Running on Empty? Stop and refill!

More recently I’m beginning to understand that, in my life with God, the word discipline means the endeavor to create space in my life in which God can act. Discipline means being intentional about preventing everything in my life from being filled up. The diligent watchfulness guards my soul from intrusions that crowd out God. Marking off space for God to be at work is a challenge because God likes doing things with me and I hadn’t counted on. He likes to decide the agenda rather then going along with my carefully scripted list of activities. If I leave by too little space, the desires God has for me and for our time together simply don’t happen. This is the why of solitude with God.  I simply make room for God to do what only God is able to do. Yet the excuses I make, to myself and to others, for not making this space are endless. Why would I want to cheat myself out of God’s deepest longing for me? Is it because I don’t trust God? It’s because I’m addicted to being in charged? Is it because I’m simply afraid to let go and rest in the silence of God’s presence? If I am ever to enjoy a rhythm  of solitude and silence, I will always need to insert some effort. However, the effort is not to be building outwardly but to Invest inwardly in my heart and soul by creating a space where God and I get to be together. An intentional time to fill up with God and to know His personal desire to spend time with me. (Running on Empty)

Take time today FB Friends to create a space in your day to fill up with Jesus. His presence is the energy, strength, courage and power we need.

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Springs of Living Water

I remember the day I realized that food could not satisfy my thirsty soul. For years I mistakened spiritual hunger with physical hunger attempting to use food, people, places and things to fill what was missing. Sometimes I still do. Our souls were designed to hunger and thirst after God our Creator, and He longs for us to seek relationship with Him so He alone can satisfy our souls. Take time today to calm your anxious heart. Notice what you crave outside of God, and instead take your thirsty soul to Him. Seek the reassurance that Jesus; the endless Spring of Living Water, is enough.  He is more than enough.

He will lead them to springs of living water. — Revelation 7:17
Devotionals Daily

Sing About It!
by Jim Reimann, Evening by Evening: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon

Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well! Sing about it.” — Numbers 21:17

From the pen of Charles Spurgeon:

The well in the wilderness at Beer was renowned due to the promise God gave there, for it was the well where the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather the people together and I will give them water’ (Numbers 21:16). The people needed water, and it was promised to them by their gracious God; we need fresh supplies of heavenly grace, which He pledged in His covenant to provide according to our need.

The well was the cause of their song. But it was before the water gushed forth that the people sang in joyful faith. Then as they saw the crystal water bubbling up, their song became more joyous. In the same way, we who believe God’s promises should rejoice at the prospect of divine revival in our soul, and as we experience it our holy joy should overflow. Are you spiritually thirsty? Don’t complain. Sing! Spiritual thirst is difficult to bear, but you don’t need to bear it, for God’s promise points to His well. So have a cheerful heart and look for it.

Also, the well was the focus of their prayer. “Spring up, O well!” What God has promised to give, you must ask from Him or else you reveal you have neither the desire nor the faith for it. Thus, ask Him today that the Scriptures you read, as well as these devotions, will not become an empty ritual, but a fountain of grace to your soul. Oh, that God the Holy Spirit would work in each of us with all His mighty power, filling us with all the fullness of God.

Finally, the well was the aim of their effort. The nobles [dug the well] with scepters and staffs (Numbers 2:18), just as the Lord would have us involved in obtaining grace. Our staff is ill equipped for digging a well, but we must learn to use it to the best of our ability. Doing so means prayer must not be neglected, “meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25) must not be forsaken, and God’s holy ordinances must not be forgotten. The Lord promises to give us His peace abundantly, but not through the path of idleness. So let us stir ourselves to seek Him in whom all our springs are found.

From the pen of Jim Reimann:

Spurgeon’s last sentence is a reference to the following:

All my springs are in you. — Psalm 87:7

Of course, water represents life, which is why we see so many references to it, including:

The poor and needy search for water, but there is none… But I the Lord will… make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. — Isaiah 41:17-18

and

They will neither hunger nor thirst… He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. — Isaiah 49:10

These passages find their fulfillment in Jesus, for later we read:

The Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. — Revelation 7:17

which is why He had previously proclaimed:

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. — John 7:37-38

Jesus, I thirst for You, for

the Lord [is] the spring of living water. — Jeremiah 17:13

* * *
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Excerpted with permission Evening by Evening: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon, by Jim Reimann, copyright Zondervan.

