Part II: Joy Abounds

‘The joy of the Lord is your strength.’ Nehemiah 8:10 Joy abounds. I recently wrote about joy in a blog called ‘Unshakable Joy.’ However, it is important enough to continue on the topic, hence Part II. ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ For Christians, love and peace and joy are central concepts. God-based joy especially has the ability to help us live hope-filled lives in peace. There is no need for despair and/or hatred when you are confident that God is in control and fighting your battles for you. ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ When you believe God is at the helm and in control, you are more able to hop hurdles and challenges that would bog anyone down in their humanness. In fact, joy is a manifestation of God working in one’s life, and is accompanied by a deep, abiding peace. Happiness vs Joy Joy is one of the first fruits of the Holy Spirit. To experience joy in our lives is a blessed gift from God, an enduring treasure. Happiness is similar to joy. However, it leaves us feeling good for a time, then the feeling soon passes, as life presses on with its ongoing issues, challenges, frustrations, and disappointments. In essence, happiness is often a fleeting feeling, but joy is lasting as it stays with us even and especially as we enter into times of adversity. Happiness is dependent on one’s mood, environment, short comings, successes and accomplishments, where joy is more of an enduring internal state found when one experiences the peace that the Holy Spirit of Jesus brings. Joy...

Seeking God’s Light

http:www.theinspirationcafeblog.net ‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”’  John 8:12 Light. God’s light. Light is vitally important in both the spiritual sense, and the practical sense. The Bible talks a lot about Light. In fact, it is so central to Judeo-Christian teachings, that it is referenced 263 times in the Old and New Testament. Probably one of the most poignant of all usages of the word light is found in the above scripture when Jesus made His seven ‘I Am’ statements found in the Book of John. A Light Illuminating the Darkness We think about light allowing us to see the path ahead of us with confidence. When we speak about light, we think about warmth and comfort and about it illuminating the way, leading us where we are going, as in a lamp for our feet. A light illuminating the darkness. A light at the end of the tunnel. All things eventually come into the light. Some even say there is something wrong if you can’t shine a light on it. For without God’s light, we are lost and living in darkness. The Light of the World In today’s reading, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world.” In God’s light, there is no darkness at all. Those who follow Him will never walk in darkness, as He shines His light on every aspect of our lives. God knows everything about us, and His people understand the concept of His abiding Light and Love, despite our short comings....

What Will Jesus Do for You

[Reposted by popular demand] http:www.theinspirationcafeblog.net ‘And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord  my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”’ Luke 1:46-47 What will Jesus do for you? This week is very special. It marks 19 months of remission from needing acute care for myasthenic syndrome, a debilitating condition I have lived with for 36 years. In and out of the hospital, in all of those years, I have never had a remission like this—and there have been no recent medication or treatment changes. The only explanation I have is that God is working a miracle in my life. So what does it mean to have such a medical healing? Well, I’d say it is about trust, hope, and faith in Jesus Christ, our Great Healer, Lord and Savior.   Giving Credit Where Credit is Due Sometimes we all have small and not so small miracles happen in our lives. And we barely notice, or avoid calling it just that—a miracle. Too often we try to explain away miracles without giving God the credit, when in fact we fully know that what has happened defies human logic. Accidents averted, miracles of timing, financial blessings, experiencing capabilities far beyond our abilities. I believe miracles happen every day, but we often fail to recognize them and give credit where credit is due.   A Miracle in Progress: The Healing Installment Plan With this healing I know my prayers are being heard and being answered. I still have a long way to go, as I remain mobility impaired, have occasional garbled speech when fatigued, and am on a respirator...
Great Things

Great Things

“The Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name.” Luke 1:49 Today’s Holy Scripture is an answer to the question posed by a popular song called ‘Mary Did You Know?’ that came out just a few years ago. The angel appeared to Mary, and was very clear about what was ahead for her, and she said “Yes!’ all the same. In this Bible passage, Jesus’ mother, Mary, spontaneously expounds on her awe-inspiring feelings of gratitude that she has for God’s unsurpassed gift to her and humanity. She is grateful to God for allowing her the privilege to be Jesus’ mother. Yet Mary had a choice. She did not have to say “Yes,” but did so willingly, with some trepidation, and with complete abandon, then went on to become Jesus’ mother and His first disciple. Do Not Be Afraid! Here is the contextual Bible passage for when Mary was approached by God to become Jesus’ loving mother: 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the...

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...