Nothing Like Your Love

My Song Lyrics

Your voice is
The sweetest melody I’ve ever heard
It echoes
Through my heart and whispers by Your Word
I hear You
And destiny is calling out my name
I feel You
And with Your touch I’ll never be the same
Day after day

Your love has given me hope
Your love has healed my heart
Your love has restored my soul
Your love has banished the dark
In everything You give
And in all that You are
There’s nothing like Your love, Jesus
Nothing like Your love

Your grace is
The strength inside that keeps me hanging on
Your presence
My joy in life until the breaking dawn
I need You
So let Your peace calm this troubled mind
I see You
For You alone I leave the world behind
And I find

Your love has given me hope
Your love has healed my heart
Your love has restored my soul
Your love has banished the dark
In everything You give
And in all that You are
There’s nothing like Your love, Jesus
Nothing like Your love

I find my life within You
I find that I am truly free
All that I am is for You
‘Cause You gave it all for me

Your love has given me hope
Your love has healed my heart
Your love has restored my soul
Your love has banished the dark
In everything You give
And in all that You are
There’s nothing like Your love, Jesus
Nothing like Your love

Be a Family for the Lonely

Thought for the Day

I guarantee you’ve seen them but chances are you didn’t notice them – the lonely ones. The ones who sit by themselves all the time. The ones who wander the halls and foyer of your church hoping that someone will notice, really notice them, hoping for the chance to talk and connect, and ultimately hoping for somewhere to belong. You’ve seen them but have you really looked at them? Seen the longing in their eyes, heard the emptiness in their voice, felt the ache in their heart? And if you have, what did you do about it? A hug? A prayer? A kind word? While those things are good they’re only good for a few minutes. So what can you do? Be their family.

Scripture says that ”God places the lonely in families (Ps 68:6)”. Sure, He might give them a family of their own -spouse and children – but till then they still need a family. They need your family. They need you to truly be part of their lives, to invest in them and draw out the best in them. I can hear some of you saying, “But I don’t have time for that.” You have time for what you make time for, it’s just a matter of priorities. Besides, being a family for the lonely is commanded in Scripture it’s just referred to differently. It’s said in ways like, “practice hospitality (Romans 12:13)” and to take care of the foreigner, stranger, widow, orphan.

The problem is no one really practices these things (not that I know of anyway) and the question is: “Why not?” Most likely the answer is “familial-self-absorbtion” (and yes I made that word up). Here’s what I mean by it: each family(and with very few exceptions I mean the most immediate family) ultimately only ever truly gives thought to those who are already part of that family – either by blood, marriage, or legal adoption – and rarely (if ever) extends family considerations to anyone else. It’s as though each family is it’s own highly exclusive club and while the various clubs might sometimes do things together in the end they are still separate groups. But does anyone really think that God intended for it to be that way among His people? Isn’t it supposed to be, “in Christ we… form one body (Romans 12:5)” Of course it is.

I hope that at this point you’re asking, “How do we become a family for the lonely?” First you have to find them, you have to learn how to truly see them, because I can promise you that they are all around you, desperate to be seen. Pray and ask God to show you the ones around you who need to be part of your family. Once you’ve found them and established a basic relationship with them the next step is simple – invite them in. Invite them to celebrate life with you. Invite them over for holidays, birthdays (yours and theirs) and any other celebrations. This part is very important because the lonely often have no one to spend this time with and end up going through holidays and significant life events all alone. In doings these things and reaching out to the lonely ones all around you, the church will finally and truly be what it’s meant to be – a family.

Everything We Need – Conclusion

Mini Sermon

Point to Ponder

Have you taken the necessary first step by putting your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? This is the first and most important thing that God asks you to do: “What God wants you to do is believe in the One He sent (John 6:29)”. If you have done this, then make sure that you have also been baptized. It is a powerful symbol and will help you to grasp the truth of your unity with Christ in His death and resurrection. Next, get to know the Scriptures and all the “great and precious promises” contained in them. They are for you and you can claim every single one. Every description of the believers in Christ is also true of you and God desires to see it all manifested in your life for God is, “no respecter of persons” (Deuteronomy 10:17, Galatians 2:6). Ask Him to change you, embracing His Word in faith, and get ready to see yourself change – expect it. It is to God’s glory that you “bear much fruit” (John 15:8). Refuse to live under sin anymore for “it desires to rule over you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:7)”, and God will help you.

