Surprise!

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What exactly is a surprise? Would you say it’s something you didn’t expect? That’s the best way for me to define it.

I love surprises! Only happy ones. Only fun ones. Only good ones. The ones that make me smile and say,  “thank you, thank you!!!”

But we aren’t always promised those kind of surprises. Sometimes we get knocked down by a surprise or two. Something unexpected, that takes time to process. Have you ever been there? The one thing I take great comfort in, is that these crazy and unwelcome surprises are not at all a surprise to my God!

I know this to be true. God is never surprised. To be surprised, He’d have to be uncertain about what is coming. With God that is impossible. It’s the opposite of what His Word says.

O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! Psalm 139:1-7

How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension! Psalm 147:5

So… take a deep breath. God is never caught off guard by your unwanted and unexpected surprises. In fact, He is right in the middle of it with you! If the mess seems unbearable and overwhelming, realize this: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long…” 2 Corinthians 4:17

I love this verse in The Message translation.

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”  2 Corinthians ‭4:16-18

So take your eyes off of that unexpected surprise and fix them on your Savior.

Be completely His.

After all… He’s got His eyes on you!

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

And that my friend is no Surprise to me!


Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

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Cancer Started a Fight…

yahtzee mom   mom told she had cancer
SHIRLEY MARIE DAVID DAUTREUIL  — I CALL HER MOM

September 6, 2016, at 5:45 am: It was the day I received a text from my mom. It read, “I’m going to the ER. I have to find out what’s going on with me.” I told her, “We’re on the way to meet you.” That was the day cancer started a fight.

She was COMMITTED and FAITHFUL.

She was FUN and LOVING.

She was BRAVE and COURAGEOUS.

She was a WORSHIPPER.

She was a CHRISTIAN.

I’d like to begin by reading a JOY story I wrote on my blog as told to me by my Mom!

It was early Sunday morning and she heard these words, “Get up and go to church.” She was in the middle of putting the wet clothes in the dryer. She finished up in the laundry room and sat down at the kitchen table. She heard it again, “Get up and go to church!” It only took two times for her to realize that it was really God speaking to her.  So, of course, she did what He said. She got up and got ready for church. She had not been to our church services for several years.


Let me share a little about my mother: I have the greatest mom! What a role model. She has always been a loyal wife and mother.  Back up to January 1981, when my dad was in a serious boating accident that left him in critical condition. As a matter of fact, the doctors didn’t think he would survive. I watched my mom care for my father, offering him sacrificial and unconditional love. The days and months and years were hard for her. She meant what she said when she said, I DO! Staying true to her marriage vows, “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health”, she stayed by his side for 27 years, never quitting, even when it was very difficult. Although I knew it was hard, she made it look so easy. She wasn’t able to attend church services or any special events, because of the demands of caring for my dad.

So… years down the road, mom became a widow. She worked through the grief, loneliness, and uncertainties. It’s been 10 years now since my dad died. God had a plan all along. Things changed that Sunday morning when she obeyed God and went to church. What a joy to have her sitting next to me. Not only did she come that Sunday morning, but she got plugged in serving at church. She was a part of the Nursing Home Ministry every Monday; singing songs of worship and reading encouraging stories of hope!  She served on the Hospitality Team every Sunday morning and cooked meals for home-bound couples. I watched as she got baptized. We have a questionnaire to fill out giving the person a chance to share what God is doing in their life. I’d like to read that baptism testimony in her own words.

HER TESTIMONY:
(How was your life before you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior?)
Religion was a big part of my husband and I’s lives before we married. For 19 years it was not so great. In 1973 my husband gave up alcohol and my life was a complete turnaround. We started going to church again together.
How/when did you come to know the Lord Jesus and surrender your life to him?
In 1982 Eva and her husband invited us to their church. Pop Neel was the pastor then. The church was on Lewis Street. My husband and I went up to the altar call and gave our lives to Jesus. It was a beautiful experience. Pastor Paul was the piano player and led the worship.
(What changes have you noticed since you gave your life to Jesus?)
He saved my husband’s life and gave us 27 more years with him. He has been by my side ever since. I have had many personal talks with the Lord. He is my Savior and I want to be baptized in water just like he was by John the Baptist.

