What sets us apart as Christians? There are many things but there has been one thing on the front burner of my mind lately. It’s a simple question I pose to myself and maybe you will want to consider posing it to yourself:

Regardless of circumstances, whether things are going right or wrong in my life, am I the same person?

*Joy, one of the fruits of the Spirit, is what we should experience as believers no matter our current situation. Scripture teaches that we live “in” the world but we are not “of” the world. Our response to the good and bad of life should look different from the world’s response. We have a true hope that the world does not have!

A take away from the world we are living in is that we hear people say all the time, “I just want to be happy.” Or, in referencing our children or a friend or a family member, we hear, “I just want them to be happy.”

When we read about the fruits of the Spirit….that is, the fruit that is manifested in us because we have invited Jesus into our hearts and we now have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us…..we see in Scripture that these fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

There is no mention of “happiness” as a fruit.

Many people, especially non-Christians and Christians who are not yet spiritually mature, do not realize that joy and happiness are not the same. Joy is a fruit that we experience from a “relationship with Christ,” no matter our worldly circumstances. Happiness is a “fleeting feeling” that comes and goes based on…

….what we have,
….what we want and don’t get,
….who we want to be and maybe don’t become,
….a kind word or an unkind word or action by others.

Feelings come and go. They are always changing, but J*O*Y that comes from the Lord can be a constant. It outranks the feeling of “happiness;” it doesn’t even come close.

If we look in Scripture to the book of Philippians, a small book of only four chapters, we read about the circumstances of Paul, the author. He penned these words from a Roman prison where he was naked and chained to a prison guard. Every time I read this book I often think about the tremendous witness Paul was to the guards to whom he was continually chained. NO where do you read in these chapters words of complaint. But we do see the word joy or reJOIce over and over again.

In this short book of the Bible, Paul writes of:
learning to be content with much or little,
about running your race with perseverance,
forgetting what lies behind,
and pressing forward to what lies ahead.

He says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you and that God will meet all your needs in Christ Jesus. This, my friends, is why Paul experienced such JOY even though his circumstances were that of a cold, cruel prison.

God has a “Best life” for us to live. It doesn’t mean that we will be “happy” all the time but it does mean we can experience and have JOY…that is a fruit of His Holy Spirit. Allow God to be all that He needs to be in your life and when you do…Joy will be an abundant fruit you can feast on!

Romans 15:13, “13 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.”

Shooting the Wounded

“Let’s not shoot the wounded!!!” This is a statement that I say to myself almost every day!! Seriously….GUILTY is stamped across my forehead. I want that tattoo forever gone so I have to remind myself daily…”Do not shoot the wounded!” Allow me to elaborate. Because of wounding and having been wounded….I want to be very…

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Where is Your Happy Place?

Where is your happy place? Do you have one? I have many happy places. I love home so my happy place is home. I have happy moments as well. My happiest created moment is…when all three kids are home at Christmas. We are all in our family room with a fire going, Christmas lights twinkling…

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God Fights for You

“Contend, Lord with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.” These were the words of David in Psalm 35:1. He even prayed for those who were pursuing him to be “disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay,” asking the angel of…

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The Mind

I was in college before I ever experienced the muscle shock the morning after an all-in workout! My trainer was a guy named Jack who was an expert in “jacking” you up when it came to exercise. 😄 He had more energy and “no quit” mentality than anyone else I had ever met. He pushed me to…

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“In Him was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John1:4-5). Last week I went to a Christian Leadership Conference entitled Catalyst Atlanta. I have always wanted to go, but have never been able to get a ticket nor…

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The morning after we discovered that Brewer, our then 27 year old, had had a major stroke and was now on a ventilator, I had trouble opening my eyes. They were heavy from all the tears that had been shed and from a lack of sleep. I had been up for over 36 hours before…

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Walking with Favor

It is kind of cool to be ushered into the front of the line! Doesn’t happen to me often but just the other day I was standing in a very long line to check out at Sam’s. As always I was in a hurry but had to purchase the items. Out of the blue a…

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