Joy or Junk-Filled Focus? {Part 2}

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  (photo credit) liljorochtulpaner.blogspot.com

Matthew 3:17 God and Jesus receive great joy in their relationship!

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” God and Jesus delight in each other and value their relationship so much!

Do we truly value our relationship with the Trinity?

Romans 15:13 “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Col. 1:11 “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy!”

Do any of you ever worry? Do you remember what you worried about last year at this time?! What about today? Think about your current worries. Did you know ONLY 8% of what we worry about comes true? That leaves 92% of what we worry about, thankfully NEVER comes to fruition!! Praise God! “What IF…we decided that we would wait to worry!” Fred Smith the mentor to the wonderful late Zig Ziglar said, “I decided that I’d wait until I actually had a reason to worry—something that was happening, not just something that might happen—before I worried.”

The great theologian, Charles Spurgeon said it best. “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” Anxiety is a joy stealer!

That Friday (after the Boston Marathon and the Texas Fertilizer Plant explosions) I was having such a hard time, and my joy was gone because I was looking at the world and not my Savior! He gave me a dose of His JOY when I read about Zacchaeus  in my quiet time, reading through the bible in a Year program:

  Zacchaeus story in Luke 19:1-7:

19 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.

4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” What was it about Jesus that made Zacchaeus respond right away!  I think it was that Jesus noticed Zacchaeus and He knew His name! Do you realize God notices you, loves you, even adores and delights in you?! He calls you by your name!

 6 Scriptures says, Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 

Do we invite Jesus into our house ( which is our heart) with great excitement and joy, desiring to spend quiet time with Him, first thing in the morning or evening? Are you delighting in Him, eager to feast on His Word? Are you journaling what He shares with you as you study His life? Are you loving the Lord Your God, with all of your heart, mind and spirit? Have you fully devoted yourself to Him!

The joy stealers abounded in Zacchaeus day just like in our day!

In Vs. 7  we see, “the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

They were not happy for Zacchaeus! They did not see the benefit of Zacchaeus coming to Jesus and receiving Salvation! Maybe in your household, in your family, in your friends, people do not see the reason for your relationship in Jesus! That’s okay, because God is the God who sees YOU. He will help you in your love relationship in Him, and He will be the JOY of your strength!

He will Restore your Joy! Lamentations 5:21 “Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!”  Remember this J.O.Y. acronym: Joy happens because Jesus is Omnipresent in You!

I love Psalm 119:143! It says, “As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” Do you have any pressure or stress today?

Find hope and joy in His Word. Let the timeless treasures help you!

  Are you passionate and thankful for all Jesus is doing in your life? If not, ask Jesus to renew your hope and joy in Him! Ask Him for a fresh touch, a fresh revelation! Do you agree with me, that there is NOTHING like the fresh fire of the Holy Spirit falling freshly upon you! What I mean by this is, He gives you a special word, a thought, a promise in the Bible, that is divinely apportioned for you, TO YOU! And you know in your heart it is JUST FOR YOU! It’s like a divine HUG of joy and love!  Because at that moment, you are experiencing “fullness of Joy in His presence!”

I have found a sense of peace and blessedness is ours, when we realize God’s supernatural work is creating fruit in my life. Knowing I belong to my Maker and my identity is rooted in His love for me, gives me this deep peace and a deep sense of joy. That joy is the joy of Jesus Himself, residing deep within us, through the Holy Spirit. His joy, because Jesus, is the Man of Joy, within your spirit, is one of the most amazing results of being at peace with God!  Joy and peace are a result of spending time with Him and abiding deeply and regularly! In my Thursday morning bible study, we have been studying John and Jesus’ time with the disciples at the Last Supper. We have discovered, Intimacy with God is like the closeness a husband and wife experience in truly “knowing” each other. Being joyful is a state of our soul and spirit intermingled with Christ’s.

Joy comes from a secret intimacy with our Savior, through the Holy Spirit living within.

