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Friday, September 30, 2016

Hold on to God's Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  At times you may feel weak, but the joy of the Lord is always concentrated with strength!

            As we pray for those who have been displaced and affected in a variety of ways by natural disasters likes floods and hurricanes or whatever the case may be, we realize that all of us have to be aware that we are not in control of some things.  We are powerless when it comes to orchestrating the storms of life…whether we are talking about the weather or our situation in life.  When we fight these challenges in our own strength, often we grow weary.  That is why it’s so important to remember the scriptures and the encouragement of God’s Word.

Isaiah 40:29 says: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

            Weary…that word alone describes a great majority of people at any given time.  Weary as is tired, physically; weary as in exhausted from emotional burdens; weary from trying to “fix things” in our own way.  Instead of depending on ourselves, the wise thing to do is to live out the above scripture.  HE gives strength to the weary…that’s GOD!  HE increases the power of the weak (us)!  But we have to relinquish control and ask for His help.

            This quote says it well: “God will direct your steps. He will give you the strength to live your life with a good attitude. When discouragement comes your way, just say: “No, thanks! I’m going to keep my joy! I know God is in control of my life. He’s going to get me where I’m supposed to be.”

           Tap into God’s strength, hold on to His joy and go where He wants you to go.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lift Up His Name...with Joy!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  When you feel like giving up….drink in an extra serving of joy in the Lord to receive strength!

            As I observed people in the flooded areas of Baton Rouge, LA recently, I saw all kinds of people.  Those who were discouraged; those who were broken. We found people who were persevering through the mess to clean up their homes and then, those who seemed to be giving up. What made the difference?  What made some people push forward and set a goal to move back into their home one day?  And then others succumb to hopelessness? One difference, I’m certain, is that those with a strong faith in God were much more confident in the future.

            All of us will have times is our lives when some sort of disaster touches us.  We need to be saturated in the truth of scripture so that we can live loved by God and committed to following Him regardless of our circumstances.  Here are a few scripture verses that we should hide in our hearts:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."  Deut. 31:6

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him."  Psalm 28:7

            Don’t give up…LIFT UP the name of the Lord and allow His truth and joy to strengthen you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dance a Joy Jig!

Have you had your Joy Juice today?  On occasion, it’ll make you feel like singing and dancing!

Psalms 96:1 says: “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.”
Have you ever done that?  Our Disaster Response Team witnessed a great example of this as our  Louisiana brother and sister, Leonard and Mildred, danced a “joy jig” (as I like to call it.) When they saw the improvements made to their flooded-out home, their hearts were overflowing.  We actually witnessed with our own eyes the joy of Leonard as he danced and praised the Lord on the front stoop of the home.

            As I pondered that sweet memory, I had to ask myself the question: “How often do I stop to give heart-felt thanks to our Father for the basics of life, for the blessings of provision, for the many extras that I take for granted? The air that we breathe, good health, more food than we really need, relationships, clean clothes, soap and hot water to bathe every day……so many, many blessings for which we may forget to thank God.

            One way to increase our awareness of how grateful we should be is to seek out someone less fortunate. Find out how to help them.  Our perspective changes.  We see more clearly our own blessings.  Our problems diminish as we focus on the challenges others are facing.  You don’t have to go on a mission trip to reach out and help. Opportunities are all around us!

            Sing a new song as God reveals who He has ordained for you to help today.  Then get ready to dance your joy jig!