Tag: joy

Passion

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Passion.

Desire, focus, purpose, mission,

A cross

A week

Passion.

Praises, palms, crowds, questions,

A man

A king

Passion.

Preparation, covenant, body and blood,

An opportunity

A betrayal

Passion.

Pleading, sweating, sleeping, rising, scattering

A garden

A kiss

Passion.

Mocking, trying, beating, crowning,

A promise

A bruised heel

Passion.

Washed hands, mangled flesh, broken heart,

A dark hour

A holy hill

Passion.

Nails, splinters, hammers, jeers, gleeful serpent

A sorrow

A hope

Passion.

Silence, blood and water, declaration, sealed tomb,

A burial

A completion

Passion.

Earthquake, three days, visitors, empty tomb,

A question

A wonder

Passion.

Living Savior, elated saints, fulfilled promise, bruised head.

A defeated serpent

A victorious Lord

Passion.

Then, now, and always.

Passion.

Which Fountain Are You Drinking From?

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Do you ever say, “I don’t feel like praising or worshipping God”? Does it sometimes seem like God hasn’t been truthful with you, or has let you down? Do you ever feel like he’s abandoned you?

If so, maybe you need to drink from a different fountain.

What do I mean?

All around us are “fountains”; reservoirs of happiness, entertainment, gratification, and pleasure. And they help get our mind off the problems we face, at least for a while. But they are only temporary, at best. At worst, they will leave us completely, hopelessly, lost.

But they’re readily available and give us pleasure; so we drink.

How does one “drink”? By the words we speak, and our corresponding actions.

What if you decided to drink from a different fountain?

Isaiah received a word from God regarding the remnant of Jews who were still faithful to God, in spite of their captivity. The prophet told the remnant that God promised to do whatever it took to get them released from Assyria, and back in their homeland. Then Isaiah told them, as a result of God’s actions, they would sing; they would drink deeply from the fountain of salvation.

In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O Lord! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”

With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!

In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the Lord! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! Sing to the Lord , for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world. Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” (Isaiah 12:1-6 NLT)

Proverbs says, “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is.” (Proverbs 15:23 NKJV)

Drinking from the “fountain of salvation” is accomplished using the same process one would use to drink from the “world’s” fountain. By the words we speak (or sing), and our corresponding actions.

The next time you feel like God has abandoned you, take a tip from Isaiah. Remember what God DID to set you free and bring you into his kingdom. Begin to remind yourself, out loud! Joy is the strength you need, and it will rise up within you as you make yourself praise and thank God!

“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15 NLT)

It’s called a “sacrifice” for a reason.

Dance The Night Away

20130519-213754.jpgEver had a day that seemed a month long? A night that would never end? How about sorrow that only deepened, never giving up, for months and years?

An old song by Leo Thayer, “You make me feel like dancing”, jumped to the forefront of my mind yesterday. The phrase, “gonna dance the night away”, seemed to have the touch of God on it. It’s a corny song, the falsetto singing is hard listening to, and I’m really not into dance music; but there’s a truth in the “dance” phrase God wants us to catch.

“Night” represents darkness, and “dance” is related to joy, or an expression of joy. Many times, during periods of sorrow and grief, the thought of dancing is the farthest thing from our mind. What we’re most comfortable with during those seasons, and what we’d much rather do is lock ourselves away in the dark somewhere, curled up in the fetal position, chewing on our lip, and wishing we didn’t have to face another day.

Despair, night, and spiritual darkness are each related to the other, and have the ability to smother the life out of a person. Their nature is to flood a person’s thoughts and feelings with ideas of everything that could possibly go wrong. It’s like living in a small, crowded room with no windows, and little by little the walls move closer and closer until there’s absolutely no room left, and no way out. And though there’s ALWAYS a way out, it’s usually not seen because of the spiritual darkness pervading the mind of the despaired one. They PERCEIVE they are trapped, and the perception becomes their reality.

But God has something much better for you and I. It’s called JOY!

Despair forces you and I into a small dark corner, but God’s joy releases us to enjoy wide open spaces!

