The Joy of the Lord

God gives us several commands throughout His Word to rejoice in Him. When God thinks a concept is worth repeating, it is definitely worthy of our consideration (Psalm 32:11, 35:9, 64:10, 97:12, 104:34; Isaiah 29:10, 41:16; Joel 2:23; Habakkuk 3:18; Zechariah 10:7; Philippians 3:1, 4:4).

When the joy of the Lord fills our spirit, it also affects our body and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings. It influences our words and actions and how we relate to our self and to other people.

It affects our relationship with the Lord and helps us to sing the praises to Him that He is worthy to receive (Psalm 147:1). We pray about everything and give thanks in everything, even in the negative aspects of our life (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The Lord puts a hymn of praise, a new song, in our heart (Psalm 40:3). We come before His presence with thanksgiving as we make a joyful noise to Him in song (Psalm 100). His joy is our continual source of strength (Nehemiah 8:10),

God’s Word is living and powerful and teaches us to abide in our spirit rather than in our body and our soul (Hebrews 4:12; John 15:11; Galatians 2:20). He opens the eyes of our understanding to the opportunities we have to walk and live in His Spirit.

God helps us to discern between the desires of our flesh and the leading of His Spirit. We no longer allow the appetites of our body, considerations of our mind or fickleness of our emotions to dictate our thoughts, words or behavior.

Instead we seek the Lord to reveal the root source of any negative impulses we experience and to free us from any dictates of our flesh, any influence of the world and any tyranny of the devil over our life.

Prayer:
Father God, we submit our spirit, body and soul – our every thought, choice and emotion – to Your Spirit. Our union with You consumes our every waking moment, and we want nothing more than for You to live Your life in and through us.

Remind us not to worry about anything, but to seek Your will in ceaseless prayer. We want to live a life of continual joy, prayer and thanksgiving to You through Christ in us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We thank You for meeting all of our needs, and for giving us Your peace, which is not dependent on our human reasoning and understanding, and which guards our hearts and minds as we live, move and have our being in Christ alone (Philippians 4:4-6; Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord loves us so much that He actually takes delight in us and rejoices over us with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

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The Cost of Compassion

Consideration for others is a lost art today. We are too busy to care too deeply for anyone, not even for our self. We streak through life fast enough to repel anyone, which we think will weigh us down.

One group of people are so focused on themselves that they have no time for anyone else. They plan their day, follow their agenda and fall asleep at night with little interaction with the people who love them.

There are video games, overtime at work, television series, sports, hobbies and extra-curricular activities, which keep us so occupied that we take everyone else in our life for granted.

Another group of people are so wounded from their past, that they have little emotional energy to expend on anyone else. The cost of showing compassion is too high, and they are emotionally bankrupt.

When we see a need, which God directs us to meet, yet we walk away, the love of God does not dwell in us (1 John 3:16-17). We are unwilling to pay the cost of compassion.

We have another purpose for our time and money and do not want to share with anyone else. Sadly, our joy from our own plans will quickly fade; and since we are out of the will of God, we cannot prosper.

Jesus gave us the example of the Good Samaritan and the father of the Prodigal Son to teach us to care about other people and to give them a second chance (Luke 10:25-37, 15:11-32).

As we walk in the Spirit, we will give away more and more of our self, and we will receive more of God in return (Luke 6:38). God is love, and the more love we share, the richer we enjoy God’s presence in our life (1 John 4:8).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that negative emotions within our soul come from the wounds in our past, placed there by the devil. They will prevent us from showing Your love and compassion to others (Ephesians 4:26-27). Help us to seek Your truth about every satanic lie, which births these destructive feelings within us ( http://www.theophostic.com ). Once we are free from this woundedness, we are also free to receive the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Remind us that whether we are preoccupied with pain from the past or our current self-centered pursuits, obedience to You is the only way we can reap Your rich rewards. When we empathize with the pain and rejoice in the joy of others, and share Your kindness and mercy with our self and them, we will truly and eternally prosper (Romans 12:15; Luke 6:35-36).

Thought for the Day:
If we say we love God, yet hate someone else, then we are a liar and do not know God; yet, if we are truly in love with God, we will love His children too. – 1 John 4:20-21

Every Waking Moment

Who is mankind, that our holy God would give us a moment of His attention? We are nothing, worthless and the foulest form of life on this planet. Yet, God lowered Himself below the angels, and became a man, in order to save us and to bring us into eternity with Him forever (Psalm 8:4-6). Amazingly, God gives us His full consideration, care and affection now and always (Job 7:17).

If we relinquish control of our life to God’s Spirit, He brings us into the presence of our Father God through Jesus Christ, illuminates God’s Word to us and guides us to do God’s will (John 14:26). The Spirit then begins the lifelong process of sanctifying us as His holy temple (1 Corinthains 6:19). He slowly transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ’s perfect, divine nature (Romans 8:29; 2 Peter 1:4).

Each moment of our day, the Holy Spirit endeavors to bring us into the rest of God. We thwart Him by filling our hours with busyness. We cause our self to experience fits of stress and high blood pressure, because we do not allow our self to enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10). Yet, God’s Spirit continually draws us ever deeper into fellowship with God until we finally, completely surrender to Him.

Then, we learn to walk in the holiness of God’s precepts. His Spirit puts His love in our hearts for one another, so that we are proof of His existence (John 13:34-35). Christ in us loves the brethren through us by His Holy Spirit. As we seek God first, His Spirit will direct us in loving one another according to His will, without enabling one another.

Prayer:
Father God, our ultimate joy is to live in Your presence, filled with Your Son, Jesus, and empowered by Your Spirit, who abides in us. Christ in us is our only hope of entering into Your glorious Kingdom (Colossians 1:27). Give us a burden for the lost, so we can reclaim them for Your Kingdom (Mark 16:15). Even the angels in heaven rejoice when one sinner repents and comes back to You (Luke 15:10).

Thought for the Day:
May we surrender our every waking moment into service for our God and King.