Your Turn

Are you spiritually thirsty? Be reminded that it was before the Lord provided water that the people sang in joyful faith. That is the call of faith — to rejoice in God’s promises before He delivers. It is so much easier to grumble and complain, though! Today, let’s sing instead and see what happens! Join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you about the faith required to sing in the face of desperate need for God to provide! ~ Devotionals Daily

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Deal of the Day

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What can Evening by Evening do for you? A lot! Especially if you’re a serious Christian or a Bible student who wants to be challenged to think differently about how to apply God’s Word to your life. Jim Reimann, inspired interpreter of such classics as Streams in the Desert and My Utmost for His Highest, gives Evening by Evening—the powerful devotions of Charles Spurgeon—a new spin. Reimann carefully maintains the strength and dignity of the original edition, but broadens the appeal by adding:

Updated language and precise NIV text
Contemporary applications and prayers
Scripture references for every Bible quote
Easy-to-use Scripture and subject indexes
Scriptures selected from every book of the Bible
These additions are designed to make Evening by Evening ideal for personal use as well as for sharing in study groups. But it’s the author’s thoughtful “From the pen of Jim Reimann” segments that really make this devotional shine. The author’s daily commentary complements Spurgeon’s writing perfectly. Each day, Reimann includes personal reflections and shares thought-provoking ideas gleaned from his extensive travel and studies in Israel and other Bible lands. The result is a day-by-day opportunity for Christians to pause, reflect, learn, and grow. Whether you’re mature in your faith or new to the journey, this stimulating devotional delivers a daily dose of just what you need. Evening by Evening is the companion volume to Morning by Morning, The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon, also expanded, indexed and updated by Jim Reimann.

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Jesus is the relationship that completes us.


  1. Challenge for today: Add value to someone else by taking time to listen, help, and encourage another today. When Jesus reached out to others, he didn’t need anything from them. He simply gave to complete them. We cannot make up for what only God can give to bring contentment and rest to others. But when we fill up with Jesus, we can lay aside insecurity and and self-centeredness, and seek to bless others. Read on as Judah Smith encourages the renewal of our minds today.

Jesus is the relationship that completes us.— Judah Smith in Life Is___: God’s Illogical Love Will Change Your Existence
Devotionals Daily

Full of Jesus
by Judah Smith, Life Is___.

God doesn’t do things halfway

When Jesus Works a Room

When Jesus was physically here on earth, what would it have been like to be Mary or Martha or Lazarus or one of the disciples? What would it have been like to shoot the breeze with Jesus? To have a barbecue with Jesus? What would the conversations have been about?

I think they would have been all about adding value to you. About listening to you. About serving you. About loving you. When Jesus was in any sort of social context, do you know what His natural reaction was? To serve. When He met someone, His first thought was, How can I serve this person? He came into social settings thinking, How can I encourage other people here?

Why? Because He was full. He didn’t need anything from anyone. He came simply to add, to serve, to complete. His idea of “working a room” was not networking and smooth-talking and manipulating people for His own benefit. It was to make sure everyone walked out feeling better, thinking better, and knowing God better than when they walked in.

Jesus is the guy you want as your friend.

He wants to give to you, not take from you. He enjoys being with you because of who you are, not because of what you can do for Him. Jesus is not consumed with Himself.

You’ve probably met a few people who are truly secure. They have a sense of contentment in their lives. They know who they are. They are not concerned with comparison or competition, but they are at rest and at peace, and they continually add value to others. Maybe you are one of those people. I know I want to be one. I want to live like Jesus. I know that’s a bit of a cliché sometimes, but I really mean it.

Jesus always seemed to find creative ways to add value to people.

You know that kind of person — no matter how bad the meal was you just cooked, they find a way to compliment it. No matter how crazy your kids are behaving, they find a way to make you feel like amazing parents of amazing children.

Can you imagine what it would look like if all of us — families, friends, churches — lived and related and loved from a place of inner fullness? I think it would look a lot like heaven on earth.

Bad News, Good News

John said,

We have received from His fullness. — John 1:16, paraphrased

How do we receive? We don’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. We don’t develop it. We simply trust it, believe it, and receive it. Our mind-set should be, God, I receive from You fullness today. I am who I am by Your grace. I find my rest and contentment and peace in who You are through me. I’m not talking about repeating some formula or magic prayer, of course. I’m talking about becoming aware of what God has already made available to us.

We can receive from Jesus’ fullness to the point where we are emotionally, mentally, and spiritually complete and full.

This eradicates one of the greatest hurdles in relationships, friendships, and community: insecurity.

