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A Thought for the Week--Joyful Living in Godís Joy

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you with His love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJ)

God is an emotional being. He has feelings. He has feelings of love and compassion, of sorrow and grief, of anger and wrath, of joy and gladness. God shares Himself with His people. He wants us to know Him, to know His ways, His desires, His plans and purposes. The more we know about God, the more we want to know of His character, His nature and His spiritual and emotional being. As God continues to reveal Himself to us, our appreciation of Him grows, our reverence of Him increases, and we want to spend more time with Him so we can honor Him, serve Him and allow Him to reveal even more of Himself to us. The Holy Spirit reveals Godís ways to those who have had our own personal spirit brought to life through Jesus. In our natural state--the way we are born through Adam--we cannot and do not understand Godís character and nature. However, through Jesus we can receive the life of God and have our spirit awakened so that we are aware of and know and reverence the greatness of Godís character and nature.

Our Father rejoices in His Son. He said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17NKJ). Jesus rejoiced in His Father when His disciples returned after healing the sick and experiencing Godís power and life moving through them (Luke 10:21). We are told to rejoice in the Lord, always.

The Bible reveals the joyful nature of God to us. As we study the revelation God has given to us of Himself through the Bible, we can learn of and live in the joy of God. There are many things that can weigh us down, depress us, and keep us from knowing and living in the joy of our God. GOD WANTS TO REVEAL HIS JOY TO US. HE WANTS US TO KNOW AND BE FILLED WITH HIS JOY. Jesus came to help us to know the joy of God. He personally knew of Godís joy, and desires that we too know of it and allow Him to impart this into us. Jesus told His disciples, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11 NKJ). God has a plan for filling us and His creation with His Spirit, His life and His ways. Jesus knows this and that is why He lives in joy. Let us live with Him in His joy.

Father, we rejoice that You live in joy, and than You enjoy Your Son and Your people. Help us to know and live in Your Son and in His joy in You. Amen.


A Thought for the Week--Joyful Living in Godís Truth

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (II Thessalonians 2:9-12 NKJ)

Jesus called Himself "The Truth." He spoke the truth to us of our need to receive the nature and character of God. He told the people they needed the life of God in them. He said, "I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly." He did not emphasize that those who followed Him would go into heaven, but rather that those who believed in Him would receive the gift of eternal life. Eternal life is not a place, but rather a LIFE. God has eternal life in Himself; His life is eternal. Jesus came to give this life to us. He had this life in Himself and knew He was the God-appointed channel through whom it would be brought into the world and made available for men to receive.

He told people that they must be born from above, with the heavenly life--the eternal life--of God in them. He told the people they must receive this life from Him. He said that men must honor Him or else they could not honor the Father. He loved the truth. He knew that Godís revealed Word was the source of all truth. He knew that men must receive a love of the Word of God--the empowered revelation from God of who He is and what His plan for men is--so that they could want to live in His eternal kingdom. Men must receive the eternal heavenly life of God into their being and become united with it as God is, in order to be prepared to live in Godís heavenly and eternal kingdom. This is the truth. This is what Jesus spoke. This is who Jesus was--the Purveyor of truth and the Imparter of the truth about the life of God.

Jesus only has this love of the truth of God in Him. That is why He said, "He that has the Son has life; He who does not have the Son does not have life." This is what Paul is saying about the times of deep deception coming upon the world, like the times we are presently living in. Paul, as stated in the above passage, said great deception would come upon the people because they did not receive the love of the truth.

Notice Paul did not say that deception would come because people did not love truth. Many people think that they know and love truth. Many are caught up in thinking that their knowledge or their understanding or their standard of truth is sufficient. However Paul is saying that we must receive the love of the truth. What this states is that we must receive the love of the One who is The Truth. We must receive the love that Jesus had for the truth of God as He Himself has revealed it to men. Let us embrace Him who is and loves the Truth of God, revealed for us, so He can live in us.

Father, we rejoice in You. Help us to embrace and love Your Son as Your revelation of Your Truth. Amen.