Let’s pray, “God of heaven and earth, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to die for us (John 3:16) that we might be forgiven and cleansed – brought into relationship with You. We have confessed our sins before You and believe that each of us in “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) in Christ. We believe Your Word and embrace the truth that we have been “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20) and have been raised to newness of life (Romans 6:4) with a new heart indwelt by Your precious Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:25-27). And now we ask with all faith and certainty, knowing that since we are asking in line with Your will that You hear us and answer us (1 John 5:14-15), we ask for the empowerment of Your Spirit that in knowing and claiming Your Word we do indeed have everything that we need for life and godliness through Your great and precious promises. Help us to empty ourselves that we may be filled full of You (Ephesians 3:19) and just as You have won the victory and given us the victory over sin – help us to walk in that victory. Lord, we want to live in obedience, righteousness, and holiness – to Your glory. We know that this is the very thing that You have desired to work in us. Thank You for not giving up on us. We commit ourselves to You right now – to live in absolute surrender to You every day that we may truly experience the abundant life (John 10:10) that You have promised us. Thank You for all that You have done, are doing, and will do – for us, in us, and through us. May Your Name be greatly praised forever! Amen.”

“And now, to Him who is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before the presence of His glory – with exceeding joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord, through all generations, forever and ever! Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)”

Everything We Need Pt 2

Mini Sermon

Ask in Faith

If living to please God for His glory is your true motive then make sure that you are asking in faith. Jesus says, “Whatever you ask for, believe that you have received it and you shall have it (Mark 11:24)”. Scripture also says that we are to ask in faith and not doubt, “That person (the one who doubts) should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7)”. We can have confidence and faith in what we ask if we ask in line with His will. Scripture says, “this is the confidence that we have in approaching God that id we ask according to His will He hears us – and if we know that He hears us then we know that we have what we asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15)”.

But you say, “How do I know if I’m asking in line with His will?” Scripture is God’s will revealed. Know it and you will know His will. Besides that, just ask yourself these question: “Does it bring glory to God or me?” and “Does it enable His people (yourself or someone else) to better serve Him?” if the answer is yes, never doubt that God delights to answer such prayers when asked in faith. God does not want you to waste your time, your resources, your life. Truly living for God means living a life without regrets.

All the Fullness of God

God desires that “out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. That you may be rooted and grounded in love and have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses all understanding – that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19)”. We should be able to say in the end with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7)”.

God will help us to do this as well as “immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine according to His power which is at work in us (Ephesians 3:20)”. But we must let Him do it. We must be willing to be emptied of everything else (including ourselves and our desires) if we are to “be filled with all the fullness of God”. None of this can be done in the flesh but only by God’s Holy Spirit. As Scripture says, “Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)” and “After having been born again by the Spirit are you now trying to be perfect through your own human effort? How ridiculous! (Galatians 3:3)”.

His Divine Power

So, do you truly want to live the life He’s called you to (Ephesians 4:1)? Or are you content to have “a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:5)”? Be careful, for Scripture says that such people “are loaded down with sins and swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge (by living out) the truth (2 Timothy 3:6-7)”.

God gives us His divine power first of all through the personal and experiential knowledge of Jesus as savior and Lord. Without saving faith in Jesus you are “still dead in your transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1)”. But through faith in Him, according to all of His “great and precious promises” recorded for us in His Word, we can by that faith and by His grace “participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world… (2 Peter 1:3-4)”.

This is the point of life in Christ, this is salvation – not merely salvation from the punishment and consequence of our sins, but also freedom from the tyranny of sin in our fallen nature and from the dominion of Satan who is “the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)”.

Slave or Free?

