17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:17-19 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.4.17-19.KJV
Joy is a baby’s cry exclaiming that they are alive! Joy is a child chasing butterflies and laughing. Joy is the love that you find in another when God brings you together as husband and wife. Joy is seeing a puppy open its eyes and gaze in wonder at the world around them. Joy is the love that you finally find in Jesus because He knit you together and He put all of your parts together and He knows you better than anyone in the whole world.
We look for the source of this joy all during our lives. Sometimes we find it in the person that we feel is our soulmate. Then we find that they can’t fill that space because they aren’t the One that can. Many times we try to find it in our careers or our accomplishments, if there are any, but this is also false.
Jesus Our Yahweh. He is our God, our Creator, our Savior, our Yahweh and He is our joy. Cling to Him during your hard days and during your trials. Cling hard to Him during those times that you don’t understand what is happening. Stay close to Him in all of your trials and your tests and in those days that turn out to be joyous and happy…thank Him for giving you His JOY!
Before you complain, think about what you have. Before you look at someone with a critical eye, turn your gaze on your own life first. Before you come to the end of your life, make sure that dying is all that you have left to do. Life is too short to live it without enjoying it first. But the enjoying of life for some people means that there is sin in their lives. They don’t think that you can enjoy being a Christian. Enjoyment doesn’t seem to be part of their thought processes when they think of serving God or even being a Christian.
King David, the author of Psalms, enjoyed the Lord. He praised the Lord and danced and sang while he praised God. That doesn’t sound like a joyless person. That is not a depressed and sad person because God brings joy into your life. Think about the blessings which Jesus brings into your life when you are saved! He forgives ALL of your sins, He gives you a new heart for serving Him and others, He changes your outlook on life because of the blessings that you receive when you become an adopted child of God!
Those blessings in this life are not the only blessings that you get from Jesus and from knowing Him as your Savior. Your eternity and your destination in it has changed as well. When you were a sinner, and every person who has come to Jesus (including myself) is a sinner, your eternity would’ve taken you into an eternity of torment. The only difference between your sinful life and the one you have now is that you have Jesus in it. Some theologies say that we are not put in the lake of fire like Satan will be, but being separated from the love of God and His Presence for eternity would be punishment enough. There will not be anything life-giving in hell. No water, no food, no cool streams of any kind and God’s Presence will not be there either.
Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man? Lazarus was taken to Paradise with Abraham and the rich man was in hell. He asked for Lazarus to bring him just one drop of water because of the agony that he was in. But Abraham told him that there is a gulf between us that no one can cross over. He even asked if Lazarus could rise from the dead and tell his brothers to repent and not come to this place, but Abraham said no, they have the Prophets and the Law. They wouldn’t repent even if someone were to come back from the grave.
Your life before giving your heart and soul to Jesus is very different from the one you will enjoy after bringing His Presence into your heart. That is the reason for leading a joyful life after Jesus has saved you and made you into a new creation, different and precious to Him and to the Father. Serve Him in joy because with God all things can be joyful regardless of how the world may look at them. He will give you the strength to get through every obstacle and every pain and your life will be a beacon of hope to someone until you go to be with the Lord.
Have you ever wondered what faith really is? Faith according to the Bible is defined by this: Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
In Ephesians our faith is part of the equation which brings us to salvation through our Savior: Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
Also, without faith it is impossible to please God in anything that we do: Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
When God calls you or me to Himself through the conviction that we need Him, He gives us the faith which we need to believe in Jesus for our salvation. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the faith which is necessary to bring us to that knowledge. It is a gift of God to us so that we can effectively believe in the promises which He has made to us in Scripture. That is what Biblical faith is.
We have faith in gravity or in our heart to keep beating and to keep us alive, yet we don’t usually acknowledge it. We have faith that the sun will rise in the morning, not gifted to us by God but because it has always come up each morning. That is faith in things which are seen. Faith in things which are not seen but are hoped for with a conviction that we will have them one day is the faith which is spoken of in the Bible.
This kind of faith cannot be proven or shown to anyone who doesn’t believe in God or Jesus or the Bible because it takes faith to believe in those things. If you don’t have it, you can’t get it except by belief in Jesus and His atonement for your sins and you won’t believe that unless God gives you the faith to do so!
I know, it is a spiral which goes from faith to faith to faith but if you have it, you’ve got it and if you don’t then unless you are seeking Him, you won’t get it then either.
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” Reading God’s Word and seeking Him in it will bring you into a closer walk with Him so enjoy His Presence in your life by cultivating a friendship with God. He is always present with you so treat Him as a treasured friend and talk to Him, walk with Him, seek His advice and act on His advice that is given to you.
