Joy is a Spiritual fruit, Happiness is a Choice

 

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

              

               Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  The thing I have experienced through my life is that when I am walking the closest in fellowship and relationship with the Lord is when I experience the greatest joy in life.  Since joy is a spiritual attribute and fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23, it only makes sense that as we walk in the Spirit and feed off of the fullness and goodness of God we are going to experience the joy and contentment of the Lord.  The thing about the joy of the Lord is that it isn’t dependent up the circumstances around us.  There can be great storms raging in our lives, but yet joy and peace can remain in our hearts when our eyes are fixed on Christ and upon the promises of His Word.  When we walk in the Spirit we see things and life from a God perspective.  If it pleases the Lord, it pleases us.  It is no longer about all of my needs and my wants being fulfilled.  This is where a lot of people confuse joy and happiness.  If happiness is reliant upon our feelings then it is going to be an elusive experience.  It will be here one minute and gone the next.  Why, because our feelings are up and down.  It rides the roller coaster of our emotions.  The feelings of happiness are circumstantial.  They are based again a lot on self: self-contentment, self-fulfillment, self-gratification, but not on self-control. 

               Here is an example many of us can relate with: Why do I have an unhappy marriage?  He or she doesn’t meet my needs.  They only think about themselves.  They don’t care if I am happy or fulfilled.  They don’t provide enough.  They don’t give enough.  They don’t do enough.  What is the central theme you hear in all of these phrases?  You don’t make me happy and what makes you happy for a short time is going to change to feelings of unhappiness and discontentment the moment your expectations aren’t met.  Happiness has to be a choice that you make that isn’t dependent upon what someone else does or doesn’t do.  I read this morning where marriages are more successful with people who go into marriage as already happy people rather than those who go into marriage looking for happiness.  Don’t put the responsibility for your happiness upon someone else.  That is your responsibility.  Otherwise you are always going to be disappointed and hurt.  People can never give you what only God can give you and that is joy and contentment. 

               Our verse today is so powerful because it is short but it says so much, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  It simply says we have made a decision that God is enough.  What ever He supplies and provides in my life is enough.  That may be much or that may be little, but as long as I have God that is enough.  The apostle Paul made the statement in Philippians 4:11-13, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Paul didn’t have his eyes on people to meet his needs.  Many of the churches didn’t help him financially or support him.  He could have gotten bitter or angry or upset with them, but he didn’t.  They weren’t his source and his supply, God was.  He had learned to be content with whatever God brought into his life because he had this revelation; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Who is your strength today?  Who is your supply?  Who is your joy and contentment?  Maybe anger, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness have come in to make you so miserable because you have been looking to others to meet your needs and they have disappointed you. Let us learn what Paul did, that the Lord is enough.  We can make the decision that we are going to be happy because God is enough rather in much or little, rather we are abased or abound, rather we are full or we are hungry.   In order to experience the fullness of joy in our salvation we must take our eyes off of us and let Christ become the focus of why we live.  We live to serve not to be served.  We live to give and not to take.  We live that in all things we may please Him who has given us life.  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”  Experience the joy of your salvation by walking in the Spirit and make the choice to be happy because of the One that resides within you.

Blessings,

#kent

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Come with Me

June 23, 2015

Song of Solomon 2:10-13
My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
11 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