A Thought for the Week--Joyful Living in Godís Truth

Thursday, May 30, 2007

"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." (Revelation 19:7-8 NKJ)

We can rejoice! We are the bride of Christ, and we are being prepared for a marriage ceremony! God has given us fine linen to wear. We know that because of our faith in Christ, God has accounted us righteous. We know that the Bible says that faith in Christ enables God to cover us with the robe of Christís righteousness. However, here there is an even greater blessing. Here our fine linen garment is not just the outward appearance of righteousness called "imputed righteousness" that we have previously been given, but rather a garment of righteousness based on our righteous actions.

God is holy and righteous. He promised Abraham that if he would follow Him, He would give him victory over all his enemies and enable him to serve Him in holiness and righteousness. God not only covers our sins with the righteous garment of Christ, He is also able to remove our sinful ways from us and to give us the power to do righteous acts, even though we still have unrighteous desires in our flesh. The Bible says, "Öthat we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life" (Luke 1:74-75 NKJ). God is preparing us as His bride for such a time as this.

God promised to do this for the children of Israel and for all His people. The Bible says, "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS'" (Jeremiah 33:14-16 NKJ). As saints of God, we have been grafted into the seed of Abraham. The Bible says, "Öthose who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham" (Galatians 3:9 NKJ).

God not only is righteous in Himself, He also covers us with His righteousness. He not only covers us with His righteousness, He imparts His very righteousness into us. We become filled with the righteousness of God, as we let the Holy Spirit remove the old unrighteous ways and energize the righteous ways of Christ that are in us. Christ has become righteousness for us and also in us. God is bringing forth these truths in these days so that we truly can live in and accomplish the righteous acts He has prepared for us. The world will see the righteousness of Christ in us by what they see us do for them and among them. God will be praised and will be known as holy by His working in and through us.

Father, we rejoice in Your righteousness, in Your impartation of righteousness into us through Christ, and in Your manifesting that through us by the power of Your Spirit. We rejoice in You. Amen.


A Thought for the WeekóJoyful Living Thru the Cross

Friday, June 1, 2007

[You] "are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials" (1 Peter 1:5-6 NKJ)

"Rejoice always," Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Peter says in the passage cited above that God is keeping us by His power for salvation ready to be revealed to us in the last time; in this rejoice. A greater and greater revelation of Godís plan of salvation is to be the cause of our rejoicing. God has accomplished all we need for our salvation. There is nothing more He needs to do. He promises to make the reality and personal experience of what He has done and has available for us even greater as time goes on. We are being changed from one degree of glory into another, Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Where is our joy to be centered? In the cross of Jesus Christ, is the declaration of Paul. He says, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14 NKJ). This is the good news Ė the Gospel.

Jesus died on the cross for my sin; He was punished for me. That is the first joyful truth. Jesus died with me, with my sin. He became sin for me, overcoming my sinful ways and doing the will of His Father even when carrying the sin of the world on Himself. He now can overcome my sin in me as I let Him live in me and I live in Him. This is a second reason for joy in the cross. Jesus overcame the powers of death while on the cross. He did not give in to the powers of hell who tried to cause Him to sin and then dwell in death, never to escape. Jesus overcame sin, death and the devil. I can rejoice! This is a third reason for joy in the cross.

Jesus came forth from death; God brought Him forth. Satan could not hold Him there. Jesus came forth so that He could be my everlasting High Priest, now able to impart His holy life into me so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I too can live in victory. This is a fifth reason for joy in the cross. Jesus now reigns over Satan. He has the power over death. Satan has been defeated and dethroned through the cross of Jesus--another reason I can have joy through the cross. I can continually rejoice, even in times of difficulty or trial, because of what Jesus did at the cross and because of what God will do for me and for all who believe in Christ through the cross. Let us rejoice!

Father, we rejoice in Your plan to remove sin from your people, to remove evil spirits from the world, and to even remove those who continually reject Your life. Help us to embrace and live in all You have accomplished through the cross of Jesus. Amen.


