The Ultimate Joy » A Journey in Intimacy with God

90 Days of Grace

TUJ Post - 90 Days of Grace

Just as I finished writing The Ultimate Joy, my dear friend and co-teacher, Carol Farrish and I began studying and teaching the truths of God’s absolutely amazing grace. Looking back, I see it was the natural next step. Intimacy with God is the key to living by grace. To me, it’s the first step, for without spending time with God we will never reach the point of truly believing and trusting Him. Our belief and trust in God release His grace (Romans 4:16). 

I share this to invite you to visit another website: We’ve just begun 90 Days of Grace, 90 devotions over 90 days seeking to apply specific aspects of God’s grace to our everyday life.

I hope you’ll join in 90 Days of Grace.


April 11, 2014 - 6:15 pm

judybyrnmillsgmailcom - Carol, thanks for reading them – you’re a blessing. It was so good to be with you at the True Identity Retreat!

April 11, 2014 - 6:03 pm

Carol Keith - Thank you, Judy for these daily devotionals. It’s as tho I hear your voice daily…and that is good!

April 11, 2014 - 5:41 pm

judybyrnmillsgmailcom - Elizabeth, You must join us! We’re on this journey together! I’m so thankful for you.

April 11, 2014 - 4:19 pm

Elizabeth McRae - This looks awesome!!!!


I Think It’s Time to Cry

Woman crying 2

On a scale from 1 to 10 – 1 meaning you rarely cry and 10 meaning you cry easily – I’d give myself a 5. If you exclude the extra-hormonal part of the month and take tear-jerker movies out of the rating, I could go as low as a 4. For many years I fought tears. In part, I disliked crying because I didn’t want to acknowledge or deal with hurt and pain – not for myself, not for anyone.

Yet, people are hurting, and for that reason I think it’s time to cry.

I think it’s time to weep over the people who don’t know Jesus. It’s time to weep with people who struggle and hurt.  It’s time to cry because the world is broken and in desperate need of what only Jesus can give.

As we weep, may our hearts grow more tender, may we soften and care more deeply. May we resolve to step up and do something because in our tears we’ve bowed low in humility over our own neediness and found compassion for the struggles and pain of others.

One day Jesus will come back, and this time every knee will bow. Some will bow in heaven, some will bow on earth, but others will bow from a place below the earth – for that too we should weep. God said it didn’t have to be that way:

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”  2 Peter 3:9

I think it’s time to cry over the things we can do something about, including our sin and our apathy:

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

Woman crying 3

This past week the following words brought a heavy flow of tears from my eyes:

“She was just hurting in lots of ways. And I just listened.” The kid shrugs. “Just shared Jesus. How Jesus meets us in the hurt and He heals.”

These words were written by Ann Voskamp, a popular blogger, author and speaker. I’ve read two of her books and been changed by both of them.  The blog post in which she recorded those words completely did me in. They were spoken by one of her sons. The link is below and I encourage you to read it.

This young man listened. He cared. He loved. He shared.

His heart made me cry.

Are you willing to cry? If you are, you’d be following the example of Jesus.

Jesus Wept, image

On the very day Jesus entered Jerusalem to the cheers and praises of the people, a day we call Palm Sunday, He wept over the city: “As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace’” (Luke 19:41).

 Jesus wept. Will we?




Everything Beautiful In His Time


Atlanta Snow, Aerial Pic

 I was shocked the first time I flew into the city of Atlanta. The aerial view was so telling: We’re covered in trees. Though this fact is challenging for those who suffer with environmental allergies and a threat to power lines in an ice storm, it makes for a beautiful home-place. Today, however, is different, though equally as beautiful. Today, we are covered in white – with more white coming down as I write and more white on the way.  We’re in the middle of our second snow and ice storm of the season.  

Yet, this too will pass. The predicted high temperature for Sunday is 50 degrees. In the long range forecast, we’re expected to reach 70 degrees!!! by the end of next week.  As King Solomon said, “There’s a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). In Atlanta we often experience two seasons within one week.

There’s great beauty and purpose in the change of seasons. As King Solomon also said, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecc. 3:11). Lately I’ve seen this truth more vividly than ever before. The understanding hasn’t come because circumstances have changed dramatically. It hasn’t come because “things” look like I’d hoped. I’ve seen it because God has opened my eyes to small things, the “looks nothing like I thought it should look” things, and shown me that He IS at work. Far beyond my hopes and expectations, God alone makes all things the most beautiful in their time.

Many years ago the Lord placed this simple, yet deeply impactful poem on my heart:

My ways are not your ways.

My thoughts are not your thoughts.

The picture I’m painting doesn’t look like you’ve sought.

But trust Me, just trust me, and one day you’ll see,

Your lives will be all I designed them to be.

It’s taken years to embrace these words, but I’m getting there. I’ve labeled 2011-2013 as the Proverbs 3:5-6 years:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

The events of the past few years have made little sense to me. Yet in them and through them, God has done much more than I hoped or expected. He’s painting His picture. He’s forming our lives to be what He designed them to be – doing so in His time, His ways, and in seasons of His choosing. And even where I don’t see it, I think I’m finally believing it. In all of our lives, He truly is making all things beautiful in His time.


Everything Beautiful - pic