“Full of Joy In the Lord”

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!— Philippians 4:4 NLT 

Philippians 4:4-9 NLT
If you spend any time talking with non-Christians about Jesus and why they have not accepted Him as their Savior, you soon learn that their views on Jesus are not the primary reason for not accepting Him.  It is their view of what they think Christianity is and what it requires them to do or not do. They have this idea that Christians have little or no fun and that to be a Christian, they are going to have to completely change their lifestyle. There will be some changes required.  For some, it will be a very dramatic change.  For others, it will only be a change in their mindset about why they do the good things they have been doing.  The “good” ones are usually the hardest ones to convince that they need a Savior.  Back to the point.  Have we ever considered where the outsiders get this view that Christians must live a dull, joyless life?  Since most of them don’t spend much time, if any, reading the Bible, they get it from watching us and listening to our conversations.  Do we show them that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” or do they see us as sad, beaten down people who are forced to stay home on Saturday night so we can go to church on Sunday morning?   Is our lifestyle a good advertisement for Jesus or does it turn others away from seeking Him? Think about it.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-12-2019

A Simple Plan For Joy

7 “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”  
— Romans 4:7, 8 NLT 

Romans 4: 8-10 NLT

God, because of His great love, mercy and grace made the plan of salvation so simple that a child can understand it.  Because of the simplicity of the plan, it often brings the question, “Is that really all I need to do to be saved?’.  And the simple answer is yes.  So, we can just keep doing what we were doing?  No! and again No!  But now we are talking about sanctification which is a lifelong process.  The good works we do are not to gain a greater salvation.  If we could do enough good works to be saved then Jesus died in vain.  We might as well still be living under the law and all of its impossible requirements.  But Jesus did not die in vain. His death and resurrection fulfilled the law and opened the gate to heaven so that all that chose Him in faith could come in.  When Paul tells the Philippians to “work out your own salvation”, he is not telling them to look for another way to be saved.  He is telling them to do good works to show the world the results of their salvation.

Phil, 2:12-15 NLT  

Jesus “went about doing good”.  He is our example of how we are to live our lives as His brothers and sisters.  As Christians, our response to certain things should be so different from the response of the worldly that it gets their attention. Our good works not only attract others to Jesus but they are also how we “lay up rewards in heaven”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-01-2019

“The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength”

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”— Nehemiah 8:10 NLT
Nehemiah 8:9-12 NLT

After the work on the walls of Jerusalem had been completed and the gates were hung in place, Ezra gathered all the people together and took a census.  Then he sent them all home.  They reassembled in Jerusalem and asked Ezra to read to them all of the Book of the Laws of Moses.  As Ezra and the scribes read the laws, the people wept remembering their disobedience.  They realized how much God had forgiven them and how he had brought them safely back to Jerusalem.  They had seen how God had provided everything they needed to rebuild the walls.  Though the enemy came close shouting insults and discouragement, God had protected them while they finished the work.  Ezra and the priests explained to the people that this was not a day for weeping but a day for rejoicing and celebration. There are times in our lives, when some things need to be rebuilt.  When some unexpected event has shaken our faith, we need time to rest and heal.  Perhaps a close friend has broken our trust or one of our spiritual leaders has fallen from grace. The enemy will come close whispering discouraging words in our hear.  God will protect us through the storm and when the skies are clear, it will be a time for rejoicing and celebration for us just as it was for the Israelis in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Psalm 30:1-5 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-25-2019

“Joy and Peace In Abundance”

7  And though you started with little,  you will end with much.. Job 8:7 NLT

Job 8:1-7 NLT

Bldad also wrongly assumes that Job has committed some transgression and God is disciplining Job for  that sin.  But Bildad is correct in the statement that he makes.  “But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home”.  And his statement in verse 7 above turns out to be a prophecy for Job.  Job definitely ends up with twice as much as he had in the beginning.  If we faithfully persevere in the times of testing, we will be blessed here on earth.  The greatest of these blessings is not material possessions or anything that money can buy.  It is the peace and the joy that comes from knowing that we are pleasing our heavenly Father. From my own personal experience, I can testify that there is a peace that each of us can access that is different from what the world knows as peace. It is a peace that will guard our hearts and our minds.  It is a peace that keeps from thinking those thoughts that satan would use to destroy us. It is a peace that assures us that we are not alone now and we will never be alone.  Although the peace you have now may be little, focus on Jesus and you will have abundant peace and joy that is truly unspeakable.

