Haiku Poetry Day

If you didn’t know, TODAY is Haiku Poetry Day.

“History of Haiku Poetry Day
The history of Haiku Poetry Day traces the origin of this poetic form. It was originally found as the opening to another form of Japanese poetry called a Rengu. It took until the mid-1600’s for Hokku, the form Haiku was found in at this time, to start appearing independently from it’s Renga and Renku roots. In the late 1800’s Hokku was renamed to Haiku when it appeared independently by Masaoka Shiki.

There were two masters responsible for elevating Haiku to an independent art form, Matsuo Bashō and Ueshima Onitsura. These two were considered Masters of Poetry, and helped to bring Haiku to being appreciated and understood outside of its original context of Renku. So impotant was Basho to the history of Haiku that he was elevated to a ‘Saint of Poetry’ 100 years after his death.”

I’m a big fan of Haiku’s, having written and taught this poetry form for many, many years, For that reason, I jumped at the chance to participate in a group writing project for Faithful Bloggers.  I was one of twenty-two Christian writers who contributed Haikus and I am pleased to offer to my faithful readers a PDF of the compiled Haikus…my free gift to you!

All I ask in return, is that you take the time to please share and follow my Journey Thoughts blog, and “like” my Facebook page, as well as the other Christian writers who participated in this challenge.

I appreciate

All my readers and enjoy

Reading your comments!

Here is the link for you to download a copy of the PDF of the Christian Haiku.

Happy Haiku Poetry Day!

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Resurrection Rolls

If you loved “Resurrection Eggs” try something new this year!

Resurrection Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 can refrigerated crescent roll doughresurrectionrollslarge
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • Melted butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar

Directions:

  • Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll.  This represents the tomb.
  • Each child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.
  • Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture.  This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.
  • Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow.
  • Make sure all seams are pinched together well.  (Otherwise the marshmallow will “ooze” out of the seams)
  • Bake according to package directions.
  • Cool.
  • Break open the tomb and the body of Christ is no longer there!!
  • Celebrate God’s love!

“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.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  (John 3:16-17)

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Shall We Gather At the River

baptism_headerEach year my church family gathers at the Jumping Pound River for what has become our yearly summer picnic and Baptismal service.  Several of our church family are baptised and although every baptism is celebrated, being baptised in a clear-running, icy, mountain stream makes the experience even more exhilarating…especially for those being baptised!

For Baptists, this special ordinance defines us as believers in Christ.  In the New Testament, John the Baptist, (Jesus’ cousin), came to spread the news of the coming Messiah – Jesus Christ.  (John 1:33)  John the Baptist urged the people to repent of their sins (Mark 1:4) and those whom John baptised acknowledged their sins and professed their faith so that they could be forgiven of their sins.  This idea of forgiveness demanded repentance, cleansing of sin and putting their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Purpose of Baptism:

Water Baptism identifies the believer with the Godhead– (The Trinity) – Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Water Baptism identifies the believer with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.  “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him (in new life) through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”  (Colossians 2:12“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)

Water Baptism is an act of obedience for the believer.  Baptism itself does not guarantee our salvation, it should be preceded by repentance first, which simply means to turn from our sin and to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.  It is giving complete control of our lives over to Him.  It requires change.  Baptism doesn’t make you a believer – it shows that you already believe. Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Christ does that.

I read somewhere that Baptism is likened to the symbol of a wedding ring – it’s the outward symbol of the commitment you make in your heart.  Salvation followed by baptism requires we leave our selfish, worldly ways behind to following Jesus Christ wholeheartedly and seeking His will for our lives instead.  “Peter replied, ‘Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church–about three thousand in all.” (Acts 2:38, 41 (NLT)

Water Baptism is a public testimony of faith.  It is the outward confession of an inward experience. Believers stand before witnesses to share personal testimonies and thereby confessing their identification with the Lord.  (I have found that sometimes those brief words shared by those about to be baptised, have become like mini-sermons in themselves, convicting and powerful to family and friends who have come to observe the baptism.)

