Demo of Julie's Bible Reference Library

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kindle Edition - Steep Discount Tonight!

Treasured Friend,

I don't know how long this will last, but the Kindle edition of: The Overwhelmed Woman's Guide to Caring for Aging Parents is on sale tonight for $1.99. Get it while it's cheap -- you can even order it for friends and have it delivered to their Kindles. Thanks to Moody Publishers for making this possible! Here's the link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00371V8RS


Blessings and prayers,

Julie © 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's Christmas -- Again!

Treasured friend,

It’s Christmas—or nearly so. And the Christmas story in one verse pretty much boils down to: 


GodsolovedtheworldthatHe GAVE … 


True, it's always been all about celebrating the giving of Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for our sin, the Savior of our souls. But what if the real meaning isn't about giving any more than it is about getting? What if the real motivation is hidden in that quickly glossed-over section of John 3:16:


For GOD so LOVED …


We suspect the essence of the story of the birth and death of the Son of God is wrapped in these words:
God loved. Because His heart beats with kindness, with compassion, with unmerited mercy, with amazing grace, with longing, with love for the helpless beings He created in His own image—He gave Himself away. But again, the giving away isn't the big story—it’s all about that amazing God-love that was fueling and underwriting it. In the same way, as recipients of the God-love in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, we gain the potential of reflecting and exhibiting that love.


Like you, we've had a challenging year—with lots of opportunities to show that love—along with grace and compassion. We've had the shock of a devastating diagnosis for Dad. We've had even more sadness as we've said, “Goodbye for now,” to several lifelong friends.

Like we said, we've had lots of opportunities to show love in our little circle this year. We’re asking for our heavenly Christmas gift to be all about expanding our capacity to love God and love others as God loves us. Our prayer for you is the same—that together we’ll be equipped to live this love so anyone who does not know God will see Him unmistakably in us.

A blessed Christmas from our house to yours! 

Blessings and prayers, 

Julie 

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Your Favorite Scripture ... Please!

Treasured friend,

In our household we're in an especially taxing and exhausting caregiving season these days. So, we would very much appreciate hearing your answer to:

What Scripture verse or passage holds extra special meaning for you in your caregiving duties?
If you'd be willing to share with us, we'd be bolstered and encouraged -- and so would our readers. Actually, you'll be fulfilling one of God's purposes in our trials: The God of all comfort offers us comfort so we may be able to share that comfort with others (paraphrase of 2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Friday, November 16, 2012

Does God Take Pleasure in Us?

Don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 
For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will,
you may receive what was promised.
"For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. 
But My righteous one will live by faith;
and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him" (Heb. 10:35-38 HCSB).


Treasured friend,

The reminder above is one I needed today--and quite possibly God will speak to you through it, as well. In the high-intensity season of caregiving where Mom and I find ourselves just now, we're experiencing a greater than ever dependency on God for the endurance He says we need.

I suppose this truth jumped out at me during my devotions today especially since the last portion quotes from a passage in Habbakuk 2 that formed the basis of a study I presented last week at our Adult Bible Fellowship group. The prophet is asking God why He allows distress and challenges and bad experiences in our lives. Why He doesn't do something about it -- and why He isn't quick about it. God's answer is that quote the writer of Hebrews uses in vv. 37-38. Here's my loose paraphrase and interpretation of how God responds to His prophet, His exhausted children in the days of the Hebrews, and His exhausted children today:

I'm not delaying. I'm coming in just a little while. But your task in the waiting time is to stay the course. No turning back. No throwing away the faith you've professed. It's not over. The reward for your hard work and endurance is on the way. Keep trusting. Keep waiting. It won't be too much longer -- in the greater scheme of things. I am coming. Wait for Me.

I'd challenge you to re-read the greater passage of Hebrews 10-12 devotionally in the next few days, and listen in particular to the ways God promises that He is already providing for you everything you need. He's offering refreshed energy, bolstered faith, and renewed resolve. I suspect you'll want to hear Him tell you one day that you've successfully lived by faith -- and that He takes pleasure in you. I know that's what I'm hoping to hear. With that in mind, I'm praying that His Spirit will renew in me a confidence, a desire to endure, a resolve to believe He is coming soon to bring an end to the suffering we and our loved ones are facing.

It's popular in our culture to BELIEVE. But I submit it's way more important to be sure you can trust the one in whom you believe. So, in faith, let's take our stand with the Apostle Paul and say, "I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded He is able to keep that which I've committed to Him against that day" (2 Tim. 1:12). I do believe if we're successful in living by this brand of faith, one day our Lord will indeed take pleasure in us.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Because He Loves Us!

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
Isaiah 43:1-4 (ESV)
 
Treasured friend,

What you’ve just read is a passage of Scripture I used as a basis for a teaching I did last Sunday morning at The Orchard EFC’s LifeBuilders class. And, related to it, I would like to share with you today the encouragement I’ve found in this passage, as I told it in my newest book, The GOD Interviews (Leafwood, 2012).

Have you ever been tempted to blame God, even to turn on Him? Like a petulant child, I’ve found my heart crying, “Obviously, You don’t like me, or this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe I won’t like You anymore; maybe I won’t even believe in You.”

What a slippery slope. And so misguided. “You are precious in My eyes,” He replies to that outburst. How amazing that the mouth of God speaks directly to our raw and aching hearts. Our suffering isn’t a negative reflection on our status in His eyes. He isn’t letting us know we’re on His bad side. He’s letting us know that in our suffering, He loves us. Listen to Him say it to you: He loves you. He thinks of you as precious.1
 

With that in mind, precious friend, I pray you’ll hear His voice speaking directly into your heart today …

 

You are precious in My eyes

            You are honored in My eyes

                        I LOVE YOU!

                                    Signed, Your Father in Heaven—

Who is always and forever with you.

 
Blessings and prayers,
Julie


1Quoted by permission from The GOD Interviews: Questions You Would Ask, Answers God Gives. © Julie-Allyson Ieron, Leafwood Publishers, 2012. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of this book or any other by Julie, visit: www.joymediaservices.com.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Write Joyfully: If You're In Chicago ... Please Come ...

