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Friday, November 28, 2014

May Every Day Be "THANKS-giving" Day

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Even if you ate a big Thanksgiving meal yesterday, there’s always room for JOY JUICE!

            Most of us probably did eat too much yesterday….turkey and dressing and all the trimmings.  But we must remember that there are many hungry people in our world.  If we are ones who are blessed with plenty of food, then we should not take that for granted. Be thankful and take advantage of any opportunity to share your blessings with those who don’t have enough.

             When Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States of America in 1863, he declared the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day. Every president since Lincoln has also declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.  But should we wait for the fourth Thursday in November every year to express our thanks?  It should be a constant condition of the heart. And from our thankful heart should flow a need to help and serve others.

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) says:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

            May we focus on our blessings; be thankful for what we have received and look for doors of opportunity to open for us to serve others in various ways.  This is the way to genuine joy in the Lord.  Spread His love with a grateful, joyful heart.

            Let’s make every day a joyful, “Thanks-giving” day!  


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Give Thanks and Be Joyful

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Happy Thanksgiving!  Are you serving lots of JOY JUICE at your Thanksgiving feast?

            For a day that is unforgettable, greet your guests…whether family or friends…with a heart of gratitude.  Though many of us will be busy cooking, serving and entertaining, we can still demonstrate an attitude of gratitude. 

            Instead of getting stressed about all we have to do (like poor Martha did in Luke 10), let’s take a cue from her sister, Mary, and concentrate on what is most important….sitting at the feet of Jesus!  He said that Mary had chosen what was better. Regardless of how we are spending Thanksgiving Day, whether we are alone or have a houseful of company, we can each make a decision to “choose what is better”.

            Read Psalm 100 aloud:

            Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
            Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

            Now, don’t you feel better starting the day with God’s Word?  It’s up to you to whisper your personal prayer of thanksgiving. Make sure it overflows with JOY!

Serve up some sweet Joy Juice at your Thanksgiving feast, whether it’s to a table full of people or your individual serving. Give thanks and be joyful.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Leap for Joy with Gratitude

        Have you had your Joy Juice today?  This is the day before Thanksgiving.  Time to take care of all those last minute details to make sure you’re ready for the big day! Make sure your pantry is filled with JOY JUICE!

            Many of us are looking forward to family coming in for the holidays.  We’ll be busy, busy, busy with grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, getting ready for our guests.  But let’s not let our busyness overshadow the reason for the holiday.  Why not slow down a little just a bit and take time to count our blessings?  There is an old hymn that I can remember singing countless times that tells us to “Count your many blessings, name them one by one…and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

            When we stay too busy to recognize all that God has done and is doing in our lives, then we are TOO BUSY!  May I suggest that as we go about our day today, that we take a few minutes to meditate on the goodness of God? Let’s go to the book of Psalms and read some of the beautiful verses that were penned by men who loved God.  They will remind us to be thankful.  Psalm 28:7 says “My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

            Take time to thank God for your blessings…and ask Him for an extra serving of energy and stamina as you face the busyness of the next few days. Let’s not get so busy that we forget to GIVE THANKS and allow our hearts to leap to for joy in gratitude and praise to God.

Get ready for a joyfully blessed Thanksgiving Day by making the right kind of preparations today!  


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Count Your Blessings of Joy

                        Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  This week of Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to keep plenty of Joy Juice within easy reach!

            We all have so much for which to be thankful, don’t we?  If each of us would write down our blessings, the list would be endless.  Begin right now mentally noting some of those things for which you feel blessed and are grateful.  It might be:

·        Family
·        Friends
·        a home
·        good health
·        grandchildren
·        a wonderful church family
·        a job you enjoy
  The list could go on and on.

            We are blessed! But…… do we take these things for granted?  OR are we genuinely thankful? How often do you find yourself expressing your gratitude?  Psalm 100 is a psalm of thanksgiving. The Psalmist tells us to “Shout with joy to the Lord.”  I must confess that I don’t even whisper my gratitude many times….much less shout. How about you?

