Count it All Joy

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We can count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4

Life as a Believer

Living your life as a believer in Christ is never easy. We are supposed to resemble a Christ-like nature which consists of walking in the fruits of the spirit. However, living a life of self-control, long-suffering, gentleness, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity and faithfulness (Gal 5:22) takes discipline and your character can be challenged in a selfish, chaotic world.

Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we can never accomplish and fulfill these characteristics and traits of Christ without the guidance and strength of Christ working within us.

As a believer, you may be constantly scrutinized or criticized by the world because you claim to live a so-called “Perfect” life. They may also expect you to be judgmental and point out the faults of others. Far too many believers have a “hypocritical nature.”

Unfortunately, some believers receive a bad rap because of misrepresentation due to other believers who are not walking as a true representative of Christ but walking in a religious spirit rooted in legalism.

With so many denominations and backgrounds, it’s a melting pot or hodgepodge of multiple belief systems which makes it even more confusing for a non-believer to justify why they should even change their life or go to church.

Little do non-believers understand, there is no such thing as a “Perfect Christian.” That’s the reason why Christ paid the penalty of sin on the cross. We are redeemed by faith through Christ. We are called to love each other despite our character flaws, mindsets, beliefs or lifestyles.

You may not feel worthy or you may feel like an outcast when surrounded by a congregation of believers. However, the Lord desires and chooses you. Every one of us is broken or flawed in some way. No one is perfect. Jesus loves you!

People may watch and wait for you to fail, fall or mess up. There is no doubt a lot of pressure to live as a believer in the flesh. In fact, there is no way possible to achieve a life as a believer while living in the flesh. It’s a spiritual journey.

As a believer, once you realize that you’re delivered from people and their opinions, you will no longer appease others but have a stronger desire to please the Lord. You will no longer be controlled or manipulated by peers, teams, groups or audiences because you don’t have an appetite to blend in or be accepted by your associates, friends or even family members.

Come as You Are

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Jesus welcomes the broken-hearted, the sick, the addicted, the poor, and the widowed. Jesus does not discriminate. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.

There is no such thing as guilt or shame. Once you repent of your wrong thoughts, intentions, attitudes, wrong actions and behaviors, it is erased for eternity. The Lord remembers our sin no more. (Heb 8:12) However, that is not an excuse for us to live careless, reckless and carefree lives. When we mess up, we must continuously begin again and make an honest effort to change for the better.

Through the Fire

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The world will pull you in many directions and you will fall into many problems or difficult circumstances.  Just when you feel doubt, fear, insecurity, or discouragement creeping in, the Lord will step in and give you comfort, peace, strength, and reassurance whispering, “I got you!”

You can only achieve this experience and deeper revelation while resting in the secret place of the most high (Psalm 91:1) which starts by building a foundation on His word, persistent prayer, and continual praise and worship.

In the quiet hours, the Lord will reveal himself to you in unspeakable ways. Although you will be thrown into many trials, tribulations, and test, each test is preparing and positioning you for greatness. It strengthens and grows your faith in Him. He may not quickly rescue you from the fire but He is sure to walk with you through the flames just like he did with Shadrach,  Meshasch, and Abednego. (Dan 3)

Spiritual warfare is an opportunity for God to demonstrate his power. The Lord will make the enemy your footstool. (Mark 12:36) Put on the full armor of God and He will fight every battle. (Eph 6:10-34)

For every test is perfectly designed by the master’s hands to shape and mold you into what He wants you to be. There is a specific purpose and assignment He created for you to complete.

No Matter What it Looks like You’re Not Coming Out Smelling Like Smoke

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You may feel unqualified. You may feel like Moses who felt like he did not have the skills or abilities to defeat Pharaoh and lead the Israelites through the Red Sea. However, the Lord chose him for a specific purpose and for a specific season. Your insecurities, flaws, quirks, lack of education or experience is not a prerequisite for God’s work.

The Lord chose the most unqualified people to represent his Kingdom to preach the gospel, cast out demons or defeat giants. The one thing that has been the thorn in your side may just happen to be the one thing God uses in your life to promote you.

The Lord calls the weak to confound the wise. (I Corth 1:27)  The same problems, situations, and circumstances that you’ve dealt with or may be dealing with is part of your test, part of your story and the bigger part of who you’ll become.

Despite what you go through, with Jesus, you will come through the fire untouched. You will come through in victory!

Through patience and faith, you will inherit the promises of God. It takes strength, endurance, and courage to walk with faith, hope, and trust. In the meantime, count it all joy!

Related Scriptures

James 1:12

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Heb 8:12

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Mark 12:29-31

29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

James 1:5-8

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. 

I Corth 1:27

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

I Chron 16:24

24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.

Eph 6:10-24

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. 

How to Conquer Spiritual Warfare

 When you read the Word of God, a seed of hope is immediately planted in your heart. You should feed your spirit daily with words of encouragement and hope. Much like watering a plant, it will become dry and withered, if not watered on a regular basis.

However, you must guard your heart against discouragement, fear, doubt and other negative emotions that can instantly rob you of the Word and strip your spirit. Mark 4:14-20

When you constantly look at the world’s problems or your own, you may feel a sense of hopelessness. There are many things in life that can discourage you and plant a sense of fear or doubt in your mind. When you continue to focus on the wrong things, it will begin to grow bigger and stronger like a brush fire.