Water Baptism is a beautiful picture representing profound spiritual truth: Baptism is the picture of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, and as followers of Christ, we identify with Him through baptism.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)  “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.” (Romans 6:4-5)

Salvation followed by baptism, marks a sincere turning point for all believers; the beginning of a “New Life” in Christ.  “He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.  Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to its lustful desires. Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.”  (Romans 6:10-13)  “And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.  It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 3:21“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:11)

Want to learn more about Becoming a Follower of Christ, and joining Him in Believer’s Baptism?  Click on: The Gospel Message.

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Resurrection Eggs

Resurrection EggsWhen my children were preschoolers we wanted to share the “Greatest Story Ever Told” with them but we wanted to do so in a way that would not frighten them.  Let’s face it, the last hours of our Saviour’s life were wrought with unimaginable pain and suffering.  Even as an adult I had a hard time watching the “Passion of the Christ” movie when it came out in theatres because of the graphic depiction of Jesus’ death on the Cross.  I knew the sensibilities of my children and I knew we needed to be sensitive to telling them the Truth while at the same time being mindful that they were still children with tendencies to have nightmares.  Still, the last week of Jesus’ life must be told and every child needs to hear it, so we used “Resurrection Eggs” to tell the Easter Story.

Some of you may or may not have heard of these. Believe it or not there is quite a bit of controversy regarding the eggs, (some think there is pagan symbolism associated with eggs).  I will not comment on the controversy, as parents you can do the research and make your own decision whether or not you choose to use this method or not.

For those of you who decide to use Resurrection Eggs, you should know there are store-bought Resurrection Eggs that are  available through a number of stores, or they can be ordered from any Christian bookstore, but we made our own using dollar store plastic eggs and filled them with items that we had around the house.  Again there are several “recipes” on how to fill the eggs, some use 18 eggs rather than the dozen to add more items and more scripture passages.  You can find these recipes online.

Here is our “recipe” for a dozen Resurrection Eggs.  We numbered each of the plastic eggs, filled them with the items listed below and then hid them around the house for the kids to “hunt” for.  When all the eggs were found we started with Egg# 1, opening it and then reading the scripture verse that went with the item and for each subsequent egg until we had read the entire Resurrection Story.

As the children got older of course we “put away childish things” (the eggs) and we read the entire Easter Story from the Bible and we have made it a tradition now to watch one of the many excellent movies on DVD that portray the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Every year I still put out the basket of Resurrection Eggs as I decorate the house for Easter and I will smile seeing my grandchildren opening each egg to take a peak inside knowing our family tradition will continue with them.

Egg#1Palm Branch (use a leaf).  Read Matthew 21:8-11.  Jesus rode into Jerusalem.  The people waved branches and shouted, “Hosanna!”

Egg #2Bottle of Perfume (use a perfume sample you can pick up at any cosmetic counter).  Read John 12:2-8.  Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet.

Egg#3Piece of bread.  (use a crouton, they don’t get moldy).  Read Matthew 26:26-29.  Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples.

Egg#43 dimes.  Read Matthew 26:14-15.  Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Egg#5A square of red fabric and/or make a small crown of thorns out of wire.  Read Matthew 27:28-30.  They stripped Jesus and put a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns on Him.

Egg#6A cross.  (you can get wooden crosses for necklaces at craft stores).  Read Matthew 27:31.  They lead Him away to crucify Him.

Egg#7A few nails.  Read Luke 23: 26-34.  Jesus is crucified.

Egg#8Dice.  Read Matthew 27:35.  When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots.

Egg#9A tiny bag of crushed rock.  Read Matthew 27: 50-51.  When Jesus died, there was a great earthquake.

Egg#10Some whole spices.  Read Luke 23:50-56.  Spices were used to prepare Jesus for burial.

Egg#11A small round rock.  Read Luke 24:1-5.  The stone covering Jesus’ tomb was rolled away.

Egg#12Leave this egg empty.  Read Luke 24:6-8.  He has risen just as He said!

