Christmas Joy!

The Christmas season is here once again.  I love the music of the season. I am one that starts listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  So I get to hear the song, ”Joy to the World” a lot.  What exactly does this word joy mean? According to Webster dictionary:  Joy: to rejoice, an emotion evoked by well- being, to have a feeling of great pleasure and delight. That is a human emotion that comes and goes with the sunshine or clouds in our lives.  Is that how we are supposed to live as Christians? Can we have a different and settled joy in our hearts and lives no matter the dark the clouds that surround us?

What is the answer? YES! If God’s Word says that we can, then we can!

Psalms 87:7 “All my springs, my source of LIFE and Joy are found in You , oh Lord.”

John 10:10 “The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that you might have Life, and have it more abundantly.” (Agape Life, God’s Life)

In 2nd Peter the Bible states that the Lord has given us everything pertaining to Life. The question that we must ask ourselves is, “Am I experiencing the Life that has been provided to me as God’s child? Am I letting the enemy, people, circumstances, moodiness, etc. rob me of experiencing real joy, God’s Joy ?”

What to do if you are not living in that kind of joy?

  1. Be saved! John 3:16, 2. Be filled with the Spirit, 3. Feed your soul on God’s Word, 4. Decide! How do you want to live, 5. Transfer the eternal truths of God into experiential reality in our life by faith, trusting Him to keep His promises.

We now as children of God have a choice.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!  

Another Story of When God Comes in Revival!

In the early years of the 1700 – 1900’s the revival fires burned.  God sent powerful awakenings to: Wales, Scotland, Ireland, India, Korea, the United States and many other parts of the world.  God used many people such as John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield, and John Hyde (known as praying Hyde). Hyde, a missionary to India, prayed for 12 years before he saw an answer to his prayers.

A revival began in Southern India where Amy Carmichael along with many others had been praying that a new visitation of the Holy Spirit would come all over India as it had in many other places.  Amy was a Protestant Christian missionary in India who opened an orphanage and founded a mission in Dohnavus.  She served in India for 55 years without furlough and wrote many books. On October 22, 1906 Jesus came in the close of the morning service.  It was startling.  Soon the whole upper half of the church was on its face on the floor all crying out to God, each boy, girl, man, and woman alike.  The sound was like a sound of waves or a strong wind in the trees.  I had never heard such a thing, Amy confessed.  Many outside rushed to the church.  Months later, most all of the children had been saved and most adult backsliders were restored.  Many in the village were converted and many were quickened to walk in newness of life.

Oh God, may we be found faithful to be fervent in praying, repenting of our sin, and seeking You above all else, so that You might pour out revival in our nation and world.  Oh Father, grace us again with Your Holy presence.

Burdened,

Phyllis

Parts of this were taken from “Revival Fires,” by Wesley Duewel.

Another Story of God’s Mighty Power

Job 42:5-6, “My ears have heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  Until we truly see our need, we have no hope to see the glory of God.  It is God’s nature to bless.  He wants to bless His children in a Spiritual cleansing and refreshing. Are we willing to prepare the way of the Lord, by prayer, fasting, and repentance?

Another story of God moving in revival in American history.

Charles Finney was greatly used of God to spread the revival fires in central New York in 1825.  On a Thursday night the Lord brought much brokenness to the leaders in the church where he was preaching.  God gave Finney a burden of prayer, and on Sunday, God suddenly came down in power. The people had begun to weep and sigh uncontrollably.  God gripped the people with such Holy Spirit conviction that Finney led in prayer in a low unemotional voice to restrain the people. Their sighing and weeping continued as they went home.  Everyone that came into that town felt a sense of God’s presence. The town was full of praying.

One story is told of Finney when he was invited to tour a large cotton mill.  He entered one large room where the girls were at the looms laughing.  As he walked toward the work area, one of the girls looked into Finney’s eyes and the loom stopped and the girl started to tremble. One after another all the girls began to weep.  Finney had not said a word. Oh, what glory when God’s presence changes not only the atmosphere, but all the people in it.