A Thought for the WeekóBe Joyful in the Holy Spirit

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13NKJ)

God has a plan; rejoice! This is the sum of the message of the Gospel. We might be weighed down by the pressures of life. Rejoice! God has a plan to fill us with His wisdom and to extend His power and grace to us so that we can overcome the fears of this world and live in Him.

We may be depressed by all the evil we see in this world, and by the increased violence and immorality we are aware of. Rejoice! God has a plan to remove evil from the hearts of His people and to fill them with His holiness and grace. Rejoice! God has a plan to cast down the spiritual powers that rule in the darkness of this world, reward evildoers, and oppress workers of righteousness. Rejoice! God will establish His righteous judgments in the heavenly places and bring about justice in the earth.

We may become despondent because of the increasing pain and suffering we find ourselves in or because of the pain we see in the lives of seemingly good people. Rejoice! God has a plan to bring His ways of healing and health into His people and to use them to bring healing into the nations. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to bring recovery of sight and hearing to those whose spirits have been weighed down and deadened by the grief and sorrows of this life.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, brought the life of God into humanity through His life. He was the Lamb who was slain, who was punished for our sins. He was bruised for our sins and bore our grief and sorrow. Now He comes to live in us so that we can experience all He has done and all He provides for us. We can then do these same things for others and bring the rule and reign of His kingdom into our lives and into this world. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). This is the message of the Gospel and the admonition of Paul the Apostle.

Father, we rejoice in You and in Your plans and purposes. Help us to live in and continually receive Your joy and Your hope for us and for others. Amen.


A Thought for the Week--Be Joyful in the Holy Spirit

Thursday, June 7, 2007

"Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name." (Psalm 97:12 NKJ)

God is a happy God. He is happy with His eternal plan for His world and His people. He is happy with Himself. He knows how to bring about His plan despite all the ways of Satan, evil spirits, an evil world, and the rebellious nature we have all been born with. He knows that His plan, through His Son, in the power of His Spirit, will succeed. He invites us to rejoice with Him in His plan. BECAUSE HE IS WHO HE IS--HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS, MERCIFUL AND KIND, PATIENT AND LONGSUFFERING, WISE AND JUST, MIGHTY AND MAJESTIC IN SPLENDOR AND GLORY--HE CANNOT FAIL. HE WILL SUCCEED. REJOICE!!!

Jesus had joy in His heart when He walked the earth, even when He went to the cross. He was not joyful when He thought about having to endure the suffering He had to bear as our sacrifice for the sins of the world. He said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me" (Matthew 26:38 NKJ). He sought to have God find another way to save His people and His world. But He was able to look beyond the suffering of the cross, at what God would accomplish through Him--through His becoming the sin sacrifice for the world. The Bible says, "Ölet us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Jesus went from being filled with sorrow because of what He had to endure, to receiving strength from the joy that was set before Him. The Holy Spirit gave Him that grace and power (Hebrews 2:9). This is what His prayer experience in Gethsemane was all about. He willingly entered into being our sin bearer, our sin remover, and our sin sacrifice for us, through receiving the grace in Gethsemane to do these things. The Bible says of Jesus, "Öwho, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fearÖ" (Hebrews 5:7 NKJ).

Paul understood these things. He told his church at Ephesus, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10-11). We too can receive the strength we need from the Holy Spirit as Jesus did. As Christians, we need to live in and be continually receiving the power and might of the Holy Spirit. BUT WE CAN, BECAUSE JESUS LIVED THIS WAY AND DID THIS FOR US AND CAN NOW DO THIS IN US. LET US REJOICE!

Father, we rejoice in Your great plan of salvation for us through all Jesus is, was, did, and will do for us. Help us to rely on and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit as He did, and to rejoice as He did. Amen.


