Monday’s Musings #246 & Leaving A Spiritual Legacy

Leaving A Spiritual Legacy & Monday's Musings #246 | What Joy Is Mine

We recently attended the memorial service of a dear friend. He was 69 years old. Young in my book. His heart was tender physically and spiritually. I am glad to have known him in my lifetime.

Grief is real during the Christmas season. People do go through hardship and tribulation even through a season such as Christmas where joy is the promotion. Yet this Joy we celebrate during this time of the year is bigger than any grief we can endure, even death.

As I sat in my sweet friend’s service, I listened to the words spoken about him and the message given in each instance someone spoke. That message was Jesus. Jesus and the gospel was what my friend wanted conveyed in that moment. He loved Jesus and lived that out daily. He wasn’t perfect but he was an example of someone who aimed to live and speak the message of God’s grace and mercy through Jesus Christ.

He never promoted himself but truly desired for people to see his Savior in his life. His service had this message written all over it. I watched his wife of many, many years celebrate her husband’s spiritual legacy.

Isn’t that what we should desire? To leave a spiritual legacy that reflects and demonstrates God’s amazing grace founded in His Son, Jesus Christ, and what He did through the cross, His death and His resurrection. My friend reminded me that this life is short and we ought to redeem the time we are given to reach others for the kingdom of God. What else could be of more importance?

This Christmas season, as we humbly celebrate the birth of our Savior, let us ponder the gift of God, the Father, of His Son to a broken people who needed saving. May we then reflect this salvation towards others around us and be bold in spirit to share Jesus with them as we move into 2017.

May you and yours have a joy-filled Christmas and Happy New Year.

So grateful to have you visit today. I appreciate you.

Monday's Musings #246 | What Joy Is MIne

Monday’s Musings Purpose:

To have others share encouragement about being a child of God, being a godly wife, motherhood, homemaking, homeschooling, healthy recipes, modest dress, etc. (I reserve the right to remove anything I deem unacceptable. Keep in mind this is a Christian blog.)

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1. Please link directly to the post you’re sharing. Be sure to link back here by using a text link or the logo in the side bar.

2. This link up party stays open until Wednesday evening. Know that sometimes I share your posts on Pinterest, Twitter and/or Facebook because I desire for our readers to be blessed.

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We Are Greatly Loved

We Are Greatly Loved | What Joy Is Mine

As children of God, we can know without a doubt that we are a people greatly loved by a good and amazing God. Daniel learned about this great love in a moment of consternation. A hand reached down and touched him setting him to tremble on his hands and knees. Then, the Lord said to Daniel, “O Daniel, a man greatly loved…” (Daniel 10:11) See, how the Lord refers to him?

Daniel was chosen and directed by the Father just as we are chosen and directed by the Father. Can we not appropriate this title as well? A woman/man greatly loved? Do we embrace this great love given to us by the Father?

Once, we rioted in our sin. We were slaves to it. It entertained us and fed us. It also kept us separated from our Father in heaven. Sin does that. It takes our eyes off of our awesome God. But Jesus came. He lived among us. He spoke words of comfort to us. He healed the brokenhearted. He suffered cruelly. He carried and died on a cross. He rose again to sit at the right hand of God. He now reigns forever and ever. This friends, is the great love found in Jesus Christ gifted to us by God, the Father.

And although we know we are greatly loved, we don’t often grab a hold of it wholeheartedly. So, how do we embrace this truth of being greatly loved?

~ We believe without a doubt in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

~ We trust in the written Word of God which we “accepted…not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

~ We have confidence in the certainty that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

~ We are humbled by the fact that when we do sin, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

~ We relish in the reminder that “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

~ We cling to the reassurance that “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

~ We understand when suffering comes upon us “that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

See, we are greatly loved, Beloved. We need to embrace this love and think on it daily. We ought to hold tight to it and let our hearts focus on this love God gives us.

