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Thursday, January 31, 2013

JOY Through the Tears

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Did you know that we can drink our Joy Juice even when we’re grieving?

None of us like to grieve!  But we realize that it is a part of life.  Did you know that even Jesus grieved?  In John 11:35, we read the two simple words that let us know that Jesus understands how we feel when our hearts are broken.  Jesus wept”.  His good friends Mary and Martha were devastated that their brother, Lazarus, had died.  And Jesus cried with them. In their grief, the sisters were distracted from the deep truth tucked away in verse 5 of that chapter: “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”

Do you realize that He loves you?  And when you grieve, He grieves.  Please know that…just as he had not forgotten Mary, Martha and Lazarus… He has not forgotten you.  In this story, you may remember that the sisters both said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  They didn’t understand why! The truth was that Jesus’ love was so great that He wanted to show them the most awesome miracle possible! He would soon raise Lazarus from the dead. 

Though we won’t experience the same kind of miracle, we all have “Lazarus circumstances”. It may be that Jesus wants to show His love, grace and JOY by providing an unexpected opportunity for the most incredible miracle in our lives. 

   So never forget: Even when you’re grieving and you don’t understand, Jesus wants to serve you His special recipe of love and JOY. 

Can You Hear God Speaking? Listen, JOYFULLY!

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  I’m sure you have, if you’ve spent time with God in prayer.

            “Prayer is a two-way conversation with God the Father and one of us, his children,” Peter Lord writes in his book Hearing God. “Prayer is one of the primary sources of fellowshiping with our Lord, but we must open our hearts to what he has to say.”

            Do you talk very long on the telephone when you are not sure there is somebody on the other end?  Of course not! You need to hear the other person’s voice to have a meaningful conversation.  So, too, is prayer transformed when it moves from a monologue to a dialogue---when you listen to God speak after you have spoken to him in prayer.

            Someone has wisely said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we talk.  When we learn to listen to God, prayer is vitalized.  It is valuable in our lives, and it becomes very exciting.

            Let’s evaluate our prayer life.  Is it dull and routine?  For many of us, it may even be nonexistent on some days.  It should be a worshipful experience when we go to God in prayer because we recognize the voice of the One Who loves us supremely.  When our prayer life is a personal exchange with our Father, then it will be overflowing with JOY!

            Drink the Joy Juice that comes from an exciting prayer life and a personal relationship with Jesus.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

HE SPEAKS...Listen with JOY!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  I pray that you have, because it will help you to hear God’s voice so much clearer!

            It is important that we read the Bible consistently because God speaks to us  through His word.  We know we should read it, but sometimes we don’t FEEL like it, do we? We should do it anyway!  Sometimes we don’t think we have time!  We should make the time! I saw a church sign just this week that said “When it’s the hardest to pray is when we need to pray the hardest!” I think the same thing is true about reading God’s Word!

Think about it like this:
When you want to have a conversation with someone, how do you begin? Do you stand in front of the person and hope they will talk to you? That might work, if the other person is outgoing enough, but usually we begin a conversation by engaging the other person by speaking first. It's the same with God! He loves to hear us talk to Him, and it's in those moments that we prepare ourselves to hear the voice of God. 

In an ordinary conversation, we speak, then listen for the response of the other person. With God, once we've prepared our hearts to listen through prayer, we're more likely to hear His voice.  He may not speak to us through an audible voice, but He does speak to us in many ways. 
  • He speaks through His Word
  • He speaks through our thoughts
  • He speaks through conversations with others
  • He speaks through circumstances
Be attentive and learn to recognize His voice!  You’ll then be able to experience that indescribable JOY in the Lord!

            Praying that you and I will hear His voice today.

The Lord Gives JOY to the Brokenhearted

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  You know you can drink it even when you’re sad, don’t you?

            God knows that there will be times in our lives that we truly are heartbroken….especially when we lose someone we love!  And He feels our every hurt because He loves us.  Listen to the comforting words of Psalm 34:18:  “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

            Do you feel crushed in spirit today?  Has an unexpected heartbreak turned your life upside down?  Do you find yourself shedding tears often?  Please know that God does understand.  He gave His only Son to die for you!  He knows about suffering. But the encouraging truth is that He doesn’t leave us to go through those difficult times alone.  He is close!

            Call out to Him today.  Even if you’ve not prayed in a while, He is always ready to listen.  Tell Him how much you need Him; ask Him to make His presence known to you in a very real way.  He truly desires to embrace you in his loving arms and comfort you.  That peace that passes all understanding is yours for the asking. Even though it may look as if things are all out of control, just remember that nothing catches God by surprise. Accept Him into your life today and you receive the gift of peace and JOY…beyond measure!

