Total Pageviews

Friday, January 30, 2015

Let His Joy Overflow!

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  The past few days we’ve been looking at Ephesians 4. Some of the juice from these verses was hard to swallow.  But the first verse in Chapter 5 gives us some wise advice that will help us to make sure our JOY JUICE is fragrant and sweet.

            Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” 

        "Paul is telling us to model our lives after God.  Just as a professional actor is committed to capturing the emotions, looks, voice, and character of the person he is portraying, we are to put our whole heart and soul into imitating God.” (Rick Renner in Sparkling Gems)

            Acting like God takes lots of practice.  It’s not going to come easy…and we will never attain perfection. But we can determine to start TODAY; then try again tomorrow, and the next day and the next. We have the perfect role model: Jesus! Our goal should be to try to think like Him, love like Him, serve like Him.

            Just as children imitate their parents, we should imitate God.  His great love for us led him to sacrifice himself so that we might live. Our love for others should be a love that goes beyond affection to self-sacrificing service. (Life Application Bible footnote, Ephesians 5:1,2)  With this kind of love comes the obvious fruit of JOY!

Let GOD be your role model!  Be so filled with HIS JOY that it will naturally overflow onto others!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Willing to Forgive and Ready to Share His Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  If it’s made with the fruit of the Spirit, then you can know for sure that it’s “the real thing”!

            Continuing our study of Ephesians 4, let’s look at verse 32…   “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

            Most of us would say that we try to be kind to others.  But it is really difficult to be kind to someone who has hurt you or a family member or friend, isn’t it?  We know we need to forgive those who have wronged us; if we don’t our anger and hurt will become like a festering wound in our minds and souls….and thus comes the bitterness that is mentioned in the previous verse. (Ephesians 4:31)

            “Sometimes we try to do the right thing and forgive, only to have our act of forgiveness misunderstood or rejected.  After all, when we forgive someone, we are forgiving them for something they did wrong---and they may not be willing to admit this.  Or they may think we’re trying to manipulate them or make them treat us better.  This is why we need to focus on our own attitudes and forgive them in our hearts---whether they accept our forgiveness or not.”  (Billy Graham)

            Billy Graham reminds us that we don’t ever have to worry about this kind of “misunderstanding” from God.  “When we come to Christ, our sins are forgiven and our relationship is restored---completely and fully.”  Oh, what JOY floods our hearts when forgiven by the Savior!

May our prayer be: “Father, give us a compassionate heart…willing to forgive and ready to share the joy of  Jesus!”  


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Free from Bitterness and Filled with Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Ephesians 4 is a power-packed chapter of instruction for those who want to become more like Christ and spread His JOY.

Look at verse 31: ”Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

 Paul first mentions bitterness in that verse.  When a person becomes offended and doesn’t deal with that offense correctly, it becomes embedded in the heart and soul….and turns into bitterness. If we’re not careful, we can become so inwardly infected with bitterness that we are outwardly affected in our appearance and disposition. Then comes the rage, anger, slander and maybe, even brawling that the scripture refers to.

It’s time for a self-examination!  If you find yourself constantly saying negative things about someone who has offended you or upset you in the past it may be that a root of bitterness is trying to grow inside your heart!  That’s when it’s time to call The Master Surgeon and repent before Him; ask Him to rip those destructive roots clean out of your heart.  If we don’t, the roots of bitterness will go down deep into the soil of our soul, and eventually we will be filled with bitter fruit.

God, please replace any bitter fruit in our lives with sweet, Christ-like fruit which, of course, includes the fruit of joy!

  As words flow from our lips today, may we be prayerful and careful that they are free from bitterness and filled with joy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit! Bring Him Joy!

             Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Ephesians 4: 29 talks about not letting unwholesome talk come out of our mouths.  That’s one good way to serve “joy” to those around us!

            What happens when we don’t allow God control over our words?  Unwholesome talk escapes our lips! Verse 30 of that same passage says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.”   Does this mean that when we allow hurtful words, critical remarks, angry retorts to spew from our lips, that we have GRIEVED the Holy Spirit?

              I researched what this word “grieved” means in the context it is used in this verse.  The word denotes a pain or grief that can only be experienced between two people who deeply love each other.        This tells us that the relationship that exists between the Holy Spirit and us is precious! God is deeply in love with us! Are we in love with Him? 