            This Thanksgiving, let’s be intentional about expressing our thanks to our Father in Heaven, Who is the giver of all good things.  Let’s thank Him for His goodness and His faithfulness.  A grateful heart is a JOYful heart.  So, give a “joyful shoutout” to the Lord!  After all, that’s what this season is about!

Count your blessings, focus on the outpouring of God’s love and enjoy this Thanksgiving with a renewed, grateful heart!  



Monday, November 24, 2014

"I Thank My God" with Joy!

             Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  As we begin week of Thanksgiving, let’s make sure we are drinking our Joy Juice faithfully so that our hearts will overflow with gratitude.

            It’s kinda like the question: Which comes first…the chicken or the egg?  Are we thankful because we’re joyful….or are we joyful because we’re thankful?

            Genuine joy comes from having a thankful heart—being appreciative for the things that we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t have. Joy comes from being satisfied and content with what God has blessed us with, instead of being jealous of the things someone else possesses. There will always be those who have more than we do….materially.  But is that really what’s important?   Let’s take a lesson from Paul.

            He begins his letter to the Philippians with thanks.  Though he wrote this letter from a prison cell, just listen to his joyful words: “I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you I always pray with joy……”

             Could you pray with joy if you were in a prison cell?  Paul could because he realized that he had what was important…a relationship with Christ.  Is Jesus that important to you?  So important so that you can look beyond your circumstances and remain thankful…regardless. 
            Like Paul, let’s thank God, pray with JOY and get ready for a blessed Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Forget the Past; Run Toward Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  I think the Apostle Paul drank lots of Joy Juice.  He knew he needed it for the race that was before him.

            In Philippians 3:13-14, we learn how Paul could remain so joyful. He was determined to drink his Joy Juice faithfully.  Listen to what he said: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

            Do you understand what Paul was trying to say? All of us have a past. We’ve  done things we are ashamed of and wish we could “do over”. But we don’t have to be  defeated. Christ has given us hope.  Paul tells us that we should repent and put our past behind us. God can make us into a new creation.   

          One Bible scholar says, “Don’t dwell on the past. Instead, grow in the knowledge of God by concentrating on your relationship with him NOW.  Realize that you are forgiven and then move on to a life of faith and obedience.  Look forward to a fuller and more meaningful life because of your hope in Christ.”

            Put your running shoes on and don’t look back!  Let’s run the marathon together and press on toward the goal for which God has called us. 

            Keep your eyes on the prize and run with joy!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

As You Run, Share the JOY of Jesus

             Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Are you full of energy and rested? Or did you wake up tired this morning?  It might be that you’ve forgotten to drink your Joy Juice. :)

            Sometimes we have to drag ourselves out of bed in the mornings. We often have a long list of things we must do, and we are tired before we even begin.  How often do we start our day running--sometimes sprinting--and we don’t slow down until it’s time to fall back into bed at night?   Not only is a pace like this physically exhausting, but it’s also a detriment to our spiritual condition.

            Let’s be sure that as we are running, we run in a way that is pleasing to God.   He doesn’t want us to be so busy doing good things that we miss out on His best! Lysa TerKeurst has written a book called The Best Yes.  Lysa reminds us that if we want to run the race of life well, we should listen to God as He gives us wisdom to choose His “best” plan.  In Philippians 3, Paul says that we should run with the right goal in mind.  In verse 8, he put it like this: “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

            So, let’s run toward the goal of knowing Jesus personally.  Is your relationship with Him more important that ANYTHING or ANYONE?  Our ultimate goal should be “to know Christ”. When we follow Him and pray for Godly wisdom, we will be able to run the race well. Let’s run with JOY!!!!!!!

         As you run, share the JOY of Jesus.   

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Gingerbread Man Lost His Joy

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Run on over to the refrigerator and grab a bottle as you listen to our challenge this morning. 

