Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pure Joy

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3, NIV)

The bible says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3, NIV)

What is pure joy?

Webster's Dictionary defines joy as: "a feeling of great happiness".

The Greek word for joy is, chara (khar-ah'), from chairo (khar'ee-ro); meaning cheerfulness, i.e., calm delight: ----gladness, joy (-ful).

The bible also says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy...” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

Joy is not something we manufacture, it not a feeling; it is a gift from God through the Holy Spirit which enables the believer to face the disappointments, adversities, and failures of life without becoming discouraged.

Although pure joy can be revealed when all is good in one’s life, more often than not, the demonstration of pure joy occurs when the believer faces trials. A person may smile in church on Sunday, but the minute they exit the door, there is despair. But the believer who experiences the fruitful joy of the Spirit, does not despair, they have hope, encouragement and the awareness that what they face is simply an opportunity for our Heavenly Father to demonstrate that He alone is God.

What’s the secret to experiencing pure joy?

Trusting in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and being filled with the Spirit of God.

Think back to a memorable event in your life (like a surprise birthday party). Moments like that filled me with a sense of gladness; I was delighted because I felt special. I believe this is what happens in the spirit realm; we are honored to receive the privilege of God’s intervening grace in our life. Realizing that truth delights me with gladness; I have a joy which is unspeakable. I am calm because I have nothing to fear or worry about. God has taken ownership of my life, and for that I can be glad.

I remember reading about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and when he came to Peter, he (Peter)told Jesus not to wash his feet. When Jesus told him that if He didn’t do it, Peter would have no place with Him, Peter replied to give him a bath!

I believe when we face the trials of life, we must bath our feet in the joy of the Lord. We don’t need a bath. The realization of God’s Spirit living in us, the truth of His love and grace for us, showers our life with joy. If you’re going through a trial right now, and feeling discouraged, take a moment to be bathed in the pure joy of the Lord.

MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say Thank you, to each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your busy schedule to read a post on this blog encourages me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment, but it really doesn't matter whether a comment is left. What matters, is that you came here. I hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sundays

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tell Jesus (reprinted from August 1, 2010)


The woman with an issue of blood, Luke 8:43-48, NIV

This blog post is a reprint from August 1, 2010 which has some revisions
I must tell Jesus
All of my trials
I cannot bear these burdens alone
In my distress
He kindly will help me
He ever cares and loves His own

We live in an age of ever-evolving technology. Twenty years ago a portable computer was cumbersome; today you can hold one in the palm of your hand. There was a commercial many years ago which said, “You’ve come a long way baby, to get where you’ve got to today.” Still, there are some things which have not advanced in a way that makes us a little more comfortable.

Try calling a business (any business), and see if you get to talk with a human. In most cases, you'll get an automated voice response indicating someone will speak with you shortly. You may actually be given a wait time. The problem with this approach is that for me, when I call someone, I prefer to talk with someone. There are also those instances when I call and talk with a human voice that provides me with absolutely no assistance. "I'm sorry, I can't help you with that, is there anything else I can do for you?" Ever have one of those experiences when just at the moment you're ready to speak with someone, your cellphone battery dies or the call signal mysteriously drops?Businessman frustrated with waiting on phone

There are those times in life when wanting to talk with someone isn’t something I'd like to do...talking specifically with someone is imperative!

Call Center, Image courtesy of exodon.com
All of our lines are busy. Please wait, someone will speak with you shortly.

We’ve achieved so many advances in technology, medicine and science; yet we still struggle in the art of communication.

It’s reassuring to know that with Jesus, we have no intermediary, answering machine, call forwarding, call waiting, no queue or wait time to speak with someone working the heavenly call center help desk. There are no layers of protocol with Jesus, no buffers, no executive assistant who runs interference for Him; it’s just Jesus and you.

Before there were cellphones, text messaging, autos, hybrids, airplanes and even mail, when a person needed to communicate with someone, they usually had to go see them!

The bible tells us of a woman with a medical condition which Luke referred to as an incurable hemorrhage. This woman was afflicted with this condition for twelve years. Time and again she sought medical help but found none. I’m certain that after twelve years she not only sought alternative remedies but no doubt tried anything that was suggested. You must understand that people were not as enlightened as we are today; there were no psychic hot lines or infomercials promising a quick and speedy remedy.

And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse.1

This woman was at the end of her rope. I've never experienced hemorrhaging, but I know what if feels like to be at the end of my rope. It's a feeling of utter confusion, despair, hopelessness and loneliness.

Perhaps, thoughts of dying with dignity may have crossed this woman's mind but she wasn’t ready to give up hope.

You have to be persistent when everywhere you turn folks are shaking their head in pity, sorrow and sadness because of you. You know things are really bad when people begin avoiding you. You begin feeling like one of those discarded sponge mops in favor of a high-tech Swiffer.

…after hearing about Jesus…2

This woman who understood how hopeless her situation was, heard about Jesus and the miracles of healing he performed for the sick, tormented and dead. She didn’t know Jesus, she couldn’t be certain that He would even see her with so many others crying for His help and attention. Everywhere He went, there were throngs of people crowded around Him.

