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.”

Holy In His Sight

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Holiness refers to divineness, or distinctiveness and the realm of the divine. John 17:11,  tells us

 “Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.”

This verse captures beautifully God’s and Jesus’ holiness and intimacy  of their relationship as well as Jesus’ teaching about His Holy Father. Jesus also asks His Holy Father to protect His followers and help them to stay united just as He and the Father are. 

 We are called be holy, just as He is HOLY! Sanctified means to be made holy, purified, consecrated.  Joshua 3:5 “Then Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

God wants to do great wonders in our lives, but our part is to cooperate with God purifying ourselves by asking for forgiveness, walking in His love and obeying His Word.

Deut. 33:3, says:  “Indeed, He loves His people; all His holy ones are in his hands. They follow in His steps and accept his teaching.” How do we be holy in His sight? By following in His steps and accepting His teachings!We also walk by faith in Him and His grace for us.

 Joshua continued on with the subject of sanctification: in Johua 7:13: “There are devoted things among you, O Israel; you will be unable to stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” Ohhh! We want to stand strong and yet! There are things, hobbies, addictions, people, pleasures that we are MORE devoted to, then being HOLY and right before God. Do you have any “devoted things” today, He is asking you to give UP entirely over to Him?!

If we are of God and are to become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ  that they may have the full measure of my joy within Then, we need to learn to strengthen the walls and gates of our lives!  Nehemiah’s story of rebuilding the Wall Of Jerusalem in the Old Testament, is a story of persistent faith because he faced a lot of opposition! His is a story of new beginnings and like the disciple’s story in John 17,  it’s also a story of protection, perseverance and faith.

If we could look through our time lapsed telescope and go back to about 445 BC, we’d see Nehemiah singing: “Staying on the Wall, staying on the Wall!” Ahh, ahh, ahh, staying on the wall, staying on the wall!! And he did until it was successfully completed!  🙂

He saw what needed to be done in the land of Judah. It had been nearly 100 years since the exiles had returned to Judah after being held in captivity by the Babylonians. The Babylonians had devastated the wall and yet, no one saw fit to start the repairs. But, Nehemiah did! Nehemiah had great faith, commitment, and persistence and was laser focused. He prayed consistently and daily for God’s guidance, seeing the need for change! He also asked God for divine protection.  Then, he went to work!

Like Nehemiah, do you see a need for change in your life, in your heart!?

Neh.’s vision, led by God, did more than rebuild a wall. This book is also the story of the restoring of a people from ruin and despair to a new walk with God. Can we see this with the disciples? They had a new chapter in their lives to live, one without the physical Jesus. One where they had to rely on His teachings and His love through the Holy Spirit.

For persevering, rebuilding and repairing the broken pieces of our lives, many of us try to do it on our own and there is no recognition of God and moving in faith as a necessary part of the process!

What are you doing right now that requires faith? And, are you and I praying fervently, asking Jesus for help and protection in His name? I have a  F.A.I.T.H. acronym:

F-favored A- assurance I-In T-the H-Holy of Holies! So IF we have a FULL and “favored assurance in the Holy of holies” why wouldn’t we step out in faith, since He has already given the VICTORY to us? Because, if He is calling you to do something, change something, you will succeed in Jesus!  God calls us to “Be holy as I am holy.”
 Heb. 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Jesus had been faithful throughout His ministry and teachings to the disciples, and He will continue to do so with us! So, I started our teaching today, with the question, “In what ways would you like to glorify God more?” How is He calling you to be more holy? I encourage you to dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to Him! Give back to Him what He has already given you, your gifts, talents, time and resources. And, in His precious love for YOU,

Jesus will help you in that one area that you just cannot seem to get past! Ask Him! He will help you, to create the desired change as you seek Him!

 

 

 

A Heart That Stirs

Exodus 35:21 (NKJV)
“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.”
Is your heart being stirred? Is God creating something new in your life? Or, is He asking you to bring an offering to Him? He could be asking for a tithe, but my thought is He also asks for us to give an offering of something else– our hearts. Our heart is where our decisions are made, because we decide out of our affections what we love and what we want to do. Our beliefs create our emotions. Our emotions then create our reactions and our responses. If I am reacting in ways which are explosive, violative or snide and snarky, fearful and doubting, there is something about my core belief that needs to be explored. In God, I can ask Him to examine my heart, my will, my affections, my mood. I can pray to have Him point out what is the root of my belief. My identity is formed around these beliefs. Instead, I need to let God help me form my identity in Him.  God is love and He loves you and I perfectly and unconditionally.
When we allow God into our hearts, we can make space for Him to fill us up. Now, we will start to make decisions happily based on His desires for us. And, our identity is based upon His love for us and not upon what the world
or what others feel about us. Then, we can go about doing God’s work, touching other lives with His precious love and grace.  So, rise up! Listen to the stirrings in your heart. Make some positive Holy Spirit inspired changes and throw off the garments of old beliefs! Then go confidently in Him.  Thank you, Lord for your loving touch upon my life today. I will listen to your stirrings, empty myself and make space for you to move fully in my heart and life. Amen.
Excerpt from Holly’s upcoming book:

“Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy
Spirit Grace In Your Fiery Trials”

www.HeartForTheCross.com