JESUS IS ALIVE!!  GO AND TELL!!

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25 Encouraging Scripture Verses to Relieve Tension

I feel it in my neck and back.  I am mentally fatigued and at times the physical and emotional toll has me paralyzed.  These are common side-effects of stress and tension.  Jesus felt the burden of stress and fatigue many times during His ministry on earth, but none so keenly than when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane only hours before he was led away to be crucified.  Jesus experienced hematohidrosis, defined as sweating droplets of blood, as Luke, the Physician states in Luke 22:44, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

If you experience tension to the point of debilitation, you need to seek medical help.  If you are like I am, a “nervous Nelly” and you occasionally allow the pressures of the world to negatively affect you, do what I do and find relief and comfort from scripture.  Meditate on the Word of God…it is a balm (a healing medicine) for the soul.

Psalm 119:143  “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.”

Psalm 46  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.  He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

James 1:2-4  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Romans 12:2  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Psalm 94:19  “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Psalm 55:22  “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Psalm 56:3-4  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 103:1-5  “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8   “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwhose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Luke 10:41-42  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Psalm 61:1-4  “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.  From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.  I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Proverbs 12:25  “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”

Isaiah 35:3-4  “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

1 Peter 5:7  “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Deuteronomy 31:8  “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Psalm 32: 7-8  “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

2 Corinthians 11:23-30  “Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.   I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”

Romans 8:6  “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

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

Psalm 127:1-2  “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.  In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.”

Romans 8:26-31  “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.   And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.   And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.   And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:7  “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

For more verses go to: 25 Encouraging Bible Verses for Stress

Unless stated otherwise all scripture used on Journey Thoughts is from: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Faith-Based?

I follow Kevin Sorbo on Facebook and Twitter.  I have been a big fan of his ever since he played Hercules on the small screen.  For those of you who do not know, he is a Christian and has worked in several Christian faith-based movies, most notably, “God’s Not Dead”, and he is involved in two major projects now, “Breathe Bible” (lending his voice to an audio Bible), and “Let There Be Light” movie that he stars in and directs.  He is outspoken about the fact that since he admitted that he was a Christian, Hollywood has not been as kind to him as it once was: “…my faith certainly hurt me in Hollywood. I did Hercules for 7 years, it was the most watched show for a good number of years. But then, for me to get called into read for anything – it just dropped drastically when I came out of that conservative Christian closet so to speak. I used to read for a lot of pilots and TV shows, and it’s very rare now.”  He credits independent films for allowing him to continue his acting and directing.

He recently posted a comment with regards to the new movie: “The Case For Christ”, a movie based on the book by Lee Strobel, which is soon to be released.  Sorbo wrote: “Face it… every film is “faith-based.”  It was obvious that he was being purposefully controversial with the comment to illicit thought-provoking dialogue and I can’t help but join in the conversation.

I will admit that I enjoy watching movies.  I will also admit that I have been more disappointed of late that family-friendly, feel good movies are slowly, but surely being replaced with more worldly, profanity-laced, blasphemous drivel that Hollywood seems more inclined to present to the public nowadays.  Hollywood represents the current pop culture around them and caters to the whims of those who are, let’s face it, opposed to a Christian worldview.  Therefore to even suggest that “every” film is faith-based is absolutely incorrect.

However…

The question is how we define “faith-based”.  Certainly if Hollywood is as inclusive (as it prides itself on), of all faiths being represented in some manner in that industry, then that would include all world religions, atheism (which some would argue is not a faith and I would disagree with that…but that’s another blog to write); cults, and lastly of course the Christian faith.  However, though Hollywood is great with putting movies in theatres that have Satanic, witch-crafty themes, and self-centred worldly themes, it tends to shy away from Christian faith-based movies, T.V. shows and actors and actresses who profess their allegiance to that faith alone.  Again, that’s another blog to write on another day, but if Kevin Sorbo suggests that every film represents a faith of some kind, perhaps his statement is correct.  It just depends which faith it actually represents.  Perhaps most of Hollywood is full of idol worship, for example…just look at that Oscar statue…

Now I’m being controversial.

