Tag Archives: joy

Liquid Offering

This morning, I thought I would enjoy a peaceful morning writing while drinking my coffee. With windows open and the dogs at my feet, it seemed everything was flowing smoothly. But then, as I was placing my coffee cup on the table, the mug placement was not completely on the table. I blame it on the sinus infection.  The coffee mug toppled over upside down in the bin of dog toys. It poured out everywhere. The cup was empty. Every crack and crevice of the dog toy bin was covered by coffee. No toys were spared!

When something is poured out, it is different than a spill. You control how much is poured out. You can stop the pouring at any point. If only that was true for my coffee spillage! What this means for our lives as a “liquid offering to God,” is that we can control what we will pour out and what we will hold back. Paul writes, “Even if I lose my life,” which tells us that the pouring out to God should not be controlled. We should keep pouring—giving everything of ourselves to the Lord.

Today, consider if you are pouring your life out as a liquid offering to God. Is every drop of your life reaching the cracks and crevices where God desires, just as my coffee spread out over the dog toy bin? Are you holding something back? Ask yourself if you have joy. Remember, Paul says that those who offer their lives share in the joy. If you are missing the joy, perhaps you are missing the offering.

“But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.” – Philippians 2:17 [NLT]

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Refreshing Kindness

Kindness is always refreshing. In this dark world, kindness is a great light that shines brightly. Paul wrote about how he had such joy and comfort from knowing of the love that was being shown to others.

Paul also recognized that kindness refreshes people’s hearts. The word that is used means “to give rest.” It means to have a pause, rest, or to take ease. Kindness allows people to be free to simply share the love. For many it is a breath of fresh air. Kindness makes life much easier, and much more blessed.

Today, share that refreshing kindness to others. Ask the Spirit to help you be a blessing to someone. Be intentional. Look out for the best interest in others. Take notice. Speak life. Hold open the door. Smile. Your kindness is refreshing. Consider how God will use whatever you do in His name to further His kingdom. That one smile could encourage someone to be bold today. That one word of encouragement could be the push that starts a fire in someone’s heart. That extra time spent being kind to someone could help someone to truly feel the love of our Father.

“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.” – Philemon 1:7 [NLT]

Source of All My Joy

We look all over trying to have a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. We seek out delight in this world, but again and again we come up short. Temporary pleasures fade away. As we reach out for joy, we grasp glimpses of happiness that always fall short, unless we get to the source of joy itself.

The Psalmist got it! He understood that the source of our joy is God. Without God, you don’t have joy. You have something that might feel good for a while, might make you happy for a moment, but it passes. Circumstances and situations do not take away true joy, because through all the highs and lows of life, God is still present and you find your contentment in life in Him. Every time you depend upon something for joy, you will see it pass by at some point. People, feelings, situations—these things continue to change.

Today, praise the Lord, the source of joy. Ask Him to help you build your life upon His foundation. Let Him move freely in your life. Put your hope in Him. The fruit of joy will grow stronger in your life, and this with be contagious. Praise Him! He is the source of all your joy!

“There I will go to the altar of God, to God–the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!” – Psalm 43:4-5 [NLT]

All Alone

Jethro gave his son-in-law some great advice. When he saw Moses before the people all day, he asked what really was being accomplished. Moses was getting worn out by handling everything all day. This would eventually wear the people out as well. We aren’t meant to handle everything alone, nor to do everything. Jethro shared with Moses the importance of delegation.

I have always been a person who likes to take things on; I love a good challenge. But God has shown me that I was meant for specific things, and this is the same for you. Each person is capable of greater things through Christ; however, we are not promised that we can withstand an impossible work schedule. Philippians 4:13 doesn’t say that He’s going to provide strength for us to do things we aren’t meant to be doing. From the very beginning, God displayed the importance of rhythmic balance in life- time for movement and time for rest. If you take on everything, if you live your life as a “yes person,” you will wear out and you will wear out the people around you. If you don’t allow others around you to help, you are not following God’s design for the body of Christ to be fulfilled in your life. Each of us fit perfectly together when we each are doing what we’re made to do in harmony with our brothers and sisters.

