JOY

JOY

We don’t really think about joy very often, do we?  Even we believers don’t realize that joy is a consequence of our salvation! 

Joy can be recognized in various forms:  happiness, enjoyment, delight, wonderment, elation, or pleasure.

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  (Ps 16:11)  In God’s presence is the knowledge and the experience of joy genuinely felt.

The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!  (Ps 21:1)  When we consider the blessings and benefits of our salvation, joy should well up within us.  Our salvation makes us kings and priests before God!  (See Rev 1:6; 5:10)

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!  (Ps 32:11)  Our joy should be so powerful that it causes us to want to shout about it, on occasion.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.  (Ps 43:4)  Our joy will certainly move us to praise and rejoice in the Lord.

Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.  (Ps 63:4-5)  All throughout our lives, as a result of our blessings and our acknowledgement of our salvation, we should savor the utter joy of life.

Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy.  (Ps 132:9)  We are the “saints” referred to in this verse, and we should cry out in utter astonishment and exultation about the goodness of our salvation.

Begin today to savor the joy of your salvation!

Getting Out of the Slump

Getting Out of the Slump

What is a slump?  It can be defined as:  sluggishness; lethargy; boredom; or stagnation.  Do you ever feel like you’ve gotten into a spiritual slump and have just been treading water?  We’re going to consider how to extricate ourselves from just such a slump.

Let’s look at the Bible:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  (Eph 3:14-21)

I was taught that this passage makes an excellent basis for prayer for ourselves and loved ones.  It’s also a great basis for prayer for spiritual disciples and spiritual children.

To get out of a slump, we need to pray this passage over ourselves.  So what is it that we’re asking for?  We’re asking God to give us:

  • Strength in our inner man through the Holy Spirit, (Ps 18:32)
  • Christ’s indwelling presence by faith, (1 Joh 4:13)
  • A foundation in His love, (1 Joh 4:8)
  • A deep comprehension of and experience of God’s perfect love, and
  • The fullness of God alive within us. (Eph 4:13; Col 2:9)

We receive everything from God by grace through faith.  Grace is God’s part and faith is our part of the process.  When we are born again (saved), Christ makes His home in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

As we grow in our Christian walk, we study God’s word and obey it with joy and gladness.  This kind of obedient life causes us to gradually come to know the love of God more fully and completely; and we become filled with the fullness of God.  Love is the atmosphere in which God dwells, because GOD IS LOVE.  (1 John 4:8)

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.  (Joh 14:21)

As the verse above says, our obedience to God’s word demonstrates our love for God.  And Jesus says that to such a person, He will manifest (reveal) Himself.  This is what being filled with the fullness of God is all about.  It will elevate you out of any slump anytime, and places you back in your seat in the heavenlies.  (Eph 2:6)  Blessings upon you!

God Resists the Proud

God Resists the Proud

The Scriptures have a lot to say about pride.  Most of the verses and passages criticize and denounce pride.  There are many more verses on this topic in addition to those that I’ve shared below.

  • To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. (Prov 8:13 NIV)
  • When pride comes, then comes shame . . .  (Pro 11:2)
  • By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom. (Pro 13:10)
  • The Lord detests all the proud of heart. be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Pro 16:5 NIV)
  • Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  (Pro 16:18-19)
  • But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (Jas 4:6)

The Lord doesn’t want us to have a haughty and proud attitude towards other people.  He never approves of us feeling that we are better or more valuable than another individual.  This is the kind of pride that God sets Himself against because it puffs us up and blinds us to our own faults.  This is the pride that cuts us off from other people.  No one chooses to be around or to befriend a supercilious, self-important person.

We are allowed to recognize and receive satisfaction from our own work and our accomplishments as long as we recognize that they make us no more valuable than anyone else, and that God blessed us and enabled us to accomplish them.

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else . . .   (Gal 6:4 NIV)

The Bible says, I know that there is nothing better for people than to … find satisfaction in all their toil—this is a gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).

The pride that cuts us off from other people displeases God because He has a different vision for His people.  His plan is for us to work in unity and harmony, carrying one another’s burdens, and serving Him with excellence and joy together.  (Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 13:4; Col 3:23; Gal 6:2-3)

An even worse outgrowth of poisonous pride is that it cuts us off from God, Himself!  When the enemy persuades us to be conceited and proud, we no longer feel that we need anyone else; so pride causes us to turn away from God. 

In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.  (Ps 10:4 NIV)  This is a catastrophic state of affairs. 

Rather, let us humbly thank God for giving us talents and abilities; and determine to use what we have received to bring glory and honor to God.

The Wells of Salvation

The Wells of Salvation

Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  (Isa 12:3)

This Scripture has always fascinated and intrigued me.  This is beautiful language from the heart of our Savior God.

Here is what I hear when I read this passage:

“With great jubilation and rejoicing, I shall pull forth the knowledge of God’s love, goodness, and power from the never-ending source of blessings within me. (That source is Jesus Christ, the Lord.)”  Wow!  What a powerful confession and testimony!

Deep within God’s wells of salvation, we shall experience the cool water of God’s grace, strength and joy.  This will refresh and strengthen our hearts and motivate us to praise and give thanks to our God.

On another level, we all know that water is necessary to sustain life.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  (Joh 14:6)  We cannot have eternal life without Him.  We can’t experience the blessings of God upon the righteous except through Jesus.  He is the mediator and connection between God the Father and mankind.  (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6)  The Word reminds us that Jesus lives to make intercession for us!  (Heb 7:25)

The term “wells of salvation” indicate an ever-flowing, enduring, and unfailing supply of water.  Jesus is not only the fountain but the water of life itself!

“. . . but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  (John 4:14)

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  (John 7:38)

Take a little time to think about the “wells of salvation” that Christ has placed within you. Consider that they were put there to not only bless, heal, and to prosper YOU; but also to bless, heal, and to prosper ALL with whom you come in contact!  You are a Christ-carrier so allow Him to operate through you.

Joy Comes in the Morning

Joy Comes in the Morning

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  (Ps 30:5)

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  (Ps 126:5)

These verses of the Bible have been a great comfort to me many different times in my life.  I understand that the challenges and sorrows of life haven’t been a result of God’s anger, but rather because Satan is the enemy of our souls.  He and his minions are at work in this world and manifest themselves as evil works, heinous crimes, and calamitous events.

This verse reminds me that God’s favor is upon me forever; and it surrounds me as a shield. (Ps 5:12)  This truth encourages my faith when difficulties arise. 

In another way, these verses remind me that I may experience weeping (sorrow; sadness) for a season, but it will be surely followed by joy.  In fact, whenever I DO cry, the Lord tells me that He saves my tears in a bottle.  (Ps 56:8)  This indicates that God does not consider my tears wasted, and that they’re very important to Him.

In Hezekiah’s story (Isa 38:5), the Bible clearly states that God saw Hezekiah’s tears and extended his life due to Hezekiah’s tearful prayers. 

Let’s remind ourselves in times of trial, pain, or sorrow, that God sees our pain and our tears.  We sow our prayers in tears before the Lord.  They are very important to Him; and as we pray to Him and trust Him, He will reward us with deep and abiding joy.  Praise the Lord!

How Do You Worship God? Part 2

How Do You Worship God? Part 2

(This is a continuation of my most recently posted blog article on how to worship the Lord.)  Here are additional ways to worship God:

  • Worship God in the assembly while the singers sing and the musicians play their instruments (2 Chronicles 29:28)
  • Sing praises to God with joy and bow down and worship Him.  (2 Chronicles 29:30)  Joy is an essential component of worship!  Bowing down in worship is a sign of humbling ourselves before the Lord, out of respect and reverence.
  • Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.  (Psalm 2:11 NKJV)  Worship includes reverence (respect, admiration, awe, and astonishment) as well as celebration, cheer, and joy with trembling.  The trembling is an outward manifestation of the reverence of the worshipper.
  • Worship the Lord and glorify His Name.  (Psalm 86:9)  Glorify means to adore, exalt, elevate, praise, or venerate.  When we elevate and exalt the Name of Jesus, we are partaking in worship.
  • Worship at Jesus’ feet (Matthew 28:9)
  • True worshippers worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23)
  • God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.  (John 4:24 NKJV)
  • Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  (Romans 12:1 NKJV)  Offering your entire life for service and all that you do to the Lord as an offering is worship!

Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.  (Rev 15:4 NKJV)

Rejoice!

Rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness [graciousness, forbearance] be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  (Phil 4:4-5) 

The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.  (Ps 118:15)

Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart.  (Ps 119:111)

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.  (Jer 15:16)

. . . rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer . . . (Rom 12:12)

As you can see from these Bible passages, rejoicing is an integral part of the life of a believer.  We’re told to rejoice in Philippians.

The “voice of rejoicing and salvation” is heard in the homes of the righteous because God’s right hand (who is Jesus) does valiantly. 

Valiantly means with courage or determination.  Jesus fulfilled his calling to become our Savior and Redeemer!  He fulfilled that calling with courage and determination. 

“That hero of heroes, the conquering Savior, gives to all the families of his people abundant reasons for incessant song now that he has led captivity captive and ascended up on high. Let none of us be silent in our households: if we have salvation let us have joy, and if we have joy let us give it a tongue wherewith it may magnify the Lord.”  –  Excerpt from commentary on Psalm 118:15

Source of above quotation:  http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/treasury-of-david/psalms-118-15.html

As believers, we have so many great reasons to rejoice.  God’s word, which is full of His precious promises to us, is another reason for us to rejoice.

As we wait for God to fulfill His promises to us, we rejoice in hope!  Under all circumstances, let us praise God and rejoice in Him.