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Monday, September 30, 2013

Joy Juice + Oliver = A JOYful New Friendship

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  There’s a serving waiting just for YOU…whether you are young like my seven-year-old friend, Oliver, or whether you are a grandma like me!  God’s JOY is for any age!

            I was dining with some friends at a local restaurant the other night and I was blessed to make a new friend.  It always brings me a special kind of joy to meet someone new…especially when I’m greeted with kindness and a smile.  Oliver and his family told me that they listen to JOY JUICE most every morning on the radio.  Imagine how that brought JOY to my heart!

            As I was thinking about my new little friend and the encouragement I received through his precious words and sweet hug, it occurred to me how God must feel when we desire a special relationship with Him.  Just as I was delighted to begin a new friendship with Oliver, God must be thrilled when we strive to draw closer to Him.  Especially when we give our lives to Christ and profess that we are sinners in need of a Saviour, I’m sure there is much rejoicing in heaven! As matter of fact, I know that’s true, because Luke 15:10 says so! “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

            Do you have a special relationship with God?  He loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him! Allow Him to become your best friend! Then you will understand the indescribable JOY that is especially for you.

            Oliver and I want to encourage you to make a new friend today…and make sure that Jesus is your BEST FRIEND!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Catch the JOY of JESUS!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Let’s go fishing and see if we can catch some JOY!

            The final parable found in Matthew 13 is about some fishermen.  Jesus said, in verses 47-50:

 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.  This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous  and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The nets used in this parable were large, heavy nets with weights attached to the bottom. When dragged in to the shore they would invariably catch many fish, both edible and inedible; which had to be separated. 

This parable compares the harvest of both good and bad fish, to a time at the end of the age when there will be a gathering of all people…the Judgment Seat of Christ.. The Righteous will be brought to God, and the followers of satan will be cast away.

The JOY of this parable is that the "righteous people" are not righteous from living a perfect life, but because they have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb. Those who are born again Christians, will be found “not guilty”, because JESUS paid for our sins! 

             May God’s promise of joy and salvation be yours today.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Treasure of God's JOY

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  When we discover the treasure of His JOY…nothing else compares!

            Jesus told the Parable of the Hidden Treasure in Matthew 13:44.  A whole story in one verse! Short, to the point, but packed FULL of truth and joy.  Here are his words:

 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field”.

 In a peasant community back in the time of Jesus, the best safe was often the earth.  The man in the parable "went in his joy" to sell everything. Why?  Because he found an invaluable treasure!  He did not have enough to buy the treasure. But, fortunately, he only needed enough to buy the field. In a similar fashion, God offers his kingdom as incomparable treasure at a price we can afford! We can't pay the full price for the life which God gives us; but when we exchange our life for the life which God offers, we receive a treasure beyond compare. 

Selling all that we have to obtain this treasure could mean giving up certain friends, our job, our lifestyle. Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. The Lord himself is the treasure we should seek. In the book of Job we read:   If the Almighty is your gold and your precious silver, then you will delight yourself in the Almighty” (Job 22:25-26).

Is the Lord the treasure, delight and joy of your heart?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mustard Seed Faith = JOY in Jesus

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  A tiny bit goes a long way! 

            As I was reading the parables of Jesus in Matthew, I saw the story of the “Mustard Seed”. A memory came flooding back as I recalled a gift my grandmother had given me as a young girl.  It was a necklace which had a small, round glass ball on a chain and in that clear ball was a tiny mustard seed.  It was so small that you had to look very closely to see it.  My grandmother used that gift to plant a seed in my young heart about the love of the Lord and how it starts out small but can grow into a something that can produce great results!

            Let’s read the parable in Matt. 13:31-32.
  “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all seeds, when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
            One writer explains the meaning of the parable like this:
  • The sower is Jesus Himself.
  • The mustard seed was the smallest seed known at the time. As it grows, sometimes the tree can reach heights of 10 feet.  The mustard seed represents the Gospel, starting very small but growing to reach millions throughout the world who will inherit the kingdom.
  • The tree is rooted in Jesus Christ and has grown a harvest far beyond its initial planting.
  • The birds of the air are those who hear and receive the message.  The tree offers a refuge for His faithful to rest in Him.
 May God take our “mustard seed-sized- faith” and turn it into a huge serving of JOY in Him. 

 See more at:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s made from the “real stuff”!

            In the book of Matthew we find several parables that Jesus told which teach about the kingdom of God.  In chapter 13, verses 24 – 30 he tells the story of the “wheat and the tares” or weeds. This parable is not a complicated story. 