Insecurity is more than just an emotion: it is a deep sense of incompleteness, imperfection, deficiency, and lack. It paralyzes us relationally and socially, and it isolates us. People can be all around us, yet we feel profoundly alone because we think we don’t measure up or we aren’t good enough.

I’ve got bad news and good news. The bad news is, we are right in our self-assessment. We don’t measure up and we aren’t good enough. But the good news is, Jesus is enough. He’s more than enough, actually, and if we lean on Him and receive from Him, we will be enough as well.

Sometimes we think our personality types define our social skills, but that is not true. We all need friends. We all need community. When we find our security and completeness in Jesus, His fullness transcends our personality types and helps us become better friends, better spouses, better parents, better employees, and better neighbors.

It’s amazing how many people I run into in their forties, fifties, and sixties who say, “I just don’t have any good friends anymore.” You would think it would be easier to make friends the older we get, but in fact, it’s often harder. We get burned, we get disillusioned, we get manipulated, and eventually we give up. We start to keep people at arm’s length to protect ourselves.

Jesus wants to heal the hurts and remove the scar tissue. He wants to help us relate socially the way He did — thinking of others and serving others. Ironically, we are most protected against hurt not when we withdraw and isolate ourselves, but when we serve others with no strings attached.

Jesus is the relationship that completes us.

When we find true friendship in Him, it frees us to discover real relationship with fellow human beings on this planet at a level we never thought possible. Jesus is the one who fills us. And when we’re full, we’re free.

* * *
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Excerpted with permission Life Is___, by Judah Smith, copyright Thomas Nelson.

Your Turn

Insecurity is something every single human being has to battle if we are to walk in love. How can I serve this person? How can I encourage other people here? Aren’t those such wonderful questions to ask when entering a room instead of Who’s looking at me? How do I make a good impression here? We want to be more like Jesus, build friendships as He did, love others as He did! How can you serve others today? Join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

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Life is ____. How would you finish that sentence?

Judah Smith believes Jesus shows us how to live life to the fullest. In this follow-up to his New York Times and USA Today bestseller Jesus Is ____, Judah completes the new sentence again and again, revealing how

Life is to be loved and to love.
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Life is to be at peace with God and yourself.
Life is to enjoy God.
Judah writes as a friend, welcoming new believers, lifelong followers of Jesus, and even the merely curious. He shows us the love of God that defies human logic and the life that God intends for us to have in the here and now. With excitement and humor, Judah looks at the stories in the Bible from his unique angle and shows how life is all about loving God and loving others.

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Jesus is ____. How would you finish that sentence?

The subject is there, and so is the verb, but what comes next? Your answer could shed light on the path to becoming who you were made to be.

In these pages, Judah Smith fills out that sentence again and again, each time further revealing the character of Jesus. He writes as if to a friend, illustrating the importance of Christ’s message to modern men and women. This is a book for new believers, for lifelong followers, and for the merely curious. Judah Smith shows us the Jesus that somber paintings and hymns fail to capture. With passion, humor, and conviction, he shows that Jesus is life. Jesus is grace. Jesus is your friend. Jesus is a new and better way to be human.

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Judah Smith, pastor of the City Church in Seattle, Washington, is a former youth minister. He understands kids and writes to as if to a friend. With enthusiasm and humor, Smith shows that Jesus is life, Jesus is grace, and Jesus is your friend. The student edition includes new content for younger readers ages 10–14—humorous lists, callouts of key text, sidebars with additional information, and discussion questions. This is a book for kids who have grown up in the church, are new to faith in Jesus, or are seeking to know more. This book will allow students to grow with Jesus from a young age and to know that the point of life is having a real, honest relationship with Jesus.

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Lean into Me Today, I am Here for You!

Rejoice in Me — your Strength — and worship while leaning on Me.
— Jesus Today
Devotionals Daily
Lean on Me
by Sarah Young, Jesus Today

Rejoice in Me — your strength

Lean on Me as you face the circumstances of this day. Whether or not they realize it, all people lean on — depend on — something: physical strength, intelligence, beauty, wealth, achievements, family, friends, and so on. All of these are gifts from Me, to be enjoyed gratefully.

However, relying on any of these things is risky, because every one of them can let you down.

