Tag Archives: joy

OTHERS

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: ―Philippians 2:4-5

Several years ago I was at our bank doing some business with my wife, Barb. At the time the bank was promoting the new Seattle Mariners baseball season with free bumper stickers. Barb noticed a badge the teller was wearing that displayed the theme of the Mariner promotion. Barb asked the teller if she could have one of the badges. She was not asking for one for herself. She wanted the badge to give to one of our daughters who loves the Mariners. The first thing Barb thought of was, “Joyce would love that badge.” (The teller was glad to get her a badge.)

I thought, “That’s just like my wife to always think about doing something for someone else.”  Barb is one of the most selfless people I know. This is the mind of Christ, to have an “others-focus,” instead of a “self-focus.”

Joy is spelled: “J”=Jesus, “O”=Others, “Y”=You. That is the way to JOY. Put Jesus first, Others second, and You last. If you change the order of the letters you lose the joy!

Lord, help me live from day to day

In such a self-forgetful way,

That even when I kneel to pray,

May my prayer be for others.

Others, Lord, Yes others―May this my motto be.

Help me live for others―That I may be like Thee!

The Lord’s “Swap Meet”

The Lord’s “Swap Meet”

“…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” —Isaiah 61:3

Growing up I remember my parents taking me to a “swap meet.” It is like a flea market where people gather to either sell stuff, barter for things, or trade one item for another.

In today’s text we find the Lord making three “swaps.” Although Isaiah 61 is about the millennial reign of Christ, we can make a spiritual application for us today.

First, “…beauty for ashes…”  Before I became a Christian my life was nothing but a heap of ashes.  But when I got saved the Lord took those ashes and began to make something beautiful (Eccl. 3:11). One day, I will be made into His likeness.

Second, “…the oil of joy for mourning…” Salvation begins when we mourn about out sin (repentance) and trust Christ to save us. Then our mourning is turned to “the oil of joy.”  While a Christian may have nights of sorrow, joy will come in the morning!

Third, “… the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”  Before I was saved, I was clothed in filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). “The spirit of heaviness”  was upon me.  I traded my heaviness for praise because He saved my soul! “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61:10).

Here are a few other things we should “swap”—

  • Swap hell for heaven.
  • Swap defeat for victory (1 John 5:4). It’s time you quit begging God for the victory, and claim the victory that is already given us in Christ.
  • Swap worry for peace (Ps. 55:22; Phil. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:7). You can either enjoy the ride, trusting the Driver, or you can be terrified every step of the way.  Many of the things we worry about do not happen; and those that do fall into two categories: those I have power over, and those I don’t.  I might as well let go of those I cannot control, and change the things I can – leaving it all in God’s hands.
  • Swap your will for God’s will (Eph 5:17; Lu 22:42). Trust God. He knows what’s best and what will make you happy in the long run.
  • Swap gossip for prayer (Pr 18:8; 20:19; 26:20-22). You can talk about me all that you please; I’ll talk about you down on my knees.

Are there some things you’d like to swap for something better?  The Lord invites you, “Let’s make a Deal!”

Earth Shaking Praise

Earth Shaking Praise

…all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang. —1 Samuel 4:5

During last Monday night’s football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints, the fans at CenturyLink Field in Seattle cheered so loudly they literally caused a 1 or 2 magnitude earthquake according the Seattle Times.  [Click this LINK.]

That wasn’t the first time some happy people shook the earth for joy.  It happened about 3,000 years ago when “the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them (1 Kings 1:40). It was so loud people heard and felt it miles away (1 Kings 1:41).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God’s people would get more excited about Jesus than a football game so the earth would reverberate with their shouts of joy?  If there is anyone who has something to be joyful and excited about, it is the Christian!  Rejoice Christian! Don’t let some painted face fanatics at a football game outdo you for joy!  Shout and be glad so others will know you have the joy of the Lord.

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” —Romans 14:17

The Kingdom of God is not about what you eat or drink. It is not a physical kingdom. It is spiritual. Notice those components of the Kingdom of God:  Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Now Paul goes on to say, For he that in THESE THINGS [righteousness, peace, and joy] serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men (Rom. 14:18). If you serve the Lord in righteousness, and have peace and joy while you’re doing it, God accepts it and men will respect you.

One of the most difficult testimonies a Christian will ever have to give is when everything seems to go against him and he still maintains his peace and joy in the midst of it all. That’s tough because fiery trials have a way of disrupting your service for God and tends to rob you of your peace and joy.  Then some unsaved person sees you in the dumps and he thinks, “Uh-huh. That Christian just like me.  If I were going through what he is going through, I’d probably act the same way.”

But, what really causes that unsaved guy to be amazed is when everything goes against you and you go right on happily serving the Lord with peace and joy. He can’t understand how you can still have peace and joy when your are in the midst of trouble.

The reason is, you belong to a different kingdom than he does.  Your kingdom isn’t effected by meat and drink (physical things). Your kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The unsaved man doesn’t have that.

Does you life demonstrate you are a citizen of God’s kingdom when you go through difficult situations?