A farmer sows good seed in his field, but weeds grow along with the seed. At the start, the weeds look like the good crop, and nobody can tell the difference.  At that point, it is not possible to distinguish the good from the bad. But when it’s time for the harvest, men can see the weeds. They will pull them out and burn them. 

            Remember, we are looking for JOY in each of Jesus’ parables.  Where is the joy in this one?  Jesus was saying that some people believe completely in Jesus, and some people are not genuine.  It is not always easy to know who really trusts Jesus. But one day Jesus will come back to this world. He will separate those who sincerely trust him from the other people. There is joy for those who truly believe.  But not so much for those who don’t……Listen to what Jesus said in verses 40-43:

 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
            May we each “shine like the sun” as we radiate His joy because of our sincere belief in Him.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Sow Seeds of JOY!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  May the seeds of joy grow abundantly along your path.  

             What a joy it has been to dig into the parables of Jesus and find joy in places I’d not really expected.  Today as we look at the Parable of the Four Soils, let’s read the words of Jesus and be encouraged.  In Matthew 13:3-8 we read:

 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

            Jesus explained (in verses 19-23):

  • The seed that fell along the path is like when anyone hears the message but doesn’t understand because the evil one snatches it away like the birds eat seeds.
  • The seed that fell on the rocky ground refers to those who hear, but since they are not rooted in the Word, do not stand long and strong.
  • Then there are the seeds that fall among the thorns…the worries of life and deceitfulness of wealth choke them out and make the crop is unfruitful.
  • Lastly, but what we all should desire…is the seed that falls on good soil….those who hear and understand the word…and the crop produces abundantly!

           Be diligent in sowing the seeds of JOY ….and ask God’s blessings on the crop!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Love Him with a JOY-filled, Servant's Heart

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Serve some genuine joy to others along your way!

            We’ve come to associate the word “servant” with negative connotations. But today’s JOY JUICE focus is on the parable of Jesus in Luke 17:7-10 in which Jesus teaches us about our role as a servant of God.  Sometimes we act as if we believe that if we do what God’s Word says, we deserve a pat on the back and lots of praise.  (And no one will deny that it’s a great feeling to be praised and appreciated.)  However, this parable points out very clearly that our JOY should come in simply being obedient because of our love for Him.

            Let’s read these verses from the Living Bible translation:
 “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, he doesn’t just sit down and eat, but first prepares his master’s meal and serves him his supper before he eats his own. And he is not even thanked, for he is merely doing what he is supposed to do.  Just so, if you merely obey me, you should not consider yourselves worthy of praise. For you have simply done your duty!”

            Does that hit you right between the eyes…like it does me?  When we serve God, when we follow His commands, when we commit to listening to His voice as He opens doors for us to spread His love and joy, we should be doing it for no other reason but our love for him. It’s our duty as a follower of Christ to be busy about serving Him.  Colossians 3:23 tells us “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”  

            When we serve God simply out of love and devotion for Him, our hearts and lives will overflow with JOY!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Be a Good Steward of God's JOY

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Do you take the JOY God has given you and do whatever it takes to make it grow?

            This week we are looking at the parables that Jesus told in the New Testament that teach Godly principles. And it seems that we are finding joy in each one! (Imagine that!) Today’s parable is found in Luke 19:11-27.  Its message is similar to the lesson Jesus taught in Matthew 25 that we discussed yesterday.

            In today’s parable we read of a man of noble birth who was going "to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return."  Before he left, he called ten of his servants together and gave each a mina (which was a measure of money) and told them to put the money to work until he came back.

            Upon the man’s return, he found two servants who had invested wisely. He rewarded them by putting them in charge of ten cities and five cities, respectively. But the servant who did not invest the mina was reprimanded, had his mina taken from him and given to the servant who earned ten minas. 

            Can we find joy in this parable? Yes…if we look with clear eyes and a receptive heart.  The lesson is that Jesus will return to establish his kingdom.  Followers of Jesus who are good stewards in His absence will receive incredible rewards from Him upon His return. But those who are poor stewards in His absence will have their rewards taken away and given to those who are good stewards.  The JOY comes to those who are faithful!

            Be a faithful steward and make each day count for Christ! Invest in the Kingdom!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Use Your "Talents" JOYfully for Him!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Consider all the things God has entrusted to you. Are you using them wisely?

            Today we are looking closely at the parable Jesus told in Matthew 25:14-30. 
We are looking for JOY….will we find it?  In this passage Jesus tells of a man who was going away on a long journey.  He called his servants together and gave each of them a portion of his talents of money to watch over in his absence.  To one he gave five, to another he gave two and to the last one he gave one.  Those who had been given five and two talents went immediately and began to put the money to work.  They doubled what the master had entrusted to them.  But the man who had been given only one talent, dug a hole in the ground and hid the money.

