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...

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 https://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 https://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...

Prayer Changes Things

Prayer Changes Things Chaplain Adele M. Gill “Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” James 5:16   Though it is truly a blessing to have people to pray for us, it is important as Christians to recognize that each of us has equal access to God through Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Whenever we pray and ask for Jesus’ help, it is always a powerful experience whether we pray with others, have them pray for us, or we pray for ourselves. All of us have times have infirmity, worry, anxiety, sadness, and fear. So what can we do about that which is beyond our control? How can we maintain and restore balance, peace and joy in our lives in times of adversity, against all odds? One vitally important way is through prayer as prayer changes things. Relationships are restored, doors are opened, people are strengthened, comforted, protected, healed through God’s abundant supply, as He cares for all our needs in His own special time and way. Sometimes we all need divine intervention, and there is great relief to be found in prayer as we hand the situation to Jesus, giving Him control. For the Bible tells us in Matthew 18:19:  “Amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.” When you turn to your ‘praying friends’ or family to prayerfully intercede for you on your behalf, you will certainly be blessed. Prayer really does change things. However, each of us is...