By faith in Him and through Him we can conquer any problem in our lives, so make sure that you seek Him and His Son’s friendship while you can. Life only lasts for a little while, so make sure that you are friends with the Author of Life!
That is why it says in James chapter 2, “18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works”. The Hebrew word for faith is Emunah, which is less about knowing and more about doing. The literal meaning of Emunah is “to take firm action”. To look at faith in the light of the Hebrew word is like a staircase, in your mind you know the stairs lead to another level but until you climb the stairs you won’t get there.
That is the type of faith which the church NEEDS today! Faith in Jesus which moves us toward doing His Work in our daily lives! Not the intellectual knowing of or about Jesus but the kind of faith which carries us from the sermon out into the real world so that others might see Jesus working in us and through us in our lives!
What kind of change needs to happen in your life today so that your faith is defined by what you do instead of what you know?
I have written a post about the word “believe” in the Bible before and it seems to be the post which gets the most attention, at least on some days. The different ways to express it or use your belief in God amounted to quite a few. Not as many as I had originally thought, but a good number.
Lately, I have wondered about the word faith in the Bible and I found out something which I didn’t expect at all. Do you know or realize that the Bible itself doesn’t make much sense at all unless you have faith in Him? Trust and faith are synonyms and unless you trust what God says…unless you have learned to have faith in God through His Spirit’s actions in your life…His Word will not make much sense to you at all! I remember when I wasn’t saved. Back then I tried to read the Bible and it didn’t mean much to me. I couldn’t understand it at all.
Can’t you have faith without God being a part of it? Not saving faith. You can’t understand Him or His Word until His Spirit touches your life and your heart and changes it and brings you to a point of knowing that you need Him as your Savior! Can you live your life here on Earth without Him? Yes, you can, but when this life is over you will stand before Him and give an account of your life and the reason why you never sought Jesus as your Savior!
There is a part of your life which is under conviction by God’s Spirit. This happens to you and to me and everyone else at some point in your life. It may happen when you are young or maybe when you get to college or it may not happen until you are in middle age, but at some point, your heart will feel it and you will notice it. What you do when you feel this conviction in your heart is the deciding factor for your eternity! Did you get that? This one decision will have an eternal effect on your Life after this one and if you don’t follow His Spirit’s call then you will regret it for eternity.
The word “faith” doesn’t appear too many times in the Old Testament but in the New Testament, it appears approximately 250 times. Depending on which version of the Bible you have, it may appear more times or a little less. Sometimes it is written as “trust” rather than “faith” but it means the same thing. Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding.
Have faith in God. Seek out Jesus as your Savior because there is no other way to Heaven except through faith in Him. Learn from God’s Word what is required of you for this life so that you can be useful in the Kingdom of God after this life is over! Don’t try to get to Heaven on your own merits or by your accomplishments because it cannot be done. The only way to get there is through faith in Jesus Christ and by no other name or Person will you get there.
In many ways when we come to know Jesus, we are joyful in that knowledge that we have our salvation granted through Jesus our Savior. We are very much like a small child, giddy and so happy that our Savior loves us enough to grant us our salvation through His blood, His death and resurrection! So…what happens after you find that you need to learn more about Him and learn to listen to Him every day?
It seems that many people don’t experience that joyous wonder like a child. They understand that they need Him and they ask Him into their hearts. But sometimes our church or others in the church who should shepherd them toward their Savior drop the ball. Many people end up just standing in ankle-deep salvation for many years and some never get past that point.
The joy of knowing Jesus and knowing that you have been saved through His sacrifice in your place should carry you through for many months until you begin to mature as a Christian. But how do you do that? The same way you get through any learning situation, by study, prayer and by seeking His advice for your life every day. It is a daily walk with Him after all, and just as any relationship…it needs to be cultivated and nurtured.
He is your Creator and your Savior and that relationship should be one that continues all through your life, day in and day out. Sounds boring, but think about Who you are having a relationship with! He is the Creator, the Son of God, your Savior and the second Person of the Trinity! Could there be anyone in the universe who could possibly be more interesting?
If you are wondering how you could get to know Him, READ the Bible! God inspired the writers and disciples to tell you about Himself and His personality. Yes, sometimes He is demanding but it’s because He expects us to obey Him, just as we expect our children to obey when they learn the rules about being in your house! Life, as a child of God, is a learning process and it is one that takes a lifetime! You can’t get a version of it which is a digest version, it is a day by day, week by week learning process which is very much like our own lives.
The joy of knowing Jesus is like the joy of bringing home your newborn son or daughter. It or rather they are new in your life, you are new at learning how to handle your relationship with them or Him. As time goes on and you learn more about Him, the joy should grow into a deeper love and a deeper relationship…but there should always be a bit of joy in it from day-to-day!