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Thursday, March 31, 2016

JESUS: Our Role Model for Uncommon JOY!

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  We have a perfect role model….Jesus! He is the reason we can have our own personal serving of joy through all circumstances. 

            Susie Larson so beautifully explains: “Jesus led by example; He showed us how to walk, how to live, and how to love.  When He was accused, He didn’t become insecure; He already knew who He was.  When He was mistreated, He didn’t fight back; He saw past it.  When He should have turned His back on us all, He instead prayed, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’” 

            This is such an “uncommon” way of thinking and living, isn’t it?  In our world today, it seems that constantly we hear someone talking about their “rights”.  The common way of thinking is to “Demand YOUR rights….no matter how it affects others.”  It’s a selfish thought process.     The Word of God, however, teaches us to live “uncommonly”, by using Jesus as our example.   Jesus was selfless, forgiving, loving; He taught us to love one another and to treat people the way we want to be treated.  

            Peter summed it up well in 1 Peter 3:8:
 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 

            That my friends, is how to live an “uncommon” life.  May we follow Jesus down the path of uncommon joy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"The Joy of the LORD is Our Strength"

           Have you had your Joy Juice today?  It’s uncommonly good!

            We’re talking this week about how to have “uncommon” joy in the Lord.  And a major piece of the puzzle is our personal relationship with Christ.   Are we willing to give Him 100 % commitment in every area of our lives?  That’s not to say that we will never make mistakes.  On the contrary!  We are human and we will always fall short.  However, we serve a perfect God and in His strength He can show us how to be “uncommon” in this common world of compromise, disloyalty and strife.

            Each of us (at one time or another) faces valleys of rejection and betrayal.  It is in these low spots that it’s easy to try to do what is “common” and retaliate in anger and revenge.  But an uncommon Christian can choose to face the situation by using wisdom gleaned from the Word of God.  Author Susie Larson gives these words of wisdom for when we find ourselves in a difficult situation of betrayal and hurt:

  •  “Regularly remind yourself of who you are and whose you are in Christ.
  •     Pray for your accusers and ask God to bless them.

  •    Forgive your accusers.

  •  Thank God for everything good in your life.

  •  Pray for someone who has it tougher than you do.

  •  Get some exercise.

  • Get proper rest and then wake up tomorrow morning and begin the process again.”

Though it’s not easy in our own strength to be “uncommon” for Christ, He can strengthen us with His power and joy.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Don't Take the Common Road

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Remind yourself who you are in Christ and you will be drenched in His Joy.

            It’s not common to always be joyful and cheerful and positive and….GODLY!  But that’s what Christians are supposed to be!  Colossians 3:10 tells to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
The key words in that verse are “new self” and “renewed”.  How can we be UNCOMMON, set apart, different from the world?  By putting on the ‘new self’ that comes from keeping our minds focused and saturated with the knowledge found in God’s Word and by seeking to become more like Him. 

          Susie Larson writes that “the common way is the road of reciprocating pettiness and gossip, building cases, and forming alliances. Those who take this path through betrayal and rejection give the devil a mighty foothold in their lives.  They emerge from the crisis of betrayal miserable, not blessed.  They struggle with suspicion instead of trust.  They are cynical and less hopeful.”

            How can we escape going down this road?  By humbling ourselves before God; by realizing that…in the words of Susie Larson: “we are nothing without God, but with Him we are everything!” When our eyes are permanently focused on God, we become less self-centered and desire what God wants for us and for others. That’s what an “uncommon” Christian is all about. 

            Let’s put on our “new self” and get ready for uncommon servings of JOY in the Lord.