When your circumstances are challenging and you are feeling weak, you tend to obsess about how you are going to make it through the day. This wastes a lot of time and energy; it also distracts you from Me. Whenever this happens, ask Me to open your eyes so you can find Me in the moment. “See” Me standing nearby, with My strong arm extended toward you — offering you My help. Don’t try to pretend that you have it all together or that you’re stronger than you really are. Instead, lean hard on Me, letting Me bear most of your weight and help you with your problems.

Rejoice in Me — your Strength — and worship while leaning on Me.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. — Proverbs 18:24

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. — Psalm 59:16-17

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. — Hebrews 11:21

* * *
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Excerpted with permission Jesus Today, by Sarah Young, copyright Thomas Nelson.

Your Turn

Are your burdens weighing heavily today? Are you trying to press on through and get your job and your day done anyway? Stop and ask Jesus to reveal His presence to you as you intentionally lean into His strength and love. Join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear your thoughts about leaning on Jesus! ~ Devotionals Daily

Hope shines brightest when your world is darkest.

Beloved missionary Sarah Young shares another deeply spiritual devotional to help readers grow in grace, hear from God, discover hope, and walk with Jesus TodayTM.

In Jesus Today, readers will be renewed with a deeper sense of hope as Sarah shares this about her spiritual journey in writing the book: “When I began writing Jesus Today, I was deeply discouraged by the failure of many months of intensive medical treatment to improve my health. However, the longer I worked on the book—focusing on finding hope in Jesus—the more hopeful and encouraged I became.”

Whether readers are needing a lifeline in discouragement, or simply longing for an encouraging boost, this devotional book—a sequel to the #1 bestselling Jesus Calling®—will speak hope into believers’ lives. It is written as if Jesus is assuring that He is in control, that He is good, and that a glorious future awaits all who anchor their hope in Him.

Bestselling devotional Jesus Today™ is now available in devotional journal format!

Jesus Today™ was written during a very difficult time in beloved and bestselling author Sarah Young’s life. Yet the words of Scripture and Jesus’ own Presence were ever near, bringing her hope and comfort for each new day. Whether you are in need of a lifeline in your discouragement or are simply longing for a boost in your day, this devotional journal will speak hope into your life. It is written as if Jesus Himself is assuring you that He is in control, that He is good, and that a glorious future awaits all who anchor their hope in Him. With journaling prompts and space to write thoughts and prayers, you will be encouraged and renewed with a deeper sense of hope as you grow in grace, learn from God’s Word, and walk ever more closely with Jesus.

Reaching out with peace-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and quietly connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Hope shines brightest when your world is darkest!

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Offering Ourselves as a Living Sacrifice is our Spiritual Act of Worship.

What does it mean to worship God and be a living sacrifice? It can get pretty overwhelming serving our family, neighbor, and obeying God. It can stretch us to stay true to loving God and resting in his love for us, as the storms of life rage around us. But when we trust God in the midst of the pain and disappointments that challenge us in life, we worship Him and sacrifice our desire to understand the whys of life. When we surrender to Him, we let go of our desire to try (key word) to control our lives and we become living sacrifices. This is our spiritual act of worship! Read on as Shelia Walsh encourages our hearts today and renews our minds.

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” — Hebrews 12:1-2
Devotionals Daily
A Living Sacrifice
by Sheila Walsh, 5 Minutes with Jesus

Parents with older children had warned me about this project, the crowning glory of seventh grade, but I still wasn’t prepared for how much work it involved. Each student had to build a to-scale model of the tabernacle of the Lord as outlined in Exodus 36–39. Have you ever read a detailed account of the tabernacle? It is incredibly intricate. It makes the Taj Mahal look thrown together.

We visited several craft shops, and then my son Christian got to work. His greatest challenge was the to-scale part. After his first noble attempt, I asked him, “Do you see any kind of problem with the high priest and the animal he is about to sacrifice?”

Christian studied the plastic figures intently. “Do you mean that the lamb is four times the size of the priest?”

“Yep, that’s it,” I said. “He’d need a crane to get that critter onto the altar.”

We got a smaller lamb and a slightly larger priest. The tabernacle was starting to look really good, so I left Christian to put on the finishing touches while I fixed supper. Ten minutes later he stormed into the kitchen.

“I need a hot glue gun, a hammer, and a big nail!”

“Why? I thought you were finished.”

“I was, but the lamb keeps falling off the altar!”

That’s a problem for all of us who — to quote the apostle Paul — are living sacrifices. We can crawl right off the altar when it gets too hot!