Write Joyfully: If You're In Chicago ... Please Come ...: I'm speaking tomorrow morning for the Lifebuilders ABF at The Orchard in Arlington Heights, IL. It'll be the first of four new presentat...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bearing Fruit -- Wherever, Whenever

Treasured friend,

As I may have mentioned earlier, since Dad's most recent illness, we've restarted our tradition of reading Scripture together as a family each day. In the hospital, we read a Psalm every morning. Now, at home, with Dad having a rough time getting back into a sleep pattern we've taken to reading together as we tuck him into bed. (In the hospital, the old cliche that they wake you to give you a sleeping pill isn't very far off reality -- and that sets a bad habit to break even in the peacefulness of home!)

Last night, we read a passage from Psalm 92, which we all found especially meaningful. It's a Psalm of praise, of speaking with our lips the truths of Who God is and how He remains faithful throughout the generations. Somehow, in speaking it aloud, I find a passage like this one bolsters my faith and reaffirms my assurance that God is Who He claims to be.

I'd challenge you to read the whole Psalm aloud, from start to finish, but for now let me give you the passage Dad asked me to reread so it could really sink in:

Psalm 92:12-15 (ESV)
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.


Dad especially liked that passage about still bearing fruit in old age. And, I'm his witness that he's doing just that. Yesterday, he told his surgeon in no uncertain terms that God was guiding his hands throughout the operation--because our friends and family around the world (literally) were praying for the procedure. And don't get me started on how many times in the past month Dad shared the message of salvation with nurses, techs, and anyone else who had reason to enter his room.

Even in this most trying time for him physically (and he's had more than his share!), Dad is providing for me an example of just how to be unashamed to declare that the Lord is "upright" and that He is the one, guaranteed, solid rock -- where we can stake our eternal future with absolute confidence.

I pray that my life -- and yours, my dear friend -- will leave that same legacy. May you flourish in the courts of our God, today, no matter your circumstance.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Monday, October 15, 2012

Connecting Trust and Help

Treasured friend,

These days for our little household, the Word is speaking exceptionally vividly--perhaps more than we've noticed in quite some time. It is truly alive and active and sharp and more relevant to everyday life than any other multi-millennial document could ever be. It is, after all, the Spirit Who breathes life into its phrases and sentences and paragraphs.

With that in mind, today's Breath of the Word that we enjoyed in our morning devos is this:

But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him. Psalm 37:39-40 (NKJV)

I pray for you, as for our family, that we will receive from Him the power and the will to trust in Him -- and that as we practice the trust muscle, we will find the help and deliverance and strength that will carry us all through.


Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Mind Exercise

Treasured friend,

We had a lovely visit today with one of our pastors, Ted Olson. One of the Scriptures we shared together was from Philippians 4:8 (HCSB). What an amazing passage to emulate and to make a matter of prayer ...

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things." 

And, as Paul explains in the next verse, the end result is that you'll know beyond a doubt that the God of Peace will be with you. What a powerful promise to cling to today!

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Promise to Cling To

Treasured friend,

I wanted to share with you a Scripture we're finding especially meaningful today:

Hebrews 10:23 (ESV)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
God's faithfulness is never in question, regardless of our circumstances.

I love the line in "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" that says with authority and conviction, "All I have needed/Thy hand has provided." That is the hope of our confession today. We pray it is yours as well.

Blessings, from our home to yours, my treasured friend!

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tune in Today, 9-12-12 - Over Lunch

Treasured Friend, I'll be going on a live call-in show on Canadian TV at noon CDT today to talk about issues of caregiving and aging. Here are the particulars: Insight Program Miracle Channel Streaming live at: http://www.miraclechannel.ca/live.php 12 p.m. CDT Hope you can tune in over lunch. It'll be fun to "see" you. Blessings and prayers, Julie © 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teaser Excerpt from The GOD Interviews

Blessings and prayers, Julie © 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Friday, September 7, 2012

Space in Tight Places

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! (Psalm 4:1 ESV)



Treasured friend,

I've been reading Psalm 4 devotionally for a couple of days now. Each time I read it, something new and fresh comes alive to me. The Bible doesn't record the circumstances that surround David's writing of this passionate hymn. But as I read, I realize it could well have been that he was in a caregiving season of life. Okay, maybe that's a stretch. But the content is so pointedly relevant to the caregiving journey that I'll let myself continue that delusion.

What makes me say that? One of the first things is what I learned from a Hebrew word study on the phrase the ESV translates as "given me relief" from the first verse. According to Charles Ryrie, it literally means, "made room for me in tight places."

If that doesn't sound like caregiving, I don't know what does. Hospital rooms--now those are some tight places. Doctor's exam rooms, too. And the shrinking resources to pay for the mounting financial obligations of care. Super tight space, for sure.

The calendar of a caregiver, now there's a tight place. Working. Tending to the needs of our aging loved ones. Keeping up other household responsibilities. Volunteering at church. Attending a child's (or grandchild's) sporting events. Being sandwiched between the generations. Oh, such tight places.

The health of a caregiver, now there's a really tight place. Forgetting to find time to eat, sleep or ... breathe. In some seasons, unable to set aside even a few precious moments for the refreshment of a conversation with our loving, waiting God.

Yes, the psalmist crafted an apt word picture for the caregiver. We truly are squeezed in some unbearably tight places.

Now, then, what does he tell us, from experience in those tight places? God is at work, especially in those spaces. David gives us the testimony of one who has been holed up in tight crevaces of rock--frantic to avoid his mortal enemy's sly advance. God made space for David in those distressing days. God put him in a place of safety even when all was raging around him. So now, this time that he's facing another of those seemingly hopeless challenges, David knows where to take his plea--to the One who has proven Himself faithful so many times before.

God, You've given me relief before ... now hear me once again.

When we take David's cue and ask God to do for us again what He's done for us countless times before, we can make a profound statement of faith in the God Who does not change:

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. (Psalm 4:3 ESV)

We can know this. He hears us when we call. Just like He heard David. Just like He has heard me in the past. Just like He has proven to you in earlier days. And not only does He hear, but He does something miraculous in answer.

When you're in your really tight space today ... don't fret; don't worry; don't work yourself into a frenzy of activity. Call out to God and ask Him to give you the kind of relief He gave David--ask Him to make room for you in tight places.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Write Joyfully: 2 Days Left in our End-of-Summer Giveaway!

