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Friday, February 28, 2014

"Fill Us With JOY In Your Presence", Lord!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  We’ve talked a lot this week about BEING STILL before God.  That means simply finding time during the day away from distractions to “practice the presence” of God, as Brother Lawrence wrote.

            Why is this so important?  I think that Psalm 16:11 gives us a beautiful, clear explanation.  David wrote: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  You can sense from these words that when David wrote this Psalm, his heart was glad.  He had found the secret to true joy.  Happiness is temporary because it is based on what is “happening”….our external circumstances; but JOY is lasting because it is based on God’s presence within us.

            You see, if we will be still long enough to spend time with God, He will guide us down our “path of life”…and we will receive the blessing of JOY and contentment along that path.  As a part of our daily routine, let’s make it our prayer that He “fill us with joy in His presence”.

Do you want to know “the path of life” God has for you?  Open His Word, seek His wisdom and be filled with His joy! We can look forward to the eternal pleasures He has waiting for us as His children.  Come on! Let’s go share that truth with everyone we meet today!  


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sit Down and Taste His JOY

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today? We must sit still and “taste” that the Lord is good!

            It’s true that we all have countless duties and responsibilities to our families, our jobs, even our churches.  We race through our day checking our “to do list”…and often  we are so busy doing good things, that we miss God’s best.

            Priscilla Shirer writes (in her book He Speaks to Me) : “Maybe we need to cease some of our activity and hush the noise in our lives so that we can clearly discern what our Father wants to say.”  She refers to John 6 where Jesus fed the five thousand.  The people had listened to Jesus teach all day.  He realized that they were hungry.  In verse 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”

He distributed the food to those who were seated.  You see, until we “take a seat” and let go of our frantic activity, He will not fill us.  We often miss out on His blessings because we just won’t BE STILL!

            So… Let’s sit down, my friend, and allow God to fill us. He’s got a special recipe of JOY that He wants to feed you and me….if we will “be still and know..”.

Take the time today…and sit down before the Father and drink in His special flavor of JOY JUICE that He has made especially for you!  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is JOY on Your Agenda Today?

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  What’s on your agenda for this day?  Do you have a list of meetings, projects, appointments, chores and responsibilities that began racing through your mind just as soon as your feet hit the floor this morning? 

            Yesterday we talked about being still.  In Chuck Swindoll’s book So You Want to be Like Christ? he writes: “God will never adjust His agenda to fit ours.  He will not speed His pace to catch up with ours; we need to slow our pace in order to recover our walk with Him.  God will not scream and shout over the noisy clamor; He expects us to seek quietness, where His still small voice can be heard.”

            Philippians 3:10 is a wonderful reminder about what the Christian life is all about! Paul says:  For my determined purpose is that I may know Him---that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.” Is that your heart’s desire?

            Do you want to know Him in an intimate, deep relationship?  Do you hear God’s voice amidst the hustle and bustle of your busy day?  Let’s all remember that making time for Christ is imperative for living a life filled with JOY in the Lord!
Be determined to know Jesus on a personal level….and be showered in blessings of love and joy!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Be Still....and know the JOY of JESUS!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  BE STILL….and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10 says.   Many of us find that the only time we’re really “still” is when we’re asleep! And we’re probably running in our dreams!  Being still is an important part of our spiritual growth process.

             An intimate relationship with God requires quiet time spent alone with God.  Church attendance is wonderful and certainly should be a part of every Christian’s life, but one-on-one time with Him is how we develop a deep, abiding relationship.

            Many years ago when my husband and I were dating, we would spend time together to “get to know one another”.  If we had not been intentional about making that time for one another, we may have never fallen in love.  Now, after 41 years of marriage, we enjoy a deep, personal relationship. Even more so with God, we need to be intentional about spending time in His presence, reading the Bible and communicating with Him in prayer.

            I encourage you today to fall in love with Jesus. Put away the distractions and focus on Him.   BE STILL….and know that He is God.  You’ll soon have that joyful glow about you that can only come from “being in love” with Jesus!