Guarding your mind is essential to fighting off defeating thoughts.

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things that are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things that are pure, whatsoever things that are lovely, whatsoever things that are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phil 4:8

Girt Your Loins with Truth

When you stand on the Word of God, you stand in the truth of the character of God and His power. It releases you from every bondage of sin. You can be released from addictions, sickness, fear, anxiety, doubts and worries. You allow God to carry all of your burdens. However, you will not attain this source of freedom unless you have complete trust in Him in which you can only receive by knowing (spiritual discernment) and understanding (spiritual wisdom).

 Walk With the Breastplate of Righteousness

We are made in God’s image. Although we are not perfect, we have been made righteous through Him. When you know the Word of God and it’s planted in your heart, you do not have the desire to sin. You want to please the Lord. You shine His light in dark places. You walk as salt in the earth.

It’s through the anointing power of the Holy Spirit who teaches you all things. The Lord renews your Spirit. Your hands are made clean and you are made whole through His grace and mercy. All sin is washed away. He does not remember a trace of your past history. Forgiveness is the greatest gift, but His love is unsurmountable.

Rest in the Gospel of Peace

It’s hard to walk in peace with conflict and everyday chaos all around you. The stresses of daily routines and busy schedules can take a toll on anyone.

When you meditate on the Word of God, it brings order to your day. It aligns your daily tasks, weekly plans and long-ranged goals in complete alignment with the Lord’s plans and purpose for your life. You also have the ability to walk with a sense of peace and do not focus so much on the daily challenges and obstacles that get in your way. You receive a peace that surpasses all understanding. Phil 4:7

Put on the Helmet of Salvation

You have a special covering when you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior that the world does not have. It’s like having an invisible shield of protection through the Blood of Jesus Christ. It guards you from harm and danger.

However, certain problems and circumstances are allowed to enter into your life to mold and shape you for His purpose. Unfortunately, no one is exempt from heartaches, but those walking with Christ has an ability to fight off evil plots and schemes that the devil sends your way.

“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Phil 3:9-10

 Pick up Your Shield of Faith

When Peter walked on the water, he kept his eyes on Jesus. When he started to look around at the stormy waves, he began to sink. He lost his faith. Much like Peter’s experience, you may lose your faith when you continue to look at your circumstances or world conditions.

Speak Boldly With the Sword of the Spirit

The Word of God is life. It provides strength and vitality to a weary soul. When you speak the Word of God on a consistent basis, it breaks every stronghold in your life. Consistency is key. Believing is mandatory.

Final Thoughts

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things freely given to us of God.” I Corth 2:12

“But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for it is foolishness to him; neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corth 2:14 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you will be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Esph 6:10-13

 

God With Us

Christmas is a time for gathering with family and friends. It’s a time of great activities and celebration. During this time of year, we are busy putting the decorations on the tree, cooking extravagant meals, baking Christmas cookies and shopping for that special gift.

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Sometimes we are so wrapped up in the holiday activities that we forget about our priorities and responsibilities until the upcoming year which brings on additional stress.

For others, it’s a time of sadness because of a lack or loss. We may have lost a loved one and may still be mourning the loss. Others may not have the means to buy gifts and food which are highlights of the Christmas season. Just having the basic necessities is a struggle.

This time of year can be very sad and depressing in the hearts of the elderly who are left alone or the sick waiting for their pain to go away.

Unfortunately, life brings on difficult situations that may be very difficult to handle. Whether you’re on the top of a mountain or in the valley, God is with us. He does not discriminate. Jesus is the greatest gift that was ever given to us. His Love surpasses all that we could ever achieve or want. Every moment we breathe is a gift from God.

We will continue to search for things and strive for more to fill the void in our lives. In the end, things get broken, lost, forgotten, worn out or you just get plain tired of it. Those things that made us so happy at one time; leaves us feeling empty.

The void in our lives can only be filled with the love of Jesus. There is healing in the name of Jesus: Deliverance in the name of Jesus; Protection in the name of Jesus; Provision in the name of Jesus; Power in the name of Jesus.

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Photo Source: Unfurledlife.blogspot.com

We must remember his presence as we go about celebrating the festivities and know that He remains forever with us as believers. We should take solitude time during the holiday to commune with him. You are His treasured joy and He welcomes relationship with you. “He will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.”

If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior or you would like to rededicate your life to him, simply open your heart to him and pray the following prayer in faith to receive Jesus as your Lord.

“Heavenly Father, I come to you in the Name of Jesus, Your word says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” and “If thou shalt confess with your mouth that the Lord, Jesus died for our sins and shall believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Acts 2:21; Romans 10:9 I pray that you will forgive me of my sins, renew my mind, cleanse me and make me whole by the power of the Holy Spirit. I make you my Lord and Savior of my life to guide me, protect me and teach me all things. In Jesus Name. Amen.

“And, she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. And all this was done; that it might be fulfilled which was spoke of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child; and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son; and he called his name Jesus.” S. Matthew1:21-25

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