            Remember: You can always drink in God's JOY JUICE regardless of your circumstances.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

JOYful Lessons from Godly People

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Drink it in honor of someone special…remembering how they’ve brought JOY into your life.

            All of us have been blessed to have known wonderful Christians who impacted our lives. Think of those God has placed along the journey of your life who helped mold you into the person that you are today.  What did you learn from their example?

Here are some of the simple, yet powerful lessons that strong Christians--- past and present--have modeled before me and a host of others:

  • Make God your top priority! Strong Christians seem to have a determination to put God first.  That’s not always easy, is it?  But when we do, we are able to face daily struggles much more peacefully and joyfully.

  • Next…..Money and material things are not what make us happy.  Just think about some of the most joyful people you’ve known.  Many of them did not have a lot materially…but they did have what made them spiritually rich…a personal relationship with Christ.
  • Another powerful lesson that I’ve gleaned from some of these special people is how small acts of kindness mean so much, yet cost so little. How much time and effort does it take to smile at others, open the door for someone, offer a word of encouragement?  Ephesians 4:32 says is well: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

  •  One more pearl of wisdom: SERVE OTHERS! A serving person is a JOYful person.

              Joyfully celebrate the Godly people who have been a blessing in your life.  Thank God for their impact and example!

Monday, January 28, 2013

"JOY" Does Not Always Mean "Happy"

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Sometimes we have to drink it in the midst of sorrow, heartache and suffering.

            I want to open my heart to you today and share with you  that several things have entered my life lately that have not been “happy”. 

·        One of my best friends is fighting cancer.  That surely does not make me happy!
·         I have a cousin who recently lost an infant grandson.  The baby lived only a few hours after birth.  What a sad time for the family!
·        On a national scale, all of us can reflect on the senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elem. School in Connecticut just a few weeks ago.  This is close to my heart because I’m a former teacher...and a parent!  We are anything but happy about the loss of those precious children and staff members.

No matter who we are or where we live, we are going to face situations which cause us heartache.  It’s impossible to always be HAPPY.  But as I’ve shared with you so many times….we CAN still have the JOY of the Lord….even in tearful, fearful, stressful times because THE Giver of true Joy is Jesus!

            When I think of my friend, Janice, who is fighting that old evil disease, I can find JOY in the example she sets before me…one of faith and peace!
            My cousin is a committed Christian and though his family is hurting, they have the JOY of knowing they will see that precious little one in heaven.
            The news media has reported stories of the hurting people of Sandy Hook/Newtown coming together in their grief.  Those with a strong faith will tell us that the JOY of the Lord is where they’ve found their strength”! Nehemiah 8:10

            Drink the JOY JUICE of Jesus by accepting Him as your Savior and Lord today! That’s the only way to have JOY in the midst of trials!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pray ALWAYS....And Share His JOY!

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  As you drink in the JOY of Jesus, send up a prayer for a child.

            Our children are precious to us. And though we get tired at times, we should never forget that we are to model a consistent Christian walk before them.  It’s so important to pray for them and with them---teaching them how to pray.  

            One of the most rewarding things about raising children is to witness them grow into young adults who love the Lord and live according to His Word.  That’s not to say that they won’t make mistakes along the way…that’s how they learn.  Not one of us is perfect! That’s why it is of utmost importance that we depend on God to lead us and direct our paths.

            When we first give birth to our children, it’s hard to imagine that they will ever become adults….yet that time comes all too quickly.  Our role as parent changes when they become adult children.  We spend 18 or so years investing in them and striving to teach them how to think on their own. THEN….we have to let go---which is not an easy thing to do.

            But one thing stays the same….our children will ALWAYS need our prayers.  Regardless of their age, their stage of life, their circumstances….we should continue to cover them in prayer.  My sweet 84 year old mother continues to pray for me, my siblings, the grandchildren and now her great-grandchildren.  We all desire her prayers because we know that God joyfully listens to this special friend!

            Let's never forget to pray for our children…regardless of their age.  And always share the Joy Juice of Jesus with each of them!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teach Them to PRAY.....with JOY!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Whether you know it or not…someone is watching your example to see if you’re drinking your serving of JOY!

            Are you in the habit of praying?  I’m not just talking about saying the rote blessing before meals or the “Now I lay me down to sleep” when you go to bed at night.  I’m talking about real, heart-felt communication with God.   