Joy or Junk-Filled Focus? {Part 1}

garden chair. (photo credit:  http://www.gardenbuddies.com)

 What gives you Joy? What takes away your joy? You might wake up joyful, thankful for a good’s night rest, (because I sure am, when I sleep the entire night! Because…it seems to happen less and less at my age!) We know don’t we, it doesn’t take much to steal our joy away! Just turn on the news, right?   Or, you receive a diagnosis from out of nowhere, or you receive a call from your child’s principle, or most likely, you or someone dear to you, receives a layoff notice. There are just a 1,000 different things that can happen daily, that can dampen our mood and take our good, positive God attitude down several notches! How do you draw a line in the proverbial garden soil, (I love to garden!) and allow God the reigns of our lives, so we can go back to our default position of Joy in ALL circumstances? You see, I can focus on the “junk” in my life instead of His joy. I can focus on what’s wrong versus looking at what is right in my life. I can focus on being grateful for my relationships and the love I have received and given to those around me.

I have to admit, I am not ALWAYS joyful! Imagine that! I tend to keep myself really busy, so I can have delayed grief when something goes wrong. Are any of you like this? We can “numb out” to the pain! So, after the Boston Marathon bombing, initially I think I was in shock. By Friday, I was a hot mess! I was so upset and in despair. I prayed and prayed to the Lord. I went for a walk with a friend and verbalized my feelings as best as I could. I am a lay Counselor at a non-profit counseling center. We tell our clients, “if you can name your feelings, then you can help tame them!” But, you need to verbalize them and get them outside of your head! At the end of my prayers, talking and walking, I had surrendered these circumstances up to God, realizing there was nothing I could do but pray, donate some money and run a race on Sunday, in remembrance of the victims. Whew! I really think it’s knowing and believing Jesus is still on His Throne, He is in control and I can go right back to Him, knowing He, through the Holy Spirit is in me. He’s my Center and I can stay grounded in Him! There is a huge tug-o-war going to steal your joy! The enemy’s biggest tool is fear, doubt and discouragement! If he can lead you down this path, then he can render you ineffective as a believer, with a tarnished witness, that is joyless, and jaded. God can DO anything! Certainly, He can get you out of a bad mood, out of despair and into His precious light where healing can begin!

Do not agree with the doubt, discouragement or fear! It is not of the Lord! It comes from the enemy of your soul.

Heb. 1:9 Jesus was anointed with the “oil of joy!” Jesus is a joyous Savior and He shares His joy with us through the Miracle within, the Holy Spirit! As a result, we have a claim to the consistent experience of  HIS undiluted joy!

There are some great Promises of Joy to focus on. These are what I have found out in my life as I journey in the Lord:

1.       Joy is a choice! It’s a decision of the will. It’s always the right choice! (If I am not experiencing His joy, I have to stop ask myself and God, what is going on in my heart?)

2. I pray Ps. 139:2 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” I ask myself, Do I have any unconfessed sin that is resulting in shame or guilt? Our sins can be gone in a moment, once we confess it and admit my need for Jesus to take it away. Then, I need to receive and accept His forgiveness and grace. His grace frees me from holding onto the shame and guilt of my sins.

3.       I may try to numb out the pain of my sins by: trying to create success, staying busy, materialism, addictions, hobbies, exercise… wouldn’t it just be easier to come clean before the Lord so He can restore our joy? Yes! I think so!

4.       Jesus’ true and constant joy is found deep within our Spirit. It does not ride the roller coaster of life even though we do!

5.       His joy is a superabundant supply, ready for our every need. (LOL! Supply & demand!)

6.       God’s consistent and solid joy flows strong and consistent in our good times as well as in our bad times.

7.       Peace is the ally (and friend) of joy!

Phil. 4: 7 “ And the peace of God, which transcends ( or surpasses) all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I have found as I seek Him, Ps. 27: 4  “God will delight you with His presence.”