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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

His Way is (Joyfully) Perfect!

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s the PERFECT drink if you want to discover the JOYful way of life!

            As a little girl I would really get excited when I got to go shopping with my mother.  One day we were in a large department store and I strayed away from my mom’s side. I was admiring the pretty clothes and such; but as I turned to tell my mother something, she was not there!  Due to the big crowd and my small size, as hard as I tried I could not see my mom! I panicked! I thought I was lost!  But mother had never lost sight of me.  She was only a few feet away, watching me the whole time.  I had no reason to be frightened and upset.

            Do you ever panic because it seems that the Lord has forgotten about you?  Are you running around trying to find him, wondering where He has gone?  Take a deep breath and calm down!  He’s right there, with his eyes focused precisely on you.  Many times it’s we who have wandered away from the path, but He ALWAYS knows where we are and will help us, if we will call out to Him.  His Word tells us over and over again that we can trust in Him; He is near; He loves us.

In Psalm 18:30 we receive comfort from these words:

“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.”

            His way is PERFECT…..though we will never be! We can take refuge in our perfect Savior.  Doesn’t that soothe your fears and wash you with a sweet peace and JOY?

            Take comfort in the truth that the Word of God is flawlessly perfect. Let’s drink the JOY JUICE that comes from following His way.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The ONLY Way to Genuine JOY: JESUS!

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s the only way to find genuine JOY!

        You do want genuine joy, don’t you?  Often people try to find joy and happiness in the wrong things like material possessions, social status, power and prestige.  But those are not the things that bring us true joy….there is only ONE WAY.  You’ll find it by reading John 14:6….it comes straight from the heart and lips of Jesus.  He says:  "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

            As the WAY, Jesus is our path to the Father.  As the TRUTH, he is the reality of all God’s promises.  As the LIFE, he joins his divine life to ours, both now and eternally!

            If you feel lost and don’t know which way to turn,  cling to the truth that Jesus will not only lead you and show you the way….HE IS THE WAY.  But we have to accept Him as our leader and let Him have complete control of our life.  Our world offers us all kind substitutes…and they might make us happy for a short time.  But happiness is not the same as JOY….happiness depends on what’s happening….JOY depends on Jesus!  Nothing or Nobody can promise to ALWAYS be with us as the Way, the Truth, and the Life….no one that is---except JESUS!

            Remember! There is only ONE WAY to have genuine joy….and that’s to drink the JOY JUICE of JESUS!



Monday, April 28, 2014

Walk in JOY...God is Pointing the Way!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Is there a right way or a wrong way to drink in His JOY?

            Throughout the Bible we are given instruction about which way to go.  Much wisdom can be found in the pages of God’s Word.  In Isaiah 30:21 we read:

            "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"

Do you recognize God’s voice when He is trying to show you the way?  In this passage of scripture, the people of Jerusalem had left God’s path…and he had to correct them.   He will do the same for us today!  We must be willing to listen and follow his voice of correction! 

             When Judah was prosperous and comfortable, they wouldn't listen to God. So He allowed them to go through times of adversity and affliction; the results---they began to hear God and be guided by Him again. It's always better to be uncomfortable and in tune with the Lord than to be comfy, cozy and out of step with God.

            Many times we are going to experience painful trials. But we must remember that God always acts out of love for us.   Next time you go through a difficult time, try to grow from the experience, learning what God wants to teach you.  God may be showing you his love by patiently walking with you through adversity and pointing the WAY---one step at a time

           May we all remember that God will show us the way to JOY….but we must be listening for His voice and willing to follow!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Key to a JOY-filled Life: PRAYER!

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today? Just a reminder to start your day with prayer, end your day with prayer, and keep an attitude of prayer…always!  That’s the key to a joy-filled life!

