Posts Tagged ‘Joy

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.

28
Sep
16

No Disappointment In Hope

…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. — Romans 5:2b-5 (NIV)
I’ve spent this morning talking with several people who are having a tough time of things.  There’s the woman whose sister has cancer.  There’s the family that is facing hard times on two different fronts.  There’s the young man whose baby has a mysterious illness.  There’s the woman facing a possible surgery soon.  All of them sound broken and beat up by life.  They are facing times of hopelessness and disappointment.
It is so hard to focus on the positive aspects of trials and tribulations when we are in the midst of them.  When we are in the thick of the frustrations and disappointments of life, it is so difficult to say, “This is making me stronger!  This is helping my faith grow!”  No!  We get angry and we weep and we sigh and we cry some more.  We want answers and we don’t want to wait for them.  We want things to go our way for once!  We don’t want easy Sunday school answers.  We want real hope in a time of hopelessness.  We want stability in an unstable world.  We want things to stay the same when everything is changing all around us.
The good news is that God doesn’t change.  His love doesn’t change.  His character never changes.  His Word never changes.  Hope doesn’t change.  He is there, loving us with a fierce, compassionate love as a father loves his child.  He is merciful and He is kind.  He gives peace in the midst of the storm.  He gives hope, even in the midst of the disappointments of life.  He showers us with blessings even when we can’t see them.  May He pour out His love on you and give you hope today.
PRAYER: Father God, we are in need of hope in our country and in our lives. We know that You are the source of hope. Help me to not feel discouraged and disappointed by the difficult circumstances of my life and to know that You will work everything out for the best possible good. In Jesus’ name, amen.
27
Apr
16

Clothed With Joy

Psalm 30

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 30

A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David.

I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

In Psalm 30, David writes about how God was able to take his broken heart and replace it with joy.  Look at what he says:

…weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5b (NIV)

and

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy… – Psalm 30:11 (NIV)

When we are in the thick of sorrow and pain, we need to cry out to God for help.  Jesus, on the night before His crucifixion, was in agony and anguish.  He cried out to His Father for help and strength.  God hears our cries and He heals our broken hearts and wounded souls.  He is able to carry us through the darkest times of our lives.  What is our response to His healing?  It is to be praise:

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name. – Psalm 30:4 (NIV)

 and

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. – Psalm 30:12 (NIV)

So when your healing comes, do not forget about the Lord.  When He forgives your sins, do not forget about the Lord.  When He shows you mercy and gives you joy, may you rejoice in the Lord.  Let us praise His holy name forever.
PRAYER: God, I need Your healing in my life. I need Your joy today. My life and situations and circumstances grieve me. I need You and I need joy. Remind me of Your faithful love and forgiveness so that I may have true joy today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
09
Dec
15

Why Christ Came

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. — 1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)

When we celebrate Christmas each year, we think about gifts, manger scenes, lights and the baby Jesus.  We hear the songs that bring back so many memories.  Songs about reindeer and snowmen to songs about angels, shepherds and one very Holy Night.  It is a time for gathering with friends and family.  It is a wonderful time of year that we return to every December (though it feels like it starts much earlier than that!).  Why?  Why do we do this each and every year?  It’s not a bad thing.  It brings out the best in many of us.  There is a little more peace and joy in our lives.  There is a little more love and goodwill towards others.  But why?

I think that Paul’s words to the young preacher Timothy get at the real meaning of Christmas.  Jesus came to save sinners (Paul said that he was the worst and that gives me hope that I could never be higher on the list than # 2!).  Let me say this once again: Jesus Christ came to save sinners.  He was born in a manger to save sinners.  He died on a cross to save sinners.  He became like us so that He could save us.  Now we have the hope of an eternity with Him because of this wonderful fact: Jesus came to save sinners.  That is what Christmas is really all about.

PRAYER: Father, in the busyness of this season, help me to remember the real reason that we celebrate Christmas.  Help me to remember the birth of Jesus, my Savior.  Thank You for sending Him into the world to save a sinner like me.  I praise and thank You in His name, amen.

22
Sep
15

How Long, O Lord?

Psalm 13

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me. — (Psalm 13, NIV)

Let’s face it.  Hard times come to us all as we journey through this life.  David knew all about them.  As king of Israel, there were many enemies who wanted to take his life.  He knew what it was like to be down.  This psalm makes it sound like he knew depression.  He told God that he had sorrow in his heart every day.  He was in the thick of the hardships of life, but he knew where to turn…the unfailing love of the Lord.

Sometimes we forget where to turn.  We forget the last two verses of Psalm 13.  We express our grievances to God and we complain to Him (which we should), but we stop there.  We need to remember those verses:

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.
Do you trust in the unfailing love of God?  How has God been good to you?  Can you sing to the Lord, even especially on the bad days?  When life is crashing around you and you feel like you are just going to die, can you rejoice in the salvation that was given to you when you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ?  It’s not easy and the hard times seem to come more frequently than the good times, but God is good (all the time) and He’s been good to us all.  May He overwhelm you with His goodness today.
PRAYER:  Father God, life is hard, but I know that You are good.  Help me to see Your goodness today.  Amen.
11
Aug
15

Get A Life!

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. — 1 John 5:11-12 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit testifies to it.  Jesus said it (John 10:10).  The Father longs to give it to us.  Life.  Real life.  Authentic life.  Abundant life.  Yet so many Christians I know (including myself) feel lifeless much of the time.  What does it mean to have life?  I think that it goes along with the fruit of the Spirit.  The fruit that the Spirit bears in our lives indicates the degree to which we are experiencing real life.
Are we becoming more loving and joyful?  More peaceful and patient?  More kind and good?  More faithful, gentle and self-controlled?  Is the Spirit manifesting itself in our lives in these ways?  I think that the abundance of life is found in the cornucopia of the Spirit’s fruit.  When we are angry, self-centered, bitter and joyless, we discover that life is drudgery.  We have no life when we are not walking in tune with God’s Spirit.  But when we submit to God’s leadership in our lives, we find that life (though it may have its share of challenges) is more pleasure than pain.  May God bless you with abundant life today and tomorrow and on through eternity.
How do you define “life”?  How is the Spirit manifesting itself in your life?  Is life more drudgery or is it more abundant?
PRAYER: Lord God, I want the abundant life that Jesus promised.  I don’t want to see my life as a drudgery.  I don’t want the same old, same old.  I want to live!  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit today as I seek to please You in my life.  Thank You for the gift of Your Spirit and Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.



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