Categories
Christian Living joy

⏸ for Joy

Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels.com

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 Diligence

Peace Without Falling to Pieces

Photo by Michelle Leman on Pexels.com

Gabriel Cross wrote recently on the site, Pure Glory about Sleeping in Heavenly Peace. According to him, the “peace that keeps us from falling to pieces” comes only from God. And this divine tranquility cannot be disturbed, because it keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

When Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” (John 14:27) He wasn’t speaking hypothetically. Christ has the power to deliver such peace and He does!

But as Gabriel’s next statement points out, there is still danger for a child of God: “Therefore, all the devil can do is con you out of what already belongs to you.”

So watch out for the old “Slew Foot.”

Photo by Matthieu Petiard, on Unsplash

“A Slew Foot in hockey is an action where a player comes from behind an opposing player and trips him using his leg or skate, while, oftentimes, using his upper body, or arms, to further knock the opposing player off-balance.“

Source: Hockeymonkey.com

In other words, the devil and his demon buddies, resort to foul play in order to trip us up spiritually. They know the “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7) is guarded in our hearts by Christ Himself. So their best strategy is to sneak up behind and knock us off balance. The goal is to convince us that what Jesus says isn’t true.

And the enemy of our souls is an equal opportunity tripper.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

When the Apostle Paul said, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:2a), he wasn’t speaking hypothetically either. Failing to abide in Christ can have serious consequences! (John 15:4-6)

En Garde, my friends!

Prayer:
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the peace that passes understanding. Please help me to keep my eyes fixed on You and to be aware of the Devil’s tricks (2 Corinthians 2:11). May I always abide in Christ, the Prince of Peace. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Categories
Christian Living Confidence

Messages from God

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Have there been moments in your life when God sent you a personal message? This happened to me the other day.

As I’ve mentioned to some of my blogging buddies (and anyone else who will listen), I’ve taken on new leadership responsibilities at work that feel like a stretch.

I’m a helper/encourager type; a project coordinator. Second in command is my preferred role. Yet I’m walking the halls of an elementary school this summer as a lead teacher (administrator).

Back to the other day…

I stood at the back door of the school, staring at the playground and mulling over a precarious personnel issue. The problem in question was unlikely to be resolved peacefully without direct intervention. But what was the next step?

The other lead teacher and I finally agreed that one of us should talk further with the three teachers at the center of the dispute. As she walked out to the playground to do this I stood there and thought something like, “Are you SURE I’m the guy for this job, God?”

Turning around to head back down the hall, I glanced up the stairs. Stuck to a step, about half way up, was a red piece of construction paper. “That’s odd,” I thought. “We’re not using the second floor for summer school. That paper must have been there since regular school ended three weeks ago.”

Always a “Curious George,” I trudged up the stairs to retrieve the paper. I expected it to be a long forgotten student art project, but it was a message instead. A message from God.

You can do it. Great job! Just keep…

Just keep what, Lord?

I tried every “How to find a hidden message” trick in the book, but there’s nothing legible after the word keep.

What does it mean??!!

Eventually a favorite memory verse came to mind—-one that brought me through many an anxious night.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” — Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)

That’s my message from God.

If you’d like, please share about a time when you heard personally from the Creator of the Universe. I’d love to hear your story, because stories matter.

🙏❤️ Prayers and Love.

BTW, the personnel issue was resolved with help from our head principal. Thank you, Lord!