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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dine-In or Carry-Out Joy?

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Will that be dine-in or carry-out?

            Many restaurants offer their food items from their menus to be served as you sit at their tables OR you can take it home to yours. Did you know that God wants you to experience both dine-in and carry-out, spiritually speaking?

            To dine with God is to “taste and see” His goodness; to spend intimate, personal time with Him as you converse with Him in prayer and listen as He speaks to you through His Word (the Scriptures).

            When we are adequately nourished by being filled with His wisdom and love, we are set to “carry-out”.  The joyful experience of carry-out is that there is always enough to share with others, regardless of how big their spiritual appetites!

            I suggest that we take advantage of both options.  We need to consistently dine-in with God---not “fast food” or “drive through” style. Let’s make time for a nice, leisurely meal tasting and savoring every crumb! “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” says Psalm 34:8.  And of course, Joy Juice is always the drink of choice!

            After we’ve spent time dining with God, we will be filled to overflowing and ready to “carry-out” to others along our way!  Pray about the person(s) God wants you to bless today with a serving of His delicious love and joy.

            When you place your order, whether it’s dine-in or carry-out, be sure to savor every morsel of God’s goodness and joy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Be Filled with Christ and Overflow with Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today? Be filled to overflowing with joy in the Lord!

            What fills your life?  Take a moment to think about how you would honestly answer that question. Are you consumed with accumulating a lot of money and material possessions? Do you desire to climb the corporate ladder or be in certain social circles? What kinds of goals have you set for yourself that fill your time and expend your energy?

            There are many good things that we can choose to pursue. BUT if God is not at the top of our priority list and we are not pursing the things He has planned for us, then we may find ourselves filled with anxiety, stress and frustration. 

            How do we avoid filling our lives with the wrongs kinds of things?  Things that will distract us from being the best God created us to be?  In order to be filled with the genuine joy in the Lord, we must be willing to empty our hearts of selfish desires. 

            Ephesians 3:17-19 says: “…  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

           Are you filled with the love of Christ?  Does He dwell in your heart? To overflow with joy in the Lord, we must choose to be filled with the “fullness of God”.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Encourage Others...the Bible Says So!!!

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Please encourage those around you to drink it faithfully!

            Why do we need to be encouragers?  I can think of several reasons:

  • It builds people up and makes then realize they have value.
  • It demonstrates a caring attitude…which is wonderfully contagious!
  • When you encourage others, you are displaying a Christian role model.
  • Every person, young, old and in between, needs an encouraging word.
  • The world would be a much better place if we all determined to be encouragers!

         But the most important reason that we should want to be an encourager is simply because “The Bible says so”!  Just as the song says: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  The Bible tells us to encourage!  Time and time again we find words such as:
“Therefore encourage one another and edify one another, just as you are doing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:11 
   In Hebrews 3:13 we read: “But encourage one another daily as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” 

     Many other times throughout the Word of God we are instructed to “encourage”.  Are you being obedient?  You’ll be surprised at how much JOY you’ll share and how encouraged you will be when you become God’s “encouraging mouthpiece”!!!

It's so important to drink your Joy Juice, as well pouring out encouragement onto others!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Encourage Yourself....with the Joy of Jesus!

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Drink a few extra sips, if you are in need of encouragement!

             Some days we need extra encouragement, don’t we?  Maybe we’re dreading an appointment or have such a busy day planned that we don’t know how we’re going to get it all done.  Many days we wake up tired and don’t have the energy to face the day cheerfully. How do we make it through days like that? Especially when we are feeling discouraged!?

            We need to do as David did in 1 Samuel 30. Verse 6 says: “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”  Can we encourage ourselves?   

  • First of all we have to get our heads on straight and start thinking about all our blessings instead of the negatives.
  • Remember that if we’ve have accepted Jesus into our life, He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.  That should be a big dose of encouragement!
  • We need to read the scriptures every day. This is especially important when we feel “discouraged”.  You’ll be surprised at how many verses in which God speaks words of encouragement to straight into your heart.
  • Stop listening to and repeating the lies of the enemy; instead concentrate on the promises of God.
  • Meditate on His goodness.
  • Pray about everything!