Even the youngest child understands that prayer means “talking with God.” But they won’t know exactly how to do that until they see and hear prayer being modeled before them.  It is NEVER too soon to pray with and for you children.

As parents hold their infant, they can pray for his/her growth and development, for his love for the Lord, for wisdom to make Godly choices.  Then as the child grows, if he hears his parent or loved one praying, he will learn to emulate those prayers.  Before long, the child will be praying from his heart.  What a sweet joyful sound…to hear a young one praying!  If a child learns to pray when he is young, he is much more likely to continue to pray when he’s a teenager and an adult.

God loves to hear all of our prayers, because we are all his children.  But the innocent, sincere prayers of a child must touch His heart in a special way.  Encourage your children in their prayer life by helping them to memorize scriptures to pray.  For example: Help me, Father, to rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, REJOICE!!!(Philippians 4:4)

Teach your children by example….Show them how to drink in the Joy Juice of Jesus faithfully!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lavish Your Children with Love and JOY

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  As you sip your juice this morning, don’t forget to pray for the children.

            We all know the importance of praying for our children and setting a consistent, Godly example before them.  We can’t expect them to do what we say, if we’re not modeling it ourselves.  And I think it’s safe to assume that parents want to be honored by their children…but so often we adults forget that in order to receive that honor, we must live our lives in such a way that we deserve it.

            In Adrian Roger’s book Ten Secrets for a Successful Family, he suggests that one of the most important things we can do to gain honor from our children is to LOVE THEM!  Real parental love is not giving our children everything they want, but giving them what they need.

            We can show love to our children by touching them.  A hug, a pat on the back, holding their hands are all ways of expressing our love for them.

          We also can show our love by speaking words of blessing to them. "The tongue has the power of life and death as Proverbs 18:21 reminds us.  May they hear us say edifying things on their behalf!

           One more expression of love for our children is to LISTEN to them!  If we are too busy to listen, then they will soon stop talking because they’ll believe that we think something else is more important.  Nothing is more important than listening to your child.

            Gain your children’s honor by loving them in the little ways.  With that honor comes a heart FULL of JOY!

           Remember to touch, bless and listen to your children as your serve them a generous helping of love and JOY!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Your Joyful Role: PRAY for the Children

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Keep your pantry well stocked so that you’ll always have plenty for your entire family!

            Many of us are parents or grandparents…or have special children in our life.  Do you realize that NO ONE ELSE can pray for those you love like you can? The genuine love you have for your children, the tenderness you feel for them and your knowledge of their needs and problems, strengths and weaknesses, qualify you to go before God on their behalf with an urgency and earnestness which can not be matched. 

Listen to the scripture in Luke 11:13 where Jesus said: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" 

Our children are surrounded by evil influences…nobody denies that! But do we realize how important our role is in praying for their protection?  Our God is a powerful, loving Heavenly Father and He listens to our prayers on behalf of our children.  We should pray without ceasing…pray about everything…pray about their decisions, their friends, their health, their spiritual condition.  Most importantly, we should set a consistent Godly example before them.  In the words of a wise Indian man: "WHO you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say."   Is your life “speaking” the JOY of Jesus?

            Pray for those precious children God has put into your life…and always offer them a special serving of  Joy Juice!

Monday, January 21, 2013

JOYfully Pray for the Children

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Children love the taste…please share with them!

            You don’t have to be around most grandparents long before you will hear all about their adorable, bright, talented, precious grandchildren!  How do I know?  Because I’m one of those proud (and sometimes annoying) grandmothers, myself! I’m Gigi to my grandJOYs and to hear them calling me by that name brings incredible joy to my heart! It is such a pleasure to spend time with them and enjoy their fresh outlook on life. And what a privilege it is to PRAY for them!

            That’s what I’d like for us to focus on this week….praying for our children, grandchildren, young friends or relatives.  Many times I think we miss the importance of covering our young people in prayer.  Raising small children is no easy task.  It’s a full time job…with little time for rest.  Yet it is the most rewarding job on earth!

            May each of us make a commitment to depend on God to give us wisdom as we rear our children. May our hearts overflow with love and compassion as we model God’s love before them. And let’s ask God to place on our tongue words of encouragement and edification.  Parents of young children, you’re at such a busy stage of life, but some things might have to go undone! I can promise you that your children will not remember how clean the house was, but they will remember you loving them and reading Bible stories to them.  They will remember the sound of your voice praying with them and for them.