              We need to realize how special the Holy Spirit is in our lives and honor Him by making sure that we live wholesome, upright, holy lives.  That includes the words that come from our mouths, the attitudes we have toward each other, our behavior on a day to day basis! Let’s bring JOY to the Holy Spirit instead of grieving Him.  When we commit to doing this, joy will become a natural part of our lives!

Think before you speak; pray before you open your mouth….and allow the joy of the Lord to spring forth from a heart of love.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

May Our Words Be Joyfully Wholesome

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  While reading my Bible and sipping my Joy Juice, I came across the scripture in Ephesians 4:29; “Let not any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful in building others up according to their need, that it may benefit those who listen.”

            Oh, my! Numerous times I have miserably failed in this area.  Those times when I lost my cool with my children and said things that were not “helpful in building them up”…..the times when I carelessly pass on gossip without even considering who it may hurt….and the occasions when my words have been judgmental and critical of others. 

            How can we be sure that the words that come out of our mouths are “wholesome”?  We should start by repenting. We’ve all fallen short in this area. Let’s be willing to allow God to be in control of our thoughts, your reactions and our words. Before we open our mouths, we should ask ourselves, “Would Jesus say this?” “Are my words going to be helpful in building this person up?”  “Will the people who hear my words benefit as they listen?”

            If the answer to any of these questions is NO, let’s determine to be quiet until God fills our mouth with HIS words…Words that will bring encouragement and joy to those who will hear.

May the words that we speak today fill others with joy and benefit all who listen.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Swallow the Fruit of Self-Control and Find Joy

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  The last fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 may not seem as “tasty” as the others. It’s the fruit of SELF-CONTROL.

            “Self-control or “temperance” simply means to “have the strength to control the “self”.  We know this is a losing battle until we surrender totally to Christ.  This fruit of the Spirit called self-control makes all the other fruit operative.  Ask yourself:  Do I exhibit self-control in my daily walk?

            The Bible gives us instruction:

  •  2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us that we are to keep control of our thought, taking every thought captive.

  • James 3 tells us to guard our tongues.  We are told explicitly not to lie, bear false witness, or gossip.

  • James 4: that we are to avoid sinning in our relationships with others---

            These are just some of ways God instructs us to use self-control.  And He knows that we need His help!   The Holy Spirit will work in our hearts to help us live above sinful practices, if we will allow Him.  As a result, we can model God’s values as we allow His power to help us daily; then we can more effectively share His love for others and spread His joy.

 Allow God to guard your thoughts and your words; ask Him to give you the fruit of the Spirit so that you may be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled! (Galatians 5)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wait in Gentleness and Receive Joy

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?   We’ve tasted lots of fruit these past few days, but here’s another delicious one we need to try…GENTLENESS.

Jesus is the perfect example! In Matthew 11:29, He said, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

            Gentleness….some versions use the word “meekness”...not to be confused with  WEAKNESS!  Gentleness describes a calm disposition, particularly under fire--which actually requires a great deal of strength.

One of the most familiar nursery rhymes is about Humpty Dumpty.  You remember:  "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again." Charles Swindoll says that little nursery ryhme was originally written about people; broken people; who fell off the wall and found themselves smashed. Ever felt that way? All the King’s horses and all the King’s men can not put us back together again. But God can, and through our Christian gentleness He will.

          Andrew Murray, the great South African 19th Century preacher, put it like this: “The Spirit teaches me to yield my will entirely to the Will of the Father. He opens my ear to wait in great gentleness and teachableness of soul for what the Father has day by day to speak and teach. He discovers to me how union with God’s will is union with God himself; how entire surrender to God’s will is the Father’s claim, the son’s example and the true blessedness of soul.” 

  Joyfully accept your opportunities to bear the beautiful fruit of gentleness! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stand "Joyfully" Firm in Your Faith

             Have you had your Joy Juice today?  The Fruit of the Spirit is something that all Christians should desire as a part of their daily spiritual diet.  The fruit on our menu for today is FAITHFULNESS. 

            In 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul teaches that each should “stand firm in your faith”.  That means that we should not get discouraged and give up easily.  Faith can make us ultimately strong, because it gives us the ground on which to stand.  Standing firm, being faithful in even the little things is imperative to growing in our spiritual walk.