 

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7 Days of JOY: The Gospel

7 Days of JOY Series: The Gospel | What Joy Is Mine

Today, on day one of living 7 Days of JOY, we are going to focus on the Gospel and why we should rejoice in it daily. I put this topic first because I believe it is the most important JOY there is in life. Everything else we rejoice in hinges on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel can be explained in this way: without it there is no JOY in life. We need Jesus. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

What is the gospel? Simply put, Jesus Christ came for the sinner. “That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15: 3,4) See, He was born a baby in a stable. He lived among us, teaching and admonishing. He was condemned and beaten even though He was innocent of the charges against Him. He hung a cross for nothing He did. He died. He rose on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God for all eternity. His life was lived to save the lost. He did all of this for you! For me! What should’ve of been our payment on the cross He bore for us. “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:2) Jesus took the wrath meant for us sinners. It humbles my heart that Jesus would do that for me, for you.

He didn’t have to, he chose to. Get that? He CHOSE to. He knew that God despised sin and that sinners could not stand before Him. So, Jesus withstood the suffering meant for us so we wouldn’t have to endure the wrath of God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.(Romans 1:18) Jesus was, and still is, and always will be our righteousness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2 Corinthians 5:21)

Not only did Jesus live and die for our sins, He rose so that we may have eternal life. “So that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(Romans 5:21) Just think of that. Life forever with our heavenly Father. Death cannot win here. We have life for all eternity. Life without pain, suffering and tears. A life with eternal JOY as we stand in the presence of the Lord.

This is first thing we should rejoice in every day. Most mornings, I am reminding myself of the gospel. I truly don’t want to go day without reminding myself of the sacrifice made on my behalf. It is the one thing in my life that motivates everything else I do. and fills me with complete JOY.

We are loved and not condemned. We are saved and rescued. We are treasured and chosen. We adopted and healed. We are covered in the righteousness of Jesus and God can now look upon us with favor. If we daily rejoiced in the good news—the gospel, imagine how much we would smile and be JOY-filled!

So, on day one in our series, we need to not only understand the Gospel, but work on finding JOY in the Gospel daily. One way you can do that is read “The Gospel Primer” by Milton Vincent. It is one book I highly recommend to encourage gospel JOY in our heart. Another way is to read the gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament of your bible. Lastly, pray that the Lord would not let you forget what Jesus did for you.

7 Days of Joy Series | What Joy Is Mine

Friday we will look at how we find JOY in hope and heaven.

Day 2: Hope and Heaven

Day 3: Trial and Suffering

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The Hotel, The Heart of Man and A Good God

HotelandGod2

I have to admit it. One of the fun things about traveling is staying in a hotel. There is something about being in a place where you can basically have it your way. Extra pillows? Yes. Meals delivered to your room? Yes. Someone else to clean your room? You bet!

Recently at church, the pastor briefly used a stay at a hotel to teach about the heart of men/women. It got me thinking about that analogy and I wanted to pass on my gleaning. Let’s look at three different hotel visitors, how they approach cleaning room service, and what that has to do with God.

1. There is the person who doesn’t clean their hotel room and puts up the do not disturb sign so no cleaning lady enters during their stay.

2. There is the person who requests room service but will clean and tidy the room before the cleaning lady arrives.

3. There is the person who just leaves the room as it is and trusts the cleaning person to do a good job without taking anything that belongs to them.

We can learn spiritually from these three different people by how they view receiving cleaning service at a hotel.

The first person is a picture of the one who believes they cannot ask God into their heart because it is so sin-filled and ugly. They believe their past and maybe present is too awful for God to forgive. What this person fails to understand is that the gospel was done just for them!! Jesus came to seek the lost, save the rejected and heal the wounded. All of our lives are messy but when we let Jesus in as our Savior, he makes them messy-beautiful. We don’t have to hang the “do not disturb” sign on the door of our heart because Jesus loves us just as we are. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17)

The second person is a picture of the one who feels they must put some things in order before they can let God be a part of their life. They decide they must do some straightening out and tidying up before they can even ask Jesus into their heart.  Coming as they are is not a consideration. What this person fails to see is that Jesus wants us just as we are in the moment we’re in!! There isn’t anything we can do to be righteous enough before God. Our righteousness only comes through Jesus and the cross. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)