Burdened,

Phyllis

Some parts taken from ”Revival Fires,”  by Wesley Duewel

 

HUNGERING AFTER THE HEART OF GOD!

Many years ago I was given a book titled, “Intimacy with the Almighty” by Charles Swindoll.  God used that little short book to change my Spiritual walk.  At the time I was very BUSY in a women’s retreat ministry as well as BUSY working. It seemed that I was so BUSY doing all those “good” things for the Lord that I neglected the most important, spending more quality time in worshiping my heavenly Father.  Oh, I was having my rather routine “quiet time.” Notice that I used the word BUSY several time in the last couple of sentences. BUSYNESS was robbing me of an intimacy with my Lord. Here are several Bible verses as well as quotes from his book that made an impact on my journey into intimacy with the Almighty.

Hosea 10:12b, “It is time to seek the Lord, until He comes to rain on you.” Notice the word “until” He rains on you. No more skipping through the halls of heaven.

Romans 11:33 “Oh the depths of the riches, both wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways.”

Psalms 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for the water brook: so my soul pants for You, oh God.”

Truly we are panting, hungering and thirsting for something, but can we honestly say it is for the heart of God? Richard Foster states: “Superficiality is the curse of our age. Instant satisfaction is a primary curse of our age.” Isaiah 29:8, 13 gives us a warning as the Lord warned Jerusalem. “Behold you are eating, but your hunger is not satisfied. You are drinking, but your thirst is not quenched. WHY? Because this people draw near with their words, and honor Me with lip service, but their hearts are far from Me.”

What are we to do?  Holy appetite suppressants: 1. Sinful activities. 2. A pleasure driven life. 3. Pride..     4. A success driven life. 5. A people pleasing life. 6. Cares of this world. 7. Make more- spend more- just want more. 8.  So many activities, sometimes, even good activities, but takes so much time that we neglect intimacy with the Lord.

Hunger satisfied:  Simplify: reorder our life…..Solitude: Cease striving, “Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”…Silence: Cut out all the noise so we can hear His still, small voice ….Surrender: Surrender is the key that unlocks the vault of the Father’s best and deepest treasures.

Joy,

Phyllis

Don’t Click On That!

Yesterday our computer tech was here working on our computers.  As she was working, I mentioned that I saw something in my document list that I didn’t recognize. As I started to click on it, she stated with excitement in her voice, “Don’t click on that!” She explained that when we open anything on the computer that we are not sure who sent it, or how it got in the computer, we open it up to all kinds of hacking and major damage.

As I was praying and thinking about what went on yesterday with my computer, I was thinking how that parallels the Bible as it states: “Be well balanced, sober of mind, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of ours, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”  When we open our minds to sinful thoughts, dishonesty, un-forgiveness, fear, worry, gossip, slander, or a hateful attitude, we give the devil an entrance into our hearts with all kinds of strongholds. Strongholds are habitual patterns of thinking that are deeply ingrained in a person. What starts out as a simple sinful act can open us up to all kinds of spiritual harm.

Romans 12:1-2 “ I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  Be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Every day we make a series of choices. Some are trivial, but some are not. Some determine our success or failure in our unhindered walk with our Lord.  Scripture clearly reveals that who we are, and where we are spiritually, is because of various choices we have made. We make choices and then choices make us.

Joy,

Phyllis

Be steadfast!

Have you ever felt tired, weary and put upon? Of course you have if you are a living, breathing human on this earth.