            Some of my young friends like Jack and Oliver and Thomas may remember the story about the Gingerbread Man! How about you?  Do you recall that as soon as the Gingerbread Man was out of the oven, he started running because he didn’t want to get eaten!? Throughout the story, he taunted, “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.” He thought he was in control.  But there came a time when he had to trust someone to help him cross the river…..and he chose the wrong one to trust---the sly fox.  The Gingerbread Man was gobbled up by the very one he had trusted.

            Do you ever feel that you are running through life, trying to make difficult decisions at every turn?  Often we try to handle things in our own strength, without asking God for wisdom and guidance. If we are not prayerful and careful we can be deceived by the evil one and be gobbled up by those who are untrustworthy.

           The GOOD NEWS is that we don’t have to be like the Gingerbread Man…ever! There is One we can ALWAYS trust.  His name is JESUS!  We do have to be careful not to be “tricked” by the sly one, but with God continually by our side, we can run confidently and JOYfully. 

 Run, run as faithfully as you can;
Your Joy is in knowing that you’re in God’s hands!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Run Diligently and Joyfully

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Your body needs that Joy Juice in order to be prepared for the race of life!

            When people enter a race, most do it with the intentions of winning or at least finishing well.  But it is usually the one who has been most diligent in preparation that comes away with the prize.

            1 Corinthians 9:24 asks: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  What was the “prize” that Paul was referring to in this passage?  Our heavenly reward!

            The footnote in my Bible explains: “Winning a race requires purpose and discipline.  Paul used this illustration to explain that the Christian life takes hard work, self-denial, and many times, grueling preparation.  As Christians, we are running toward our heavenly prize.  The essential disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and worship equip us to run with renewed energy and stamina.  Don’t be half-hearted in your training. Train diligently---your spiritual progress depends on it.”
 (Life Application Bible, NIV)

             Let’s set our eyes on the finish line!  When our goal is pleasing God, all the running and training will be worth it….For at the end of the race, we will JOYFULLY receive an eternal, imperishable reward.

Give Jesus your whole heart and run the race diligently and joyfully.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Run the Race with Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Run and get yourself a serving now because we have a busy day ahead.

            It seems that most days, as soon as we’re awake, we find ourselves in high gear and we run, run, run throughout the day.  Often we run like we’re on a treadmill…running fast, but getting nowhere.  Other days, we triumphantly cross the finish line and feel as though we’ve run successfully. 

            The author of Hebrews says in the first verse of Chapter 12: “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…”

            The Christian life is much like running a race.  We are to run faithfully and patiently and that, in itself, is a difficult task.  Many times we’re willing to run, but we want to choose the time and the place.  Like the faithful runner who disciplines himself to run regardless of the weather, pain or other hardships, we should strive for consistency in our spiritual race called life.

            To be successful, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus.  We will stumble if we look away from him. If we are running for any other reason other than our love for Jesus, we need to take a break and ask God to help us refocus.  Discover the running partner that will joyfully go before you to prepare the way, run beside you every step of the way and pick you up when you stumble and fall along the way.

Drink your Joy Juice faithfully and run the race with joy!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bless Others with the Joy of the Lord

         Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Your faithful example will be a blessing to those who are looking to you as a role model.

            Whatever your stage of life, you are an influence on someone!  Whether you’re  a parent or a grandparent or even a great-grandparent, your children are looking to you for an example. You may be a brother or sister, aunt or uncle. And all of us have younger friends who are using us as a model---whether we (or they) realize it.

            We need to live each moment of every day with the heart and mind-set that we can be a blessing to whoever is watching.  Need a little help in knowing how to do that?  How do we bless others?

