Friday, April 25, 2008

The Joy of the Lord

My Bible study group has just finished week 4 of Beth Moore's 'Living Beyond Yourself'. This chapter is entitled 'The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength'. While I have done this study already once before, it feels like I'm doing it for the very first time as God is teaching me new lessons this time around. That is just what's so amazing about God's Word --- always fresh, always new, always relevant!

Here are some of the new lessons I learned from this chapter this time around:

~ Joy results from discovering His presence, His purpose, and His power in an entirely new way. Could it be that if our focus is on Christ, we'll see Him transfigured before us rather than our circumstances? Look for Him in the middle of your circumstances --- He's there just waiting to be discovered.

~ God's Word propels us to abide in Christ. When His words "abide" in us and we obey His commands with a tenacity similar to Ruth's, we abide in Him. His Word is our cling wrap, adhering us to His presence.

~ Joy cheaters: which one can you most relate to?

When our outpour exceeds our intake. Are you serving more than you are seeking?

When our talk exceeds our walk. Somewhere along the way, our mouth and our heart most likely parted company.

When we become "wonders junkies". We miss Him as the joy in the midst of the mundane. The most intimate times we ever will spend with God will be listening to His gentle whispers. It is there that we will find true joy. Rarely are you more at risk for losing your joy than when you have just experienced a spiritual "high". Pray to enjoy those marvelous times, but never more than you enjoy His sweet whisper when you are all alone.

When we are exhausted. Are you neglecting your rest? What about eating? In our culture, we rarely neglect to eat; however, we neglect to eat for the body's benefit.

When we feel all alone. As you're growing in Christ, beware of feelings that tempt you to believe you are all alone and that no one else wants to serve or love God as you do. Just because someone does not share our "cause" or our personal "passions" does not set us apart. When we view ourselves as the only spiritual persons we know, we're setting ourselves up for a fall.
~ We are catalysts of joy for one another! After we were born again, He did not leave us on earth to be loners. He wants us to bring joy to one another! Each and every believer should be a joy to us; challenging us to dig deeper and deeper into God's Word.

That's all for this week! A whole lot to digest, for sure. The joy of the Lord is my strength!

"You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever." --- Psalm 16:11 (NLT)

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