            When the master returned, he was extremely pleased with the faithfulness of the first two servants for doubling his money.  He said to them: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” 

             BUT….The man who had the one talent was full of excuses.  He blamed his “lack of success” on his master; he blamed it on being afraid; he never admitted to being lazy…but that’s how the master interpreted his lack of growth of what he had been given.

            What was Jesus teaching in this parable? The talents represent any kind of resource we are given.  God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities; and he expects us to invest them wisely until he returns.   The issue is not how much we have but how well we use what he has entrusted to us.

            Use the talents God has given you to make a difference for Him.  THAT is where you find true JOY!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The JOY of Salvation

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?   Along with service and obedience to the Lord, comes a heart full of joy!

            There are at least four parables that Jesus told regarding service and obedience.  The first one is found in Matthew 20:1-16.  The passage is too long to read in our short time here today, but I encourage you to read these verses.  Jesus told of a landowner who hired men throughout the day to work in his vineyard. At the end of day when it was time to get paid, each one received the same thing---regardless if they had worked an hour or all day.

            Does that sound fair?  And where is the JOY in that story? This parable is not about rewards.  It’s about salvation.  It is a strong teaching about grace and God’s generosity. We shouldn’t begrudge those who turn to God in the last moments of life, because in reality, not one of us deserves eternal life.

            Many people we don’t expect to see in the Kingdom will be there! The criminal who repented as he was dying (Luke 23:40-43) will be there along with people who have believed and served God for many years. Do you resent God’s gracious acceptance of the despised, the outcast, the sinners who have turned to him for forgiveness?  Are you ever jealous of what God has given to another person?  Instead, we should focus on God’s gracious benefits to us, and be thankful for what we have.  (Life Application Bible, NIV…footnote, Matthew 20: 15)

            The JOY in this parable is that salvation is offered to each of us, no matter what our past! What an illustration of God’s love, grace and joy.

            Accept Christ and find joy!


Monday, September 16, 2013

A JOY Quest Through the Parables of Jesus

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  As you read the parables that Jesus told in the Bible, you will see joy tucked within each lesson.

             Jesus often taught by using parables but what IS a parable exactly? Some Bible scholars explain that a parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”

Will you join me on a “JOY” quest? Let’s examine the parables to determine if joy can be found in each one. Today let’s look at the parable of  the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37. 

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

             I see it, do you?!  The JOY is in loving and serving our neighbor, no matter what their race or social background. The love of the Lord opens our hearts to help those in need…and with that comes joy.

            Be a JOYfully good neighbor and help someone today!        

Friday, September 13, 2013

Be Determined to Radiate the JOY of the LORD

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Start fresh each day and be determined to be faithful in drinking in the JOY!

            Colossians 3:17 says, "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus . . . " and later Paul writes, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord….(Colossians 3:23). We should strive for excellence in order to be a JOYful testimony for the Lord!  People are watching and we have the chance to point others toward Christ.

Do you think people would more readily model themselves after a slothful person who just gets by doing the very least that he or she can?  Or would they be more inspired by a person who is diligent and above reproach?  Daniel exemplified this determined spirit of excellence during his service as a highly regarded administrator in a secular environment. The Scripture says that "he distinguished himself among the administrators . . . because of his exceptional qualities" so much so that "they could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent" (Daniel 6:3-4).

Excellence does not necessarily mean the absence of mistakes, but it does mean the presence of faith and determination. To be excellent at whatever God has called us to do, we must first ask for His strength to accomplish the task and then, secondly, His endurance to complete it. Daniel was met with obstacles in his endeavor to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, but he remained steadfast to the course of action he believed the Lord set for him to take. *

Be determined, strive for excellence and radiate the JOY of the Lord.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Set Goals; Get Goals; Find JOY!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today? It takes determination to achieve a goal.  Will you set a goal to share the joy of Jesus?

            Goal setting is extremely important if you want to accomplish something.  Successful athletes set goals; good students have goals; excellent cooks don’t start out that way!  They have a goal in mind and they practice and are determined to do whatever it takes to reach the goal! EACH of us should have goals: short term, long term and life goals.  One of the saddest things to me is to see someone without any goals…they have nothing to live for or work toward.

            However, John Maxwell warns us about simply setting goals.  That’s just the beginning.  He says:

“Don’t ever be impressed with goal setting; be impressed with goal getting. Reaching new goals and moving to a higher level of performance always requires change, and change feels awkward. But take comfort in the knowledge that if a change doesn't feel uncomfortable, then it's probably not really a change.”