A Thought for the WeekóBe Joyful in the Holy Spirit

Monday, June 11, 2007

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." (Romans 8:11 NKJ)

Rejoice! This is a common theme in the Bible. We can rejoice, because our God has a plan for us, for our lives, and for all of His creation. We can rejoice because God will meet us in our times of need with His grace and His power to enable us to rise above our problems and to bring about His will in each situation. We can rejoice when it seems like evil is running rampant in the earth and there is nothing stopping its seemingly free reign. We can rejoice because God is watching over His creation and will bring every work into judgment. We can rejoice in the righteous judgments of our God.

We can rejoice, because God has overcome Satanís reign and has righteously established the reign of His Son over all the heavens and the earth, and even under the earth. Jesus reigns in all three arenas. He reigns over death and Hades. Satan can no longer hold Godís people in a place where they are separated from His presence. Even in death, we are immediately transported in spirit into the presence of God.

God showed His mighty power in Christ at the cross. Jesus bore our sins on the cross, yet He did not sin. He brought our sins into death--the place of complete separation from God--so that we would not have to do this. He entered death for us. He conquered sin and death for us. He received power from the Holy Spirit of God, after His time of suffering was completed, and rose out of death. When He rose, He freed the Old Testament believers who had died, and they came alive and walked on the earth. He now controls the location and destiny of all His followers.

We can rejoice because the same Spirit that came into Christ and gave Him the power to come out of the grave, now lives in us, empowering our mortal bodies so that we too can experience the life of God in our bodies. We can be born of the Spirit, receive the nature of Christ, and live in Him, able to overcome our sin just as He did. We can have supernatural revelation and wisdom from God as Jesus did when He walked on the earth, because of the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in us. We can rejoice, because the Holy Spirit of God has been sent by God, through Christ, to empower us and to give us the peace and love of God in all parts of our whole being--body, soul and spirit. Let us rejoice!

Father, we rejoice in all You are and in all You have done, are doing and will do for us. Help us to know and live in the power of Your Holy Spirit and to worship You. Amen.


A Thought for the Week--Joyful Living in Godís Truth

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17 NKJ)

God is a God of grace. The word "grace" implies God acting on our behalf, imparting to us His power and life so that we can do and be all He wants us to do and be.

God created us so that we would know Him, respect Him, and want to serve and worship Him. He created us with a need to receive revelation of His plan and purpose and His very nature into our spirit (our inner being). We were created with the need of His grace; even before man sinned, man needed Godís grace to know His will and to receive wisdom, strength, and understanding from Him. Man's sin only compounded the problem. After he sinned, man not only needed the grace for wisdom and revelation, but now he also needed grace for forgiveness and cleansing, and for restoration to Godís original plans and purposes. The Bible says: "...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love..." (Ephesians 1:4 NKJ), and, "...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began..." (2 Timothy 1:9 NKJ).

As new creatures in Christ we have the right and privilege to come to God for direction and strength for each situation. We learn to live by the grace of God. We realize that God asks humanly impossible things of us. He asks us to love our enemies, to be holy as He is holy, and to forgive others. He asks us to subdue the earth and to heal the sick. He asks us to realize and acknowledge our need for His grace in each situation. In short, we quickly realize that it is impossible in our own power to do all that God would teach us and enable us to do. We realize that we cannot even remember to ask for and rely upon His grace. We need His grace to do the things that only He can do in and through us. We must have His grace in order to do the humanly impossible things He desires of us. Yet, we come to realize that the things He asks are "Himpossible" through the grace He makes available to us.

We begin to realize that God has grace for us to know how to help others. He has grace for us to know what to say or do in difficult situations. We will learn to live by His grace, trusting Him to speak and act through us and to encourage us in being vessels of His love and grace to others. Paul says: "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:19 NKJ).

Father, we rejoice in You. Thank You for the grace and truth You send to us through Your Son. Help us to know the truth that we need Your grace in all that we are to do and to be. Amen.