Personally, I think the public would like to have more films that give them Hope, rather than what Hollywood is now pandering to us…just sayin’…

I would like to have your opinion on this topic.  Leave a comment.

Oh, and make sure you go out and watch “The Case for Christ” next weekend.  Let’s all show support for Christian faith-based movies!

Will do!

 

 

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25 Encouraging Scripture Verses to Read at Funerals

As Christians we should live with eternity in our sights.  It will be a home-coming, a celestial celebration, if you will, where we will stand before His throne in hopes of hearing our Saviour say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  Come into your eternal rest.”  (Matthew 25:23, 34)  For we who depart this world knowing our eternity is secure through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, there is no weeping or sorrow.  Still, as we attend the funeral of a believer, though it may be a celebration of a life well-lived, we will mourn and miss our loved one until we are once again reunited with them in Heaven.  Be comforted by these Bible verses and share them with those who might need encouragement in their time of bereavement.

Psalm 23  (NKJV)  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”

Matthew 5:4  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Romans 8:35-39  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Psalm 46:1-10  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.  He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the  shields with fire.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

1 Corinthians 15:50-57 “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.   When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 4:7  “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

Psalm 34:18  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 90:1-6, 12  “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”   A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.  Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—they are like the new grass of the morning: In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.  Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Isaiah 57:1-2  “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.  Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

Psalm 139:7-12, 23-24  “Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.  Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17  “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.   For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

Job 19:25-27  “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.  How my heart yearns within me!”

Psalm 61:1-2  “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.  From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Isaiah 25:6-9  “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.  On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.  The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.  The Lord has spoken.  In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.  This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Isaiah 61:1-3  “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the  captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.  For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.  For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”

Psalm 27:4-5  “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”

Psalm 4:8  “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 42:1-5  “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of  the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.  Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 56: 10-13  “In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can man do to me?  I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank offerings to you.  For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.”

Psalm 121  “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?  My help  comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Unless stated otherwise all scripture used on Journey Thoughts is from: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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50 Encouraging Scripture Verses to Combat Fear

In the Bible “fear” is spoken of over 500 times!  In addition to the 103 “Fear not” or “Be not afraid” verses there’s also the “fear of God” verses which speak of the reverence for God alone, and then many more verses that encourage us to not worry or to not to be anxious.  God does not want us to live in fear, and yet in our humanness it is hard to let go of our anxiety and just allow the peace of God to indwell us.  Since fear (anxiety and worry) seems to be something so many people struggle with, I have compiled 50 verses rather than my usual 25 verses to encourage you to “let go and let God” handle your fear.  He is in control!

Psalm 23:1-6  “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  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.”

Isaiah 41:13  “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

Exodus 14:13  “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.”

Deuteronomy 31:6  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

2 Timothy 1:7  “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Psalm 27:1  “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

Luke 1:30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.”

Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

Hebrews 13:6  “So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.     What can mere mortals do to me?”

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Isaiah 35:4  “say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Joshua 1:9  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

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

Isaiah 43:1  “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Psalm 34:4  “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 94:19  “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

Romans 8:38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 Peter 5:6-7  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Psalm 118:6-7  “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?   The Lord is with me; he is my helper.  I look in triumph on my enemies.”

Psalm 115:11  “You who fear him, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.”

John 14:1  ““Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

1 Chronicles 28:20  “David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”

Psalm 56:3-4  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”

Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Matthew 10:28 -31  “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.   And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Romans 8:15  “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

1 Corinthians 16:13  “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

1 Peter 3:13-14  “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”

1 John 4:18  “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Philippians 4:6-7  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Luke 12:22-26  “Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Psalm 55:22  “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Mark 6:48-50  “He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.  Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Psalm 46:1  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Proverbs 29:25  “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

Mark 4:39-40  “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Psalm 34:7  “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

Deuteronomy 3:22  “ Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.”

