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Monday, June 30, 2014

Even When You Don't Hear God, Trust JOYfully

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Can you hear me?  Did you drink in the JOY of the Lord this morning?

            At times, we do have difficulty hearing one another.  Sometimes we are preoccupied, too busy to hear what’s being said.  Other times we choose not to spend quality time with someone; when we are not intentional about making time for each other, it’s a challenge to know what’s going on in the other person’s life.  Even with happily married couples, there are times of intimacy & deep communication---AND times of being separated for one reason or another.  May I suggest that this is also true in our relationship with God?

            Though God is ALWAYS there, we may go through a “dry spell” where it seems our communication with Him is one-sided!   We pray, asking for answers and direction but it seems we hear “nothing”.  When you find yourself in one of these “dry spells”, be encouraged that many strong Christians admit to this very challenge. 

          Author Dallas Willard wrote a wonderful book entitled Hearing God. He gives  many helpful tips on the subject… from the Bible and from his personal life experiences. HOWEVER….even this “expert” on the subject of communication with God says that he has times when he doesn’t hear God’s voice! What does he do then?  He is convinced that the best advice is to continue to: “Obey the Lord: love God and your neighbor.”  

            Even when we are not hearing God’s voice, may we hold on to the joy found in the assurance of scripture such as Isaiah 26:4:   Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Promise of Joy

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s exactly what you need to help you through this busy day….promise!

            Though I try to be a gal of my word, I have to admit that at times I have been unable to fulfill my promises.  Most of us have broken a promise from time to time, because we are human.  Aren’t we glad that God isn’t like us?  He has never and will never break a promise.  GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS!

            This week we’ve talked about some of His promises found in scripture.  Here’s another: Philippians 4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

             What about when we can see no possible solution to our problem? Do we trust that HE will supply our needs?  When we lose our job and there’s not enough money to pay the bills, do we trust that God will take care of us?  It may be that we are suffering from a broken heart due to losing someone close to us.  Will God meet that need in our life?

            Today’s verse in Philippians states that God will meet ALL our needs…not just a portion or even most of our needs…but ALL our needs.  Often, we get our needs confused with our wants.  And our plans confused with His plans.  That’s when we get anxious and doubt God’s ability to take care of us. 

            May we be willing to lay our needs at His feet and leave them there.  That’s where we find true joy— in trusting and resting in His plan for our lives.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Joyously Soar On Wings Like Eagles

             Have you had your JOY JUICE today?   Even when you are too weak to lift your own glass, Jesus promises to strengthen you!

Isaiah 40:29-31

29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

            Sometimes our weakness comes from being sick; other times we truly have physically pushed our bodies to that point of exhaustion.  More often, our weakness comes when we are emotionally and spiritually depleted.  And, as the scripture says, that can happen to anyone at any age.  Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall.”

            What about when we make a bad decision or an ungodly choice?  Suffering the consequences is hard. We are often embarrassed and don’t want to have to face people because of the uncomfortable situation.  Things may even seem hopeless and we truly don’t know what to do.

            The good news is that we can ALWAYS find hope in the LORD.  He promises to “renew our strength” so that we can joyfully “soar on wings like eagles”.

            May we walk in His promise of strength; and find JOY in relationship with Him.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

HE Will Give You Rest! That's a Joyful Promise!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today? Even if your “wagon is draggin”, you can choose to drink in the joy promised by the Lord.

            Are you tired before you even start your day?  Do you race fast and furiously along your way so that by the time you are able to stop and rest for a minute, you feel as if you need a nap?  We do live in a fast-paced society; and most days we have a long list of things that must be accomplished.  No wonder we are exhausted by day’s end. 

            Did you know that there is a promise about that in God’s Word? Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

          Many times our physical exhaustion is tied to our emotional and spiritual condition.  When our thoughts are clouded by the worries of “what ifs” and the sorrows and anxieties of “why me”, then we become weary and burdened.  Jesus promises us rest in Him.  How does that work?

