Devotion on Joy

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joy-001
In high school my best friend’s name was Joy – she was bubbly, full of life and had a contagious laugh. As some of you know, I have the tendency to change people’s names and turn them into songs. Joy was no exception, i would often greet her with “Joy to the world.”

Would you be surprised if I told you my friend wasn’t always joyful? Joy doesn’t come from a name and it’s definitely not dependent upon our circumstances. Many people interchange the words joy and happiness, but first let’s look at the difference. Happiness is dependent on your circumstances while you experience joy in the midst of your circumstances. Happiness is a state of mind – joy is a state of heart.

Let’s look at the definition of Joy.

(1) Great delight;gladness of heart
(2) The happy state that results from knowing and serving God
(3) That deep, abiding,inner rejoicing in the Lord
(4) Happy, joyful, cheerful, rejoicing,festive

It’s amazing that the second fruit would be “joy” – After his love, God wants to release his joy into our system. Many people have become disappointed, unfulfilled, weak and tired after their pursuit of happiness. King Solomon outlined a series of experiments in his quest of happiness and concluded that true joy is determined by God.(Eccles 2 ). The tragedies of life can leave us depleted, exhausted, discouraged and empty. I encourage you today to stop by God’s filling station and allow him to fill you up with “joy”. Bounty is not the quicker picker upper – joy will pick you up faster than bounty. The bible declares that the joy of the lord is our strength. Without God’s joy operating in our lives, everything becomes a chore and we develop a complaining spirit. This spirit is often transferred to others and oftentimes we are miserable without cause.

Joy is inseparable from our relationship with God and as we seek to know and understand his purpose for our lives, he fills and refills us with his joy. In actual fact, joy is the sign that life has found its purpose. Are you experiencing God’s joy today? Are you finding fulfillment in what he’s called you to do?

NB – No one can steal your joy unless you open the door for theml

Fill in the blanks below and read the following scriptures on joy -Psalm 16:11, 1Thess 1:6, Isaiah 51:10-11, Matthew 25:21

The ———- of the Lord is ———— Strength (which book of the bible)

Folly is ———– to him who is destitute of ————————-, but a man of ————————- walks uprightly (Prov 15:21)

Beauty for —————-, the oil of ———– for ———————– , the garment of —————– for the spirit of heaviness; that

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

(Isaiah 61: 1-3)

Devotion on Love

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I once heard someone describe love as “Love is a thing i can’t explain, it jumps from the heart and tickles the brain.”

A guy was so in love with this girl (not me), that he told her he would give her his heart and work off batteries.
Watching a love movie can bring a hardened heart to tears – Love has the ability to change people and transform lives.

Love is very powerful and in Galations 5:22, it’s the first fruit listed – this is not a coincidence. Love should be the driving force behind everything we do. It is the number one quality that we must possess as christians.It’ a universal language and we should speak it through our lives and actions.

Nothing will touch other people more deeply than having the love of God shining through you and your life. Love is defined in the dictionary and some commentaries as:
(1) unselfish, benevolent concern for another; brotherly concern; the object of brotherly concern or affection.
(2) to love, to have affection for someone; to be a friend; the love of brothers for each other.
(3) unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the well being of another

The Apostle Paul says in 1Corinthians 13:4 that love suffers long and is king; love does not envy……..’
Understand that the quality of love operating in our lives is the only common thread that will bind all of us together with God and one another. Love brings unity and unity strenghtens. Let’s seek to express our love to God even more this year and extend his love to others in a greater way.

Complete the verse below and read the additonal scriptures on love.

There is no —– in love; but perfect ————— casts out fear ……..

James 1;22, 1John 3:17, Romans 13:10, Proverbs 17:17, 1John 4:8, 1cor 13:4

List 2 ways you can demonstrate God’s love through HFS Ministries.

Acts of Repentance

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Repentance, which literally means to turn, is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and the resolve to live a more responsible and humane life.

Psalm 51 is David’s cry to God for repentance for the pattern of sin he engaged in following his transgression with Bathsheba. You can almost picture David on his knees crying out to God at the top of his lungs in asking Him to wash away his sins. This Psalm also offers us a picture of what repentance should look like in our lives. First, David acknowledges his sin. Next, he asks for forgiveness. Then, he asks God to renew him. Finally, he asks God to help him use his sin to teach those who are engaged in sin and are in need of repentance. What does repentance in your life look like? How could following David’s example of repentance strengthen your relationship with God?An-Encouragement-to-Specific-Repentance_Option2

Every Miracle Begins with a Problem

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John 2:1-11
Every Miracle Begins with a Problem!

The problem in John 2:1-11 occurs at a wedding.

On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Undeterred by Jesus’ reply, believing he can help when there is a problem, his mother turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever he tells you.” This is good advice and it is meant not just for the servants but for all who would follow Jesus. Jesus’ mother has confidence and trust in Jesus and that is the beginning of faith. She says, “Do whatever he tells you,” – act in obedience and faith to what Jesus tells you to do. Sometimes this is the first step toward God acting in our life. If the servants had not listened to Jesus, if they had been disobedient, if they had ignored his instructions, then there would have been no miracle, no water into wine, no blessing for the bride and groom, and family and guests, no sign for the disciples to help them believe in Jesus. Doing what Jesus tells us to do is, for John, the essence of discipleship and the best way for us to live if we are seeking life in all its fullness. “Do whatever he tells you,” is not just a mother’s instruction to a servant at a wedding – it is a motto for Christian living and faith.

