Tag Archives: joy

Zephaniah, Psalms 74; 2 Corinthians 8

“Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia.  They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor.  But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.  For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more.  And they did it of their own free will.  They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift of the believers in Jerusalem.  They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-3 NLT

I can learn a lot from the churches in Macedonia…

They had abundant joy.

They gave themselves to the Lord first.

They had a strong faith.

They were not focused on what they were lacking, but what they could give.

“I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.  Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.  Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly.  And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. ” 2 Corinthians 8: 7-13 NLT

How many times have I felt lead to give and than I talk myself out of it? I make a mental list of all the reasons why I shouldn’t.  I give in to my fears and my eagerness fades. But, when I have followed through, my heart is fuller.  I am more grateful for all he has given me. He doesn’t hold back, so why should I?  I am reminded that my treasure truly is in Heaven.  I am reminded that it is all his.

“You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth.  You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You caused the springs and streams to gush forth, and you dried up rivers that never run dry.  Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun.  You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter.” Psalms 74:12-17 NLT

Thank you Father for how you pour out your love on me.  Thank you for your faithfulness and provision.  Help me to live with open hands to others.  Give me wisdom and discernment where needed.  I pray that my eyes would be open to those around me who are in need of a touch from you.  That I would be willing to be inconvenienced when it would be easier to turn the other way. Amen.

“For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Isaiah 26-29; Psalms 65; 1 Corinthians 4

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is an eternal Rock.” Isaiah 26:3&4 NLT

I am praying this verse for my 10 year old son who is having dental surgery this morning.  He has been learning to conquer his fears and do things afraid.  What an example it has been for me. When anxiety comes, God wants to show me that he is bigger.  He tells me to take the focus off of me and put it on him.  To remember all that he has done.  To quiet my heart before him.

“God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here.  This is a place of quiet rest.”  But they would not listen.  Isaiah 28:12a NLT

It can be hard to be quiet.  I wrestle with unexpected thoughts bombarding my mind.  I don’t always want to face what I am feeling.  It is easier to pretend it’s not there.  But, I am learning to cry out to him in the midst of my struggles… knowing that he will meet me.

“Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.  In the night I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek you.”  Isaiah 26:8&9 NLT

It takes obedience to turn my thoughts towards him.  The truth is that my human nature wants to do things on my own.  To act like I am in control.  When I finally relinquish and give that up to God, he fills me with an unexplainable peace.   I recall his past faithfulness.  I am filled with a joy that only he can provide.  I wonder why I wait so long.  And instead endure days of worrying or trouble getting to sleep.  I am so much better rested when I read his word at night.  And wake up to hear his voice in the morning.

“You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who love at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.” Psalms 65:1-8 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your patience with me.  That you care about the smallest details of my life.  I lift my eyes to you.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I want to live by your power.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit who guides me. Amen.

“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20 NLT

amy(amyctanner)

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Isaiah 1-3; Psalms 9; Matthew 22

I“Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?” Isaiah 2:22 NLT

Who am I trusting?

“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.” Psalms 9:9&10 NLT

Am I only loving when it is convenient and easy? Because sometimes it’s hard.  If I am trusting in God’s perfect love for me, than I am free to reach out to others without expecting anything in return.  The simple tune of “Jesus Loves Me” fills my mind.  “For the Bible tells me so…” I am convicted to fill my mind with Scripture. Because I know there is an enemy working against me. But, Jesus shows me how to love. And he already has the victory.

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demand of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NLT

I  let these sentences by Henri Noreen sink in…

“The question is not: How many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? Can you show the same results? But: Are you in love with Jesus? Perhaps another way of putting the question would be: Do you know the incarnate God? In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, cares, reaches out and wants to heal.  In that heart there is no suspicion, no vindictiveness, no resentment, and not a tinge of hatred.  It is a heart that wants only to give love and receive love in response.” ( In the Name of Jesus)

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.  I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name.” Psalms 9:1-2 NLT

Dear Father, help me to love others like you do.  And to remember how much I have been forgiven, so I can forgive.  Give me a heart like yours. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Song of Solomon 1-3; 1 Thessalonians 5; Psalms 72

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

This has always been one of my favorite verses. One that I would recite when I didn’t feel like being joyful, thankful, grateful. But, after reading it in context, I see it in a new way. It is keeping me alert and on guard until Jesus returns. It reminds me that there is a hope when I might have lost it. If I give thanks out of obedience my attitude changes. I see things differently. A devotional that I read on this verse mentions, an attitude of prayer. What does that mean in my day to day life? Humility, hope, resting in God’s sovereignty, trust…not defaulting to worry.