Scripture says, “Don’t you know that you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, (if) you have some to obey from your heart the Word to which you profess your allegiance (then) you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness… just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness… When you were slaves to sin… what benefit did you reap…? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:15-23)”.

You can be slaves to sin or to God, but true freedom is only found in Jesus for He says, “those whom the Son sets free are really free (John 8:36)”. This is the life found in His Holy Spirit – for, “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17)”.

Crucified with Christ

Our freedom from sin comes from our union with Christ in His death and resurrection that we might say with Paul, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world (Galatians 6:14)”, and “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20)”.

This whole thing is symbolized by baptism. Scripture says, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life… for we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin… the death He (Christ) died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:3-11).”

For believers, being dead to sin should be an undisputed fact, but too often it is a fact that is not taught and unfortunately as Scripture says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6)”. You cannot live and walk in the truth if you don’t know the truth. Jesus said, “if you obey My teachings you are really My disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32)”.

Living in Faith

Being “crucified with Christ” and “dead to sin” is an established promise of Scripture; as such, it is to be believed, embraced, and finally, lived out by the empowering of the Holy Spirit through faith – real faith is, “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1)”. Faith is necessary to living a godly life because, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)”.

We have each been given a “measure of faith” (Romans 12:3) which we are to develop by studying, following, and trusting in God’s Word; for Scripture says, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17)”. Therefore we are to count – consider, reckon – ourselves to be “dead to sin but alive to God”. If we would only embrace that truth and rely on God to make it a vibrant reality in our lives – we would be in awe at the results in our lives and others thus giving God the glory He deserves. Scripture says that God’s Word will “not return to (Him) void but will accomplish the purpose for which (He) sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)”.

Let us therefore “not receive the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1)” but let us receive the fullness of His grace – not just enough to get us through the rough spots of life and get us into heaven – He wants so much more for us than that. But let us receive with open hearts “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and like the fertile soil may we “produce one hundred times what was sown (Luke 8:8)”. Let each of us do God proud that He may say to us, “well done” (Matt. 25:21).

Everything We Need – Part 1

Mini Sermon

2 Peter 1:3-4 – “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness – through which He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Everything We Need

God has already given us all we need to live a godly life – a life of holiness and purity – that we may be worthy of His calling and fruitful in good deeds done in faith (2 Thessalonians 1:11). He gave us the ability to tap into His unlimited power by giving us His Holy Spirit who lives in us. He is called the “Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)” Because He lives in us we can “do all things through Christ who strengthens (Philippians 4:13)” us.

Unfortunately, though we know that we are living below the level we should be, most of us feel powerless to change that. Sure Scripture says, “God is at work in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13)”, but how do we access that power?

Scripture says, “if any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God who gives generously to all without finding fault (James 1:5)” and, “How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask? (Luke 11:13)”. While it is basically universally believed by the church that a new believer receives the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit upon the moment of genuine salvation – it is possible to have the indwelling presence without receiving the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” or receiving the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

In particular, God will not even bother empowering us while we think that we can do it on our own. Scripture says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5)”. That grace is the unmerited favor of Spirit empowered living.

Humble or Proud?

Let’s take a brief look at the life of Uzziah. Scripture says, “Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king…he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. (2 Chronicles 26:1-5)”. At seventeen, Uzziah recognized that he could not be a good king on his own and so he was humble and sought help from God and so God blessed him.

But look at what happens later: “after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God… and king Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died (2 Chronicles 26:16-21)”. God is very protective of His glory. Scripture says, “I am the Lord, that is My Name. I will not give my glory to another (Isaiah 42:8)”.

As long as we think that we can do something and strive to do anything on our own, God will not step in to help. We must realize our need for “His divine power” and humble ourselves to receive it. Even Paul had to learn this lesson; “…but He (the Lord) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me… for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Paul also said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)”.

You Can’t do it without God

“Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit – but you can’t do it without Me (John 15:5)”. Take a close, careful, and introspective look at the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)”. How much of this kind of fruit have you managed to produce on your own, in your own strength?