  • By praying for them…let them know that they can depend on you to pray with them and for them.  Pray for them even when they don’t seem to care if you are praying for them.
  • Encourage them. A pat on the back and an uplifting word can make such a difference in a person’s attitudes and choices.
  • Explain to them that they are special and God has a wonderful plan for them.
  • Show them, by your own example, the joy of relationship with Christ.
  • Spend time with them, taking care to expose the truths of scripture on a daily basis.* (Claude Thomas)
When we live out these very practical disciplines, we will discover the power of  blessing both in our own lives and in the lives of our children and those who are looking for our guidance.  Ask God’s joyful blessing on these dear ones who look up to you as an example.

            This is Joyce Ashley of JoyJoy Ministries reminding you to be a blessing to someone today by drinking your JOY JUICE and sharing with others.

*Claude Thomas is pastor of First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas. For more of Dr. Thomas' resources, visit LifePoints at,1703,A%3D153666&M%3D50018,00.html

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Put On Your Garment of Praise...and Find Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Put on some good praise music as you drink in a healthy serving. Praise and JOY fit together perfectly.

            All through the Bible we read about people lifting their voices in songs of praise to God.  Sometimes our hearts are so full of excitement and gratefulness for the wonderful blessings the Lord has poured on us that it’s easy to sing his praises. We feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 13:6 that wrote:  I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” (NIV)

            But what about those times when we find ourselves in the valley of depression or despair?  It’s not nearly as easy to “sing to the Lord” , is it?  That’s when our faith should kick in; and instead of going with our “feelings” we should make intentional choices to obey the scriptures and continue to believe that God is in control.

 Rod Best explains it like this:When we make a conscious decision to praise God no matter what, even though we may be going through a night season in our lives, God brings His Joy and His Peace and we enter into that rest which is ours as children of God. Sometimes heaviness of spirit will rob us of God’s joy. We are to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. (Isaiah 61:3)”
            What a blessing to realize that our “garment of praise” is always the perfect accessory to our wardrobe of JOY.  Be sure to wear it everyday…and be blessed.

            It’s perfectly okay if you spill some Joy Juice on your “garment of praise” as you sing to the Lord a song of joy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Blessings of Peace, Rest & Joy in Christ

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  You’ll be blessed by drinking a huge serving and offering some to others, as well.

            God continues to pour out His blessings on us, doesn’t He?  But many times we miss them because we are consumed with our problems or distractions.  Often we’re so busy that we are simply oblivious to His goodness and graciousness.  Ephesians 1:3: says:  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (NIV)

            In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he explains the wonderful things that we have received through Christ.  He says that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing IN CHRIST.  Does this mean that we will never have tough times or problems?  Not at all.  But when we do go through the difficult times, we can face those challenges knowing that we have the blessing of God’s strength and wisdom and comfort.

            If we choose to depend on Him, we have to look beyond the ‘mountain of crisis’ and let Him carry us through to the other side. What’s so scary is that we can’t see what’s on the other side…but we have to move forward in obedient faith.   Many times God requires us to defy human logic and reason. What He asks us to do doesn’t make sense by the world’s way of thinking. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

            Allow Jesus to carry your burdens and watch Him pour out His blessings of love, compassion and joy.

             Be blessed by trusting in Jesus and drinking your JOY JUICE faithfully

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Slow Down and Sip the Joy Juice of Jesus!

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Too busy?  Let’s slow down and enjoy a serving before we get too stretched and stressed!  We don’t want to miss out on a “joy blessing”!

            Our world is so face-paced that truly…many days…we do miss out on the blessings that God wants to pour out us.  We hit the ground running and don’t slow down long enough to give much thought to our relationship with God.  Maybe we need to get up a few minutes earlier each morning and simply “BE STILL” before God.  To develop a personal relationship with Him, we must spend time with Him.   

Listen to Psalm 128:1-2 :  "BLESSED are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”  This Psalm is sometimes called the marriage prayer because it was often sung at Israelite marriages. But we can all glean truth from studying these verses. God should be the true head of the home.  He will reward our devotion to him with inner peace and blessings beyond measure. 