Proverbs 22:6 tells us to: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”         

            Make sure that the children in your life are drinking the JOY JUICE of Jesus…by following YOUR faithful example!

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Consider It Pure JOY!"

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Sometimes we have to make ourselves drink it, even if we don’t feel like it!

            Wouldn’t it be great if 2013 brought nothing but good things?  We know that’s just wishful thinking!  Troubles are sure to come our way.  Read what James tells us in James 1:2 – 4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

          And then in verse 12 he reminds us of our reward, if we will hang in there!  Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”  What a JOYful day that will be…when we receive our “crown of life”!

            Being a follower of Christ does not make us immune to life’s difficulties.  But the scripture teaches us clearly that He can and will work in the midst of those tough times.  The hard part is that we often can not see God working while we are in that tough, hurtful situation.  That’s when we must patiently trust, even when we don’t feel like!  Trusting God is a conscious decision.  And the commitment to stand firm in our faith will cause us to be able to “consider it pure joy.”

            Remember to drink that Joy Juice, even when it doesn’t taste sweet…because God guarantees that you WILL experience JOY again…in His perfect timing!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Instant JOY???

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  I can’t promise that it will instantly make you JOYful, but it sure will help to start you on your way!

            We live in an age of “instant” everything….instant coffee, microwavable dinners, instant payment by scanning debit and credit cards….It’s almost as if we have forgotten how to wait.  When we experience pain…whether it’s physical or emotional…we want relief quickly.  We want an instant cure for everything from toothaches to heartbreaks. 

            Although some pains can be cured, we still live in a world where many people suffer.  And we never know when it’s going to be our turn.  Sometimes suffering comes from consequences related to our own bad choices and actions.  Often, suffering shapes us for special service to others.  At times suffering comes because we are under attack from the enemy!  Are we always willing to trust God in spite of unanswered questions?

            In order to be able to face each day with joy…regardless of our circumstances… we must come to the understanding that knowing God is better than knowing “why”.  Remember, pain is not always punishment.  God might be using that difficult situation to mold you and make you into the kind of person that He created you to be…so that His purpose can be fulfilled in you and through you.  Now, that’s a joyful thought!

            Though we may not always understand the “whys”, we can still drink our Joy Juice because we know Who brings real joyJesus!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Walk JOYfully by Faith, Not by Sight!

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  The JOY of the Lord helps us to face life’s challenges.

            Though we don’t know what will happen tomorrow…or even a minute from now, we can move forward with God-confidence, knowing that He will guide our steps.  When we fail to follow God, we will “mis-step”…but God is a forgiving God and is always ready to help us start fresh. As we seek God’s will, let’s remember 2 Corinthians 5:7:   For we walk by faith, not by sight…”

            The Christian life is often referred to as a walk. We take one step at time…hopefully depending on God to lead us down the right path. We can’t always SEE with our physical eyes where that path will lead, but we can trust that God knows best.  

So often, things are not as they appear to be in the natural.
·        Remember Joseph being sold to slave traders by his jealous and deceitful brothers? It did not look like Joseph was being groomed to be Prime Minister in Egypt, did it?
·        Think of Pharoah and his army closing in on Israel, as they were trapped beside the Red Sea. It did not look like Israel would be delivered and the Egyptian army would be destroyed.
·         Remember young David standing before gigantic Goliath. It did not look like the giant would be defeated and David would enjoy a thorough victory. Only eyes of faith could really appreciate what was actually happening. 

 Throughout 2013, let’s choose to walk by faith and not by sight!  I’m sure that will lead us along a path of JOY in the Lord.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Special Serving of JOY...for the Hurting

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Even if you are hurting…there is a special serving of JOY…just for YOU!

            Many people trust in God only when they are prospering.  They think that if God is a loving God, He won’t let bad things happen to them.  Some feel that suffering is God’s judgment for sin…but this is not always true.  God wants us to realize even when don’t understand why certain things are happening….we can always trust Him for WHO HE IS.

            When you feel that you have more than you can possibly face, please be reminded that you are never alone!  Sometimes we get to our “breaking point” and we want to yell, “WHY, GOD?”  What we must realize is that God knows all and He can  take that bad situation and turn it into something good. He is faithful! But, sometimes we are so focused on our problems that we miss the MANY blessings that are ours every day.

            We need to be more like Job in the Old Testament!  This man knew what suffering meant!  He lost EVERTHING….but the scriptures tell us that he fell to the ground in WORSHIP and said:

           Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the Lord has taken away; May the name of the LORD be praised.”

