Six Surefire Steps to a Joy-Filled Life
John 15:7-11 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Step 1: Be a Christian.
- “Abide in me…” If you trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are “in Christ.”
Step 2: Read God’s Word.
- “If you… and my words abide in you…” Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, so take in more Bible than food.
Step 3: Pray answered prayers.
- “If you… (do steps 1 and 2), ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” If God’s words abide in you, you’ll pray them. And he’ll answer them.
Step 4: Prove your faith by bearing much fruit.
- “If you… bear much fruit and so prove…” Fruitful work for Christ brings both glory to God and assurance of salvation.
Step 5: Abide in Jesus’ love.
- “If you… Abide in my love…” How? See step 6.
Step 6: Keep Jesus’ Commandments.
- “If you keep my commandments…” This fulfills step 5. Jesus said that we abide in his love by keeping his commands. A very necessary final ingredient in the recipe for joy.
Result – Guaranteed Joy.
[This post was written by my fellow pastor Bob Mundorff]
Original post here.
Stephen Altrogge is a writer who lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife and 3 daughters. You can find out more about him on The Blazing Center.
David Jeremiah ‘The Aftershocks of Saul’s Conversion’ -full- Turning Point 2015, 06 07
Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
One of Finland’s most unusual preachers was Paavo Ruotsalainen, who was born into a poor family in 1777 and became a farmer. As a young man, he sought a deeper Christian life. Hearing about a distant blacksmith known for his godliness, Ruotsalainen traveled many miles to meet him, begging for food and lodging along the way. As they conversed, the blacksmith, Jacob Hogman, told the lad he lacked an inner awareness of Christ. From that point, Ruotsalainen focused on the truth of Christ within him—the hope of glory. In the years that followed, he traveled incessantly throughout Finland, sparking revival in many areas. It’s said he traveled more miles in Finland than the apostle Paul covered in all his missionary journeys.1
Take it from the blacksmith. To have peace and power in our lives, we must focus our minds on Christ and saturate them with His Word. Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above.”
Christ in you—the hope of glory!
One thing you lack and therewith you lack all else: the inner awareness of Christ. Jacob Hogman
Jealousy is an undesirable, negative emotion, which is fueled by anger or selfishness. According to James 3:16, “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” From today’s passage, however, we see that there is a different perspective on the word when it’s applied to God: “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Deut. 5:9).
This seems like a contradiction, but jealousy has a second, more positive meaning, which has almost been lost in our modern culture. It describes God’s vigilance in guarding our love for Him. Since we were created to love and worship Him, anything that competes for our devotion is a just cause for His jealousy.
The most important commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). Without this complete devotion to Him, we will pursue our own interests and neglect godly principles and goals. No idol—whether a person, dream, pursuit, or possession—is worthy of worship. But a holy and just God, whose deep love for mankind moved Him to send His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place, deserves and demands our total love and loyalty.
God hates idols of every kind because He knows anything that draws our attention away from Him is dangerous. In fact, focusing only partially on the Lord is a sure way to stumble, get wrapped up in sin, and miss His blessings. For both our protection and His glory, the heavenly Father calls us to be true to Him by living in an obedient, loving, and worshipful manner.
“Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.” (Song of Solomon 1:16)
These words begin King Solomon’s tender expressions of love to his beautiful young wife. Solomon wrote a thousand and five songs (1 Kings 4:32), but apparently this was his favorite, for he called it his “song of songs” (Song 1:1), and it clearly centered on his beloved, whom he called “my sister, my spouse” no less than four times (Song 4:9-12; 5:1), thereby intimating both their spiritual and marital relationship.
Rehoboam was Solomon’s only son, as far as recorded, and his mother’s name was Naamah (2 Chronicles 12:13), meaning “pleasant.” Since he was 41 years old when he inherited Solomon’s throne and since Solomon had only reigned 40 years (2 Chronicles 9:30), the marriage of Solomon and Naamah must have been formalized when Solomon was quite young, long before he was married to Pharoah’s daughter or any of his other 700 wives. Naamah was then and always his one real love, in spite of his spiritual defections in old age. His counsel to young men near the end of his life was: “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days . . . of thy vanity” (Ecclesiastes 9:9).
Note that Solomon called her “fair” and “beloved” in our text, and then “pleasant.” The Hebrew word for “pleasant” is very similar to “Naamah,” as though Solomon were calling her by a shortened form of her name as a term of endearment. The same word is occasionally translated “sweet.” Naamah was surely a sweet, pleasant maiden, but also a capable woman in mind and heart, fit to become a queen.
Solomon’s song for and about her is an inspired ode to true marital love and thus can even be a figurative testimony to the love of Christ, the “greater than Solomon,” for His church. HMM
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with mem, and confirming the word with signs following.
Such words as these in the second chapter of Hebrews stand as a rebuke to the unbelieving Christians of our day: “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” (Hebrews 2:4). A cold Church is forced to “interpret” such language. She cannot enter into it, so she explains it away. Not a little juggling is required, and not a few statements for which there is no scriptural authority, but anything will do to save face and justify our half-dead condition. Such defensive exegesis is but a refuge for unbelieving orthodoxy, a hiding place for a Church too weak to stand.
No one with a knowledge of the facts can deny the need for supernatural aid in the work of world evangelization. We are so hopelessly outclassed by the world’s superior strength that for us it means either God’s help or sure defeat. The Christian who goes out without faith in “wonders” will return without fruit. No one dare be so rash as to seek to do impossible things unless he has first been empowered by the God of the impossible. “The power of the Lord was there” is our guarantee of victory. PTP012-013
May the power of the Lord be with me in my ministry, so that I might not be “outclassed by the world’s superior strength.” Amen.
Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.—1 Thessalonians 2:12.
Amid our most trivial duties, on days, which are passing in the usual round of uneventful routine, He may speak to us as never before. A quiet word may be dropped by a friend,—a sentence read in a book,—a thought lodged, we know not how or why, in the mind. We are laid under obligations to a new and more imperious view of life and duty. There is, of course, room for self-delusion of many kinds in the supposed visit of the heavenly call. But we are tolerably safe if two conditions are observed,—if, first, the duty or line of life prescribed is unwelcome to our natural inclinations; and if, secondly, it does not contradict what we know God has taught us hitherto, To listen for the footsteps of the divine Redeemer passing by us in the ordinary providences of life is a most important part of the probation of every man. How much may depend upon following when He beckons us to some higher duty, to some more perfect service, we shall only know when we see all things as they really are in the light of His eternity.
H. P. Liddon.
I will charge my soul to believe and wait for Him, and will follow His providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it.
“He that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.” Ps. 32:10
O fair reward of trust! My Lord, grant it me to the full! The truster above all men feels himself to be a sinner; and lo, mercy is prepared for him: he knows himself to have no deservings, but mercy comes in, and keeps house for him on a liberal scale. o Lord, give me this mercy, even as I trust in thee!
Observe, my soul, what a bodyguard thou hast! As a prince is compassed about with soldiery, so art thou compassed about with mercy. Before and behind, and on all sides, ride these mounted guards of grace. We dwell in the center of the system of mercy, for we dwell in Christ Jesus.
O my soul, what an atmosphere dost thou breathe! As the air surrounds thee, even so does the mercy of thy Lord. To the wicked there are many sorrows, but to thee there are so many mercies that thy sorrows are not worth mentioning. David says, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” In obedience to this precept my heart shall triumph in God, and I will tell out my gladness. As thou hast compassed me with mercy, I will also compass thine altars, O my God, with songs of thanksgiving!