“He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy and from those who hated and abhorred me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted and came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay and support. He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:16-19 AMP)

So what should a person do when the nighttime of despair begins to close in on them? Call upon the Lord and start dancing! By faith, act on the word of God and release the power of joy! If necessary, dance on the ceiling and the walls, like Fred Astaire did in the movie, “Royal Wedding”.

Fred Astaire 1Fred Astaire 2

Dance the night away! Away from you, from your loved ones, from your situation! Dance the night – AWAY!

You don’t feel like dancing? Then begin to tap a toe. Tap it by faith; faith in the love and ability of God Most High! Then tap the other one, shuffle your feet, shake a hip, swing an arm, AND DANCE THE NIGHT – AWAY!

Say it out loud: “God, You make me feel like dancing; I’m gonna dance the night – AWAY“!

“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.” (Exodus 15:20 ESV)

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…” (2 Samuel 6:14 ESV)

“As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before The Lord…” (2 Samuel 6:16 ESV)

“Let them praise his name with dancing…” (Psalm 149:3 ESV)

“Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe.” (Psalm 150:4 ESV)

” A time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:3-4 ESV)

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12 ESV)

“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 ESV)

Joy comes in the morning, and “dancing”, releasing joy, drives the night away! Night leaves, morning comes, and joy prevails!

Dance!

Where’s the Joy?

20130429-074341.jpgThere sure are a lot of sad people in the world! It’s only 4 months after Christmas! What happened to “Joy To The World”; what happened to the joy?

Even among believers, Christians, there isn’t a lot of joy. There are times when laughter is prevalent, but typically that’s when everything is going their way.

Where’s the joy of the Lord?

People sing, shout, and clap their hands at church. But when they’re alone; what a wreck! Dejected, depressed, cast down, blue, down trodden, heavy hearted…get the picture? Know what I mean?

No joy! Alive, but no joy! Maybe “saved”, but joyless!

And weak (Nehemiah 8:10).

I’ve noticed, what I believe to be, a direct correlation between having His joy and Loving God with all our heart. If we love the Lord with our whole heart, we will do what He commands. When we do what He commands, there’s an unmistakeable joy. In other words, joy comes from doing the will of God,

“Well done, good and faithful servant” isn’t just something reserved in Heaven for the faithful soul. No, the Lord has a way of letting each obedient son and daughter know He’s proud and pleased.

It’s called joy. The joy of the Lord.

It’s living under the shadow of His smile!

It’s a sure cure for blues. It demolishes depression! It gives supernatural strength to the faint hearted and worrisome.

The joy of the Lord will turn darkness to light, and sorrow to delight.

The joy of the Lord will affect the world, our world in a positive way!

Are you without joy? When’s the last time you simply got alone and talked to God? Maybe you’re not used to praying, that’s okay. The Lord can handle the imperfect prayers of someone who really wants His joy.

Allow Him an opportunity to speak to your heart. Maybe you need to repent of something you have done, or something you didn’t do. Maybe you could ask Him to come into your heart as your only Lord and Savior.

Weeping only endures at nighttime, when life is dark. Joy comes with the morning, when God faithfully brings His light to your new day!

Be joyful in the Lord. Again, I say, be joyful.

As you do what He says.

“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.” (Psalm 119:1-3 NLT)

“Praise the Lord ! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.” (Psalm 112:1 NLT)

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (Psalm 1:1-3 NLT)

“When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow.” (John 15:10-11 NLT)

“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty.” (Psalm 32:1-2 NLT)

“Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.” (Proverbs 16:20 NLT)

“I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.” (3 John 1:4 NLT)

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15-16 NLT)

Created for Generosity

Generosity

God is generous!

God is very generous!

Generosity is one of His characteristics. It’s as much a part of Him as is Love and Truth. Holiness and Righteousness cannot exist without Love, Truth, AND Generosity.

Grace would be of no help, could not assist a soul, without Generosity. For Grace is “God’s willingness to use His power and ability to help those who need His assistance, but can’t earn it.”

