A Cheerful Heart



When I think of this verse, I immediately think of my daughter Jenni.  Jenni was/is the most happy carefree child I have ever known.  Anytime, I made eye contact with her she would ALWAYS break into a big grin, even when she was unhappy with me for disciplining her, try as she might to be unhappy she just could not do it!  There are so many things she did that brought me so much joy!  When she would laugh, it’s the best sound I’ve ever heard (still is), unconditional love, hugs and kisses, snuggling and just watching her learn new things each day, it’s all just priceless and pure joy to behold.

Memories like these will definitely make you smile, maybe even tear up. A warm glow fills you like a candle, burning  deep inside your soul.  Children give us unconditional love, as adults we can learn a lot from children, they have no biases when it comes to love. If you smile at a child, he/she will beam a huge smile back at you for no reason other than your presence. Children do not love with expectation of something better in return, they just love.

Think about it. To everyone, all over the world, a smile is the universal expression of friendliness and goodwill, and even a tiny baby recognizes that a smile is a happy thing.  Smiling is also good for you… it lowers your blood pressure, helps your immune system to work better, and releases natural pain killers, endorphins, and serotonin.

There is no downside to a genuine, warm smile, and for that grumpy or harried someone who is having a really bad day, your friendly smile can be a real mood changer. Try giving the gift of a smile… and giving it freely throughout your day. You may be surprised at what a difference a smile can make!

Nothing reveals more about our hearts than our words and actions. Our heart contains the motivations for what we do and why we do it. We are encouraged through scripture to pay attention to our hearts with due diligence. As we continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ—our hearts will become more convicted about sin and more tender loving towards people especially the lost

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

One of the best blessings in being a believer in Jesus Christ is the peace that rises above every life situation. While others are fretting with worry, believers have the power of the Holy Spirit to guard their hearts and minds with peace and joy that has no human explanation. Having peace and joy allows believers to continue to go through hardships painful situations without regret. The key to having peace in our hearts is surrendering all our prayers to God and trusting in Him to take care of each one.  Just as the body can’t function well without a healthy heart, neither can the Christian with a spiritual heart—we will be sluggish in our work, hard at hearing God’s word, and slow to recognize His presence. The consistent disciplines of the Christian faith of prayer, Bible study, and fellowship will keep our spiritual hearts hearts pumping strong towards our eternal destination.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for not only saving my soul, but for the promise of healing also.  I do appreciate the many times over the years that You have healed me personally.  I also thank you for the gift of healing as I have prayed and You have touched others with Your healing virtue.   You truly are the Great Physician. I do appreciate that about You.  Lord, I do want to always remain in a joyful attitude, no matter what might come my way.  Fill me with Your love, joy and peace daily, so that I might be an example of Your goodness. I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

My Daughter And Queen Esther


For Such A Time As This

I think every little girl dreams of being a princess.  My oldest daughter Summer’s favorite bible story was about Queen Esther.  She always enjoyed reading and learning about this amazing Queen that God chose, not to mention watching the video a million times!  From a very early age Summer was all girl, she loved to dress up like a princess with all the jewelry and crowns.  I wanted her to learn and hear about real-life princesses and queens that were brave, strong and selfless.  The Bible has the ultimate queen heroine Queen Esther!

The book of Esther takes place during exile in Persia and recounts the plot to exterminate the Jewish nation. Since Esther has miraculously become Queen, she was in a unique position to foil the evil plot. Her cousin Mordecai utters this famous quote to Esther regarding her divine destiny: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Chapter 4:14)

As a mom, I was glad that she wanted to emulate Esther and here is why:

Esther is mentioned more times in the Bible than any other woman.

Esther was a queen who knew the power of when to speak and when to remain quiet.