            When you do these things, you’ll be “encouraging yourself in the Lord”!  Don’t wait for someone else to come along with the solution to your discouragement. Determine to “be joyful” now!

              May I encourage you to drink that Joy Juice faithfully as you encourage yourself in the Lord!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Encourage, Affirm & Share the Joy

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  It’s affirming to experience the joy of the Lord!

            An important part of “encouragement” is something called AFFIRMATION!  Letting someone know that you believe in them or they’re you’re proud of them…A pat on the back, so to speak!  Genuine words of affirmation can change a person’s life….literally! 

        We’ve all heard stories of how teachers have made a difference in the lives of their students.  And this is so true!  But I want to tell works both ways.  I was a teacher for years; and it was the children who---time and time again--- were an encouragement to me!

            I worked at the primary and elementary school levels. The children were always generous with their unconditional hugs…DAILY! The contagious smiles “spoke” encouragement, loud and clear! Many times, I’d receive an original piece of artwork with an “I love you” scribbled across the page.  Oh, how that picked me up and gave me “affirmation” that I was right where God meant for me to be!

            We adults could take lessons from our younger friends!
·        Let’s reach out to that someone who needs a hug today.
·        Generously share your smiles. Whether you know the person or not, remember EVERYBODY needs a smile.  It affirms that the person is important enough to be acknowledged.
·        Share your talents with others who may need just the kind of “pick me up” that only you can give. 

When you get into the habit of being an encourager, then the JOY of the Lord pours out from you and flows back to you! 

            Encourage, affirm and share the joy of the Lord with others.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lift Up with Joy

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Please encourage others to have some!

            It’s easy for some people to encourage others because they have the “gift” of exhortation given to them by God. All of us are not born with the “natural inclination” toward being an encourager.  But we should all try to learn to encourage others.

            Let’s look into the Word of God to find some examples of “encouragers”.

          Joseph learned the need for encouragement. He was not a natural encourager…and didn’t become one until God disciplined him into becoming one. We see examples of his encouragement in Genesis 49 when he not only forgave his brothers, but he encouraged them. Joseph ended up being an encouragement to the whole people of Israel. You see, we can’t use the excuse that “we weren’t born with a personality” to encourage people.  The Bible instructs us to be encouragers…and that settles it!  

           Sometimes God might call us to be an encouragement to someone by helping them fulfill God’s purpose in their life.  Remember Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17?  They held up Moses’ arms during battle. This story reminds us that sometimes God calls us to lift others up, to help them accomplish a specific task for which God has anointed them.   

            Who does God want you to “lift up” today?  Be willing and available to be used by God to share His encouragement & joy with others!

            Be an encouragement to someone today by sharing God’s joyful encouragement with them!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Be A Joy-filled Encourager

Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Let me encourage you to drink it faithfully!

            One of the most positive characteristics that a person can possess is the gift of  “encouragement”.  Some people seem to have a natural inclination toward edifying and building others up. Others have developed the skill through the years.  But those who “do it best” are the ones who have the God-given gift of exhortation.  

What is “the gift” of exhortation? In the New Testament, encouragement and exhortation are often used to translate the same Greek word.  A person who has the gift of encouragement will most often:
  • Recognize someone’s need and respond to that need in a caring and appropriate manner.
  • They will know what a person needs to hear and they’ll say it in a timely fashion.
  • Their way of providing encouragement is unique and fits their own personality and experience.
  • They’ll have lots of friends, because people love to be around them! After all, EVERYONE  needs encouragement!
Romans 12  tells us about the different gifts given to believers. In this passage, Paul teaches us that if 
we have been given the gift of exhortation, then we should encourage others faithfully!  Whether is comes naturally or you truly have to work at, please find someone who needs your encouragement today! When you give encouragement, it will come joyfully bouncing right back to you!  

           Le me encourage you to drink your Joy Juice faithfully and encourage others along your path today!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Be a Joyful, Good Argument for Christianity!

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Do people see joy in you….regardless of where you are?

