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What is the Joy of the Lord? – Nehemiah 8:10

What is the Joy of the Lord? Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord is your strength.
                                      Nehemiah 8:10

We all want to have joy in our lives. But it seems to be an unattainable thing in our modern world. We’ve all heard this verse from Nehemiah a thousand times. But it has always left me wondering…  What is the joy of the Lord? And how can I have it?

There are some people that we meet and just click with. We are connected to them right away and feel like we’ve known them for years. Then, there are some people in our lives that we have known for years and we are connected to them by our shared past. Both of these people give us a feeling of joy just by being around them. The thought of being separated from them brings us pain and the idea of not having them in our lives is unimaginable.

This is how God feels about us. We are the joy of the Lord! He sees us as the person that He clicks with and has a shared past with. And He desires to have a lasting and loving relationship with us.

But sin has separated us from God. It has kept us from having the meaningful relationship with Him that we were created for. So, God sent His Son, Jesus, to fill that gap for us.

Looking unto, Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
                                                                                         Hebrews 12:2

This verse from Hebrews is very clear. When Jesus died for our sins, He was focused on “the joy that was set before Him”. We are that joy! Jesus willingly faced the cross because of His joy in us. He came to fill the gap left by sin and to die in our place. He did it so that our relationship with God could be restored. Now, because of His sacrifice, sin no longer separates us from God. We are able to experience the joy of walking with God every day.

When Jesus died for our sins, He was focused on “the joy that was set before Him”.Click To Tweet

Joy, real joy, is an inner feeling of calm that is always there. We may not always see it in our everyday lives, but it is there underneath. Chaos and busyness take over sometimes. There are so many things to do, and so many people to talk to on a daily basis. The joy we once had from knowing God intimately becomes replaced by feelings of stress and not having enough time to get it all done. These are the moments when the joy of the Lord becomes our strength. We are able to seek refuge and draw strength from our relationship with God in the midst of our circumstances.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
                                  Psalm 46:1

When hard times hit, and they will, we can turn to God for the strength that we don’t have. He is always ready to give us protection from the world. He is always there to see us through it. And He is always there to restore the joy we are lacking.

We are the joy of the Lord! Once we learn this simple truth, our relationship with Him will flourish. We no longer have to face the hardships of life alone. We have a strong tower to turn to for our joy and strength.

I pray that you will understand how much God loves you. He can turn any circumstance around. He will give you the joy and strength that you are looking for.

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By | 2018-07-22T13:02:28+00:00 April 26th, 2017|Joy|2 Comments

Unfriended – Psalm 55:12-14

Unfriended Psalm 55:12-14

Have you been hurt by a close friend? Do you feel like you’ve been unfriended? How can you get through it and move on?

We celebrate our friendships. Especially those with our sisters in Christ. We feel that we have a special bond with our Christian girlfriends that we just don’t share with other people. We can open up about the hardships we face in life and share how our faith gets us through it.

But as much as we cherish these friendships, the truth is that sometimes they end. One day your relationship is thriving and the next thing you know, it’s over. I’m not talking about a casual friendship or someone that you see in passing, but rather that one girlfriend that you shared a deep and intimate friendship with. You told each other everything and you felt that you were closer than sisters. This is the girlfriend that you thought would be there for you until the bitter end. The one girlfriend that you thought you would never be unfriended by.

Maybe you had a falling out, or maybe you have no idea what went wrong. Either way, they’ve left you in the dust and moved on. Their life seems to be moving forward and you are standing still wondering what happened. The pain is real and somehow the idea that it was another Christian who hurt you makes it so much worse. You feel alone and betrayed.

Have you been hurt by a close friend? Do you feel like you've been unfriended? How can you get through it and move on? #Unfriended Click To Tweet

The words of David speak so well in a time like this. He too knew the pain of being abandoned by a close friend.

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted
Himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng…

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He will sustain you.

Psalm 55:12-14; 55:22

David was in terrible pain. It was not an enemy who had betrayed him. It was his companion and confidant, someone who David had worshipped God with. But in his grief, he was reminded to cast his burden on God, his one true friend. So what do you do when a friend hurts you? How can you find comfort and strength to move on?

Find closure if you can. Go to this friend and ask them what happened. Why are they shunning you? Let them know that you want to work it out. Maybe your relationship can be saved, maybe it can’t. But at least you will know that you tried to fix the problem.

Realize that God has a plan for your life and for theirs. God brings people together for a reason and sometimes He pulls them apart for another. It’s hard for us to understand this because we can’t see the future, but God has a reason for everything He does. Pray and ask God what His reason is. You may be surprised by the answer.

Wish your friend well and move on. Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times.” Love and forgiveness may seem like an impossible feat at a time like this, but God can give you the heart to do it. Give it some time and try to move forward with your life. Forgiveness will come.

One of the most painful things we can go through is the breakup of a close friendship. It’s easy to become jaded and think you’ll never find another friend that close again. But if we turn to God we will find the comfort and strength that we are looking for. Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to give us wonderful blessings.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I’ve been hurt by a close friend. I come to You now asking for the comfort that only You can provide. Please fill my heart with love and acceptance. Please help me to forgive and move forward with Your plan for my life, and please be with my friend as she moves on as well. I know that You have our best interest in mind and that you will take care of both of us. Thank you for Your gentleness in guiding me back to where I need to be. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Did you know that only 2 percent of deaf people have “heard” the good news of Jesus?

