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WANT MORE JOY?

As I said in the previous post, JOY is my word this year. God promises us joy and I want it! So I thought I’d take a look at other devotions I wrote on the topic of joy. This one was written in 2014.

WANT MORE JOY?

Matthew 22

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Life is not nearly as complicated as most of us make it. Here’s a quick and easy to remember formula that will bring more joy in your life. If you want more JOY in your life, then focus first on Jesus, then on Others, and finally on Yourself.  The first above says exactly the same thing. Love God; love your neighbor as yourself.

Focus on Jesus. Jesus said the first and most important commandment is to love God with all your heart and mind. It’s not enough to say that you do, you must show that love to God. One of the ways to do that is to spend time praising and worshiping God and I don’t just mean in church on Sunday. From the beginning, Jesus was meant to bring joy to those of us on earth.

Luke 2:10

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.

Focus on others. Jesus talked of love again and again. He wanted His followers to show God’s love to others. Loving others is not a suggestion, but a commandment. Again, loving others doesn’t have to be complicated. Smile at people; be friendly, when  you can help someone in need, help them. Talking about loving others includes loving your spouse and your family. Sometimes we spend all our energy helping people outside of our house. That’s wonderful but save enough energy to be sweet and kind with those you live with.

John 13:34

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Focus on yourself. Yes, we are to focus on first on Jesus, then on others but don’t think that we are not to focus on ourselves. God doesn’t want us to be selfish or self-centered but He does want us to enjoy our life. He does want us to take care of ourselves in a healthy and balanced way.

We shouldn’t put ourselves first all the time but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t put ourselves first sometimes. We need to take care of our own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs as well as others.

So there you have it. Want more joy in your life? Then follow God’s greatest commandment and the second as well, and you’ll suddenly have more joy than you can imagine.

 

This is me in 2017 again. I’ve been focusing on the J and the Y–the O not so much. Having long-term chronic illness can make us very self-centered. I know this to be true because I can see it in myself. In a way it’s understandable but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us spiritually. So as I search for more joy in my life, I’m going to make an effort to get my mind off myself and do something nice for other people at least 3 times this week.

I already did one this morning! I vacuumed my bedroom without asking my husband for help. Now to find two more things to do. What’s something you plan to do nice for someone else this week?

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Apples of Gold

Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Apples of gold in a silver setting? Doesn’t that create a beautiful word picture? Golden apples in a silver bowl–sounds lovely to me. And that’s what the Bible likens our words to if they are fitly spoken.

So what exactly are fitly spoken words? 

I’m sure everyone has a different defintion of that that phrase might mean. To me it’s about speaking kindly to others. Sometimes we may in a position of having to say something that may be unpleasant to another person. But we can always do it with kindness. 

And sometimes the kindest words are the words not spoken. We don’t always have to say everything on our mind in every situation with every person. 

Words fitly spoen are those that we speak after examining ourselves, our motives, and  our attitudes. If the words pass all those tests, then speak them, but speak them in the kindest, most loving way you can.

The world is filled with angry, hars, hurtful, critical, and  hateful words. We don’t have to add to that. As Christians, let’s create apples of gold in silver settings.

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

Exodus 20: 1-3

And God spoke all these words  “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Christmas is right around the corner and we know what that means. Shopping! Shopping and more shopping! It’s all fun until the bills start rolling in. And then the worry starts along with arguments between you and your spouse (or between you and the credit card companies). Suddenly all that peace and joy of the Christmas season has vanished!

Most Americans (and that includes me) have bought into what the advertisers tell us–WE NEED MORE THINGS! If we just had more things, we’d be happier. If we had more things, we could finally get skinnier, prettier, and richer, then we’d be happy!

Right? WRONG!

If we believe what the advertisers want us to believe then we have no freedom or peace or joy. Because we’re too busy buying all the THINGS we supposedly need. And then after we have the THING, then we have to worry about paying for them. Before we know it, we realize we bought the wrong  THING, and then we need the new THING.

And so the cycle continues.

