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 grace

But Wait, There’s More!

Does anyone else remember those old commercials for the Ginsu knife? I must have been ten or eleven years old the first time I saw one.

A guy uses a Ginsu to cut through nails, a soda can and a radiator hose, then picks up a tomato and slices it paper thin.

If only I’d been old enough for a credit card back then. They sold me with the radiator hose. Forget food, this ornery boy just wanted to tear stuff up! 🤓

But the coolest part of the commercial was how they kept sweetening the deal:

“This surgical grade steel knife can be yours for only $19.95. But wait, there’s more! For a limited time only, we’ll double your order. That’s right, two knives for the price of one! Just pay separate shipping and handling. But that’s not all! Order within the next ten minutes, and we’ll include a deluxe Ginsu paring knife for free.”

A countdown timer appeared on the screen…..


The Apostle Paul has a, “But wait, there’s more!” moment in his letter to the Romans. It happens about half way through chapter five. After highlighting the fact that God demonstrates His love by sending Christ to die for a bunch of unworthy sinners (Romans 5:8), Paul starts dropping exclamation points like a full-on salesman.

“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” – Romans 5:9-11 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

It’s clear, Paul is excited about the fact that salvation through the blood of Christ is so much more than an insurance policy. Jesus is both the author AND finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and we are called to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:20-21)

It’s fine to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”, but even better to investigate (through the gift of the scriptures) what He actually DID! Plus, the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit means we can literally have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). Because of these blessings, and many more, we are actually able to walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).

This must be the kind of ‘much more’ Paul was thinking about when he kept sweetening the deal in Romans chapter five. Hallelujah!

By the way, did you know Ginsu knives are still being made and sold today? After forty something years, you’d think everybody already has one–“their very own piece of indestructible surgical grade cutlery that never needs sharpening. All for the low price of $19.95.

But wait, there’s more!

Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.

1 John 2:6 (NIV)

“IMG_1483.JPG” by Hélio Sassen Paz is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Categories
Christian Living joy

Turning the Key

Photo by Jaye Haych on Unsplash

I was intrigued recently with something DeborahMarie wrote on her blog, Great is God’s Faithfulness. The title of the post was, The Key to Life, and it was all about the choice set before God’s people in Deuteronomy 30:19-20.

Moses challenged them to love, obey and commit totally to God–to choose life over death and blessings over curses. This choice would be the key to life, but God would not make it for them.

OK, I thought. I have the master key to life, but it’s useless until I stick it into a lock and turn it. What motivates me to do that?

I found the answer in another devotional the next morning. Glenn Packiam, writing in Our Daily Bread, shared an article called, Costly Joy. The scripture he spotlighted was Christ’s parable of the hidden treasure.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” — (Matthew 13:44)

The author then connects the dots to reveal the secret of unswerving motivation:

“Joy drives change–not guilt or duty.”

Glenn Packiam

BINGO! The Joy of the Lord inspires us to choose and use the key to life.

There’s a great example of this in action in Nehemiah chapter 8. The wall around Jerusalem had just been completed, and all the people came together to worship God. These folks hadn’t been to church or heard the Word in a long time. So when the scribe Ezra read from the Law of Moses, the congregation fell under conviction and began to weep. But Nehemiah said, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

According to the book of Hebrews, it was this same kind of joy that gave Jesus the strength to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

It may have been Friday night, but the Lord knew Sunday morning was coming!

You and I have read the book: God wins.

And winners go out in joy and are led forth in peace (Isaiah 55:12).

“Joy is the reason; surrender is the response. The treasure of knowing Jesus is the reward.”

Glenn Packiam

Whose Joy?

This joy that I have

the world can’t take it away

It belongs to God.