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Posts tagged ‘joy’

Finding My Joy Again

My joy was gone for about two to three weeks. Not on a vacation. It has been completely non-existent. I didn’t check my personal emails. I went to bed with a heaviness that often resulted in me being woken up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep because of a pounding heart beat.

That feeling of dread often carried over into the morning. I had things I needed to be working on, but I had ZERO desire to do anything.

How did this happen? I’ll tell you. It resulted from me carrying things I had no business carrying. Matthew 6:25-27 reminds us not to worry saying, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

I knew my joy was gone. I hated the way I felt. If my mind and emotions were not in turmoil, I was just in limbo. I wasn’t doing anything to move forward. I KNEW I needed to pray, but I couldn’t. I would read a few Scriptures in the Bible just to get some peace…for the moment. Sometimes I would start quoting the Word with power and authority, but end up in tears.

I KNEW I needed to confess the Word over myself. I knew it, but the circumstances and overwhelming feelings were just too much. I would try to work on things and I would just go in circles, never really accomplishing anything.

I’d had people pray for me. The feelings would lift. Then, my mouth would get me into trouble. It’s like I had an overwhelming urge to say the wrong thing whenever something happened. I am usually never continually negative, but it seemed like nothing was right. I couldn’t write because I didn’t have anything to say. The words weren’t hanging out in my mind. They simply weren’t there.

Finally, I called a friend. I talked to her for five minutes, only sharing a little of what I was feeling. She started praying for me and God showed her almost everything…even things I had thought!

I slept better that night, but the next day was a struggle. Finally, my mom said, “Something’s got to give.” “I know,” I said. “You won’t pray. You used to listen to the Word. I don’t know what you do now.”

“It’s not that I quit listening all together. The sound of anything irritated me. I irritated myself.

Mama and I committed to start praying in tongues thirty minutes every morning. If I couldn’t do it all right then, I took Mama’s advice and prayed when I could, even if that meant just a few minutes at a time.

After a few days, weightiness and heaviness that had been so prevalent lifted. I felt lighter. I wasn’t as irritated. Before I got the breakthrough, each day I had to look for something to be happy about.

When my nephew and cousin came over, I made myself get excited and do silly faces. I told Mama I felt fake doing that, but she said, “Sometimes, you have to fake it until you make it.”

If things seem bad right now, they won’t stay that way. LIFT UP YOUR HEAD! Turn your eyes to Jesus! I promise you He’s there. The enemy wants to convince you that he’s won this round. He wants you to stay down. I am encouraging you to GET UP! With God, all things are possible! All you have to do is make a choice to let God be God! He’s got this!

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Happy Buttercups Lesley Cutts via freeimages.com

Cultivate Your Praise!

This phrase came to mind the other day. It got me thinking. Cultivate means nurture, develop, or work on. Praise isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us. Our minds are geared to think on the negative things. It is easy to get bogged down by people and situations. Without even realizing it, you will fall into a pit of negativity.

That is why it takes effort to develop our praise. In hard times, we have to plow through those negative feelings, reach down deep on the inside of us, and praise Him!

You will develop an attitude of gratitude if you shift your perspective. Look for the best in a bad situation. Like a song at our church says, “No matter what comes my way, I’ll lift my voice and say, Hallelujah anyhow!”

The more you choose joy; you will bear much good fruit in your life. The more you look for the good in things, the more you will find it.

My prayer today is, “Lord, help me to see all the many blessings in my life. I have so much to thank You for. Thank You for being patient with me. Thank You for Your mercy when I mess up. Thank You for loving me in the middle of my bad attitude. Thank You for reminding me to focus on Your goodness. Thank You for all You have brought me out of. Thank You for what You are bringing me into.

Praise shouldn’t be determined by what kind of day we’ve had. We shouldn’t just praise God on Sundays in church. God is good all the time. It’s time for us to stop letting the cares of this life rob us of a victorious life!
~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Praise © Chris Wittwer via freeimages.com

What is Your Purpose?

God created you and I for His purpose. Some of us  have often asked, “What is my purpose in life?” We search our minds. We think about what we should do. What career choices should I make  Am I smart enough to do this? What do I like to do? Will I be successful? We ask our parents, teachers, and guidance counselors what choices we should make.

The definition of purpose is: To have the intention of doing or accomplishing something. A lot of people wander through life never seemingly finding themselves. They go from job to job. Some go from marriage to marriage. They are always unsettled. They never really accomplish anything, just existing from day to day.They are never really happy or fulfilled. They often become complacent, apathetic, and depressed. They seem to have no real purpose in life.

Jesus said, “He came to give us life and life more abundantly.” ~John 10:10

My brother recently shared a story with me about a lady in her 70’s who had always wanted to be a lawyer. She had had a successful career as a doctor. In her old age, she went back to college and became a lawyer. What an amazing story!

To be fulfilled in life and to have life more abundantly, We have to purpose in our hearts and minds to yield our lives to the Creator. The Lord has created each of us with a purpose, plan, and destiny of His will for our lives. We have been created to live our lives for His glory and purpose.

It doesn’t matter where we are in life, regardless of our age, abilities, education, or social status. God can work through your life to accomplish great things. He can bring real fulfillment and joy to you.You may say I’ve messed up. My life is a wreck and in ruins. He is able to work miracles for you as you yield your life to Him.

He is able to unscramble eggs, put it back in the shell, and place it back inside the chicken. He is the God of the second and many more chances. We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit  Multi purpose knife © Davide Guglielmo via freeimages.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/articles/what-your-purpose#sthash.lfH748j7.dpuf

What Does it Mean?

What does it mean to be on fire for Jesus? This is a phrase we hear a lot in Christian circles. While playing “Soul on Fire” by Third Day, I found myself having a conversation about this very thing with my oldest nephew, who is almost four.