            If we will give our anxious thought life, our bitterness & anger, and, yes, our concerns about what might happen---if we will release them to Jesus---then HE will carry those burdens for us and we’ll be free from the stress of having to carry them alone.  That’s the kind of “rest” He promises!

            Today’s joyful promise: “Take your burdens to the Lord and He will give you rest for your weary soul.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

God Has Never Broken a Promise...What JOY!

              Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  God’s plan includes much joy…abundant joy for each of us…that’s a promise!

            The Bible is packed with God’s promises. How many?  Well, it’s safe to say “THOUSANDS”. Some say over 7000.  But the exact number is not important.  What we need to remember is that when God makes a promise, He will never go back on it!

            2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) reassures us:

"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

            Let’s look at some specific promises found in scripture.  Most of us find ourselves at one time or another anxious about our future. We have no way of knowing what lies ahead.  Do you know that God gives us a promise about that?  And we don’t have to worry and fret!
Jeremiah 29:11:   ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

            Did you hear the promise? God has great plans for your future!  May we each take hold of that promise, entrust our plans to Him and find hope as we look expectantly to the Lord and a joyfully blessed future! 

               May we cling to God’s promises!  He has never broken His word! That is reason for JOY in Him!

Monday, June 23, 2014

God's Joy-filled Promises

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It promises to fill your heart with inexpressible love, peace and joy.

            When you hear the word “promise”, do you associate it with something good & exciting or sad & stressful?  Many times our perception of a concept is directly related to our past experiences.  If those who were close to us honored their promises to us for the most part, then we see a promise as a “good thing”.   However, if we experienced repeated heartache due to someone in our life breaking their promises to us over and over again, then we might be cautious of anyone who makes a promise.

            Let me share some JOYful news! Each one of us can rely on the truth that GOD MAKES PROMISES and HE KEEPS THOSE PROMISES—FAITFHULLY!
Remember the words of the old hymn:

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

            No matter what your past experiences, you can trust in The One Who will never let you down.  
 2 Peter 1:4 says:  And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

            The serving of JOY for today is in knowing that God has great plans for you as you will stand on His promises!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sucker Shoots or Fruitful Branches?

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s squeezed from the delicious fruit of the Vine!

            We’ve looked this week at the verse in John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

            Jesus is the true Vine.  We, as His followers, are the branches.  The question is, are we fruitful branches?  Or are we “sucker shoots”? 

A vine left to itself produces outgrowths called "sucker shoots". As they grow larger, they begin to do exactly what their name suggests: they suck away the life-giving sap on its way from the vine to the branch. Before long, the branch becomes malnourished and eventually dies, all because the sucker shoot was allowed to consume what was originally intended for the branch. Sucker shoots will never bear fruit. They will grow leaves abundantly, but they will never produce fruit. They will only greatly reduce the quantity and quality of fruit the true branches can bear.

That’s why pruning is necessary! The fruitless branches must be cut off and thrown away; and those that are bearing little fruit need to be pruned so that they will produce even more fruit.  Have you experienced the pruning process?  It’s not always pleasant; but when the “new fruit” comes, we can “taste and see that the Lord is “joyfully”good!

            Is the fruit of JOY evident in your life? Be a fruitful branch by “ABIDING in Christ”!  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Be A REAL, JOY-filled Believer (Abide in The Vine)

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It doesn’t matter where you are, you can always drink in the joy found in relationship with Jesus!

            Many people go to church for the wrong reasons: out of habit, to be with friends, or maybe even because they believe that attending church makes them good.  Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble…but sitting on a church pew doesn’t make us a Christian any more than standing in a candy store makes us sweet! SURE, going to church is a good thing…but we must be careful not to confuse it with a genuine relationship with Christ. God doesn’t live inside the church; He lives inside of His followers. We must “abide in Christ” and have a personal, intimate relationship with Him.  

             Jesus says, "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love." (John 15:9) A real disciple doesn't come to Christ, receive His love, and then leave again; he remains. When Jesus says: "abide in Me," “ bear much fruit," or "abide in My love," He means: "Be a real believer."

