Tag Archive | joy

Step 6 – Enjoy the Rewards – Reward #7

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Reward #7 – Delight in the Peace

By the time I reached my mid-thirties, I had created a busy life for myself. I had everything I wanted: a husband, a home, a job, a girl, a boy, friends, a dog, God, a church, a ministry, and much more. Why did I feel so empty? I controlled my life—or did my life control me? My life resulted in exactly what I had made of it, not what God had planned. My life was good, but it was not God’s best for me. My life felt full, but I remained hollow. My whole life had left me with a hole in my heart. Our definition of a full life is different than God’s. The life I had created quickly spun out of control and into depression. I was in pieces and had no peace within.

God met me at the bottom of my pit of depression. He stretched out His hand to me. I took hold, and He pulled me up. He set me down on His firm foundation and began the rebuilding process in me. As I learned to trust God more every day, I turned over new areas of my life to Him. When I turned over complete control to God, He rearranged major things in my crazy, busy life to give me the peace He wanted me to enjoy.

After many months of meeting with God on a daily basis to listen to His voice—absorb His healing, find freedom in forgiving, enjoy His encouragement, follow His instruction, consider His conviction, and savor His wisdom—I could now delight in His peace. God had rebuilt my demolished soul through the work of His Holy Spirit inside me. He gave me a newfound confidence in Christ and in myself as a child of God. He gave me a renewed relationship with the Father. He gave me a stronger, more vibrant faith and a passion for serving my Savior. He gave me more spiritual knowledge and a better understanding of the Holy Spirit and His role of transforming me into a new creation.

Let me be clear. Life did not get a lot easier, but it did become more peaceful as I gave over control to God. That statement seems contradictory. Losing control should not produce peace in one’s spirit, but the things of God are not as they seem. He does not operate as the world does. When I gave up control and surrendered to the will and plans of God, He lifted a burden from me.

As I consulted with Him in all areas of my life, big and small, I turned from being a people-pleaser into being a God-pleaser. I didn’t care as much about what people thought anymore; I concerned myself with what God thought. I did not have to please everyone; I had to please the One. I tried not to spread myself thin going in too many different directions. I focused my attention in one direction—up.

It took many months for God to rearrange my life in order to give me the kind of peace He wanted me to experience by trusting fully in Him. I had obligations I needed to fulfill and positions I had to find replacements for. I had to change the way I operated in my home among my family. As God freed up my time by releasing me from a few responsibilities, I became more available for Him to use in His work.

Doing God’s work generated a much greater reward than anything I might take on myself. With obedience come peace and joy. As I faithfully met with God every morning, our relationship deepened immensely. He did a great deal of intense work with me on discovering, processing, and healing my emotional wounds. I shed many tears along the path to healing. The rough and rocky emotional journey had to be traveled to get to a better place—a place of freedom, peace, and rest.

One of the first observations my Christian mentor made about me all those years ago was that I did not have much peace in my life. It was a very smart—and true—observation. I experienced a full life, yet I did not know what peace-full felt like. Some people do not experience a full life according to worldly standards but have a life full of peace and contentment because they rely on intimate communication with God through the Holy Spirit, rather than depending on things and circumstances. The full life Jesus Christ came to give us equals a life full of His peace when we are in tune with the voice and Spirit of God, not based on material possessions, human relationships, or excellent conditions.

Jesus stood at my door and knocked. I answered and let Him in. I spent time with Him and listened to His voice. I pursued Him, drew near to Him, and remained in Him. The outcome has been a deeper, more intimate relationship with my Savior. The lasting effect is a life full of His peace. I now know the peace of God, even in the midst of life’s challenges.

Get close to God by being in touch with God’s Holy Spirit inside you. Tap into the power of the Prince of Peace, who lives in your heart. Listen to God’s voice and experience a life full of His perfect peace. Psalm 85:8 says, “I will listen to what God the Lord will say; He promises peace to His people, His saints—but let them not return to folly.”  Listening to God’s voice enables us to delight in His peace. The peace of God is more precious than diamonds, silver, or gold. Enjoying all the rewards of listening to God makes me want to share this excellent practice with the world.

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Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Step 6 – Enjoy the Rewards – Reward #4

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Reward #4 – Follow the Instruction

God speaks to His people not only to encourage us, but also to instruct us in life. Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” God shares His wisdom, His commands, and His teachings throughout the Bible. For example, read Proverbs 2 to catch a glimpse of the benefits of seeking God’s wisdom. Also, Jesus sums up the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-38 when He says, “‘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.’” These are instructions to live by.

Seeking God’s wisdom by listening to His voice and then following through on His instructions leads to a life of intimacy, peace, and joy with the Lord. When we tune our ears to God’s voice, quite often we hear or feel the Holy Spirit prompting us to do something important. Just as a parent instructs a child and expects obedience, God expects us to obey when He speaks to us. When we do not obey His voice, we miss out on some great opportunities to experience the plans He made for our lives, including the benefits of lasting joy, indescribable peace, and abundant blessing—the kind of full life Christ came to give us.

Proverbs 8:10-11 says, “Choose My instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” In this verse, God compares His instruction to precious metals and reveals a worth far greater than silver or gold. Nothing you desire or money can buy surpasses the rich wisdom imparted in God’s instructions.

In John 14:23, Jesus shared an insight on how to experience intimacy with God: “Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’” When we love Jesus, we will obey His teaching. When we obey His teaching, God loves us and makes His home with us. We learn and grow in intimacy with God. Jesus didn’t leave us guessing how to get close to God. This verse came in the context of Jesus promising to send the Holy Spirit to live with us. God dwells with those who love and obey Him. He doesn’t just visit us from time to time; He makes His home IN us forever. Jesus modeled His love for God by being obedient to His Father’s instructions, even unto death on the cross. It’s not enough to listen to God’s voice. We also must obey.

In Acts 1:1-2, Paul reminds Theophilus that before God took Jesus up to heaven, Christ gave instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. He sent the gift of the Holy Spirit to us so He could continue to teach us and give us instructions after He returned to the side of God the Father. When the Spirit of God instructs us, He does not allow us to forget about what He wants us to do. In my experience, the Spirit does not let me ignore His instructions. He persists until I obey.

When you are obedient to God’s instructions and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, you will experience incomparable joy just as Jesus’ disciples did in Acts 13:52: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

Don’t put off doing the will of God. When you hear God’s voice and instructions, don’t wait months to carry them out. Confirm what you hear, and then do it! When we’re obedient to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we’ll experience a greater joy lasting longer than any happiness we might receive from the things of this world. In Luke 11:28, Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Listen to God’s instructions, “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

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Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Freedom

My chains have been broken

I give all thanks to Thee

I now know the Truth

And the Truth has set me free

 

You loosed my restraints

Where once I was bound

The chains and the shackles

Fell straight to the ground

 

The bondage of slavery

That once held me tight

No longer has hold of me

Against it we fight

 

You arm me for battle

Your sword at my side

Girded in righteousness

Behind Your shield I hide

 

Your helmet, my salvation

Your belt of truth on my waist

And Your gospel of peace

My feet will carry all my days

 

Still the most precious gift

You’ve given to me

Your Spirit in my heart

Seals my identity

 

A child of the King, I am

Adopted by Your grace

Your love fills my heart

Your joy shines from my face

 

Forever I’ll live with You

In all eternity

Forever I am grateful

That You died on Calvary

 

Your death paid my ransom

The debt I owed to Thee

You defeated my opponent

I will claim my victory

 

My chains have been broken

I give all thanks to Thee

I now know the Truth

And the Truth has set me free

 

 

Thanksgiving or Giving Thanks

Heavenly Father, Almighty King–

Thank you for Thanksgiving. Thank you for a day that reminds us to be thankful for the many blessings you have given us. Thank you for…

Dying on the cross for me.

Your forgiveness and providing newness of life.

Your Word which is a lamp to my feet.

The gift of Your Holy Spirit Who lives in me.

The ability to hear Your voice within my thoughts.

Your goodness and faithfulness.

Your unconditional love.

Your guidance and protection.

Your perfect joy and peace, even in the midst of struggles.

My excellent husband and partner in life.

My children and the many gifts you have given them.

A godly husband for my daughter and a profession she loves.

A beautiful mind for my son and the ability to pursue the career of his choosing.

Faithful family and friends with whom we can share our lives.

My home and its furnishings, clothes to wear, and food to eat.

A church where I can worship You and fellowship with other Christ followers.

A country and constitution that still upholds the freedom of religion.

A new direction in federal government.

The promise that You are in control and will use everything for our good and Yours.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

Take heart! We can have peace in a troubled world.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:2-4)

My dear children, in this world you will have trouble. But I have overcome the world. In Me you may find your peace. My peace is available to you at all times, through all the trials of this life. Though the storms rage around you, you need only look within to find your tranquility. I am in you and you are in Me, just as I am in My Father and My Father is in Me.

Turn to Me, and I will calm the wind and the waves that threaten you. Though you are weak, you may find your strength in Me. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid, for I am with you always. I do not leave you alone as orphans. My Spirit lives in your heart.

When you accept Me as your Savior, you are born of God. When you believe that I am the Son of God, you too, in faith, will overcome the world. Live victoriously in your faith. Show yourself to be My children by loving each other as I have loved you. When you obey My commands, you will remain in My love. My joy will be in you and your joy will be complete.

My peace and joy are available to you, even in the trials and turmoil this world brings. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Remain in Me and I will remain in you. My love, joy and peace will remain in you as well. Let My joy be a shining light in a world full of darkness. Radiate My love to a broken world.

See also John 14:27, John 15:4, John 15:9-13.

Are You Wearing the Latest Fashion–the Armor of Light?

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@prometeus

My dear child, have you laid out your clothes for tomorrow yet? Will you be wearing the armor of light? Put aside the deeds of darkness and clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Tomorrow morning, wake up from your slumber and put on My robe of righteousness. Do not hide in the shadows and gratify your fleshly desires. Instead, walk out of the darkness and into My glorious light.

You are My child; therefore, you reflect My glory. Fulfill the law by reflecting My love; it’s unconditional. Do not harm your neighbor. Neither should you judge him, because you, yourself, will be judged. Who is your neighbor? Anyone. Everyone. Spread My love to all you meet. Love even the unlovable. When you are obedient to the law of love, I am well-pleased.

I make My home in you. I am with you at all times. When love does not come easily, draw on My power within. In your weakness, I am strong. In your doubt, I am your confidence. In your pain, I am your peace. In your sorrow, I am your joy. In the darkness, I am your light. Let your light shine for all to see. Clothe yourself daily in the armor of light, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ.

From Romans 13:9-14 (NIV)

The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment where may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

 

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The Perfect Parent – Encouragement for Moms

“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.” (Deuteronomy 30:20, NIV)

My precious daughter, you are the apple of My eye. I am captivated by your beauty, both inside and out. You are made in My image. I am the God of love, joy, peace, patience, and perseverance. These are the same attributes you need most to parent your children well.

Love

My love for you is unconditional. I love you no matter what you do or don’t do, what you say or don’t say. Nothing you do can make Me love you less. Nothing you do can make Me love you more. My great love for you is unchangeable. I love you longer, higher, deeper, and wider than you will ever grasp.

Likewise, you must love your children in the same manner. Love them no matter what they do or don’t do, what they say or don’t say. Nothing they do or don’t do should make you love them less.

My love for them shines through you, when your love for them is unwavering. Let them see My great love for them in your words and actions.

Joy

My joy is your strength. Seek Me and I will fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Me wholeheartedly. By the power of My Holy Spirit, you will overflow with joy in all areas of life, even in the difficult times.

Children bring great joy to a home. Savor the joyful times, and recall them when facing the challenges. A spirit of hope and joy is the result of confidence in Me. Trust in Me with all your heart, and find sweet joy in your faith. When you know and believe I am in control of all things, the heaviness in your heart fades and gives way to joy and expectation. I will not fail you. Trust in Me, joyfully, and draw on the strength My Spirit brings you.

Peace

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When you accept Jesus into your heart and walk with Him, His Spirit lives inside you. You have the peace of Christ living in you. To experience peace, simply look deep within your heart and you will find it. Get in touch with My Spirit that dwells in you, and find the peace you long for.

This is the peace that passes all comprehension. You may experience My peace, even in the midst of your trials and challenges. When you are angry and frustrated with your children, seek My peace within. No matter the current test, spend a few moments alone with Me, and draw on My peace. I am with you always. Then deal with your children from a spirit of peacefulness.

Patience

Where there is wisdom, patience is found. When you seek My wisdom for childrearing, you will discover a greater measure of endurance for the task. In wisdom, you will handle the challenges with patient tolerance and unwavering determination.

The outcome of your confrontation will be determined by your patience in the battle. When your patience is tested to its limits, reach within your soul and receive power from My Holy Spirit. Breathe a silent prayer to Me and receive what you are in need of at the moment. Pause to take a deep breath, inhaling My peace and exhaling more patience.