When you purchase any Master’s Hand Collection item, 10 percent of all proceeds are donated to deaf ministries around the world. THANK YOU for helping to spread the gospel to this underserved community.

May God bless you greatly!

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By | 2018-04-23T19:09:01+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Christian Life|2 Comments

A Risen Savior – Mark 16:6

A Risen Savior Mark 16:6

     

He is risen! He is not here.
                                Mark 16:6

What an exciting statement! Jesus has conquered death and has risen from the grave!
All over the world Christians are preparing to celebrate Easter. This is our holiday! It’s a time to reflect on the fact that Christ has saved us from our sin by His resurrection. No other religion worships a risen Savior as we do. Jesus Christ is alive and well!

Jesus suffered great pain and humiliation on the cross. But this suffering turned to victory when He rose again. Because of Jesus’s resurrection we have hope for a future life after death with Him. Without the resurrection all hope of heaven would be lost. The apostle Paul wrote about our hope in Christ and the futile nature of hope without the resurrection.

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
                                                                                    1 Corinthians 15:12-14

The resurrection is the central component of our Christian faith. It is essential to our belief in Jesus and without it our faith would be empty.

But our faith is not empty. It is based on these facts:

#1 Jesus lived a sinless life so that He could pay the price for our sin.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
                                                                                    2 Corinthians 5:21

#2 Jesus died on the cross in our place.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us ( for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.)
Galatians 3:13

#3 Jesus rose from the grave on the third day.

He is not here; but has risen! Remember how He spoke to you, when He was still in Galilee, saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.
                                                                                    Luke 24:6-7

He is risen! He is not here. Mark 16:6 Click To Tweet

#4 Jesus’s resurrection was witnessed by over five hundred people.

He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me, as one born out of due time.
                                                                                   1 Corinthians 15:5-8

#5 Jesus spent forty days on earth before His ascension to heaven.

to whom He also presented Himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

                                                                                       Acts1:3

These facts, or infallible proofs as Paul called them, are not happenstance. God planned the death and resurrection of Christ very carefully so that we could have complete confidence in our faith and salvation. Because of Jesus’s death we have forgiveness of sin. Because of His resurrection we have eternal life in Him. Praise the Lord, we serve a Risen Savior!

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By | 2018-03-20T13:39:52+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Easter, Jesus, Savior|0 Comments

What is the Meaning of an Easter Egg? – John 11:25

What is the Meaning of an Easter Egg? John 11:25

Easter is almost here! In our house and in our church, we’re preparing for the upcoming celebration. Part of that celebration is the annual Easter egg hunt. Soon, we will hard-boil eggs to dye them, or fill plastic eggs with jelly beans and chocolate. It’s a lot of fun for the kids to decorate the eggs. Then, we in turn, have fun hiding the eggs and watching as the kids hunt for them. Their faces lighting up in glee when they see the pastel colors peeking out from the grass.

But is there a deeper meaning behind this Easter tradition? What is the meaning of an Easter egg?

Traditionally, an egg represents the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the new life we have in Him. The boiling symbolizes the sealing of the tomb where Jesus was laid. And the cracking of the egg is a symbol of Jesus’s resurrection, bursting forth in victory over death. These words of Jesus show us the importance of the resurrection.

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? 

                                                         John 11:25-26

With this one statement Jesus told us so much about Himself and about our identity in Him.

I am the resurrection and the life…

Jesus is the resurrection. It was by His own power that He conquered death and rose from the grave. Jesus is the life. Because of Him we can experience a new life through our belief in Him.

Jesus is the resurrection. It was by His own power that He conquered death and rose from the grave. #Easter #eastereggs Click To Tweet

He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live…

Physically we will all die, it’s just a fact. But spiritually, we have a choice of where we want to spend eternity. If we chose to follow, Jesus we will live in heaven forever with Him! If we chose not to follow Jesus, then we won’t have this promised spiritual life after death and we will be condemned to hell.

Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…

We should be living our lives here on earth for Jesus. We should be spreading the good news of salvation in Jesus to everyone around us. My pastor recently put it in perspective by sharing this. “Jesus is the headline, we are just the paperboy.” I love that statement! It speaks volumes to me and makes me see my role so much more clearly.

Do you believe this?…

God is always concerned with the condition of our heart. With this simple question, Jesus is prompting us to take action! What is the condition of our heart? Do we believe and trust in Jesus? Are we certain about where we will go when we die? Have we given our life over to Jesus? Are we living for Him right here and right now? These are the questions that we need to answer before we can move forward.

I hope that you will take the time during this Easter holiday to answer these questions in your life. To really nail down what motivates you.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior yet, now is the time. The free gift of salvation is yours for the taking. If you have questions about what it means to be saved, you can read more about it in the Accepting Jesus section, or please go to your local church and ask the pastor to speak with you about it. I know that they will be happy to talk to you.

If you are already a Christian and have fallen away from the faith or have lost the luster you once felt for Christ, Easter is the perfect time to reconnect with the joy of your salvation. There is a peace that only comes from knowing Jesus, and you can find it again. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
Happy Easter to all of you and May God bless you greatly!

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By | 2018-03-20T14:39:10+00:00 April 5th, 2017|Easter|2 Comments