“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 NLT

Joy is a weapon.

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we were dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to cultivate a grateful heart. Help me to remember that you can use trials for your glory. That you work all things together for good. Amen.

“He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.” Psalms 72:12 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

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Proverbs 6-7; Psalms 7; Romans 11

“Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.” Romans 11:5&6 NIV

After reading Romans 11, this question from a devotional comes to mind …“Do I scoop out grace with a shovel or a spoon?”  If I am honest, it’s a spoon more often than not.  But when I look into my own heart, I know how ugly it can be.

“O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me, Lest they tear me like a lion, Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.” Psalms 7:1&2 NIV

I’ve learned that forgiveness takes trust…

Trust that He has a plan greater than my hurt.

Trust that He will never fail of abandon me.

Trust that He loves me and has my best interest in mind.

Trust that He will bring justice.

I like how Lysa TerKeurst describes forgiveness.  “A complicated grace that uncomplicates my anger and helps me see beautiful again.”

“My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart.” Psalms 7:10 NIV

Father, thank you for your forgiveness. Help me to freely give it to others.  So that my heart does not become hardened and bitter.  To You be the glory.  Amen.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 NIV

Amy(amyctanner)

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Judges 17-18; Psalm 21; Acts 1

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Act 1:6-11, NLT)

Last year, the focus word I’d chosen was restore. I pondered several words before that (then) new year, and restore came to mind. I tried to put it aside. Later, at church, the sermon was on restoration. I knew it was my word, and with it came a knowing: my father would die, and my sister and I would be restored. But I didn’t want to think on that. I wanted a restoration with my dad, after years of hurt and tension. It didn’t happen. He died before the end of January, and through a surprising sequence of events, my sister and I became closer than ever. God’s plan of restoration, and perhaps his plans on a lot of things, look way different than one might imagine.

So when the disciples ask, “Has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” Jesus tells them, loosely, “The When is not your business. But here is what IS your business … be my witness.”

Oh, men of Galilee, why are you standing here and staring up into heaven?

While I wait for Jesus, I remind myself daily–he has a plan. And I am part of it. To show his love wherever I may be. To be a steward of the tasks he approved for me. To walk in his spirit in every situation, and some are so hard, but I am grateful for his power, his love, his truth, his guidance. To serve in ways that glorify him. To tell others about him and have him present in my life. This is how I can be a witness.

Someday he will return.

Lord Jesus, I keep my eyes fixed on you. If I take them off of you, it is easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed. But with you, I see you everywhere, in everything. Because of you, I can rejoice.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 30-33; Psalms 35; Luke 3

“These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to the starting points: They departed from the Ramesus in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day of the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians” Numbers 33:1-3 NKJV

The Israelites were on their way to the Promised Land.  I imagine Moses writing about their struggles, hardships, faith or lack there of.  “They departed”…What old ways am I still holding onto that could be leaving me stuck? I think about times that I can get complacent. I read over my journal entries and my hope is renewed over God’s faithfulness. Sometimes I have to look back to be able to move forward.

“Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, And stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, And stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Psalms 35:1-3 NKJV

David cried out to God to make right the wrongs committed against him. Things that could have hindered him, he gave to God instead and found freedom.

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, “Lord, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?” Psalms 35:9&10 NKJV

As I prepare my heart for Easter, I pray that I would be filled with wonder over what Jesus did for me.

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled. And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight. And the rough places smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:4-6 NKJV

Dear Father, thank you for the victory I have in you. I pray for others who don’t know you, to know how much you love them. Enough to die on the cross for their sins. Thank you that you will complete the work you started in me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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