            We’ve talked a lot this week about prayer—why we pray; when we should pray and even how we should pray…using the example of Jesus.  But let’s not let prayer become something complicated. It is simple, heartfelt, personal communication with God.  David Jeremiah gives a beautiful illustration in a sermon on prayer:

"Father Manning received a phone call from a stranger one day asking him if he would go and visit a dying man in the hospital. He went and found a man lying in a hospital bed with an empty chair pulled up next to the bed. The man told Father Manning that, at a time when he had struggled with the idea of prayer, someone had told him that prayer was just an intimate conversation with God. And that it might help if the man would set an empty chair in front of him when he prayed and imagine that the Lord Jesus was seated there, engaged in a conversation with him.  He wanted to know if thinking of prayer this way was theologically correct…if it was alright.

Father Manning said to him, 'It’s not only alright--I think it would delight the heart of God that you’ve moved prayer to the level of a personal conversation.'  A few days later, Father Manning got a call from the daughter of this man saying that her father had died. She said: 'When we found Dad in the hospital room, his head was laying in the empty chair.'  This man had come to understand what prayer is all about…a personal, intimate conversation with God.”

            Lay your head upon His lap, share your heart with Him…and find true peace & JOY!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Joy of Praying Like Jesus

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Genuine joy is found in genuinely praying Jesus’ “model prayer” in Matthew 6.  

“Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.”

            Verses 9-10 reflect God’s glory and power; the following verses refer to our humility and need.  The mindset of this prayer is to help us see who we are in relation to Who God is. 

            Many of us have memorized “The Lord’s Prayer”, but are we truly living it out in our personal lives?  David Jeremiah prods us to ask ourselves these questions:

·     "  Can we pray “our” if our faith has no room for the needs of others?
·        Can we pray “Father” if we don’t live like His child?
·        Can we pray “Hallowed by Your name” if He is not holy to us?
·        Can we pray “Thy Kingdom come” if we insist on our sovereignty instead of His?
·        Can we pray “Thy will be done” if we live a disobedient life?
·        Can we pray “on earth as it is in heaven” if we don’t give ourselves to His service?
·        Can we pray “Give us this day our daily bread” without working hard and with integrity at the jobs He gives us and without sharing generously with others?
·        Can we pray “Forgive us” when we don’t forgive others?
·        Can we pray “Lead us not into temptation” when we don’t flee tempting situations?
·        Can we pray “Deliver us from evil” if we don’t wear the spiritual armor He provides?
·        Can we pray “Yours is the power” if we live in fear?
·        Can we pray “Yours is the glory” if we seek our own glory first?
·        Can we pray “forever” if we live with anxiety about the future?
·        Can we pray “Amen” if we don’t really mean what we have prayed?"

    May we pray this prayer with sincerity and genuine joy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Joyfully Seek God's Will

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drinking it prayerfully leads to boldness and joy that comes from being in God’s will.

            How many of us have been in a situation where we have to make a choice, and we’re not sure which choice is God’s will?  I would guess 100% of us have found ourselves in that dilemma. Prayer is crucial in determining God’s will, but how do we know for sure when we have “heard” Him?

            One account of Jesus praying all night regarding God’s will is found in Luke 6:12 – 16. Here, Jesus prays about who should be his disciples…the 12 Apostles.   How did prayer help? John Wesley described it like this:  “I find that the chief purpose of prayer in seeking God’s will is that prayer gets my will into an unbiased state. Once my will is unprejudiced about the matter, I find (that) God suggests reasons to my mind why I should or should not pursue a course.”

.           When we fervently pray, our hearts become more “in tune” to God’s plan.  Let’s remember that we should pray that our will (not our emotions) will yield to God’s divine, best plan…whatever that may be.  That’s what Paul meant in 2 Timothy 1:7 when he said: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and sound judgment.”

            Boldly come before the Lord in prayer--seeking His will, His power, His love.  Experience the JOY of being filled with “sound judgment” as He leads you along the path He has chosen for you.

            It is God’s will that we seek His will…so remember to joyfully pray always!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Receive His Love, Experience His JOY and Rush to Prayer!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  I pray that you have!