            Pray about your goals.  When God lays something on your heart, pursue it with determination and lots of prayer.  When you reach that goal, I can promise you will experience fulfillment and joy….IF it’s a God-given goal.

            One of my goals is to share a double portion of the JOY of the Lord with others! What goal has God given you?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Cord of JOY

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Are you determined to be joyful?

            As I was preparing to write this devotional on determination, I came across a post by Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries that is truly a great illustration.  In her devotional message she was talking about “Messy Marriages” and how to be determined to make the marriage work. She included this prayer at the end that I think may be a good prayer for many people….especially those who are going through a rough patch in their marriage.   The prayer was this:
“Jesus, I’m sticking with You. I’m giving You what I don’t understand and what I can’t fix. I’m giving You what I don’t like about me. I’m giving You what I don’t like about my him.  And I’m giving You what I don’t like about my marriage. I’m listening for Your instruction. I’m positioning myself to go where I’ll hear Your truth. To talk to others who love You and serve You. And to read wise instruction from the Bible.  Amen.”
            Though Lysa never used the word “determination”, that prayer sure indicates that she is determined…with God’s help…to make her marriage work.  Husbands and wives will agree that marriage can sometimes be a challenge.  Even Christians have difficulties and hard times.  But if we will remember that a good marriage “takes three”, a girl, a guy and GOD, then we will have a fresh perspective on things.
               Let’s be reminded of the truth found in Ecclesiastes 4:12A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  (That sounds like a beautiful cord of JOY!)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Be JOYfully Determined to GO with GOD!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today? It takes determination to be consistent in our faith!

            I googled the word “DETERMINATION” and immediately 60 Bible verses came up on my computer screen!  Not all of them had the actual word “determination” in them, but the meaning of if was certainly evident.  Verses such as

·        Philippians 4:13 which says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

·        Hebrews 12: 1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

The one that really drew my attention as I looked over that long list of verses, is one that is dear to my heart because it was part of mine and Papa Pat’s wedding vows 41 years ago. It’s from the book of Ruth, verses 16 – 18 of the first chapter.

 “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God…. .” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

            What a beautiful, powerful example of determination! Ruth was determined to go with Naomi…wherever that path led.  Are we that determined to follow Jesus regardless of how rough or smooth the road may be?  Life is not always easy; but if we are determined to walk in His ways, we can count on His leadership, His guidance, His love and His joy.

         Let’s be determined to go with God wherever He leads!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Decide NOW to Follow Jesus...and Find Immeasurable JOY!

                Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Let’s be determined to look for the joy in each new day!

            The song “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” is a beautiful old hymn.  Its words are simple and full of truth and love for the Lord.  Each of the first four verses are similar by repeating the expression of love and ending with “NO TURNING BACK”. The writer of the lyrics obviously was sold out to Jesus and determined to follow Him regardless. He wrote:
  1. I have decided to follow Jesus;

  2. Though I may wonder, I still will follow;

  3. The world behind me, the cross before me;
  4. Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    And each verse ended with the determined promise… “No turning back”
The last stanza simply asks a question…”Will you decide now to follow Jesus?”

            The writer of the song didn’t stop at his own relationship with Christ!  He loved Jesus so much that he wanted to share His faith.  He was determined to spread the joy of the Lord with anyone who would listen.  Are you that determined?  It takes commitment and faith to share with others.  Don’t be ashamed and don’t be afraid.  Trust God to fill you with boldness to tell the “Good News of Great JOY!”

            Be determined to follow Jesus and share the joy of knowing Him personally!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Children Are A JOYful Reward

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today? The JOY of the LORD is for children of all ages…and that includes you and me!

            Why does it seem that children more readily experience JOY than adults?  True, grownups have more responsibility and we have been taught to act “mature” in our dealings with others.  But I think we often miss the beauty of having a child-like faith.  Let’s observe the children in our lives for tips on how to love and believe, unconditionally.

            First of all, thank God for any children you have in your life.  WHAT A BLESSING!  Psalm 127:3 says, “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.”  Do you demonstrate thankfulness to God for those precious children He has given you to influence and mold?  Sure, they are a handful sometimes…a great responsibility! But Jesus instructs us in Matthew 18:10: "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

            We find so many verses and passages of scripture that tell us about how important children are to God.  Mark 9:36-37 touches my heart in a special way, because I can just see Jesus doing this as an example for us all.
He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,  "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."

            Truly, Jesus loves children.  And no matter what our age, we qualify as His child! That truth alone should be a great big SWEET serving of genuine JOY JUICE!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Father, May I Always Be JOYful!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s not a’s reality that if you will consistently drink in the things of God, you will experience JOY in the Lord!

