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Friday, January 31, 2014

Treat Others with Love & Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today? Why don’t you share a cup of cold Joy Juice with someone who looks as if he/she could use it?

        I guess most of us try to find a warm drink to keep us toasty in the middle of winter, but sometimes it’s something cold that really quenches our thirst.  Matthew 10:42 talks about offering a refreshing drink to someone who needs it….and expecting nothing in return.

             Listen to the words of that scripture: "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."  The emphasis here is not really on the cup of cold water, but on the attitude of serving.   As my Bible footnote explains:

            How much we love God can be measured by how well we treat others.  Jesus’ example of giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty child is a good model of unselfish service.  A child usually can’t or won’t return a favor.  God notices every good deed we do or don’t do as if he were the one receiving it.  Is there something unselfish you can do for someone else today?  Although no one else may see you, God will notice.

            Come to God in your prayer time today, asking for guidance about who needs your help.  Pray that He will give you wisdom to know who that person is and what you can do, that will help him or her.  It might be a simple word of encouragement or a just a listening ear.  The Holy Spirit may touch your heart to give materially or financially.  Whatever God leads you to do, do it JOYfully!  

            Expect a joyful opportunity today to drink in and share HIS JOY with others!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

GOOD NEWS: the JOY of JESUS is Always Available!

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  It’s never too cold to drink in the Joy Juice of Jesus.

            We have a tendency to complain about the cold weather, especially when those temperatures dip below freezing!  But may I suggest that COLD is not always bad!

            Proverbs 25:25 states: Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.  One commentary explains this verse in this way:

"A thirsty person is encouraged, refreshed, revived, and sustained by a cold drink of water. You can see his happy face and feel his thankful heart! A good report from a distant friend or business project has the same invigorating effect on those who hear it. Good news is a great gift which doesn’t cost anything! Why not communicate more? What a simple way to refresh others!"

            If you’re finding it hard to think of any good news to share….let me help you by reminding you of THE GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ, our Savior!Lest anyone think that the gospel of Christ is not the greatest news ever communicated on earth, let’s remember this glorious text in Isaiah 52:7

"How beautiful on the mountains
       are the feet of those who bring good news,
       who proclaim peace,
       who bring good tidings,
       who proclaim salvation,
       who say to Zion,
       "Your God reigns!"

           Share the GOOD NEWS that the JOY JUICE of Jesus is available to all who ask.  Now, let’s go share that news with everyone we meet today!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Be JOYfully ON FIRE for the Lord!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s better if it’s not lukewarm!

        There is a passage of scripture in Revelation where John is writing to the Christians at Laodicea.  In the 3rd chapter, verses 15 -16 he wrote :  

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

            Let me give you an overview of what was taking place in this passage.  Laodicea was a wealthy city.  The district around it also produced famous black wool. It was a center for the production and distribution of a famed eye powder proclaimed as a cure for eye diseases.

            The church at Laodicea shared in the prosperity of the community.  The people  seemed to be self-satisfied and comfortable….everybody!  The Christians fit in with the rest of the population.  They were not distinguishable as being any different.

            As we study this passage, we must ask ourselves the question….are we so different today?  Do we “stand out” in the crowd as being someone who “stands up” for Jesus and our faith?  When Christians fail to stand for something, they end up standing for nothing.  John was teaching that a lukewarm church filled with lukewarm Christians, is nauseating to the Lord.

            Let’s determine to be different!  To be joyfully “on fire” for the Lord by reading and obeying His word, by having such a deep relationship with Him that we are constantly aware of His leading in every area of our lives.  

            Stand up for Him and share your Joy Juice with others today!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stay Warm...with the JOY of Jesus!

         Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Whether you’re cold or warm, it’s the perfect drink!

            As we bundle up in our layers of clothing to brave the cold temperatures of late, we may find ourselves looking forward to milder days and lots of warm sunshine.  In His infinite wisdom, God created the seasons so that we would appreciate and look forward each new one He gives us.

            During these winter months, we can “rejoice in the Lord”…even when our fingers and toes are cold.  The reason: HIS LOVE for us NEVER will grow cold.  That truth alone should warm our hearts!  Yes, we have imperfections and weaknesses…. we fall in and out of relationship with one another.  Our love for other people can grow cold, if we are not prayerful and careful.  BUT… we can ALWAYS depend on our God to stand firm in His love and to be true to His promises. 

