Welcome Readers!

"Hello" to all my regular readers and those who are here for the first time!
I hope that this blog enlightens and encourages those who read it but I also hope that it will wake up those who have been asleep to the clock that is ticking within our beautiful nation and within the body of Christ. It is my goal to glorify our Lord and share the Truth with anyone who will listen!
I pray that the Lord will give you strength and courage each day to do His will and to glorify Him. It seems to be getting harder and harder these days to keep our heads above water, but He does promise us that He will not allow the waters to overtake us! Praise Him for that promise!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Are We Havin' Fun Yet? Part Two

Last week I mentioned a couple of reasons that JOY can be lost or missing in our lives and today I will share one more. Hopefully you have had some time to look deep within to see if you are filled with the JOY of the Lord and if not, that you have allowed the Lord to show you where it can be found in your life.

As we grow closer to the Lord, we want to become the holy person that He designed us to be. At least that is what my goal was and is, however, I have realized that the pendulum has swung a little too far on the side of legalism. I am not a bubbly and light-hearted person by nature. I actually tend to be serious and even skeptical at times. This, compounded with the very serious topic of eternal judgment, I have become even more serious and almost pious. 

It is important to stand for the Truth and to live a clean life so that God can use us and be glorified through us, but we can't be all doom and gloom or goody-goody while we are serving the Lord. We need to be real, which should include, laughing and having fun. God did ask us to live in a certain manner, but He didn't tell us to do it with a sour or negative attitude. We should be filled with JOY as we live on this earth. If others see Christianity as gloomy and serious ALL of the time lacking any fun and light-heartedness, it probably won't attract too many people. Don't get me wrong here, we DO need to take things seriously when it comes to sin and rejection of or disobedience to the Lord, but there are times for laughter. 

A friend of mine pointed out that the sin in the world does make it difficult to have fun because the world laughs at sin. When we laugh at the things of the world, it may give the impression that we approve of the sin and that is a line that I have been avoiding. It is much easier to just not laugh than to risk having people think that I am laughing with the world. I intentionally don't watch sit-coms anymore because the funny parts are usually directed at sin; a disobedient child, a lazy husband, a sexual encounter that is immoral and the list goes on. It is my preference to just not go there. However, I have gone too far in that I have been shutting out the world as much as I can. There are parts of it that we can still enjoy. That will vary for each of us, but I am realizing that for the sake of my relationships, my emotional health and for the picture that I paint of Christianity, I need to seek out opportunities to laugh and have fun. I suggest that you do the same if you find that you are taking life just a little too seriously these days!!  

I bought a few Christian comedian DVDs recently and am taking time to laugh on a more regular basis. If you haven't seen or heard of Tim Hawkins, I suggest you check him out. He really is funny!    

Monday, May 16, 2011

Are We Havin' Fun Yet? Part One

Can you remember the last time that you really had fun? I mean REALLY! The kind of fun that you will remember forever, think of often and share with others? I can't. I do remember having fun in my past, but to really recall a time where I was rolling on the floor laughing or giggling like a schoolgirl, is difficult. Recently God has been showing me that I have become a little bit of a "stick in the mud". And to be sure that I got the message, He allowed that truth to come from someone I dearly love! Have you fallen into the mud as well? I think that it can be very difficult to find enjoyment and laughter these days. Times are financially difficult for many, relationships are strained everywhere you look and overall the outlook is grim nationally. Sin abounds and we live right in the middle of it! Should these things kill our ability to have joy? Not according to God's Word! Recently I have spent some time seeking God's plan for joy in our lives and this is what I have discovered.

As I was doing my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) study this past week I came across the verse in Isaiah, 61:10a that states: "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God." Over the years I have read a number of verses that tell us that our joy comes from the Lord, but I have never really taken that to heart. I know that happiness is fleeting but joy lasts forever and that J.O.Y. is when we put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. Sure it all sounds good, but how do you apply it to your life? I thought that I was in good shape. I pray, study His Word, go to church and try to be obedient to His calling and to His will. So why would I be told that I am not too much fun? Well, after much prayer and searching His Word for answers I have come to a conclusion. The answer is multi-faceted so I will take one issue at a time.

Over the years I have began understanding the true freedom that comes from a relationship with Jesus. It changes our lives and transforms us into godly people and the blessings that come from this transformation are abundant and truly indescribable. As I see people ache from the choices of a worldly life, also known as sin, I have become overwhelmed with grief and sorrow for those who don't know the Lord. It even frustrates me at times, to know those who outright reject Him. I have taken the situation so seriously that I have forgotten the joy in rejoicing over the fact that I am no longer one of the "lost"! Yes, this is a serious matter, but I can't carry the weight of those who are choosing to build up their treasures on earth. Obedience to share the truth with them is part of my job for God, but at the end of the day, I need to leave the "work stuff" at work and enjoy the freedom that I have in Christ.

Joy can also be lost in the daily grind of our own lives; the bills stacked high, the relationship that is strained or even broken that we can't get off our minds, dreams that seem to be dashed, health problems that touch everybody on some level and the list goes on. If this sounds familiar is it even possible to find joy in each day? Sure we have salvation but what about the here and now? This is a tough thing but if we really trust God to be in control of ALL things and we trust Him to have our best at heart then we should be able to find joy in those things alone. Easier said than done! I have recently realized that I have been saying those things to myself for years, but I wasn't living like I believed them! There was a disconnect between the knowing and applying.

As I continued to pray about my lost joy and continued to search His Word, I found that the same theme permeated from the Scriptures: Delight in the Lord and His Law. I asked myself over and over, "Aren't I doing that? I serve Him and love Him." But graciously the Lord revealed to me the missing link. I had an idol in my life and God was not my first love! Therefore I was not delighting in the Lord and His Law because His Law states to love Him with all my heart, strength, mind and soul. It also says that He is a jealous God and will not tolerate affection to another god AND He says that we cannot serve two masters. I was in offense for all three of these! I am sure that there are more, but I had to stop looking! I just couldn't take any more evidence against me! If joy is found when we delight in Him and His Law, but we are not abiding in Him or His Law, then ... ta-da, there is no joy! It is simple math!

There are more causes for the absence of joy, but I'll save that discussion for another time. I do suggest that if you find yourself to be "joyless", do a word study for yourself and as you seek God's wisdom, He will reveal your missing link. Some of the verses that speak of joy are; Deuteronomy 12:7, Psalm 1:2, Psalm 5:11, Psalm 119:24, 35 and Proverbs 8:30b-31, just to name a few!