            As Christians, we are Christ’s church.  I’m not talking about an actual building.  I’m referring to the group of believers who profess Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  As His followers, we are to imitate His example, show love and compassion to others, no matter who they are.  The fruit of the Spirit should manifest itself in us. In Galatians 5: 22-23, we find this fruit listed and LOVE is at the top of the list.

When we show compassion in His name, we are modeling the love of Christ.  We can do that in simple ways…it doesn’t have to be anything huge or costly.  An encouraging word or simply an attitude of joy can often make all the difference to people who have given up hope.  A little smile can brighten their day. 

            C. S. Lewis said that the best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, and their completeness.  Lewis also warned, however, that Christians can also be the strongest argument against Christianity when they are somber and joyless, or self-righteous and smug, or narrow and repressive.  Then, said Lewis, Christianity “dies a thousand deaths.” Let’s resolve to be happy people, angels of joy and missionaries of mercy wherever we go…! (Taken from The Bible for Hope)

            Ask the Lord to reveal to you who needs His love and compassion in a special way.  Then be sensitive and obedient as you allow Him to use you in that person’s life.

            Find joy by sharing His love and being a “good argument” for Christianity.



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Carry Someone's Burden...Be God's Instrument of Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Be sensitive and compassionate as you share with others.

             Many of us have asked the question, “Lord, why me?” especially when heartache and brokenness come into out lives.  I’m not sure we are ever prepared for heartbreaks such as the loss of a child, the diagnosis of a terminal illness or the betrayal of someone we completely trusted.  It’s normal to ask, “Why?” in those kinds of situations.

            When ministering to others who are going through deep sadness, we should be sensitive to their hurt.  Nothing we can say or do will take the intense sadness away. We can’t “fix it”! Often, well-intended words do just the opposite of what we mean them to.  Even quoting scripture at the wrong time can pierce the heart and agitate! YES, God is faithful! YES, God is good! But when grief is “fresh”, words should be few.

            There will come a time in each of our lives when it’s our time to grieve. We should pour out our heart to God….trust Him for strength. But, also, we need to remember that He gives us one another to help us carry our burdens.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:2

             Even through tears, we can allow the joy of the Lord to sustain us, uplift us and be the foundation of wisdom through which we reach out to others.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Comfort and Joy

          Have you had your Joy Juice today?  There is a special serving just for you…and it will bring peace and comfort, as well as joy!

            Many times we find ourselves right smack dab in the middle of a situation that we did not choose!  We would have avoided it at all costs!  Needless to say, this type of circumstance put us outside our comfort zone and we feel “out of control”.  In our own power, we feel helpless and hopeless.

            What we must realize is that God is always at work in our lives, even when we are not aware of it.  In fact, Jeremiah 1:5 says that God knew us even before we were conceived… so HE KNOWS our story—past, present and future.

  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;”
(Jeremiah 1:5)

            When we find ourselves in an uncomfortable place, let’s remember that God is also in that place with us!  He is more concerned about our spiritual growth than he is our comfort.  Many times it’s in those tough spots that we grow the most! As Lysa TerKeurst says:  God’s goal isn’t to make us comfortable. His goal is to make us comfort-able—able to take the comfort we have received and give it to others.”

           Listen to what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

            Let’s pass along the comfort of God and experience joy in the Lord!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Are You the Joyful, Grateful One?

             Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Sharing the joy of The Lord with others is a message all people need.

               Today we read from Luke 17, verses 11-19:  Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

              All ten lepers were healed...but only one came back to express his gratitude!  Could it be that the lepers had been shunned by people so long that they were in the habit of setting themselves apart?  Maybe, just maybe, they wanted to quietly put their disgraceful and messy lives behind them!

         Lysa TerKeurst asks: "When it comes to the messiness of your own life, do you tend to be more like the nine lepers, wanting to put your difficult past quickly behind you? Or are you like the one leper, eager to tell your story as an act of gratitude and worship"?

           As Lysa (TerKuerst) reminds us: "When the Messiah touches our mess, it becomes our message to the world!"

Monday, June 15, 2015

"His Story" is a "History" of Ultimate Joy

         Have you had your Joy Juice today? Do you have a history of drinking it faithfully and consistently?

