JOY

20100606GET YOUR JOY BACK …

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. – 1 Peter 1:8, NIV

If the circumstances of life have taken away your joy, today is the day to get it back. You weren’t meant to live this life feeling drained, depressed and down. God wants you to be excited about your future and learn to enjoy each and every day.

If you don’t make the conscious effort to keep your joy, year after year you’ll get more and more solemn. Not only will the enemy rob you of the joy that belongs to you, but he’ll rob your family and friends of the gift that you have to give them. When you have joy, you can use that joy to influence the people around you for good. Joy is strength, and when you have joy, you can offer strength to the people God has placed in your life.

Today, draw the line in the sand and say, “That’s it. I’m not going to live another day negative, discouraged, sour and grumpy. I’m going to put a smile on my face. I’m going to live my life happy.” Choose to hold on to joy which is your strength so you can offer strength to people everywhere you go.

GOD WILL CAUSE YOUR GIFT TO PROMOTE YOU :

Proverbs 17:8 – A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers.

When we see something moldy, we throw it away. But when Alexander Fleming saw his culture dishes contaminated with mold, he discovered penicillin. You see, he had a gift which prospered him.

Joseph, a Hebrew slave in Egypt, had nothing except his gift of interpreting dreams. But look at what that gift did for him. It prospered him. He interpreted Pharaohs dream and became the most powerful man in Egypt after Pharaoh. (Genesis 41)

But Pastor, what if I don’t have any gift?

My friend, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have any gift. God has given each person a gift which can open doors of opportunities and bring in great blessings.

Maybe you are just not aware of that gift you have inside you, or perhaps it has profited you nothing thus far as you have not found out how best to use it. You need to take your gift and ask God for wisdom to cultivate it until it becomes such a powerful tool or precious stone that wherever you turn, you prosper.

This was the case with a church brother who was tremendously gifted in the creative arts. For a long time, he lacked the confidence and boldness to leave the security of his police job and step out on his own. But when he began to seek Gods wisdom for his situation, God gave him boldness to leave his job and go back to school to pursue the creative arts. In school, he prospered, becoming one of its top students and impressing the principal so much with his creative gift that he was offered a teaching position in the school even before he graduated.

Now, please don’t go and quit your job after reading this. What you should do is ask God for wisdom regarding your gift. For when the wisdom of God is added to your gift, that gift becomes a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers.

THE EYE-OPENING CHRIST …

‘Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them.’ Luke 24:15 NIV

Following the crucifixion, Cleopas and his companion were on the road that led home to Emmaus. That’s when ‘Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.’ Their hopes lay buried in a tomb; their faith had turned to doubt. So what did Jesus do? He held a Bible study! ‘Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.’ (Luke 24:27 NLT) Jesus knows that when you’re walking the road of doubt, you need to get into His Word and get it into you. When you do, three things happen: (1)Your eyes will be opened. ‘Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him.’ (Luke 24:31 NKJV) There are things you will only see when God reveals them to you through His Word. That’s why Bible reading must be one of your highest priorities. (2) Your heart will burn. ‘They said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us?”’ (Luke 24:32 NKJV) When you put God’s Word to work and begin to walk out its precepts, it will energise you and change your life. (3) You’ll want to tell everybody. ‘They rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed.”’ (Luke 24:33–34 NKJV) You say, ‘But I’m timid, and not very good with words.’ When you truly fall in love, you’ll find a way to express it. So today look for an opportunity to tell someone what Jesus has done for you.

GOD CAN WHEN YOU CAN’T

…“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As long as you say, “I can,” God “cannot” in your life. When you rely on your own strength and believe that you can do it, God won’t be able to help you. He won’t force His help on you when you don’t see the need for it. But when you turn to Him and say, “I cannot,” oh He can, He can! His “I can” will flow through your “I can’t.” His strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Beloved, when you say, “I can,” you are saying that you don’t need saving, and the Savior will let you be. But when you look to Him and say, “Lord, I can’t kick this big, bad habit,” He will say, “No problem. I am a Savior who is greater than this habit.” He will rush in to save you. He will empower you to overcome it.

When you look to Him and say to Him, “Lord, I can’t change my spouse. I can’t change my child. I’m so tired. Please take over,” He will say, “No problem. Watch me do a deep, transforming work in their lives and in yours.” He will work in you, through you and for you, and what seems impossible to you will become possible!

MYSTERIOUS DETOURS

Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. —Psalm 22:4

Before my wife and I embarked on a 400-mile road trip, I set up the GPS with our daughter’s home in Missouri as the destination. As we traveled through Illinois, the GPS instructed us to get off the Interstate, resulting in a detour through the city of Harvey. After the GPS directed us back to I-80, I was baffled by this mysterious detour. Why were we directed off a perfectly good highway?

I’ll never know the answer. We continued on our way, and we trusted the GPS to get us there and home again.

That got me to thinking about detours in life. We may seem to be traveling on a smooth pathway. Then for some reason, God redirects us into an unfamiliar area. Perhaps it is an illness, or a crisis at work or school, or an unexpected tragedy occurs. We don’t understand what God is doing.

Abraham faced a mysterious detour when God told him, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house” (Gen. 12:1). Surely Abraham must have wondered why God was routing him to the Negev desert. But he trusted God and His good purposes.

A GPS may make mistakes, but we can trust our unfailing God (Ps. 22:4). He will guide us through all our mysterious detours and lead us where He wants us to go.
We seek Your guidance, Lord, but we understand that our path won’t always be without challenges. Help us to trust You through the detours—knowing that You have our best interests and Your honor at heart.

We don’t need to see the way when we stay close to the One who does.

A NEW REVELATION OF LOVE

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Jesus previously stated that all the law and the prophets were dependent on loving God first, and then loving your neighbor as yourself. These truths were already in the law but people missed them. So, this commandment was not new in the sense that it had never been given before, but it was brought to the forefront and given new meaning through the example of Jesus. Jesus not only loved His neighbor as Himself, He loved us more than Himself.

John, the apostle who wrote this gospel, later wrote about the new commandment of love. No doubt, he received his inspiration from this teaching of Jesus. John wrote, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth” (1 Jn. 2:7-8). He then goes on to speak of loving one another.

This commandment, or the revelation that God gave to man through His Word, wasn’t new, but was never clearly seen by men because of the darkness that separated them from God. In the light of Jesus’ life, the darkness was removed and the old commandment of love became new through the example of Jesus in a way that mere words could never express.

BE FLEXIBLE

‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.’ Psalm 37:23 NKJV
The Psalmist writes, ‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.’ (Psalm 37:23–24 NKJV) Observe:

(1) God delights in the fact that you’re willing to step out in faith and try.
(2) He doesn’t guarantee that you won’t stumble, but that ultimately He won’t let you fail.
(3) When you feel like you can’t go on, He will uphold and strengthen you.

What more could you ask for? Now, God never changes, but life does. So you must be ready to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, is credited with having been a visionary leader. His dream was to provide value to customers in order to improve their lives. But he was notorious for changing plans and abandoning strategies that didn’t work. Sam’s son Jim Walton admitted, ‘We all sniggered at some writers who viewed Dad as a grand strategist who intuitively developed complex plans and implemented them with precision. Dad thrived on change, and no decision was ever sacred.’ What good is a well–planned strategy if it doesn’t yield good results? To quote Winston Churchill: ‘However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.’ God is more committed to the vision He’s given you than you are. But when He leads you in a new direction, you must be ready to follow Him. Like Israel in the wilderness, when the guiding cloud moved they had to move with it. The same goes for you. So, be flexible.

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