You may say, “But I have asked for the empowering of the Holy Spirit.” If so, consider these two questions; “What was your heart deep motive in asking?” and, “Did you ask in faith – being confident that you were heard and answered?” Scripture says, “you don’t have because you don’t ask, or when you do ask it’s with wrong motives and according to your own desires (James 4:3)”.

You wanted freedom from an addiction or bad habit because it would make your life easier and make you look good, but God will not be used like that. The Lord, “searches hearts and minds (Jeremiah 17:10, Revelation 2:23)”, He knows your real motives even if you have fooled yourself.

Seek First His Kingdom

Living for God, to be totally pleasing to Him in every way and for His glory, should be our one and essential goal in life – everything else must come out of this desire. Scripture says, “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33)”.

Jesus here is primarily referring to the fact that if we live for God we can be sure that He will take care of all our physical needs – but how much more does that apply to the things of the Spirit!?! Since God will “supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)” we can be sure that that includes all of our needs; physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Scripture says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8)”. Again, the context of this passage specifically deals with giving and therefore primarily refers to physical needs, but remember that Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life in all its fullness (John 10:10)”.

We all know that life us about more than merely having your physical needs met, “Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (Matthew 6:25)”. But, “all things are yours whether… the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)”. For God, “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.. to the praise of His glorious grace which He has freely given us in the one He loves (Ephesians 1:3-6)”.

Be Still – Psalm 46:10

Mini Sermon

Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be exalted in all the world.”

Be Still

Stillness in an important spiritual discipline that is practiced too little these days. Along with stillness is the discipline of silence, and these two go hand in hand. In our society, we have become obsessed with doing. We fill our lives with activity and noise so that it has become uncomfortable to be still (or worse, to sit in silence). But silence and stillness are still the best ways to hear God’s voice and to know His heart and will.

How can you hear Him if you are always surrounded by noise? How will you find Him if you are always chasing after other things? To be still is to cease striving. This means not only resting from the mad dash we call life, but it also means that we are to still our heart and our mind which can be so often busy with worry. This is why God also says, “…and know that I am God.” In the midst of all your worry and anxiety, all your striving and stressing, stop everything and remember that He is God “in all the world” and He has everything in control. Scripture also says, “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.” (Psalm 37:7). Sometimes the things we think we need to do are really something that God has to do and we must learn to wait for Him to act.

Despite all the things that you think you need to do, (so many of them seeming so urgent) there is one thing more important than them all – spending time being still in God’s presence. Remember the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus came to visit. Martha was busy in the kitchen but Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complained to Jesus about this He said, “Dear Martha, you concern yourself with so many things but there is one thing that is really important. Mary has chosen it and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42).

This does not mean that the things you do don’t need doing, but it does mean that it is not the most important thing you could be doing. When you slow down long enough to take time to focus on God, everything else comes into proper perspective and you will find at the end of the day that what really needed to be done has been done. So honor God by placing Him first in everything including your time and so let God be exalted in your world. Find God’s rest in stillness and silence and there find peace.

We pray, “Our Father, we thank You for Your word, for it is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), it guides our way. Lord, we are so glad that You are the sovereign God in control of everything so that we never need to be afraid of anything but we can rest in Your plan and in Your hands. God, You know how much we rush around every day – all the things that we try to get done. Help us to learn to be still. Help us to rest in You trusting in Your mighty power to accomplish what concerns us (Psalm 138:8). Show us when it is best for us to simply wait on You. Above all, may our lives honor You. May we remember that You are our God and we are the people You take care of, the sheep that You tend (Psalm 95:7). Thank You that You hear us and that You are near to us. Jesus, in the power of Your name we pray. Amen.”

The Strength of Joy – Nehemiah 8:10

Mini Sermon

Nehemiah 8:10 – “Don’t be dejected and sad for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The Joy of the Lord

We all know how energizing it is to be happy, excited, and full of joy. When we feel up we are full of life – positive, up beat, patient, and kind. But when we are down we feel drained and exhausted – dark clouds surround us and everything looks gray. There’s a reason that the main symptoms of depression are excessive sleeping, lack of interest in usually enjoyable pursuits, and self-isolation. Of course most of what the world calls joy is merely temporary happiness based on favorable circumstances. Real joy (like real peace and love) will transcend our circumstances and carry us through every part of life.