How would she ever get an opportunity to stand before Him and ask for His help?

But she desperately needed His help and then she got a thought that excited her,

“For she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I shall get well.’”3

It was this thought, birthing in her mind that inspired her to make her way through the crowd of people and receive her healing.

Have you ever seen someone talking to themself? Perhaps you’ve even done it!

I know I’ve done it before. Asking myself, Where did I leave my keys?

I wasn't there, but I imagine that what started as a thought in this woman’s mind became an expression of words as she made her way closer and closer to Jesus. If I can just touch….I only want to touch His garment….If He is who they say He is, then He has the power to save me, heal me without me saying a word…If I can just touch.

That's what desperation can do...move us from the place of logical thinking to the realm of spiritual awakening and hope.

Woman touches Jesus, Courtesy of christianodyssey.com

“…for she was saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I shall get well.’”4

We all know when we don’t look or feel our best; it affects our self-esteem. Maybe this woman was ashamed of her appearance, I don’t know. After twelve long years of searching for a cure, she had no money; she had gone "all in" searching for a cure and lost. Perhaps her appearance made others feel uncomfortable. Perhaps she covered her face in shame. Perhaps to be less noticeable, she crawled on her hands and knees as she neared closer and closer toward Jesus.

It's a blessing to come to Jesus and feel the absence of shame!

The bible says she came up behind Jesus, extended her hand forward and touched His garment:

…came up behind Him, and touched the fringe of His cloak; and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.5

I believe that in order to touch the fringe of His cloak, she had to be parallel with the ground. This woman humbled herself to the point of believing that she could be healed just by touching the fringe of the cloak Jesus wore. It was then that Jesus called out for the person of faith who touched Him.

But Jesus said,Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.’”6

Some of us think that when we receive a blessing, we can go back and quietly live our lives being unnoticed. I believe that’s what this woman thought. That she wouldn’t need to tell Jesus that she believed and was healed. Somehow, she must have understood that if she could be healed by just touching the fringe of the cloak Jesus wore; then He was more than just a man.

I believe she understood that if Jesus recognized that power had gone out from Him, then He also must know where that power went and who benefited from it.

Now, I believe God is The Great Divine Healer, but I also believe that God is sovereign. The fact that this woman was healed solely rest in God's divine plan. God used the hem of the garment Jesus was wearing to heal this woman, but in other instances there was another point of contact. The point I'm trying to make isn't that I will be healed, but that my life rest solely in the hands of Almighty God. I must trust in Christ, no matter the outcome. He must be the Son of God!

And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.7

We go through the daily routines of life and somehow we miss out on the opportunity God gives us. We won’t humbly extend ourselves and touch Jesus. For whatever reason we feel unworthy, useless and unwanted but still, we crave to be healed, saved and changed.

We want it, need it but is the desire urgent enough for you to go receive it? Have you ever experienced the power of Jesus Christ? What happened when His power went out from Him and into you? I don't know about you but I had to confess that He saved me from a life of drugs and violence; I couldn't keep it to myself. When people remark, There's something different about you...I have to tell them about Jesus and His miraculous power to resurrect my dead life; giving me eternal hope.

Will you declare the reason why you’ve come to Jesus? You've tried so many other ways, with no answer or resolution. It may seem as if it's time to give up but you cling to that same desperate hope for relief from your burden and trials. Jesus isn’t standing in a crowd today. No matter where you are right now, He’s there with you; waiting to hear what you have to say.

Tell Jesus…about the burden in your life

Tell Jesus…about your family

Tell Jesus…about your children

Tell Jesus…about your spouse

Tell Jesus…about your father

Tell Jesus…about your mother

Tell Jesus…about your sister

Tell Jesus…about your brother

Tell Jesus…about your neighbor

Tell Jesus…about your job

Tell Jesus…about your health

Tell Jesus…about you

Tell Jesus and be like this woman; have the faith to believe that Jesus will resurrect life into whatever it is in your life that appears hopelessly dead. Be assured that no matter what, you live in Christ and Christ lives in you!

MTJ

Lord Jesus, I humbly bow myself before you. I recognize that you are God, Lord and Savior of my life. I need you Lord and I cry out with every part of me and ask you to take my life and clean up the tattered remains of a wounded spirit. I will not remain silent Lord Jesus. I will declare that you are Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord Jesus. I exalt and praise your name.

Footnotes:
  1. Mark 5:25-26, NASB
  2. Mark 5:27, NASB
  3. Mark 5:28, NASB
  4. Matthew 9:21, NASB
  5. Luke 8:44, NASB
  6. Luke 8:46, NASB
  7. Luke 8:47, NASB
References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. I Must Tell Jesus, Lyrics from the song sung by Crystal Lewis
  3. Image of frustrated businessman waiting on telephone, Courtesy of shutterstock.com
  4. Image of Call Center, Courtesy of exodon.com
  5. Image of Woman touching Jesus from christianodyssey.com


A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say Thank you, to each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your busy schedule to read a post on this blog encourages me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment, but it really doesn't matter whether a comment is left. What matters, is that you came here. I hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).