Merry Christmas! I found this Christmas Blessing while blogging this year and really loved the sentiments it contained. May you know the blessings of Peace that Jesus brings, John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” May you see your Hope in Him, 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” May you feel the Sprit of His Love, 1 John 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” May you have the Comfort of Faith in Jesus, 2 Corinthians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
All of these gifts complete the circle of our Advent Wreath as we lit the Christ candle on Christmas Eve proclaiming His birth. May you find Love, Comfort, Hope and Peace in Jesus. May you rejoice in the arrival of Jesus and claim the JOY God has for you.
What is so special about the Joy we find in the Lord? First of all we know that joy is brought to us through the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 gives a list of the ‘fruits’ of the Spirit, those things that come to us as a believer when we accept Jesus as Savior and His Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. As we grow as a believer, His Spirit manifests Himself within us in these ways. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” How do others or even you yourself know you are a believer? These fruits should be evident in your life along with growth in godly character which I like to call growing more and more like Jesus. Theologically it is a process known as sanctification. This is the Holy Spirit’s work within us, growing us in holiness to be like Jesus. A good question to ask yourself is, what ‘fruits’ am I seeing in my life? Is my character changing as I seek to walk closer to the Savior? Am I more kind, loving, understanding, or do I hunger after God’s Word, seek other believers in fellowship, spend time in prayer, enjoy Christian music, or seek to be a peacemaker? All of these would be signs of growth in the sanctification process and the work of the Holy Spirit within you.
But back to Joy, scripture describes several kinds of joy that I will delve into in coming blogs. The first kind I want to talk about I call soulful joy.Joy that emanates from within your soul because you are loved and cared for by God. Here are some passages that describe this kind of joy:
Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
Psalm 63:5-8 “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Isaiah 49:13 “Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
Jude 1:24-25 “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
May you recognize soulful joy in your life and bask in the light of His love for you. May thoughts of God’s love, protection and comfort bring joy to your soul and peace from within from His Holy Spirit today.
Merry Christmas! I found this Christmas Blessing while blogging this year and really loved the sentiments it contained. May you know the blessings of Peace that Jesus brings, John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” May you see your Hope in Him, 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” May you feel the Sprit of His Love, 1 John 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” May you have the Comfort of Faith in Jesus,2 Corinthians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
All of these gifts complete the circle of our Advent Wreath as we light the Christ candle on Christmas Eve or morning proclaiming His birth. May you find His Love, Comfort, Hope and Peace in Jesus. May you rejoice in the arrival of Jesus and claim the JOY God has for you.
How many times have you said, “God is my refuge”? These are words that David repeatedly spoke about God. By definition a refuge is a place of shelter or protection from danger or difficulty, or it can be a person who gives shelter, help or comfort. David spent 14 years running from King Saul after being anointed the future king by Samuel. He was hunted, attacked and driven into the wilds away from friends, family and others.
David refers to God as his refuge, a place of safety, in Psalm 91:1-2 and 91:9-10. ” He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 91:9-10 “9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge — 10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.” Abiding with God in your heart, soul and mind each day gives you a refuge, a safe place where you can depend upon God to shelter and protect you.
David also saw God as his refuge, a person who brings protection, help or comfort. In Psalm 62:5-7David describes his refuge relationship with God. “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. David sees God as the one who keeps him secure, steadfast and is his provider of salvation.
Psalm 59:16-17 “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. David is so thankful that God is his refuge providing him with protection, steadfast love and comfort.
Is this the lens through which you see God? Is He your place and person of protection, safely, love and comfort? He can be that and more. Look to Him today and ask Him to draw near to you and He will just as he promised in James 4:7-8. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” David repeatedly resisted the desire and opportunity to kill Saul which would have ended his running, but he did not yield to that temptation and kept drawing nearer to God depending upon Him for refuge. God can do the same for you.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been adopted as God’s child and belong to His family. This is a precious truth from scripture that gives me great comfort. Through my faith in Jesus, I now have a forever family and God is my heavenly Father. Romans 8:15-17 lays out our family heritage and what it means to us eternally. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” We are adopted through our faith in Jesus into God’s family. We can call God our Father. His Holy Spirit indwells us and reminds us that we are God’s children. By suffering with Christ, we are considered joint heirs with Him and will share in heavenly glory. Through adoption we have access to our heavenly Father and can go to Him each day seeking knowledge, wisdom, comfort, mercy, compassion, hope…. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 103:8
How will you use this truth in your life today? You are God’s child and belong to His family thorough your faith in Jesus. This blessed privilege brings hope, contentment, comfort, assurance and belonging into your life.
