Sunday, November 25, 2012


"Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright"
Psalm 97:11

We want our lives to be filled with light and joy. Yet so often, they aren't. Discouragement, depression, and darkness threaten regularly. Why? Are we targets of dark enemy? Are we victims of circumstance in a fallen world? Or might we be contributing to the problem ourselves?
There are many possible sources for our dark days, but one of them is a possibility we rather not face. We don't want to think that we're responsible for our downcast hearts, but we may be. God has given a promise. Those who are righteous see light, and those who are upright in heart have joy. The blessings of a life that is right with God are certain.
Why don't we experience those blessings as often as we'd like? It can't be that the promise of God has failed. Perhaps we are not righteous or upright in heart. Perhaps what is stealing our joy is a struggle within us for dependence on Jesus' righteousness and victory over sin.
Think about it: We are most discouraged when we feel defeated. And when do we feel defeated? When we know that God has commanded an obedience or an attitude that we just can't seem to comply with. In other words, sin gets us down. The primary struggle in the human heart is a battle of the will. When we lack joy, it may be because we're losing that battle - or, more accurately, winning it when we shouldn't. The heart laments its own unbelief and disobedience, and when it does, all peace leaves.
Do we lack joy? It probably isn't a fault of our circumstances or our brain chemistry, although those can certainly have their effects. Look first at our heart. Is it questioning promises that God has emphasized? Is it reluctant to surrender all our cares to Him? Does it trust His will and comply with His purposes? Is it able to say, even when life is tough, that God's grace is greater? Those are hard questions, but our internal struggles demand answers. We can't know peace until these are settled. He promised: Joy and light come to those who are unreservedly His.
(an extract from: Worship The King by Christ Tiegreen)

"If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as, just as I have obeyed my Father's command and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." John 15:10-11

The Surest Mark of a Christian is Not Faith,
or Even Love, But Joy.
Samuel Shoemaker 

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Philippians 4:4

A mindless sense of well being that ignores what is going on around you is not what Paul has in mind when he tells the Philippians to Rejoice In The Lord Always. The letter he writes to them is filled with recognition of difficult circumstances that they are all facing. In the opening words of the letter Paul acknowledges his own situation as a prisoner facing execution. A little later he encourages the Philippians to remain strong in the face of opposition that currently threatens them as well. Yet even in the face of execution, persecution, and suffering, Paul repeatedly calls on them to have JOY, to Rejoice In The Lord.
Firstly let us note that Paul has issued this statement as a command from the Lord. Has God ever issued a command that could not be carried out? Never! The very fact of a divine command proves that obedience is possible. Note further, God not only demands that we rejoice; He demands that we rejoice CEASELESSLY.
So how do we follow this command to Rejoice In The Lord Always, even when things are going horribly wrong? There is a basis for it: Paul does not tell us to rejoice in our circumstances. He tells us to Rejoice In The Lord and he tells us this REPEATEDLY. He even acknowledges that he is repeating himself but says that it is good for us to be reminded again and again to rejoice always. But our rejoicing must be “IN THE LORD”. When our circumstances cause us nothing but grief, disappointments, fears and doubts we can still be glad and strong because our JOY is not based on fluctuating circumstances, but has it's SOURCE in the One Who loves us and is the object of our loveSecondly, Rejoicing is a matter of our CHOICE. There is a great difference between JOY & HAPPINESSJoy is the realm of the spirit whereas happiness is related to our emotions, feelings and circumstances. When things are going well, we have happiness. It is good to have happiness, but we cannot have it all the time.
To illustrate: If I lost my wallet, I would be very happy when the founder returned it to me. After a few days, I would no longer have the feeling of happiness although my wallet is still with me. What I have actually lost is the feeling of happiness at the time of finding it.
JOY on the other hand, is not dependent on feelings or circumstances. There is only one source of JOY and that is God - God Himself! That is why it is possible to "Rejoice In The Lord Always!" and they are able to do so because "the Lord is near" (Philippians 4:5) - [In His Presence is fullness of JOY (Psalm 16:11)]. You will note that while rejoicing they are also encouraged to submit their petitions and prayers which include the spirit of thanksgiving. (Philippians 4:6) And the resultance is having "the peace of God" (Philippians 4:7) in midst of whatever circumstances.
Beloved, if we but exercise our faith and choice to "rejoice in the Lord", in the midst of our adverse circumstances, these negative feelings of grief, fear, doubt and anger will just melt away! 
Therefore, we are able to declare apostle James' message to "count it all joy even when we fall into divers trials or testing" (James 1:2) because it is "The Joy of the Lord" which is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) that will carry us through.

- Oswald Chambers -

Have A Joyous and Victories Week

Sunday, November 11, 2012



Thanksgiving agrees with Heaven by acknowledging the truth that our lives are a gift from God, and that He is sovereign over all. God is extravagantly generous, and the life He has given us to experience on this planet is NOT a life of survival BUT of abundance and blessing. BUT unless we properly recognize what we've been given, we won't be able to experience it's benefit.