Revelation 1:17  “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”

Mark 5:36  “Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Zephaniah 3:17  “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Psalm 91:1-16  “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.   A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.  If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.   “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Deuteronomy 5:5-6  “ (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Isaiah 12:2  “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 8:11-12  “This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:  “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.”

Matthew 14:27  “But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage!  It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-9  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Revelation 21:3-4  “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:8-9  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Unless stated otherwise all scripture used on Journey Thoughts is from: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

My husband has a favorite expression that he likes to repeat, “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” and then he adds, “Everything is small stuff” and then I always tack on, “In God’s eyes.”

How true!  When I am unable, He is able.  When I am weak, He is strong.  When I feel burdened I need only to cast my burdens on Him.  God can handle anything, why is it then that I continue to worry and fret?

My children would call it a “Mom thing” to worry.  Perhaps they are right.  It’s my perogative to wonder and worry about them especially when they have a car and can go wherever they like.  I have great kids.  I trust my kids (although sometimes they doubt that when I am constantly grilling them the “who, what, where” questions.)  I thought I’d worry less now that they are young adults.  I was wrong.  I think about them constantly and pray they are remembering all the things we tried to teach them as they were growing up.  When I know they are struggling, I want to rush in and “save” them, but I’m reminded time and time again that it’s not up to me to do that.  They have to make their own way and they have to discover for themselves how they fit into God’s story.  Still I worry.  It’s a “mom thing”.

My husband is calm and composed, if he worries, he seldom shows it.  I know his burdens because he shares them with me.  Perhaps he knows that I will worry enough for the both of us so he doesn’t need to.  Maybe that’s a “wife thing”.

Philippians 4: 6-7 has always been a worrisome scripture for me. : “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”   Yeah, I said it,… “worrisome”!  I’m worrying over a scripture that says “do not be anxious”…that’s definitely a “Lynn thing”!

But it does worry me because try as I might to NOT worry, I still do!  The Gospels outline several circumstances in Jesus’ life where He was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled”…in other words, Jesus worried!  John 11:33 (after Lazarus’ death); Matthew 26:36-38, and Mark 14:32-34 (in the Garden of Gethsemane); John 12:27 (after Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem) and John 13:21 (The Last Supper).  Especially the Gospel of John, chapters 11-13, is like a “trilogy of trouble” for Jesus, from the death of his beloved friend Lazarus, the plot to kill Jesus, Jesus’ predicting His own death, predicting His own betrayal and predicting that Peter would deny Him,  Jesus had good reason to be troubled (worried).  Yet amazingly the opening line of John 14 Jesus speaks these words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”   Wow!

In His humanity Jesus did worry but unlike most humans He did not let worry overwhelm Him.  He did not run away or avoid a troubling or worrisome experience.  He faced the experience with boldness and courage even though He knew that He would suffer great pain and even death.  Jesus was focused.  He knew that the worries of this world would be shortlived and His eyes were fixed on eternity.  When He was troubled, He practiced what He preached: He made his requests known to His Father through prayer and thanksgiving and He was comforted and at peace.

I can’t help but think on the lyrics of this great hymn today:

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.”

I won’t sweat the small stuff because I know everything is small stuff in God’s eyes.

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Finding Joy NOT Happiness in the Lord (6)

finding-joy-not-happiness-in-the-lord-6Today we end our series on Finding Joy NOT Happiness in the Lord.  I pray that this six-part series has touched your heart in some way and has indeed brought you closer to finding JOY in the Lord.

We talked a little bit about practical ways to find that lasting Joy last time.  Today we continue with talking about the importance of finding joy through Worship, Trials, Friendship, Attitude, Gratitude and having a Servant’s heart.

Worship Unleashes Joy.

  1. Worship has a special relationship to Joy.  It is both a key to joy and an expression of joy.  (1 Thess. 5:16-18).  If you want to be joyful always, you must also worship God and give Him thanks always.  When you worship, it gets your mind off of yourself and your focus is directed towards God where it should be.