            Matthew 24:12 – 13 reminds us: "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
            I have a friend who has a plaque hanging in her home that reads: “If you don’t feel as close to God as you once did, guess who moved?”  You see, God never leaves  us! But often, we let our busyness, job responsibilities, pleasure….even family get in the way of our pursuit of a deeper relationship with Him. 

            Bundle up in His blanket of love today and bask in the warmth of a joyful relationship with Him.

            STAY WARM by drinking in the JOY JUICE that God has made especially for you.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Drink In the Warm JOY of the Lord!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s just the drink to warm you---from the inside-out---on these cold winter days!

            We’ve had some extra cold temperatures in the last few weeks, haven’t we?  It makes me really appreciate our typically mild climate. I’ll bet some of you are already looking forward to the warmer temperatures of Spring. But there are those who choose to live in the cold 12 months out of the year….and I’m not referring to climate!

            If people don’t know Christ, they tend to have a “cold heart” for the things of God.  They are uninterested in determining God’s plan and purpose for their life.  They struggle through their daily routine, never taking time to pray or read the Bible.  God is the farthest thing from their thoughts.

            But those who have a personal relationship with Christ on the other-hand should experience a warm, loving, joyful outlook on life because they know that they can trust the sovereignty of God. We believe His promise to “never leave us or forsake us” so we can face every day with confidence in Him. 
            Our God is faithful; His promises can be trusted.  Genesis 8:22 says:

 22 "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest,  cold and heat, summer and winter,  day and night  will never cease."

            We can trust in Him to give us an endless supply of HIS JOY!

            Drink the comforting JOY JUICE of Jesus and depend on Him to warm your heart with His love and JOY!           

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pray...JOYfully and Faithfully!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  With every gulp, send up a prayer for a child.

            This week we’ve been talking about how precious our children are to us and how we should be striving to be a good role model for them.  We agree that it’s so important to pray for them and with them---as well has teaching them to pray from their heart. 

            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…but many times that’s the way they learn.  And we have to admit that we, as their parents aren’t perfect, either!  That’s why it is of utmost importance that we all 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, there comes a time when we must allow them to become independent and make their own decisions.

            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 85-year old mother continues to pray for my siblings & me….. and all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren and in-laws.  We all desire her prayers because we know God listens joyfully to His special friend!

            Pray for your children…regardless of their age.  And always share your Joy Juice with each of them!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Be A Model of JOYful Prayer

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  I pray that you have.  Because whether you know or not…someone is watching your example!

            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 we go to bed at night.  I’m talking about real, heart-felt communication with God.   

Even the youngest child understands that prayer means “talking to God.” But they won’t know how to pray until they see it and hear it 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 dad or mom 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!!!”

Teach your children by example….and, go ahead and demonstrate how to drink your Joy Juice faithfully!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Let's Leave Our Children a Legacy of JOY

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

            We’ve discussed 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.  As parents we want to be honored by our children…but adults…we must live our lives in such a way that they want to give us honor.  
            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 their honor is by simply LOVING THEM!  Real parental love is not giving our children everything they want, but giving them what they need.

          One way to love our children is simply by touching them. Nothing indicates our love any better than a hug, a pat on the back, or simply holding a hand.

          We also can show our children love by blessing them. "The tongue has the power of life and death as Proverbs 18:21 reminds us.  So speak blessings over their lives…and let them hear you say these words aloud.

          Another expression of love for your children is listening to them. If we are too busy to listen, then they will soon stop trying to talk with us because they’ll believe that we think something else is more important.  Always be willing to spend time listening to your child.

          These are just a few suggestions to gain honor from our children…and with that honor comes a heart full of joy!

         Let's touch, bless and listen to our children as we serve them a generous helping of Joy Juice!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Speak" the JOY of Jesus

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

            Many of you who are listening are parents or grandparents.  Do you realize that NO ONE ELSE can pray for your little ones as you can? The genuine love you have for your children, the tenderness you feel for them and your knowledge of their make-up, needs and problems, qualify you to plead with God on their behalf with an urgency and earnestness which can not be matched. When God speaks of his willingness to hear our prayers, He bases his proof on his parental love:

Lookat  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 God 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 growth.  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 show them by example how to have a joyful relationship with Jesus!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Train Up A Child...with the JOY of JESUS!

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

            You don’t have to be around me long before you know that I LOVE CHILDREN! I had the privilege of working in the elementary & primary schools in our community for many years. My husband, Papa Pat and I have three grown children and six grand children….who I affectionately call our “grandJOYs”.   There is not much in this life that brings me more pleasure than being around children.