Listen to God in those still quiet moments as He whispers His promises of love straight into your heart!  His love and JOY go hand in hand, so enjoy both today!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Inevitable JOY

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drinking in the joy of the Lord helps us to study and focus on the true joy that is ours when we are in relationship with Jesus.

             The more I study the Word of God, the more I am convinced that genuine JOY is one of the surest signs of the presence of God in a person’s life. Author Bruce Larson says that “if God really is the center of one’s life and being, joy is inevitable.  If we have no joy, we have missed the heart of the Good News and our bodies, as much as our souls will suffer the consequences.” (Swindoll’s Book of Quotes)

            JOY is the “enjoyment” of God.   We live in a fast-paced society; often days go by and we realize that we haven’t stopped once to pray, much less read from God’s Word.  How can we enjoy a relationship with God if we never take time to enjoy His presence?

            We need to slow down and take the time to sit at His feet.   Psalm 46:10 reminds us to “Be still and know that I am God.”  It brings Him great joy when we make time in our busy day to communicate with Him.  And that is when we will be able to hear Him speak to our hearts in His still small voice.  When you have heard that sweet, loving voice of God, you will be filled with JOY in the Lord! .

Slow down, be still and hear God.  Then get ready to share His abundant joy with others throughout the day!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bubble Over With JOY

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Let’s make sure our priorities are in order. 

JESUS first, Others next, Yourself last.

 How can we successfully prioritize when we have so many things pulling us in all directions?  Family obligations, job responsibilities, even church activities can take much of our time.  Though we start the day with good “intentions”, many times we get those priorities all out of order!

 If we discipline ourselves to faithfulness, to prayer and Bible study, when the tough times do come, we’ll have our priorities in order. We’ll know that we know that God has a plan and a purpose for everything that He allows into our life.  As 1 Peter 1:8 says: “Though you have not seen him, you love him….you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

Tough times are going to come to all of us.  But when you rest in God and His plan, you will be able to face those challenges differently. People may begin to ask you why you are so calm and peaceful in the midst of tough times.  And you’ll be able to say: “God has filled me with His inexpressible, glorious JOY!”

Experience that JOY found in relationship with Jesus….and bubble over with His love.  


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Scatter His JOY Along Your Way

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Jesus taught that we should “Love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. “ And that we should “Love our neighbor as ourselves.”

            The world teaches, however, that we all have our “rights”, and we should look out for #1…OURSELVES.  We say that we teach our children to share, but are we as adults practicing what we preach?  I’m afraid that we have become a very self-centered society.  Do you agree?
            Just think what this world could be like---if we all would put others before ourselves!  No one would have to demand their rights, because we’d be more concerned about one another than ourselves.  We wouldn’t have to worry about locking our doors or being fearful of what others may do, because there would be no crime!  When needs arose, people would see them and meet those needs. Life would be joyous and carefree.  Sounds a little like heaven, doesn’t it?

            We may not be able to change the whole world here on earth, but we can influence our little corner while we are here.  Try putting Jesus first and others a close second.   Not only will you be spreading joy to others, but I have a feeling that your own joyful heart will be written across your face in the form of a great big smile!

Drink your Joy Juice faithfully as you are waiting to experience a JOYful eternity with Christ. And let’s remember to be attentive to others' needs along the way!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Serve Others His JOY

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today? If you drink it often, you will begin to crave it and you’ll not want to go a day without it!

Do you remember which commandment Jesus said is the greatest?
            Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

And then He goes on to say in Matthew 22:39:  And, the second is like it…Love your neighbor as yourself.”

            Now, doesn’t this beautifully illustrate the formula for JOY: Jesus first , Others next, Yourself last  (J-O-Y = Joy)

            Putting others before ourselves doesn’t mean that we are to have a sense of low self worth.  God made each of us for a purpose and He loves us all…. so much that He gave His Son to die for us.  He wants us to realize our value in Him. We are all His children and as Colossians 1:12 reminds us of what is to come for those who love Him : “…giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”

        Yes, we are important to God…but He wants us to minister to each other  by having a servant’s heart.  Let’s look for ways to help someone else.  If we make a conscious effort to prayerfully consider others’ needs before our own, God will give us countless opportunities to spread the JOY of the Lord.