(When I was too sick to come to church, basically I could barely get out of bed, the worship team came to me.  I have pictures of the team sitting in my living room, playing guitar and singing hymns and choruses of praise.  I could hardly sing myself; I sat in my P-J’s with my little knitted cap on my head to hide my baldness and they sang for me.  It really lifted my spirits, as well as take the focus off my circumstances and focus on God!)

Worship doesn’t mean just going to a Worship Service once a week.  Worship is praising God continually.  Do you praise the Lord when you are comfortably enjoying the light, cool rains of blessing or do you praise Him even in the dry, difficult times?  Your answer to these questions will determine whether you live in joy most of the time, sometimes, or hardly ever.  It’s a choice you make to worship.

Trials Build Joy.

  1. “While pain is unavoidable, misery is optional.”  God may not remove your problems, but when you are focused on Him, the problems are less ominous as compared to His greatness.  Joy doesn’t come from easy circumstances, but from a deep, settled confidence in our loving Heavenly Father who controls life’s details.

Here are some steps to help you find joy in your trials:

  1. Focus your eyes on God, rather than on your problems or circumstances.  (Heb. 12:2)  When our minds mull over our situations, we can become depressed, angry or full of self-pity.  Look to God and He will fill you with JOY.
  2. Pray about your situation and prayerfully sort out your feelings.  (Phil.4:6-7)
  3. Trust God to handle your situation and wait for Him to work. (Psalm 33:21)
  4. Choose to rejoice in the Lord…ALWAYS. (Phil. 4:4)  Joy is not a feeling, it’s an attitude that requires a constant choice.
  5. Find a friend so you can talk, share your feelings and pray. (2 Cor. 7:4-13).

There came a point in my recovery where I just needed to talk to someone else who had “been there, done that”.  Sometimes we just need someone we can talk to for mutual support and God knew I needed a confidante who empathized with what I was going through but would also point me towards God through the experience.  God connected me with a strong and courageous woman at my church who had battled breast cancer several years before me.  We became dear, dear friends as she shared her experiences with me and could relate to what I was going through.  Years later, she developed cancer again and this time I was able to be HER support.  Unfortunately, cancer finally claimed her life but she was praising God even until her last breath.  When I wrote my second book, Heal the Wounded, I dedicated the book to my mother, Ellen, my mother-in-law, Laura, and to my friend, Victoria – all courageous women who had “fought the good fight” with breast cancer.

Friendships Increase Joy.

  1. Someone said, “When you share pain with someone you divide it, but when you share joy, you multiply it.”  God designed us to receive joy through our relationships.  Friends should never replace our total dependency on God. (Ps. 73:25, 1 Thess. 2:20).  Remember that if you hold resentment against someone that will pulverize joy…you need to ask forgiveness and give forgiveness.

How do you give and receive joy in relationships with friends and family?

  1. Share deeply from your heart with one another.
  2. Really listen to one another with your heart.
  3. Pray together often.
  4. Discover creative ways to encourage each other.
  5. Have fun together.

Joy is like good food.  It tastes better when shared around a table that overflows with love.

An Attitude Check Unbinds Joy.

  1. Do insecurities rob you of some joy?  These insecurities may have built up over many years even since childhood.  There may be things in your past that have caused you to be in bondage and you need to break those chains in order to be joyful.  Becoming a joyful person involves looking inside and understanding oneself.   It means dealing with destructive attitudes which rob us of joy, and then building healthy attitudes.

How do we change our attitudes and get rid of our insecurities?

  1. Accept yourself and others as God’s unique creations, perfectly and wonderfully made.  (Psalm 139:14).
  2. Recognize that no one bubbles over with joy every minute of every day.  Allow yourself some “down” time without any guilt, but present your “downs” to God so He can deal with them and not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by them.  (Remember the Devil’s D’s).   Many things can temporarily hinder us from choosing joy: physical problems, stress, disappointment, depression, anxiety or overwhelming grief.  Choosing to rejoice can keep our feelings from taking control.  Paul experienced great emotional pain in his life.  2 Corinthians describes some of his struggles.  Paul found the strength to rejoice because he fixed his eyes on what was unseen – Jesus and His work. (2 Cor. 4:18).

