JOY OF THE LORD

 God will live among us with great joy

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Are you filled with joy?

I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

John 15:11 NLT 

Full joy

In many ways, we live in bleak times. Millions feel disillusioned with life while millions more feel uncertain about the future — especially young people. Many of you in Generation X have been victims of a great social experiment in which parents who never grew up cast aside time-honored moral values and, in the phrase of the 1960s, did their own thing. 

Nevertheless, there is someone to believe in, something to grasp, and someone to trust. You need to go to the next letter of the alphabet, to Y — as in “Why do I exist. Why was I created? And what am I living for?” 

According to Jesus, you were created for joy. “These things I have spoken to you,” Jesus said, “that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” 

The things Jesus spoke of were His teachings about bearing fruit. We were created to bear fruit for God, which essentially means to become like Jesus: His mind becomes our mind, His purpose becomes our purpose. And there’s only one way to produce such luscious fruit, according to Jesus: “Abide in Me” (John 15:4). This is the secret of spiritual growth and the key to overflowing joy. Are you bearing spiritual fruit? 

Adapted from Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie (Tyndale House) p 246-48

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Nearness to Christ

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Hebrews 4:12

    For the word of God

is 

     quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged

sword

    , piercing even to the Dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and

is

     a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Morning

“I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
Jeremiah 33:3

There are different translations of these words. One version renders it, “I will shew thee great and fortified things.” Another, “Great and reserved things.” Now, there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers. We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven. There are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which he takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers. Prevailing prayer is victorious over the God of mercy, “By his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us.” Prevailing prayer takes the Christian to Carmel, and enables him to cover heaven with clouds of blessing, and earth with floods of mercy. Prevailing prayer bears the Christian aloft to Pisgah, and shows him the inheritance reserved; it elevates us to Tabor and transfigures us, till in the likeness of his Lord, as he is, so are we also in this world. If you would reach to something higher than ordinary grovelling experience, look to the Rock that is higher than you, and gaze with the eye of faith through the window of importunate prayer. When you open the window on your side, it will not be bolted on the other.

Evening

“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment.”
Revelation 4:4

These representatives of the saints in heaven are said to be around the throne. In the passage in Canticles, where Solomon sings of the King sitting at his table, some render it “a round table.” From this, some expositors, I think, without straining the text, have said, “There is an equality among the saints.” That idea is conveyed by the equal nearness of the four and twenty elders. The condition of glorified spirits in heaven is that of nearness to Christ, clear vision of his glory, constant access to his court, and familiar fellowship with his person: nor is there any difference in this respect between one saint and another, but all the people of God, apostles, martyrs, ministers, or private and obscure Christians, shall all be seated near the throne, where they shall forever gaze upon their exalted Lord, and be satisfied with his love. They shall all be near to Christ, all ravished with his love, all eating and drinking at the same table with him, all equally beloved as his favourites and friends even if not all equally rewarded as servants.

Let believers on earth imitate the saints in heaven in their nearness to Christ. Let us on earth be as the elders are in heaven, sitting around the throne. May Christ be the object of our thoughts, the centre of our lives. How can we endure to live at such a distance from our Beloved? Lord Jesus, draw us nearer to thyself. Say unto us, “Abide in me, and I in you”; and permit us to sing, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.”

O lift me higher, nearer thee,

And as I rise more pure and meet,

O let my soul’s humility

Make me lie lower at thy feet;

Less trusting self, the more I prove

The blessed comfort of thy love.

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GOD’S WORD APPLIED EQUALS GOD’S SUPPLIES

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Blessings come from applying God’s Word

Is the mind of Christ living in you?

May the mind of Christ, my Savior, live in me from day to day. 
By His love and power controlling all I do and say. 

May the word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour. 
So that all may see I triumph only through His pow’r. 

May the peace of God my Father rule my life in ev’rything. 
That I may be calm to comfort, sick and sorrowing.

Kate B. Wilkinson (1859-1928)  

Christian growth

Many Christians have made the commitment to be more like Jesus — but where do you start? The apostle Paul told the Philippian believers, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5, KJV). And that’s just where the hymn “May the Mind of Christ My Savior” begins. But does the mind of Christ become part of us? Kate Wilkinson directs us to Colossians 3:16 for the answer: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” In the third stanza Wilkinson returns to Philippians for this promise: “And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds” (Philippians 4:7). And so the song builds. 

Christian growth is not instantaneous but gradual. It flows naturally from obeying God’s Word. Thomas à Kempis, who wrote the Christian classic The Imitation of Christ, said, “One thing that draws back many from spiritual progress is the fear of the difficulty of the labor of the combat.” Don’t give up what you have started. 

Adapted from The One Year Book of Hymns 
(Tyndale House) entry for January 2

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House