            If someone asked you why you pray…how would you answer them?  Do you pray out of habit?  Do you pray expecting to change God’s mind?  Do you have a “grocery list” of wants?  WHY should we pray?   Let’s learn from the best teacher of all: JESUS. 

            The Bible tells us that Jesus would often withdraw from the crowds and pray.  But wait!  Wasn’t He perfect?  Why would He need to pray?  He didn’t have to ask for forgiveness of sin. Do you think he went to His Father in prayer because of His love?

            Indeed, prayer builds our love relationship with God.  He gives us commands in His Word and we should obey because of our love for Him.  Everything He instructs us to do is because of His love for us.  We should love him so much that we have a desperate longing to communicate with Him in prayer. 

          In Ephesians 3:14-19, Paul prays, “that you may be able to comprehend… what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…”

            Writer Dan Hayes says:  The longer I love (Jesus), the more I think that the chief reason for the gift of prayer is that we learn to receive, experience, and return His love in genuine relationship. Prayer is one place where God can get our attention, speak to and minister to us. It is for this reason first, that we can learn to rush to prayer.”

            Receive His love, experience His JOY and rush to prayer!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pray with JOY!

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Pray that God will help you to drink it consistently!

            Often I find myself in settings where young women want to know more about growing in their walk with God.  In one of those groups not long ago, the discussion went to the subject of prayer.  “Why do we pray?” one woman sincerly asked. She continued, “If God is sovereign and He knows the outcome before we even pray—why do we pray?”

            I found myself fumbling to answer her question; my words seemed “empty”. I used all the right Christian jargon, but I was unsettled and dissatisfied with my inadequate answer. I began to dig into the scriptures to see what God’s Word tells us about prayer.  In Matthew 6 where we find the “model prayer” from Jesus.  In verse 5, Jesus says: “And when you pray…”  He didn’t say, “And IF you pray…”  WHEN we pray (so I take that as instruction from the Lord that, indeed, we should pray). 

            Jesus begins this passage by telling us that WHEN we pray we should NOT  pray like the “hypocrites” or like the “heathen”. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

            Hypocritical praying is acting like prayers are for God when they really are meant to impress men. These prayers are not genuine. Jesus, also, warned against praying like the heathen—trying to impress God with lengthy, flowery prayers.  David Jeremiah quoted one writer to say: “One sentence burdened with the heart’s desire is dearer to God than an hour’s rehearsing of words and phrases with no longing behind them.”

            When we pray, let’s pray with genuine hearts of love and JOY.


Friday, April 18, 2014

A Joy-filled Good Friday

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  It’s a good Friday to drink in the sweet taste of Easter JOY!

            Good Friday is the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday.  So, that makes today “Good Friday”.   This day is set aside to celebrate the day on which Jesus was crucified.   Celebrating a death doesn’t sound quite right, does it?  Not humanly speaking.  But, you see, this was God’s divine plan. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial death, we can celebrate because of what He did for us.

           Why is Good Friday referred to as “good”? What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good. However, the results of Christ’s death are very good! Romans 5:8 : “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

           Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday with a subdued service in which Christ’s death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a message centered on Christ suffering for our sakes, and observance of the Lord's Supper. Regardless of how we choose to “celebrate” Good Friday, the events of that day should be ever on our minds because the death of Christ on the cross is the paramount event of the Christian faith.  HE is the reason that we can have genuine JOY …at Easter and every other day of the year!

           I pray that you will have a JOY-filled Good Friday. Remember that He is alive! Have a joyfully blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

He Has Risen! WHAT JOY!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drink it joyfully….it’s almost Easter!

            Some of the most joyful words in the Easter story come from Matthew 28:5-7.  “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples…”

            My Bible footnote explains that the angel who announced the good news of the resurrection to the women gave them four messages:

  1. Do not be afraid.  The reality of the resurrection brings joy, not fear! When you are afraid, remember the empty tomb.
  2. He is not here. Jesus is not dead and is not to be looked for among the dead.  He is alive!
  3. Come and see.  The women could check the evidence themselves.  The tomb was empty then and it’s empty today.  The resurrection is a historical fact.
  4. Go quickly and tell.  They were to spread the JOY of the resurrection.  We too are to spread the great news!

