Peace and Joy

John 14:27
“…Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…”
John 15:11
“…these things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full…”

In these verses above, Jesus tells us that His joy is in us when we keep His commandments to love one another and glorify the Father. He also tells us that if we believe in Him that we will prove it by our works. And through these works the Father will be glorified. Jesus also tells us where His joy comes from; it is in us when we “bear much fruit”(Jn 15:8). Don’t just say that you are a Christian, prove it! Not to God, because He already knows the condition of your heart. We are not saved by these works, but rather the world will see them and perhaps someone will be saved “because” of them. In this the Father is glorified and this is the joy of Jesus!
Do you say that you love Jesus, yet you walk around with the weight of the world on your shoulders?
Do you say that you love Jesus, yet you walk around negative and judgmental?
Do you tell the world that Jesus loves them and that He saved you, yet you go about playing the victim of this world and your circumstances?
I tell you this, THIS IS NOT THE JOY, LOVE, WORKS OR FRUITS OF JESUS!!!!!!!!!
What is this joy that Jesus speaks of? It is being of good cheer and having a gladness of heart. This is a dying and doubtful world, prove to them with your actions not your words that the God that you serve, the God that you tell them has saved you and will save them is a God that is of good cheer. Nobody is attracted to a person that is down and negative, nobody. So why would a world that is downcast already be attracted to a God whose followers are downcast and broken? They won’t be!
John 15:8 “By this my Father is glorified, THAT YOU BEAR MUCH FRUIT AND SO PROVE TO BE MY DISCIPLES!”
Now all you fellow women out there that have “born” a child naturally can attest that to “bear” anything is hard, painful work. Why should bearing fruit for God be any different?
I think the “church” has lost sight of this very important part of scripture. We have preached for so long that it is not your works that save you. As true as that is, we have taught it for so long that we are now a body that takes and never gives. We sit as a body and complain about this issue and that. We sit on high and pass down judgment upon this group and that group. We preach, but have no love! We are annoying gongs going off in this world! Turning people away from God rather than to Him!
Jesus gave us these commands to follow:
Love one another.
Glorify the Father.
We know that this means that we are to love everyone, not just the people that we want to. But I must say here, please do not be fooled into thinking that this love that Jesus tells us to have is the love that the world speaks of.  This love is “Agapo” NOT “Agape”! Agapo indicates a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in anything. (This is the translation from the Lexicon). It symbolizes God’s love for us, and our love for God. The Lexicon goes on to say that Agapo and NEVER Agape is used towards our enemies. (Agape means love with compassion.)
So what exactly does that mean for us in everyday life? It means that we choose to be good and decent and kind and hospitable to everyone and finding joy in it!
Why?
Because it glorifies the Father and that is the joy that Jesus promised to give you!
Jesus said He left His peace “with” us; that He gave His peace “to” us. What is this peace? It is rest and the end of strife. Look, I know that this world is tough and that you face trials and hardships every day. There are some days that are harder than others to stand at all, let alone stand “for” something. I know, I have lived it and still do. But this one thing I will tell you, this one thing that I know for sure….t

Your Light Must Shine

Your Light Must Shine (Photo credit: Fr. Stephen, MSC)

hat if I let God be the center of everything in my life; the good and the bad, THAT GOD WILL WIN EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Each time I am faced with life’s many twists and turns and I choose to turn the other cheek, I am taking a rest from the strife that threatens to bury me alive. Each time I choose to direct my free will to love (Agapo) I am showing the world my works, therefore I am bearing fruit. I am not a branch that will be cast into the fire. Every time that I make one of these conscious choices, every time that I choose to bear fruit and follow the commands of Jesus I bring glory to the Father. And in this glory comes the peace and the joy that Jesus promised me…
As always, God Bless you till  we meet again…

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How The Human Mind Is Conditioned…

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

How The Human Mind Is Conditioned…

 

    We touched a little on how the human mind is conditioned over time yesterday; today I want to go a little deeper into the subject.
    We talked yesterday about how our minds can be conditioned to see prayer as a negative thing, or how our minds can be conditioned into thinking that prayer is like a genie in a bottle. (Please see How Do You Triumph…posted 5/20/13) Today I would like to talk about how we allow our minds to be conditioned in our marriages, our relationships and with our children.
I try to tell people that it is never a good idea to have heavy conversations with your spouse in your bedroom; and most importantly NEVER in your bed! You see, when we have heavy conversations our minds will link places with feelings. Your mind will condition itself to thinking that the room or the bed is the source of the negative feelings. Now I understand (living in a house with 7 other people) that you may not have a place that you can go to have a private conversation, if that is the case for you than maybe you could set up a couple chairs in the corner of your room. Or maybe you could go for a walk (exercise will allow your brain to release endorphins, serotonins and norepinephrine which will hopefully lessen the negative effects on the brain.); in any case, please try to avoid this as much as possible.
    Why do you think that it is bad for us to tell our children, “do as I say not as I do?” The obvious answer to this is, “because we are to lead by example.” Well I say this; we are conditioning our children to be hypocrites and to distrust people in authority. So if my relationship with my earthly Father (or Mother) is one that is built on hypocrisy and distrust than what will my relationship with my Heavenly Father be as an adult? Probably the same; have you ever wondered why some people struggle with obedience to God? I would venture to guess if you sat down with them probably more than half would not have a very functional relationship with their parents.
    Why as a single person do we put our best foot forward when meeting the opposite sex, but after marriage our spouses are supposed to accept us for who we are, not what we appeared to be? Because we want the other person to see the best parts of us; this conditions our minds into thinking that giving our best is a tool for us to receive things, rather than a blessing to give others.
    Let us “be still and know that He is God”.  Quiet your mind, even as I write this my mind wanders and I have to keep refocusing. The Bible tells us repeatedly to meditate on the word, the way, the will of God. Quiet your mind, focus on God, see if the areas that you are struggling with are not areas that you have conditioned your mind. If they are then recondition them in the correct way! This is simply done by focusing on the Will of God, anything contrary to it should be cut out and thrown away.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