Two of my favorites are Free on Kindle this weekend only -- For links and details, see my writing blog, Write Joyfully: 2 Days Left in our End-of-Summer Giveaway!: Names of Women of the Bible - my very first bylined book! And Pearls to Treasure - my 25th anniversary compilation of my most memorable interviews, articles, stories, devotionals, and more ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lessons of the Laundry


 
Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving
and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!
(Revelation 7:12 ESV)

Treasured friend,

Do praise songs ever get in your craw? Usually, I’m their greatest proponent. But today, they’re just bugging me.

It all started when I cranked up the MP3 player with Women of Faith praise music to accompany my strategic attack of the mile-high laundry bin. Down to empty drawers of all essentials, I knew it was time. Long past time.

When had I done laundry last? Oh, yes. I remember. I tossed in an enormous load of towels on my way to one of my parents’ doctor’s appointments last week. I’m a big part of their caregiving team—along with a great collection of doctors and nurses. But some weeks honoring the two people I love most in the world gets exhausting—and time consuming. Like last week, for example.

Let’s see, counting backwards. Friday: Dad’s endocrinologist for test results. Thursday: online getting his meds refilled. Wednesday: blood test and meeting with his cardiologist. Monday: that one wasn’t Dad at all – that was Mom’s dentist for emergency tooth repair, jammed in after the funeral for a friend of theirs and a quick lunch (You never know if you’ll be able to eat after the dentist.)

Yes. It was Monday when I’d dumped towels in the washer as I stumbled into the shower. Big mistake! Getting in the shower doesn’t require towels. Getting out does. Good thing I’d squirreled away a stash of old towels—too bad I’d shoved them in the back of the closet. Note to self: In future, hide a couple of less-ratty ones near the tub.

I remember not being a happy little clam that morning. A wet one. But not a happy one.

It’s all coming back. I shifted the load to the dryer as I grabbed my keys and purse and Dad’s handicapped parking tag. It was Monday. Here’s a dilemma to noodle on … If the dryer buzzer goes off and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, it wasn’t buzzing by the time I got home. I never did get around to folding those towels. I’ll have to do that now, if I want to put the next load in.

Where is that laundry bin? Oh yes, under the dark load. Move that batch over by the medium colors pile. Shove the bin over to the dryer. Open the door. The odor hits me before the light engages. Damp. It smells damp. Moldy, even. Looks like someone forgot to set the dial. I must have done it. Oh, Julie, you didn’t!

That was the very the moment when the Women of Faith wailed out: “You are worthy to receive glory, honor and power forever!”

Not the message I wanted to hear right then—and certainly not the one preparing to spew out of my mouth. But definitely the one I needed. Put it all in perspective, Julie. In the greater scheme of things, God matters, your family matters, your parents’ care matters, your work for the Kingdom matters, your laundry—well, not so much. I hate it when God preaches at me when I’m in a royal snit. But that’s what happened today—and it’s why some days praise songs really get in my craw.


Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Overcoming Grumpiness in Caregivers and Care Receivers

Treasured Friend,

Courtesy of CBN.com, here's an excerpt from my book, The Overwhelmed Woman's Guide to ... Caring for Aging Parents.

It's from the chapter titled, "Grumpy Old Men (and Women)" -- with a little humor and a lot of biblical truth, I think you'll enjoy reading it.

http://www.cbn.com/health/emotionalwellness/agingparents_grumpymen.aspx

And, if you like what you read, order a copy of the book today -- this is a link to a discounted site where you can still request a personal autograph!

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Free Caregiver Devotional - Best-of Booklet

 
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, is with you all!  (2 Cor. 13:14 YLT)
 
 


Treasured friend,

I offer as my prayer for you this evening this benediction from 2 Corinthians 13. It's one my pastor-grandfather used to close just about every worship service I ever heard him officiate. I find it especially meaningful in the version I quote above, because Young translates for us the literal meaning from the original Greek: Christ's grace, God's love, and the Holy Spirit's fellowship is with you. Young's publishers even italicized that word, in case we might miss it. What a blessed, joyful truth to absorb.

What else could we possibly need for our lives as caregivers, as adult children of aging parents, as workers and residents and strugglers in this fallen world?

  • Grace from the One Who died to save us.
  • Love from the Father Who demonstrated the vastness of it by giving His Son as payment for us.
  • And fellowship--companionship--direction--intercession--comfort from the blessed Holy Spirit.

All of this isn't just a hope or a pie-in-the-sky thought originating in a human mind. It is a statement of fact that originated in the mind of the Almighty God. All these are yours in Christ. Now. Today. Wherever you are and whatever situation you're facing.

If you've been enjoying this blog for a while -- or if you're new to our ranks -- you know the value of ingesting peace-filled, truth-packed devotional thoughts --especially during the chaotic days of an exhausted caregiver.

With that in mind, I've edited and streamlined a series of our best-loved devotional thoughts and blog entries into a little ebooklet you can access from any internet-capable device. It's normally a subscription-only product, but I want you to have access to it today -- and in the future. Here's your link to Pearls of Comfort for Caregivers devotional.

Enjoy reading with our compliments. And if you have contact with other caregivers, please share it with them, as well. All we ask is that you use it to motivate yourself to make time for your relationship with God, because in Him you'll find your greatest and most energizing comfort. And, if you like what you read, continue visiting this page for refreshing moments in the Word -- and check out my online product catalog at: www.joymediaservices.com.

May all you need be yours in Christ today and always.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Monday, July 16, 2012

Don't Grow Weary



 And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)

Treasured Friend,

Do you ever feel a little weird? As a Christ-follower, I mean. As someone who is doing her best to follow in Christ’s footsteps, to live daily in a way that would honor Him. As someone who chooses to stay far away from the DMZ that some others seem to straddle, so near the borders to the sin territory that could so easily enslave and capture.

I see others doing well with the straddling—moving freely between the two territories—as if carrying passport papers from both kingdoms. Living the way of the world and seeing great gain. They, surrounded by a vast assortment of colorful friends, choose together with them to take liberty to the extreme. I’d be petrified to walk their path. But I must confess, when I see them do it, I feel like a bit of a rumpled, bumbling dope walking my straight and narrow.