          Some people love to study history. Though I'm not a history buff, I do realize that we can learn a lot by the discoveries, inventions, decisions and especially the mistakes of others through the years! And in many cases, history does repeat itself!

      All of us have a life story...our own personal history. Lysa TerKeurst writes that history is "His + story".  Indeed, God weaves His plan, His story into each of our lives. Some parts of our own history don’t appear very “Godly”. We have made poor decisions along the path of life. Circumstances have come our way that blind us from seeing and understanding how God could be a part of the situation. Let’s be reminded that if we will remain faithful and obedient, He will ultimately use it for our good.

Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

ALL things....even rejection, even abuse, even abandonment or loss. All things work toward God's ultimate plan for us! We must focus on His love and accept His plan for our lives knowing that HIS STORY will be our history.

           Let's pray that each of us will allow God to be in charge of our “history” as we strive toward living a life of joy in relationship with Him.  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Refreshing Joy

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  It’s always refreshing!

            Even in the challenges of life, we can have JOY in the Lord. We’ve discussed this week how important it is to have a relationship with Jesus, to trust Him to catch us when life’s rug is jerked out from under us.  Not one of us knows for certain what the future holds, but we DO know WHO is there to help us now…and in the future.  Let’s remember how much God loves us and that it’s our choice whether to stay plugged in to the true Source of joy….JESUS!

            Often times we forget to extend God’s grace to others.  We find ourselves reacting in anger or in selfishness.  At times we allow hateful words to escape our lips before we even think.  And once those words are out, they can never be taken back.

            How can we make wise, Godly choices that build up and edify the people around us?  That’s what most of us really would like to do!  Have you figured out that we can’t do it alone? Thank goodness, God is always there and we can count on Him.  Let’s stay “prayed up” so that we will have the boldness to face each new day and make wise choices, full of grace.

           Pray upon waking;  pray as you crawl out of bed, as you ready yourself for the day;  pray as you drive or ride; pray without ceasing, as the Bible instructs. (1 Thess. 5:17) When we pray about everything, God will lead us to make better choices….choices that will glorify Him, as well as bring joy into the lives of our family members, friends and acquaintances. 

                        Drink that Joy Juice and pray for God to give you wisdom in how to share His joy with others!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

An Oasis of Grace and Joy

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  A delightful variation to the recipe is when the ingredient of “grace” is added.

            A home should be a place of refuge and rest, yet many times we allow it to be a place of strife and dissention.  Often it’s because we forget to extend grace to our family members.
            According to Richard Blackaby, “Grace is an undeserved gift.  It uplifts the soul.  It builds up.  If there is one place we should be generous with grace, it is within our home.  The home is where people first experience love.  God’s grace can make the home an oasis of peace and joy. 

            In his book Putting a Face on Grace, Mr. Blackaby explains:

·        Grace doesn’t insist on being right.  It seeks to make things right.
·        Grace doesn’t demand to be heard.  It strives to listen and to understand.
·        Grace doesn’t claim its rights.  It voluntarily lays them aside.
·        Grace doesn’t look for wrongs. It seeks out what is right. 
·        Grace builds up your spouse, strengthens your marriage, encourages your children, and helps you all to become like Christ.

Let’s remember the Lord’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when he said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

           Invite Jesus into your heart and home and get ready to find the JOY of the Lord in every room!!!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tap Into the Source of Joy

            Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  Drinking in the joy of Jesus helps us to shine with the radiance of Christ!

            We listen to beautiful songs proclaiming God’s amazing love; we hear preachers and speakers give eloquent messages telling us how much God loves us. But do we truly grasp the depth of His love?  We should never confuse God’s love with the love of people. That kind of love can come and go; people seem to love us more when we perform the way they desire…and often love us less when we make mistakes.  NOT SO WITH GOD!

            A story is told of a lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the century.  She was quite wealthy but, also, quite frugal.  The people were surprised when she decided to be among the first to have electricity in her home.

            Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door.  He asked if her electricity was working well, and she assured him it was.  “I’m wondering if you can explain something to me,” he said.  “Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?”

            “Certainly,” she answered. “Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off.”   (Max Lucado from Just Like Jesus.)

            This lady was tapped into the power…but she chose not to use it.  Her house was connected but not altered. Do we make the same mistake, spiritually?

            Tap into the true Source of joy and be connected to God’s love at all times.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Because He Lives...My Joy is Complete!

 Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Be prepared for your day by bringing along an extra serving!

            One thing’s for sure….when we wake up each morning, we never know what life might bring!  We may receive good news; maybe a new baby is on the way or someone gets engaged or a loved one gets a great doctor’s report!!  On the other hand, we may have the breath knocked out of us by devastating news such as a terminal diagnosis or the heartbreak of betrayal or a marriage falling apart.

            Though we can’t see into the future, we know the One Who holds our future.  The words of a beautiful old hymn come to mind. “Because He Lives!”   The chorus expresses why we can have joy regardless of our circumstances:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

     If I could add my own version to this beautiful chorus, it may go something like this:

     Because He lives, I can find joy today and tomorrow,
     Because He loves, my joy is complete!
     Because He longs for a relationship with me
     Life is abundantly joyful and, oh, so wonderfully sweet!

Drink your Joy Juice faithfully and know that “because He lives” in your heart, you can experience the sweetest kind of joy!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Consider It ALL Joy!

           Have you had your JOY JUICE today?  It’s a MUST if you want to experience true JOY!

            Ever noticed how some people are always optimistic and upbeat no matter what’s going on in their lives, while others are typically pessimistic and critical?  We all have times when it seems that the rug has been jerked out from under us.  But we DO have a choice about how we “land”.

            Will we choose to fall head long into disappointment and desperation ….enjoying our misery and wanting everyone to know about it?  OR will we allow God to cushion the blow by catching us before we hit bottom?  All of us experience heartache and difficulties. But how we react when those tough times come our way says a lot about how much we trust the Lord.   If we have complete trust in Him we can be assured that Jesus will be there to catch us when life takes us by surprise.  That’s what James meant when he wrote: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”

          Remember that happiness and joy are not the same. To guarantee joy in your life, trust in the Savior who is an expert in catching us, holding us and lifting us up.  His arms are strong and loving; and that’s just the place we need to be to “consider it ALL  JOY.”

            Experience the security of trusting in Jesus at all times! And remember… it pleases Him greatly when we share His love and joy with others!             

Friday, June 5, 2015

Are You Walking the Path of Joy?

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  As you drink in the joy of Jesus, attentively listen for His instruction.

            Bible reading and prayer are inseparably linked as we seek God’s will and direction for our life.  His written Word is a tangible resource filled with wisdom and guidance.  While reading the Bible is important, if we were to never pray, we’d miss the personal revelations that He wants to speak to our hearts. 

            Prayer is talking with God….not just talking TO God.  Often we plead with Him to give us answers, but instead of being quiet and listening for those answers, we just keep on talking! We don’t give God a chance to speak.  To really hear from God, we have to be intentional about listening and diligent regarding shutting out distractions.  In John 14:26 Jesus said: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit…He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

            God actively communicates with us today. Charles Stanley says: “… the Spirit conveys His direction to us.  Of course, it’s not just His will about the desires of our hearts or problems we face that He’s addressing, but He is also aligning us with His will. Inch-by-inch, step-by-step, thought-by-thought, and issue-by-issue, He is breaking strongholds, preparing us for what is ahead, and steering us on the right path.”

            To be on the “path of joy” we must listen to the Father’s leading and trust in His master plan.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

God's Plan: "Be Joyful"

         Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Do you believe that it is God’s plan that we soak up as much joy in the Lord as possible? 

            Throughout God’s Word we are told to “be joyful”, “be of good cheer”, “rejoice & be glad”. If it were not important to God, why would He instruct us so often about having joy?  He loves us! And He wants to bless us with joy because it’s a good thing.  God likes to give good things to His children.

            He, also, wants to keep us from harm.  That’s why He gives us guidelines and instructions throughout His Word.  He doesn’t say “Thou shalt not” because He doesn’t want us to have any fun!  On the contrary…His desire is that we stay in His will so that He can pour out blessings into our life….blessings of joy. 

            If we would learn to hear God’s voice in all circumstances, I firmly believe that we would experience more joy.  One important way to “hear God” is to allow the Scripture to penetrate our heart, to saturate our thoughts, to permeate our being. According to Charles Stanley (Waiting on God),  Scripture can “lead us, train us, correct our erroneous thinking, convict us of sin, influence our decisions or stop us when we are drifting from God’s will for our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If all of that is true, why would we not want to read, study and meditate on the Word of God-- continually?

            Psalm 119:130 explains: “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”  So……let’s simply “be joyful!”  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Look to Jesus and Leap into Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Trust God to show you how!

            One of my favorite classic authors is Oswald Chambers.  His writings are filled with spiritual depth and wisdom. He challenges us to grow in our walk with God.  In his book, My Utmost for His Highest,  he wrote these words: “Look to Jesus and you will find that your will and your conscience are in agreement with Him every time.  What causes you to say ‘I will not obey’ is something less deep and penetrating than your will.  It is perversity or stubbornness, and they are never in agreement with God…In someone who has been born again, the source of the will is Almighty God…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.”

            He is referring to the passage in Philippians 2:12-13.  We don’t have to earn our salvation through Christ. But Paul wanted to reassure us of God’s hand on our life and to remind us to be sensitive to His leading. We have all that we need to determine God’s will... we have access to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. The more we walk in His way and hear His voice of direction, the more familiar it will become to us.

            Charles Stanley says that you can “be certain that when your heart is inclined toward Him, He uses all the resources at His disposal to accomplish what concerns you.”  That, my friend, is WHY we can “be joyful, always!”

            Let’s look to Jesus, love His plan, and leap into the joy in the Lord!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Choose Christ...Choose Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today? Be determined to joyfully follow the Lord as He leads you every step of your way.

             When we profess faith in Christ, we call ourselves Christians—Christ-followers! If we carefully walk in His steps, there is no way He will ever lead us down the wrong path.  However, He gives us the freedom to make our own choices. We can study God’s Word, obey His commands, prayerfully seek His direction in our lives…..OR we can resist Him and “do it our own way.”

            When we genuinely strive to obey His leading, the fruit of the Spirit will become evident in our lives.  (Galatians 5:22-23) You know the fruit to which I’m referring: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  But when we strike out on our own, we could make sinful choices which may include “immorality, divisiveness, fighting, jealousy, gossip, addiction, and selfish ambition.” (Gal. 5:19-21)

            Charles Stanley says that “You can look to (Christ) for your purpose or you can look to someone or something else to be your identify.  You make the decision whether or not to follow Him.”  If we genuinely seek Him and His ways, we will not be disappointed.  He will show us what we need to know in absolutely His perfect timing. 

            May you be encouraged to make the joyful choice, step by step, to follow Christ as you determine His purpose for your life.

Monday, June 1, 2015

God Has a Joyful Plan...TRUST HIM!

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  God has a purpose for your life; so drink in His joy and listen carefully!

            Many times we quote the verse from Jeremiah 29:11 that talks about God’s plans for our lives.   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. Do we truly believe those words? Do we live each day as if we trust in His good plan?

            We say  we believe God has a purpose…but what do we mean by that?  God does have a will for each of us…specific plans for us, individually. But His plan also includes a grander scale as it affects the multitudes, peoples from all over the world, even history. He is just as present in the tiny details of our individual lives as He is in the grand purpose which affects His entire creation.

            In His book, Waiting on God, Charles Stanley writes: “We must realize that there are two major aspects to God’s will.  First, the Lord expresses a determined will, which is inevitable and unchangeable because it involves those plans He will absolutely accomplish.  Nothing in all of creation can impede Him from carrying them out because He is sovereign (Ps. 103:19).”

            Secondly, there is “God’s desired will, which includes His general moral laws and His plans for each of us as individuals.  Unlike His determined purpose, the Father’s desired objectives may or may not be fulfilled because He allows us freedom in our daily choices.” 

            Prayerfully and wholeheartedly relinquish your plan to God’s will…..and choose genuine joy!