If you are struggling with a lack of joy, it may be because you are carrying burdens that God wants you to discard.  Heb. 12:1 states:  “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

  1. Have personal freedom to rejoice.  Do you need permission to be joyful?

Christ died to give us joy!  Do not hold on to past sins etc. that you have repented from.  Also watch the company you keep…are you surrounded by joyless people…you know the “Eeyores” in life?…joyless people rob us of joy too.  If you are overwhelmed by world circumstances or worry, take a “worry retreat”.  Go for a walk, listen to uplifting praise hymns, play a game, read a book, take a bubble bath, turn off the news….etc.  Hug on your grandbaby … just had to throw that one in there 🙂

Gratitude Encourages Joy.

  1. Like worship, gratitude has a special connection with joy. (Zeph. 3:17).  A godly response when we’re joyful is to express gratitude to the Lord for His goodness.  Joy often creates gratitude.  But the opposite is also true, gratitude creates joy.  When we give God thanks, He gives us joy.  When situations snatch away our joy, we feel like doing anything except thanking God, but that’s exactly what we need to do.  Our thanks must come out of a heart of genuine gratitude to Him, regardless of our immediate feelings.  God then responds by filling our hearts with His joy.

The Key to Lasting Joy is choosing to be a Servant of Jesus Christ.

  1. The child of God who has committed to being the Lord’s servant will hear a CLEAR call, lead a CLEAN life, proclaim a COURAGEOUS message and have a CHALLENGING purpose.  This is the heart of what it means to be a servant of God.

The life of a servant is the willingness to be God’s person right where you are in the tasks and relationships that are already the substance of your life:  soccer Mom, Sunday School Teacher, Volunteer in your child’s classroom, Grandmother, Wife, Corporate Executive….

Servanthood is more a matter of attitude than action, that God wants our availability more than our talent, and that for most of us servanthood means faithfulness in the ordinary affairs of everyday living.

Servanthood will be demonstrated in the way a person lives, different ways for different people.  Just as God’s call to salvation is unique and personal, so is His call to service.  Paul addresses this issue in 1 Cor. 12:14-31.  You should not expect everyone, including other believers, to be like you in every way, nor should they demand that you be like them.  Each servant of God has a clear call, but that call is different for each of us.  One way we can see the difference in calls to service is in the different gifts that He has given to us by His Spirit for the proper functioning of the church.  Different people have different gifts and as a servant it is important to discern what spiritual gifts you may have and develop them in His service.  Remember though that God may give you an assignment that is way out of your comfort zone or not any where near your realm of giftedness and He will equip you for the task.  The idea is that we must be willing to say “Yes” to God no matter what He may ask of us.  You must have settled in your mind that you will say, “Yes, Lord” before He even asks.

Being a Godly Servant means:

  1. Clear Call: He calls us all to serve and He calls us uniquely as individuals.  We minister in His strength (not on our own), so we can rely on His strength to overcome obstacles and give Him the glory He deserves.
  2. Clean Life:  As His servants we are to live clean, Holy lives.  We must look at the importance of what we allow into our minds and what we dwell on.  Remember: garbage in – garbage out.
  3. Courageous Message:  God calls His servants to proclaim a courageous message.  He wants us to speak boldly on His behalf.
  4. Challenging Purpose:  God gives us a challenging purpose – that of being involved in reaching out to people everywhere with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  There are rewards in heaven if we are His faithful servants (1 Cor.9:24-25) but that should not be our motivation.  We are servants because we love God and we long to hear at the end of our life time these words:“Well done, good and faithful servant…now enter into the JOY of your Lord.”  (Matt. 25:21)  That’s lasting JOY!

(Much of this practical advice comes directly from two books The Key to Lasting Joy by T.W. Wilson and Unlocking the Door to Joy by Ken L. Williams.  Read them….they will bless your lives!)

(*This blog series was first published by Lynn Dove in April/May 2012.)

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