Esther had courage: Remember Queen Esther when she said the words, “If I perish, I perish.” She was undoubtedly a brave queen. She was a remarkable woman who was willing to risk her life to save her people. She was a woman of principle who was willing to put the lives of others ahead of even her own life. She was an outstanding example of serving others even under the most stressful circumstances. Jesus Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Esther’s beauty came from the inside where the presence of God’s unfailing love lived in her (Esther 2:8) Over and over in Esther’s story, we see she found favor. “Favor” is the word hesed in Hebrew and it means “God’s unfailing love”. Favor was the secret of Esther’s beauty. When the people saw in the palace, including the king, it wasn’t only her physical appearance they were seeing. They were seeing the presence of God inside of her.

Now, my daughter Summer is an adult getting ready to have her own family. If I was asked to describe my daughter; Esther would come to mind why? Because she is fiercely loyal, smart, determined, brave and deeply faithful.  She always carries herself (even as a small child) with grace, modesty and style, she has an inner (as well as outer) beauty.  I like to think that those early years of studying, reading and watching Esther ‘s story are now part of her DNA. That was the beauty of homeschooling, I could do and did a complete curriculum study on Esther.

Like Queen Esther (4:14), we each have been created for His purpose – “for such a time as this.”

We can all use this story in our everyday lives. Most of the time our lives will be pretty routine, but all of us have a few defining moments when we may be called on to put godly principle above personal benefit. What will you do when you encounter those defining moments in your life? What will you do when you face “such a time as this”? Will you choose to do the right thing as opposed to what might give you some personal benefit?

Esther shows all of us the way, and we can be inspired by her example.

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

Bloom Where You Are Planted


A couple of years ago I was watching Facing The Giants and one of the characters kept saying , “Bloom where you’re planted.”   I automatically began to think about how the Bible instructs us to be “fruitful”. I began to think about how God has placed us in the circumstances that we are in for a reason, and that we can choose to make the best of the situation we are in.  We can’t always live the lives we dreamed of. It’s just not possible. Yet, I’m sure most of us have hopes and dreams that aren’t already realized and maybe, for whatever reason, they won’t be for years to come.  But, this is my new mantra as I guide my life in a new, exciting direction. Sometimes all we need are a few words to spark something, to find motivation.

The word bloom is telling us that we need to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. What does it mean for a person,  to bear fruit?
John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” The Bible uses the phrase “bear fruit” to refer to the good works we should be performing as believers. When we blossom for Christ, we share the love of Jesus with all those around us.

We need to bloom where ever we are planted. Being content with our circumstances in life is sometimes difficult, but God has placed us right where he wants us to be. No one could have put this into better perspective than Paul did in Philippians chapter 4, verse 12 when he wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” True contentment is found, not in having everything you want, but in not wanting to have everything.

Lastly and most impotantly, we need to bloom where we’re planted.  We need to be rooted and grounded in God’s word. If we are not sure what the word says, Satan will lead us astray using every scheme and tactic he can come up with.

Psalm 1:2-3 says,” But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
Sometimes we may not understand why we work where we work, live where we live, shop where we shop, eat where we eat, or worship where we worship. However, rest assured that God has strategically placed you in the precise location on this earth that He wanted you to be. Make the most of every opportunity to “bloom” in God’s garden.

Lord, when life is not what we planned it to be, walk with us. Help us to flourish and grow right where we are, because you are the Author of life. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.


We Need Fellowship With Fellow Christians

 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4 :12

As we read this verse we think of the process of rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives more efficient in their task to cut and slice. Likewise, the Word of God is a “double-edged sword”

This verse shows us the need for fellowship with one another. We know that man was not made to be alone, for the Lord God say’s this, even before the Fall (Genesis 2:18)? How much more, then, after the Fall of Man, do we need to come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ for seasons of fellowship and prayer? Clearly, this was recognized by the saints of the early church Acts 2 42-47, who “devoted themselves” to teaching, fellowship, communion, and prayer, all corporate activities that provided opportunities for sharpening one another.