Come with Me

Even as in the natural the winter is passing and spring is coming the life and glory of God is springing forth within its people. It is a time for dead things to be pruned away so that the life of Christ within us might flourish and bring forth in fruitfulness.
The Lover of our souls is whispering in our spirits, “Come with me.” He is stirring within us a renewed love and passion of Him. He is calling us up unto Him and into His presence. His voice is tender and sweet, but still a whisper. If we have the volume turned up to loud in our outward lives we could easily miss hearing Him. He is speaking to those whose hearts are tender and who are pursuing Him. Many will miss it and continue on with life as usual, but He is whispering to those who are listening and to those that can hear He speaks, “Come with Me.”
This is a beautiful time of fruitfulness in the Lord if we are walking with Him and if we are discerning His voice. The Lord is ushering in His kingdom through a kingdom people, many of which are hidden and unknown to the world or even Christianity at large. They are the precious ones that He has hidden unto Himself. Those that He has been training up and revealing Himself too.
Our Lover speaks in verse 14 and says, “My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” In this hour the Lover of our souls is calling forth His dove, His spirit-filled ones who have been hidden. It is the hour when they will show their face and be revealed to the world. Their voice is sweet with the truths that the Holy Spirit has revealed and planted in them and their countenance is lovely with the glory and presence of the Lord.
In verse 15 the Lord speaks to us what we must do. “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” It is those little things that you must deal with. It is the little tormentors that spoil our fruitfulness that keeps us focused upon the outward and concerned about the natural. It is those little foxes that push our buttons and causes us to respond out of the flesh rather than walking in the Spirit. It is those little foxes that are like the weight and sins that so easily beset us and hinder us in our high calling in Christ Jesus. We have to catch those little foxes so that they can be laid aside to no longer rob and hinder our fruitfulness in righteousness. Hebrews 12:1-2 exhorts us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” What is it that hinders us from coming with Him if it is not the entanglement and encumbrances of this world? We must rid ourselves of the little foxes.
Are we listening and can we hear? It is springtime and the Lord is stirring up and bringing forth new life. Listen to what He is speaking into your spirit. Listen as He calls you forth unto Him. He is pruning the dead things and the foxes that spoil our vine so that the things that pertain to life and godliness might flourish and be fruitful. Let him who has ears hear, even as the disciples heard the call of the Lord when He said leave what you are doing and come with me. Very few really hear and even fewer are willing to let go of their life and respond to His. Those that can hear and have their ear tuned to the Spirit, He is speaking, “Come with Me.” He is calling unto Himself His kingdom people.

Blessings,
#kent

The Pruning

January 19, 2015

The Pruning

John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

The true substance and character of a healthy and fruitful branch is not in the outward, but in the inward. The outward is the glory and the fruit of the inward, but it is not the substance of it.
Why does God want to prune us even when we are fruitful? It is so that we can bear more fruit. Our outward fruitfulness may be already abundant and good, but human nature is such that even when we are spiritually fruitful, pride and complacency can creep in. When God blesses our lives with much increase in whatever dimension that takes place, it isn’t long before that little voice starts saying, ‘look what I have done’. Pruning keeps us focused on the vine and the source of our substance and fruitfulness. It creates renewed dependence upon the vine and strips the glory from the self. It helps us to not just dwell and live upon past experiences, miracles and victories. It serves to stretch us and cause to grow when we would be complacent to remain as we are. Without pruning things tend to grow wild. There may be a lot of growth, but not as much fruit. Pruning then brings focus. It keeps our eyes upon the Spirit and not upon the flesh. It causes us to remember our source of life and fruit so that we boast in the Vine and not in ourselves.
Don’t despise the days of pruning. They are the loving hands of the Father at work in you, His children. Left to itself, a branch may produce leaves, but not fruit and eventually even the leaves will die. The branch then must be cut off and cast out. It becomes a detriment to the health of the vine. Thank God He loves us enough that He doesn’t want that to happen to us and so He cares for us in what often may seem to be severe ways. Those who know Him rest in the passage from Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him and called according to His purpose.” Often we don’t understand the why and wherefore of all that takes place in our lives, but our eyes and our hearts must remain steadfastly upon the Vinedresser. He is working all things for His glory and our good. He will never maliciously harm that which He loves and cares for, but do what is necessary to bring it to its highest and best potential and productivity.
What hinders the process of the pruning and in turn our growth, is our self, our ego and stubbornness to pursue our own interest and do our own will. In addition to this we often get offended at God or others that God uses in the process of our pruning. If it doesn’t make sense to us, then it must not be fair or just. God sees the end of a thing and we tend to get hung up and focused on the process. This is why it is so important to have a vision that sees the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus and not let anything or any circumstance detour us from that vision and that goal. Our ability to run the race is in that One who has called us to it and not in ourselves. Our reliance must always remain on Him and not on us.
Just remember Hebrews 12:7-11, “If] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God is training His people up to produce something more than religious flesh. He is preparing a people with the substance and the nature of His Son. So don’t neglect to praise Him even when it hurts. He loves you and He is ever working for your good.

Blessings,
#kent

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