And it can get pretty hot as we try to serve our family, love our neighbor, and obey God’s commands. It can get hot as we try to love God with all we are and faithfully worship Jesus both when the sun shines and when the storm rages. But when we worship God, even with tear-soaked faces as the altar gets very hot, we sacrifice our desire to understand the whys of our life. And when we seek God’s guidance and choose to obey Him, we sacrifice ourselves, dying a little more to our desire to be lord of our life.

Choosing to be a living sacrifice.

Five Minutes in the Word

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:1-2

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. — Psalm 103:1-5

Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. — Hebrews 12:1-3

Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe. — Psalm 5:7

Watch the Video for 5 Minutes with Jesus

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Excerpted with permission 5 Minutes with Jesus, by Sheila Walsh, copyright Thomas Nelson.

Your Turn

We all keep falling off, or crawling off, or jumping off the altar! That’s our problem! Learning to submit as Jesus did to the authority of God, to be humble, to love, to serve, to put our “why’s” away and just say yes to Jesus taking getting back up on the altar every single day. Join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you about being a living sacrifice. ~ Devotionals Daily

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Your life is hectic! Juggling family time, work, and church equals jam-packed days. You want to spend time in God’s Word, but the busyness of life keeps getting in the way. What if, however, you could take five minutes to invest in making each day matter?

With her signature honesty, vulnerability, and humor, bestselling author Sheila Walsh helps you find perspective in the midst of your fast-paced life. Every entry features a powerful devotion, a guiding takeaway, and related Scripture that will nourish you, sustain you, and remind you that you are not alone.

These five minutes with Jesus just might become the most peaceful and meaningful moments of your day.

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Choose Joy, it’s Healthy Fruit

FB Friends, Do you believe that joy is possible right in the midst of where you are? One of the many fruits of the Holy Spirit is Joy. It can be a filter in which we view life. Not a filter of rose-colored glasses but brand new eyes. When we chose joy it changes our perspective and upgrades our perception of our circumstances, enabling us to rise above what is painful to a place of rest and peace. Choosing joy is an acknowledgement that God is in control, and I am not. Surrendering your painful circumstances to God and choosing joy, will reduce your stress making a way for trust to fill up where stress has control you. Choose joy today FB Friends. Watch what God does as you read on and find the encouragement you need today.

You fill me with joy in your presence. — Psalm 16:11
Devotionals Daily Joy: True Happiness
by Randy Frazee, Think, Act, Be Like Jesus

I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. — John 15:11

Remember Eeyore and Tigger in the Winnie-the Pooh-books? For Eeyore, no matter what amazing circumstance came his way, doom and gloom remained the focus. For Tigger, bouncing through life without a care in the world, he never perceived anything to go wrong. In our daily lives, it is easy to have the attitude of Eeyore while wishing we could have the outlook of Tigger — two quite extreme viewpoints of life.

The biblical brand of joy is not simply overcoming our inner Eeyore, nor is it strolling through life in ignorant bliss; rather, it is to be found in facing each day’s ups and downs through the contentment Christ offers.

KEY QUESTION: What gives us true happiness and contentment in life?

The first order of business is to identify the difference between joy and happiness. For many folks today, being happy is fully dependent on whether life is “all good.” If someone asks, “Rate your life right now on a scale of 1 to 10,” often the number given is based on the number of problems present. Happiness slides up and down the scale, based on the perception of negative issues going on at the time. Problems rise; happiness goes south. Troubles begin to go away; the happy scale starts to climb. Joy, however, is not dependent on circumstances, and, in fact, ironically, can become strongest when trouble comes. The psalmist reminds us of the reality of joy that comes when we rest in God’s presence:

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. — Psalm 16:11

KEY IDEA: Despite my circumstances, I feel inner contentment and understand my purpose in life.

Joy has more to do with remaining in the presence of Jesus than with avoiding problems and struggles in our lives. Harkening back to John 15, we know that joy is always available to us when we remain in Christ, through whatever life brings. Let these statements guide you to see how true joy differs from mere happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind, while joy is a mind-set.
Happiness comes and goes, while joy can be constant.
Happiness is dependent, while joy is independent.
Happiness is conditional, while joy is unconditional.
The apostle Paul had learned the secret to the joy found in Jesus:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:11-13

James drives home the definition of joy in the kingdom of God as having nothing to do with eliminating negative outward circumstances, but rather with embracing them as opportunities to strengthen faith and gain resolve:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:2-4

Note the end result of choosing eternal joy — being mature and complete in Christ. Joy becomes the fuel for the believer on this road to maturity. Only Jesus can make our lives flourish in the midst of trouble. In him, joy is strengthened when life is challenging.