The last person is a picture of the one who realizes that the Lord accepts them, brokenness and all–today–right now. They just bring all their messiness and lay it at the cross. They know that it is there they will find forgiveness and be washed clean. Nothing can separate them from the love of God. Fear does not hold them back from trusting God. They are ready and willing to hang the “room service” sign on the door of their heart. Come on in Lord and change me. Romans 8, verse 1 reassures us that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When we think about this picture of faith, it is probable that we can think of others who fit one of the examples listed above. We need to be in prayer for those people. Maybe that person is you? Let me say this: The Lord loves us with an abundant love and he desires that none should perish but that all should come to Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16)

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Why the Idea of Self Esteem Is Not Biblical

 Why the Idea of Self Esteem Is Not Biblical | What Joy Is Mine

The other day I was given the opportunity to teach our children why self esteem is not biblical. Today’s post is going to cover what I wanted my children to understand about terms like self esteem & self confidence. What does the Bible say about them? And how we need to help our children understand the danger of allowing these seemingly positive ideas into their hearts.

Self esteem defined is “confidence in one’s own worth or abilities.” That leads to the term self confidence, which is defined as “a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.” Scripture says, Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12) Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse says, “one who has such a conceit of his own abilities as makes him opinionative, dogmatical, and censorious; and all the use he makes of his knowledge is that it puffs him up.” 

Self esteem, along with self confidence, dangerously promotes certainty in one’s self and abilities which can lead to the sin of pride and decrease our need for God. It can cause us to be blind to an awesome God and His presence in our life. This way of viewing ourselves–this so called self esteem–draws us away from our relationship with and dependence on the Lord and places our focus on and trust in ourselves. And when self is on the throne of our heart, there is no place for our heavenly Father. He cannot share our heart with anything or anyone else. He is jealous for us. Exodus 34:14 says, “for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Where the idea of self esteem elevates self worth and trust in what we can accomplish on our own, grace and mercy humbles us to realize that we are not our own and it is God who plans and purposes our life to His glory and our good. Self esteem finds us walking in our own way and not the commandments of God. We begin to praise our own efforts and not what the Lord is doing. We begin to be more prideful and humility is pushed to the wayside. Proverbs 29:23 points out the danger of pride,One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.Lastly, recognition  and praise by others becomes more important than pleasing God and doing His will. The Bible warns us that “men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.(2 Timothy 3:2)

What we need to remember is that our worth is found in Jesus not self. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Once we become children of God, we no longer live a life settled on what we want but we begin to focus on what God desires for and of us. How we view ourselves should be through the lens of our salvation and grace received through our Savior, his life, death and resurrection. You are not your own, for you were bought with a price,” it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19. 

When we embrace looking at ourselves through our faith in Christ, we see we are more valuable than ever. We have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  (Galatians 2:20) This is the JOY of finding our worth in Jesus. We see we are God’s workmanship and He delights in us. We are loved with a never ending love. When God looks at us, He sees his Son. We are found worthy in that fact alone and that’s something to rejoice in. We are valued more than the birds! (Matthew 6:26) And the Lord looks after them well. 

So, self esteem is not a biblical view of who we are. It is a worldly one. Who we are, our worth and our confidence are founded on our faith in Jesus and nothing else. And because we are created in the image of God, we are so very valuable. We are a “treasured possession(Exodus 19:5) and “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for his own possession.(1 Peter 2:9) John Piper says, “Our joy in this sphere comes not from self-acceptance but from our intense sense of the mercy of God accepting us into his fellowship.” Amen!

 

Siggy2015

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**Some photos on my blog are my own labeled NCPhotography. If any of my photos anywhere on my blog catch your eye, please email me for permission to use them in any way. I appreciate your cooperation in helping my photography stay protected and properly credited. Thank you.
Image courtesy of [podpad] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
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