I decided to look up the definition of burn. Some of my favorite definitions are: “To emit heat or light by fire or energy.  To cause a strong impression, especially by emotional intensity.

To be consumed with strong emotion, especially:

To be very eager.”

I told my nephew that burning for Jesus had nothing to do with actual fire. It really means that we should be excited to tell others about Jesus. In a typical toddler fashion, he asked, “Why?”

I said, “We are supposed to be a light to everyone whether we are at school or church.”

“Why?”

“Because there are some kids who only know meanness and bad things. They never see anything good. That’s why we have to be that light to them and burn bright for Jesus.”

Now is not the time for catchy phrases. If you are saying, “I want to be on fire for Jesus” just to say it, just stop. Like the definitions say, we need people who are eager. We need people who have something to give. We need people who recognize the seriousness of this hour. We need people who are consumed by Jesus, letting Him direct their path.

The words to Third Day’s song are still echoing in my heart.

“Lord, restore the joy I had
I have wandered, bring me back
In this darkness, lead me through
Until all I see is You

Lord, let me burn for You again
Let me return to You again
And Lord, let me burn for You again
And let me return to You again.” 

We all have wandered away from Jesus at sometime or another. I want to burn for Jesus again, again, and again. I don’t want my flame to go out. People are counting on us. Right this moment, there are thousands of people who have no hope. Their light has been snuffed out. They have no joy. They don’t think they can make it another day.

What will you do? Will you take time to pray? Will you ask God to give you His heart?

Is your fire bright enough that it leads others to Jesus? If not, take time right now to do a self-evaluation. In order to burn for Jesus, you have to do something different. One way to stir up your fire is by praying in tongues. Prayer helps you to know God’s heart and prepare you to help other people. God will give you the words to say. Get ready to burn for Jesus like never before!

~Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Mr CoolGuy © Crystal Fithen via freeimages.com

Comfort and Joy

What does it mean to walk in comfort and joy anyway? I have been asking myself this same question.

 

For starters, what is comfort? Comfort means to “soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to, to make physically comfortable, to aid; support or encourage”. So looking at the meaning, and hooking it up with scripture, then when we say “Jesus is our comforter,”we are saying that He provides relief in our afflictions (healing), and He gives us peace.

 

I don’t know about you but I have not been walking in a lot of comfort and joy. At least not until recently when I got a breakthrough. You know when you take your eyes off of the one who gives you the comfort and joy and start to focus on all of the circumstances surrounding you that comfort and joy leaves you. You may be able to put on the façade of joy but it does not last long. I should know since I had been doing that for a while.

 

It is important that when thoughts that do not line up with God’s Word are flooding your mind, that you take those thoughts captive. I went to leadership for advice for assistance and was provided a good swift kick in the rear that I needed to help me get back on track. Don’t get me wrong, God had already been dealing with me about the price and the swift kick in the rear was done in love. It was the truth and the truth will set you free if you will listen. I chose to listen, and I have felt more joy and comfort than I have felt in months!

 

My focus has shifted to where it needs to be and not on the circumstances that have tried to infiltrate my mind. Will I have to battle thoughts in the future? I  know I will.

 

Gateway leaders are here to help you overcome all circumstances that has tried to present itself in your life. You just have to be willing to take correction and to change and grow. Showing up for services and ministry opportunities is a vital role in your spiritual growth. At one time it was said that 80% of our victory is just showing up. Spending personal time in the Word for yourself, worshiping and praying are also necessary in order to overcome obstacles and circumstances in your life. Trust in Him and His Word for His Word is His Will. He sent His son to die on the cross for our salvation, healing, comfort, and joy. Embrace the comfort and joy that comes from the love of our Father.

 

Ronda Sullivan

 

Image Credit © Tammy Sanders

Thank You Precious Enemy

Thank you, precious enemy, for all of the good you’ve done.

I’m learning how to judge myself. I want to be more like the son!

My friends would never hurt me. They would never say the things you’ve said.

But thanks to you, dear enemy, this old flesh is dead.

Jesus has so many friends. They love him more than life.

He also had an enemy, full of bitterness and strife.

There had to be that enemy to nail our saviour to a tree.

There has to be someone like you, to crucify me like you do.

I’m finding strength where I’ve been weak.

I’m learning how to think, then speak.

So please, dear enemy, don’t stop yet.

All of my goals have not been met.

I’m striving for a place divine, where Father’s ways are also mine.

~Connie Robinson

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A Rose of Beauty

I recently experienced the most wonderful, unexpected blessing. To my surprise, my rose bush bloomed. I thought the bush was dead since I neglected it for so long. Usually, if I am lucky enough, it will bloom one rose if it blooms at all. This year was different for some reason. It produced several beautiful, orange roses. They were not very big, but I was excited to see them bloom anyway. I really wanted to share their beauty with someone who needed cheering up for the day. “But, who Lord?” I spoke silently to myself. I really had no idea with whom to share it. It wasn’t long after I started to pray that the Lord gave me a name. I did not know anything about the problems this person was experiencing. However, the Lord knew her situation and the love from the rose made her cry. She later told me she felt dead inside, and it was a reminder to her that God was still alive. It was such a simple act and it changed her whole day.

The lesson I learned from that day was humility. I felt so humbled that God could use a person like me to make someone else feel special. It was inspiring to me that the little things I could do, could help change someone’s ashes to beauty. It was a lesson to remind me that even when I am feeling good, there are always others that are feeling sad. We just never know when we can make a difference in someone else’s life.

~Gay Dowdy

Image credit: ORANGE AND RED ROSE
© Cyrus Cornell | Dreamstime.com

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