Categories
Christian Living joy

⏸ for Joy

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I’d left the ministry and moved three states away, with a marriage unraveling. It was my second job in four months. Being the consummate over explainer, I shared my troubles with my boss. The next morning, when I showed up for work, I was no longer on the schedule.

At that exact moment, it was like someone pressed the pause button on my life. I stood frozen, looking at the schedule–without my name on it–and prayed, “Lord, what now?”

My prayer was immediately answered with a sense of deep calm, an assurance that my life was still in God’s hands. Despite the circumstances, I was able to work my entire shift–like it was any other day. The boss called me in at closing time, marveling at the poise with which I’d faced uncertainty. I told her it was the Joy of Lord. She put me back on the schedule.

Perhaps you can relate? You’ve stood before, back to the wall, with limited options. But rather than running away you stayed put, empowered by the Holy Spirit. At such times we can choose joy, but can’t produce it. This brand of eternal confidence only comes from God (Galatians 5:22).

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Colin Powell

King David calls it a mega-multiplier:

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

It was a recent post, What if Joy? on Praise2worshipdotnet, that jogged my memory about the power of genuine joy. Pastor Pete shared an inspiring thought: the Joy of the Lord is a good escape plan. Believers under its power can face whatever God has for them with confidence. (Think Paul and Silas singing in prison or Christ facing the cross).

On this Christmas Day may we pause for joy, like the shepherds out in the fields on the night of Christ’s birth, scared half to death by a visiting angel.😇

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

Luke 2:10 (NIV)
Categories
Christian Living Christmas

GPS Jesus

Photo by Alex Perez on Unsplash

For the fine citizens of Wellington, Florida enough was enough. The baby Jesus was stolen from their community center nativity two years in a row!

But during the next Noel they were ready–with a creative way to catch a crook. Christmas season number three featured a baby Jesus with a GPS locator onboard. Sheriff’s deputies tracked the life-sized figurine, when it was absconded yet again, to an apartment–where it was found lying face down on a carpet.

Tis the season once again, and the Christ child is missing. There are plenty of lights and Santas and reindeer on the lawn. But where is Jesus? Lots of folks aren’t even looking for Him this time of year. No worries. We may not be searching for Christ, but He came searching for us.

This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:10

Remember the first thing God said to Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit? They were hiding from Him and He called to them, “Where are you?”

Yes, there is a God’s Positioning Signal (GPS) inside each one of us. We have been searched and fully known (Psalm 139). God knows EVERYTHING about us–the good, the bad and the ugly–yet He STILL sent his Son to redeem us (Romans 5:8).

You did not choose me but I chose you.

Jesus – John 15:16a

People leaving Christ out of Christmas doesn’t change one iota what God did for the world (John 3:16). Through the gift of His Son, He shows us ALL how much He loves us.

Yet it is a gift we must be willing to receive.

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Categories
Christian Living Prayer

Pull Boldly!

When I saw this witty little sign on the main doors of our school library, I immediately thought, “Now THAT’S biblical!”

The first scripture that came to mind was Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”- (NIV) A man whom many call the “Prince of Preachers” has a wonderful illustration for this verse.

Prayer pulls the rope below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly. Others give but an occasional pluck at the rope. But he who wins with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously, with all his might.

Charles Spurgeon

Frankly, I’ve said many prayers that had all the firmness of a limp noodle. The disciples apparently had some moments like these with Jesus. Near the end of His earthly life, He says. almost chiding them, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” —John 16:24 (NIV)

However, there have been other times when the Holy Spirit moved me to pray boldly. As I recall, each of these powerful requests was answered, “Yes.” The book of James reminds us that the prophet Elijah was a regular human, just like us. And when he prayed earnestly, things happened—MAJOR things. “The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect.” — James 5:16 (GNT)

Kind reader, I will cease my ramblings with a closing question: Is there something you need to ask of Jesus?

Pull Boldly!