            Though Job obviously was not happy about his circumstances, He continued to trust God.  That’s what genuine JOY in the Lord is all about!

            Drink your JOY JUICE in the good times and in the times of suffering. Trust God to give you the strength that you need at all times.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The LORD is Near! Be JOYful!

               Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Be prepared by drinking a healthy portion!

            Our new year is “off and running”!  Perhaps you’ve begun a new project…or at least vowed to complete one previously started.  Regardless of what we accomplished in 2012, we can look forward with hope that this new year will bring JOYful blessings.

            All of us would like for 2013 will be overflowing with great things: good health, happiness, 12 months free from major problems.  BUT the reality is that there will be challenges along our way.  We may have setbacks….physically, emotionally, financially.  We may experience disappointment, hurt…maybe even heartbreak.  But if we have faith in God, even in the midst of “reality”, we can still have JOY!

            I often remind people that JOY and happiness are not the same.  We’re not happy when that painful circumstance comes into our lives.  The loss of a loved one, the diagnosis of an illness, the end of a relationship, financial struggles…these are not happy times.  BUT a relationship with the Lord gives us a joyful strength. As the verses in Psalm 145:18 & 20 remind us:

 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, :
       to all who call on him in truth.

  20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
Regardless of what this year holds, our Lord is near. Let’s remember to call on Him. He is JOYfully and lovingly watching over us. Drink your Joy Juice as a reminder that the Lord is near and ready to carry you through this New Year.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Go Into All The World....and Share JOY!

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Don’t hide it from others…share it!

            This week we’ve been talking about “hiding God’s word in our hearts”, so that we will be more prepared for what 2013 brings.  We know that God will always be there for us, but we want to “do our part” as well.  Let’s “resolve” to read, study and memorize more scripture this year.

            We are reminded that God’s mercies are new every day; we can depend on His faithfulness.  But we must also remember that we are to obey his commands, and we can’t obey if we don’t know them…that’s why studying and meditating on them is so important.   When we begin to really focus on God we’ll be able to “taste” and “see” that the Lord is soooo good to us.  This fills our hearts with JOY and we’ll want to share it with others.

      Mark 16:15 tells us that "Jesus said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.' ”  Now, who was Jesus talking to? First, he was speaking to his disciples.  He was giving instructions for them to tell everyone that he had paid the penalty for their sin and that those who believe in him will be forgiven and live eternally with God.

            But we need to realize that the command is for US, too!  We, as believers, are disciples of Christ.  That means we should be sharing our faith with everyone who God brings across our path.  Many times we share using words, other times it’s our actions and our attitudes.  Showing love, forgiveness and mercy toward others is a good way to reflect the JOY of Jesus!

            Let's follow God's command to “go into all the world” and share the JOY JUICE of Jesus!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Savor the Flavor of JOY!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  This fresh batch for the new year is extra tasty!

            "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him." Psalm 34:8

            What a verse to hide in our hearts! The Lord has given us five senses and he tells us in this verse to use two of them to experience His goodness.   Both “taste” and “sight” are mentioned. 

            Let’s talk about “taste” first.  When tasting something you enjoy, whether it’s a steaming cup of delicious coffee, or a ripe, sweet and juicy orange, concentrate on the sensation of it filling your mouth and passing over those taste buds that God so strategically placed on your tongue. Notice the temperature.  The texture.  The flavors.  Thank the Lord for your sense of taste, and thank Him for His goodness.  Ask Him to make you aware of what His goodness tastes like. 

Next begin to be keenly aware of what you see.  Ask the Lord to show Himself to you through the beauty of His creation: the gorgeous sunrise or sunset, the miracle of a new baby, the beauty in a bouquet of flowers. Observe your surroundings with a fresh perspective.  Thank God for your gift of taste and sight; and notice Him communicating to you His goodness in ways that will bring you great joy!

            "Taste and see that the Lord is good"…drink in and enjoy the beauty of your special JOY JUICE today! 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

May It Go JOYfully Well With You

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  The Bible is rilled with truth that encourages, instructs and brings us JOY!

            As we begin 2013, let's be diligent about hiding God’s Word in our hearts so that we may aim toward a year of joyful obedience.  There are many verses in the Bible that instruct us to obey our Heavenly Father.  Let’s memorize Jeremiah 7:23. 

 "Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you,  that it may go well with you."