Phil. 4:4-8 NLT

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-19-2019

“Times of Testing, Times of Restings”

17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!  Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.  — Job 5:12 NLT

Job 5: 17-27 NLT

Eliphaz was wrong in assuming that Job was being punished for some hidden sin that Job had not confessed. God was allowing satan to test Job’s love and loyalty to Himself.  But those of us who have sinned and are being disciplined can receive great encouragement from these words of Eliphaz. God not only allows us to be tested and disciplined, but when that time of testing and/or disciplining is over, He heals us.  Eliphaz lists several ways that God takes care of us and protects us and our families from dangers.  He blesses us in times of distress and provides everything we need to live Godly lives {2 Peter 1:3,4).  We are disciplined so that we can share in His divine nature and become more like Him.  And James tells us that “we should count it all joy ( James 1:2-5 ).  Some say “Life is a marathon”.  I prefer to think of it as a series of short sprints with some refreshing stops in between. Testing-joy-testing-joy, you get the idea.  Whether we consider it a marathon or a sprint, the point is there are hills and valleys, there are times of testing and there are times of refreshing.  Those times are means to an end.  That end is to arrive at our heavenly home after we have run the race.  Some of us will run all the time and some of us will need to rest more often.  Either way, press on to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”.

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-18-2019

Best Friend Ever!

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1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. 2 I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. — Psalm 9:1, 2 NLT
 
 

As we tell and retell the Gospel story and talk about all the marvelous things God has done for us, we are filled with joy. The more we tell the old, old story, the more sure our hope becomes and the more joy we have to help us get through each day.  That old liar, satan, comes around every day telling us how bad things are and pointing out all the things we don’t have.  But all we need to do is stop and consider all the things with which God has blessed us. Then we need to thank Him and praise Him for all that He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us. We need to remind ourselves and satan about Paul’s admonition to us in Philippians on the things we need to focus on in our daily thought patterns.


Philippians 4:8, 9

God tells over and over that we should not worry, fear or be discouraged, yet, we spend more time considering what we are going to do when bad things happen than we do praising God for what He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us.  Just as we don’t want to hear our kids complaining about what they don’t have all the time, neither does God want to hear our murmurs and complaining every day.  It was this kind of behavior by God’s chosen people that caused Him to be angry with them on their trek through the desert. Do we want best friends who only tell us about their problems or those who share their concerns and their victories with us?  God is our best friend, let us treat Him like we would our best friend.  Talk with Him, not just to Him every day and praise Him for all of His goodness, then we will be filled with His peace and His joy, which is His gift to us.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 12-19-2018

From Mourning to Joy and Dancing

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11  You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.  You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,  12  that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!– Psalm 30:11, 12 NLT
 

God is so good to us all the time.  He is always working for us, turning evil into good and our times of mourning into times of joy and praise.  It is His heart’s desire for us to live lives full of joy.  Not happiness and pleasures, which are fleshly and temporary, but abiding joy deep down in our hearts.  Joy that no one can take from us.


John 16:16-24

Joy, that is not pretended or unrealistic, but joy that is the fulfillment of the promise that Jesus made to His disciples and to us.  It isn’t because we deserve it or have earned it in some way.  It is simply because He loves us and wants us to love Him.  He gives us His peace and joy so that we can be free to praise Him in every situation.  So, that we can sing praises to Him and not be silent.  It is true that there are roaring lions out there and one.in particular, that is trying to destroy our joy and us physically.  It is hard to ignore a roaring lion, but as Spurgeon points out, Samson’s roaring lion yielded honey.  God can produce joy and sweetness from the worst of situations.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 12-02-2018