Monday, September 6, 2010

September 2010

Wow, I can't believe September is already here.

September brings school, friends, and changes.

 September 12th is Grandparent's Day. And before that is Labor Day. So many new things going on!

In JOY Blog, we have a lot going on, too!


*How to study your Bible-part 2
*Add your comment here


*By Faith-Janet Pope
*Grandparent's Day


*Modest Dressing-It's Fall, The School Years Begins!
 *Guy Talk-My Love-part 3

And Rachel R. is back this month. :) Check out her Grandparent's Day article!

Happy beginning of fall!

The JOYauthors
Mandy, Heather, Rachel

Add Your Comment Here...September 2010

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How to Study the Bible - Topical Searches

How to Study the Bible - Topical Searches

Looking up, studying, and memorizing verses by topic is another way that may be useful to you in finding a way to study the Bible. This might not be a long term plan, but it may be useful at different points in your life. For example, you may be going through a time in your life where you are worrying a lot. It may be useful to you to look up verses about fear, being anxious, etc… I have been using this technique a lot lately because I have been teaching a topical Bible study. We had topics like faithfulness, prayer, purity, not worrying, etc… For these topics I did searches on different words that had to do with the topic. On the topic of faithfulness, I looked up the word in the dictionary to give me a start on thinking more about it really means.

Then I looked it in my Bible’s concordance.

Or I looked it up on BibleGateway, which is a great online resource. You can search by topic or by verse in different languages and versions of the Bible.


I looked at faith, faithful, faithfulness, and then the opposite; unfaithful. This way it gave me different ideas of what God has to say on the subject from all angles. Using a thesaurus may help with your search to come up with other words that mean the same thing.

If you decide to do a topical search like this, I would suggest getting a notebook, journal, or index cards to write the verses on. Then you have the topical verses all together. Also, consider memorizing the verses that mean the most to you from the search.

This can be a very helpful way to understand more about specific issues that God teaches us about in His Word. Try it out and see if it might be right for you!

Topics that might interest you:

• Faith
• Joy
• Love
• Prayer
• Worry
• Women of the Bible

Grandparent's Day-September 12th

Grandparent's Day-September 12th

I love Grandparents Day. I love to visit with my grandparents. I love to hear their stories. I love to learn from them. I just love to be around them.

But I thought that was all over when, two years ago, my family moved half-way across the country from both sets of grandparents. I was afraid we might never see them again, or, if we did, we wouldn’t know each other as well as we had. I looked bleakly at the future. No more visits. No more jokes. No more stories. No more hugs. No more of my grammy’s special cookies or cakes. No more of my grandma’s fun treats.

Since we’ve moved, however, I’ve learned a lot. I now know that my grandparents can still tell jokes and stories just as well on paper, computer, or over the phone as they do face-to-face, and that we did, in fact, get to see them again (and we still knew each other). Most of all, I’ve learned that God provides for our needs.

Over the past two years I’ve kept in touch with my grandparents through emails, phone calls, and the like. We probably communicate more now, than when we lived close to each other! My grammy and I email each other almost everyday and my grandma sends me handwritten letters. All of our communication helped us to continue to be close even though we live so far away.

Of course, part of living far away from your grandparents is that you can’t visit them very often, so I was excited when my family went on a trip this summer to visit our extended family. Squeezing all seven people in my family plus my Grammy and Papa into their one bedroom apartment gave us lots of time to spend together! Our Grandma and Grandpa had their 50th anniversary while we were there, and in celebrating they brought out a box of pictures, which we enjoyed looking at and learning the stories behind. I think God provided that trip so that we could be ready to come back home and face all the new challenges before us.

One of the other things God has provided for my family was a “grandma” and “grandpa” here at home. We got to know a really nice couple and started to spend a lot of time with them. They quickly became like grandparents to us, and we soon began to call them Granny and Grandpa. They never replaced our real grandparents at all; instead they helped us bear through the hardship of living so far away from family.

I still miss my grandparents, but I know God provides in wonderful ways. This Grandparents Day, think about how God has provided for you. Thank Him for your grandparents. Thank your grandparents for all they have done. Send them an email or letter. Give them a phone call or a visit. And remember them, not only on Grandparents Day or Christmas, but everyday. It could very well teach you a whole lot.

“Grandchildren are a crown to the aged...”
Proverbs 17:6

By Faith- Janet Pope

By Faith- Janet Pope

Remember the lady, Janet Pope, I was telling you about last month that memorizes whole passages and books of the Bible? Well, here she is! She is going to tell us more about her, her life, why she decided to memorize scripture, and some fun facts about her! And we will also learn how she is living “By Faith”, like Hebrews 11 talks about.


JOY Blog-When did you become a Christian? How were you led to Christ?