In John 15:4, Jesus tells us that “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”  In order for a branch to abide, it must be connected; it can’t be even a fraction of an inch away. Genuine, joy-filled Christians are those who are connected to Christ…abiding in His love.

           Only those who abide in the true Vine can claim the promise of genuine JOY!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Abide in Him and Live in JOY!

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  To know Christ is to experience genuine joy!

            It’s easy to talk about JOY in the Lord, but it’s not always easy to “live” it out daily, is it?  The way to do that is by “abiding in Him”, staying close to Him through prayer and searching His Word for direction in decisions great and small. In order to do that, we must be willing to relinquish control of our plans and be ready to totally trust His best plan.

            Charles Stanley points out in his book In Step With God that “God’s appointments are rarely ones we would choose.”  He asks the question: “Would you have thought to save Moses’ life by placing him in the care of Pharaoh’s daughter, which was right in the middle of the enemy’s household? But God did!”

            You see, GOD IS GOD!  He knows things we may never understand.  He sees the TOTAL plan; we only see the “now”. That is why it is imperative that we “abide in Him” so that we will be able to follow His leading, one step at a time.  When we ABIDE in Christ….that means we spend time with Him, we trust Him, we communicate with Him, we worship Him, we seek Him and His will for our life.

            John 15:4  says:  “Abide in me, and I in you.”   Jesus is saying, "Let me abide in you."  Allow Christ into your heart and life…and experience abundant joy!

            Joyfully ABIDE in Him and let God live in your heart! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Let His Word Take Root and Bear the Fruit of JOY

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Let it soak deep into your heart so that you will radiate with the JOY of the Lord.

            In John 8:31 (VOICE Bible) Jesus said:  "If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples;”

              ABIDE in His Word… Do you think that means memorizing scripture?  Well, though that’s a very good thing…it is much more than that! Even Satan knows what the scripture says. Remember that he quoted it to Jesus in the wilderness when he was trying to temp Him (Matthew 4: 1-10).

               Abiding in God’s word is allowing the words to take root and bear fruit in our life. It’s living out the Truth in every area of our thoughts, our words, our actions. It’s relinquishing our plans to His will and trusting that He knows best…even when we don’t understand..    

            John Piper explains it like this: “The abiding of Jesus’ word in us means that his words find a home in us. They fit. They belong.  When the word abides in us, it’s not foreign. It belongs. You move other things around and even get rid of some things so that the word has room and ‘feels at home.’ ” 

          So, in a nutshell, “abiding of His word” means that the words of Jesus take root and bear the fruit of faith and holiness….which of course, leads to JOY in Him!

            If we hear His voice and abide in His word, we are truly His (joy-filled) disciples.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Abide in Christ: Radiate His JOY!

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  If we will continually make it a priority, then we will find ourselves abiding in the JOY of the Lord.

            How does God get your attention? Often, I hear the same message repeatedly.  I’ll read something that touches my heart; then, it is brought to my attention again and again until I recognize that it is God speaking.  Over the past several months, frequently I’ve heard the message “BE STILL”…..”Be still and know that I am God.”  That message has been in my Bible readings, my devotional lessons, on Facebook and  even on a new bracelet….It was EVERYWHERE!  I saw it so often, that it almost became comical! I began to realize that God wasn’t going to stop with that message until I “got it”!

             Lately, I’ve been hearing another “message”….it’s three little words, but they hold a powerful punch!  ABIDE IN ME!”  John 15:4 says:
 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”  

            What does that mean….to ABIDE IN CHRIST? A simple definition might be: to live daily in the presence of the Lord….allowing Him to have complete control of our thoughts, words, actions and plans. In other words, we should stay drenched in the JOY JUICE of Jesus and as we seek to “ABIDE in HIM.”

            Let’s abide in Christ and radiate with His JOY!

Friday, June 13, 2014

May We Choose Mercy and Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  If you haven’t….whose fault is it?