Drink your Joy Juice faithfully and serve others a sweet portion of His JOY!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Priority #1: JESUS

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  If you desire a life of abundant JOY, here’s the way…..Put Christ First!
            In order to develop a deeper relationship with Him, we must make Jesus our priority…#1 on our list! That means we should surrender every area of our lives…living according to His will, rather than our own.  Our friend, Micca Campbell from Proverbs 31 ministries posted on her Facebook wall this statement: “The only thing you'll miss by NOT surrendering your life is all God has for you.”

            In Matthew 22 the religious leaders questioned Jesus about which is the greatest commandment.  He replied:  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all  your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.”

            Because we love Him, we should want to obey His commandments.  But each one of us is going to fall short because we’re human.  We have to remember that our spiritual growth process is just that…a process.  And we must seek God’s direction by humbling ourselves before Him, asking for His guidance in all areas of our lives. 

As the old hymn says:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace

            I entreat you to drink your Joy Juice faithfully. Make Him your number one priority and radiate with the JOY of the Lord.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Full Measure of HIS Joy

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?   Is your heart full of JOY?  I didn’t ask if was full of “happiness”!

            In my younger years, there was a Godly woman that I considered a mentor.  She taught me by word and by example her formula. for  JOY: (J)Jesus first , (O) Others next, and  (Y)Yourself last.    Have you noticed that JOY is a common theme in the teachings of Jesus? 

 The key to immeasurable joy according to John 17 is living in intimate contact with Christ, the source of all joy.  That means pursuing a close relationship with Him every day, striving to be more like Him.  Chuck Swindoll reminds us that “a Godly person is one who ceases to be self-centered in order to become God-centered.  Our goal as Christians is to become like Christ.”  

 Remember Jesus’ words in John 17:13:  I say these things so that they may have the full measure of my JOY within them.” What this scripture does NOT say is that we will always be happy.  But if we strive to make Him our number one priority…then we can get ready for a full measure of His JOY!

Drink your Joy Juice faithfully so that you will overflow with the joy of Jesus…into the lives of others.

Friday, February 14, 2014

JOYful Valentine's Day

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Hope you have plans to share with someone special!

            Today is Valentine’s Day….just in case you needed a reminder!  There will be gifts of flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, cards, jewelry and a variety of special expressions of love being exchanged throughout this day!

             Everyone loves to be remembered…whether it’s by a friend or a sweetheart; but… those flowers won’t last forever.  The candy will be eaten and enjoyed, and all that will remain are the extra pounds!  Each gift, though much appreciated, will one day fade away.  BUT there is one gift that will NEVER lose its value…and that’s the love of Christ!

            Jesus willingly gave His life for us!  Knowing that we are sinners, He still allowed Himself to be nailed to that cruel cross to pay our sin debt.  Now that’s a love gift that can never be equaled. 

            Because of His sacrificial love, we can look forward to an eternity of JOY!  Can you imagine anything more wonderful than spending forever and ever and ever with Jesus?  Heaven will be beautiful…beyond our comprehension; and all we have to do to be sure that we spend eternity there, is to freely accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

            Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13   What a delightful cup of JOY JUICE filled with love!

            Be reminded of the love of Jesus! Have a JOYful Valentine’s Day!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Joyful Prayer Life

            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 fellowshipping 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, February 12, 2014

Joyfully Listen for His Voice

          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!

          I am praying that you will hear His voice today.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

God Speaks....JOY to Your Heart

Have you had your Joy Juice today?   Listen carefully and you may be able to hear God speaking His JOY right into your heart!

Do you recognize God’s voice when He speaks to you?  You do know that He still speaks today, don’t you?  I’m not talking about an audible voice, but that “still small voice” as is mentioned in scripture. God wants us to hear His voice! As one author puts it, “He doesn't speak to us through a quiver in our liver or through vibes or mediums.  He speaks to us in the natural moments of life.”  Do you want to hear God's voice? Then you must be ready to listen.