            God loves us!  He wants our year 2013 to “go well” with us.  How can that happen?  By being obedient to Him.  That doesn’t mean going through the motions, the rituals so to speak.  It’s a matter of the heart.  We should love Him so much that we  WANT to obey Him.  Knowing that He would never ask us to do anything that would harm us, should be a motivator to stay steeped in His Word so that we will know what his wise commands are.  And when we’re feeling weak, like we are going to fail, we can call out to Him and He will answer us. 

            Sometimes we go running to Him like a child jumping into the arms of a loving father. Other times we are so weak, that He has to scoop us up off the ground and pull us to Him.  Either way, we can feel those strong loving arms around us in every type of situation.  Even when the unexpected heartbreak comes, it can “be well with us” because of our relationship with him…a relationship of strength and JOY.

            Obey God by walking in His ways; and drink in the Joy Juice that He pours out for you this new year!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"JOY" Is New Every Morning!

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  The great thing about this special drink is that its flavor is new every day!

            That reminds me of a scripture in Lamentations 3:22-23(NIV): "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,  for his compassions never fail.   They are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness."

            Such a comforting, encouraging passage to hide in our hearts at the beginning of this New Year! Our shortcomings of 2012 ...are PAST!  And God’s love, compassion and forgiveness can erase them away, and give us hope.

            I think a lot of times our biggest problem is that we can’t forgive ourselves.  All of us have made mistakes, bad decisions, ungodly choices.  But nothing is too bad to bring before Him.  If we come to Him with a broken heart and we are truly repentant of the sins we’ve committed, He is willing to give us a new beginning.  Today is the perfect time to get things right with God and ask Him to wipe the slate clean so that you can have a fresh start.  Use Him as your guide, your compass, your conscience.  Let the Holy Spirit prick your heart and give you new goals that will draw you closer to Him and will help you to accomplish His will and purpose for your life.

            May I challenge you to memorize those two verses in Lamentations 3… "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,  for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness."

Hide these words in your heart and experience JOY in the Lord!   Drink from the fresh fountain of JOY JUICE and be reminded of His faithfulness.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hide that JOY JUICE! (In Your Heart)

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  We need to start the New Year faithfully drinking it and serving it….especially in our homes.

            As we begin a new year, we should all be seeking guidance in how to live a more Godly, productive life.  Wouldn’t it be great if we had an instruction manual to tell us how?  Well, good news!  We do!!!!  It’s called the Holy Bible.

            Psalm 119: 11(KJV) says: "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.How do we “hide” God’s word in our heart?

·        By reading and studying it OFTEN
·        By memorizing scripture
·        By applying it daily

         When we are so familiar with the scriptures that we know them “by heart”, we are able to face any situation that may come our way. We will have the  knowledge and truth of scripture hidden in the depths of our hearts and minds.

            2013 has just begun and the year lies ahead of us…full of promise.  We know that all things won’t be perfectly wonderful, but we know the ONE who is wonderfully perfect!  And He will always be there to guide us.  Let’s ask the Lord to give us a desire to study His word.  On our list of goals for the new year, let’s place at the top “A deeper relationship with God through Bible study and prayer”.  

            Joyfully anticipate the opportunities that God will give you this year.  When you are sold out to Him and are following His guidelines in the scripture, you can “count it ALL joy” as James tell us. 

            Hide that JOY your heart! Study your Bible today; it’s the best instruction manual ever!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Resolve to Drink in and GIVE the JOY JUICE of JESUS!

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  I hope you’ve “resolved” to develop the good habit of drinking in the JOY of Jesus throughout 2013!

             Why not include among your New Year’s Resolutions the commitment to draw closer to the Lord, thus finding more JOY?  We can choose JOY every day of the year by focusing on Christ and adjusting our attitude to be like His. I once saw a painting of someone’s perception of Jesus laughing.  It reminded me of what a sweet cheerful spirit he must have often exhibited!  

              Resolve to laugh more. And resolve to give, give, give, and give some more! Give of our time, our resources, kind words of encouragement, thoughtfulness to others in their time of need.  We should develop a habit of giving.  Jesus gave; and He encouraged His followers to do the same. 

            Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice….He gave His life for us! Are we willing to give sacrificially? Sometimes it may be just few minutes of our time; other times it may require giving up a little comfort or convenience. And then there are those times when we should share financially or of other resources. 

            In 2013, maybe our new motto could be Live to give”!  Ask God to show you  how to be a blessing to someone. And watch the blessing of JOY bounce right back to YOU!

Give the gift of JOY by sharing Christ with others today!