A Thought for the WeekóBe Joyful in the Holy Spirit

Wednesday, June 14, 2007

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." (Romans 8:11 NKJ)

Rejoice! Be Joyful! Be glad! These are all familiar commands in the Bible. Paul says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4 NKJ). David says, "Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King." (Psalm 149:2 NKJ). David says again, " But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yes, let them rejoice exceedingly" (Psalm 68:3 NKJ).

Jesus had joy. He told the disciples, just before going to the cross, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11 NKJ). He had just explained to them their need to be constantly abiding in Him, to be receiving life from Him. He had previously told them that He came to give them life and to give them an abundance of His life (John 10:11). He knew that He had come from God and was going to God (John 13:3). He knew the weakness of sinful flesh. He was made weak like we are, yet He was without sin. He knew how to draw power from the Holy Spirit. He was able through the power of the Holy Spirit to do signs and wonders. He was able through the power of the Holy Spirit to show the people that God was with Him and that He was doing these things to show them that God loved them and had given Him power to do such things.

When it was time to enter death for us, with our sin, being the sacrifice through which God would vent His wrath and remove sin from His people, Jesus said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch" (Mark 14:34 NKJ). He was beginning to experience the sorrows of death, of being separated from His Father. He entered a time of intense prayer, first asking that the necessity of His having to do this might be removed, and then praying for the grace to be able to do what God had put before Him. He remembered the plan of God and what would be accomplished through His doing what He needed to do. He received grace to do what was necessary (Hebrews 2:9). He focused on and lived in the joy of what would happen through what He was about to do. The Bible says, "...who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2 NKJ)

Jesus knew the joy of Godís plan. He lived in it and drew life from it. He invites us to receive joy from Him so we too can live in the joy of our great and glorious God.

Father, we rejoice in Your greatness, Your glory, and Your holiness. We rejoice in the wisdom of Your great plan for us. Help us to live in Your joy through Your Holy Spirit. Amen.


A Thought for the Week
Joyful Living in Godís Holy Nature

Friday, June 15, 2007

"And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ĎPraise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever.í Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeatedÖ they helped to destroy one another." (2 Chronicles 20:21-23 NKJ)

God is holy. "Holiness" is the word used to describe the moral character of God. God is uniquely holy; no other being is holy as He is holy. No other being is righteous in all his ways and has a natural desire to live in holiness and make a holy place for others to dwell in. When we know and worship God in His holiness, His holy love for us is released to destroy our enemies.

Many of the beings in Godís creation have wisdom and strength. Many of them have knowledge and understanding. Yet none of them has the moral character of God. None of them has the desire or ability to make other beings holy and righteous. Wicked men and wicked angels might do mighty things and might have great wisdom and knowledge, yet they are living for their own pleasure and will let their own desires for pleasure cause them to use and destroy others for their own purposes.

Many people without Christ will want good for others, but are unable to fully change them or bring to them an ability to live in righteousness and love. They think their actions are best for them. Only God has the desire to remove evil from people so that they can be freed from sinful patterns and lifestyles. Only God can impart into them a love of righteousness and a hatred of evil. Only God is holy.

Many people admire God because He has blessed them with earthly goods. Yet, if God withdraws His blessing to correct them or to bring them into knowing their need to fully depend on Him, they withdraw. Many are afraid of standing up for the righteous standards of the Bible because they fear what others might think of them. God is holy. He knows how to make holy. He knows that His holy ways are the best, and He has the means to make others partakers of His holiness so they too can admire the holiness of God.

Heaven is filled with people who love the holiness of God. Heavenís ways are holy. The atmosphere of heaven is filled with songs that declare, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord." God is holy. He is bringing the ways of heaven to earth so that His people can know and reverence and live in His holy atmosphere. The greatest gift God gives His people is to know and love Him in His holy character, by making them holy as He is holy, so they love what is holy. His love desires to make holy. Holy is our God!

Father, we rejoice that You are holy and that You give us a love of holiness so that we can become holy as You are holy. Help us to grow and worship You in Your holiness. Amen.


Serving God as He Unites Heaven and Earth in Christ

Rich and Kay Fick, Directors, Cyrus Ministries International

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