            Too many of us are not faithful in the little things.  We sometimes break our promises, don’t follow through on an obligation or don’t show up for engagements.  Some people fail to pay their debts promptly.  How can we demonstrate faithfulness in ALL things?  We can start by being on time for work or appointments; by making that phone call to the person who God has prompted us to encourage and especially, by faithfully spending time with Him.

            “The person who is always dependable, who is faithful in the least, as well as in the greatest, whose life and character are true through and through, gives out a light in this world which honors Christ and (brings JOY to) others.”  (Rev. James R. Miller from God’s Treasury of Virtues.)

 Lamentations 3:23 says:   “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning”.  Start fresh today and be joyous in His faithfulness.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Share the Fruit of Goodness...and Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  In Galatians 5 we find the delicious fruit of LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE and KINDNESS, to name a few. What’s on the fruit platter for today?  It’s GOODNESS.

            We use the word “GOOD” many times a day!  To praise a child we say “Good job!”   We tell one another when we’ve seen a good movie or read a good book or found a good restaurant.  But what does goodness mean in the spiritual context?

            James Hamilton wrote: “Goodness is love in action, love with its hand to the plow, love with the burden on its back, love following His footsteps who went about continually doing good.”

            That’s exactly what Jesus did…he went about doing good, as we are reminded in Acts 10:38.  Can we do that?  We can if we “go about” with God.

            The fruit of the Spirit must continually be cultivated. We don’t produce it once for all time. It’s a continual process of becoming more like Him so that goodness will be expressed in our lives instead of the old selfish qualities. If we focus on the wrong things, we will reap some very selfish, evil fruit in our behavior and relationships. But when meditate on God’s attributes, we will bear good fruit which leads to kind, generous, loving acts toward others.

            Start sharing the fruit of GOODNESS and you’ll find yourself spreading the JOY of the Lord. 

 In Mark 10:18 we read: "Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked. "Only God is truly good.”  Walk in God’s goodness and find true joy.

Monday, January 19, 2015

"Be Ye Kind" and Be Ye Joyful!

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Many of us are striving toward a healthier new year…and in doing so we are trying to make better choices.

            Last week we discussed adding fruit to our spiritual diet…the Fruit of the Spirit.  Galatians 5: 22-23 names a variety of fruit that we should have as we mature in our Christian walk.  There is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, and PATIENCE.  The next one listed in that passage is KINDNESS.

            One of the first Bible verses many of us learned as a child was “Be ye kind, one to another.”  Ephesians 4:32.   It was easy to recite but not nearly as easy to live out. 

            Let’s look at that verse again.  The NIV says it this way: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, ,forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”  Have you noticed how often the Bible connects being kind with forgiving others?  It’s easy to be kind to those who are kind to us.  But what about those who are spiteful and seem to try to hurt us?  Well, Luke 6:28 has the answer for that: “bless those who curse you; pray for those who spitefully use you.”

             If we desire to be like Christ, KINDNESS is a necessary fruit. When we share this fruit with everyone, we will experience a joyful attitude ourselves….and the joy cycle begins.

 “Be Ye KIND”…and be ye joyful!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Love, Joy, Peace and PATIENCE

             Have you had your Joy Juice today?  We’ve had a steady diet of fruit this week. Galatians 5 has taught us about the “Fruit of the Spirit”….Love, Joy, Peace and the next one on the list….PATIENCE!  

            Many times, are you like I am when, I feel like uttering a desperate prayer to God: “Lord, give me patience and give it to me NOW!”  In my own strength, I don’t always do so well in this area! The fruit of “patience” is something God does in us.  But, we must be willing to allow Him to work.

            For example, when someone annoys or hurts us, we need to soak our thoughts in the fruit squeezed from the Joy Juice of Jesus!  If we’re stuck in traffic, instead of getting angry and agitated, let’s chew on the fruit of patience. When we are behind a slow person in the grocery store or the check out lane, try to recognize that person as someone Jesus loves…and so should we!  

When others are getting on our last nerve, let’s try to see them through the eyes of Jesus.  We wonder why they’re acting in such an obnoxious way or why they are so distant or arrogant.  It could be because of tremendous pain in their lives. We never know what others are going through. They may be trying to protect themselves.

When we allow God to develop that fruit called PATIENCE (or longsuffering) in our lives, we begin to see things from a whole different perspective---one that is flavored with His love, His joy, His peace and His patience. 

 May we be patient with others as we radiate the fruit of the Spirit!   

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Peace & Joy in the Midst of the Storms

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  What kind of fruit have you chosen to enjoy with your serving of Joy Juice this morning?

            The familiar passage in Galatians 5 reminds us of the Fruit of the Spirit.  The fruit of love is of utmost importance; then there’s JOY that we certainly want to share with others.  What’s next on the list?  It’s the fruit of PEACE.

          David Jeremiah tells of two artists who were asked to paint pictures of peace as they perceived it.  One painted a quiet, still lake, far back in the mountains.  The other painted a raging, rushing waterfall which had a birch tree leaning out over it with a bird resting in a nest on one of the branches.

           Which one truly depicts peace?  The second one does, because there is no such thing as peace without opposition. The first picture may look serene and is a beautiful scene. But it doesn’t depict God’s rest.  His peace is a spiritual peace, one that operates in the midst of the storm.  Jesus didn’t come to remove all our problems, but instead to give us a different approach to the storms of life.

             As we begin this new year, let’s remember that though we do not know what storms may be ahead, we can be assured that the peace of God can be ours no matter what.  Love, Joy, Peace….what delicious fruit!  Each is freely ours by allowing God to have first place in our hearts.  

Peace be with you as you accept the love and joy of the Lord.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Remain in Christ to Remain Joyful

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Let’s stir up some sweet, fruit-flavored Joy Juice for today’s serving.

            Galatians 5 is a familiar passage as we talk about the Fruit of the Spirit.  The first fruit mentioned on that list is LOVE. Then comes…what I love to talk about…JOY!  :)

          Paul teaches that if we want the “fruit of the Spirit” to grow in us, we must allow God to have complete control of every area of our lives.   In John 15:4 Jesus says: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

            To have a life filled with JOY, we must remain in Him, continually.  Genuine JOY comes from the fruit garden that is deep within the heart of one who has surrendered his all to Christ.  Sure, life is going to serve up some “sour crops” from time to time.  We’re not always going to like what’s in life’s fruit cobbler…, but we can always wash it down with lots of JOY JUICE, because we know that the Creator has our best interest at heart.    

            God knows what we need to help us develop and grow, spiritually.  Next time life serves you something bitter or distasteful, ask The Lord what you can learn from the experience.  If you are “remaining” in Him, you will be able to face whatever it is by continuing to drink in His special recipe of JOY.

            Remain joyful by “remaining in Him”. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Shine with His Love and Share His Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Yesterday we talked about how important fruit is as a healthy part of our diet.  Let’s look at those verses in Galatians 5 a little closer today to make sure we understand what kind of fruit we need for our spiritual health. 

            The first fruit mentioned in verse 22 of Galatians 5 is the fruit of LOVE.  I don’t think it’s an accident that this fruit is first on the list.  If we don’t have love, our Christian example will be ineffective.

            Love is more important than all the spiritual gifts exercised in the church body.  Great acts of faith, acts of dedication or sacrifice produce very little without love. Love makes our actions and gifts useful. 

            The way I see it, we have to accept God’s love in order to be able to give it away.   God’s love is to be directed outward…toward others.  It’s possible to practice this kind of love only if God helps us set aside our own desires and instincts, so that we can give love without expecting nothing in return.  The more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others.

            That’s why one of our most passionate heart’s desires should be---to be like Christ! Meditate and pray over the words found in Galatians 5:22-23.  With God’s help, we can be joyful Christians who radiate the LOVE of Christ!

 Shine with the love of Jesus and share His joy with others!  

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Fruit Garden...with Lots of Joy!

          Have you had your Joy Juice today? How are doing with keeping your New Year’s resolutions? Are you trying to develop healthy habits?  

            Nutritionists tell us that we need between 5 and 9 servings of fruit per day.  Fruit is 100% bad-cholesterol free!  It stimulates the memory & it has healing effects. But not only is fruit good for us physically…it’s a necessary part of our spiritual diet, as well!

            Did you know that the Bible talks about FRUIT?  In Galatians 5: 22-23 we read:  
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” If we want to grow healthy spiritually, we should let God develop each of these nine “servings” of fruit in us!

            The fruit of the Spirit refers to the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.  The term “fruit” in this context means character traits which are found in the nature of Christ.  When this fruit is evident in our lives, it’s only because it is the by-product of Christ’s control in us.  It is with God’s help that this kind of beautiful fruit can grow.  

            Why not ask God to plant a fruit garden in your heart?   You might just find yourself with such an abundant crop that you’ll be squeezing JOY JUICE to share with all your neighbors!  That’s the way to spread the joy of Jesus as you follow the path He has laid out before you!

Drink your Joy Juice faithfully! Share the “fruit of the Spirit”…especially that fruit called “joy”.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Are You a Joyful Giver?

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  I hope you’ve decided to develop the good habit of drinking that Joy Juice each morning of 2015!

             This week we have talked about ways to live a JOY-filled life.  We’ve made our New Year’s Resolutions, we’ve examined our attitude to make sure we are striving toward having the attitude of Christ, we’ve talked about the benefits of laughter.  

            Here is another suggestion that will bring us much JOY.  It’s the opposite of what we often hear from the world.  If we want to experience real joy, we need to give, give, give! Yes, you heard me.  We should develop a habit of giving.  Jesus did; and He encouraged His followers to do the same. 

            Jesus gave His life selflessly and sacrificially. Are we willing to give to the point of sacrifice… of our time, our comfort, our convenience, our resources?  Giving can be as simple as a smile or a hug or that well-timed word of encouragement but it can also be costly. Are we willing to go the extra mile and give of our time, our resources, our comfort? It’s not always convenient!  2 Corinthians 9:7 says:  “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

            In 2015 let’s determine to be a “cheerful giver”!  Let’s ask God to show us how we can be a blessing to others.  When we are God’s messenger of joy, our own “joy bank” will be overflowing.    

May 2015 be a year for giving. Father, open our eyes and our hearts to needs of those around us and use us as Your instrument of joyful blessings.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Be Cheerful! Dance Your Joy Jig!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Is that you I hear giggling as you slurp your Joy Juice this morning?

            Laughter is so good for us! Learning to lighten up and laugh is one of the keys to enjoying life.  Studies have been done to prove that laughter boosts our bodies’ immune system and reduces hormones that trigger stress.   One Stanford University scientist conducted a study that showed that the immune system of those who laugh a lot releases more disease-fighting t-cells than those of “non-laughers”.  T-cells are major weapons in fighting off sickness and disease. 
            It makes me want to laugh at the simple fact that science is now “proving” what the Bible has told us for years….”A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)  A cheerful attitude really does lead to a healthier life!

            So take this advice from Dr. Joyce….start taking your “JOY” medicine daily…24 hours a day, if need be.  Learn how to laugh.  I once heard a pastor remind his church family that it’s easy to “sit, soak and sour” if we’re not intentional about our spiritual condition.  So, let’s keep a cheerful heart in all circumstances. Rely on God to help you see the humor in even the tough times.  Feel free to go to THE Doctor for your prescription of JOY JUICE as often as is needed.

Find something to laugh about today…every hour of the day!  It will improve your health, physically, mentally and spiritually. You might even find yourself dancing a Joy Jig!  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Drink Your Joy Juice...With a Good Attitude!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Hope you’re drinking it with a good attitude! 

            We all want 2015 to be a year filled with abundant joy, don’t we?  We know that we will have to face some difficult circumstances. BUT we can still experience joy if we will follow the instruction of  Philippians 2:5: “Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus.”

             Would people describe you as having “the attitude of Christ”?  One of love, humility, forgiveness, obedience, service.   Airplane pilots often use "attitude" to describe their horizontal relationship with the runway. If their attitude isn’t aligned properly, the plane will make contact with the ground at the wrong angle and it will cause them to crash. In essence, our attitude is our inward disposition toward other things, such as people or circumstances. As with an airplane, attitude is applied whenever we must deal with something other than ourselves. According to God’s word, when you become a Christian, a part of your new creation is the development of new attitudes — your attitude should become like that of Jesus. ( Dr. Dale A. Robbins)

            Set your attitude barometer to be like Jesus; allow Him to adjust your flight pattern and enjoy the journey of 2015.   Let’s fly through the new year on wings of joy!  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Be A Joy Consultant!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Are you facing this new year with a cheerful outlook and sharing your Joy Juice with others?

             We all have a fundamental need for joy in our lives. But some of us find it harder to practice than others.  Rick Warren tells of an article in US News & World Report about some corporations who hire “joy consultants” to build up joy in their employees.  When they are “joyful”, they are more productive. “It’s true that you have more energy, more creativity, and more productivity when you have joy in your life.” (Rick Warren)

            One thing that is certainly our enemy when it comes to losing our joy is when we concentrate on the mistakes and regrets of our past.  Did you know there is a verse in the Bible that tells us not to do that? In Philippians 3:13-14  Paul says: “I do not consider myself to have embraced it yet. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God's heavenly call in the Messiah Jesus.”
            We have a choice every day.  We can be weighted down by our past and regrets  OR we can choose to let God have control and look joyfully ahead, pursuing God’s purpose for our life.  

             God, we know that you have a plan for each of our lives.  Give us the strength  to refuse to live in defeat and discouragement.  Help us to release our past to you and move forward toward a future filled with abundant joy in You.

Put the past behind and move joyfully closer to Jesus!  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Start the New Year with a Joyful Perspective!

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

            If I could have one wish for each of you as this new year begins, it would be that 2015 will be filled with JOY and contentment.   Though we don’t have control over most of the circumstances in our life, we do have control over the way we react them.

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

            In John 16:33 Jesus reminds us: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  In other words, Jesus will not abandon us. If we can remember the truth that the ultimate victory has already been won, we can claim the peace and joy of Christ even in the most troublesome times. 

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

Look to Jesus for a joyful perspective and trust Him in times of trouble as well as times of triumph. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year to Grow in Faith and Joy

          Have you had your JOY JUICE today? A new year has begun and I hope we have all resolved to drink our Joy Juice faithfully, right?

            If we had a choice, I believe that each of us would choose to have nothing but happiness and joy throughout this New Year, 2015.  We’d like no sickness, no problems, no financial difficulties…just pleasure and comfort.  That sounds like a wonderful life, doesn’t it?

            But----would we grow spiritually or simply become stagnant?  I’ve found that the times that I grow the most in my relationship with the Lord is often during the tough times….times of adversity.

            Let’s face it!  This New Year will come with challenges.  We must realize that sometimes God uses adversity to teach us, mold us, transform us into the person He created us to be.

          Charles Stanley says that when the tough times come, we should:
“Thank God for this unique opportunity to grow spiritually.  You are not simply to endure suffering; you are to grow and mature through it. The best way to develop this attitude is to thank Him every day for the spiritual growth in your life.”

            The Bible tells us in 2 Cor. 12:9 that “God’s grace is sufficient”.  So in this new year, let’s thank God every day for our spiritual growth!  If we’ll do this, our JOY will increase, right along with our faith!

Don’t dread what each day might bring.  But be prepared to learn what God wants to teach us about His grace and joy.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Resolve to be Joyful in 2015

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Happy New Year!  Let’s begin  2015 with a great big healthy glass of Joy Juice!

             Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions?  Some of us may be determined to lose weight, start an exercise program, or at least begin eating healthy in 2015.  Others may decide to tackle a project that we’ve been putting off.  Whatever it may be, a new year’s resolution usually is our attempt at improving ourselves and accomplishing more that we did in the past year.

            I’d like to challenge each of us to make some spiritual resolutions for the new year.  Here are a few that we could put on our list:

  1. Make God our top priority.
  2. Develop a daily quiet time for prayer and Bible study.
  3. Before making any decision, ask for God’s guidance.
  4. Share your faith with others.
         Our list could go on & on, but I think you get the picture.  Make your own personal list of things you would like to change or improve in your spiritual life.  There will be days in this new year that are real challenges. And on those days, we might feel ourselves sliding backwards.  When this happens, let’s pull out our list and ask God to give us the wisdom, strength and the JOY to never give up!

May God fill us with His wisdom and joy as we seek to become more like Him in this new year!  Make sure ‘spreading the joy of the Lord’ is near the top of your New Year’s Resolution list!