The joy of the Lord is my strength

Can I tell you that truly the joy of the Lord is my strength!

This is a Bible verse and a true one. It is also my testimony. And it is also my proclamation of faith.

Let me explain.

In the Bible we read that Nehemiah encouraged the people not to mourn over the words of the law (the warnings, the judgments) but rather to rejoice in the joy of the Lord (His promises, His grace which is greater than all our sin and all our problems). See Nehemiah 8:10

This is my testimony. There are times in my life that I don’t have a constant emotive state of exhilaration, happiness, or excitement. But what I do have is a deep assurance in my heart from the Holy Spirit of God and based on His promises and His character that all will be well in this life and the next. This is the joy of the Lord in me.

This is my proclamation of faith: In the face of trial, adversity, weakness, suffering, heartache, pressure and all the rest of the troubles of this world, I have deep within me a peace and an assurance that God is good and God is able. I have a faith that God will do what is right. I have a deep-seated belief and expectation that God is working all things together for the good of those who seek Him. I have a joy that though at times might be tested by the troubles of this world, is ultimately secured by God’s character, ability and promises.

I rest on the promises of God, with a belief that He is loving, He is true, He is able.

This is the joy of the Lord in my heart. And it truly does bring an abiding sense of peace and puts a smile on my face.

There are times when the emotions seem to come and go, but yet I cling to faith in my God who is able.

And when my faith seems shaken, I ask God for more faith, and He is faithful and always supplies my need.

If you feel unhappy or feel overwhelmed over the situations and circumstances of life, fear not! Call on the one who is able and rest in His arms. His promises will come to pass! Not one word He has spoken will fail! Let this faith, this certainty, this JOY be the strength of your life, this day and evermore!!

Trust

Trust in the Lord.

With all your heart.

Do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways.

Acknowledge Him.

He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

We know these words. But what does this look like day in and day out? Is it really possible? What is the outcome?

People place their trust in many things. Money. Security. Strength. Wisdom. Success. Themselves. The problem with placing our trust in money, is that it is here today and gone tomorrow. The problem with trusting security is that we are really trusting temporal things to protect us. Whose strength are we relying on? Our own? Whose wisdom? Whose measure of success? When we trust in any of these things we end up really offering our allegiance (and prayers?!) to things which cannot answer our deepest needs and most heartfelt cries.

But if we trust the Lord. He is eternal. He is all-knowing. He is sinless. He is perfect. He is good. He is love. And He does all things without ever failing. After all the Bible tells us Love never fails.

So what does it look like to trust the Lord with all your heart? It means letting Him handle your emotions, intellect and will regarding all things. He already has the future and every circumstance in His hands. What He wants though is your heart, your love, your trust, your obedience.

And when you put it all in His hands. He will give you peace. And therefore, moment by moment as your surrender your personal, fallible, human, and temporal emotive, intellectual and will-full ideas, attitudes, actions and reactions into His hands, the only thing that is left in you is…the eternal. God places in us the eternal: His eternal Spirit, the never fading, never passing away fruits of His Spirit, and His never-ending joy and peace.

Oh yeah, and when you trust Him completely and receive all that He offers you, what you will see in front of you is one illuminated step, which will be along the path of righteousness. He will make your paths straight and will remind you “this is the way, walk in it” when you trust Him. And what glory He will receive and you will see when you trust this way. It is possible. Trust. God.

Lord, help me trust and rest in You, now and forevermore, AMEN!

No one else can do it for you

No one else can choose for you. No one else can think, feel or act for you. We each must choose for ourselves who we will serve (Joshua challenged the people of Israel with this choice). We each must choose for ourselves how we will live.

When circumstances are especially difficult and we ask the Lord to help us, one thing we must know is that we cannot sit passively back and let someone else just “sort it out”. God is able to do things in and through us, but only as we choose to allow Him to. Remember: when we seek the peace and joy that God gives we must choose to receive it from Him. He is not going to force His peace and joy upon us.

Many times in our lives we find ourselves in the middle of a “bad day”. And then we wish or dream or hope or pray that things will get better. We long for the moment when things will once again be “good” and we will be happy. And yet we often wait for God to somehow magically change our attitude even while we are sulking or complaining. God has the power to anything and yet He has given us the gift of free will and therefore won’t go where we don’t allow Him to. If we ask Him to make things better but don’t make the choice to allow Him to change us, will things really get “better”? If we ask Him to guide us through a particularly trying circumstance but we don’t allow Him to shape, form and re-tool us so that we personally can be victorious, will anything really feel  better or complete? What good are changed circumstances if we are still broken within?

No other person can make your choices for you:

  • No other person can choose to eat, sleep, work or play for you
  • No other person can choose joy, peace, love, hope, contentment for you
  • No other person can choose or have a good attitude for you
  • No other person can choose or live out Christlikeness for you
  • No other person can worship, pray, serve or become a disciple of Christ for you

In all of life no one can do it for you, though Christ can live life in you and through you!

Only Jesus can bring you hope, peace, joy and contentment, but not through the changing of our circumstances but rather through the changing of us. And He won’t change us unless we let Him.

So, whatever you are facing, choose now to let Him change you. He might also change the things around you, but He is far more concerned with you than with passing circumstances. And when you ask God to make you feel better, have a better attitude, be more like Him, have more contentment, truly feel full and alive, realize that no other person can do that for you. Only God in you can make it happen and then only with your permission and your partnership. He won’t do it alone. You have to work with Him.

So stop waiting for some other human to make you feel better. Seek the Lord with all your heart. Ask Him to change you. And then personally agree with Him and partner with Him in whatever He wants to work in you!