Janet Pope-I did not grow up in church so I had no Bible background or religious training. When I was 21 years old, my mother was going through a very difficult time in her life. My sister and I decided that our mother needed God. Pretty profound for two girls who had no idea who God was! We began to take our mother to different churches in the hope of finding God, for her. After a few months I took her to a Bible believing church, we heard the gospel, and within a few months both my mother and I received Christ, and have been growing ever since.

JOY Blog-When did you decide to memorize passages? Why did you decide to memorize passages instead of just memorizing some verses?

Janet Pope-I was 35 years old and attending a Christian conference. A woman came to the podium and recited the entire book of Colossians. It was so powerful hearing the whole book together at one time. I thought to myself “I wish I knew God’s Word like she did”. I realized at that moment that I was pretty shallow in my Bible knowledge, and I had a deep desire to make a change.

JOY Blog-How do you do it?

Janet Pope-I write out what I want to memorize on a 3 x 5 spiral binder. Then I take one verse at a time and begin to memorize it, adding one more verse each day. I carry my spiral with me wherever I go. It sits easily on a counter and I can memorize while I do other things. Over the years I have learned to capture dead time for scripture memory. I memorize while I’m doing household chores, exercising, walking, driving, and getting ready in the morning. When I finish a chapter I take a week or so to review before going on to the next chapter. When I finish memorizing a book, I assign it to one of the days of the week so that I will make that my day to review that book every week, which helps it stay in my memory, while I go on to a new passage.

JOY Blog-What do you do when you feel overwhelmed about life? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed about memorizing Scripture?

Janet Pope-When I feel overwhelmed about life, which does happen on occasion, I run to God’s Word and it is always there for me. Life is unpredictable and always challenging. God’s Word is a stabilizing force because it is truth and it is from God.

When I am overwhelmed about memorizing Scripture, I take a break, while still reviewing, and then pick back up in a few days. Memorizing Scripture is not to be a burden but a joy. Sometimes the task ahead can seem overwhelming, like if you want to memorize Ephesians and you are only on chapter 2. My advice is to go at a pace that works for you.

JOY Blog-How has memorizing Scripture helped you to live “by faith” as Hebrews 11 talks about?

Janet Pope-Honestly, memorizing Scripture has been the biggest boost to my spiritual growth and maturity. Meditating on God’s Word day and night truly is like Psalm one says. It is like a tree planted by streams of water, continually nourished, never parched and dry. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ. God’s Word continually in my mind and heart has been an oasis for my soul. When you look at Hebrews 11, you see people who persevered through all sorts of adversity. And every life is sprinkled with adversity, some have more than others. I have trials in my life and it is God’s Word that helps me to persevere, even when I can’t see the road ahead, or why my life has taken a detour.

JOY Blog-What is your favorite color?

Janet Pope-It used to be pink, but now it’s yellow.

JOY Blog-What is your favorite book?

Janet Pope-The Bible of course. Besides the Bible, “Let the Nations Be Glad” by John Piper.

JOY Blog-One material thing you wouldn’t leave home without?

Janet Pope-I go on a lot of speaking trips, and I always double check to make sure I didn’t forget my NOTES. I can’t always trust my memory!

JOY Blog-One food you don’t think you could live without?

Janet Pope-Definitely… dessert. I love sweets, wish I didn’t, but I’m not ready to give them up.

The School Year Begins!

Modest Dressing
It’s Fall!
The School Year Begins!

All across America pencils are being sharpened. It’s back to school time! Another school year is upon us! Whether you are homeschooled or go to public or private school, new fashions for fall can excite you! Who doesn’t like a new outfit?

And yet a new outfit doesn’t make the person! God made you unique and perfect in His eyes. God looks straight past your new fall look and directly at the beautiful woman you are inside. Are you learning each day how to be a better daughter for Him? What can you do to let God’s love shine out of you and toward others?

I’m a pen-to-paper girl. So something that has really helped me keep my focus on my relationship with God has been a written reflection. I write down areas of my life that I feel I have improved and things that have brought me closer to my Father God. I then write down the areas in which I’d like to improve. Contemplate….am I all who God wants me to be? It only takes a little bit of time, but it can drastically change your whole outlook. When contemplating a new fall look, remember that attitude and personality show more of who you are than the clothes do! True beauty shines through in who you are, not in what you wear. If you recognize who you are in Christ, His joy will shine forth from you. You will have wrapped yourself in God’s love and you will begin to see yourself from His perspective: a well-loved daughter of the King.

“I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 139:14

You are a unique creation.

It is so easy to get caught up in choosing how to look by the latest current trends. Although it is fun to incorporate what you have seen others wear or what popular media says is wonderful, you can make choices that are right for you! You are unique and special. Incorporate some new ideas into your already existing unique style to vary things and to make some changes.