I’m not jealous or anxious to live vicariously through them. That’s not it. But I sometimes feel like Elijah after his exhausting journey into the wilderness – explaining to God that he’s the last one left who hasn’t bowed to the way of the culture. I know I’m not the last one, any more than Elijah was (1 Kings 19). But often when I see them glance back at me, I detect in their eyes a certainty that my weirdness quotient just may be off the charts. My wardrobe selections. My lifestyle decisions. My language. My entertainment choices. My music. My books. My priorities just don’t compute – don’t make one lick of sense to so many of my colleagues, acquaintances, even family and friends.

Feeling enmeshed in that blue funk this afternoon, I clicked through my YouTube favorites and listened (over and over and over) to a song that absolutely revolutionized my perspective. It was Charles Billingsley’s video of “Light of that City,” where he (along with an energetic choir and orchestra) paints a picture of the eternal joy set before us. “On that day, we will sing, ‘Holy, Holy!’/On that day, we’ll bow down in the light.” It’s magnificent. It’s life-altering. It’s all-encompassing. The expectation that one day, we’ll be rewarded for our faithfulness by turning our eyes upward and seeing our Lord Jesus Christ in all His resplendent glory.

Reflecting on that expectation, my mind locked in on a Scripture I had memorized in Pioneer Girls as a grade-schooler. In this context it made more sense to me than it ever had before:

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption,
but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
 And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
 Galatians 6:7-9 (ESV emphasis added)

Here’s the YouTube link to Charles Billingsley’s rendition of the song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmArFPfyagc&feature=plcp .

It helped me regain my focus and pointed me toward this passage in Galatians, where I regained my passion for just how worthy the goal of my life is: to glorify Christ and enjoy Him forever. Most of all, for me today, it put the weirdness quotient back in its rightful perspective. I never want to be a stumbling block that gets in the way of others coming to Christ – but that said, I don’t live by the same set of rules as the world. It’s no wonder they think I’m wacky. In fact, I suppose it’s a backhanded compliment, of sorts.

My prayer for you today, treasured friend, is that whatever is challenging your faith and your resolve, you’ll find in one look into the eyes of the Light of that City (Rev. 21:23), a renewed purpose and a revitalized passion to hold firm and steady in your attempts at faithfully living in the way that honors Him.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Write Joyfully: Kindle Giveaway: One of Ours!!

Treasured Friend,

One of the big challenges for caregivers is time. Time for refreshment. Time for renewal. Time to do the essentials for ourselves and our households. Here's a link to my short, easy-to read book that will equip you to recapture some of the moments you're missing -- better yet, it's guaranteed to free you from guilt for all those things you can't seem to find the time to do:

Conquering the Time Factor: Twelve Myths that Steal Life's Precious Moments.

The book is free on Kindle today through Monday (7-12-12 through 7-16-12). And if you don't have a Kindle ereader -- no worries, just download Amazon's free Kindle app for your PC, tablet or smartphone -- then download the free book from our ministry.

Enjoy -- and please pass this along to as many friends and fellow caregivers as you can -- it's a great crossover book. http://www.amazon.com/Conquering-Factor-Updated-Study-ebook/dp/B003VD1E7G/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_11#

Here's a link to more:

Write Joyfully: Kindle Giveaway: One of Ours!!: Today our featured free Kindle book is mine: Conquering the Time Factor: Second Edition with Study Guide. Free today through Monday only:...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Praying for a Great Conversation

Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not;
rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.
2 Timothy 4:2 (HCSB)


Treasured friend,

I love the challenge of this Scripture. It reminds me to keep the main thing, the main thing. To check my motives. To handle the Truth with care and compassion--and great patience. It reminds me that my calling as one who shares the Word of Life with readers and listeners is an intense task--one God considers important.

I especially love the way the HCSB renders the verse. Where other translations command, "Preach the Word," HCSB chooses "Proclaim the message." Preaching may be the province of a small number among us. But each of us can handle the call to "Proclaim." Tell it around. Broadcast it, even. Be strong and energized and intentional.

And, if nothing else, Paul is so very practical. He knows the opportunities to be intentional witnesses for Christ in this mixed-up and battle-filled world aren't always delivered to our doorsteps on gilded invitations when we're most prepared to receive them. So he reminds us to be ready at any moment. KJV translates it as "in season and out of season." Kinda like an Olympic athlete staying in peak form in non-Olympic years. It's hard for a caregiver to be ready like that. But not impossible.

Here again the HCSB translaters give us another wrinkle: "Persist in it whether convenient or not." Okay. That's a great one for us as caregivers. We know a bit about persisting--and a lot about the "not" side of convenient. But I resonate with the word picture. To me, it's a tremendous reminder that doing the right thing, with great patience and encouragement, is key -- whether in preaching, in proclaiming, or in our caregiving tasks. It's a bigger reminder that my conveniences -- and yours -- aren't all there is in this life. Someone greater than we are sends us. And as His reps entrusted with His message for the world He created, it's clear that He (not we) is at the center of it all. That's why proclaiming may be a challenge -- but it'll always be worthwhile.

And, speaking of proclaiming ...

It's a bit of a distance off, but I've been invited to appear on Alberta, Canada's Miracle Channel -- The Insight program -- to talk about caring for the aging. It's a live call-in show. And the date is planned for September 12; 11 a.m. Mountain Time.

Here are the particulars:
I'll be linking in live via Skype. This will be my second appearance on the broadcast -- and I'm delighted to be invited back. Please tune in if you're in Canada. If not, check out the live feed: http://www.miraclechannel.ca/live.php

So, mark your calendar -- and please pray with us that the broadcast will be a blessing -- and that the interviewer and I will have every resource we need from Our Father to proclaim the message with patience and encourage the hurting. It's a special privilege to take caller questions -- and an opportunity to tap into the Lord's wisdom for people in complex and challenging caregiving roles.

Thanks for your prayers!