And finally, there is a source of deep joy available from an intimate place of serving Jesus.

Take a look at his teaching in Luke 15:3-7:

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Joy comes when the lost are found! When we join Jesus in His work by sharing and seeing people come to Him, we can be a part of the heavenly celebration right here and right now.

KEY APPLICATION: What difference does this make in the way I live?

The joy of Christ will replace or reduce stress.

Joy becomes a filter through which we view life. We’re not talking about rose-colored glasses, but about actually having brand new eyes! Joy can change our perspective and our perception of negative circumstances. We aren’t simply in denial, sticking our head in the sand, but rather we choose to rise above the circumstances and adopt an eternal mind-set. Stress can come from many different factors today. We can worry and fret because we feel we’re not in control. Joy is an ongoing reminder that God is in control — that He is in charge of the outcome.

Joy comes from trusting the Controller of all things.

The joy of Christ will become contagious through us.

As stated earlier, who doesn’t want to hang out with a joyful person? Joy lifts others up, just as despair brings them down. If you choose joy on a regular basis, you will not only be a far more approachable and relatable person, but your attitude will rub off on others and make a big impact on all the environments you are in.

The joy of Christ will draw others to Christ.

An old saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Another adage, often heard in sports settings, is, “Attitude is everything.” A person exuding a joy and vigor about life is going to raise the question, “What makes him [her] so different?” When those around us can look at us and see that we choose to express joy, no matter whether life is good or bad at the moment — therein lies the strongest testimony we can offer, even without words.

Notice the path we have taken here — from an inward focus of ending personal stress to an internal transformation to an outward attraction of people to Christ. As joy grows in the heart and mind of the believer, it infiltrates the soul and then moves outward to impact others. Loving God and loving neighbor.

You’ve probably heard the word countenance before. It describes not only the look on your face but also the look of your face. The last entry in George Orwell’s notebooks reads, “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.” Eventually your face forms to your attitude and the perspective you have on life from the inside.

When you see people who look angry, but then you realize they’re not frowning — there’s a bad countenance. But have you seen a bride on her wedding day? Or a mother seeing her newborn child for the first time? Usually a radiant countenance! How can you tell that something good, or bad, has happened to someone you’re close to, even before they say a word? The countenance. As a Christian matures in the virtue of joy, the countenance becomes a gauge of growth.

In one of the Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society’s yearly journals, this story appeared: A Hindu trader in India asked Pema, a native Christian, “What do you put on your face to make it shine so?” Pema answered, “I don’t put anything on it.” “Yes, you do,” said the trader. “All you Christians do. I have seen it in Agra, and in Ahmedabad, and in Surat, and in Bombay.” Pema laughed, and his happy face shone as he said, “I’ll tell you what it is that makes my face shine. It is happiness in the heart. Jesus gives me joy.”

We all will have good and bad days. We will all experience life’s ups and downs. But has life robbed you of your joy, or are you growing in this virtue? What does your face reflect to others? What does your attitude communicate about your faith?

Happiness will be all too fleeting, but the joy of Jesus is available to your soul right now.

When trials arise, choose to lean on Him, and you will find His joy.

* * *

Excerpted with permission Think, Act, Be Like Jesus, by Randy Frazee, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

Do you have an Eeyore in your life? Or a Tigger? We all go through seasons of suffering and grief, but have you ever but plunged into crisis or trauma and found that Jesus was with you so intensely that you could still taste the sweetness of His joy in your mouth along with the sadness? Join the conversation on our blog and let us know what happens! We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

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(The excerpt above was from Chapter 22 on the Key Virtue: Joy)

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God knows we’re a holy mess and loves us anyway!!

“Truth destroys wall”. Sheila Walsh in 5 Minutes with Jesus
Devotionals Daily “Being Honest with God”.

God is not surprised FB Friends by the way you feel and the intense emotions that overwhelm your thought life. He wants you to bring the rawest parts to Him. He loves you as you are and longs for you to trust Him. Let down the walls of Jericho in your heart and get real with God. Read on as Sheila Walsh once again encourages our growth in Christ.

“I am angry!” she said to me.

It was a strange way to start a conversation, but her emotions seemed to overwhelm her.

I had just finished teaching, and I was signing a book for someone when this woman stepped between us. Asking her to wait just a second, I finished signing the book and handed it back to the now very concerned recipient.