We know that the meeting of two people together in the Lord’s name will always bring blessing. The Lord Himself promised—where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among them Matthew 18:20. Also, we also see in Malachi, for those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard Malachi 3:16. When we sharpen one another in real Christian fellowship, the Lord bends an ear from heaven and is pleased. Not one word about Him which brings Him glory escapes His notice.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” Psalm 133:1. Therefore, as the author to the Hebrews says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” Hebrews 10:24–25.

I Will Rest

This is my anthem. If you find yourself troubled I pray this song will help you to CHOOSE rest in the most turbulent or weighty seasons of your life.

I try so hard to keep it in When I’m falling apart Put up walls to preserve My fragile heart But I’m tired cause I know That I’m not strong enough, strong enough I make my plans I try to prosper by the work Of my own hands But I stumble cause the truth is That I can’t And I grow weary cause it seems The race is never done, never done I will rest, I will rest In the promises that You Have given me I will rest, I will rest All Your goodness And Your mercy follow me They follow me I will not fear I won’t forget That you are always near Even when the road I walk’s unclear In the waiting I’ll be still And know that You are God, You are God I will rest, I will rest In the promises that You Have given me I will rest, I will rest All Your goodness And Your mercy follow me They follow me You’re my Shelter, my Refuge Fortress for my soul I will trust You You’re my Shepherd, my Rescue Forever my I will trust You, trust You I will rest, I will rest In the promises that You Have given me I will rest, I will rest All Your goodness And Your mercy follow me They follow me Follow me

Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth





As the world has its eyes on the Middle East with all its turmoil, Christ is urging us to watch and keep our garments (Rev 16:15) “Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches and remain clothed, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”  The Lord calls us to love our enemies..In Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;”

John Piper wrote: “The mention of loving our enemies is not meant to imply that all Muslims feel or act with enmity toward Christians. They don’t. They are often hospitable and kind and caring. The point is that even when someone treats us with enmity (of whatever religion or non-religion), we should continue loving. Another clarification is needed in our context today. When I say that love calls us to do good in practical ways that meet physical needs I do not mean that this help is offered contingent on Muslim’s becoming Christians. Practical love is a witness to the love of Christ. Witness is not withheld where it is needed most. Conversions coerced by force or finances contradicts the very nature of saving faith. Saving faith is a free embrace of Jesus as our Savior, Lord, and highest Treasure. He is not a means to treasure. He is the Treasure.] The most loving thing we can do for Muslims, or anyone else, is to tell them the whole truth about Jesus Christ, in the context of sacrificial care for them and willingness to suffer for them rather than abandon them, and then plead with them to turn away from “vain worship” (Mark 7:7) and receive Christ as the crucified and risen Savior for the forgiveness of their sins and the hope of eternal life. This would be our great joy—to have brothers and sisters from all the Muslim peoples of the world. “

Good reminder to us all.

Let us pray with Paul (Rom 12:2) “..be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, (our understanding, our way of thinking) that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

If we approach God’s written Word to prove ourselves right, with any of our own preconceived ideas, going with pride in your heart; what Eze 14 calls “idols of the heart”, unfortunately, you will see exactly what you want to see. But the written Word, the truth, just as Christ in the flesh, will be a door shut tight, hiding the true light within. We need to come to the Word with an open heart seeking to know the mind of Christ, willing to come humbly before Him. Shedding every ounce of pride, with a heartfelt attitude of “not my will, but thine be done” the written Word becomes wide open to you. Shining with a light that is brighter than the sun, you will find endless truths you have never seen before. You will immediately think “How could I have been so blind.”

And so it was with Christ in the flesh. Who was it that received Christ? It was the tax collectors everyone hated. It was the prostitutes everyone despised, and who probably despised themselves. It was the poor who had nothing to lose. It was the sick who had no other hope. These were those with whom the Spirit of God could work to give them the love, the healing and the hope they had never had before. Had they not needed Him, they would never have known Him.