If God wasn’t generous, this world would not exist as we know it, for all of creation was designed by God to give, to help, to build. Even the sun, moon and stars give. The earth, clouds, trees, etc., all give. While not all things are physically able to give immediately after being created (such as plants and people), all creation is designed to give into the big picture – God’s Creation.

God has built that same characteristic into His New Creation; those who have been created in Christ Jesus by virtue of the new birth. (2 Cor. 5:17)

As born again children of God, we were created to be generous, to be givers. In fact, to be the opposite- stingy, cheap, and selfish, is to not allow God’s new nature to grow and develop in our life.

Remember the “Fruit of the Spirit” as mentioned in Galatians 5:22,23? “…the fruit of the Spirit IS…”, singular. Then there are 9 qualities or attributes mentioned. But grouped together they are one. Generosity, in my opinion, is evident in all 9. Remove generosity from love, or joy, or peace, or…how could any one of those attributes do anything? Why, they wouldn’t, couldn’t, be shared.

You see, love has to be shared. Joy has to be enjoyed by others, or what’s the use?

Here are a few scriptures that will help us understand generosity a little better.

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25 NLT)

In other words, the generous, benevolent person will prosper, be anointed with the same anointing that breaks yokes of bondage. The Hebrew word for “rich” is translated “fat” and means specifically “anointed” or “to be made fat”. It also means “satisfied” and “satiated”. The word “refresh” is also translated “waters” and carries with it the idea – refresh, fill, satiate, bathe entirely, inundate others with generosity. So the generous one, the one who pours into another life to refresh it, make it fat (anoint), bathe it entirely, satiate it, will themselves be targeted, aimed at for God’s blessing and favor. They will grow fat with the anointing of God, becoming more fruitful and generous with each growing season.

“As a man sows, that’s how he’ll reap.” Galatians 6:7

We live on what we reap, not what we sow. A farmer does not go to his barn, grab his seed, take it to his kitchen and start eating it. Seeds are designed to produce after their kind, and much more than was planted, but they must be “given away”, or planted. The end result of planting will be more to eat and more to plant.

2 Corinthians 9:10 says, “now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” NLT

Notice this: there is something called “seed” and something else called “bread”. We need to know the difference. You plant seed and eat bread, not the other way around. Everyone has something they can and should use for seed, and something else for bread. Seed is for others, bread is for yourself. Plant the bread and eat the seed…well, you won’t last long. But follow God’s principles of generosity, you will always have enough and more besides.

I’ll say it again. EVERYONE has seed and bread. You may be as “poor as Job’s turkey”, but you have seed to sow. If you are alive you have something to give! It may not be money, but money isn’t the most valuable commodity on earth. It might be time, a loving gesture, or a number of other things. A stingy heart will take inventory of the seed and give the least amount, that which is easily replaced, won’t be missed, not worth much, etc. The generous soul will assess the need then inventory his seed and determine if there is seed to meet the need. But everyone has seed.

People really get hung up on the subject of “the tithe”. But I’ve never met an Oak tree that was concerned about how many acorns it scattered. Was it 5%, 7% or 10%. Ridiculous, huh? So why would someone like us, especially someone who has received Eternal Life, be so stingy with what we have? Could it be we don’t understand His Grace or just how generous He is? Or, maybe we don’t trust Him to do what He promised?

Proverbs 3:9,10 (paraphrased) -“honor God by what you have, and what you get. Declare His value, His worth, to you through generosity. Do that, and He will make sure you will always have more than enough for any and every situation.”

The Spirit of Generosity is within each child of God. It’s up to them to recognize it, yield to it, and nurture it until it begins to grow. Tithing is a good discipline to help a person get started in living a life of generosity. But it is not an end in itself. In fact, a person could tithe and still not be generous.

Lives will be transformed, miracles will take place, through the lives of generous people. (see Acts 4)

Don’t go through life close-fisted. Close-fisted people are in no position to help or be helped.

Instead, emulate the character of your Heavenly Father, the One Who created us for generosity. Generously.

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