“Let’s walk for a bit,” I suggested to my unhappy new friend. When we were finally alone, I quietly asked her, “What happened to you?”

For half a second I thought she might slap me, but as I watched, the ice in her eyes melted from anger into intense pain. She fell into my arms, and rivers of tears streamed down her face.

“I’ve buried two sons,” she said when she could speak. “Every time I hear you talk about your boy, it’s like a knife in my heart.”

We talked for a long time that night. At one point I asked her if she had let God see her rage, and she seemed horrified by the suggestion.

“I can’t talk to God like that!” she said.

“Don’t you think He already knows?” I asked, holding her tight. “He knows — and He loves you. He knows — and He wants you to trust Him enough to tell Him the whole truth about what you’re feeling.”

Have you ever done that? Have you ever simply gotten alone with God and let Him have it all, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly — whatever it is you’re thinking and feeling? Doing so will change your life. Trust me; I speak from experience! But it took me years to open up to God. I’d lived much of my life filled with shame, with the profound sense that no matter what I did, I would never be good enough for God or for anyone else. Clinging to that falsehood, I kept a wall around my heart so that no one could hurt me. The wall kept me safe, but it also kept me lonely. One night when I was alone in a hospital, alone in the dark, I spoke out loud to God everything I felt. It wasn’t pretty… but I wasn’t struck by lightning.

Instead I actually felt closer to Him than ever before. Truth does that.

Truth destroys walls.

Are you willing to take that risk today? Will you fall at the feet of Jesus, tell Him the whole truth about what you’re thinking and feeling, and then let Him love you back to life?

He loves you.

Five Minutes in the Word

The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth. — Psalm 145:18

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. — John 8:32

Send out Your light and Your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You live. — Psalm 43:3

Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. — Psalm 85:10–11

The time is coming — indeed it’s here now — when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. — John 4:23

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Excerpted with permission 5 Minutes with Jesus, by Sheila Walsh, copyright Thomas Nelson.

Your Turn

Does it feel to you as if God requires polite conversation? Like you can’t bring your real mess, real emotions, real questions, real doubts before Him in all sincerity and raw truth? Imagine today that Jesus is just waiting to hear your authentic heart and is calling you to be intimately real with Him, and then do. Join the conversation on our blog and let us know what happens! We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

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With her signature honesty, vulnerability, and humor, bestselling author Sheila Walsh helps you find perspective in the midst of your fast-paced life. Every entry features a powerful devotion, a guiding takeaway, and related Scripture that will nourish you, sustain you, and remind you that you are not alone.

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Know this, God is on your side!

FB Friends, Sometimes life circumstances and people tear us up and challenge us to live out of persevering faith. God knows exactly what’s going on in your life. He will use this situation to build into you a stronger faith, integrity and character. Never lose sight that like David we too can find comfort in the fact that God saw everything he was going through and caught every single tear he shed. David had confidence in the mercy and faithfulness of God, even when he himself had not been faithful to the Holy One. Read on as Sheila Walsh encourages our hearts today.
This I know: God is on my side! — Psalm 56:9

A Bottle of Your Tears
by Sheila Walsh, 5 Minutes with Jesus

When I opened the gift from my friend, I wasn’t quite sure what it was. The small glass bottle was a beautiful cobalt blue, about two inches tall, covered in sliver filigree.

I thought it might be a perfume bottle, albeit a very small one, but her note explained that it was actually a tear bottle she’d found in an antique store in Israel. I did a little research and discovered that tear bottles were common in Rome and Egypt around the time of Christ. Mourners would collect their tears as they walked toward the graveyard to bury their loved one, a tangible indication of how much that person was loved. Sometimes women were even paid to follow the mourners and cry into such a vessel.

Apparently the more anguish and tears produced, the more important and valued the deceased person was perceived to be. But legend has it those mourners-for-hire who cried the loudest and produced the most tears received the greatest compensation.

I treasure this little blue bottle because it reminds me of a profound spiritual truth David wrote about in Psalm 56, when he was at one of the lowest points of his life. David had been captured by his enemies in Gath (he had actually feigned insanity to survive), but he found comfort in the fact that God saw everything he was going through and caught every single tear he shed. I love David’s confidence in the mercy and faithfulness of God even when he himself had not been faithful to the Holy One.

David knew without a doubt that Almighty God never misses a moment, a tear, or a sigh from any of His children. Do you rest in that truth, or do you question that God loves you that much?

Do you ever feel alone? Have you ever thought, “No one on this earth understands the depth of my suffering”?