            SO, that’s what I’d like for us to concentrate 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.  Parents receive little appreciation for the constant assignment of child-rearing….yet it is the most rewarding job on earth!

                        If you find yourself in this season of life, know that you can depend on God to give you wisdom when you most need it; to fill your heart with love and compassion and forgiveness; to place on your tongue words of encouragement and edification.  Some things might have to go undone…I can promise you that they will not remember the dust on the furniture, but they will remember you holding them and reading them Bible stories.  They will remember the sound of your voice as you pray 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 your children are drinking the JOY JUICE of Jesus…and be an example by drinking it faithfully, yourself!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Crown of Life = JOY in Him

             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 2014 brought nothing but good things?  But we know that trials and tribulations are going to come our way.  Listen to what James tells us in the first chapter, verses 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: “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”!

            Becoming a follower of Christ does not make us immune to life’s difficulties on earth.  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.”

            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 16, 2014

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.  We even expect to learn patience INSTANTLY, and in our hurry we miss the contradiction.  When we experience pain…whether it is 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.  Other times, suffering shapes us for special service to others.  And then there are those times when we are under attack from the enemy.  Often we don’t understand WHY we have to suffer.  At those times, are we 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. 

            Though we may not always understand the “whys”, we can still drink our Joy Juice because we know The Who: Jesus!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grow Up....JOYfullly!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drinking it faithfully helps us to “grow up” spiritually and become a bold Christian.

In my first book, I tell the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's “rite of passage”. The tradition goes that a father takes his young boy into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.  The boy is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it.  He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he will be a MAN.  He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

                  The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. The wind blows hard and shakes his stump, but he sits stoically, never removing the blindfold. It’s the only way he can
 become a man!
Finally, after a horribly long night, the sun appears and he removes his blindfold.
It is then that he discovers his father sitting on the stump next to him.  
He has been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

And so it is with us and God! Though at times we feel very alone, God our Father is watching over us, sitting on the stump right beside us.  When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.  Just because we can’t see God, doesn’t mean that He’s not there. Hide the words of 2 Corinthians 5:7 in your heart: “For we walk by faith, not by sight”. 

Our Heavenly Father is there, even when you can’t see Him!  What a joyful truth!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Drink In His the Good Times and the Bad

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Even if you are hurting…you need to drink in the JOY of Jesus!

            Many people expect God to always help them prosper. They think that if God is a loving God that He will not let bad things happen to them.  We must realize that sometimes suffering is God’s way to teach, discipline and refine us. He wants us to know that we can always---always---trust Him for WHO HE IS.

            When you feel that you have more than you can possibly handle, be reminded that you are never alone!  We all get to our “breaking point” at one time or another. And we don’t always understand why God allows certain things to happen.  But we can trust that God’s ways are best. AND that He continually demonstrates His love and care for us.  Sometimes we are so focused on our problems that we miss the MANY blessings that are ours every day.

            Remember Job in the Old Testament?  This man knew what suffering meant!  He lost EVERYTHING….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.”

            Job obviously trusted the Lord no matter what the circumstances. Let’s do the same!

           Drink your JOY JUICE in the good times and the times of suffering. And share His joy with others along the way!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Be Joyful....Because The LORD is Near!

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

            2014 is “off and running”!  Perhaps you’ve begun a new project…or at least vowed to complete one previously started in the old year.  Regardless of what we accomplished in 2013, we can look forward with hope that this new year will bring great things!

            We would like to hope that 2014 will be overflowing with blessings of good health, happiness, 12 months free from major problems.  BUT the reality of life (as we remove our “rose colored glasses”) is that there will be challenges along our path.  We may have setbacks….physically, emotionally, financially.  We may experience disappointment, hurt…maybe even heartbreak.  But do you agree with me that even in the midst of “reality”, we can still have JOY in the Lord?

            Remember JOY and happiness are not the same.  We’re not happy when that painful circumstance comes into our lives.  It may be the loss of a loved one, the diagnosis of a disease, financial struggles…these are not happy times.  BUT a relationship with the Lord produces joy because, as the truth of Psalm 145:18 & 20 reminds 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 and He is watching over us because  HE LOVES US! 
            Drink in the JOY of knowing that our Lord is near and He’s ready to carry us through this New Year.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Go Into All the World....and Share His JOY!