Many times we hear intellectuals arrogantly express that the Bible is just a book written by men, but the Bible itself claims to be God's Word! Can we rely on it? You bet we can! The evidence of history, archaeology, fulfilled prophecy and personal testimony over thousands of years is overwhelming that the Bible is, indeed, God's Word. Do you want to hear God's voice? Then read the Bible.

How many times have you been faced with a problem or difficult circumstances and you so desire to have wisdom and guidance regarding how to handle the situation.  You pick up your Bible, open and begin to read, when you are blown away with what the scripture is saying which relates to your very circumstance.  THIS IS GOD SPEAKING through His Word. Joyfully open your Bible and begin reading it faithfully today!

 Listen to God as He speaks to your heart! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Overflowing with Outrageous & Contagious JOY!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  My cup is overflowing this morning with an outrageous and contagious flavor of JOY in the Lord.

            Have you experienced the JOY of worshiping with people who are not ashamed of their love for the Lord and who openly give Him praise and honor?  There is nothing that compares with the sweet, contagious spirit of glorifying the Lord together, lifting our voices and hearts before Him!  Differences seem to fade and the focus is on one God! 

            I experienced that this weekend…… and that’s why my heart is bubbling over  today!  At the OUTRAGEOUS & CONTAGIOUS Women’s Conference, women from all over our state (and beyond) joined hearts and received “showers of joyful blessings”.   Though each person came from a different background and stage of life, we were sisters in Christ and accepted each other as family.  Because of that sweet spirit, God was able to move in our midst, touching hearts and drawing us closer to Him.  HE SPOKE! Many listened!

            Does God speak to YOU?  He will!  But you must be willing to listen.  You don’t have to be in church or at a conference to hear Him.  He wants to speak to you where ever you are TODAY!   Open the eyes and ears of your heart and be ready to hear His message of love and JOY. 

           Be an outrageous and contagious Christian by learning to hear God’s voice and by splashing other with  HIS JOY!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Showers of JOYful Blessings

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  If your supply is getting low, I’d be more than happy to tell you where you can find a generous serving!

            I hope that by now most of you have heard the news about the OUTRAGEOUS & CONTAGIOUS Women’s Conference that’s being held tomorrow, February 8 at the Grand Theater in historic downtown Fitzgerald, GA !  Our prayer is that this will be an outrageously JOYful day, filled with praise and worship, fun and laughter, and wise messages from the Lord which will minister to the hearts of the hundreds of women who will be attending.  May I share some prayer requests with you?  Please pray:

  • For each person who will be involved— those on the program, behind the scenes and all those in attendance!
  • Ask God to speak to our hearts and draw us closer to Him.
  • Pray for safety as the ladies travel from long distances or just a few miles down the road.
  • Pray that there will be a contagious spirit of love and joy which will spread throughout our community
  • And ask that GOD will be glorified in every detail of the event.

Our desire is that through this women’s conference, God will begin a healing process in many hearts and that we will catch that contagious JOY that comes from a relationship with Him.  Pray that each attendee will experience “Showers of Blessings” as God rains down His love and joy into their hearts and lives.

      Be OUTRAGEOUS and CONTAGIOUS by drinking in the blessings of JOY through a personal relationship with JESUS!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Be An Outrageous & Contagious Christian

          Have you had your OUTRAGEOUS and CONTAGIOUS JOY JUICE today?  If so, you are bursting forth with His love and joy! 

            When your heart is full of joy, there’s no room for much else….except love and gratitude!  When you are overflowing with the JOY of the LORD, you don’t have time (nor desire) to grumble and complain.  I’m pretty sure that’s where Paul was coming from when he wrote in Philippians 2:14-15:

            Do everything without complaining or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”

            How often do we find ourselves grumbling about the weather?  When we do, we should be aware that we are criticizing God’s ordering of creation.  What about when we complain about an illness or problems on the job or any unexpected situation?  We should realize that we are saying that God isn’t handling our affairs very well.