That joy is “the joy of the Lord”. So what is “the joy of the Lord”? It is the kind of joy that can only be found in God, and like everything it starts in Him. All good things not only come from God (James 1:17), but are also rooted in Him. In Himself God has joy and peace and is in fact love itself. So true joy is in God, of God, and from God – the source of all joy. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (God made flesh) we can be made right with God, reconciled (2 Cor. 5:19, Ephesians 2:16) and at peace with Him (Romans 5:1). Through faith in Him we enter into a relationship with God – this is what is meant by “eternal life” (John 17:3).

Once we have entered this relationship with God through Christ (John 14:6), we are able to experience His love (which is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit; see Romans 5:5) His peace, and His joy. As Scripture says, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him, rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8)”.
Strength for What?
Such glorious joy is strength indeed:

  • To persevere through trials
  • To love others with God’s own love
  • To do the work God calls us to
  • To resist temptation
  • To pursue God

It was joy that strengthened Christ to face the cross. Scripture says, “… for the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God… (Hebrews 12:2)”. We are to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). He is our example and hope. Therefore we must be “joyful in hope, (which helps us to be) patient in affliction, (and keeps us) faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12)”. For this reason we are commanded to “be joyful always” (1 Thess. 5:16).
Joy Stealers
So why don’t we better experience this joy? Though there may be plenty of other reasons these are the big three:

1. Complaining – this is always in the end complaining against God since He is sovereignly in control at all times. A complainer is never a joyful or faith-filled person. Complaining is almost always the whining voice of doubt against God’s character and His Word. God never takes well to complainers. Scripture says, “Now the people (of Israel, after leaving Egypt) complained about their hardships (in the wilderness) in the hearing of the Lord, and when He heard them His anger was aroused (Numbers 11:1)”. Thus Scripture says, “do everything without grumbling or complaining (Philippians 2:14)”

2. Apathy – whether it is in our jobs, our families, or our personal and spiritual growth; apathy always smothers our joy. We are meant to be passionate and active as God Himself is (see Exodus 34:14 and John 9:4) we are to do our work (whatever it may be) “as working for the Lord” (Ephesians 6:7) and to “not grow weary in doing good… (Galatians 6:9)”.

3. Disobedience – this is the root of it all, even the first two. When we live in knowing and willful disobedience we grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) who lives in us and we distance ourselves from God’s loving presence. Disobedience also gives ground to the enemy (Ephesians 4:27) whose only purpose is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) and that includes our peace, purpose, passion, and joy.
How to Regain and Maintain Your Joy

  • Follow Jesus through the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit for “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, …. (Galatians 5:22)”.
  • Know, believe, receive, and remember God’s promises. Trust in God for Scripture says, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength (from the joy of the Lord?)…” (Isaiah 40:31) and that God will “fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him” (Romans 15:13).
  • Spend time cultivating your relationship with God then you can say with David, “You have filled me with joy in Your presence… (Psalm 16:11)”.
  • Use your gifts and talents to serve and help others that you may say as Paul did, “we are workers with you for your joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24) and that God may say to you (now as well as later) “well done good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your Lord (Matt. 25:21)”.
  • Cultivate a thankful attitude. Scripture tells us to, “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18)
  • Celebrate God’s faithfulness. This was the main reason why God established the various celebrations for the Israelites “celebrate…rejoice…celebrate…be joyful (Duet. 16:10-15)”.

