Monthly Archives: October 2015

GOD bless sheila

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Joy Story #31

It’s been fun sharing these Joy Stories with you. October is done and this is my last story. I wasn’t sure what to write about… I almost shared about our garden, but it didn’t turn out that way. God had another story in mind that I didn’t know about yet! We were quite busy today. We made our way in the rain to get a few groceries. Phil went to return the buggy and noticed a lady sitting on one of those motorized buggies. He asked her if she needed some help, thinking, maybe she need a ride to her car because of the heavy rain.

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Here’s what happened:

Sheila wanted a ride to Waffle House. All she had was a blue plastic bag with all of her possessions. I drove the car around to get them.

Waffle House, here we come!

Asking her a few questions, we found out she has been homeless for long time. She eventually wanted to get to Broussard or Lafayette but Waffle House was her destination. I asked her about family and she said she has an Aunt in Alexandria and her Father lived in Houston. We offered to buy her a bus ticket or train ticket to either place. What’s crazy is she kept refusing our help. She’s been living like this for so long, it has become her comfort zone. That’s so sad. She refused a room at the Days Inn.  She kept saying she didn’t want to burden us and thanked us for bringing her. We bought her a meal and prayed with her right there in the restaurant.

So tonight, our hearts are heavy for the Sheila’s in this world. She is only one of many. If you think about her, please pray for her.

God, bless Sheila!

Although Sheila didn’t except all the help we offered, I’m thankful that we had the opportunity to share God’s love in a practical way! Her belly was full and God will send someone else to be a blessing to her!

God’s Word tells us what to do for Sheila:

Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

What more can I say? Feed Sheila if you see her!

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

what does joy look like?

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what does joy look like?

Joy Story #30

Joy could look like this:
Just a few weeks ago, we were shopping at the local grocery store in our town, picking up just a few items. This doesn’t always happen, but this day it did! We got to the checkout and as the young girl was scanning our items, Phil asked her, “Did you know Jesus loves you?” She looked up, a bit confused and asked, “What?” So he told her again, “Has anyone told you that Jesus loves you?” With tears in her eyes this girl said no one has ever told her that. We gave her a card called “Forgiven,” that explains what Jesus did for us. It’s a great tool to share God’s love and plan of salvation. She began crying and left the checkout counter.

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Or Joy could look like this:
Another day, while at the drive through window at Wendy’s, the girl seemed a little distant. Phil asked her, “What do you need today?” She said, “What?” He said, “What do you need God to do for you?” Her face changed and she took a moment to think then said, “I need a car to get to work.” So we just started praying right then for God to meet her need.

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Or like this:
Your friend tells you he just lost his job, and is deeply concerned about his bills. Join with him in prayer and agreement for a new job. Stay in contact with him, letting him know you are still praying for God to meet his needs. Don’t just tell him you’re praying, pray with him! If you can offer financial help, do it. Pay one of his bills. If you can’t, do what you can. Bring him a meal, groceries, etc. Encourage him to keep trusting God for provision!

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How about this:
Sometimes a parent makes wrong choices, never considering the effect it will have on their children. While incarcerated the children are separated from their mom or dad. How will they celebrate Christmas this year? We participate in a ministry that provides Christmas gifts to these children. You can take your child shopping to buy a special gift for these children (Little Lambs). All it takes is a $25 gift to put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas. It will make an impact on their lives years later. It will also make an impact on your own children.

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Look around you and find someone to splash a little JOY on! It will splash back on you too!

catching joy

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

it’s a boy

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it’s a boy

Joy Story #29

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I’m really thrilled to share a Joy Story from my best friend, Donna. As we sat together she shared details of their journey through adoption. Laughter and a few tears came as we went down memory lane, back to 2001 when God brought Caleb into our lives. To this day, I still look across the church seeing them sitting together and my heart is filled with joy all over again! May your heart be filled with joy as you read their story!

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Although my husband and I had a strong and loving relationship, we desperately wanted to have a child of our own. Through those years, buckets of tears would fall.

Being at family get-togethers became harder and harder. I can remember a particular camping trip; seeing all of my nieces and nephews huddled together for a picture.  I felt like someone was missing in that snapshot. There should be another child with them. I cried myself to sleep that night. Every May, I dreaded facing another Mother’s Day!

We had a strong support group in my family and church friends. One lady I didn’t know at the time, who is now a good friend, was compelled to meet me at the altar with a word of encouragement. She didn’t know us personally, or even what our situation was, but God spoke to her, to share her story of waiting for a child. She didn’t know if that would make any sense to us, but she obeyed the Lord. It was a word just for us and gave me strength in the waiting.

After being married 10 years, we decided to apply for adoption at Highland Adoption Agency in Missouri. The administrator told us it could take 3 to 5 years to be chosen by a birth mother.

Year one… no phone calls.
Year two… no phone calls.
Continuing year after year.

At the point of giving up, I said, “God, I don’t think I can do this anymore. How much longer?”

Year five… ring, ring, ring! The time? 10 am on June 29, 2001.

