STAND FIRM

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Stand Firm!  These two words often come into my mind, they are used      throughout scripture in different places.

I normally choose a word for the year.  I have been feeling led to make my one word for 2017 joy.  I have joy; it is not dependent of my circumstances, it is mine because I have Christ in me.  It is a great word.  Yesterday I was introduced to the thought of choosing a phrase; then, it may be “choose joy “or “focus on joy”.  I naturally go to James, Consider it great joy when you encounter various trials… Joy would come as character is being developed, but as you go through the trial, you would have to choose, or focus on joy instead of current circumstances.

Following events in my life lately, I am not sure if joy is what I need to focus on, as nice and comfortable as it may sound.  I do need to find it sometimes as it seems to be hiding, but I am not sure if it needs to be my focus for the new year. The phrase Stand firm, words used in a study I recently completed on the Armor of God, might speak to me now.  I am certain that the devil was not happy about that study as here are a number of ladies in my church now focusing on watching for his schemes and attacks —> BAM, in he waltzes!

Standing firm may not always be easy, but God has directed us to stand firm.  We are to let our yes be yes and our no be no.  We are to stand for the truth of his word and not “dance with the devil” (not biblical words, but I think you know what  I mean).  We need to be on gurard, always.

When Jesus saw defiance at the temple, he showed he would not stand for it.  Sometimes when we stand firm against the schemes of the devil, others may not look at it as you do.  That is when you need to STAND FIRM.  The devil is not soft sweet (except when he is trying to lure in his prey), we need to be on guard, to be watchful, to stand firm against him and not be swayed into the grips of the devil.

A few weeks ago my post included Wisdom’s Gentleness.  Sometimes though, gentleness has been used up and we need to stand our ground firmly and boldly.  I try to follow the example of Christ, when he saw the money changers using his temple for their own cause, he was bold and fierce.  He was not comprimizing.  We may not need to throw over tables, but we may need to move against what others would like and we may even feel judgement.

God is my judge, he can make beauty out of ashes when we stand with him, armored for battle, doing it all in love.  Love for one another, love for God and love for his truth.

So, what have I decided on for 2017?

A word or a phrase?  What will it be?

I don’t have to decide now, all I have to decide is to “Put on all of God’s armor so that I will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”

??????????????

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Consider it all Joy

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I know my joy comes from being in his presence.  If there are things happening to take my joy, it is time for me to go back to the basics and get into His presence!

 “You will show me the way of life,  granting me the joy of your presence  and the pleasures of living with you forever.” Psalm 16:11 NLT

I am assured that I have Jesus in me, I have received the gift of the Holy Spirit and will live with God forever.  That’s the helmet of salvation, it will guard my mind, the apostle Paul advised us to put it on.  My mind is protected by that thought, I can grab hold of it no matter what else is going on around me! Yes, the battle is spiritual, and, yes, the devil is roaming to and fro seeking whom he may devour.  I choose joy, he will not get through that protection God has for me, as long as I put it on.

Last year our ladies group focused on the fruit of the spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,  and self-control. I will not forget, fruit grows, it grows big and strong under the proper conditions.  It is up to me to make sure the conditions are right for the fruit to grow and not only grow, but to remain healthy in my life.

Songs reflective of this post

This is the season we sing songs like Joy to the World, Joy (Unspeakable Joy), Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee; the joy the we all seek is found when we choose to put our priorities in the right place. As the brother of Jesus said,

Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do it’s complete work, so that you may be mature, complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 HCSB

When we go through various trials, often the trial is not of God.  It is most surely the result of sin.  It may be self-induced or influenced from the outside, but it’s root would be from sin.  Quite often the sin of pride.  Sin, missing the mark, missing of God’s best, no matter what that sin is, most likely originated from pride.  “I want this.”  “I deserve better.” “Why should she have and I don’t?”  Sin entered because of Eve’s temptation, being told by the serpent that she should have the knowledge.  God knew from the beginning of time that all would sin and fall short of his Glory.  He had a plan from the beginning of time, that plan included a savior.  That savior came in the form of a sweet innocent little miracle, a baby, Jesus.

The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel,

which is translated “God is with us.” Matthew 1: 20-23 HCSB

Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus, the Messiah, the Redeemer, promised so many years before his birth.  I trust him!  I trust him to be the source of my joy, even when I can’t seem to find it, it’s there because he is so good and cares about every detail of my life.  I hold on to and am assured that he who began a good work in me will complete it until the end, and, that all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

He cares about every detail of your life too!

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17

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May you be blessed at knowing who you are and who’s you are.  May you be held in the loving arms of the one we celebrate this season!  Joy to you and your family.