I am so thankful that I got to share in what God was doing in her life!

Many things I will always cherish, but these are some of my favorites:

► My last goodbye.  As I was leaving the hospital that Monday night, I kissed her and said, Okay, Mom. I’ll see you in the morning. When I got to the door I looked back and said, “Love you.” and blew her a kiss. Then she turned and stretched her neck to look at me and said, “Love you too! Bye.” Then she blew me a kiss!

► All the fun times, the belly laughs we had together. She loved to play games. Yahtzee, Phase 10, Skipbo – Croquet… anything to spend time together and have fun!

► The times we just played old hymns and sang and sang and sang. She was a worshiper.

► Our conversations about her childhood growing up and marriage and forgiveness and salvation and life and death and heaven and Jesus. She would always say, “I want to fly to meet Jesus in the sky.”

► Finally… let me share what happened Friday night. The time for her Savior to call her home was fast approaching. Paula, Melanie and me and Phil were by her bedside. We had some old hymns playing softly. The presence of God filled the room when she breathed her last breath. As I knelt by her bed, I could hear the song that was playing….  ~ I’ll fly away O Glory, I’ll fly away. When I die, Hallelujah by and by… I’ll fly away. ~  I began to laugh and cry at the same time. What a sweetness that Jesus would leave us with that note… She is flying with Him!

There are 2 scriptures that come to mind to express the joy of knowing my mom served the Lord.

First one: “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”  John 14:3-4

And the second one: “And this is the way to have eternal life – to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” John 17:3

When my mom surrendered her life to Jesus, He began to prepare that place for her in Heaven. She knew the way to obtain eternal life.  She took time to get to know her Savior.

I love you, Mom and I miss you so much! You’re the best!

And about that fight…  on June 22, 2018 – JESUS finished it and WON!

NOT – a word for 2018

Praying that this new year brings new experiences with my God, my Savior, my Lord.

New miracles to witness.
New Holy Spirit revelations from His Word.
New challenges that draw me near to Him.
New disciplines that teach me to be more like Jesus (a faithful disciple).
New worship moments that will open my eyes to how BIG He really is!

So… I’m in a blog community where many of the writers ask God to give them a word for the New Year. I’ve never done this before, so on Christmas Eve, I asked God what “word” He had in mind for me. Here’s what I heard…

“Your word is NOT.”

I thought, “What? What can I possibly get from that word.”

I was thinking of words like  ~Joy~    ~Hope~   ~Peace~

No… all I heard was {{{NOT!}}}

The Lord began to speak just a few things to me and I realized this Word, “NOT” will keep me trusting Him. Yes, the word is NOT – and will take me through the year and I believe it will have a transforming work on my mouth, my attitude, my worship, my faith, my mindset,  my service to Him, my surrender… and so much more.

Here are the few things I jotted down during Christmas Eve 2017.

Not gonna complain

Not gonna murmur

Not gonna doubt

Not gonna forget

Not gonna resist the Holy Spirit

Join me this year and let God give you a word for 2018.


Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

 

Silence {Five Minute Friday}

FMF Silence


It could mean… shut up!

Or, shhh… because the baby is sleeping.

Or, stillness… so quiet you can hear a pin drop.

Today I read a devotional called “The Power of Giving.” And the message was that of giving thanks. Being thankful.

We sometimes lose our joy or maybe just misplace it. One way joy will disappear is…

GRUMBLING!

I have to confess, I have found myself caught up in some of that lately. Not continually grumbling to the world. Mostly grumbling in my heart or behind closed doors.

Like…

When things aren’t going my way. When sickness entered my family. When things just aren’t fair. When change just isn’t happening soon enough.