The values outlined in God’s Word include love, service, honesty, integrity, and prayer.  If we don’t take the time to read and study, then we’re not going to know what these principles are or what the Bible teaches about them.  We can’t expect to experience pure, genuine JOY in the Lord without digesting a steady spiritual diet of Bible study and prayer.

Slow down and sip the JOY JUICE of Jesus so that you’ll be able to share the blessings of love and JOY  with others.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Be a Blessing of Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drinking it faithfully helps us to see our blessings more clearly.

            The word “blessing” has been on my heart and mind a lot lately.  Especially during the season of Thanksgiving we think about our blessings and focus more on the things for which we should be thankful. But let’s remember that EVERY DAY, God truly enjoys blessing His children.  For years I didn’t think too much about the real meaning of the word “blessing”.  To me, a blessing was that short canned prayer that we said before each meal.  A habit—words recited without much thought…just ritual and routine.

            Often our prayer life can get stale.  We throw up a “God is great, God is good; let us thank Him for our food” and may never stop to think about how  blessed we truly are!  May I challenge you…and you can challenge me, as well…to become more sensitive to the many “blessings” that are ours.  To name a few:

  • Family
  • Good health
  • Material comforts
  • Our home
  • Good friends
  • And most importantly, a God who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us.

            My prayer for each of you today is the scripture found in the book of Numbers 6:24-25 NLT:
May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.”

              The joy of Jesus is a blessing, so don’t take it for granted.  Share the JOY of the Lord with others and be available to be a blessing in someone’s life today!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Open the Gift of Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  You know you can drink it no matter what you’re doing!  It’s perfect for every hour in the day!

            Is your life divided into two different categories: Spiritual and non-spiritual?  That’s a sure-fire way to lose your joy!  God loves you the same whether you are reading the Bible or brushing your teeth; praying or preparing a meal.  Col. 2:23 tells us that whatever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord. God wants us, totally!  No separation between spiritual things or non-spiritual.   Each of us is a whole person and God wants our “whole” person….every minute of every day; every day of the week; every week of the year.  He delights in giving us blessings and gifts.    

Have you opened your gift?  The one God has wrapped so beautifully with your name on it?  It’s called JOY.  And the wonderful thing about this gift is that you don’t have to wait until a special occasion like your birthday or Christmas.   It’s yours for the taking and you may open it NOW! 

The minute you open it and begin using it, you will feel like celebrating! You will no longer be simply going through the motions of a humdrum day.  You’ll find yourself smiling from deep within….because of the abundant joy that seems to multiply and overflow from you heart.  Talk about a facelift! And it costs you nothing!  All you need to do is surrender every area of your life to Him.

Open the gift of JOY and use it throughout the day, all along your way, in everything you do and say!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Let It Go"....and Be Joyful!

         Have you had your Joy Juice today?  It’s hard to drink when you’re holding unforgiveness in your heart!

            Today I want to talk about a “touchy subject”.  We all want abundant joy to be poured out into our lives, right?  Well, do you realize that in order for that to be possible we have to forgive those who have wronged us?  When we are angry or vengeful, we can’t receive the joy that is meant for us in Christ Jesus.

            God tells us that He forgive our sins---puts them as far as the east is from the west and that He remembers them no more (Psalm 103:12 & Isaiah 43:25).  In Ephesians 4:32 we are instructed to: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Often we really do try to forgive people, but when we are doing it our strength, we may find ourselves remembering and rehashing all the details of what they did.  As my grandmother used to say, “We like to enjoy our mad.” Remembering a past offense reopens the wound and feeds anger—then our anger feeds an unforgiving spirit….which steals our joy!  Not only does it steal our joy, it prevents us from growing in our relationship with Christ.  

May we each be challenged to see the grudges that we are holding and ask God for the strength to release them to Him.  It is then that He can truly do a redemptive work in our hearts.  And we will be blessed with the freedom to accept His love and joy. 

