Day #14 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV
Joy is not just a superficial happiness based on the circumstances or things around you. Joy is a welling up of the Father's love inside of you, and can be outpoured to those around you, even in times of trials or temptations. God's joy can and will be our joy. He gave us His joy, so that we could inturn share it with others, who will then share it again. We need the JOY of GOD to go on with our daily lives. Each day we will meet and face things or people that will change our thoughts, circumstances, etc for the 'negative'... but through the love and blessings of God, we can face those trials, and overcome them with Joy. Happiness can change to sadness, mourning or even anger in a moment, but with Joy we can accept the peace that comes in knowing and having a personal relationship with God.
The verse above states that we are to be joyful, pray all the time and to be thankful giving thanks in everything at all times. Is this the way we truly are? I know in truth I'm not... I am striving to be, but it doesn't work all the time, as we let our circumstances or others behaviour get to us. We just cannot allow anger and bitterness to get a foothold in our lives. Bitterness is a quality that no one should live out in their lives, for it also rots you from the inside out. In the Bible (in the book of Ruth), Naomi and her family made some wrong decisions, and things turned out pretty bad for them. Naomi's name means 'pleasant', but because she was looking at her circumstances, she wanted to change her name to Mara because it meant 'bitter' for she thought that's how the Lord was treating her. Eeek... It is in times like this I feel compassion and pity for people... I try very hard not to allow bitter feelings to be portrayed in my life, and try to live through the JOY of Jesus, but as in the names Mara, or even Mary, Mitzi is a derivative and also can mean 'bitter'. However, I do not let that 'characteristic' truly tell who I am. I am trying to live a life of example for those around me, to not 'sweat the small stuff', but it is hard when those around you continuously do it. It just serves as a reminder that we are to be a 'light' in this 'dark' world, and be different! So if you are struggling with rage, anger, or even bitterness, know there IS a way out... His Name is Jesus! "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
So, if you have this JOY, then share it with the world... Go and Do... Go and Be... Go and Shine! If you however are struggling, or have not found this 'JOY' or a relationship with the giver of joy... then your first step is as simple as A...B...C!
1. ADMIT you are a sinner. (Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God") Tell God that you are not perfect, that you are struggling, that you are a sinner. ('Cause yep, we all are.) You also have to repent of that sin... be sorry for it, and TRY not to do it again. (But when you do, 'cause yep we all are tempted to, just repent again.)
2. BELIEVE in your heart that God is real, and that He sent His Son to die for YOU. (His Son now does live again, as He was raised from the dead by His Father) Sin is only punishable by death... Jesus has come to make a way. (Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.") Don't be afraid to ask God if He is real, He wants you to seek Him from your heart. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you, and guide you into the truth. We all know, but do not truly understand the full meaning of John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life."
3. CONFESS your faith in Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. ("If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." Romans 10:9-10 NLT) Let God know that you want to change, you want Him to fill the voids or holes in your heart that you tried to fill yourself with things of the world. Some of you have tried drugs, alcohol, sex, work, etc to fill that void in your life... but it can only be filled by LOVE! The Love that the Father has for each one of us.
When God hears you pray this pray with your own words, from your own heart, He is blessed. The angels in Heaven rejoice when a sinner repents. "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent... In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15: 7 & 10) When you pray this prayer, and allow God to move by the power of His Holy Spirit, you will NEVER BE THE SAME! (Let me know if you've prayed this prayer... for the first time or for the 101st time... just send me a comment, I won't post it if you don't want me too. I'd love to pray alongside you. Even if you just write your name. Thanks!)
May you be blessed with the ABUNDANCE of JOY, and may it OVERFLOW out of your belly and may you be a blessing to others around you, so that they will receive this JOY as well!