Today, take time to consider your home life, work life, and church life. Look at your schedule. Are you doing too much? Do you have time for rest? Are you taking on things that others could be doing? Whenever you say “yes” to something, it takes away from another person’s opportunity to do that activity and grow. You can take away the possibility of someone serving in an area because you take their spot. Also consider who you are mentoring. Who are you investing in, to share your wisdom, to encourage the next generation? If you are keeping it all for yourself, what legacy are you leaving? We are to be planting seeds, not harboring them. Remember friends, loving people includes seeking out the best for them. A huge part of this is encouraging and empowering them to do what God created for them. This glorifies God.

“When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, ‘What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?… You’re going to wear yourself out–and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself… They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.’” – Exodus 18:14, 18, 22-23 [NLT]

Godly Grief

The word grief is not one that brings joy to us. Grief is a word we use when we are mourning a loss. But Paul notes in 2 Corinthians 7, that there are different types of grief —godly grief and worldly grief. In verse 10, it says that “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

Everyone grieves at some point in life. In this chapter, Paul writes about how he caused the people sorrow from a previous letter (see verse 8). He was not sorry for causing the sorrow though because he understood the importance of sorrow. The sorrow resulted in repentance, repentance resulted in salvation. This is godly grief, otherwise known as godly regret. This is when we come to know the truth – when our sin is revealed to us. We have the option to grieve the godly way, with repentance that leads to salvation through faith, or to grieve in the worldly way.

Paul is clear about the worldly grief. The worldly grief is filled with despair and remorse. The worldly grief produces death. This is when you are faced with the truth and you have a sorrow that does not lead to repentance. This is when something you do wrong (sin) backfires and the sorrow you feel is only because you have faced consequences or did not get the result you desired. You are not sorrowful because you went against God. You do not repent. You only are upset, you only feel grief, because you didn’t get away with your sin.

I pray when you are faced with the revelation of sin in your life, that you suffer from godly grief—a grief that produces repentance that results in salvation. This is a grief that brings joy! Joy in the salvation of the Lord!

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10 [ESV]

Taking Joy

If our joy rests on our circumstances, we do not have true joy. If your joy rests on things going the way we want, you do not have true joy. If joy rests on what you have and who you are with, this is not true joy. Circumstances change. Things don’t always go the way you want. We will not always have the same constant people in our lives. The things we have are temporary—they break, they are lost, their value is temporal.

In Habakkuk 3, we read about things not going well. The fig trees, vines, and fields aren’t producing. The livestock is not productive either. This is a big problem. No food. No money. Circumstances aren’t good at all. Even so, we read, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

How can there be joy? How can he take joy? The reason for joy is for knowing God—for trusting Him. When we rest in Him, when we know Him – truly know Him (requires a relationship)—then we can take joy in Him too. No matter what is going on today, take joy in Him. As John 16:22 says, the joy we have in Him, in our salvation, no one can take away.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18 [ESV]

The T Word

Tithing is always a sore topic to bring up. It seems whenever the “T” word is mentioned, people grab hold of their wallets, slide down in their seats, and contemplate why they should not open up their wallet because they don’t want anyone to catch a glimpse of what is inside. Many times the “T” word causes people to consider the church always “wants more of my money.” Some people might consider on what the church is using the tithed money.

In Nehemiah 13, we read about what happened to the Levites and the singers who did not receive the portion commanded by God. When Nehemiah returned to his duties for the king as cupbearer, the Israelites no longer gave the commanded portion and the Levites had to return back to their fields. This basically meant that the Levites, who were supposed to care for the Temple, had to leave their duties to take care of themselves. This is not how God designed everything to work out.

This saddens me. God commanded the people to take care of the Levites as they serve the Temple of God. The people dropped the ball and left the Levites to fend for themselves. There is great importance in taking care of God’s house. For us, things are different. We don’t have a Temple like back in Nehemiah’s days. Instead we have two very important items of great significance of which need provisions and care. We have our bodies, which is what houses the Holy Spirit. We also have our local church. It is important that we care for both; treat your body as a temple of God and remember that yes, God doesn’t need your tithe, but you need your tithe. Why? Because by tithing, you are giving God back what He has given you. You are worshiping Him rather than worshiping things. You are fixing your eyes on the Creator and King, rather than on temporary. It is a joy to give. It is a blessing to give. Give abundantly and watch what happens.