A common misconception in women is that they have to look like the mannequins in the store window in order to look “fashionable.” Yet because you are unique and have your own style, you can incorporate some of the latest style ideas into your own style for a pleasant change. It will take your unique look to the next level without changing who you are.

“Looking good” doesn’t mean “costing a lot.” 

Reuse! I cannot emphasize enough the importance of accessorizing! Adding new accessories to an outfit can completely change the look and add a breath of fresh air to the style.

Experiment with your closet by combining new top and bottom combinations and by adding fun accessories to bring the whole outfit together. When I create a new look with the clothes in my closet, often my clothing combination doesn’t appear to match correctly. It’s not until I bring the outfit together with my jewelry and shoes that my look steps up to a whole new level.

When I moved to England, I only brought with me one suitcase of clothing. Yet, even with my limited amount of clothing that I brought with, I was able to make new combinations with my clothes and accessorize them in fun ways to create new looks. I was always asked how many trunks I brought with me to Britain. People couldn’t believe that I had only brought one suitcase!

Take the time to experiment with your wardrobe. You’ll be surprised at how amazing you look by just reusing your preexisting clothes and by adding new accessories! This fall, remember to be unique and true to yourself. But above all, remember that it truly is the inside that counts. You are His creation! He cares about you!

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
Matthew 6:28-30

The Love Trilogy: My Love

Guy Talk

My Friend. My Healer. God has revealed Himself to me in these two ways. These two entities have provided me with the miracle of hope and the promise of His relationship and His hand on my life. This month we conclude the Love Trilogy. If this is your first time joining us, I encourage you to skip back a few months to the beginning of this series. This month I pray that God will shower you with love, His love. I pray the love that He showers on you everyday will be real, but with a new impact that will reach the depths of your heart and meet you on the road at which you stand.

We all search for love. We all desire to feel needed, wanted, admired, and loved. The culture puts unnecessary pressure on us to have boyfriends and this longing can often lead to heartbreak, depression, and confusion. Is love worth the trouble?

My search for love has led to a lot of heartbreak. Just like millions of women out there, I have searched for a “good man,” only to be disappointed or crushed. After some unhealthy relationships, I eventually found myself losing hope and even disregarding the dream of finding real love. Even in my relationships with men that have been decent, I have known deep in my core that they weren’t meant to be. This only left me depressed.
Finally I did it. I crossed love off of my list. I decided that focusing on my career and life goals was more important than finding the love of my life. And I was content…well, maybe content isn’t the right word….I was complacent. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about not having the love of my life, but deciding not to try any more was better than being disappointed. I decided that love wasn’t worth the trouble.

One Sunday, within this last year, I went to church with my family. A young preacher was ministering. He spoke of God’s love for us; not an unfamiliar message in the church and, quite frankly, one that I had heard before. What was different about this message was the young preacher’s expression as he spoke.
“He passionately loves us…” his voice trailed off and stillness filled the room. Tears filled his eyes and he gently smiled, “He…,” his voice cracked and he paused to regain himself,” He is passionately in love with you.”

I felt the wind get knocked out of me. He is passionately in love with me. The God of the universe, My Healer, My Friend….. is passionately in love with me. Even after all of my stumbling and shortcomings, He is in love with me. And not just in love…passionately in love. I had to let this sink in and marinate for a bit. It was too overwhelming for me.

The David Crowder Band sings a song called “How He Loves.” The lyrics are so incredibly powerful. Take a moment to meditate on the depth of each line:

“How He Loves”
By the David Crowder Band
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all.

I am still comprehending the depth of His love for me. My Jesus would do anything for me. How He loves me! God is currently teaching me every day that He is the love of my life. He should have always been the love of my life. He’ll place that special someone in my path eventually, but I don’t have to search for someone to love me, because He is already here. He is passionately, overwhelmingly in love with me and in love with you!

The Love Trilogy that God inspired and put on my heart has been an incredible experience for me. Writing it has brought me closer to my God. I am so thankful for Abba. Although your experiences are probably quite different from my own, I hope that some of my feelings resounded with you. I encourage you to share your experiences of what God is teaching you and who God is to you with others. We would be so honored if you would share them with us via an email (address provided below).

I would like to pray over you:
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for each of Your daughters reading this. I thank You that they have a desire to learn more of You and build their relationships with You. I know that You have Your hand on their lives and that You are guiding their footsteps in everything they do. I pray that You will take their brokenness, their questions, and their cares upon You. Whisper Your blessings in their ears. Heal broken hearts. Hold their hands. May each day bring them closer and closer to Your love and friendship. I thank You for revealing Yourself to them. I am so thankful for each of my sisters in You! Praise God! Amen~

*Do you have a relationship question for JOY? We're here to offer sound, Christian advice and our prayers. If you have a question or a prayer request, email JOY at: