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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Door to Joy...JESUS!

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  You don’t have to earn it! It yours, free for the taking.  

             Many people think that they can earn their way to heaven. 

  • Some try to live a good life.
  • Some open up a prayer book for 5 minutes every week and read what's on the page.
  • Some go to an organized meeting once a week thinking/hoping it will earn them a place in heaven.
  • Some try to help little old ladies across the street every chance they get (as well as other “good deeds” that will show they deserve to be in heaven.)

             Consider this: when we want to get into someone’s home, we have two choices.  We can be invited and enter through the door OR we can break in some other way.  We are considered a “welcomed guest” when we come in through the open door.

 On the other hand, what would you think if, in the wee hours of the morning, someone breaks your window and enters your home. It is most likely NOT your best friend coming to surprise you.  It’s a thief!  And that’s what Jesus calls the person who tries to get into heaven any other way but through Him.

           “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.” John 10:1 Understand that  heaven is God's home.  And The Door to God's home has a name. His name is Jesus—

            In John 10:9, Jesus said: "I AM THE DOOR: BY ME IF ANY MAN ENTER IN, HE SHALL BE SAVED..."  May we enter The Door with JOY!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Wait for the Lord"...Joyfully!

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Drink in the ecstatic joy of stepping outside your comfort zone and finding the gifts God has for you!

            Stepping outside our comfort zones requires boldness….going beyond what we can see and feel and know.  According to The Bible for Hope: “When people have faith in God, they know without a doubt that He will keep His promises.  They live and make choices in this world based on the unseen reality of their future home in heaven.  They persevere in their faith despite pain, hardship, or persecution, because they are convinced that the unseen God is with them.  In short, faith in God makes all the difference, both now and for eternity.”

            Abraham is a great Biblical example of someone leaving his comfort zone and stepping out in faith. He practiced an inside-out faith.  What he believed in his mind and heart, he put to action with his life.  He turned trust into travel and experienced God’s grace and power along the way.”  God’s promises to Abraham did come true…but in His perfect timing, not Abraham’s. 

            Let’s strive to be like Abraham…practicing “inside-out faith”.  It’s one thing to SAY we believe…but it’s another thing to willingly trust in God’s plan and His perfect timing.  As Psalms 27:14 says: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.”

            Step out of your comfort zone and enter into God’s zone of ecstatic joy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

God's Joy Zone

             Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Even if your situation is uncomfortable, you can always drink in the joy of the Lord.

            Many times we hear the term “comfort zone.”  What is that?  According to Wikipedia: “The comfort zone is a psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control, and experiences low anxiety.”

            When we are in our comfort zone, we usually are going through the motions of our usual habits and we really don’t want to face anything unexpected. Comfort is good; comfort is usually preferred, if we have a choice.  But comfort is not always in God’s plan.  It is often in the uncomfortable places that we experience growth—a deeper relationship with God—the tender touch of His comfort and peace.  

            May I suggest that as we step out of our “comfort zones” that we step into God’s “joy zone”…. Joy in knowing that in our weakness, He is strong…the joy of accepting His plan as the “best” plan. Joy in trusting that He always is with us.  THAT is the “Joy Zone!”  Memorize the short portion of scripture from Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” 

            Let’s not get so comfortable that we miss God’s best plan.  Step into the JOY ZONE and invite others to come along with you.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Joy Gifts Outside Our Comfort Zone

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  If not, step out of your comfort zone and try a different flavor of God’s joy.          

            As I was reading a great devotional by Ann Voskamp, these words jumped off the page and into my heart. She writes: “When God moves us out of our comfort zone—into places that are way bigger than us, places that are difficult, hard, painful places that even hurt—this is a gift!  These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.”  One Thousand Gifts Devotional

            What a different perspective!  Do we typically see the difficulties of life as “gifts”?  We usually like the comfort of the familiar; the security of knowing where we are headed and how to get there.  But when the unexpected comes, often we are thrown off course. We become anxious about how to handle the uninvited challenges.

            Let’s make an effort to “see” each difficulty as a “joy gift” which can draw us closer to God!  Can we thank Him for the hard times that lead to a deeper relationship with Him?  Do we understand that He is our strength when we are weak? May we graciously accept each gift of joy, regardless of how it is wrapped! When we invite God to go with us, we will discover unexpected, indescribable gifts of joy all along our journey.

           Step out of your comfort zone and accept your new “joy gifts.”    


Friday, April 24, 2015

A Joyful Habit

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Forming a good habit of drinking it daily is a sure way to focus on a life of JOY!

          The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle, said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” 

          Some of our habits are good and some are…NOT.  Hopefully, most of us are in the habit of washing our face and brushing our teeth every morning. That’s a good habit!  Going to church faithfull is a good habit.
      But what about being glued to the tv…or our cell phones, iPads and computers? While some of that can be good…we can take it to the extreme and form a bad habit…spending hours on social media rather than…say….in the Word of God?  

            Maybe we should pray about our habits!  Prayer, itself, is a good habit; one of the best I know!  Let’s rely on God to fill us with His wisdom and JOY…developing the habit of always going to Him first!  In Proverbs 4:11, God promises us:  “I will guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.”  That seems so simple, doesn’t it?  But we need to be aware that we’re in a battle because our enemy is out to destroy those good, Godly habits by tempting us in our weak areas.

            Standing firm in our faith is a wonderful habit that will help us to walk in His ways. With God’s help we can practice His wisdom and JOY until it becomes a natural part of our life.

            Let’s develop a JOYful habit of drinking and sharing the JOY JUICE of JESUS!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

An Unquenchable Thirst for the Joy Juice of Jesus

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s the best way I know to keep a JOYful outlook on life!

            Many times we have major decisions to make and we don’t have a clue which WAY to go!  Maybe the decision is between two good things.  That makes it extra difficult to discern what’s best.  It could be that no matter what decision we make, someone is going to be hurt. 

            Often we get unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends. How do we know who to listen to?  Well, there is One Someone Who we can always trust to guide us and help us make the best decisions.  Listen to the reassuring words of God in Psalm 32:8.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and
watch over you.”

Our Heavenly Father desires to instruct us and teach us the right way…..And He has given us the best Instruction Manual and Guidebook ever written….the HOLY BIBLE!  Like a good student who has to discipline himself to study for exams, we should be diligent in studying the scriptures so that we will be able to “pass the test” when our time comes!  He promises to counsel us and watch over us, but we must be obedient to His leading. 

            Let’s determine to study the Instruction Manual so that when test time comes, we will pass with flying colors.  May our Master Teacher be JOYfully pleased with our obedience and faithfulness.

            “Study to show yourself approved” (2 Timothy 2:15) and you’ll develop an unquenchable thirst for the JOY JUICE of Jesus!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

God's Way is Joyfully Perfect

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today? If not, you may be in danger of losing your joy!

            All of us have experienced that “lost” feeling!  Maybe we were driving in a big city or in unfamiliar territory. It may have been when we were trying to make a major life choice and didn’t know which way to go.  There is also the “lostness” of  when our life takes an unexpected drastic turn and we feel extremely unprepared.

I’ve previously shared the personal illustration of when I was five years old & got separated from my mom in a large department store.  I can still remember that feeling of sheer panic! I could not see my mom anywhere….but mother had never lost sight of me!  She was only a few feet away, watching me the whole time.  All I had to do was call out to her.

            Do you ever panic because it seems that the Lord has forgotten you?  You don’t “see” Him anywhere!   Take a deep breath and know the truth of scripture that He will NEVER leave you!  His eyes are focused precisely on you.  Many times it is 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. 

Psalm 18:30 gives these comforting 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.”

             The Word of God is perfectly flawless; let’s drink the JOY JUICE that comes from following Him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Only Way to Genuine Joy

           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! (Life Application Study Bible)

            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!

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

"This is the Way" Joy!

         Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  As you drink it, listen for God to give you instructions for the day.

            Throughout the Bible we are given instruction about which way to go. If we will be sensitive to God’s leading, then we will learn to hear His voice as He guides us, one step at a time.  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.'"

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 and instruction. 

             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 comfortable and out of step with God.

            There will be times when we’ll experience painful trials; But we must remember that God always acts out of his love for us.   Next time we go through a difficult time, let’s try to grow from the experience, learning what God wants to teach us.  God may be showing His love by patiently walking with us through adversity and pointing the WAY---one step at a time.

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

Friday, April 17, 2015

In Partnership with Jesus

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Listen carefully to God as He navigates you through your day.

            Isn’t it much easier to follow someone’s directions when you trust that they know what they are talking about?  If someone has proved trustworthy in your life, you are much more likely to cooperate with their advice & counsel.  

            God has proved Himself faithful…trustworthy…time after time.  1 Corinthians 1:9 in the New Living Translation says:   God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

            Do you trust God to take the steering wheel of your life?  Or do you think you  know what is best? Have you decided to do the driving yourself?  It’s a sure thing that when you try to take the wheel from God, you will NOT be talking to Him in the same manner as if you were trusting Him to do the driving.   Your communication with Him will be hindered. Words of gratitude will be replaced by complaining, and praise will be ruined by criticism. You will find that you won’t be able to communicate with God easily because you’ll be thinking that He should be driving better” *… or to a different location.  Your journey will be filled with challenges.

           May we each allow God to take the steering wheel and then sit back, rest in Him and enjoy a wonderful drive with lots of good, honest communication and…of course…joy in the Lord.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Give God the Wheel for the Joy Ride of Life

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Enjoy the journey as you drive through your day.

            Often we jump into the driver’s seat and without a second thought, take control of the wheel.  We know we must be careful to obey the traffic laws and to be cautious of other drivers along the way.  Especially when the highways are crowded or the weather is dangerous, we have to be on high alert so that we can arrive at our destination safely.

            While I’ve been referring to driving a vehicle…let’s talk for a minute about our lives…the choices we make…the detours we choose… the storms we have to navigate through.  IF we choose to travel the road of life alone, without God, then we will be anxious and not experience the JOY found by resting in Him..

 Here’s a great analogy from Focus on the Family contributor, Shana Schutte:

Imagine a woman who is trying to wrestle the driver’s wheel away from her husband. Now imagine a woman who is sitting in the passenger’s seat allowing her husband to drive without complaining or correcting. Which one do you think is experiencing rest? The one who trusts and is sitting in the passenger’s seat, of course. She is enjoying the scenery. She is not fretting about how her husband will get her where she needs to go. She is just relaxing and resting…But, the other woman doesn’t have time to enjoy a thing because she is too busy trying to be in control. If she would only choose to trust, she could rest, too.”

            Let’s give God the steering wheel and get ready for a joyous ride!

Psalm 37:7  "Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let God "Service" Your Heart with His Oil of Joy

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Whether you drive a brand new sports car or a run-down jalopy, God’s serving of joy can taste just as sweet!

            There are many different types of cars we can choose to drive.  And there are similarities and differences among them. Every car has a motor, wheels, bumpers and windows…as well as many other things that a “girl” like me would know nothing about.  I do know that you have to turn the ignition to start the car; and that you move your steering wheel to the right or left when you want to turn. Brakes help you stop and lights help you to see. Those are the kinds of things that are the same about all vehicles.  But what about the differences?  Color, size, style, speed, design, make, cost, etc. etc…

            People also come in different sizes and styles….but we all are made by the same “Designer”.  God has given us an owner’s manual (Bible) that He wants us to read consistently.  Daily wear and tear can damage us.  Just because we’re still “running” and things look okay on the outside, does not necessarily mean that everything is good on the inside. 1 Samuel 16:7 says:  “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

          Just as a car needs servicing,  we, too, need to keep our lives running smoothly by allowing God to do daily inspections. Allow Him to use His Oil of Joy to lubricate all the places that need His special touch.   

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Drive Joyfully

           Have you had your Joy Juice today!  It’ll help you to drive more joyfully throughout the day!

            Do you see the parallel between driving a car and driving through life?  When we get behind the steering wheel of a vehicle, we are in charge of where we are going.  (Husbands may disagree….especially when we wives give our not-so-always-welcome “help” from the passenger’s seat.)  The driver starts the engine and turns the steering wheel in the direction of their destination.  When we are not sure of how to get there, we look at a map or turn on some navigation device.

            In a similar way, as we navigate through life, we will easily make some of the turns. We’ve been there before and learned the way…making wise decisions in familiar territory.  However, we will come to some difficult detours in life.  We may be unsure of ourselves because we’ve not traveled that road before.  What do we need to do then?  Turn on our GPS!

            GPS usually represents “Global Positioning System”.  I’d like to suggest that in our spiritual journey we use the acronym as: God’s Perfect Solution.  Where do we find this type of GPS?  By reading and studying the scriptures; by praying & seeking His direction.    God will never lead us astray. Proverbs 3:6:  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” We must be careful, however,  that we are following Him and not the “imposter” who likes to trick us and deceive us in to traveling down the wrong path. 

            Let God have the steering wheel and joyfully release your control to Him.  Using His GPS will make your ride much more enjoyable.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Be Joyfully Obedient to God's Directions

            Have you had your Joy Juice this morning?  As you drive along your way, pay special attention to God’s directions!

            A few days ago, I was on my way to a meeting…with a car full of joyful ladies.  Though I was somewhat familiar with the town we were traveling in, I was unsure of the best way to get to our destination.  I was driving and my friend in the passenger seat was navigating because she was very familiar with the territory and knew the most direct route.

            At first when she told me to turn right or left, I listened and obeyed her directions…but we came to a place where I THOUGHT I knew better and when she told me to turn right, I wanted to turn left.  I was SURE that she was confused. So I did it MY WAY…which was the wrong way.  My precious friend lovingly asked, “Why would you not listen to me?”

            Oh, how God gripped my heart with that real illustration of how I often react when He tries to guide me!  As long as I am familiar with the territory, it’s easy to listen to Him.  But how many times have I gone left when God told me to turn right?  How often have I sought His direction on some matter and turned in the opposite direction of what He told me to do?  As with my dear, loving friend…I can hear God whisper, “Why would you not listen to me?”  (John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life….)

           When we are driving on these roads of life, we should listen to God as He navigates.  We CAN trust Him.  And lest we forget…the passengers who are riding with us will be affected by our decisions. May we be joyfully obedient to God’s directions.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Look for the JOY!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  May your day be filled with sunshine and joy!

            Some days are good days…filled with laughter and excitement!  Some days are bad days…...we wish we could have a “do-over”. And then, there are the normal, ordinary days.  In all of the “days of our lives”, GOD IS THERE!
            Whether we experience “rainbow days”, “stormy days” or “ordinary days”, our faith should stand strong.  Of course, we’d all prefer to have “sunshine and lollipop” days.  But then, would we depend as much on God if we never had struggles?  He sends us a variety of experiences in order to help us grow.  From that perspective, all rain or all sunshine would neither one be best for us!  Aren’t we thankful that the Lord knows just the right combination of what we need to help us develop spiritually?

            As 2 Samuel 23:4 says “…he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.”  May we remember that our God has a plan and purpose for each of us. But if we don’t seek His wisdom and are intent on “doing things our own way”, we may be inviting some of the storms into our lives.

            We can and should read & study God’s Word. We can even memorize scripture!  But if we don’t apply that wisdom and instruction, we will not grow spiritually.   Let’s thank the Lord for the sunshine and praise Him in the rain…knowing that regardless, He is with us!

             Whatever this day may bring, let’s look for JOY in the Lord!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Joyfully Ordinary

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’ll make your ordinary day become a little less “ordinary”.

            Why do we think “ordinary” is always a negative?  It certain doesn’t have to be!  If we approach life with an attitude of gratitude, we can thank God for the ordinary days.  Ask anyone who has been at the hospital bedside of a sick loved one, not knowing the outcome.  What they’d give for an “ordinary day” at home with no sickness or health concerns.

            And what about that person who has just lost his job; he is devastated. He’s anxious about how he will be able to pay his bills and support his family. He would go back to an “ordinary day” on the job in a split second!

            Then, there are those who have had their lives changed in a moment by a tragic accident. Don’t you know that they would give anything to go back to the “ordinary days” when all was well and they were together doing ordinary things!

             The devout 17th century Brother Lawrence entered the monastery knowing that he hated kitchen work, but when he received his work assignment, he found himself cooking meals and washing pots and pans on permanent KP. Over time, the ordinary and endless cycle of meal preparation and clean up took on an extraordinary dimension. In the book The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence is quoted to have said, ‘The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees…at worship.’ ”

       Enjoy this “ordinary day” to the fullest and find the joy of the Lord…maybe, even in the kitchen sink!  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

God's Umbrella of Joy

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Hope your day is filled with joy….even when the storms come!

            God has blessed me to be a part of “JoyJoy Ministries”.  The vision He has placed in my heart is to share a double-portion of His joy with others. My thoughts and my writings easily focus on the “passion” He has given me---JOY in the Lord! However, I would be misleading you if I pretended to always enJOY my circumstances or tell you that I always respond joyfully to every situation. Not so……

            Life is hard at times.  Paul tells us in Philippians 4:4 that we are to “Rejoice, always!” …not because of the sickness or heartache or broken relationship.  We can “rejoice always” because God is there to walk with us through the difficult times.

Rick Warren says that the “Bible teaches us that there are three kinds of storms in life: storms that we bring on ourselves (like Samson), storms that God causes (like on the Sea of Galilee), and storms that other people cause (as when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison).”  The fact is that we are ALL going to experience stormy days.  But, no matter what kind of storm you may find yourself in, you can count on God to be in the midst of it with you, sheltering you, protecting you even when you are scared and hurting.