Perseverance

Parenting requires perseverance and consistency. Let Me determine your steps, and then, devote yourself to the cause. Trust in Me with all your heart. Do not operate solely from your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Me and I will instruct you on the right course. (See Proverbs 3:5-6)

When you seek Me and listen to My voice, I will direct all your steps, big and small. Ask Me, and I will let you in on the plans I have laid out for you. Then you may parent with confidence and a firm resolve, knowing that your wisdom comes from Me. Persist in the major battles, and let go of the minor conflicts. Draw on the strength of My Spirit as you proceed on the path of My will for you and your children.

Battles with children are a test of the wills. Whose desire shall prevail? When you are confident that your desires align with My will, persevere in the battle. Press on toward the goal, and do not surrender.

In Summary

You cannot do any of this successfully in your own strength. You must rely on Me. I am the vine, you are the branch. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Apart from Me you can do nothing. (See John 15) Remain in close relationship with Me by spending time with Me. Yes, talk to Me, but also, listen to Me. I have so much to say to you.

When you make time to listen to Me, you will receive My encouragement, my wisdom, and my guidance for all areas of your life, including your parenting. I am waiting patiently for you to seek Me, know Me, listen to My voice, and hold fast to Me. I am the perfect parent and I will help you parent well.

Make Me your first priority. Seek Me before everything else. Spend time with Me daily, away from all noise and confusion. Draw your wisdom, strength, and power from Me. Receive your hope and confidence from your Father above.

Emotionally and spiritually healthy children come from emotionally and spiritually healthy parents. Maintain a healthy, spiritually intimate relationship with Me that will be seen and passed down to your children and their children. It is My greatest desire to be in constant two-way communication and relationship with each of My children, including you. Learn to listen to My voice and receive everything you stand in need of. Now choose life and hold fast to Me.


 

The Joy of Obedience

The Joy of Obedience

by Sindy Nagel

 

I cannot hold my heart within

It leaps out from my chest

When I obeyed the thing You asked

With joy, my heart You blessed

 

This is no temporary smile

You’ve draw upon my face

But lasting joy is found in me

As I rest in Your embrace

 

Storms may come and winds may blow

My vessel may be tossed

You take my hand and lead me through

I never will be lost

 

My joy is not dependent on

The blessings or the strife

It comes from deep with my soul

‘Cuz I’ve given You my life

 

Your Spirit lives within me now

He guarantees my fate

Forever I will spend with You

When death knocks at my gate

 

You are my Lord, I’ll follow You

Until my dying day

And when my work on earth is done

In heaven with You, I’ll stay

 

Given the chance to do Your work

I choose obedience

And You reward beyond compare

Great Joy, my recompense


 

 

Are You Cold? Pour a Cup of Hot Coffee. He’s Waiting for You!

As the weather starts turning cold again, I am reminded that He warms our souls from within. Here is my blog post from 2/27/15:

Good morning, Lord

Today the bitter cold is the first thing on my mind. It is -7 degrees here and the sun is making its ascent. What’s it like where you are?

Funny girl, you know it’s heavenly where I am. There is no need for the sun here. My brilliance illuminates everything. A crystal clear river of living water flows through the streets made of pure gold. The pearly gates remain open at all times. There is no temple, for I and the Lamb are its temple. There are no tears, or mourning, or death. Only joy and laughter fill the air. I have prepared a place for you. You will spend eternity here with me. When you ponder the confines of earth, dream of this place I have described for you. This is your eternal home. My radiance will bring warmth to your heart. Do not forget, I am with you, even now. It may be cold outside where you are, but my Spirit warms your soul within. Delight in the coziness of a close relationship with me. Soon the ice and cold will melt away, and only the warmth of the Son will remain. Pour a cup of hot coffee, and enjoy a conversation with Me. I’ll be waiting for you.


 

Choose Joy No Matter What

From Habakkuk’s Prayer (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.

 

Choose Joy No Matter What

By Sindy Nagel

 

No matter what I do today

No matter if I fail

My strength is found in Christ the Lord

His joy in me prevails

 

The fig trees may not bud in time

No grapes found on the vines

Yet His joy bubbles in my heart

And on my face it shines

 

It matters not there are no sheep

Or cattle in the stalls

My lips will make a joyful sound

That echoes down the halls

 

Through fire and storms, plenty and naught,

Good times and bad, I’ve trod

Yet I’ve always found true peace and joy

When I rest in the arms of God.