Unshakable Joy

4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 Joy vs happiness. Happiness and joy appear to be very similar, but they are very different. There are subtle nuances that help us discern which is which. Happiness is a feeling, as one would experience when enjoying job success, the birth of a child, or buying a new home. It is often dependent on what we do, or experience, and is accompanied by temporary positive feelings. The problem with focusing on your happiness rather than joy, is that happiness can be fleeting, while joy is enduring and unshakable. Truth is, happiness, and human feelings, come and go especially in times of adversity, but joy is lasting, and is accompanied by a deep, abiding peace that surpasses understanding.   “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7   Joy Does Not Change With Circumstances Joy does not change with circumstances, but rather over rides times of struggle, helping you to see the silver linings in every situation, even when life gets difficult and/or complicated. It helps you rejoice in the Lord at all times, putting aside negative, destructive feelings such as fear, sadness, anger and angst, replacing them with the gentle knowing that all is well as you place your trust in Jesus. Unlike happiness, instead of being a feeling, joy is more of a trusting state of mind and a peaceful heart in concert. It is a manifestation of the fruit of having the Holy Spirit with you, one that is stirred into being through...

7 Ways to Tend Your Flock

“…Tend the flock of God in your midst…”   1 Peter 5:1-11 Who’s in your flock? In this life, none of us is an island unto ourselves. We have many people in our lives and different roles in this life: Child, parent, spouse, brother, sister, niece, nephew, friend, even acquaintance… And every relationship is beautifully unique. These relationships we have with the people in our lives, some new, some lifelong, offer so many opportunities to practice patience, to help and love others unconditionally, and even forgive them as needed. In reality, some people we treasure and some we don’t. Yet, as Christians, we are called to love them all to the best of our abilities—which as we all know, at times, is no small task!   At times, our greatest temptation is to think we have little in common with some people, while focusing on our differences. However, we must find a way to normalize commonality. That is, to find a bond of some kind, even if it is just a family bond or ones faith. No, we may not like everyone who enters our life, but we are mandated by Jesus to love them all the same. Divine providence has a lot to do with who comes into your life, and that is how one’s flock comes into being. 7 Ways to Tend Your Flock Understand that relationships are most often mutually beneficial in some way. Accept that God has given you your flock for a reason. Always look for common ground with others. Practice patience with those who are difficult to love. Pray daily for the flock in your midst....

Top 5 Scriptures for Thanksgiving Bliss

by Chaplain Adele M. Gill Whenever we get together with people, especially with family at Thanksgiving, we all bring something to the table. Yes, you may make and bring your favorite pie or stuffing to share, But we all bring so much more than just food for this annual feast. We may bring memories of all that has gone on since last Thanksgiving; and a deep abiding affection for our loved ones. High hopes for a perfect holiday, and/or anticipation that our favorite foods will be there just as we remember from years past. Sometimes we bring other things to the table that, if left unchecked, can derail even the finest holiday gathering. Things that can cause lasting resentments and strained relationships. Truth is, things are never really perfect because we are all human, and relationships can be challenging at times.   Barriers to Thanksgiving Bliss Difficult childhood memories. Grudges. Political views. Unrealistic expectations. Negativity. Any one of these can easily be detrimental to the pursuit of an enjoyable, peaceful Thanksgiving family celebration. Unfortunately, despite all the preparation and festivities, sometimes people may still choose to disagree on a variety of topics, They may use that day to ‘share’ or defend their disparate views, or try to get the final word. We’ve all heard of families that have experienced arguments and conflict at Thanksgiving dinner, as those in attendance engage in heated conversation about various and sundry things. But there is a better way…   Clearly, as Christians, we all must do our part to make our holiday family gatherings peaceful and enjoyable for all that are there. However,...

Living the Good Life

by Chaplain Adele M. Gill http://theinspirationcafeblog.net/living-the-good-life/  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17  (NIV) To many unbelievers, the Bible is nothing more than an irrelevant and outdated book with vague words written long, long ago that seemingly have no application for our modern daily lives. It is a book that is sometimes passed down from generation to generation, but too often, one that collects dust, as it is put aside, and left on a shelf. But consider this when striving to live the good life… The Bright Candle To believers, Scripture is at the center of living a godly life. It is a bright candle, a beacon of light for the weary, the lost, the last and the lowly. Sustenance for poor and hurting souls in need of discernment, protection, comfort and guidance, the Bible stands ready to address many of the contemporary issues we experience. It is a light to your feet and your ticket to redemption, as you come to believe more and more in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our guide and advocate who was given to us by Jesus himself at Pentecost. Nothing New Under the Sun The Holy Bible is chock-full of practical knowledge you can  apply to your daily life through word and deed. Relationships, work, times of adversity—it’s all in there. It has been said there is nothing new under the sun. Those words take on special meaning when talking about all...

The Power of Civility

by Chaplain Adele M. Gill http://theinspirationcafeblog.net/the-power-of-civility/ “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 Like any loving parent, Father God stands in wait for our anguished pleas, for us to turn to Him so He can help us meet our daily needs and challenges.  Though He first loved us, He calls us to love Him, and others, with all our heart and soul. In fact, loving others—especially those who are difficult to love, is one great way that we express our love for God and answer His calling. We need to remember the times we have not been difficult or lovable ourselves, and use that as a starting point to build on in our relationships hence we slip into complacency.   Certainly with this mandate to love, it is important for us to be at peace with everyone in our lives lest hatred, loathing, and unforgiveness take root in us. Yet, what is it about our humanness that leads us to anger and disharmony with others that think and do differently than we do? Perhaps that is a question we’d prefer to answer another day, but there is no time like the present.   Hatred for others has the power to enable people to be ruled by their negative feelings. It can destroy lives, especially those who harbor deep anger, and remove all God given peace and joy in the process making us bitter. Hatred can be insidious, sometimes getting a foothold when we are fully unaware it is happening. When we...