            You don’t have to be around children long before you hear the words, “I didn’t do it!” or “Not my fault!”  Come to think of it, we adults aren’t much different, are we?  It’s hard to admit our own mistakes and shortcomings.  That’s when conflict often arises.

            When we find ourselves in a situation of conflict, we need to ask God to show us very specifically anything we have done to bring about the problem.  When we are “enlightened”, then it’s our responsibility to take responsibility!

  • Admit where we are at fault.
  • Ask for forgiveness…from God and the ones we’ve hurt.
  • Make a commitment to change our behavior.
  • Let’s give the other person a chance to express their feelings.
  • Listen and learn what God wants to teach you through the conflict.

One of the hardest things may be the “forgiving” aspect…especially when we have been hurt. Luke 6:36-37 reminds us: “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.  Judge not, and you shall not be judged.  Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

      “Forgiveness does not mean denying that you were hurt. Rather forgiveness means letting go and letting God.  It means turning another person over to God’s judgment and trusting God to deal with a person as He chooses, without putting yourself in the way.”  Charles Stanley

     When faced with conflict….Let Go and Let GOD fill you with peace and joy found only in Him.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Holy Spirit Will Teach You to be JOY-filled!

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drinking it faithfully helps us to be able to respond positively in times of conflict.

            Some things we can control; and some things we can’t.  One thing for sure is that we have no control over someone else’s actions or reactions.  However, we do have a choice about our own. When conflict arises, there are right ways and wrong ways to react.  We’ve probably all experienced the wrong ways….so let’s focus on the healthy ways to respond. Charles Stanley gives some tips for you and me, personally….even if the other person in the conflict doesn’t want to participate!

·        First, we should refuse to respond in anger.  Stanley says “if you have a short fuse, get a longer one!”
·        Make no attempt to defend yourself immediately. Just be quiet…that gentle spirit goes a long way to diffuse many uncomfortable situations.  Luke 12:12 says, “The Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” So until then….let’s stay quiet.
·        Ask the Holy Spirit to put a seal on your lips and to put a guard on your mouth…just as David prayed in Psalm 141:3.
·        Pray for discernment…about why the conflict happened in the first place. Then pray for His love, peace, patience, kindness, mercy and self-control…and JOY in the midst of the conflict!
Though we cannot always avoid conflict, we can choose to respond in a Godly manner. Share the JOY of the Lord everywhere you go…even when conflict rears its ugly head!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Do Not Stress....Be JOYfully Blessed!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today? It’s a healthy way to respond to any conflict that may arise!

            Think about the latest conflict you’ve had to face.  Did you respond in a healthy way?  Some people are in the habit of responding in ways that truly are very unhealthy.  Such as:

  • When they suppress their feelings.  They pretend that the conflict isn’t bothering them in the least.  They are in denial.
  • Or they may repress their feelings. They admit the conflict has taken place, but they won’t talk about it and try to resolve it. They act as if it will just go away by itself. They avoid confrontation.
  • OR there are those who are quick-tempered and it’s ALWAYS the other person’s fault! Their goal is to “get even”!

              Each of these responses is unhealthy.  They are tell-tale signs of an insecure person. And not only that, none of these responses leads to resolution of the conflict. Feelings are sometimes put “on hold” and they sit, soak and sour! In other words…they lose their joy and maybe even precious relationships. We can’t grow spiritually if we are holding onto bitter feelings.

      Colossians 3:13 says:   Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

      Communication is extremely important where conflict is involved.  May I suggest that we all need to talk to GOD first, seeking His wisdom about how to resolve the conflict? 

       May we rely on God to show us the way to forgiveness and JOY!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Like Paul, Choose JOY!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drinking in the JOY of the Lord can do nothing but GOOD!

             To be joyful doesn’t mean that we stick our head in the sand and pretend everything is rosy!  Being joyful has nothing to do with the power of positive thinking…though that really comes in handy sometimes! To be truly, genuinely joyful, we must walk hand-in-hand with Jesus, daily, seeking His will and direction in every area of our lives.  A wonderful example of this is Paul.

