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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Turn Your Wishes to Prayers

           Have you had your Joy Juice today? My wish for you is that your day will be filled with joy.

            Is wishing wrong? Certainly not! But what turns a wish into something powerful…is prayer.  What if we prayed every time we wished?  Would we pray more often?  A wish is an expressed desire (whether aloud or in our thoughts). And God is attentive to our desires.

            Psalm 37:4 reminds us:  “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
            Sometimes our “desires” manifest themselves as “wishes”.  God knows us so well that He can read our hearts and our thoughts.  Even before our wish becomes a prayer, God hears.  He is all-knowing.  Does that mean all we have to do is “wish upon a star”, so to speak? It’s not as simple as that!
           God wants us to express our desires to Him in prayer. He tells us to “draw near to Him”…that’s for our benefit. He knows that when we are near to Him, we experience a closeness that facilitates openness. In that transparency, we express to Him our deepest desires, our broken places and our hopes about the future.  The outcome of our time in His presence is genuine JOY in the Lord. 

           I'm wishing and praying that deep joy will be yours in a transparent relationship with God.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Double Portion of Contentment and Joy

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  At birthday time, we often hear: “Blow out your candles and make a wish!”  

Do you think that if all our wishes came true, we’d be joyful?  We may, indeed, be happy……for a while. But chances are, instead of being content, we’d soon find something else to desire. 

One dictionary defines contentment as “the state of being mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.” Today it is rare that we find anyone who is truly content with his or her condition in life. The Bible has a great deal to say about contentment—being satisfied with what we have, who we are, and where we’re going. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25). In essence, Jesus is telling us to be content with what we have.*

                The apostle Paul is a great role model for us. He truly knew the secret of contentment. He said: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13).  Paul’s “secret” can be ours: KNOWING CHRIST can be our personal strength. 

                Let’s pray for a double portion of contentment and joy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Delight Yourself in the Lord..."

 Have you had your Joy Juice today? Just wishing for a serving doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it!  

We’ve all wanted something so badly that we’ve obsessively wished for it, maybe even passionately prayed for it; and when it didn’t happen on our time-table, we tried to manipulate things, finagle the circumstances to try to tilt the odds in our favor.  We can’t understand why God hasn’t answered our heart-felt pleas.

As we mature in our faith in Christ, we begin to understand that God is not a “wish-granter”.  He is, however, a prayer-answerer.  Does He answer every prayer?  YES, I believe He does. But sometimes He says “NO” or “NOT NOW”. We may not be ready for what we are asking; or it may not be His best for us.  That’s when we have to trust Him.

Look at these verses and see if you can find another reason that delays God’s answers:  

In 1 John 3:22 we read:  And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him."

Psalm 37:4 tells us to: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

If we are not keeping His commandments, pleasing Him with our life choices and delighting in Him….should we expect Him to answer our requests?

May we be diligent in our prayers as we seek to be in the center of God’s will. That is where we will find peace and joy.