Are you experiencing fear?  Then focus on the empty tomb.  Because He lives, we can trust Him to take of us!  Sometimes we forget that He is with us today and need to be reminded to “come and see” that the tomb is empty.  He is victorious over death!

            Let us spread the JOY of the resurrection during this Easter week.  Take advantage of every opportunity to share the Good News with all that will listen.

           Drink and serve the Joy of Easter---boldly!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Exclaim the JOYful Truth: HE'S ALIVE!!!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Easter is the perfect time to be drinking the JOY of Jesus!

            In his book If I Should Die Before I Live, Joe LoMusio asks the question:  “If I were to ask you to describe Easter without using any words, you could only use punctuation marks, which punctuation mark would you choose to describe this Easter for yourself? 

            Maybe this Easter is a comma for you.  It makes you stop, pause, think and listen, but that’s about it.  It might be that this season is a downer---a big bold period.  You thought you’d feel excited, but instead it seems to be more like an empty ritual. 

            There was a day when life felt like a period for Jesus’ disciples.  He was dead;    an end to their expectations.  But then they got the news of an empty tomb…the period was no longer a period, but a question mark.  That’s worse than a period.  They were perplexed.  The guards were gone, the stone rolled away.  Where was He?

An angel asks, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen!”  The periods are gone!  The question marks are removed!  There is one massive exclamation point!”

            That’s what Easter is all about….an exclamation of gratitude; of praise for the resurrection of Jesus Christ; for a heart bursting with JOY for the salvation His victory over death brings to us!

            We all should be exclaiming the JOYful truth that Jesus is not dead!  He has risen from the grave!!! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

God's Passionate Love = Easter JOY

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Be passionate about drinking your portion this week of Easter.

            When you hear the word passion or passionate what thoughts come to mind? 
Webster’s Dictionary defines passion as "extreme, compelling emotion or intense emotional drive."

This week we are focusing on the JOY of Easter.  We can’t talk about Easter without recognizing the passion of Christ.  What was the source of His passion?  It was His intense love for mankind. Because He loved you and me so much, he gave his life for the sake of restoring us to fellowship with God.

 Philippians 2:6-7 tells us that “he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant by being made in human likeness.  His passionate love caused Him to leave the glory of heaven to take human form and live an obedient life of self-sacrifice required by the holiness of God. 

The passion of Christ was directed by the Father’s will and resulted in a life whose purpose was the cross (John 12:27). Jesus was dedicated to accomplish the requirements foretold by prophecies and the will of the Father.  All of this…for us! That’s the JOY of Easter. 

         The final words of Jesus from the cross were a triumphant proclamation. Like a runner crossing the finish line in agony, yet with great emotion in overcoming obstacles, Jesus says “It is finished!” (John 19:30) He had accomplished His purpose on earth.

           May we never take Christ’s passionate love lightly.  Instead of focusing on egg hunts, parties, and new clothes for Easter, let’s drink in the passionate love of Christ and experience the sweet JOY of the resurrection.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Prepare Your Heart for the JOY of Easter

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today? In preparation for Easter, we should be drinking in the JOY of Jesus!

            The theme of our JOY JUICE devotionals this week will be “The JOY of Easter”!  Sunday we will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.  That’s the part of the story that brings us such JOY!!  But for this to occur, we must remember that…first….He had to die!  

The joy for us as Christians is that His love was so great that He WILLINGLY did this for us.  John 3:16 tells us clearly that:  "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

According to that scripture, the purpose of his life was to offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. The Bible says that Jesus became sin for us so that we could be forgiven and found righteous in God’s sight (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was so certain of his purpose that He predicted when and how He would die (Matthew 26:2). 