The Spirit of Thanksgiving
Imagine Christmas morning. You've spent the last few months shopping and picking out unique gifts for each of your family members that show your intimate knowledge of their interests and desires. You have spared no expense to get gifts of the highest quality that will be both enjoyable and beneficial to each person. BUT when your family comes to the Christmas tree, one person completely ignores the presents. Another person opens your gift, but starts using it for something other than what it was made for. Still another just holds the gift, and refuses to unwrap it. And to make the matters worse, none of them even acknowledge that their gifts are from you.

Sadly, this is how many Christians respond to God's gifts, particularly the gifts of the Spirit. So many people fail to receive what the Lord has offered them because they don't understand what the gifts are or how to use them. They say ridiculous things like, "Well, tongues is the least of the gifts, so I don't need to pursue it." If my children said this about one of the presents I had put under the tree for them, I'd be very upset. I'd say, "This is yours! I don't care how small you think it is. I bought it with you in mind, and I don't give cheap gifts. If you'll just open it, I'll show you what it is and how to use it." Such a rejection of gifts is absolute arrogance.

Thankfulness carries an attitude of humilityThanksgiving is the ONLY proper way to receive what God has given us because it honours our relationship with Him by expressing trust in His goodness, even if we don't understand what we've received. God gives us "every good and perfect gift" for TWO primary reasons. He gives to make us prosper so we can succeed in life, and He gives to demonstrate His love as an invitation to relationship. When we practice thanksgiving as a LIFESTYLE, we recognize that the gifts we have received from the Lord came with these purposes. Thanksgiving sets us on course to know God in relationship and discover the reasons for which He made us.

When God tells us to give Him thanks, He's not insinuating that He gives in order to get something from us. He doesn't manipulate us with His gifts. He wants us to thank Him because thankfulness acknowledges the truth about our lives. And when we agree with the truth, then truth sets us free to see and manifest the greatness that He has put in us as the ones He has made in His image.When we withhold thanks from God, we actually cut ourselves off from who we are. This is what Paul explains in Romans 1:18-21.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness ... so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God they did not glorify Him as God,nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Futile means purposeless. When we fail to sustain the response of thanksgiving for EVERYTHING in our lives, our thinking is cut off from our purpose in God. When we lose sight of our purpose, we will inevitably make choices that are outside of God's intentions for our lives, and this can only be destructive because it works against His design for us. A dark heart is a heart that is unable to perceive spiritual reality. It is unmoved by the desires and affections of the Lord, and therefore cannot respond to His invitation to relationship, which is the source of life.

Since thanksgiving keeps us sane and alive by connecting us to the source of our life and purpose, it makes sense that Paul instructs us to give thanks "in everything."
Thanksgiving Keeps Us Sane And Alive

But there is a specific dimension of thanksgiving that s particularly powerful in times of difficulty and adversity. We find this principle in Paul's first letter to Timothy.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons...commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the words of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:1-5)
When Paul says that thanksgiving sanctifies unclean food, he is saying that it sets it apart for God and His purposes. Thanksgiving actually changes the very nature of the food into something holy. This truth extends beyond unclean food. It extends to EVERY SITUATION in your life in which you find other powers at work besides the power of God. It is vital to remember that NOT EVERYTHING happens in life is His will. He didn't cause the crisis a nation or individual may be facing. He actually can't give things that are not good because He doesn't have them. God only give good good gifts, because He is good, and has only good gifts to give. So giving thanks IN EVERYTHING does not mean saying that the adversity came from God. But giving thanks in the midst of an adverse situation, a difficulty intended to undermine your faith and destroy you, enables you to take hold of that situation and set it apart to God and His purposes. When you give thanks, the weapon the enemy meant to use to dislodge you from your divine purpose is put into your hands and becomes the very thing that brings you more fully into that purpose. Jesus declared that He sends us out with the same assignment the Father gave to Him - to destroy the works of the devil (see 1 John 3:8)Thanksgiving accomplishes the divine of the Kingdom, where the enemy is destroyed by the very thing he intended to use for our destruction. Just knowing that we can participate in destroying the enemy's purposes should alone move us to give thanks!

One of the clearest examples of divine justice in Scripture is found in the Book of Esther: the story of Haman, who was hung on the very gallows he built to destroy Mordecai. Later, this justice was made even more complete when Modecai assumed Haman's position in the king's court. The wonderful thing about this story is that Mordecai didn't have to bring justice himself. He simply kept his focus on his duty to the heathen king and to his people. This is the nature of warfare in the Kingdom. We don't battle by focusing on the devil. We keep our focus on the King and His Kingdom, and the devil cannot help but be unseated by God's ever-increasing government released through our lives, which illustrates another reason why thanksgiving is powerful in times of adversity. Psalm 100:4 says that we "enter His gates with thanksgiving." Thanksgiving brings us into the manifest presence of God and connects us with what He is doing and saying in the midst of our circumstances. Thanksgiving helps to establish our focus on Him so that our awareness SHIFTS from earthly reality to heavenly reality - which we must do in order to release the strength of Heaven into our circumstances.