             As Queen Elsa sings in the popular movie “Frozen”: “Let it go! Let it go!” and get ready for a blessing of abundant joy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Simple Recipe for Joy

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  The recipe for joy in your life is rather simple; why do we often try to make it complicated?!

            Some things we have control over and some things we don’t.  We don’t know what the day will bring---challenges or blessings!  But one thing’s for sure: if we try to pack more than 24 hours into our day, we are going to be overwhelmed, over-anxious and over-stressed! That’s how Satan works to steal our joy. 

Do you ever find yourself whining and grumbling about how BUSY you are?  . Somebody very close to me reminded me just a few days ago when I was lamenting about my schedule: “Your busyness is self-imposed!  You are the one in control of your schedule.”  Well….after I got finished scratching my “mad place”, I recognized the truth of that statement.  It was up to me to make better choices; and I needed to ask God to help me. 

Maybe we all would benefit by taking some time to make a list of everything we are doing or desire to do.  As we assess that list, we  need to ask the question, “Which of these things are not bearing fruit?”  

Joyce Meyer writes: “Learning how to simplify your life is possibly one of the most important principles to understand because Satan wants to steal your time. He steals your joy by making you too busy to enjoy all God has given you. Take time to laugh. Take time to enjoy your life!”

Simplify and “enjoyify”!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Receive His Joy!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Sometimes we allow our joy to be stolen!  Take care to guard it faithfully.

            God has given me a passion and set me on a mission to talk about joy, share His joy and learn more and more about the spiritual aspect of joy.  Does that mean that I’m always “full of joy”?  Oh, how I wish!  But like every other person, I sometimes struggle with “rejoicing always” as we are told to do in Philippians. 

            Through my study and along my journey I have learned that God wants us to experience abundant joy…but our enemy, Satan, is on mission to try to keep that from happening! In John 10:10 Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
            It is easy to fall into the enemy’s trap and live in a constant state of anxiety, turmoil and stress.  But we do NOT have to live that way! We DO have a choice! If we will allow Jesus to take control of our hearts and lives, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit…and fruit of that Spirit is……JOY (along with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control) Galatians 5:22

            Some days we may be calm and experience joy on a quiet, personal level.  On other days the joy of the Lord may overwhelm us with such an outpouring that we can’t take it all in…like Babbie Mason’s song says:

God will open - open up the windows of heaven
and pour you out a blessing - and you will not have the room;

not because of you - but because He's good,

you will not have the room to receive it.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Don't Stray Away From God's Joyful Plan

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Be careful not to lose your joy!  

            A few weeks ago, our grandchildren asked us to dog-sit.  As good, obedient grandparents, we said “Of course!”   We got instructions on how to feed her, what meds she needed…all the basic info.  It was like having a new child of our own. :)

            At first we kept Georgia (the doggie's name) on a leash so that she would not run away.  But as time went on, she began to prove herself faithful and we totally trusted her to stay in our big yard without any restraints. (That’s the beauty of living on a farm.) Several days into our dog-sitting, I came home from an appointment and she was missing! I called her by name and whistled, walked all around our property; but I could see no sign of our precious granddog!  My mind began racing…What if she’d gotten into the road & was hit by a car?  Had she wandered off & couldn’t find her way home?  What if someone picked her up and took her home with them?   AND the biggest question of all: WHAT WOULD BE TELL THE GRANDKIDS?

             Very discouraged, I went inside and noticed I had a voice message on my phone.  I am happy to say it was GREAT NEWS! Georgia had gone visiting and was at my mom’s house, safe and sound! (What a joyful relief!)   

            This little experience made me think about how God must feel when we “go missing” for a while!  Not that we can ever hide from Him; but we can choose to stray from His plan.  He doesn’t put us on a leash and tell us to “stay”.  He gives us choices.  And sometimes, we go the wrong way. As Isaiah 53:6 says, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own.”

            May we remember that God’s plan is one of love and joy.