Do you know your purpose?  Simply put, it is to glorify God.  As Hebrews 12:2 says: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Jesus looked beyond the suffering, shame and death He knew was to come and focused on the joy that would be.

           Join me as we “fix our eyes on Jesus”….especially this week leading up to Easter.  It is only because of Him that we can drink the Joy Juice of Jesus every day!

Friday, April 11, 2014

For Where Your Treasure is........Do You Find JOY?

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  When you genuinely seek the treasure of JOY in Jesus, it’s like finding a treasure of unending value!

            We’ve talked a lot this week about the treasures found in scripture.  In Matthew 13:44 (NIV), we find reference to a special kind of treasure. 

"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.”

          This is the shortest parable of Jesus we find recorded in the Bible.  Though short, it holds a powerful, joy-filled truth! The “treasure” referred to here is the kingdom of heaven…which is more valuable than any earthly possession.  As the man in the scripture, we should recognize the value of this treasure and be willing to give up everything in order to obtain it.

        The part of that verse that I like the VERY BEST is when it says: “then IN HIS JOY went and sold all he had”… The man didn’t even have to ponder; he wasn’t resentful of having to give up anything; He was overjoyed that he had found such a treasure and immediately began the process of giving up everything else so that it could be his.

          Friends, each of us has a choice.  We can hold on to the things of this world and have temporary happiness in some areas; OR we can give everything to God and accept the treasure He has waiting for us in heaven. 

           Don’t let the trinkets of this world keep you from the wealth of joy found in relationship with Jesus!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let's Go On A Treasure Find JOY!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Some special flavors of “joy” are hidden in the truths of scripture.

             Almost everybody gets excited about going on a treasure hunt! Children and teenagers love the thrill of a scavenger hunt…especially if there is a reward at the end. Many adults enjoy panning for gold or seeking lost treasure in the ocean or in some other desolate place. 

         You may remember the news story about the multimillionaire art collector, Forrest Fenn from New Mexico who hid a treasure chest worth millions that he would give to the person who could find it first. The hunt has been ongoing since 2010 with many seekers examining the clues and searching diligently, but no one yet has found the treasure. A website was created for those who are interested in the “chase” and a book was written with more detailed clues.

            Why are we so drawn to the “treasures of earth” when the treasures of heaven are so much more valuable?!  In Isaiah 45:3 (NIV) we read this truth: 

”I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”  

These are the kinds of “hidden treasures” that we need to be seeking after.  When we walk in the path God has prepared for us and we are diligent in seeking His purpose, He will show us the hidden treasures He has stored for us in those “secret places”.

          I'd like to invite you on a treasure hunt….one that promises JOY as He summons us by name!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Where Is Your Treasure of JOY?

             Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Store up the best kind of treasure by drinking in the JOY of the Lord.

             In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus teaches: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

            Where is your treasure?  Are you focused on material things, climbing the career ladder, admiration and praise of others?  Or do you desire God’s presence and being in the center of His will?    

            The passage of scripture we just read warns against storing up treasures on earth.  They will not last.  But when we store up treasures in heaven, they will be there for eternity.  What are these kinds of treasures… that will last forever and ever? I like the explanation given in my Life Application Study Bible: “Storing up treasures in heaven is not limited to tithing but is accomplished by all acts of obedience to God.  There is a sense in which giving our money to God’s work is like investing in heaven. But our intention should be to seek the fulfillment of God’s purposes in all we do, not merely what we do with our money.”

            Again, let’s ask the question, “Where is my treasure?”  If it is anywhere other than seeking God’s purpose in all things, then we need to examine our motives. May each of us find the JOY that is ours when we find our treasure in Him.

             “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hidden Treasures of JOY

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  You’ve found a treasure if you drink in the JOY of the LORD faithfully!

            In my morning study a few days back, I read this passage in Proverbs 2:1-5
My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.