            Paul obviously had troubles and challenges.  You know he experienced sorrow and discouragement as he was imprisoned and faced many other kinds of trials.  In Philippians he shared his secret to being joyful: it was his relationship with Christ. To the Christians at Philippi…and to us…he says, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

            When conflict arises, let’s follow Paul’s example and refuse to wallow in self-pity, steam with anger or engage in a heated debate.  Instead, may we choose to see the big picture and glorify God in our actions. We are to “conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” “Regardless of how Paul felt personally, he chose to maintain an attitude of contentment, gratitude and joy.” (Charles Stanley in Walking Wisely)  That is not always easy, is it?  Pretty much impossible without God!

            We are limited in our ability to handle conflict. But with God, all things are possible…and that includes choosing to remain joyful regardless of the circumstances!  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Are You a JOY-filled Peacemaker?

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Conflict or harmony….it’s good for both!

            As hard as we try, we cannot always avoid conflict. Sometimes it happens through a misunderstanding or an innocent mistake. Though often intentional, conflict doesn’t always arise due to willful behavior; sometimes it’s just the opposite: neglect. The important thing to remember is that we need to communicate and discuss the reasons for our conflict.  If we ignore it…it will NOT just “go away”.

            When we disagree—for whatever reason—we need to lovingly and kindly broach the subject with the person.  Being open and honest with our feelings aids in helping each other understand how the other person feels and thinks. It even helps us to grow by being willing to hear new perspectives & ideas. 

            The Bible tells us that we are to be “peacemakers”.  Matthew 5:9 You recall that verse…”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Are you a “peacemaker” or a peace-breaker?  Our goal as Christians should always be to seek God’s peaceful resolution…no matter what the conflict.  That doesn’t mean that we always agree with the other person. At times we must stand up for Godly principles...but in a loving way. See it as an opportunity to show the love of Christ.

             If we choose to approach every situation with the attitude of Christ (as we are exhorted by Paul in Philippians 2:5) then when conflict erupts, we will remember that Jesus was willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve people.  Are we willing to do the same?

            Though we don’t like conflict, let’s show the love of the Lord and handle those touchy situations with His JOY!

Friday, June 6, 2014

"My Heart Leaps for JOY"

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drink it first, before your day gets started…because we never know what our day may hold.

            When someone mentions the date “September 11, 2101” or simply 9-11, our minds immediately rivet back that awful day when the terrorist group led by Muslim extremist Osama bin Laden, struck America with a series of violent attacks. Do you know what happened in our churches in the weeks that followed?  They began to fill up! People were desperately seeking a sense of meaning in all the turmoil.

            George Barna, director of Barna Research, found that church attendance initially exploded, only to dwindle away in the weeks and months following the crisis. He suggests that “churches succeeded at putting on a friendly face but failed at motivating the vast majority of spiritual explorers to connect with Christ in a more intimate or intense manner."

            Could it be that people were looking for answers… but not truly seeking God?  Some things we could never truly grasp.   Our spiritual journey consists of many periods where Gods wants us simply to trust Him….and that is when we grow the most in our spiritual walk! 

             In Psalm 28:7 we find words that we should commit to memory and live them out DAILY: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

           May we boldly take the hand of God as He leads us step by step….even along an unfamiliar path.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The JOY of Faith in God

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It doesn’t always make sense to drink it…but drink it anyway!

            I ran across an inspiring blog by Angela Mackey called “Rethinking My Thinking”. She expressed what many of us may feel about when God doesn’t make sense.   She writes:

“My human mind prefers neat bows and clean tidy understanding. Yet God doesn’t work that way. He allows pain, suffering, mental illness, infertility, evil in this world. He allows it. I can’t make sense of it and I wonder how now shall I live? I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense and I sit and puzzle and puzzle until as Dr. Seuss puts it “my puzzler is sore.” I never will understand because catch this…I am not God and God is much bigger than the tidy box I put Him in.”

