Tag Archives: past

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.

Old Mans Rubble

For the past few weeks, I have had a song in my head—one of the first “Christian” songs I used to jam out to as a child. The song that kept replaying was “Old Man’s Rubble,” sang by Amy Grant. It is a song older than me, a song that appeared on Amy’s first album. The chorus asks if you are living in an “old man’s rubble.” After a few weeks, I wondered why it was still stuck in my head.

When I was young, I used to sing the song with great passion, focusing on the lyrics about “listening to the father of lies.” I knew back then that he was and is the father of lies; however, today I can grasp things more clearly. Today I can easily understand that the song isn’t about the father of lies or the old man’s rubble, but rather, about the new creation that results from knowing the Father of light, about rejoicing in Him who is making all things new.

As we begin a new year, we need not focus on the old man’s rubble. Rubble is something that is left behind. It is defined as waste or wreckage. It is what is left behind after a collapse. Rubble remains. It is the ruins. It’s debris. We walk through the rubble to something better, something greater than that which we leave behind. The song says we will be “living in a mighty fortress” and we will be “clothed in power and might.” Embrace these lyrics. Trust that the old man you once were is rubble, and do not try to carry it with you into what God has for you next. Ready yourself.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 [ESV]

Barriers and Bridges

The woman at the well appeared surprised to be approached by Jesus as she was a Samaritan and Jews did not have relations with Samaritans. As the longest documented conversation Jesus had with anyone continued, Jesus tore down barriers as she focused on division.

For Jesus to approach her was unseen of at this time, not only because she was a Samaritan. He was a rabbi and a rabbi would not speak to a woman in public. He was sinless and she was a sinner. Barriers and more barriers. As the conversation continued, the barriers can be seen again and again. She was focused on physical human limitations. She was focused on her physical needs, on what would make her life easier. When Jesus mentioned her living arrangements, rather than address the sin she switched the subject. She again put up a barrier. She addressed religion when Jesus addresses relationship.

Each of us have a choice to have a relationship with Jesus Christ or to focus on something or someone else. We can put up barriers again and again. Jesus still reaches across the barriers and invites us to do life with Him. Today evaluate your life and look for any barriers you might have that keep you from your walk with Jesus. Are you drowning in sin? Are you following God’s will? These items are barriers to your relationship with Jesus. Are you spending time each day in the Word? Do you pray daily? Do you listen to the Holy Spirit? Are you serving? Are you actively involved with a church? These items are bridges that bring you closer to Him. You can build up barriers or build up bridges. Choose life.

“For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” – Colossians 1:19-23 [NASB]

Food that Sticks

In life we spend a lot of time in the here and now. We see things from a temporal scope rather than an eternal scope. God has a different time scheme than us. We consider our lives here on earth as our lives. Even when we say we have accepted Jesus and will have eternal life, we again and again take ourselves back to considering time as the time we spend on earth.

As we make plans for our lives, as we look at our lives, we see what time we have here on earth. It’s great to plan. It’s great to consider our steps. But we always must have an eternal focus as well. Our life here on earth is such a short blimp of our eternal life. It’s nothing compared to eternity.

Now Jesus said we aren’t to “waste… energy striving for perishable food… [but] work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides.” So how do you do that? You read His Word. You pray for direction from the Spirit. He will provide you with nourishment, spiritual nourishment that will help you to grow in Him and the nourishment will last forever. You might think its okay to snack here and there, but the truth is the food that matters is the food that sticks with you. May you seek His food and may you see things from His eternal perspective. Life is so different when you see things through Him.

“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”
-John 6:27 [MSG]

Old Thoughts

We are a people who focus on the past. When something is over, we keep replaying it in our minds. We continue to dwell on things of the past, things that we cannot change, instead of focusing on the here and now. A bad relationship. Hurtful words. Past failures. Bad decisions. It is so hard to let things go and move forward.

God’s Word states that he is “creating new heavens and a new earth” and because of this, “no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” No one will consider the old. Why? Because the new heavens and the new earth will fully satisfy so there will be no want of the old.

God is already making things new. As you continue to give your life to him, you will find that he is making you new. The more you grow in him, the more you will stop thinking about the old you and the things of old. You will find yourself fully satisfied with the new. God is making all things new. Amen!

