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Archive for the ‘joy’ Category

Rest in Him

God offers us peace if we will simply rest in Him.

Ever felt like it was a bad day getting worse?

Rest in Him.

Ever felt stress mounting up like a volcano ready to erupt?

Just rest in Him.

Trust God’s Word.

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
Hebrews 4:9

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I  will sing a new song to you, O God; . . .I will make music to you– Psalm 144:9 (NIV)

Poet or psalmist? Which is it? Oh, yeah… spoken word, poetry or psalms?

Today, much like in the past ages, people are caught up in titles.  They live by labels.  For some people, they are precisely who or what they think their titles say that they are to everyone else.  Even if it doesn’t fit them, they attempt to live up to the title by what they wear or drive and how they talk as well as who they hang around.  That’s just how some people go about it.

I am an author who writes poetry among other things.  As an author, I am convinced that some people will call me whatever they care to call me because of what I do.  Some will say that I am a poet, while others will simply call me a writer.  Then, as with most things, there are those folks who fully dress it all up and make it into a big deal by calling people like me: “inspirational writers” or “spiritual scribes.” The one that caused me some alarm was psalmist.  I had to do some more research before I could even stand to hear it come from another person’s lips.

Psalms are defined as “sacred song; a hymn” or ” a sacred song or poem used in worship.” Imagine one of my pieces used as a call to worship.  Or, if possible, picture a choir swaying and rocking in their elaborate and ornate robes as I clutched the mic and spit a flow of one of my more upbeat poems to a raucous drum beat with a twinkling piano and an eerie organ piped in as we praise God. Would that be a psalm? Would that make a psalmist? Or, would I still be a poet?

David and Asaph were psalmists in my mind.  Moses and Solomon were even credited with composing at least one psalm.  Marvin Sapp has a release entitled “Diary of a Psalmist” and many other gospel artists call themselves psalmists.  Even though the definitions of psalmist tend to loosely define the title as a composer or writer of a psalm, I just can’t see myself using the title.  If someone called me a psalmist, would I stop in the midst of praise and worship to correct them with my personal reservations about why I don’t prefer to be called one? No.  I don’t have a lot of time for that.  Would I refer them to this post to get my opinion or views on the title? No.  I will just praise Him and keep on praising Him as a poet, writer, author or psalmist.  No matter what they call it, I call it praise, worship and expressive joy.

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Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials– James 1:2 (NASB)

Can you consider your troubles as times to boost your joy? James thought so.  Better yet, James believed so.  He said it to other believers about what they endure as a “testing” of their faith.  James spoke of enduring such trials, exercising patience and evolving into spiritual maturity (James 1:2-4).  According to James, we should look at such times as times of hope “wanting for nothing.”

Think of it differently.  Look at your troubles and trying times differently.  See them as growth opportunities.  Some will call them life lessons.  Others will consider them moments of truth. Don’t get caught up on what they may be called.  Get into understanding that what you experience is to lead to your spiritual growth , eventually making you more mature in your faith.

Do mature Christians always face their trials in such a way? That may not necessarily be the case.  Look at Moses when the people of God tried his patience.  He did not just speak to the rock.  He struck the rock.  David, a man after God’s own heart, was upset when his friend was struck down for touching the ark of God.  John the Baptist sent word to Jesus from jail, questioning if He was the Anointed One or not.  Even Jesus said that there would never be one like John the Baptist, but he questioned the Messiah when he faced his pending execution.  Do mature Christians always face their trials in such a way? The Bible tells us: no.

The Bible is in our hands and is to be in our hearts.  It should serve as a reminder to us of how we should conduct ourselves as we seek to grow in our faith.  Some tragedies simply rock our world and throw us off a bit.  We need to grow.  We grow as we go through things in life that help build up our faith.  James’ instructions were clear.  Let it grow you as you face various trials in life, allowing your spiritual maturity to grow and shine.

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When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. – Luke 4:13 (NIV)

Luke provides an account of the devil, Satan, Lucifer, the prince of the earth, the fallen angel, completing his attempts to tempt Jesus in the wilderness and departing from Him. James spoke of submitting ourselves to the Lord and having the devil flee from us. The NIV ends Luke 4:13 with “… he left him until an opportune time.” He wasn’t done with Jesus then.  He’s not done with us now.

If his main job is to steal and destroy, he’s not even close to being done with us. He wants our joy.  Do we still have children? He wants to steal our joy. Are we still smiling and laughing in spite of the tears and the heartache? He wants our joy. He won’t be done until we are left with nothing and no one. He still seeks that opportune time to sneak up and snatch our joy.