So it also is with the Lord as the written Word. As we need it and can receive it, God will reveal it to us. (Mat 11:27) The Lord says “ And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

The Bible says that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, that men of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 16-17). Everything we need to know to live a long, successful life and be everything that God wants and intends for us to be is included in the Bible.

People deprive themselves of great blessings when they fail to seek the face, will and purpose of God by reading His whole and complete Word.

How are we to know what God wants from us and how He expects us to live if we are not willing to spend time with Him in prayer and the reading of His Word? Many people don’t know because they have not made that decision in their lives.

We sometimes have a hard time understanding the Bible and what it is trying to say to us. This is why we must rely on the Holy Spirit to teach and show us what it is trying to teach us.

Help us Lord, to understand your word..I pray your Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth. Help us Lord to not just pick and choose what scriptures we desire to follow but to take the whole counsel of God.

Taste And See That The Lord Is Good


I know that God is good because the Bible says so. We need to read and study Gods Word daily. I believe if you do this, you will begin to experience and taste his sweet love. It is so refreshing; not like any other love you have ever experienced. Taste it; savor it. It is amazing, wonderful and full of flavor and seasoned with salt. Your love for him will grow deeper. You will crave more of him and less of the world. He wants us to love life and to enjoy all that he has given us. If you surrender your all to him and taste his pure love, you will see that he is truly good.

Psalm 119:103 says How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Colossians 4:6 says Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

When A Woman Of Faith Feels Unloved


A woman’s heart is a delicate thing. Neglect to “feed” and care for it, and it will wither and shrivel up into nothing. If your husband makes too many withdrawals from it without making enough deposits, and it will soon become empty. Bruise it, batter it, beat it up, and it will either go into hiding  or morph into something ugly and destructive.  I believe that a woman trapped in a marriage with a man who doesn’t respect her or cherish her is a very very sad thing to behold.   It is truly  devastating when a man doesn’t live up to his God-given role in marriage.  Some women feel unloved because their husbands do not find them attractive.   If this is the case, it’s only because he’s allowed selfishness to distort his view of what real beauty really means. God created you and you are a Masterpiece. His precious, priceless daughter. If your husband has lost sight of that, it’s his fault; not yours.  This Feeling of rejection from a spouse causes a deep and profound sense of loneliness and isolation, but you are NOT alone! God is with you and He will never leave you or forsake you.

God never intended for a women to feel this way, in God’s ideal world a woman would get many of her needs for intimacy, protection, and love met by her husband. And many women are blessed to have many of those needs met in their marriage now.

If you feel unloved we do not need to look any farther than God’s word. Take heart the Lord see’s your tears and hear’s your prayers. Just look at the story of Leah (who felt all these things and more) for encouragement: Leah, the wife of Jacob, experienced this; but God heard her prayers and saw her plight.

Leah’s story starts in Genesis 29. Jacob’s uncle, Laban, had two daughters. Leah, the eldest, had eyes that were “delicate.” Rachel, with whom Jacob fell in love, was Laban’s younger daughter; and she “was beautiful of form and appearance” (Genesis 29:16-17). When this switch was discovered by Jacob in the morning, he demanded of his father-in-law, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?” (Genesis 29:25).

After Jacob celebrated his marriage with Leah for one week, he then also took Rachel as his wife, and we’re told about a very important and sad dynamic in this marriage in verse 30: “Then Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he also loved Rachel more than Leah.”

Laban was happy he thought he had made a good bargain in these deals, but what impact did all this have on Leah? She was now the wife of Jacob, a man who had not desired her nor expected her to be his wife. Jacob had been in love with her younger sister Rachel all along!

We can only Imagine how that must have felt to Leah to have her husband for one week unhappy and unsatisfied knowing he only desired her younger sister. Leah knew that she was the unloved wife. Unfortunately, sometimes women suffer from feeling unloved. Sometimes they are victims of unhappy marriages through no fault of their own.