“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” – Isaiah 65:17 [NLT]

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Thinking of You

Many people have bouts with insomnia; I feel like I could be deemed an expert from my experience. My record of sleepless nights is days long. Some people cannot sleep because of pain and illness. Some people cannot sleep because their neighborhood is noisy. Some people cannot sleep because the environment is uncomfortable. Some people cannot sleep because their mind doesn’t stop going.

I know many people who spend the night awake and thinking. Thinking of how badly they messed up during the day. Thinking of what they can do tomorrow. Thinking about someone special to them. Thinking of finances. Thinking of their kids. Thinking about house or car repairs. Thinking about how their life could be better. Thinking. Thinking. David wrote, “I lie awaking thinking of You.” He was awake thinking of God.

Today I want you to consider the last time you were thinking of God. Have you spent time just thinking about Him? Just meditating on His Word? Do you think about Him at night? When we spend our nights awake thinking about people, about bills, about struggles, about pain, about work, about failures, about dreams, we could be spending our time thinking about Him—is He not a part of our daily life? Does He not have a perfect plan? Look to Him. Think of Him.

“I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.” – Psalm 63:6 [NLT]

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Focusing on Now

Today I took a walk and it was really foggy outside. The funny thing about fog is that when you are walking through the fog, you cannot see ahead of you, and you cannot see behind you either. If you turn around to look where you just came from, you cannot see anything except for right where you are at– you can only focus on the present. It reminds me about how we are supposed to focus our attention on the present.

If we focus so much on the past, we are taking our focus off of God, because God is in the here and now. God is in the present, right now, with us, working, clearing the path, preparing us, by our side– He is with us! If we are trying to focus on the past… oh I wish I could have done that better…oh I wish I never did this… why did I do that… how did this happen… you feel so much of a failure and you focus so much attention on the past that you are not allowing your focus to be on God and right now so that good things can happen… so that you can focus on your purpose for now and move ahead.

In the same sense you cannot focus on the future. It’s okay to have a vision. It’s okay to plan things out. It’s not okay when you start becoming afraid of what is going to happen. If you start focusing too much attention on the future of all the great things that are going to happen, as well, you take your focus off of God.

C.S. Lewis has a book called “the Screwtape Letters.” Letter 15 talks about the danger of focusing on the past, because God’s not there, and focusing on the future. The future he says, inflames fear and hope. The past is “frozen and no longer flows.” The present, he says, “is all lit up with eternal rays.” Gratitude looks to the past. Love looks to the present. Fear, lust, and ambition looks to the future. As Matthew 6:34 states, we need to not worry about tomorrow because today has enough worries.

God gives us all we need to handle today. We just need to be focused on today to see that. It’s okay to have plans. It’s good to have a vision for your life. We cannot get so involved about what happened in the past (because God has already forgiven us for that) that we don’t focus on the here and now. You cannot get so involved in what God is going to do with you in the future, because you won’t listen then to what He is saying right now. Jeremiah 29:11 gave us the promise. He wants us to have hope and He wants us to have a future.

We need to focus on right now, today, and listen to what He is saying. There are times when we are not going to hear things. There are times when we won’t get the answer we want. If you are confused right now about which direction you are to take in life… if you have decisions you need to make and you prayed about it and you don’t think you’ve gotten enough answers on which way to go, but you know you need to go in a certain direction… it’s okay to take a step forward. God is with you. If it’s the wrong step, you’ll know. You’ll find out. It’s okay to make mistakes. God uses those mistakes to teach us some important lessons.

Don’t focus on the fog in your life. Don’t focus on the past. It’s okay to learn from your mistakes and it’s okay to grow from your mistakes, but don’t focus on the past. At the same time, don’t focus on the future. It’s okay to have a vision for your life. It’s okay to have hopes and dreams, but understand that God is in the present- He’s in the here and now and He’s working with you to get to the future. It’s all about your eternal life, not just about this one moment. And so you need to focus on the present, and in the end, no matter what, God is always with you.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
– Matthew 6:34 [NIV]

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

– Jeremiah 29:11 [ESV]