When I stay close to the presence of God through thanksgiving, I not only become aware of His absolute ability to invade the impossible, I sense His radical love and delight in me! As I give thanks for the good gifts He's put in my life, I present convincing evidence that He is my Father, He is for me, and His opinion pretty much cancels out all the others. The wonderful thing is that we simply begin to give thanks, even when it seems difficult to remember one answered prayer, it isn't too long before our focus on the good in our lives creates an opening for the Lord's joy. And It 's the joy of the Lord that is our strength. I believe that James was talking about giving thanks when he said to COUNT IT ALL JOY in trial, because giving thanks usually includes taking an inventory of God's gifts in your life. Do the math! If you want to discover the ability of thankfulness to bring you strength in difficulty, you need to keep COUNTING these things UNTIL you come to the conclusion - IT's TIME TO REJOICE! It becomes really hard to stay depressed about your circumstances when you're filled with the awareness of the love and goodness of God that surrounds and infuse your life.
There is a level of life we can reach where we practice THANKSGIVING AS A LIFESTYLE - a place where we remember our answered prayers. When difficulty comes along, we have a huge inventory of blessings instantly accessible to bring us into His presence as well as the joy and delight He has over us. That is far greater than any accusation, crisis, or conflict that could come our way. When we learn to live in THIS REALM, NOTHING can deflect us from our purpose. We even make the enemy help us get it done. From Heaven's perspective, it is reasonable to give thanks "IN EVERYTHING"!
An extract from the book - Strengthen Yourself In The Lord by Bill Johnson

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Replace The Spirit of Grumbling With the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Have you ever stepped outside your door on a beautiful clear sunny day, taken a deep breath of fresh air, and thanked God for His wonderful creation? But what if the next morning is grey and rainy? Does it automatically make you feel a little depressed as you look out of the window? Maybe you don't say it loud, but how do you feel? Are you in the habit of thanking God only for what you want? or are you in the habit of grumbling just a little when things does not go the way you like? 

So what is wrong with a little complaining? What difference does it make? It does make all the difference in the world. Everything depends on how we respond to the little things in life. A marriage counsellor will tell you that a marriage usually breaks up over little things. A small misunderstanding can start a war. Little things mean a lot, because this is the level where we live, down at the nitty-gritty of our attitude at breakfast table, or in the long checkout line at the supermarket.

A complaint is the opposite of trust; a murmur against your wife when she burns your toast is the opposite of a loving acceptance. The dictionary defines a complaint as an accusation. By complaining and grumbling you are actually accusing God of mismanaging the details of your life. The attitude of thanksgiving and praise releases the power of God into our lives, but the attitude of murmuring and complaining blocks that power. 

For forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and every time something went wrong, they complained bitterly and wanted to go back to the land of Egypt. Why did it take them forty years to cover less than two hundred miles? Even with women and children and cattle, they could have covered the distance in a few weeks. They were delayed because they murmured and refuse to trust that God would keep His promise to take care of their every need. In 1 Corinthians 10:10-11, the apostle Paul was speaking about the behaviour of the Israelite in their wanderings from Egypt to the Promised Land ... "And do not grumble, some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us ..." (Extract from Power In Praise by Merlin R. Carothers) 

To be a worshipper, we need to begin DISCIPLINING our lives daily with the spirit of thanksgiving. This is easier said than done because most of us would agree that we are habitual grumblers. We grumble when we miss the bus to work and when we have to work late. We complain when the car would not start or when we hit a red light or are caught in a traffic jam. Even at meal time, we unconsciously complain about the food and the poor service provided by the restaurant. The list is endless ... but let us take heed that unless we overcome this deadly habit of grumbling, complaining and murmuring, it will rob us of the blessings and joy of the Lord. 

"IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD" 1Thessalonians 5:18. The simple application of this biblical truth covers EVERY situation or circumstance in our lives.
The benefits of a thankful heart are many ... by giving thanks:
1) We are in His divine will and itself will lead us out of the wilderness experience and into a victorious walk with the Lord
2) We have immediate access to enter into His gates (His presence) and in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 100:4, 16:11)
3) The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

No wonder the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4 commanded us to "Rejoice in the Lord always!" and in Colossians 3:17 that "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks ..."

Unbelief - Faith / Trust
Defeat - Victory
Anger - Joy
In The Wilderness - In His Will 
Degradation - Transformation

Make a point today to "DISCIPLINE" your life to give thanks and count it all joy even in diverse circumstances (James 1:2) ... for ALL THINGS work together for good (Romans 8:28)