Blessings and prayers for you tonight,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Friday, June 29, 2012

Link to an Article on God's Peace

Treasured friend,

I don't often lead you around the web for articles, but this one is an exception. It's called "A Peace Worth More Than Anything," and it's by an adult daughter who saw in her aging mother's example of living, aging and eventually dying, a blessing and a set of footsteps to follow. The Scripture the writer uses as her basis is one of my favorites: "The peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Luke 10:38-42)

This is an article worth another click, and a moment to read: http://singleness.org/devo/dev_445.shtml

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

Thursday, June 28, 2012

For My Canadian Friends

Just wanted you to know that I'm scheduled to appear as a guest on The Miracle Channel's broadcast, INSIGHT, on September 12 to talk about caregiving. It's a live call-in show -- so get your questions ready. I'll look forward to talking with you live on that day!

Blessings and prayers,

Julie © 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Gospel ... According to Jesus

“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46-47 ESV).


Treasured Friend, 

I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve heard about the gospel. I was practically born in church. My first excursion as an infant was to church, where my grandfather was the preacher. I quickly became the church mascot, singing my little two-year-old heart out to the rough tune of “Oh, How I Love Jesus,” and meaning it. I prayed to ask Jesus to forgive my sins and take me to heaven some day when I was about that age—and did it again at the ripe age of 8, just in case the first time didn’t take. But it’s always concerned me that whenever I’ve been to a class on how to lead someone else to Christ we make things so very difficult. We have to take people down the Romans road – you know, the highlights are Romans 3:23 (all have sinned …), Romans 6:23 (the pay for sin is death), Romans 10:9-10 (confess Jesus and believe in Him) … Or we have to use some other method of long, involved explanation, hopscotching from one book of the New Testament to another to piece together the story.

I’d wondered and wondered, since salvation is the biggest deal imaginable, why didn’t someone—especially Jesus—put the whole essence in one place. It especially troubled me because I’ve often been called on to pray with folks who are getting what may just be their last chance to be sure of salvation before entering eternity. They’re on pain meds, in and out of consciousness, maybe even battling the worst imaginable mind deterioration of dementia. And frankly, they couldn’t follow any road—Romans or otherwise. Their bodies are weak, their minds failing.

Then I lit upon what is quite possibly the clearest presentation of the gospel possible. It contains in a few well-chosen words the distillation of the entire story of God’s provision for mankind—and it gives a sort of mission statement to every one of us who wishes to please Christ in our Christian life. Who put this genius statement together? None less than Christ Himself, in those moments just before He was majestically elevated into glory and re-seated at the right hand of the Throne of the Almighty.

Are you ready? Here it is:

“Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His [Jesus Christ’s] name to all nations.”

That’s it. The gospel. You’re a sinner. Jesus Christ offers to forgive you. Accept this gift. Pass it on. To everyone.

Just about anyone can get that.

Jesus preached repentance as His core message (Matt. 4:17). So did John the Baptist to prepare the way before Him (Matt. 3:2). In a chapter of my new book, I give a more complete explanation of what this means (It’s called The GOD Interviews and I hope you’ll read it when it releases in September 2012), but here’s the gist.


·         Repent—acknowledge that you’re on the path that displeases and dishonors God, and turn back in the opposite direction. Be sorry that you’ve sinned against God (not just that you got caught doing wrong), and turn yourself around to run toward Him.

·         Forgiveness—if you repent, you’ll receive from Him the gift of restoration and of right relationship with Him (purchased at the cost of Jesus’ life—after all the pay for sin requires death).

So, then there is a one-stop-shop for the distilled, simple gospel that I received as a tiny tot and that I’ve had the privilege of sharing with worldwide TV audiences, retreat groups, and many loved ones on the brink of eternity. If you turn from your sins toward Jesus Christ, He’ll forgive you and usher you into paradise.

Now, I’m not just preaching at you. I’m challenging you, fellow believer, to keep it simple. To be willing and ready to share this message with those you encounter as you walk your caregiving journey. Maybe your aging loved one needs to hear. Maybe a professional caregiver who comes into your home. Maybe a doctor or social worker—even a chaplain—needs this reminder. So, once more … just so we’re sure we have it down. Proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name to everyone: You know you’re a sinner. Jesus will forgive you if you ask Him to. Pass it on. To everyone.


Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Caregiving from a friend ...

A meaningful first-person story about the sorrows of helping a parent age -- from my friend and colleague, Karen O'Connor. Also, Karen links to my video for caregivers. Enjoy!

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Love -- The Spirit's Fruit in Our Lives

Treasured friend,

I found this beautiful quote this morning, as I was reading DL Moody's classic book, Secret Power. It caught my attention, I suppose, because without the supernatural love poured out in our hearts by God's Spirit, our caregiving responsibilities just might overwhelm us. He references Paul's list of the Fruit of the Spirit, from Galatians 5. Here's the biblical reference first ... then Moody's perceptive quote:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
Moody observes that just as Paul listed love as the first fruit -- it's the source of all the other eight.


Joy is love exulting; peace is love in repose; long suffering is love on trial; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love at school; and temperance is love in training.
Dwight L. Moody, Secret Power, (Chicago: F. H. Revell, 1881)


May our Lord and Savior equip us today, by His Spirit, to love as He loves us.

To love in action and repose.
     In suffering and in training.
          On trial and in society.

To love in our caregiving.
     To love in our interactions with a hostile world.
          To love in our relationships.
               To love even those who make loving so very hard.



Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Who's Working ... in All Things?

Treasured Friend,
Today I share an excerpt of a devotional from my compilation eBook, Pearls to Treasure. The whole book features the best people-stories, devotionals, interviews, and short fiction from my first 25 years in publishing ministry. Here are my comments on a passage that's so familiar it's nearly lost its meaning to those of us who are weary and disappointed, grieving or ailing. If that could describe you, there's hope--read on ...

Devotion on Romans 8:28


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


Admit it. When you saw the Scripture reference quoted above, you glossed right over the words. Normally, so would I. After all, we know what it says; we've heard it quoted squillions of times. Quoted glibly to us—purportedly to comfort us in our darkest hours. More often, it left us feeling like it had been quoted at us. Leaving us feeling even less understood by a distant Creator who thinks everything in this world—in our lives—is good. "All things work together for good …" Blah. Blah. Blah.

We know better, don't we?

