Tag Archives: Joy

Just for the Joy of It!

While there are numerous verses in the Bible for which folks can cling to and call their own for such a time as this in their lives; I may have found a new life verse for me. Insert smile here for the cupcake, but the verse does speak more to my heart than just that sweet treat! It speaks to my soul on a level that God knew I needed today.

I always say I have issues, but I really believe that I have my share and someone else’s too. I love to live life, I love to give joy, I always mean well even when it doesn’t end well, and I have the hardest time of receiving anything with joy. I’ll receive it with gratitude, and the consciousness that I am beyond unworthy, but joy doesn’t come easy.

So Nehemiah 8:10 pricked my heart this morning.

A friend had sent a message today that they were going to contribute to my ministry and I didn’t have words  (other than thank you) to tell them how I felt. It doesn’t come natural for me to receive things without guilt.

Why that is, I don’t know, because that’s never been the intent of the givers. They give with joy… so why can I not receive it with joy? Follow along with me in verse 10 and I think you and I will both discover why…

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Accept My Goodness

I don’t know why God is so good to me. I don’t say that in humility, I’m really clueless. I know my heart. I don’t deserve any of it. And yet, He pours His goodness down upon me and says, “Here it is Shari. Just take it and enjoy.

Share My Goodness

I don’t always have things to share. Not like people share with me. But when I do it does bring such great joy to me. It’s why I love sharing the art that I do and why I give so much of it away. Because it does bring great joy into my life. It’s also why selfish people are miserable. Because they don’t experience the joy God intended us to have.

Celebrate my Goodness

For this day is holy! That part of the verse got me. God intended this day to be used for His glory. That’s why He puts His blessing upon it and says, “I did this for you. I did this so you and I could celebrate the day together.”

Isn’t that a great thought? That God creates a party for no particular reason, just because He loves you. 

Now stop feeling guilty about it. You’re ruining His fun. That’s what I heard. God said I was a party pooper.

Draw Strength from my Goodness

Life is full of enough bad days. When we get a good one, we need to store up that goodness and remember it.

Much like me, the children of Israel were not always obedient. They were more often than not a rebellious nation. So there was plenty of guilt to go around and they were justifiable in the feeling. But God tells them to “stop living in defeat because of past mistakes.” It won’t fix them and it will mess up what He had planned next.

Glorrrrraaaaay! That’s a good word, right? Let’s celebrate with cake! Just for the joy of it!

4 reason we don’t have joy

Why is it that absolute joy always seems to be just out of reach? There is often in my life temporal joy, but the pure, unencumbered joy is always looming in the distance. I can see it… but I never quite reach it.

As I continued my reading in the book of 2nd Kings this morning I happened upon the history of King Jehu and perhaps the answer to that question.

2 Kings 10

28 Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. 29 Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan. 30 And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. 32 In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel;

Israel came up short. They missed out on the full blessing of God because Jehu, although he got rid of Baal worship, continued on with some prettier sins.

It’s the little things in life that prevent the big joy. The things on the lower shelves of life that are readily available and a distraction from our walk with Christ, but we never remove them. I’ll start with the easiest thing to prevent us from having pure joy:

The Law

The Jews created 613 laws out of the 10 commandments. It was proven in the first generation of God’s people that we couldn’t keep one rule, (not to eat of the tree of life) and to add 612 more to the equation gave many more reasons to feel like a failure. So the wonderful Savior we have devised a plan to replace the law with grace. But we (or I) keep law on the shelf as a reminder that I’m a failure. I discard grace pretty often by reminding myself of past failures, as if the blood of Jesus Christ wasn’t enough. That thought just made my stomach roll over.

The Attitude

“Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you handle it!”

What a great truth. I don’t’ know who said it but they were spot on. How is that Paul said from prison in Philippians 1:4 “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.” He could pray for those who were “living the life” with joy, even though he was in the worst of circumstances and he could do so because he had the right attitude. Much of my joyless days are created by the attitude that began them with.

The Appetite

Oh… I could preach to myself on this one.  Both spiritually and physically. Many, many, many of my issues arise because of my appetite. Those things that I desire that are not necessarily wrong, but are wrong for me. That delightfully pink cupcake on my counter is oh so tasty, but the waistline it creates is less than lovely, and yet I let my appetite rule. Let me put this one on for size… rather than reading the word of God when I get up in the morning, I press the home button on my iPhone to read the gospel according to social media, and then wonder why I’m not feeling all spiritual inside. It’s because I just digested somebody else’s heartache, anger, disgust, or perhaps it was a cute puppy pic, but it still took my mind away from the pure joy of the word of God.

The Belief

You’ll note that lie is italicized in the center. I more often than not believe the lie of Satan that joy is unobtainable. I’ll never be good enough. (the law) I’ll never be in the 10%, (the attitude), I need what I see (the appetite) I’m an what Satan says I am (the belief)

Although I went from the bottom shelf up, our problem in life is from the top down. BAAL. Jehu got rid of the big sin, but he kept the little sins in his life. And caused Israel to fall short. Wow, is there some truth in that for my life. What about you?


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Is the Gate in View?

the-gate

I wonder if the man at the gate of Beautiful ever stopped being lovely for the Lord?  I hope the excitement that he felt that day never dulled. His lame lifestyle had vanished, and he was living victoriously! But if life did to him what it does to most of us, I’m sure he had days when his step was not high and the gate was far in the distance.

Acts 3:8-10

And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God:  And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

Is the gate still in view for you? Do you remember the feeling of fresh salvation? I sometimes have to work to remember and you no doubt do as well if it’s been very long. For me it’s been 20 years, but if I get my mind in that “Beautiful” place my praise is once more restored. Life has a way of causing us to suppress that beautiful memory into the recesses of our mind while the problems, guilt and frustrations of life over shadow how wonderful salvation is. Four things can happen when we the gate is too far in the distance.

  1. We lose our joy

David said in Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation… Life had gotten on him. Sin and the guilt it creates has a way of sucking the joy out of your life quicker than anything else. But it’s not exclusive. Debt, health issues, heartache… oh the list is long that can cause us to lose our joy.

  1. We rely on others to provide our joy

The man at the gate had once relied on people for his life’s provision. But no more! The Lord had now provided a way for him to take care of himself. I was once in a conversation with someone who ask how I kept my soul nourished. They were frustrated because spiritually, life wasn’t going the way they desired and they were depending on one person (the preacher) to nourish their soul. Well, it’s true that that is the preacher’s job; but again not exclusively. If we rely on the preacher to keep our heart happy Monday through Saturday with what he stirs up within us on Sunday, we’re going to be let down. Life is too harsh for that. The same is true when we expect friends and family to keep us encouraged and never let us down… it just won’t happen that way.

  1. People can’t see our joy

When the people saw that the lame man was lame no more, and that he leaped for joy and praised God, they were amazed! Why are our friends not amazed at what Jesus has done… could it be because our praise was left at the gate?

God doesn’t get to joy in us

Psalm 21:1 says The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.

This broke my heart above all when I realized that God loses joy because I lose mine. Yes He understands… but that still doesn’t justify it. And it especially doesn’t justify it when we get so far from the gate of Beautiful that we might as well be lame again because our joy has been gone for a long time. I know Christians that (if I didn’t really know them) I’d never guess that they had ever been at the gate of salvation. Likely you do too!

So what are we to do?

  1. Revisit the gate
  2. Recall the day of salvation
  3. Rejoice, and again I say Rejoice!

You, your people and your Savior need it.

It’s good to know

psalm 5

What a privilege and joy to wake up to an awesome God! With every second of my day before me, it’s wonderful to know that God goes before it placing His stamp of approval on the events that I know not what, but I know that He has not allowed anything to happen without purpose; and He will receive praise and honor. He allows me to be used in His service… gracious… what a privilege that is! I sometimes forget who it is that I work for.

This morning as I sit with coffee in hand and my eyes toward heaven the words came easy, and short. But though they are few, the truth within them is vast.

Psalm 5:3

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

It’s wonderful to know… He is there.

It may be his job… but you can send him packin’

A week filled to the brim with blessings… a new little sister in Christ,  getting to know our new Pastor & and his family, rekindled friendships, falling to sleep to sounds of children laughing and the Floridian Pastor, outside my dorm room, playing the guitar with camper Connor Boggs and singing Almost Heaven West Virginia, Country Roads, take me home… what a sweet week! But now I’m home… and happy to be so; there’s only so much fun one chick can take, and I think my husband may have missed me a little.