It was the adoption agency asking, “Are you still interested in adopting a baby?” I almost fainted. Through very joyful tears I shouted, “Yes, yes, we are!”

She told us the baby was due on July 12 and the birth mother looked at our photo album, read our story, and chose us. What she wanted most was that her child be adopted by a couple who waited many years for a baby.

WHAT’S NEXT?
There was a possibility that the birth mom could change her mind. As the days drew closer to the due date, she told the agency to reassure us that she was not going to change her mind.

We waited and prayed and waited longer. I prayed specifically asking God to let me hear my baby’s first cry!

Second phone call… July 9 at 3:10 am… it’s a boy! The administrator called us only minutes after the baby was born. This is an amazing part of the story. I heard my son’s first cry and I joined in with him! Only God knew the prayer of my heart. Later, I found out that it’s not standard procedure to let the adoptive family hear the baby’s cry. It’s always kept private for the birth mom, but the birth mother insisted that I needed to hear my son’s cry.

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Meeting our son for the first time!

donna holding caleb   image
First Day Home, First Mother’s Day

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image   CALEB on camping trip

CALEBS FATHERS DAY    image
Memories of Father’s Day and Mother’s Day!

WHAT’S IN HIS NAME?
The birth mom asked us what we wanted to name our son and the meaning behind our choice.

Caleb Jordan
Caleb = bold for the Lord (and he sure does live up to his name)
Jordan = breakthrough to your promise

ON THE ROAD TO GET OUR SON!
We had to travel to Missouri to get our little bundle of joy! That was the longest trip we have ever taken, barely getting any sleep the night before. As I held Caleb Jordan for the first time, I showered him with my tears. I felt like I was dreaming. His eyes were so fixed on me. The memory of that day will never be forgotten.

JOY UNSPEAKABLE!!!

A FATHER’S TOUCH!
My husband’s experience was pretty much the same… holding him close, Caleb just snuggled perfectly on his shoulder and went right to sleep. In his words as he rocked his son, “He smells so delicious!”

We came home to a heart-warming celebration with our family welcoming us! I was never so exhausted, and yet completely fulfilled as a new mother. Caleb is a perfect fit in our family!

Now… 14 years later, Caleb stands nearly 5’10”.
He’s tall and handsome, intelligent and independent, kind and courageous, bold in His faith, quite the hunter (like Father, like son)!

And he’s our boy!!

caleb and donna    caleb and snooks

Living and Loving Family Life!
Donna

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I’m so thankful that I get to share in their blessing! I’m Nana to this cool young man. I’m so proud of him!
Love you, Caleb!

 

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

wake up a smile

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Joy Story #28

Wake up and smile! I came across this funny story! Just thought I’d splash a little joy your way:

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and saw that she had only three hairs on her head. “Great,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So she did, and had a beautiful day!

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. “Hmm,” she said, “I guess I’ll part my hair down the middle.” So she did, and had a beautiful day!

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only one hair left on her head. “Wow,” she said, “today I get to wear my hair in a pony tail.” So she did, and had a beautiful, beautiful day!

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. “Thank God!” she exclaimed. “I was running out of things to do with my hair!”

ATTITUDE is everything! Let’s be thankful for the things God has given us! Don’t let a day go by without thanking God for the joy that He brings to your life! Take a moment and sing it with me!

Have a beautiful day!

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

home sweet home

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home sweet home

Joy Story #27

Home! It’s the place where we live. It’s the place where you live! You really don’t know how blessed you are to have a home, if you suddenly don’t have one. I’ve shared how we lost almost everything we owned, during two storms. Those storms took away most of our material possessions.

When storms come, you can be assured that it will pass. I’ve never heard of a storm or Hurricane making permanent residence in a location. It always comes and then it goes! TJY!!!

Looking back at how things were then, the storms didn’t take my home. My home was moved to a small camper on the side of our property. What we had cleared out was now just a house; an empty building. There’s a big difference.

home sweet home

While camper living was comfortable, I couldn’t wait to get back to normal. Being flooded twice is two-times-too-many! You have to deal with what comes your way, and my way of doing this is to PUSH! pray until something happens. The insurance company said if our home was flooded one more time, we wouldn’t be able to have it insured. This was being told to so many families.

Then the blessing came. News of grant money available to families, for elevating their houses. That means lifting your home 4 to 10 feet in the air. Our home was on a cement slab, so we weren’t sure if that was even possible. The letter came. Approval to elevate, all expenses paid. TYJ!!!

We were back in our home 2 years with everything fully remodeled. The paper work was filled out and the company put us on their schedule to begin the elevation. This happened in 2011, the same year Phil had his pancreas transplant. They arrived at our house the day before we returned from the hospital. It was amazing to watch the workers as they dug under the slab, jacked up the house and secured it with huge cement-filled pillars 9 feet up. If we were to face another hurricane, bringing in flood waters, it would be safe to say, “not this time!”

I thought you might like to see the pictures of the elevation. It was quite amazing!