 

True Contentment Part 1

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“When we are really in need is when what God gives us truly enough. In this place we find true contentment.”
In 2 cor. 12:5-10, Paul tells us that the Lord gave him a “thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet me-to keep me from exalting myself!”

 

In other words, to keep him humble. again in Philippians 4:11-13 Paul tells us”…In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”
That is TRUE CONTENTMENT. And last, but not least, Paul tells us in Hebrews (specifically 15:5) tells us this: “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
This is the foundation for the assurance of our contentment.
How many of us when we have plenty are we content? Really content? Usually when we have plenty we want more. This is not God’s plan for us. He wants us to be content with what He gives us. I’m not suggesting that we should not strive to be better every day. My suggestion is this, “That when we are focusing on getting more, we are not focusing on the Lord. To be able to say, “Lord thank You for what You have given me.” With a true heart for what you’ve said.”
Thanking the Lord for what we have and being content are 2 different things. How often do we say “thank You Lord for this meal…BUT” THAT IS NOT TRUE CONTENTMENT! Or, “Lord thank You for providing for my needs everyday…BUT” THIS IS NOT TRUE CONTENTMENT! We must come to the place of true contentment. Thanking God and then saying “but” is like a small crack in a pot. Over time it will become a steady leak and continue to weaken. We will not be able to retain the “thankfulness”. Ultimately, one small crack in a pot over time will make the whole pot unable to retain its contents. Thus it will be with us. If we cannot find true contentment in every area of our life it is like a small crack in our spiritual armor. After time that discontentment will “leak” into other areas of our life. Then, before you know it you are not able to retain the joy in knowing that the Lord is sufficient.
Matt. 6:25-34 is another assurance our heavenly Father gives us for “true contentment”.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?…yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span?…for your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Webster’s definition of content is this: “satisfy; please; make easy in mind.” Also: “willing; ready”.
This reminds me of Matt. 11:28-30. “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light.”
When we are truly content we are more willing to be obedient. That is human nature. When our spouses meet our needs we are more content in our relationship. Thus, we are more willing to meet their needs in return. So it goes with our relationship with our heavenly Father. Whether we want to admit it or not, this is the case. It is just human nature. This is why finding true contentment in our hearts, our spirits, is so important. When Jesus tells us to take up His yoke because it is easy, do we really think that Jesus’ yoke was easy? Of course not! This is why so many of us are too afraid to try it. We see the trials that He faced and we are afraid. But if we look deeper into what He was saying we will find the true meaning. Let us take a look at this.
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” He tells us to learn from Him. He is gentle and humble in heart. What does that mean? Sometimes we think that we are humble when in our hearts we are proud. Jesus tells us to let our hearts be humble.
Next, He tells us;  “and you shall find rest for your souls”. Not that we will find rest from our troubles. Do not be confused nor be deceived, the Lord does not guarantee us the life that is free from trouble. He does tell us that if we will learn from Him and that if we are gentle and humble in our hearts THEN we will find rest for our SOULS! You know that place within you that communicates with God? That is where you will find rest.
Do you think that Jesus’ load was easy or light? Probably not. Again let’s take a closer look at what this is saying.
“For My yoke is easy and My load is light.” What was Jesus’ load? It was to save the world. But that has been done once and for all through His sacrifice upon the cross. So what does He mean by telling us to take up His yoke? That His yoke is easy and light? The load that Jesus was to bear (apart from the aforementioned) was the will of His Father. Now we come to the meat of the matter. If we let our will be the Father’s will than we are not the ones that are carrying the load. It is easy and light. So if we listen to the words of Jesus and trust that what He says is true than maybe we too will be able to find that “True Contentment” that Paul talks about.
Paul stresses so much on the issue of true contentment in so many of his letters. This problem of discontentment can rob us of the joy and full blessings, not to mention our ultimate effectiveness for the Lord.

 

(I wrote this 11 years ago. I have edited it a little today and added some more dialog to it.)