            Instead of complaining about the rain or the cold weather; rather than questioning why a certain situation was allowed to happen ….let’s understand that nothing catches God by surprise and He loves us!  “It’s impossible to keep an eye out for God’s blessings while harboring a complaining spirit. When we grumble and complain, we’re blocking our expectation of good things”…and we’ll probably miss seeing them when they do come!

            In order to be an outrageously JOYful Christian with a contagious spirit of love for the Lord, remember to do everything without complaining… that you will SHINE like stars in the universe!

            May we all find the joy in this new day and RADIATE His love into the lives of everyone we meet!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More Christ...More JOY! Be Contagious!

        Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Choose to begin this day with an outrageous and contagious JOYful spirit!

            Genuine joy comes from a relationship with Christ.  Galatians 5 teaches about the “fruit of the Spirit”.  Many times as we read that list, we are determined to cultivate each of those traits in our own lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.  But….we can’t do this in our own strength!

            Let’s not misunderstand what Paul was teaching about the “fruit of the Spirit”.  He wasn’t merely giving us a list of traits to pursue and cultivate, but he was offering wisdom about what happens as we give our lives totally to Christ and allow Him to mature us in our Christian walk.  Lydia Brownback writes that “as we crucify all that belongs to our sinful nature, we are characterized more by Christ than by the passion and desires that governed us before we knew him.  As this process takes place, the fruit of the Spirit is manifested in us.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t give us more love or more faithfulness or more joy.  He gives us more CHRIST, and as he does, joy and all the rest are produced within us as the fruit of that union.”

            So let’s get ourselves out of the way and give Christ the freedom to reign in our lives.  The more of us He has, the more joyful we will be…True joy—fruit of the Spirit joy—comes as we pray to know Christ, and to be made more and more like Him!  That’s what it means to be an “OUTRAGEOUS and CONTAGIOUS” Christian!

           Allow God complete control of your life and overflow with the contagious fruit of JOY!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Is Your JOY Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

              Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Is that glass half empty or half full?  It’ll make the difference in how you face your day!

            Did you know that your example contagious?  People are watching…Whether it’s a friend or colleague, a child or an adult, a family member or simply an acquaintance….YOU make a difference in someone’s life! 

            To be a positive, joyfully contagious example, we need look into the Word of God. The Bible provides us with a wealth of guidance in the form of Godly principles.

            One such example is in 1 Thess. 5:16-18 where Paul tells us to: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  Joy! Gratitude! Prayer! Those three are always linked! (Lydia Brownback, n JOY, A Godly Woman’s Adornment.)  Joy springs from a heart of gratitude and prayer. 

            The opposite is also true; pessimism and grumbling are linked to depression.  We can choose to see our glass half-empty and complain about our lives….and the price we pay is our joy and peace. On the other hand, we can choose to rejoice and give thanks no matter what. When we do this we are saying, “Not my will, God, but yours be done.”  We’ll find our glass not just half full, but overflowing with JOY in the Lord!

            Let’s fill our JOY JUICE glass as full as possible today by following the contagious example of Jesus!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Choose OUTRAGEOUS JOY in Jesus!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  That’s exactly what you need to make certain that your day is outrageously joyful!

            Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed even before your day gets started?  I have a suggestion for you this morning.  Let’s make up our minds from the get-go that no matter what happens today, we’re going to “count it all joy”.

            As I so often refer to the passage in James 1:2:
“Count it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails 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.”

            When we get to a point in our lives that we are spiritually mature enough to accept whatever God brings or allows to happen, then we will be able to face each new day with an OUTRAGEOUS joy because of our faith and confidence in Him.    Do you realize that God cares more about our joy than we often do?  It’s for that reason that he does not leave us alone in our misery. According to author Lydia Brownback, “God orchestrates for us and in us the humility we need in order to see that God is a kind Father and compassionate friend who allows hard situations into our lives so that he can show us our need for grace and deepen our relationship with him.  Such humility is necessary in order to count it all joy.”

            You can choose to have an OUTRAGEOUS day of JOY in the LORD by putting your complete trust in Him!