Recently I ran into this verse in a new way. Often reading a different translation of the Scripture can give me a fresh perspective of its content. So, humor me and read Romans 8:28 from the New International Version, quoted above. When I did this, one phrase breathed new life into it for me: "in all things God works …" My eyes stopped right there. I read it over again. Selfishly, I had always focused my attention on "things" in life working together for my good. Yes, I tagged on an obligatory "for His glory," almost as an afterthought. But mostly I have been concerned about everything in life being good for me—good in my eyes and on my time table.

This may be somewhat understandable since the translators of the King James Version made it sound like the "things" are acting all by themselves: "And we know that all things work together for good …" Clearly, someone is orchestrating "all things," but He's working incognito, in the background. It's easy to forget He's there, when you put it that way. My writing professors always harped on the notion that tight writing shows who's causing the action; it features the actor.

That's why this phrase in the niv readjusted my perspective. You see, the Apostle Paul wrote this great truth not to focus my attention on me, but to focus on the God who is at work, intimately involved in all the happenings in this life. I had failed to receive comfort from this verse, because my eyes had been in the wrong place.

Everything we know about the character of God attests to the fact of His unparalleled love for us, to His longing for intimate interaction with each one of us—in every moment of our lives.

So, the fact that "in all things God works" is consistent with all we know about our Creator and Friend. He is at work in our lives because He loves us, He longs to express His grace and His truth to our needy hearts. What a comfort to know that in every circumstance God doesn't just stand by and watch, He doesn't just allow things to happen, but He works to make things happen. Good things. For the translators of all the versions agree that the ultimate result of this work does indeed come for good—yours and mine—and this results in His eternal glory.


My Father and my Friend,

I acknowledge Your loving hand at work in all of the circumstances of my life, and I trust You completely to orchestrate them all for Your glory and for my good.

Amen.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie © 2010, Julie-Allyson Ieron. Excerpted by permission from Pearls to Treasure, Julie-Allyson Ieron, a Joy Media eBook. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Friday, May 18, 2012

For Widows ... Wonderful Resources

As you know, occasionally I locate exceptional resources online that I pass along to you. This is one of those times ...

My friend and colleague Miriam Neff has created a line of resources especially for widows at www.widowconnection.com. Here you'll find lots of first-person stories, links to two books by Miriam on the subject, a DVD series, and more. She also includes resources on the site for churches to create ministries for widows.

Miriam was widowed at a young age, and she's created a community for those facing the same challenges she's facing -- younger and older -- a place of sharing, learning, and carving out new missions for life. She has a passion for missions among women in Africa -- and she's one who lives what she teaches.

If the mom you care for is widowed (or if you are), visit Miriam's site, glean wisdom and encouragement from her materials, and find a comforting place to express both grief and hope.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Canes and Crutches

Treasured friend,
Your faith is nothing but a crutch! If you’re so weak that you need a crutch, well, good for you. But I’m strong, I’m tough, and I don’t need a crutch.

Have you ever felt belittled by a friend or colleague who exuded that sentiment, if not those exact words? I’ve heard it many times from unbelievers--and it always makes me feel at least a little bit dejected.

It’s popular in our culture to consider ourselves independent, self-assured, absolutely sufficient without need of resources outside ourselves. But if we buy into that notion, we’ll be disappointed. Because it’s utterly erroneous, false, misguided—in short, wrong, with a capital W.

How do I know that?

Because no servant is greater than his or her master, and our Master made this unequivocal statement in John 5:30:

I can do nothing on my own. ... I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 5:30 (ESV)

That’s Jesus Christ, talking. The Way. The Truth. The Life. The one and only Son of the Father in Heaven. The Mighty King. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. Lion of Judah. Morningstar. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

You can’t get any stronger than He is. And yet, He—He!—says, “I can do nothing on my own.”

So, if you and I need a crutch, we’re in the best of company.

Now, then, once we can acknowledge that fact, we can go shopping for a crutch. I remember shopping for a cane for my gram several years ago. I found quite a few flimsy little sticks that were prettified, colorful, even flamboyant ... but weak. I discarded those immediately. I couldn't trust her to these -- they were insufficient to carry her weight.

Then I found one, finally, that would fit the bill. It was strong, gripped the ground without slipping, had a firm handle she could clutch—in short, a crutch that could hold her weight. That's the one I put into her weakening hands. That's the one I was willing to let her rest her weight upon.

If that’s what we need physically, how much more do we need a strong, firmly grounded, easy-to-hold-onto support in spiritual terms?

Listen to the strength in the words of our Master, whose authority from our Father in heaven is absolute:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. … All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:35-40 (ESV)

Here’s the news flash. We all need a crutch—or at least strength from outside ourselves. Our bodies are weak and tire more quickly today than they did yesterday. We may never be more aware of that than in the moments when we’ve exhausted all our strength, wisdom, and resources in caring for our aging loved ones. It's then, though, that we are welcomed to receive Christ’s invitation to dump all our burdens on Him. He can take it. He has the authority. And He has the inclination to come alongside us. He is the bread, so we won’t starve in our weakness. He is the water of life, so we will be refreshed in a parched land. He is the strength to save us from being lost in the fretful waves of an uncertain present. He is the offer of an assured future of eternal life with Him.

Suddenly, I’m feeling pretty good about acknowledging my need for Christ’s brand of crutch. I hope and pray you are, too. As a book title by Joyce Rogers several years ago put it, "Lean Hard on Jesus." What a great invitation to take this crutch and see how well it supports the heavy weight you're shouldering.

Blessings and prayers on your work in His name today!

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Serving Christ in Obscurity

Treasured friend,


I’ve been studying the Gospel of John in my personal devotions and—as always with the Living Word—I’ve been captivated by something fresh, something I’d never noticed quite this way before. In chapter 1, I met a slew of fascinating people ... people who play roles in bringing many others to Christ.

John the Baptist, Andrew, Philip, and Nathaniel are the four who jumped out at me in this reading. Briefly, let me tell you what I noticed; then we’ll get on with how this applies to us as followers of Christ, in general, and caregivers, in particular.
 
John the Baptist—he’s the one who prepares the way for the Christ to enter the scene. Then, when people question him on his feelings about Jesus taking over and outshining him, JtB makes the most unselfish statement I could imagine: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” In fact, a larger chunk of his defining quote is:
 

John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:27-30 (ESV)


Then there’s Andrew—he’s the first missionary. And he’s the first of the disciples recorded to have signed on to follow Christ. He’s with JtB and hears the proclamation of Jesus as the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.” And here’s what he runs to tell his brother Simon (Peter): “He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ)” John 1:41 (ESV).