            Did you see the words “hidden treasure”?  In the Bible we do find “hidden treasure” as we search the scriptures. But our hearts must be open, our ears must be turned toward wisdom and we must desire insight and understanding.  Do we look for Godly wisdom and understanding as if we were digging for silver, gold or some hidden treasure? 

            This passage teaches that when we passionately search, we WILL come to understand the “fear” of the LORD….that’s the reverence and awe of God; and we will “find the knowledge of God”.   That is a treasure beyond any other…to KNOW GOD—not just know about Him. 

            Dig into the scriptures to find the hidden treasures which will add much JOY to your heart.

Monday, April 7, 2014

BE A Friend of JOY

            Have you had your Joy Juice today? There is more than enough to share with your friends!

            Friendship is one of the most rewarding gifts that we can ever experience.   A good friend is truly a treasure.  If you’ve been blessed with a genuine friend who sticks with you through the tough times, as well as the good, then consider yourself extremely blessed.  But may I warn you, along with laughter and fun times…there will also be times of difficulty and tears.

            Most of us find it easy to be with folks when we are having a good time. But what about when that friend becomes sick or is going through a time of difficulty?  Often we don’t know what to do, so we pull away and do nothing.  Is that what true friendship is?  No….a genuine relationship is one that goes beyond “doing”.  It involves being:

  • Being there when your friend needs a shoulder to cry on.
  • Being a listening ear, though you don’t have all the answers.
  • Being a prayer partner that will intercede when they don’t feel like praying.
  • Being a presence in their lives to represent the love of God.

God didn’t call us to be human doings…but human “beings”. Let’s BE all that Christ created us to BE by allowing Him to love through us.

      As Proverbs 18:24 says: (NKJV) “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Joyfully thank the Lord for those kinds of friends in your life…and BE one!

Friday, April 4, 2014


          Have you had your JOY JUICE today? You’ve got to drink yours first, so that you’ll be ready to share it with others!

            It is true that you can’t give someone what you don’t have!  That includes the JOY of the Lord, as much as anything else.  When people look at you, do they see a joy-filled, loving, kind Christian?  Is there any question about your faith in God?  Do you blend in with the crowd or do you stand out?  Paul teaches in Philippians 2: 15  that we should “become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”

            Do we “shine” for Christ?  Do we have the joy of Jesus in our hearts? So much joy that it overflows onto and into the lives of others?

            Oswald Chambers wrote in his powerful devotional book My Utmost for His Highest: “We are not saved only to be instruments for God, but to be His sons and daughters.  He does not turn us into spiritual agents but into spiritual messengers, and the message must be a part of us.”  “Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real to you.”

            Have you caught the “joy germ”?  Are you living for Christ each day and radiating His joy?  Are you contagious….spreading the JOY of the Lord everywhere you go?  Wouldn’t it be great if our community made the news by being the cause of an EPIDEMIC of JOY?

            Let’s allow our message of joy to start in our own hearts and then spread rapidly to all those around us!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Release Your Past and Drink in the JOY of Jesus!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  What’s holding you back from drinking in your personal serving?

            Do you have something in your past that is keeping you from walking in the JOY of the Lord?  Maybe you are embarrassed by a poor decision or some mistake that you cannot forget. You question how God could love you because of your past.  When we doubt God’s love and forgiveness, we fall into Satan’s trap! He wants us to live in misery and doubt, stealing our joy.

            When we come to the Lord with a repentant, contrite, broken heart and ask His forgiveness, WE ARE FORGIVEN.  Often the hard part is forgiving ourselves and moving forward.   God’s love is freely ours!  We do not have to earn it! And let’s be reminded that there is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less!  His love is endless.  Jeremiah 31:3 tells us: “ The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’”

            Don’t let our enemy, Satan, steal the JOY that is yours as a child of God.  We are to be on guard against his schemes.  In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”  That includes abundant love, forgiveness and JOY!

            Don’t hold on to the past! Put it behind you by giving it to Jesus and drink in the immeasurable JOY that has YOUR name on it!