I was convicted as I read the devotional about the 1000 pennies this lady had hidden all over her house. She was determined to get her joy back. So every time someone in the family found a penny, they had to give thanks for something.

I thought of the parable of the woman with the lost coin. I know that it’s a message of redemption. Finding a lost soul and rejoicing in their salvation. That’s what Jesus is great at. He is always finding and saving those that are lost.

Not only that…

He finds me in my sadness.

He finds me in my brokenness.

He finds me in my sin.

He finds me in my grumbling.

And He comforts me.

He heals and restores me.

He cleanses me.

He convicts me, then fills me.

Today, I am thankful that Jesus doesn’t leave me in that place of grumbling.

I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit convicts me and sets me straight.

I’m thankful that my Heavenly Father understands what’s going on in my heart and loves me enough to pull me to His side to silence my disappointments.

I’m going search for hidden pennies today.

Will you join me?


Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

Rest

Day 31 of 31 days rest

Day 31 – Rest


First verse in my bible reading today…

“The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.” Mark 6:30-31 NLT

Isn’t that just like God to give me what I needed this morning. I’ve dug deep into my creative side and wrote something every day for 31 Days. It was quite a challenge and some mornings I just had Nothing. Nothing. Nothing to share. But at the end of the day… He gave me a little something to share using each word-prompt. Some days I used 5 minutes and other days, I had more than 5-minutes of words.

It’s been fun!

It’s been tiring!

It’s been hard!

It’s been an experience that has pulled me into God’s presence.

My brain is empty, but my heart is full!

Now… I’ll take time to read the post of other fellow 31-dayers.

I don’t have too many words left. I was saying to my husband yesterday that for my final post the word is ‘rest’ so all I would post is:

The word is rest. Good night!

I think it’s all I need to say. Sweet rest. I’ll take it.


Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

 

refine

Day 30 of 31 days refine

Day 30 – Refine


I think of a fire when I see the word –refine.

When I did a word search on refine; refining, one word used was different:

Rarefy – to make rare or rarer

I like it.

I know that God is like a Refiner’s Fire…

I don’t like fire and I don’t like the smell that gets on my clothes and hair when we sit around our fire-pit. We do it because the kids like to roast marshmallows and watch the fire make flames and see the logs get smaller and smaller.

Unlike the fire in our pit, God’s fire comes to refine us, to make improvements. When He refines us, we are not destroyed or completely consumed. He is in control of the refining process, so when He starts seeing His reflection in us, He will take us out of the fire and polish us and make us shine like gold or silver.

Why?

Because he wants to show off his creation. Without his refining work in our lives, we are nothing great to look at. But when he is finished with us, we will be more and more like Jesus.

If you want your life to be attractive to those who don’t know Jesus, then you will need to sit in the refiner’s fire.

Don’t panic.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t resist.

Let Him make you into a rare beauty.


Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye

follow

Day 29 of 31 day follow

Day 29 – Follow


Follow means: act according to the lead or example of someone.

We try to instill in our kids/grandkids to be a leader, not a follower. We don’t want them to follow the wrong crowd. We pray they will follow Jesus!

Social Media: On my blog, there’s a link if you want to follow what I post. You click the bar and it adds you to the list of my followers. follow people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogs, etc. And they follow me, meaning… they keep up with what is going on with me and I do the same, by following them. 

It does bring to mind a bible verse that says “Follow me as I follow Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

I have to ask myself today… is my life an example of Christ that others should follow? This question brings me to my knees.

Holy Spirit, wash me and cleanse me of my selfish ways. Give me clean hands and a pure heart. Let my life today, be an example of following Christ wholeheartedly. Make me like you, Jesus. Pour your oil of gladness over me, filling me with more than enough to share with those around me. Let others see Jesus in me and want to follow Him.

If you are a follower, you are headed somewhere. Who are you following? Where are you going?

I encourage you today… become a follower of Jesus!


Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye