For the joy of the LORD is your strength
“I choose Joy”
How easy is it to hold on to joy, when a wave of sadness floods your mind?
A misplaced item, the wrong choice of words, a scornful look, the playing out of injustice, a subtle descending of sadness – covering the heart. But the day is not spent.
See, the Son still shines, even in the thickest night, look up and see, the Son still shines.
His smile radiates over us. Beloved of Christ, hear the voice of the Living God, serenading your soul. His love for you, colours each day. Even in the silence, listen, for your inhale and exhale are only echoes of His profession of love to you.
If ever again you notice that wave beginning to descend, or you feel the heaviness of it covering your heart, remember that you are the apple of God’s eye. He sustains the universe for your benefit. In jealousy Satan endeavors to steal a joy he has lost forever. He recognises the strength of a joyful Spirit and the might of a heart filled with gladness. A heart better able to love, to trust, and to forbear. But have you noticed how difficult it is to love yourself, to love your neighbour, when you are sorrowful? I am learning that deep sadness is like a filtered lense. When you put it on, it takes the colour, the beauty away from everything, and since only we are seeing the things around us through this filter, it makes us feel alone.
So I challenge you today to take off the shades, lift the blanket, shake off the waves and choose joy, because
the joy of the Lord is your strength
We can, to a very great extent control even our own emotions; but then, besides, we can do more than that. It may be quite true, that you cannot help feeling sorrowful in the presence of sorrowful thoughts, and glad in the presence of thoughts that naturally kindle gladness. But I will tell you what you can do or refrain from doing-you can either go and stand in the light, or you can go and stand in the shadow. You can either fix your attention upon, and make the predominant subject of your religious contemplations, a truth which shall make you glad and strong, or a half-truth, which shall make you sorrowful, and therefore weak. Your meditations may either centre mainly upon your own selves, your faults and failings, and the like; or they may centre mainly upon God and His love, Christ and His grace, the Holy Spirit and His communion.
You may either fill your soul with joyful thoughts, or though a true Christian, a real, devout, God-accepted believer, you may be so misapprehending the nature of the Gospel, and your relation to it, its promises and precepts, its duties and predictions, as that the prevalent tinge and cast of your religion shall be solemn and almost gloomy, and not lighted up and irradiated with the felt sense of God’s presence-with the strong, healthy consciousness that you are a forgiven and justified man, and that you are going to be a glorified one.
Today, you will be confronted with many choices, many opportunities to make decisions.
There is one decision that you can make, that will enable you to see, taste, hear and feel the goodness of God which already surrounds you. Choose Joy today.
Peace & Love
BEING SINGLE IS BEING RICH
Often times, our spiritual growth changes in pace and direction.
For instance, discovering a new spiritual gift within a short space of time or developing an enduring faith in God, over a life time.Yes the spirit is a mystery…beyond human understanding. But by the grace of GOD , HE reveals to us, what we need to know, when we need to know it.
I remember a time in my walk with Christ, when I found it difficult to pray. I would prepare myself in the morning, and soon after my prayer began, my mind would trail off, at times I would fall asleep or say things without really meaning it…
‘When I got saved’ (every Christian uses that line right…) the idea of a godly man appealed to me. I looked forward to being completely spiritually dependent on my future husband. So long as he could pray, he could speak in tongues, so long as his faith was strong, and he always said and did the “right” thing – then our relationship – our courtship, engagement and our marriage would be heaven on earth! As my passion for God developed, I came to a point in my life when I wanted, so desperately to be in a relationship (for mostly all the wrong reasons). Being in a relationship would heal my broken past, make me more God-fearing, and give me the spiritual fervour I saw and admired in my leaders at church and my Pastor – oh and I would be in a relationship – so that would be the icing on the cake.
What I’m learning now, which never occurred to me then, is that:
My future husband will almost definitely need me as much as I need him, emotionally and also spiritually. Our relationship could not be me at one end constantly taking from him spiritually, with him at the other end, carrying the responsibility for both of our spiritual journeys, and being drained out in the process. Just imagine two empty barrels at the end of the day.
Iron sharpens iron… There is a reason why iron sharpens iron. Because both parties are bringing something into the mix, which refines and helps replenish the other – by the grace of God bestowed upon them. Thus sustaining and encouraging them both in their walk with God and their journey together in pursuing righteousness.
So, I tried to make prayer the first thing I did when I woke up, but I found falling asleep came all too easy. So I tried praying after freshening up, which proved to be more successful. Over time I developed a kind of structure, and prayer points for every day of the week, which I followed loosely. I stuck to reading a chapter from the bible every morning, so that I could gain a greater understanding of the word of God – in order to communicate better with God in my prayer time. After all, you can’t speak a language you don’t understand. And before long, I started to enjoy praying – prayer points came to me more fluidly, and my structure became easier and easier to remember and follow.
I’m learning that relationships are physical yes, but they are also spiritual. In a God-fearing relationship, what you see isn’t all that you get – And isn’t that our bonus?! Like a well wrapped present, our real prize lies within. When God says two have become one, we can’t just take it literally, in the physical sense. But what we are being made to know is that before God we are now seen as one – even in spirit. So my husband’s spiritual state should be as important to me, as my own spiritual state.