We hear Andrew speak for himself in one other scene, the one with the loaves and the fishes. He’s the one who brings the small cache to Jesus—Who then multiplies it to feed the multitude (John 6). Otherwise, Andrew decreases—while his brother Peter takes over as spokesperson for the disciples. Interesting, the great deal we make about Peter’s proclamation of Jesus as the Christ … when early on Andrew makes the same statement—without the need of walking on water to meet the Master or seeing the squillions of other miracles that would come.
 
Then there’s Nathanael. He’s from the same town as Andrew and Peter—and Philip (who becomes the missionary to Nathaniel). Philip tells Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (1:45). Nathanael scoffs—thinking Nazareth an unlikely source of the Messiah. But when Jesus calls Nathanael personally, the scoffer immediately turns to faith: “Rabbi,” he says to Jesus, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Those are the only words we ever hear from him, even though he too becomes a Christ-follower, a disciple.

I’m intrigued by the fact that these first confessors of the truth about Jesus Christ's deity, these first disciples, all fade into the background as those whom they bring to Him become a sort of inner circle—Peter, James, and John—who make nearly all the headlines in the disciple years and later in the early church recorded in Acts. (We do meet Philip in Acts, when he becomes a missionary to Samaria and when he miraculously arrives on the scene with the Ethiopian eunuch—and later as the father of four daughters who are godly women of faith and prophecy. But then he drops off the radar as Paul rises to prominence in the story.)

I suppose the lesson for us here is found in the faithfulness of these individuals who all decreased so that others, and more importantly, Christ, would receive all the headlines--and any glory that would come. These early believers trusted Christ, and they each served Him in everyday ways. They told others about Him—through their words and their obedient actions. They didn’t seek thanks or praise for themselves (we don’t hear of any one of these disciples asking for the place of prominence in the coming kingdom).

It’s rather like the thankless work of a caregiver. Consistency in a thousand, thousand daily actions—none of which gain for her (or him) elevated praise or glory. And yet caregivers, like disciples, work on. Pointing toward Christ. Serving Christ as they serve their elder charges.

Somehow, I rather think God takes notice of these servants of His. I do believe Jesus’ words on the subject speak for themselves:
 

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 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.’ Matthew 25:34-40 (ESV)


I’m pretty sure I can be content with the notice of my Lord and Master—especially with such an awesome promise of a “kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And with Christ calling me "you who are blessed by My Father."

I can live with that. How about you?


Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jesus the Caregiver - Part 2

Treasured friend,

In our earlier discussion about Jesus as a caregiver many months ago, we examined how He cared for His mother while He was hanging on the cross.

Today, I'd like us to draw strength from another example of Jesus' caregiving. We'll find it in Mark 1:21-35. I won't print the passage for you--I'll let you locate it in your favorite translation and enjoy it for yourself. But let me key in on a few of the highlights.

Jesus is busy about His personal ministry. He's going into the synagogue and preparing to teach. This is clearly an important task on His heaven-sent agenda.

But then people in need approach Him--mob Him, actually. So He stops what He's doing and addresses them personally. He touches them; He ministers to their spiritual and physical needs. Even when He's exhausted--ready for a good meal and a soft bed--He learns that Peter's mother-in-law has a fever. So He touches her--ministers and provides new strength and healing to her. Which brings on another rush of needy souls.

He's giving and giving and giving some more--for hours on end. Does that sound at all like your life as a caregiver?

Finally, He gets a few precious moments of sleep. It's then that He does something truly surprising. I know I'd sleep in--long and late--in His circumstances. But He doesn't succumb to that temptation. Instead Mark tells us what He does:


And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35 (ESV)



As much as He needed physical refreshment in this scene from the Gospels, His soul needed spiritual refreshment--He needed the joy and intimacy of time spent alone in communion with His Heavenly Father. And it took some planning and effort to make it happen. I'm guessing the "desolate place" wasn't just around the corner from the home where He was staying.

I'm pretty sure we need the same--perhaps even more than Jesus did. Time to be in a good "desolate place." Alone time. Down time. Captured, even snatched and planned for in advance. Time in close fellowship with the God Who loves us, Who nurtures our souls, Who refreshes our weary bodies, Who cares for our loved ones more than we ever could. Time we make the concerted effort to protect despite our pressing obligations elsewhere.

Yes, I believe this is another key lesson for us to glean from Jesus, the Caregiver. Even if it means dragging our weary bones out of bed in the pre-dawn hours if that's the only way we can spend time in touch with our Father in Heaven. (You'd have to know me to know what an effort that is!)

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Monday, April 2, 2012

Watch and Pray

Then he said to them, My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me. Matthew 26:38 (ESV)
 
  
Treasured friend,

In preparation for Holy Week I generally read the story of Christ's passion from at least one of the four Gospels. This year, I'm in Matthew, and today in Matthew 26, I could scarcely get past the verse I selected above. It's one I've shared with you in the past -- but once again it stopped me cold. (The previous entry is "A Gethsemane Request" from March 2010.) It is the voice of Christ expressing for each hurting soul, the deepest need we have ... that of someone to watch and pray with us. In the past we've looked at what it means to us that Christ sits with us in our times of deep fear, sadness, and loneliness. But here, I'd like us to revisit the Scripture thinking not of ourselves and our needs, but of the fact that Christ asks something of us, even as He makes this request of Peter, James, John and the others.

"Remain here; watch with Me."

It's what our loved ones need from us, even as we busy ourselves by offering them compassionate care day after day. It isn't just about meds. Not just about tests and shots and trips to doctors' offices. Not just about food prep and clean clothes and bills payed and batteries changed in the TV remote. No, in their sorrow over all that age is stealing from them, they need what Christ needed in Gethsemane that night -- "remain here and watch with me." Someone to hold their hands and infuse them with hope--even if it's nothing more than the hope of being loved, of companionship, of someone feeling empathy with their pain. They may not be as articulate as our Lord was in asking for what He needed. But it is one of their greatest needs.