“I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field.” – Nehemiah 13:10 [ESV]

Happiness

Does God want you to be happy? That is a question we could spend a lot of time considering. Does God want YOU to be happy? We often hear people say God wants you to be happy. But when you look at the Bible and try to find this idea of God wanting His children to be happy, there is a disconnect. Why? The issue is in the word “happy.” The word is talking about an emotion, a temporary emotion.

Being happy is something that happens for a moment, sometimes shorter or longer than others. This is a small thing. It is great to be happy. I love being happy. But it does not take much time before the emotions change. God wants us to have joy. This is different. This is better than being happy. We get so fixated on our thinking and we cannot understand the bigger, greater thoughts of God. But we can see in His Word that He speaks of this joy we can have—this joy that is greater than a happiness that comes and goes based on circumstances.

Joy is something we can only experience through Jesus Christ. We read in 1 Peter that this is a “glorious, inexpressible joy.” We also know that this joy is something that no one can take from us (John 16:22). It is not based on circumstances. It is not something that changes; it remains. Isaiah 35:15 speaks of the glory of Zion, and the everlasting joy which will crown our heads. Today, rather than seeking out temporary happiness, instead, reach out for He Who offers us inexpressible joy, peace beyond understanding, and everlasting love. Why settle for happiness?

“You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” – 1 Peter 1:8 [NLT]

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” – John 16:22 [NLT]

 

The Commands of God

In the past four days as I have taken my dogs for their daily walks, I have encountered unleashed, uncontrolled dogs. Today’s dog was a bit comical. As her master called for her to get back to her side of the street, she slowly inched her way in our direction. It was as if she thought she could slowly sneak near us and her master would maybe have a change of mind over the boundary. As I consider the barriers that we should be in place for our fur family (fences, leashes), I cannot help but think about the boundaries God has put in place for His children to keep us safe. Just like the dogs often try to sneak away from their master when not contained, we too slowly sneak away. At times, we paw at the boundary line for a long time until we finally succumb to the temptation and take the final leap toward the sin. Sometimes we slowly walk toward the line and start to think no one is watching, and we run across like a dog who has a malfunctioning underground fence.

At the end of the day, as we stroll across the boundaries that God has put in place, we find ourselves facing the consequences. For a dog escaping, the usual punishment is back to the house. Our consequences are a life apart from God. When we are actively and knowingly sinning, we are living like we are separated from God even though He lives inside of us and is ever-present. When you don’t follow the commands, you turn away from God and toward the temporary. You drown out the Spirit. You put something above God. Your life you then begin to navigate without a map or GPS, and end up off course and out of gas.

In God’s Word, we see lots of commands. These commands are not because we have a God Who wants to be making life so difficult for us like some lengthy tax code or rules that keep us from fun. The commands of God are to protect us and to promote godly living which leads to joy, to peace, and blessings. Imagine not having to wonder if something is good or bad for you. God already has broken it all down in His Word. It makes life easier. Imagine how much easier and how much more joy and peace will be in your life if you stay on the narrow path and don’t find yourself knee deep in sin. Today let us examine where we are at in life. If you are often questioning the commands of God, consider why you question them. Do you have your priorities straight? Do you think you know better? Do you question them because you truly want to find a way around them? The Bible says if you love God, you will keep His commands. It should be our aim to do just that – to honor Him in all that we do in life. It is never burdensome.

 

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3 [ESV]

Overwhelming Joy

JOY is all about JESUS and the gift of salvation He offers. Because of JESUS, we wanderers can come back home to our Heavenly Father. This relationship was always God’s plan for us. It is only possible through CHRIST JESUS. Only through faith in JESUS are we children of God. Salvation is a gift from God. JESUS, our greatest gift – this is the cause of our “Overwhelming Joy.”

When you live with the Overwhelming JOY of JESUS, this JOY will become Overflowing JOY.

Luke 2:10-11 – But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. [NIV]

What JOY isn’t:

  • Positive thinking
  • Happiness because things are going your way
  • A glass half-full attitude

NO ONE WILL ROB YOU OF YOUR JOY – John 16:22 says “So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy.” No one can rob you of your JOY because it is founded in JESUS, in your salvation.

What is JOY?