Watch out. He’s not done.

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For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.- Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Satan gets a lot of credit in the church.  Much of what the average Christian gives over to Satan is truly undeserved credit.  Satan is a fallen angel and a created being just like us.  The biblical story of Job demonstrates that he only does what God allows him to do.  He still must work on a limited basis.  He has no real power beyond what God affords him.

However, Satan is real.  He is not lurking behind some shadowy mist that drifts in and out of the atmosphere.  He is present, seeking to destroy all that can bring glory to God and tear down anything that builds the kingdom of heaven.  He is a liar and will stop at no means to kill, steal and destroy.

Satan attacks on a spiritual level.  If you leave him room, he will get between you and your spouse, you and your children, and even you and fellow believers.  His methods are divisive and destructive.  His aim is to keep us from growing closer to God.  He wants us to turn our backs on God.  He hopes that we will give up hope and seek help from anywhere but God.

He attacks at some critical times.  Check out these two examples for starters.  Later, after you have thought about it, check out the Lord’s words to him through prophecy (Isaiah 14:12-17).  It may help you understand some more about how he goes about things and why he is so persistent in attacking us.

Offering: Satan subtly seeks to convince us that the church doesn’t need our money.  After all, you hear yourself rationalizing, they’ll only waste it away with poor stewardship anyway.  That’s the type of thinking that can invade one’s heart and mind.  It’s a spiritual attack.  He wants to separate us from God.  He doesn’t mind starting with a small seed of doubt.  He’ll keep on us and at us until he reaches us somehow.  Be on guard.  Be in prayer.  Don’t give him a foothold.  Faithfully seek God out.  It’s the type of battle that can only be won by His spiritual might, not our own.

Invitation: Angels jump for joy and sing praises over one soul coming to the Lord for salvation.  Satan is a fallen angel.  He doesn’t rejoice over souls being saved in the name of the Lord.  He wants to get into the heart and mind of the unbeliever and show them how unworthy they are and why they don’t belong in church to begin with.  He attacks the unbeliever as the pastor prays and offers the invitation.  He seeks to embarrass the unbeliever and make the unbeliever fear the rejection of all of those people who seem to be staring and gawking.  He uses whatever he can to keep that person from even considering that now is the right time.  He even says that they can take care of it another day and in another way but not here and not now.  That’s junk. 

Be careful what you let get into your head and your heart at such a time.  He wants to keep you from the freedom that you will have in Christ.  He wants you to continue to be burdened by what has been bothering you for the longest.  He doesn’t want you to experience anything that is remotely close to salvation and all that it offers you.  He wants to keep you away from the church and out of God’s family. 

Don’t allow him to even start.  Learn what he is about and how he attacks believers and unbelievers alike.  Know that he will continue until he is utterly destroyed.  Meanwhile, he will seek to destroy as many as he is able to get a hold of as often as he can.  He has nothing that he can offer you that will last for an eternity.

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Our purpose in all things is to please God.- John Wesley
What we need to do is please God by what we do day by day. Our daily pursuits should lead to God being glorified every step of the way. Our work should serve as part of our worship. Daily, as we work according to our purpose, we should see our pursuits as a means for God to get the glory from ourselves and others. Matthew 5:16 shares that our lights are to shine in such a way that men will see them and become encouraged to call on the name of the Lord. Pursue the promises of the Lord with purose.

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Believe it or not, Moses would be a pretty tough act to follow as a spiritual leader. He had seen God face to face and spent many days doing one-on-one meetings with God on Mount Sinai. Yet, Joshua was told to be both strong and courageous regarding leading the people of God into the Promised Land. He assured that the Lord was with him. Many of today’s leaders may not hear God’s audible voice in the same way Joshua heard it, but they need to hear from God. They need God’s assurance to lead God’s people into new territory. There’s little to no movement because there’s hardly any confirmation based upon limited communication and communion with God. When you have people trying to speak things into existence and determine their own destinies, there’s not much room left to hear from God. Maybe we should hear from the psalmist’s words first that simply said: “Be still and know that I am God. . .” (Psalm 46:10). Discover your destiny but learning to hear from the Divine.
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Visit https://revbruce.wordpress.com/2010/01/02/broken-people/
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John 15:11 speaks of your joy being “full.” You need to know that Christ’s joy is to be present within you. It should be within you and maintained at a “full” level. Imagine what life would be like if you livedwith your joy on full daily. That totally change your outlook on every single day as you operated on full joy.

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