His request wasn't easy for the original hearers. They were bone-tired, weary as we often are. They were sad themselves over the prospect of losing their unique relationship with Christ on this earth (He'd just told them He'd be leaving!). And their bodies were desperate for the release of sleep. Does that description sound at all familiar to you? And yet, He asks us, as He asked them to just "be" to "remain" to "watch" through the long hours of the darkness.

Could they have helped giving in to that exhaustion? I'd probably have said yes, at least before experiencing some intense seasons of caregiving. But maybe they simply couldn't do what the Master asked that night.

Either way, He returned to them, after pouring out His heart to His Father. And finding them asleep, He was saddened further, perhaps even disappointed.


And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:40-41 (ESV)
So, He does know our weaknesses -- "the flesh is weak" -- and He knows our hearts -- "the spirit indeed is willing." This Easter season, I'm asking for Him to fortify me with enough spiritual strength from His vast storehouse so that my flesh is able to do what my spirit is indeed willing to do -- to watch and pray, to remain faithful to Him and to remain a compassionate companion to my parents whose age-related limitations many times leave them feeling "very sorrowful."
 
He carried those griefs in His body on the cross, but He asks me, asks us, to offer the encouragement of "watching and praying" with those whose care He often entrusts to us. Often it is all we can do. But it must be an important task -- because in His moment of deepest sorrow, it is what He most wanted from His companions.
 
Easter Week blessings, from our home to yours!


Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why a Caregiver Matters

Treasured Friend

My friend, Lisa Copen of Rest Ministries, has written a devotion titled, We All Need Someone to Take Our Hand Through the Pain. I think you'll find it particularly relevant to your caregiving task, so I'd like you to check it out. Here's the link: http://restministries.com/2012/03/19/devotion-we-all-need-someone-to-take-our-hand-through-the-pain/?awt_l=BghuY&awt_m=3ersq4bT4h7e_Dd

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Guilt of 'I should ...'

Treasured friend,

I've been reading in 1 John devotionally for the last few days (having just completed 1 and 2 Peter), and as I read the words I've memorized in years past, something new came alive for me.

One of the greatest challenges for caregivers, it seems, is guilt. I should be doing more. I should be more kind. I should be more loving. If only I had more patience with my patient. ...

Judging from the content of the early portion of John's first letter to the church, some of the true believers there must have been feeling much the same thing.

Listen to the comfort in these words:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (ESV)

Again, these words he wrote to Christians. To those who were trying hard not to sin. Who were trying to be loving and compassionate sources of light in trying times. Listen to how he continued the thought at the opening of chapter 2:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1 (ESV)

Such a beautiful thought -- and a comfort. Walk in the light of God's love, John tells us. Live the way Christ did. But don't worry that you don't measure up to His perfection. You won't. He said you couldn't. Do what you can, in His strength, then leave the rest up to Him. Confess where you fail, and then let His sacrifice cover your failure. Once you're forgiven, you're free to move on in love and light once again.

I checked in with my Advocate this morning, confessed my failures, and experienced His cleansing once again.

Tired and disappointed caregiver, I pray the Word will lead you to do the same today. For there is no guilt once Christ has offered cleansing and forgiveness.


Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick Encouragement from The Word

Treasured friend,

I just want to give you a sweet word from The Word today. This is one of the devotional Scriptures I read earlier this morning -- and when I read it, it jumped right off the page to my heart as if it were the Lord Himself whispering it to me personally. I pray it has the same heads-up effect on you:

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:8-10 (ESV)
Try putting your name in the place of Israel, Jacob and Abraham -- and see whether you're hearing your Lord's word of strength spoken into your most challenging situation today.
 
What a string of promises ... I have chosen you; I am with you; I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you.
 
That's God offering those words to His people -- to you and to me. He's the only one Who could ever make those promises and then keep them. Aren't you glad He's true to His word -- and He never changes? What He promised, He will do .... for you .... today!


Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Two FREE books from Julie on Amazon Kindle

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:2-3 (ESV)

Treasured friend,

I'm just wrapping up the final touches on my upcoming book, THE GOD INTERVIEWS, which will release from Leafwood Publishing this fall! It's a quick release -- and a book I know you'll love.

But I don't want you to think I forgot you. So, I want to make you aware of two great bonus reads you can take advantage of beginning this weekend.

In the next few weeks, two of my e-Books--complete with their companion Bible Study Guides will be offered free on Amazon.com. Each book will be free only for a few days, so I want you to be primed and ready to take advantage of it.

  • Staying True in a World of Lies (about workplace integrity): free on Amazon Kindle March 17-18.

  • Praying Like Jesus, whose subject covers John 17--so it's timely for Maundy Thursday: free on Amazon Kindle April 5-7, Easter week.
 
Here's a little bit about each book, along with the Kindle link -- so you're all ready for the free downloads:
 
Staying True in a World of Lies
Updated Second Edition with Study Guide
Have you ever found yourself in a moral dilemma at work? Something seemingly insignificant that tested your resolve and challenged your integrity. Staying True in a World of Lies looks at integrity as the unification of thoughts, words, and actions. It is a timely, practical resource filled with stories of real people that will reinforce your commitment to Christlikeness—and energize you for the long haul. Then, rebuild your life around God's character expectations using the bonus 12-session Bible study.
 
Praying Like Jesus
Updated Second Edition with Study Guide
Prayer is more—much more—than a laundry list of requests. It isn’t about getting the answers we want just when we want them. Actually, it isn’t about us, at all. Prayer is about relationship between Almighty God and you. Praying Like Jesus introduces you to prayer from a close-up perspective—that of God the Son. This dynamic study of 52 ways Jesus prayed for you will challenge your heart to come into contact with the Heart that beats to intercede for you. Savor one chapter at a time or one each week for a year. And dig in for yourself as you use the 9-session Bible study included in this updated eBook package.
 
 
The Link to my Amazon author page is all you'll need to help you locate the books: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Allyson-Ieron/e/B001JS7ZKK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
 
I do believe you'll find both of these books encouraging and challenging and uplifting. And I'd sure appreciate it if you'd share these dates and links with your friends, too. The books will cost nothing on those dates -- but our prayer is that you'll find them meaningful as you seek to know Christ in a more personal, everyday way.
 
 
 

Blessings and prayers,
Julie

© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com