As Christians, we should be the most joyful people around because of the hope we have in Christ and because of the empowering and loving presence of God in us by His Holy Spirit.
Point to Ponder:
Have you discovered the joy that comes from a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ? That must be your first stop in pursuit of true and lasting joy. If you once had that joy but find yourself without it most days, then take a close and honest look at the three joy stealers outlined above. Ask God to show you if you have fallen prey to any of them and repent. Now trust God, pursue God, and let joy in Him strengthen you for life’s journey.
Let’s pray, “Our Father in heaven, thank You for making a way for us to be restored into a right relationship with You through the sacrifice of Your Son. We believe on Him as the only way to You – to joy and life – and by faith we receive forgiveness of sins through His blood. We confess that we have not lived as we should. We have been disobedient, complaining, and lukewarm. Forgive us, Lord, and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). Help us to pursue You by spending time in prayer and Your Word. You have given us all the strength and power we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3) and to be pleasing to You in everything – may we walk in the power of Your Holy Spirit every day. May we remember and celebrate Your faithfulness and so be thankful to You in all circumstances remembering that You are always in control and are working everything out for our good (Romans 8:28). In the name of Jesus and for the sake of Your glory we pray. Amen”
And now, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)”.

I’ll Carry You

Lyrics from God's heart

I will be with you forever
In your fear, in your pain
You will never be forsaken
My grace is here to sustain you
Be still and wait, you’re safe here in My hands

I’ll carry you
To a firm place to stand
I’ll walk with you
And hold you by the hand
So though you stumble
I will never let you fall
Rest in My arms of love
They will carry you
Through it all

When you can’t find the strength
That you need to go on
When all the hope you used to have
Seems to be long gone
Just trust in Me and believe I’m here by your side

I’ll carry you
To a firm place to stand
I’ll walk with you
And hold you by the hand
So though you stumble
I will never let you fall
Rest in My arms of love
They will carry you
Through it all

I will take care of you
I will be all you ever need
My love is here to hold you
So every day won’t you turn to Me

I’ll carry you
To a firm place to stand
I’ll walk with you
And hold you by the hand
So though you stumble
I will never let you fall
Rest in My arms of love
They will carry you
Through it all

Psalm 37:23-24 – The Lord directs the steps of the godly, He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

A Prayer from a Lonely Heart

Prayers

“Lord, I’m so tired of letting circumstances dictate my emotions. If I don’t get the attention I want or the affection I think I need or a hundred other little things then loneliness sets in like a dark cloud that follows me wherever I go. It’s like a gaping hole eating away at my heart. And yet, my heart is not empty because You reside there and the dark clouds that surround me are blown away by the breath of Your Spirit so that I can see the sunshine of Your grace and favor falling on me and feel the warmth of Your love and approval embrace me. God, help me to hold that truth in the depths of my soul. Do I lose sight of it because I spend too little time with You? Could it be that what I think of as a hunger for affection and attention is actually a thirst for Your presence? Lord, help me to seek You first and above all else. For it is You whom I want and need over anything else for You are life and love and light itself. Help me to seek You that I may find You as You have promised. As I wait on You fill me up with Your presence till I am a cup overflowing. And though the loneliness returns like all the sorrows of this world must while we are here, yet may it all only ever draw me closer to You – You who is close to the brokenhearted. So are You near to me always and forever, my God. Thank You for loving me like no one else and for Your promise to never leave me. Amen.”

Why Hearts were Made to be Broken

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Loving someone is like removing your heart from your chest and placing it that person’s hands. It’s bound to get bruised even in the best of hands. Most likely it’ll end up breaking multiple times along the way. Because we know this by experience we are often tempted to take our heart and lock it in an air tight vault and then throw away the key. The problem with that though is that our hearts need to breathe. Our hearts need sunlight and air and the warmth of another’s touch. Sure in another’s hands our hearts are bruised, torn, broken, and even sometimes crushed – but as fragile as they are they are also resilient.

The broken heart heals, the crushed heart rises again from the dust like a phoenix rises from the ashes. But the heart that’s locked away dies. It shrinks in on itself becoming harder and colder until it’s no longer flesh but a solid piece of lead. It becomes a bullet in the gun we use to hurt others. This is why you must never lock your heart away. Keep it in your own hands for a little while if you must but then you need to be brave and give it away once again. For our hearts can only grow when they’ve been broken because that is when we are nearest to the heart of God. He is, “close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)” perhaps because He Himself has had His own heart broken millions of times since the creation of the world. For to love is to break – to be strong and weak at the same time.