If you’ve taken a wrong turn in the road, are you expecting God to hold back His mercy until you get back on the straight and narrow?

That’s not the God David knew; that’s not the God of the Bible.

We have a Father who keeps track of all our wanderings and catches every single tear we cry. When we begin to grasp the depth of that truth, we can say with confidence just as David did,

This I know: God is on my side! — Psalm 56:9

Five Minutes in the Word

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? — Psalm 56:8

The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. — Psalm 34:17-18

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. — Psalm 147:3

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! — Psalm 126:5

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. — Matthew 5:4

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Excerpted with permission 5 Minutes with Jesus, by Sheila Walsh, copyright Thomas Nelson.

Your Turn

One of the most insidious lies of the enemy is that we are completely alone in our sufferings. That God’s not paying attention, doesn’t care, and won’t intervene even if He noticed what is going on in our lives. No one understands. Rest today in the truths of Scripture that God cares intimately about you, sees what you are struggling under, and is with you and for you. Join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you about knowing that God is present in our difficulties and heartbreak. ~ Devotionals Daily

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Your life is hectic! Juggling family time, work, and church equals jam-packed days. You want to spend time in God’s Word, but the busyness of life keeps getting in the way. What if, however, you could take five minutes to invest in making each day matter?

With her signature honesty, vulnerability, and humor, bestselling author Sheila Walsh helps you find perspective in the midst of your fast-paced life. Every entry features a powerful devotion, a guiding takeaway, and related Scripture that will nourish you, sustain you, and remind you that you are not alone.

These five minutes with Jesus just might become the most peaceful and meaningful moments of your day.

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One Day at a Time Faith!

What worries you and occupies your time and attention? In the midst of your circumstances, whatever it may be, I want to challenge you today. Surrender it to God and receive His peace and rest. For most of us, this is a moment-to-moment process of letting go, and picking it back up. Practice being intentional about surrendering each time you noticed you are feeling anxious. Practice until His peace fills you and you feel His presence comforting you. The Prince of Peace wants to give you His peace that passes all understanding. It will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. 

Read on FB Friends….

Do not be anxious about anything. — Philippians 4:6

Do Not Worry: One Day at a Time
from NIV Hope in the Mourning Bible

We don’t need a religion; we need a Savior

Read: Matthew 6:25-34

It’s easy to fall into the worry trap, especially in times of trial. We often get out ahead of ourselves and ahead of God as we attempt to predict the many ways a trial may pan out. A typical human response to bad news tends to move automatically to a state of worry and anxiety. God clearly tells us:

Do not be anxious about anything. — Philippians 4:6

We must view our circumstances the way God commands us to.

As a young couple with a newfound faith in Christ, Craig and Amanda were excited to be welcoming their firstborn into this world. Then during a routine ultrasound midway through their pregnancy, they received news that their unborn son’s brain and skull had not formed, a condition referred to as anencephaly. Faced with whether or not to continue the pregnancy, they chose to entrust the length of Noah’s life to God. Noah went to be with Jesus when he was three days old. From the world’s perspective, Noah’s parents had much to worry about. They chose, instead, to cherish each moment they had with their son, living purposefully one day at a time, even before he was born.

Throughout the pregnancy, Craig and Amanda kept a record of all the things they did with Noah — baseball outings, trips to the zoo, a vacation to Arizona, picnic lunches. They collected artifacts and pictures as they lived one day at a time, creating a beautiful scrapbook that told the story of Noah’s brief, yet well-lived and well-loved, life.

In Matthew 6:25-34, we read of God’s loving care and provision — even for the birds — as he asks us,

Are you not much more valuable than they? — Matthew 6:26

Jesus tells us, “Do not worry.” He promises to take care of us.

What trial are you facing today that warrants your trust in God? Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33,

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

God wants you to live — fully live — one day at a time, relying on Him to provide all your needs, physically and spiritually. Trust in Him.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. — Matthew 6:34

Lord, help me to live one day at a time, resting in the promise of Your love and provision for me. Thank You for caring about the details of my life, big and small. Help me to seek You first in all things. Amen.

* * *
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Excerpted with permission NIV Hope in the Mourning Bible, copyright Zondervan.

Your Turn

Are you worried? Are your circumstances overwhelming? Stop right now and ask God for the grace to rest in His promises, love, and provision. Have you experienced one-day-at-a-time faith? What happens when you choose to rely on Jesus every day, just focusing on His direction for today? Join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

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