            Do you ever question why God allows certain things to happen?  OR why He has NOT given you or someone you love the desire of your/their heart?  It all boils down to the truth that He is so much wiser than we are…and though we do not always understand the way He works, we can trust Him. One of the passages that I recall often when I don’t understand is in Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

           The JOY of faith in God is that we don’t have to know all the answers…because OUR GOD DOES!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Be Strong and (Joyfully) Courageous

               Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Whether it’s stormy or sun-shiny, the joy of the Lord is always ready to be served!

            “God does not promise us a life without storms or thorns.  He does promise us His presence, His help, and His rewards for our obedience in doing what He calls us to do.”  Charles Stanley

            Many of us are at the stage of life where we can reflect and recall God’s faithfulness through years.  Though we look forward to “retirement” from our careers, there is never a “retirement period” from God’s spiritual growth process. He will never call us to “stop serving”….though He does want it to periodically “be still” so that we can hear Him. Charles Stanley says that sometimes God calls us to step out of our comfort zone into a “courage zone”.

            It’s easy to come up with all kinds of excuses when this happens: 

  1. BUT, God….People might not understand!
  2. BUT, God…I can’t see all the details.
  3. BUT, God…I am comfortable and have no logical reason to leave this situation.
  4. BUT, God…this makes no sense!

“So often people refuse to do the will of God because they fear failure.  Let me encourage you—God does not set us up for failure.  He does not call us into a situation in order to watch us fall flat on our faces.” “God promises to be with us always.  Our part is to trust Him step by step.”

    God says to us in Joshua 1:9:  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Demonstrate God's Love and Joy...Regardless!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It will help you to feel loved and refreshed!

            You DO know that God loves you, don’t you?  We say we believe it…but do we truly live in His love every day, drawing strength from that truth? 

            Oswald Chambers writes (in My Utmost for His Highest):  “The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way.  I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person.  But just think how disagreeable I have been with God!”

            That’s pretty honest, isn’t it?  Will you admit that you are sometimes disagreeable with God?  Like when He prompts our hearts to do something that we think does NOT make sense.  Often we find ourselves arguing, bargaining or being completely disobedient!  When we live in His love, we trust Him…even when do not understand why He has allowed a circumstance into our lives. 

If we continually question God, asking Him “why?”---we can get stuck in a cycle of frustration, anger, and anxiety.  Instead, let’s look to David for a great example of trust and faith. In Psalm 16:8 he said, "I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (NASB) David focused on God  FIRST and then the situation. The result?  Complete security and peace. 

 Instead of asking “Why?” let’s ask, “How can we demonstrate God’s love and joy regardless of what’s going on around us?”

Monday, June 2, 2014

Changepoints Can Lead To Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  When you don’t know what else to do….it’s always right to drink in the JOY of the Lord!

            Looking back over my life, I can see distinct change-points where God got my attention and redirected my path; sometimes it was ever so slightly and other times, a great big U-turn was necessary!  At times He spoke by giving me a “restless spirit” and I didn’t understand what He was trying to do in my life.  Other times, I heard Him clearly, yet because of my human nature I wanted to argue a little.  “But God, that doesn’t make sense!  Surely I have misinterpreted what You have said.  You wouldn’t ask me to do that?!  Would You?”

            Yes, God does sometimes ask us to do things that don’t make sense to us or to others around us. Why does God choose to lead us into uncharted territory?  Could it be that He is testing our commitment to see if we will be obedient…even when we don’t understand?  Or might it be that He is protecting us from unforeseen heartache if we keep on the same path?  Maybe the change is to pour out unexpected blessings into our life.  No matter the “why”, we can depend on the love of God and that He is always looking out for our best interests. Through the years and many changes, I’ve learned a lot; and I’m still learning! When I don’t understand, I recall the scripture in Proverbs 3:5:

 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

             If you are at a change-point, the best thing to do is to trust in God and joyfully follow Him.