But God was aware of this unfortunate situation, and He had compassion on Leah. “When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29:31). Leah was not overlooked or unloved by God. God rewarded her with children, which was a highly important honor for a wife in those days. The names that Leah subsequently chose for her sons demonstrated that she had faith, trust and hope in God.

We can learn a lesson from Leah’s faith in God and from her trials. God is the giver of all good gifts, and Leah always made sure she gave credit to God and God’s providence. When she felt alone and unloved, she prayed and trusted in God, and God was there to help. God was faithful in giving her an endowment of children—an inheritance. Leah’s husband, Jacob, did indeed dwell with Leah—in the land that the children of Israel would inherit.

The best part of this story is the epilogue, how did Leah’s life turn out in the end? After Rachel’s death, Leah carried on as the wife of Jacob, and the mother of his many children, living in Canaan. The Bible does not say when she died, but Leah is buried in the cave of Machpelah, along with her husband Jacob (Genesis 49:29-31). In the family tomb are her husband’s father and mother, Isaac and Rebekah; and her husband’s grandfather and grandmother, Abraham and Sarah. Leah will awaken in a resurrection to life in the future and will find out how many children she truly has!

God will hear our prayers and will intervene for us. God has compassion for the brokenhearted Leah, the wife of Jacob, understood that, and we need to have faith similar to that of Leah. Isn’t that good news!  I hope and pray, that you found encouragement today!


I pray for the women who are lonely and feeling very unloved and in pain.  Help them to look to Your Word and to find Your Love is more than enough to meet their needs  Help us to be faithful to You and faithful to our husbands.  Help us to learn to use the power You have given us as women to bless our husbands and to inspire them to greater heights by Your plan.

Blessings, In Christ

Cheryl Downum

Finding Joy

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I started this blog to inspire and encourage women to a deeper Faith in Jesus Christ.  I have found in my life that the Lord often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad to our deepest calling.  After, my divorce I found myself in world of hurt and pain, it was only through my relationship with Jesus Christ I graduated from a Healing Heart (my last blog) to a Joyful walk with my Heavenly Father.

I was in a difficult time of transition in my life, and things didn’t appear to be working out very well. I was single for the first time in many years, working for a ministry to abused women, but was having a hard time finding joy in any situation. I was getting by just barely emotionally as well as financially.  I thought my priorities were in line. I was serving God and others in ministry but, I wasn’t feeling JOY.; I was feeling STRESS and loneliness.

Joy is something we all long for, but often thru our pain seems difficult to grab hold of.

The first thing I needed to realize is that joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is circumstantial and is fleeting. Joy is a heart posture. The root word for joy in the Greek is chara, which is closely related with the Greek charis for “grace.” Joy is both a gift of God as well as a response to the gifts of God. Joy comes when we are aware of God’s grace and His favor.

I have found that the way to experience joy is to focus on God, through His word, worship music and most importantly fellowship. Rather than dwelling on our difficulties or those things that are robbing us of our contentment, we can dwell on God.  Believe me, this is not to say we should deny our pain and hurt or stuff our negative emotions. We can learn from many of the psalmists, we can pour out our hearts to God. We can come before Him and tell Him all the things that are hurting us. But, then we need to submit those things to Him and remember who He is.  Look to Psalm 3, 13, 18,43 and 103 for great examples.

After several moments of prayer and praise the stress from my life started to lift and I began to sense the sweet presence of the Lord. As I knelt in prayer and spending time in God’s word, worshiping my Creator, slowly I felt my joy returning to my life.

Since that time, like the Apostle Paul, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.   For I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:12

Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow and blossom. Fully surrender to the loving arms of our Father.  Grow in the Grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

So when you feel like your joy is running low, get into the presence of the Lord today. Spend time in prayer and praise to your Creator. He will fill you with joy and develop in you endurance for anything He calls you to do.