Satan had done his best to steal the joys of the week before, during and after camp. It’s his job and he’s really good at it!

John 10:10

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

A verse that should be written on the outside of every suitcase, vanity mirror, coffee cup,  even the toes of our shoes… upon the places we’ll look before, during and after our destination. To serve as a reminder that the joy God has set before you on your journey is on the verge of being dismantled if you allow it. The last thing he will willingly allow is for you to have a joyful time. He’s been on me like white on rice since I walked in the door of the house. Messing with my mind, placing discouraging and attempting worrisome thoughts in my mind.

I determined that I needed to:

Thwart the thief

Matthew 6:19 says – Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

He cannot steal what he does not have access to. The joys that I have experienced and that the Lord has in store for me today are laid up in Heaven. They weren’t at camp, they aren’t in my home, car or any other physical place on earth. They are in the spiritual possession of my LORD. What I can do though is allow Satan to get my eyes off of the spiritual side of the blessing and onto the tangible side. The part that moths and rust corrupt. Things break, (hearts included), plans change or fall through, personalities clash, things don’t always work out, but the blessings that God provides in abundance are those joys within our soul that Satan can’t touch!

Take captive the killer

Oh my stars! I don’t know how many times during camp Satan would try to kill the Spirit of the service, or the relationships of the kids and counselors. I spoke to the kids one morning of a vision that God had put into my mind of two wrestlers by the camp fire; the host of heaven on one side and the host of hell on the others cheering the wrestlers on as they struggled on the brink of falling into the fire. That’s what our services were like. Satan did his best, but God is better! Hallelujah!

Dismantle the destroyer

If you want to dismantle Satan’s ill intentions you’ve got to take some pieces out of play.

  • Pride’s got to go.
  • Self has got to go.
  • Your plan has got to go.
  • Your way has got to go.

Those are game pieces that Satan can manipulate on the board to his advantage. Those things take your focus off of the Lord Jesus Christ and put it on to the things of earth, where our treasures are not.

IN GOD THERE IS LIFE ABUNDANT! God is good, all the time. Even in a storm the goodness of God can be found. Stop settling for less.

Following the news of God’s abundance is the news of God’s goodness:

John 10:11

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

He has His life for us so that we could have life in abundance… don’t turn it down.

Game on!!! It’s Christmas Time

defense

 

Just a few days into the Christmas season and I can already feel it. That attack on me from within and without. Projects are vying for my time, my to do list has gotten longer than Santa’s naughty list, and over all life is way out of control. One more meeting, one more event, one more phone call, one more thing to do, to buy to say… ugh.

It takes its toll. Both physically and spiritually.

You may have noticed that I’ve not blogged for a few days. My uniform hadn’t arrived yet. I’m on the home team where I play offense, defense and sometimes I jump over or crawl under the fence, none of which are very graceful. All of that cute gibberish is for one purpose… to remind you and I both that this is the season we need to be even greater spiritually defended.

My battle hero that I often look at is David. He knew what it was like to be under siege on every level. In Psalm 5:11 he says “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”

Let us not allow Satan to steal our joy this season. Don’t think for two seconds that you can defend it, you may be good… but you’re not that good!

Believe

Be Loud

Be Happy

Believe that God has a plan in every Holiday event, mishap or success, believe there is purpose. He is Christmas control.

Be Loud! Make a joyful noise for the Lord at every opportunity; sing carols, sing praise, just sing! You’d be amazed at what a joy spring can fill your heart through a song. (Please pray for me as I sing this weekend at a recording session. Which is partially the reason my blog has been lacking… one of many irons in the fire) Overpower the world’s song with the song in your heart

Be Happy! I know it’s so easily said. But what also is easily done is to look around and see how blessed we are in comparison to so very many others across the earth.

I hope to be back on line in the morning with a little more in depth blog, but for now this is where I am at…

Too busy for my own good, too quiet for the world’s good, and my too lack luster for the Lord’s good, He deserves so much more!

DEFENSE PEOPLE! The Game’s on!