            I’ve been reminiscing about some of the games I used to play as a child.  It’s funny that some of those same games that I enjoyed as a little girl, our grandJOYs still do today.  One of those games is “Mother, May I?”  You remember it.  You have one leader who is “Mother”.  She (or he) gives directions for each of the players, but before they can move, they must ask “Mother, May I?”  If they forget to ask, then they have to go all the way back to the starting line!  If they follow the rules and ask permission, then they move ahead, until one player finally gets close enough to tag “Mother” and becomes the new leader of the game.  The goal is to become the boss who gives the instructions.

            How many of us like to be the “boss” of our lives?  Ummmm….I’m guessing about 99.9 % of us! The reality is we all have authorities.  And the Bible tells us that we are to respect those authorities.  We may not always agree with them, but we should remember that God has put them there.  Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

             An entire network of people has been placed by God into positions of leadership. From government officials to the leaders in our workplaces and in our families, we have authorities. Coming under authority and showing respect isn't always easy. That’s another reason we must rely on God to fill us with His wisdom and joy.

            Father, may I accept the authorities in my life…joyfully.” 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jesus Wants to Give You HIS JOY!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  You can’t find any?  I promise, it’s NOT hiding!  Seek and you will find it!

            My first encounter with the word “seek” was as a little girl when I played “hide and seek” with my siblings, cousins or classmates.  One person would hide and the other would seek…”look for” the others.  The difference in my childhood understanding of “seek” and my perspective at this point in life is that I now know that the joy God intends for each of us is not purposely hidden!  He is not playing some game with us, trying to find a good “hiding place” so that joy is often out of our reach.  We don’t have to go through life blindfolded and guessing, “Now, where did He put that joy?”

            The simple truth is that His joy can be ours! In John 15:11 (NIV), Jesus said: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” HIS JOY is available to each of us. What we must “seek” is a relationship with HIM!  And HE is not hiding, either! Jesus so clearly teaches in Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Do you remember the answer Jesus gave to the Pharisees when one of them asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  He didn’t hem-haw around.  He didn’t ponder for a second!  HE KNEW that answer: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 (NIV).

Play “Hide and Seek” all you want to with you favorite children, but know that God is NOT hiding His JOY from you!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Work or Play---Share His JOY!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Whether you are planning to work or play, it’s just what you need!

            Yesterday, people all over our country celebrated Labor Day…a special day set aside to honor working men and women.  A hard day’s work is rewarding and is “right” in the eyes of the Lord.  But as with anything, there should be balance.  Our work should never become more important that our relationship with God or our family. 

            Colossians 3:23 tells us to work  “as for the Lord,”, but we should also find time to enjoy our loved ones.  Create memories which include lots of fun and laughter! Seems that grandparents finally “get this” when  blessed with grandchildren. As parents, we were so busy earning a living and taking care of the many tasks of child-rearing that we missed many opportunities to simply “play”.

            One game that our grandJOYs always love is the simple game of “chase”.  They squeal and laugh as they run and when they are caught!  Seems they never tire of being chased.  

            From the spiritual perspective, do you play chase with God?  I don’t mean that HE is running away from us. James 4:8 (ESV) “ Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

But sometimes do we find ourselves running from Him?  Maybe He has touched your heart to do something and you run because you don’t feel qualified or you are afraid of failure or of what others may think. Slow down by praying, reading the scripture and allowing Him to “catch” you in His loving arms of protection and guidance.

             Tag! You’re “it”! Let’s see who we can catch sharing the JOY of the LORD today!  


Monday, September 2, 2013

EnJOY Your Labor Day!

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  There’s no better way to celebrate LABOR DAY than with a nice serving of JOY JUICE!

            Whether you are “laboring” on this Labor Day or taking the day to rest & catch up on things around home, stop long enough to reflect on what this holiday is about.  Do you know why we celebrate Labor Day?  It has been a national holiday in the United States and Canada since 1894.  The day is set aside to pay tribute to working men and women.

            Labor Day is always the first Monday of each September. That creates a three-day weekend…the last major holiday before the onset of Autumn.  Many people see it as the last “fling” of summer! So I hope you enJOY your day!

            Though sometimes we grumble and complain about having to work, it truly is a blessing to have a job and be physically able to work! Do you know that God thinks work is a “good” thing?   The word “WORK” is mentioned approximately 793 times in the Bible! Yep, it must be important.  Here are just a few of the verses that indicate the importance of work:

  • Colossians 3:23  “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
  •  Ephesians 4:28 “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
  • Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,”
Let's work with JOY and thankfulness for our many blessings.