1 Peter 1:8 – “You love (Jesus) even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” [NLT]

  • Glorious joy – ascribing weight by recognizing real substance/value – personally acknowledge God in His true character – JOY [POINTS TO GOD]
  • Inexpressible joy – unable to fully describe, impossible to adequately convey with words, unspeakable – JOY [WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE]

Definition of JOY:

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” – Kay Warren

The JOY OF JESUS

The JOY of JESUS was His absolute surrender and sacrifice of self to His Father. He had JOY in doing what His father sent Him to accomplish. Hebrews 12:2b says, “Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”

Why did this all happen….

  • God loves youJohn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” JESUS WAS BORN TO COMPLETE A MISSION – A SINLESS LIFE, A SACRIFICE, SALVATION FROM THE WAGES OF SIN.
  • God is for you – Romans 8:31b “If God is for us, who can be against us;” John 3:17 “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him” (NLT). JESUS CAME TO SAVE YOU
  • God is with you – Joshua 1:9 “wherever you go;” Deuteronomy 31:6 “He will not leave you or forsake you;” Isaiah “(He) is with you;” Matthew 28:20b “I am with you always, to the end of the age;” Immanuel means “God with us” – prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, mentioned in Matthew 1:23. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS SENT TO US.

IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS AND RELATIONSHIP

 What Jesus say about JOY:

  • All of heaven celebrates those who repent. Luke 15:7 – Parable of Lost Sheep – “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” [JOY OVER REPENTANCE]
  • Jesus celebrates faithfulness with you. Matthew 25:21 – “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” [JOY OVER FAITHFULNESS]

REPENTANCE IS THE FIRST STEP

FAITHFULNESS IS ALL OF THE STEPS AFTER

JOY is grounded upon God Himself:

  • Joy is glorious gladness & deep delight in the person of Jesus
  • Joy is greater and stronger than any trouble in life
  • Jesus is the source of all JOY (Psalm 43:4)
  • In His Presence is fullness of JOY (Psalm 16:11)
  • His Word is a JOY & delight of heart (Jeremiah 15:1-6)
  • Faith in Him causes us to brim with JOY (Psalm 33:20-22)

JOY is Good News – Entire Gospel is full of JOY at every turn:

  • Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:10) – Good news of GREAT JOY that will be for ALL the people.
  • Triumphal Entry (Mark 11:9, Luke 19:37) – Whole multitude of disciples began to PRAISE GOD.
  • After the Resurrection (Matthew 28:7-8) – So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled WITH JOY, and ran to tell his disciples.
  • The Promise Yet to Come (Isaiah 51:11) – Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

How does the JOY fade?

  • Sin – going against God – Pastor Miles spoke the first week about Repentance
  • Past – focusing on past mistakes – I spoke about the past – about how we should only look back when we are remembering what God has done.
  • Fear & Doubt – not believing/trusting God, doubting God – Pastor Ryan spoke about trusting God
  • Selfishness – pride tries to control rather than rest in Him. Pastor Matt spoke about our need to surrender control and admit we need Jesus.
  • Lack of prayer – JOY is fruit of the believer. (Galatians 5:22). Every believer is to share in the JOY of CHRIST by walking with Him daily. Prayer & Bible reading. JESUS said in John 15 that it is MY JOY IN YOU – JESUS’ JOY in you – if you abide in HIM. You cannot produce this JOY alone. It needs to be cultivated. It’s linked to your relationship with JESUS.

Great Example of JOY in the Bible

Churches of Macedonia – 2 Corinthians 8:2 – “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”

This doesn’t make sense if you define JOY using the world’s definition. But it certainly makes sense when you have encountered JESUS and you walk with Him.

If you haven’t taken that first step to JESUS, do it now! Enter into His JOY!

If you already have taken that first step, where are you at with the steps that follow? If you are walking with JESUS, where is your joy?

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” He did this so we could do life with JESUS, so that we could be in the presence of God. JOY is wrapped up in His presence.

Romans 14:17 – the Kingdom of God is RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, & JOY in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace & joy—and it’s all from the Spirit of God. No one can take the Spirit of God from you. No one can take the joy & peace & righteousness.

Psalm 16:11 – “You will show me the way of life, granting me the JOY of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.”

May this be your prayer.