This morning I was reading 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Even though Paul was writing those words, I could not help but think, how many times our Lord was tired, weary, and was put upon, yet His goal was to fulfill His purpose from His Father in heaven.  I have to remind myself that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33), but our Lord overcame.  We also can overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ is calling us to be steadfast in a world that seems to be upside down, and going in the wrong direction.  Even when we are tired, not getting the appreciation for what we are doing. Even when we feel that we are being put upon, we must keep our eyes on our Lord, remembering the special purpose He has for us as His children. It is a life that is humble, gracious, forgiving, and kind even when things don’t go our way, keep on… keeping on……

It reminds me of the time many years ago when Jon and I were jogging at a local park.  The park was beautiful and full of gorgeous trees that gave lots of shade around the jogging trail.  At that time Jon and I would run in different directions so that he could make sure I was ok each time we went around the track.  After about 2 rounds, “A BIRD MESSED IN MY FACE!” WOW what a shock!!! Oh my, it was so hard to continue the jog after that, especially when Jon passed by and hollered, “Honey, did a bird just mess in your face, are you ok?” Well, No……………ok readers, go ahead and laugh, we did.

You know sometimes that is just how we feel in this life. ”A bird just messed in my face.” However, just as our Lord was steadfast to the cross, we must continue to be steadfast in the race that our Heavenly Father has for us. God promises our amazing reward in 2 Timothy 4:8. “Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day, and not only for me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Amen and amen!!!

Joy,

Phyllis

Read the Back of the Book

One of the many things that I love about the Christmas season is getting to watch Hallmark Christmas movies on TV.  Every one of the movies is cheerful and full of adventure. As the movie begins, we get to enjoy the breathtaking scene of the falling snow and the beautiful village full of joyful Christmas decorations. Of course, the movie starts with the introduction of the leading characters and then moves into the plot of the story.  Then, just when you think all is well they start building up the problems and disappointments with which the character must deal.  We know that there will be something that will cause stress and confusion in the journey for the characters. However, I never get all worried and fearful, WHY YOU MAY ASK? Because I have seen so many of the movies that I know how they will end.  Boy gets girl, they kiss and live happily ever after.

As we contemplate on all the problems and anxious events that are happening in our world today and in our personal lives, I think that we should remind ourselves that God’s got this!  You see if you have received Jesus as your personal Savior then you can count on what the Bible says in the end. It turns out OK!  Best said in an old song, “I read the back of the Book and we win.”

“I’ve been readin’ in the Bible bout the ending of the age, and one thing’s for certain it grows closer every day.  But I’m not concerned about the way it will end.

  ‘Cause I’ve read the back of the book and we win.

I’ve read the back of the book and we win, no more livin’ in darkness, we’ll be living at home again.  You see there ain’t no need to worry about it if you’re born again.  I’ve read the back of the book and we win.

No, there’s ain’t no need to worry about it if you’re born again

I’ve read the back of the book, and we WIN!”

I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father let us read the end in the Bible so that we don’t have to be worried through all the middle stuff that happens in life.

Joy and Merry Christmas,

Phyllis

Being real about the cost of discipleship!

Jesus lays out terms of discipleship. Just as there are many today, there were crowds of people in Jesus day that followed Him because they loved the miracles, His healings, and free food.  Jesus was cool and the talk of the town.  They loved His gifts and benefits without a personal relationship with Him.  They were following Him for what He did rather than for Who He was, God’s Son. Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me, cannot be my disciple.” Col. 2:6 “As you have received Christ Jesus, continue to live in Him.”  Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus said to His disciples. “If anyone desires to be my disciple, let them deny themselves, disregard, lose sight of, forget themselves and their own interests, take up their cross and follow me.”

James Dobson tells a story of Irina Ratushenshaya, who was from the Soviet Union in the 1990’s.  She shared after being raised in an atheist’s home, she found an old Slavic Bible when she was 23.  She taught herself to read it and discovered a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Her faith was discovered by the KGB, who had infiltrated the Russian Orthodox Church pretending to be priests. Irina was sent to a labor camp.  She refused to deny her Lord so they tortured her.  A tooth was drilled without anesthetic to test her tolerance for pain.  She was placed in an unheated room of 50 degrees for 5 months and given a cotton gown.  She sat on a cold floor and was fed only every other day.  Irina shared, ”being a Christian follower is not a very pragmatic thing to do and doesn’t bring many benefits in the Soviet Union.” President Ragan heard about her and arranged for her release through government channels.