The above verse tells us all we need to know to find freedom. Let’s look at it again. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.  Do you see it now?

If you want out of the land of slavery, then have no other gods but the one, true God. What are your other gods? Nice clothes? Cars? Gadgets and more gadgets? A lifestyle you can’t afford?

Instead, keep your focus on God, follow His principles for a godly life, and then you will find the peace and joy.

One of the things my husband and I love to do during the Christmas season is to visit neighboring churches for their Christmas plays, programs, and concerts. It’s fun and festive!  It’s a great way to focus on the real reason for the season. And it doesn’t cost a penny.

Have a great Christmas season!

The Formula for Success!

We all want to be successful, but sometimes we just don’t know how to get there. God has given us a manual for this life called THE BIBLE. So much wisdom and just for us. What a wonderful and loving God we serve!

Anyway, back to success. God’s given us the formula for success. And here it is:

Joshua 1: 8

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything in it.

Then you will be prosperous and successful.

How’s that for a promise!  So, let’s take a look at it part by part.

First step: Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth.  I don’t know what the experts say about this verse, but to me it means don’t ignore God’s Word. So, the first part of the formula is to read God’s Word.

Second step: meditate on it day and night. Meditate simply means to think about it–a lot. So, don’t just read the Bible, but think about it day and night until you come to understand God’s message.

Third step: so that you may be careful to do everything in it. So, it’s not enough to read it, then think about it. We need to do what God tells us to do. Another verse in the New Testament tells us not to be listeners only but to be doers of the Word. God has given us all that we need to know to be successful in this life, but if we only read it and think about it, it won’t do us any good. We have to follow God’s instructions.

And as the promise says if we do the three steps, Then you will be prosperous and successful. It doesn’t say we might be prosperous and successful. Instead it ways we WILL be prosperous and successful.

What a wonderful promise!

Of course living the first three steps is not always easy, but God promises it will be worth it if we endure!

One other interesting thing about this verse is that it says prosperous and successful–meaning that prosperous is not the same as successful. I think that’s something we tend to forget these days. So many of us view success only in monetary terms, but that’s not really true. God sees them as separate entities. I don’t think we can be truly successful until we understand that success isn’t about prosperity but about so much more–good health–good relationships–enjoying the life God’s given us.

SHARING TIME: WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS? WHAT DO YOU NEED OR ALREADY HAVE THAT MAKES YOU SUCCESSFUL?

Harvest Time

James 5: 7

…See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is  for the autumn and spring rains.

How’s your garden growing? Thanks to my husband’s diligent care, ours is doing wonderful this year! We’ve had beets, green beans, ,squash, cucumbers, lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage, and hot peppers of all sorts. tomatoes, my favorite, are starting to ripen and the corn is looking good! I love the food that come out of our garden, but the truth is I don’t really deserve any of it.

My husband does all the work. I just get to enjoy it. I thank him for all that hard work! and all the wonderful veggies!

There’s lots of lessons to be learned from gardening. Jesus used farming  to illustrate many points to his followers. Consider the words from the above verse: See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop. We often talk about reaping what we sow (good or bad), but we forget there’s another step in the process.

THE WAITING.

If you’re like me, you don’t like to wait very much And it’s only getting worse thanks to technology. We become impatient when things don’t happen on our time schedule. If it doesn’t happen when we expect it to, then we assume it’s not going to happen and we give up. When we do that, then the garden becomes overgrown with weeds and we don’t get to harvest the good things we sowed.

Only God knows the waiting time needed for what we sow.

It’s our job to keep sowing the seeds of love and goodness while ripping out the weeds of anger, bitterness, jealousy, and disappointment. If we want to reap the rewards of what we’ve sown, we must continue to take care of the garden while we wait for the harvest of our rewards.

If my husband planted the seeds and plants in his garden and then forgot about them, we wouldn’t get all those wonderful veggies. While he waits for the rewards of what he’s sown, he continues to take care of the plants.

And that is what we must do as well.

SHARING TIME: What life lessons does gardening or farming teach you?

Until next time…God Bless & Good Reading!