When Jesus was speaking to His Father just before He died, He prayed that His followers would have His joy fulfilled in themselves (see John 1:13).
This privilege, like all privileges of the Christian, has been purchased by the blood of Christ and is therefore a high and holy responsibility. That is to say, the provision on God’s part of privileges for us creates the obligation on our part to attain to their enjoyment.
But are you a joyful Christian? Have you a Christ-like experience in this regard? I do not ask you whether you have joyous emotions, but is the joy of Christ fulfilled in yourself?
The only way out of bondage is to begin seeking God's approval instead of man's approval.
An epidemic of insecurity is stealing the joy of life from many people in our society today and causing major problems in their relationships. I know the effect insecurity can have on lives because I experienced it myself. I know what it does to a person. Those who have been hurt badly as a result of abuse or severe rejection, as I have, often seek the approval of others to try to overcome their feelings of rejection and low self-esteem.
They suffer from those feelings and seek the approval of others to try to remove the pain. They are miserable if someone seems not to approve of them in any way or for any reason, and they are anxious about the disapproval until they feel they are once again accepted.
The indwelling presence of our glorious Lord makes the Christian life supernatural. We must cherish this glory always and never exchange it for empty promises of human approval and reward.
In the days of Jeremiah the prophet, the Lord called His people Israel to account because they did not "guard their glory." Although they started out devoted to the Lord, they turned away from Him and began to follow other gods. God spoke to them about this through Jeremiah. "I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, the love of your betrothals, your following after Me in the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the first of His harvest" (Jer. 2:2-3, NASB).
Clearly, God was pleased with Israel's initial condition. But then something happened. He said: "'What injustice did your fathers find in Me, that they went far from Me and walked after emptiness and became empty?...Has a nation changed gods, when they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit'" (Jer. 2:5,11).
Like it or not, people are watching you. Is your character pointing them to Jesus?
We don't have to scan far into today's headlines to see that integrity is lacking in the marketplace. Scandals of fraud and mismanagement have rocked nearly every industry.
Our society seems to have a high degree of tolerance for those who have made mistakes in the ethics and integrity department. But in spite of our willingness to forgive and the stories of individuals who have seemed to demonstrate that crime does pay, most of the time shortcomings in the integrity department result in ruined careers and demolished lives.
If you will dare to obey God, even when it’s uncomfortable, you will see remarkable wonders in the most unlikely places.
Duane Kropuenske and I don't look much alike. He's over 6 feet tall; I'm 5 feet 7 inches. Our backgrounds aren't similar either. Duane attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and was raised in the Lutheran church. I ended my formal education after graduating from high school and never set foot in a church while growing up.
But Duane and I do have one thing in common—we both want to obey the Lord. That was clear to me the moment we sat down in a restaurant and talked about the new bank we planned together.
Jesus used many analogies to teach us the truths of the kingdom. One of these was the lesson of the seed-grain, in which He compared the life of the believer to the development process of a grain of wheat.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the gound and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24, NKJV). This process is the same one we must go through if we are to bear fruit as we are called to do.
Let us turn to the seed-grain and see the picture lesson, that in these last days we may intelligently yield to the pierced hand of God and permit His fullest purposes to be fulfilled in us.
Defend yourself against disappointment by focusing on God and confessing His Word.
We all have been disappointed at one time or another. In fact, it would be surprising if we went through an entire week without encountering some kind of discouragement. Many Christians are lying along the roadside of life devastated because they have not learned how to deal with the problem.
It is not God's will for you to live a disappointed, devastated or oppressed life today—or any day. When you resist the devil at the onset of your discouragement and learn to place your hope and confidence in Jesus, you can live in His joy and peace.
Discover the most common obstacles to joy-filled living and learn what it takes to overcome them. It's not as tough as you think.
ARE YOU ENJOYING your life? If not, God wants you to. Jesus said in John 10:10 that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, but He came that we "may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)" (AMP). I believe this means God wants us to enjoy every part of our lives—not just little bits and pieces here and there.
Many people today live their lives in a constant state of stress and turmoil. But as Christians, we don't have to live that way. Why? Because God's Spirit lives in us, and a fruit of His Spirit is joy.
Every woman has endured one kind of heartbreak or another. We've all had the unfortunate experience of betrayal, and we've grieved over the difficulty of getting past it. As Christian women, how do we process the hurts we go through? And where is our God in the midst of them?