When I read this story, I had to ask myself, “If that ever happens in America, would the Lord be able to count on me to be His true (follower) disciple?” The question for all of us, that claim Jesus as our Savior today, is not whether we are willing to suffer for Him, but are we willing to deny ourselves and LIVE for Him!

Phyllis

 

Rest

“Come unto Me, (Jesus speaking) all who labor and are weary, heavy laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to “REST.”  I will ease and refresh your souls.  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble and you will find REST (relief and ease and refreshment and blessed quietness) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome, good, not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant. My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11:28-30   Amplified Bible

Bible REST is by definition when one ceases to become agitated or disturbed, but instead finds a place of quietness.  The Bible speaks of REST some 71 times. Notice that the scripture says, “Come to Me.” Notice the verse also says, “Learn of Me.”  So many times, we try to have rest for our anxious souls without coming to Jesus.  Some go to pills, alcohol, self- help books, busyness, or anything to occupy their troubled minds other than Jesus.  The verse also states that we not only are to come to the Lord , but we must learn of Him. I have found that the more I learn of my Lord the more I can trust that He will do exactly what His Word says. “ For all the promises of God in Christ are yes and amen.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Then the scripture begins to talk about the yoke.  When the oxen of olden days were yoked together to do work, the older and trained oxen would be yoked with a younger more immature oxen so that older could teach the younger.  Jesus says that His yoke is especially made to fit us, to guide us and empower us as we do the work that He has assigned us here on earth.

When I was a little girl we lived on several acres of land. Every year my daddy planted a large garden.  We also owned an old mule to help with the plowing.  Daddy used to say, as he would harness the mule, that is was very important that the harness was properly fitted or it would rub sore places on the mule. Jesus is trying to tell us that if we will “Come to Him, learn of Him and be yoked together with Him,” He will give us REST (tranquility of mind) and refresh our souls.  No more hurts and sores in our soul trying to do things in our own strength and in our own way. Thank you Jesus……

Joy,

Phyllis

 

A Royal Event

As many already know and watched on television, Prince Harry (the Queen of England’s grandson) and Meghan Markle of the United States were united in married a few weeks ago.  It was quite an exciting Royal event and yes, I watched it.  All the who’s who of England and the United states were there to celebrate all the glitz and glamor of the royal family. People were lining the streets, cheering the couple as they rode down the street in their beautiful carriage pulled by white thoroughbred horses, signifying royalty. Then of course, they were followed by the royal military, also on white horses. Oh so much pomp and circumstance!

As I was listening to the cheering for the royal couple, I felt saddened as I thought about some 2000 years ago when my Lord Jesus, bloody and beaten, was dragged through a street in Jerusalem.  He was headed to Golgotha, the place of the Scull, to be hung on a rugged cross to die a horrific death to pay for my sins.  No cheering for Him, only being spat upon and the jeering of that crowd! Crucify Him, Crucify Him!  But wait, He too is Royalty!  Not just a Prince, but the King of Kings, yet pain and agony was His welcome.  The tears began to flood my eyes.

As quickly as the tears began to flow, the heavenly Father reminded me that “one day” soon, when only He knows, our Lord Jesus Christ will return. The trumpet will sound, and this time He will be accompanied by the angels in heaven cheering His coming, singing; Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!  Let us also rejoice and shout for joy exulting Him! Let us celebrate and ascribe what is due to Him, all glory and honor!!!Hallelujah and praise be to the Lord of Lords, Who is the King of Kings!!!And by the way Jesus also, will be mounted on a white thoroughbred horse signifying His “eternal” Royalty!!!

Joy,

Phyllis