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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
If you will dare to obey God, even when it’s uncomfortable, you will see remarkable wonders in the most unlikely places.
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.
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.
the most common obstacles to joy-filled living and learn what it takes
to overcome them. It's not as tough as you think.
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
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.
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?
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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."
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
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.