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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Elizabeth's Special Kind of Joy

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Hope you’ve got plenty to help you celebrate the coming in of the New Year!

            As we look back over the year, there may be regrets about decisions that were made, circumstances that didn’t work out the way we had hoped…maybe even relationships that were damaged.  We may even wonder why God allowed certain things to happen in 2015, because we truly do not understand.

            Maybe you’ve been praying for a specific request and God has not given you that “heart’s desire”.  Do you quit praying?  Do you give up on God?  Or like Elizabeth in the book of Luke, do you remain faithful?

             The people in Elizabeth’s day measured a woman’s value by her ability to bear children.  Elizabeth was a descendant in the priestly line of Aaron. She and her husband, Zachariah, a Temple priest, lived an upright and blameless life in one of the hill-towns of Judea. The great disappointment in their lives was that although they had prayed fervently for a child, Elizabeth had reached an advanced age without ever having conceived.

            But Elizabeth remained faithful….and allowed God to work.   He had a plan in which He would give her a son, John, at just the perfect time!  John was to be the forerunner of Jesus.  

            We can glean much truth from the example of Elizabeth:
·         God does not forget those who have been faithful to him.
·         God’s timetable and methods do not have to conform to what we expect. (That’s a hard one!) 

 Drink your Joy Juice faithfully and trust in God to accomplish His purpose in the New Year in His perfect timing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lessons of Joy....from KING HEROD???

         Have you had your Joy Juice today?  It’s never a bad choice to drink in the joy of the Lord!

            This week after Christmas we’ve been looking at the Christmas story from the perspective of gleaning lessons from some of the prominent people involved in the story.  We’ve talked about Mary and Joseph and learned valuable truths from their examples. They are both POSITIVE role models for us.

            Today let’s consider learning from someone about what NOT to do. KING HEROD! (The NIV Life Application Study Bible notes give us insight into his personality.) 

             "King Herod will be remembered as a builder of cities and the lavish rebuilder of the temple in Jerusalem.  But he also destroyed people.  He showed little greatness in either his personal actions or his character.
            Even his title of King, though granted by Rome, was never accepted by the Jewish people.  Because his royal title was not genuine, Herod was constantly worried about losing his position.  His actions when hearing from the Magi about their search for the new king are consistent with all that we know about Herod.  He planned to locate and kill the child before he could become a threat."

            What lessons can we learn from this self-destructive person’s life?

1.      Great power brings neither peace nor security.
2.      No one can prevent God’s plans from being carried out.
3.      Superficial loyalty does not impress people or God.

   As this year comes to close, let’s put behind those things which are not really important and consider what Herod’s example teaches. Only through God can we have real freedom, peace and JOY.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Live a Life of Integrity and Joy

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Drink some as you put away your Christmas gifts and decorations.

            Though Christmas has come and gone, we can still carry the Christmas story in our hearts throughout the year.  Yesterday we looked closely at Mary’s example and learned how God can take an ordinary person and use them in an extraordinary way…if they will trust in Him.

            Today let’s look a little closer at Joseph.  Joseph was a man of strong beliefs.  He was prepared to do what was right, and do it the right way.  Joseph knew Jesus was someone special from the moment he heard the angel’s words.  His strong belief in that fact, and his willingness to follow God’s leading, empowered him to be Jesus’ chosen earthly father.

So what are the lessons lived out in Joseph’s life that we can apply and live by daily? The Life Application Bible suggests four important lessons:

1.      God honors integrity.
2.      Social position is of little importance when God chooses to use us.
3.      Being obedient to the guidance we have from God leads to more guidance from him.
4.      Feelings are not accurate measures of the rightness or wrongness of an action.

Are you living a life of integrity…in every area of your life? Do you realize that God can use you…if you are willing?  Be obedient to his leading…even if you don’t “feel” like it.  I can promise you, if you are in the center of His will, JOY will be yours!

            Like Joseph, live a life of integrity and drinking the Joy Juice of Jesus faithfully!