For a relationship to thrive, the commitment of time, affection, and attention is very important, but so is our spiritual commitment and accountability to our spouse. Now that I am able to pray, when the season of marriage arrives in my life, I’ll be able to pray for my husband and our kids and family members and friends… the list is endless and I’m looking forward to it. Because I have developed the discipline and practice now. I can be that Super-Prayer-Warrior-Wife I’ve always wanted to be.
This is just one example. We may appear physical, but we are all on a spiritual journey. A journey God intended for constant growth and prosperity. So where do you feel you could improve spiritually? What spiritual gifts or fruits do you desire in your future wife or husband? Now turn that list towards yourself, do you have any of those gifts?
Being single is being given the opportunity to prepare, learn and grow.
So we can enjoy the benefits and rewards before marriage and during marriage.
May God grant us the grace to grow in spirit and to go from glory to glory for HIS glory. And when our season for marriage arrives, we will be anchored in CHRIST, and our marriages and our faith will stand in Jesus name amen.
Stay tuned for the next post on being Single and Rich!
Peace and Love
Post foundation scriptures John 11 – 12, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 4:15 and Psalm 145:18 – 19
I thank God for this day, the 02/11/2012, because I can say with all sincerity that I only just came to realise that I am truly a born again Christian. Yes I often said it, and I knew what it meant to be a born again Christian, sort of, but never have I believed it wholeheartedly as I do today and I pray that henceforth, this revelation and understanding will never leave my mind and spirit and others’ who come to know it in Jesus name. amen.
So I came across this video on the P4CM website and it moved me immensely into writing this blog post, just so the message would be able to reach more people and change more lives. The minister, I believe his name is Chris Davis, dissected the word of God and unpicked it into a massive revelation, and I thank God for doing this through him. His sermon was about the death and resurrection of Lazarus by Christ’s command John chapter 11 and 12– I won’t go into much detail about this because he explains it more than efficiently. But basically Jesus rose Lazarus from the death and people came from all over to witness the miracle. And I urge everyone who reads this post to click on one of the multiple links to a recording of the sermon.
Our stories are so severe, so filthy and soaked in sin, so fleshy and disgraceful, bringing shame upon who we were, to the point that we can say we were dead, walking corpses. Our sin had killed us, flesh, mind, spirit – the sin we relished in committing, we pursued, we loved to portray before others, now we hate and fight against because then we were dead, and we now live through the merciful grace of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. We are therefore living testimonies of Christ’s grace. Every breath that we take is a testimony of God’s mercy and love and how Christ made it possible for the dead to rise and to be born again.
That is why he told us to rejoice in our weaknesses,
‘He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (WEB)
because they glorify God and anger the devil. He has promised not to leave us in our time of need Psalms 145:18 – 19, so every trial, every obstacle is just an opportunity for God to show his glory through our deliverance. That is not to say that we should sin carelessly, and dwell in our wickedness, but to know that whenever the devil is tempting us, the glory of God is near, and we have been given the strength to overcome through Christ Jesus . If sin is hidden and not confronted it glorifies the devil, but once the light is shed upon it and it is revealed, it glorifies God because it will not, should not remain in the state it was, thus depicting God’s transforming power in our lives.
Think about it like this; Wow Damilola has a blog about Christian dating, Who which Damilola? The one that slept with him, him and him? The one that used to drink like a fish and still manage to stand up relatively straight, the one that you’d find on the dance floor at every rave, She is writing a blog about Christian dating? I don’t believe you. I have to see this for myself…
So as said in the sermon I was listening to on P4CM.com titled ‘unbelievable work of Christ‘ – “are people coming to meet Jesus because of the work he’s done and [is] doing in your life, and if you never said another single word does your life speak about what Jesus has done to you and in you?” This is my new approach to life, to glorify God in my living everyday, even at the expense of my pride and lustful desires. “Our focus should not be on being pietist, dutiful, but rather a demonstration, a work of Jesus’ transforming power and glory.” I’d spent so much time being disgusted with myself, feeling ashamed and trapped in desperation and self-pity, that I didn’t even realise when God had delivered me out of the devil’s hands. We will always be sinners, this I am still coming to terms with, but where I was and where I am even today, still far from where I will be, is a manifestation of God’s grace and his love.
‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’ Hebrew 4:15 – 16 (NCV)
I truly believe, not necessarily because of this blog or the fact that I am more conscious of what is right and what is wrong, but because of where I’ve come from, my weaknesses, I know I am now being born again through Christ’ salvation. It frightens me to now know that God thought my life valuable enough to include himself in it and save me from death, I feel like I owe him so much and how better to show this than by living a life which makes others aware of the free gift of salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection. “I’m a walking biblical miracle” – therefore continue to be a walking testimony, a walking manifestation of Jesus Christ’s saving grace. All that is not glorifying God, needs to be reborn, reformed, renewed by Christ’s blood.
And can I just mention that we really need to enjoy our time as single Christians, because I know if I was in a relationship right now, one this blog would not exist and two, I wouldn’t be so interested in the word of God – too busy chasing ‘my man’. So I just want to thank God for my singleness, though I may get lonely at times, it’s really saving my life and changing my perspective on life. Remember when life isn’t necessarily bad, but just not what you want despite your prayers, trust God, he has a plan. amen.