Faith is the capacity to view an experience from a particular perspective, it is not absolute certainty or it wouldn’t be faith. To have faith is to be open to God’s revelation in history, in our lives, even in our problems. Faith is a continuous process of reassessment and growth.

Living Justly, or Merely Loving the Idea

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MicahWe live in a world and culture in which—both out of privilege and conviction—many people want to make an impact. This is good. In fact, this is really good. This desire needs to be affirmed, nurtured, and cultivated.

However, let’s be honest with ourselves. We all love justice and compassion. Seriously, who doesn’t? But is it possible we are more in love with the idea of compassion and justice than we are with actually putting it into practice?

Is it possible that we all love compassion and justice… until there’s a personal cost to it?

I hope that this is simply my own confession. However, if in some way it is also yours, I’m grateful for the gift of grace and courage that allows us to examine ourselves. Enabling us to grow deeper, wiser, and more emboldened to live in a manner that reflects God’s hope, beauty, and love.

It’s my hope we can examine how we engage our calling to follow Christ, and examine how we love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly with God. Because it’s not just about us doing justice; this journey is also about allowing the work of justice to change us. In other words, we not only seek justice as we follow Jesus, but we seek to live justly. Our calling is not simply to change the world, but perhaps as important, our calling is to be changed ourselves.

* How have you been loving the idea of changing the world more than actually living it out? What motivations have you noticed within yourself, which show this unwillingness to live out justice and compassion?

Credit: We would like to thank Eugene Cho and David C Cook for providing this word. For more information, please visit: http://www.dccpromo.com/overrated/

 

Walking in Faith

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But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:30-31

We have all dreamt of doing something great for God. These dreams might involve some form of sacrifice or great leap of faith. We see others around us who have sold everything to follow Jesus as a missionary in some far corner of the world and view them as a person of great faith, maybe even aspiring to be like them.

Consider this, if we had been sitting in that boat with Peter we would have thought he was brimming with faith as he began to climb out of the boat and walk toward Jesus. But suddenly, something even stranger happened and Peter began to sink. That courage and faith he had in Jesus was getting smaller as he saw the wind and the waves getting bigger.

A true measure of a person’s faith then is not just the first step of their faith journey, but the subsequent steps thereafter. We deal with this every time we get excited about something, starting any given project only to stop halfway through because it was much more difficult than anticipated. The same thing happens when we believe Jesus would have us do something. But as we start doing it and it doesn’t turn out like we thought it would, or the ministry isn’t immediately growing we begin to sink, losing faith in and sight of Jesus. What we must realize is that if Jesus has called us to make a first step, then he will provide a path for each step toward him after that.

Symbiosis and the Fig Tree

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Fig trees are symbiotic — that is to say, they can only survive to reproduce with the assistance of another creature, in this case a fig wasp.

Without the fig wasp’s pollinating activities, the tree would never produce a germinated seed for the next generation; alternatively, the fig wasp would never survive without the fig tree’s food and shelter.

This concept is similar to us as Christians in that we also cannot live alone — we too are symbiotic.  As we draw from God, through Jesus Christ, let us remember that we need the assistance of other believers to produce a seed, which eventually yields a fruit.

Be Forgetful

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I’ll forgive . . . but I’ll never forget. We say and hear that so much that it’s easy to shrug it off as “only natural.” That’s the problem! It is the most natural response we can expect. Not supernatural. It also can result in tragic consequences.
In his book Great Church Fights, Leslie B. Flynn tells of two unmarried sisters who lived together, but because of an unresolved disagreement over an insignificant issue, they stopped speaking to each other. They continued to use the same rooms, eat at the same table, use the same appliances, and sleep in the same room . . . all separately . . . without one word. A chalk line divided the sleeping area into two halves, separating doorways as well as the fireplace. Each would come and go, cook and eat, sew and read without ever stepping over into her sister’s territory. Because both were unwilling to take the first step toward forgiving and forgetting the silly offense, they coexisted for years in grinding silence.

After I spoke at a summer Bible conference meeting one evening, a woman told me she and her family had been camping across America. In their travels they drove through a town and passed a church with a name she said she would never forget—THE ORIGINAL CHURCH OF GOD, NUMBER TWO.
Whether it is a personal or a public matter, we quickly reveal whether we possess a servant’s heart in how we respond to those who have offended us. And it isn’t enough simply to say, “Well, okay—you’re forgiven, but don’t expect me to forget it!” That means we have erected a monument of spite in our mind, and that isn’t really forgiveness at all.
Servants must be big people. Big enough to go on, remembering the right and forgetting the wrong.

Perhaps Amy Carmichael put it best when she wrote in her book If: “If I say, ‘Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,’ as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

Forgetting an offense means being, in the true and noble sense of the term, self-forgetful.