Read the scripture again in the Message and let it sink into your soul and cause you to praise and thank God. “15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Suggestion: Call on your Father, God, today in prayer and thank Him for the privileges you have as His child. He is accessible in prayer, has saved you for eternity, has a home waiting for you in heaven, will be with you each day- will never leave you nor forsake you, His Holy Spirit indwells and bears witness to your spirit that you are His, He gives you power for living and a purpose for your life…..Thank you Jesus for making this possible for me. Amen.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the Father’s love. Knowing you are loved gives power, affirmation, hope and joy. Knowing you are love by God the Father fills us with confidence, hope, security, and comfort. Scripture speaks frequently of God’s love for us. Jesus was talking to the disciples about God’s love and his imminent return to the Father shortly before His death in John 16:27-28. “For the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.28 Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.”Jesus said I am dearly loved by God because of my love for Him. God loves that I love Jesus! When you think about one of your loved ones, aren’t there things you really love about them. Maybe it is the way they smile, maybe that they always hug you so tightly or say loving things to you for no reason except that they love you. This little portion of scripture gives us a glimpse into God’s character and love. He loves us dearly- not a little bit of love but a special love that is close to His heart. The motivation for this dear love is because I love His son. Isn’t that like a good Father? As earthly mothers and fathers, we love the kids that love our kids. We cherish them and want our kids to associate with them. Being a good Father, God loves and cherishes us with a special love because we love Jesus. What a privileged and heart warming thought to ponder today!
Suggestion: Think about your love for Jesus. How has He brought you to faith, and provided you with hope, joy, security and comfort. Know that the things you love about Jesus makes God the Father love you even more.
Part 1 of the Messiah ends with the following verses from Matthew 11. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The Messiah that Handel has been exclaiming about in song will bring hope, restoration, rest, comfort and wisdom for living our lives with Him. Following Him provides us with opportunity to bring our heaviest problems, cares, concerns or heartaches to Him. He promises rest for our weary souls and will teach us to bear up under the strains of living. Walking with Him will seem easy and it will lighten our burdens by sharing them with Him.
Does this life with Jesus describe you? Look at these verses in the Amplified Bible and see if it helps clarify what walking with Him will do in and through you. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me[following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Are you bogged down by religious rituals that seem meaningless? Have you experienced the refreshment of Salvation in Jesus? Do you consider yourself His disciple? Does walking with Him seem no burden at all as He is right there with you?
Look to Jesus today for hope, encouragement, rest and lightness in your burdens.
Here is a lovely song using these verses. Music from the Messiah was not available.
In today’s portion of Psalm 119:49-56, the Psalmist is proclaiming that God’s Word comforts him and guides him in all situations. Are you making this claim for your life? 49 Remember your word to your servant,for you have given me hope. 50 My comfort in my suffering is this:Your promise preserves my life. The psalmist goes on to explain that God’s Word has brought him comfort when he was being ridiculed by those around him (vs. 51-52) and with this own indignation over all the sin he sees in the world (53-54). He clings to God’s Word day and night as his comfort (55-56).
Where does your comfort come from? The Bible is filled with verses that tell us that comfort comes from God. He is the God of all comfort. David proclaimed God’s comfort in Psalm23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. David knew that the things God provides for us bring protection and comfort. Jesus speaks of God’s comfort when we mourn over our sin, Matthew 5:4 in the AMP“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn[over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].” Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 about Jesus who is our ultimate source of comfort. “16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
Like the Psalmist we can proclaim that God brings comfort into our lives when we know Jesus, when we depend upon His indwelling Holy Spirit and we proclaim and cling to His Word. God’s Word will guide us to Him day and night. Jesus will bring comfort into our lives as we cling to His Word. Cling to His Word today and you will be comforted. God is faithful in all His promises.