ELEVATE 1   ELEVATE 2
ELEVATE 3   ELEVATE 4
ELEVATE 5   ELEVATE 6
ELEVATE 7   ELEVATE 8
ELEVATE 9   ELEVATE 10
ELEVATE 11   ELEVATE 12

Our house is now our home, again! It’s a place where life is cozy and comfortable. We can relax and just enjoy each other’s company, stay in our PJ’s on Saturday mornings. Friends and family feel welcomed. The door is always open. We don’t have the biggest and best of everything. What we do have is ours, overflowing with God’s blessings! And that makes our hearts truly thankful.

In saying all of this about our home, I know that it is temporary. For the Bible says:

“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”
Hebrews 13:14

We all know that Jesus said He was going away to prepare a place for us. That means He will come back for us. We don’t know the day or the hour, but we know that He will return. We must make ourselves ready! You do that by keeping your relationship with Him alive! It’s not hard. It’s not complicated! If you have questions, leave me a comment. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does.

Jesus. Is. Coming! Are. You. Ready?

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

fill me up

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fill me up

Joy Story #26

Thinking back to a quiet moment I had with the Lord. As I closed my eyes to sit a while in His presence, I saw a shelf filled with beautiful pitchers. Something a little like the picture below, only they were more beautiful. You know, like the kind your mom says, “Don’t touch!” Wondering where God was taking this little vision/thought, I said to myself, like a child, “Now which one do I want to be?” Kids do that all the time. They’re always choosing; you’ll hear them say “I’m this one, I’m that one!”

beautiful pitchers
I have always admired pretty things. If it catches my eye, I want to stop and look at it. Having those beautiful things is nice, but what do you do with them. These objects sit on your shelves, collecting dust. Some of them are too fragile to use.

Back to sitting with the Lord… while looking at each vessel, I saw one standing alone on the countertop filled. Something like this:

ice tea pitcher

Nothing fancy… but I could tell that it was the most useful vessel of them all. As a matter of fact, this pitcher would get picked up, the tea would get served until empty, washed and dried, and placed on the counter-top again. It was never put away on the shelf. I googled the description of a pitcher like this one: It’s break-resistant,  heavy-duty, dishwasher-safe, clear, and great for all beverage serving needs. Now that’s pretty cool and it’s a picture of what God is looking for in us. We can’t be fragile or break easily. We have to endure the scrubbing required to stay clean. Clear, meaning transparent. Great for all serving needs, willing to do what God asks of us.

The Lord spoke to me during that quiet moment. My first thoughts were to be one of the most beautiful vessels of all, placed high on a shelf for everyone to see. But then I realized that the fancy vessels were never used. They just stayed on the shelf to be admired. That’s not what I want.

I want God to choose me.

I want God to fill me up every day.

I want God to pour me out.

I want God to wash and cleanse me.

I want God to use me again and again!

If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
 2 Timothy 2:21

So how can we be that vessel He uses? It happens in that place where we lay down our lives in total surrender, and say, “Here I am Lord, use me! Fill me up so I can be poured out for you.” If you are willing to put aside your agenda and watch for His… He will find you waiting and He will choose you!

fill me up with pitcher

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

fresh oil

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Joy Story # 25

Let’s go back to a time in 1996, when The Holy Spirit was moving powerfully in our church and many people were being touched! If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. There was a sovereign move of God taking place, causing men and women, teens and young children to repent, cry out for their lost loved ones, and seek what pleases the Lord. This scripture describes it pretty well: Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” Acts 3:19   The Spirit was changing our hearts. God’s manifest presence was so evident, we didn’t want to leave. Not only was God moving in church, He was moving in our homes. The Spirit of the fear of the Lord came upon us and all we wanted to do was stay in His presence and invite others to come and experience this revival fire.

One night after the service, I was spending some time at the altar. The only way to describe what was happening… it was as though The Holy Spirit was like oil flowing through me. I could literally feel something moving through my veins. I’m not trying to make this sound scary. There was nothing spooky about it.  I was so in awe of His presence in me and surrounding me. When it was time to go home, and I didn’t want to leave that beautiful experience. I prayed to the Lord saying, “Give me a sign that the Holy Spirit will never run dry in my life; that I will always have the fresh oil of His presence.”

I know that may seem like a strange prayer, but I desperately wanted the Holy Spirit to continue to flow through me every day. As I left the church that night, I felt like my feet didn’t touch the ground.  Turning down my street and approaching the driveway I noticed a sign in the corner of my yard. Here’s what it looked like:

fresh oil

This is the honest truth… I began to laugh! I was so amazed that God would literally place a SIGN in my yard to tell me that I would always have Fresh Oil! Now, the reason for the sign was because the road workers were about to begin work to blacktop the street on the side of my house. But that didn’t matter to me. God gave me a sign that fresh oil would never run dry. That’s proof enough the God I serve listens carefully to my heart’s cry. He doesn’t have to do these things, to make me love Him.  I love Him with all my heart anyway.  It’s just so awesome that He took the time to orchestrate all of this just to assure me that the Holy Spirit would always be available for me.

I love my God! Father, Son, Holy Spirit!

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye