Posts Tagged ‘Joy

31
Jan
18

Suffering For Jesus

Jesus said in John 15 that the world would hate His followers because it hated Him first. Peter’s audience was being persecuted and they were experiencing that hate firsthand. Peter said this should not have come as a surprise to them. He wrote:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. – 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)

If we suffer for our faith, our sufferings are a participation in the sufferings of Jesus. In Acts 5, Peter and his fellow apostles were flogged for preaching in the name of Jesus. It says that they left rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the Name of Jesus. Instead of getting angry over persecution, let us rejoice knowing that God sees it and He will have the final say. May we be counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
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26
Jan
18

Hospitality

As followers of Jesus, we are all part of a great big family of believers. We’re a spiritual family of brothers and sisters. Peter says that we should be hospitable toward one another and help each other without complaining. He wrote:

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)

We do not live in very hospitable times. We like the privacy of our own homes. We like to be left alone. But the fact is that we need our brothers and sisters and they need us. Hospitality is about bring friendly toward others. It is more than just a hug or a handshake on a Sunday morning. It is about doing life together as brothers and sisters. Think about your own flesh and blood. If your brother or sister fell on hard times, many of you would help them however you could. The same thing goes for our spiritual family. We need to practice kindness and hospitality toward our spiritual brothers and sisters. When we do, we shouldn’t complain about it, but rather see it as an opportunity to share the love of God.
24
Nov
17

The Angels’ Longing

The Holy Spirit of God revealed the sufferings and glorification of Jesus the Messiah to the Old Testament prophets. They wrote about them, not for their own benefit, but for ours. Peter says:

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. – 1 Peter 1:12 (NIV)

Did you hear that? The angels of God longed to know what was going to happen on earth. Angels are not all-knowing creatures or beings. They anxiously awaited God’s plan to be revealed, just as humanity did. Oh what a plan it is! To forgive and save humanity from our sin and wickedness by His grace through Jesus Christ, our Savior. The angels of Heaven could not have conceived of this amazing plan. But God knew all along how He was going to rescue us from death. That’s what He did. He chose to save humanity by sending His Son. Now, we who receive salvation through Him rejoice because of God’s amazing grace and love.
21
Nov
17

Because Of Faith

Why do we believe in God’s existence in and in His love? Why do we worship Him? Why do we trust Jesus for salvation? There is a goal to our faith. The Apostle Peter wrote:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV)

Though we have never seen God, we have felt the effects of faith in Him. When we come to faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit of God fills us with joy. Joy comes from knowing and serving Jesus. Faith leads to joy and faith leads to Heaven. That’s the goal of our faith – eternal life. Let’s face it, life is hard. Faith is hard, too. We believe in a God we cannot see and in His Son, whom we have never met. Yet, when we gather with like-minded believers, the joy is real. When God’s Spirit does what He does, the joy is glorious. I’ve seen lives transformed and tears of joy streaming down faces of the most unlikely of people. It’s because of faith.
17
Nov
17

Rejoicing In Trials

Peter wrote his first letter to a persecuted church. He told them about the inheritance that awaited them in Heaven. He told them that no matter what trials and tests of their faith may have come, nothing could take their inheritance away. This inheritance was their reason for joy. Peter continued:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. – 1 Peter 1:6 (NIV)

The promises of God are our reason for joy. If we face trials of various kinds that test our faith, we can still have joy. Joy is different than happiness. No one is happy about trials and tests, but they can be a reason for joy. Happiness usually depends on circumstances. Joy depends on our Savior. Circumstances change, Jesus doesn’t. His love and our hope are eternal. Whatever trial or circumstance you’re going through, it can change for better or worse. Jesus won’t change on you, though. Your hope is secure.
17
Mar
17

Gratitude

Good Friday morning to you! There are three little words at the end of Colossians 3:15 that seem like an afterthought. However, these three words are vital to being a follower of Jesus. Paul says:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15 (NIV)
 Gratitude is not an option for Christians. We should be the most thankful people on the planet. After all, we know that Jesus died to forgive our many sins and that we have the promise of eternal life in Heaven with Him because of God’s grace. Not only that, but we know the source of our blessings is our Heavenly Father. So why do we complain so much? It’s because we forget. We get so bogged down in the muck and mire of this world that we forget to be thankful. We forget that we’re going to Heaven and this life is not all that there is. Don’t let the problems of earth take away the joy of Heaven. Be thankful today for the blessings you’ve received and even for the trials of faith that come along. God has blessed you with both so that you will know Him and His love each day.
21
Nov
16

Doesn’t God Want Me To Be Happy?

The latest talk from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana. This message is based on James 5:7-11 and is about the difference between happiness and joy.




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