He promises: “Never  will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”.  (Hebrews 13:5)

Stand strong under God’s umbrella of protection and find joy under the shelter of His wing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Joy of "Rainbow Days"

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Let’s call this a “rainbow” day and look for treasures of JOY!

            We’ve all heard the Irish legend which asserts that a "pot of gold" is to be found at the end of a rainbow. But today, let’s look, instead, for the treasure chest which overflows with genuine joy!  John Ortberg uses the term “Rainbow Days” in his book God Is Closer Than You Think. We are reminded that God placed a rainbow in the sky (after the flood) as a symbol of his covenant with Noah.

            Ortberg writes that when we experience “rainbow days”, God’s presence is hard to miss. Though we have not had a “Noah-kind” of experience, we each have our own stories of God’s intervention, protection and blessing.  To quote Orberg:  On rainbow days your life is filled with too much goodness and meaning for you to believe it is simply by chance.  On rainbow days you find yourself wanting to pray, believing that God hears (your prayers). On rainbow days God seems to speak personally to you through Scripture.  You find yourself believing that it is a good thing to be alive, and each good thing you see fills you with gratitude toward the God who made it. .  When you’re in this zone, the kids can spill red Kool-Aid on a white carpet and you laugh patiently and remind them that you often spilled things yourself when you were a child.”
            In other words, on “rainbow days”, we’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in our heart!

           Though all our days will not be “rainbow days”, here’s hoping that today will be a joyfully blessed one!  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Facetime with God...and Find JOY!

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Always remember: We can call out to God anytime!  

            In this world of technology, most of us are spoiled by instant communication.  We can chat with someone on the other side of the world as if they’re in the room with us.  We can even SEE them as we talk via Skype or Facetime.  I LOVE the Facetime app because it’s as if I’m with my children and grandchildren “in person” though they are hundreds of miles away.  

            While texting, emailing, tweeting and Skyping can be really good, aren’t we glad that we don’t have to depend on our electronic devices when it comes to communicating with God?!  We can talk with Him anytime….even  when our cell phones don’t have enough “bars”.  He’s there when Facetime doesn’t have a strong connection.  We never  reach our maximum text message limit,  because with Him, we have an unlimited plan!

            1 Thess. 5:17 tells us to “Pray without ceasing”.  My interpretation of that little verse is that our hearts should always be in a “spirit of prayer”… ready to communicate with our Father.  He is always on the line.  If there is static and we are having trouble hearing Him, maybe…just maybe…we need to examine our communication lines for “busyness” or “distractions” which interfere with clarity. When our hearts are in tune with God’s heart, it will be better than “Facetiming”.  Maybe we should call it “FAITHTIMING”!

            Private message God today and see how quickly He will respond with love and joy! 


Friday, April 3, 2015

A Joyous "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 which immediately precedes 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 out of love 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 the JOY of the Lord…at Easter and every other day of the year!

            My prayer is that you will have a JOYful  Good Friday….remember that He is alive! Have a joyfully blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tidings of Easter 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. 
  4. "Go quickly and tell.They were to spread the JOY of the resurrection.  We, too, are to spread this wonderful news!

Are you experiencing fear?  Then focus on the empty tomb.  Because He lives, you can trust Him to take of you!  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! Take advantage of every opportunity to share the Good News with all that will hear!

           Drink and serve the Joy of Easter!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter Joy is Found at the Foot of the Cross

        Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Easter is the perfect time to be drinking the JOY JUICE of Jesus! Don’t hesitate! Celebrate!

            It’s sad to say that even some Christians forget why Easter should be anticipated and celebrated…with JOY! We have egg hunts and pretty Easter decorations, but often it seems that Easter is treated as just another Sunday. Could it be that the concept of Easter makes people uncomfortable?  It does confront us with a true story of pain, agony and death.  And it was for you and me….because we are sinners!

           Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a courageous German pastor who suffered martyrdom on Hitler’s orders. He wrote these words:

If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected with my own nature. But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not at all congenial to me. This place is the Cross of Christ. And whoever would find him must go to the foot of the Cross, as the Sermon on the Mount commands. This is not according to our nature at all; it is entirely contrary to it.”

            This Easter, let’s go to the foot of the cross with a heart overflowing with an exclamation of gratitude and a celebration of praise for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

            The JOYful truth that is that Jesus is not dead!  He has risen from the grave!!!