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

            We've talked this week about “hiding God’s Word in our hearts”, so that we will be prepared for whatever 2014 brings.  We know that God will always be there for us, but we want to “do our part”, as well.  So we’re aiming toward reading, studying and memorizing more scripture this year, right?

            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 them if we don’t know them…thus the importance of  studying and meditating on the Scripture.   When we begin to focus on God, we’ll be able to “taste” and “see” that the Lord is soooo good to us.  This should fill our hearts with JOY and make us contagious Christians! 

            Mark 16:15 tells us that Jesus said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”  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. (from footnote in NIV Life Application Study Bible)

            But do you 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!

            May we each desire to “go into all the world” and share the JOY of Jesus!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Taste Your Special Serving 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.  Today, let’s not put anything into our mouth without noticing it. .  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 the liquid filling your mouth and passing over those taste buds that God so strategically placed on your tongue. Notice the temperature.  The texture.  The flavors.  Let it linger in your mouth while you enjoy what you are tasting.  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 notice 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 and enjoy the beauty of your special serving of  JOY JUICE today! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Obey God and Find JOY!

     Have you had your Joy Juice today?  As we begin 2014, let’s talk 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.  One is found in  Jeremiah 7:23.  He says:

 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 2014 to “go well”.  We are to obey His commandments. That doesn’t mean simply 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. 

            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 and pull us to his bosom.  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 peace, strength and joy.

            May we obey God by walking in His ways and drinking in the joy He has prepared for us this new year!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Fresh JOY Each Morning Awaits Us

            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:

 "It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."  KJV 

            Such a comforting, encouraging passage to hide in our hearts at the beginning of this New Year! Our shortcomings of 2013 ...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.  What a good 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 6, 2014

The Best Instruction Manual is Overflowing With JOY!

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

            As we begin this new year, let’s seek 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 the situations that come our way in a Godly manner….because of the knowledge and truth we have hidden in the depths of our hearts and minds.

            2014 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. 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”.   God’s willing to do his part, if we will only do ours.

            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 tells us). 

            Drink that Joy Juice as your study your Bible today; it’s the best instruction manual ever written!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Magnify the Love and JOY of Jesus!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Are you facing this New Year with a cheerful outlook and sharing the Joy of the Lord with others?

            I know that some of you who are reading this devotional message are going through some pretty tough times. I have no way of truly understanding your set of circumstances; but  God does!  And He loves you so much that He will not leave you alone.  Your circumstance has not caught Him by surprise.

            Often I use the analogy of looking at our problems through a magnifying glass. When we do this, the problem looks really big. But most often, that problem hasn’t gotten any bigger….just our perception of it has!  That’s when we should be reminded that instead of focusing on the problem, we should focus on The Problem-Solver!

            We have a choice every day.  We can be weighted down by our problems…trying to handle them alone.  OR we can choose to let God have control.   Let’s turn our magnifying glass toward God and realize just how big He really is!  He has the strength and power to handle all of our problems…if we will release them! 

             God, we know that you have a plan for each of our lives.  Give us the strength  to refuse to live in defeat and discouragement.  Help us to magnify You, your love, your faithfulness, your sovereign control of our life…..and fill us with JOY! Amen!

May we be so focused on God that His JOY will overflow from our hearts into the lives of others throughout every day of this New Year!  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Take Heart! Jesus Came to Bring You JOY!

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  I hope you have an abundance of JOY to begin this New Year!

            If I could have one wish for each of you as this New Year begins, it would be that 2014 will be filled with JOY and contentment.   Though we don’t have control over most of the circumstances in our life, we do have control over the way we react them.

            We can choose to be grumpy and complain when things don’t go our way; or we can face each challenge with a smile and know that it didn’t catch God by surprise!  We can approach a problem with doom and gloom, focusing on all the negatives…or we can look toward the “light” and trust that God has it all under control.

            Jesus never promised that once we became Christians we would have no more problems.  In John 16:33 he said: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  In other words, Jesus will not abandon us. If we can remember the truth that the ultimate victory has already been won, we can claim the peace and joy of Christ even in the most troublesome times. 

            So start out this new year with a JOYful perspective.  When you find yourself in a difficult situation, choose to walk through that time with a JOYful outlook, because Jesus is walking right beside you, holding your hand.

Drink your Joy Juice faithfully each and every day of the New Year!  That’s how to experience the JOY of the Lord! Let it overflow into others!