the Father, He sees me as He sees Jesus. That’s the way I learned to pray when I understood who I was in His sight, and here I am because of Him. When you actually awaken to the fact that the Life of the Vine is in you, what happens is that it becomes a healing flow.

“It’s a renewing flow, an understanding flow that keeps me safe. I understand who I am, because I know Who is in me. Anyone can have this; it doesn’t matter who your earthly father is.”

Now Joy is enjoying Jesus face to Face! She was so outstanding for who she was and how she lived. As we wrote together, I would tell her I have an ‘Ode to Joy’ written out in my mind to her that needed to be told. “Honey,” she would laugh, “You just save it for my funeral!”

Tomorrow I am headed to her hometown to do just that. I will miss Joy acutely and deeply. But I am forever grateful that God gave me such a phenomenal friendship, that I loved Joy, enjoyed her, respected her and took the baton that God gave me through her and ran with it. Living with no regrets in our most precious relationships is priceless. And even when there is regret, Joy showed me how to live in redemption because God does restore the lost and broken pieces and makes us and those closest to us whole!

Joy is thrilled in heaven that I am posting her ode on our website:

Ode To Joy

Joy had a listening heart because she knew
Listening felt like love.
Joy walked with me the rugged road to forgiveness
Because she knew
This was the only way to true lasting happiness.

She taught me not to take offense
And let it roll off my back,
To hold my own with quiet dignity.
She taught me unconditional respect at the point of conflict
It is why I am still married!

She showed me how not to be
So heavenly bound
That I’d be no earthly good,
Because she knew God’s practical ways
Lead us to His spiritual principles.

She wanted to be like Mother Theresa
But not look like her!
She was like Mother Theresa
Because she knew
Like Mother Theresa you need to be somebody to someone.

Joy was a blessing to me in every way
Not because of anything she did
But just because of who she was.
Our friendship had no personal hidden agendas-
Just love and be there for each other.

Her favorite song was:
“Out in the highways and byways of life
Many are weary and sad,
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
Making the sorrowing glad

“Make me a blessing
Make me a blessing
Out of my life may Jesus shine
Make me a blessing, oh Savior, I pray
Make me a blessing to someone today.”

Christmas is when we sing Joy to the world!
She is singing with Jesus right now
in all the glory He has for her
She would want each one of us to know right now…
“There’s a little bit of Joy in each one of us!”
Joy Barnett
1918 – 2007

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Do You Love Jesus Most?

Dear Friends,

God loves us and wants the best for us. We receive His best when we put Him first. He wants us to love Him first and others as ourselves. As simple as this sounds, it is often difficult to accomplish. In Jeremiah Chapters 42-44, the people would not listen to Jeremiah prefering to hold on to their idolatrous ways. Tired and defeated by their enemies, they ran to Jeremiah, asking, Show us what to do and we’ll do it.

God responded through Jeremiah saying, Remain where you are and I’ll build you up. Don’t fear the king of Babylon for he is a mere man, while I am the all-wise, all-powerful and ever-present God. If you choose not to stay, violence and hunger shall overtake you.

A few proud and insolent men, including the leaders refused to believe God’s Word through Jeremiah, robbing the rest of the people of God’s mercy. God responded through Jeremiah, You and your wives have both decared with your mouths and fulfilled it with your hands. You confirm your vows and perform your vows! You defy My warnings.

Only a handful of people survived. Are you defying His warnings or deifying His Word? God is so great and so merciful He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for our sins so that we might have eternal life!

God is constantly speaking to us. He speaks through His Word and through the circumstances of our lives. We just need to listen. He uses Godly friends to keep us close to Him. May we declare with our mouths and in our actions that Jesus is our Lover and our Lord! Go for it!

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