In the book of 2 Samuel, King David's daughter Tamar suffered an unspeakable violation at the hands of her brother Amnon, who afterward, rejected her and cast her away. The Scripture says: "Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went" (2 Sam. 13:19, NIV).
Whether or not you were taught as a child to walk by faith, you can learn how to weather adversity and find courage and strength in the Lord.
When I was growing up, I learned the meaning of standing strong in God by watching my family. They were living examples I could observe every day. I saw how faithful my parents were to God and to each other, and I wanted to be like that, too.
My mom was a deeply committed woman of God. I am convinced that every demon and devil of hell knew her name—her first name. My grandmother was so full of the power of the Holy Ghost that she could lay hands on the sick and, believe me, they would recover.
Sin and ill are the false notes struck by man across the harmony of God’s will, and to strike upon or even remember such notes is instant banishment from the music of His presence. Where all is joy, there joy is all; and he who has not reached this joy does not know God—he is still a follower, and not a possessor, and he should refuse in his heart to remain satisfied with his condition, but climb on. Why stay behind? Climb on, climb on!
Often I have been mystified and disturbed by the attitude of many religious and pious people who appear to believe that to follow Christ is a way of gloom, of sadness, of heaviness. Often I have gathered from sermons that we are to give up all the bright and enticing things if we would follow Him, and the preacher goes no further!
Has the Lord, then, no enticements, no sweetnesses, no brightness to offer us, that we should be asked to forsake all pleasantness, all brightness, all attractions if we follow Him? This to me always seemed terrible, and my heart would sink. Indeed, to my poor mind and heart it seemed nothing more hopeful than a going from bad to worse!
It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can forgive.
Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope. It stands when all else has fallen. How do we get that strong love? The Holy Spirit is the one who gives it to us. We must look to Him when faced with the challenge of loving our enemies.
In Africa I visited a man who was imprisoned and sentenced to death. I asked, “Have you ever heard of the cross of Jesus Christ, where He carried the sins of the world—also your sins?”
Men aren't the only ones who wrestle with sexual temptation. In fact, women today need clear guidance on where to draw the line.
Indulging in a steamy romance novel … going out of your way to pass by the attentive co-worker's desk … surfing in cyberspace to find a chat room buddy who'll stroke your ego. None of these seemingly innocent activities could be considered cheating or sexually compromising, right? Or could they?
Where is the line between sexual integrity and compromise? What constitutes marital unfaithfulness? Can we consider ourselves “pure” as long as we've not been physical with another man? Or, does sexual purity go deeper than that?
If your husband is a slave to porn, you can play an active role in his recovery. Don't be a victim—God can give you victory.
YOUR HUSBAND'S ADDICTION TO pornography has just been discovered. The aftermath of this betrayal leaves every precious memory grimy and tainted. You muse back on your wedding night. Was he thinking of some porn star as he touched you? When you were working to conceive a baby together by night, what had he been conceiving with his computer monitor by day?
Your dreams are shattered. You despise him for how his sexual addiction makes you see him, and you're panicked by how it makes you see yourself.
"Expose yourself to the circumstances of His choice.”
This little phrase, which has stood by many a climbing soul, seems to have been coined for a picture I have of the Matterhorn surrounded by billowing clouds. In this picture, the confusion of the skies has been so wonderfully captured that I can almost see the movement and hear the wind that rushes past. The clouds in the picture are sunlit, but I realize that, were they real, they could with awful speed cover the face of the mountain with darkness.
Mist, rain, snow—the clouds may bring them all, and the precipice falls away at our feet. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy” (Acts 20:24)—so speaks the spiritual mountaineer.
Many of us have broken relationships with parents and we find it easy to believe we are "throwaway people" and not important—even in the eyes of God. Watch as Lysa TerKeurst discusses how she dispelled these lies and faced her "crisis of belief."
Indecision is a miserable state to be in and certainly is not a fruit of the simple life. Simplicity prays, seeks wisdom and decides. It doesn’t waffle. It sticks with the decision it made unless there is a very good reason to change it. The apostle James said the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways and will not receive anything he asks from the Lord.
How can God give us anything if we can never make up our minds concerning what we want?
Inevitably, our journeys through life bring us to many unavoidable decisions, and we will always get into trouble if we make them emotionally or according to what we think or want. God wants us to make wise decisions. I believe having wisdom is choosing to do now what we will be happy with later.