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Monday, August 10, 2015

The Vital Sign of Joy (and other devotionals)

The Vital Sign of Joy

In yesterday's devotional, I challenged you to consider whether God needs to do a work in your life to revive you spiritually.  Perhaps you feel it, but you just don't know what it is.         

Over the next few days, I want to point you to the vital signs that may indicate the need for spiritual revival in your life.  The first one we find in Psalm 85.  It is lack of joy.   Look at the language in verse 6,

Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?

When a person is sullen and depressed spiritually, cheerless and despondent, it is a sure sign that they need revival.
You might say, "Well, you know, if my circumstances would just change, then I would rejoice."  No.  Joy is not dependent upon your circumstances.  In fact, let me give you a great example.

2 Corinthians 8:1-2 states,

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:  that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.
Notice this language.  The Macedonians were not in a little trial.  They were in a "great trial of affliction."  They were experiencing deep poverty, tremendous lack in their life, and yet they had abundant joy.
What was their secret?  Living in the grace of God.
More than anything else, joy is dependent upon understanding the grace of God, knowing that God's grace is at work even in your affliction.  

If you are joyless today, ask the Spirit of God to fill your heart.  If you do, there will be a joy regardless of what you are facing.

~Bayless Conley~

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Thank Him; Dwell Acceptably

"Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto Thy Name: the upright shall dwell in Thy presence"   (Psalm 140:13).

Oh, that my heart may be upright, that I may always be able to bless the name of the LORD! He is so good to those that be good, that I would fain be among them and feel myself full of thankfulness every day. Perhaps, for a moment, the righteous are staggered when their integrity results in severe trial; but assuredly the day shall come when they shall bless their God that they did not yield to evil suggestions and adopt a shifty policy. In the long run true men will thank the God of the right for leading them by a right way. Oh, that I may be among them!

What a promise is implied in this second clause, "The upright shall dwell in thy presence!" They shall stand accepted where others appear only to be condemned. They shall be the courtiers of the great King, indulged with audience whensoever they desire it. They shall be favored ones upon whom Jehovah smiles and with whom He graciously communes. LORD, I covet this high honor, this precious privilege. It will be heaven on earth to me to enjoy it. Make me in all things upright, that I may today and tomorrow and every day stand in Thy heavenly presence. Then will I give thanks unto Thy name evermore. Amen.

~Charles Spurgeon~

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 The Work Never Ends

The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason, the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." John 5:15-17

Jesus does not ever stop working with us or on us. At the time of Christ, the religious leaders were angry with Jesus for making a sick man well on the Sabbath. They exclaimed that Jesus had no right to do such a thing on the Sabbath. To us, this statement does not make sense. God is good and He can choose to be good whenever and on whoever He wants.  

Jesus showed us a quality of God's character that the Jewish religious men did not represent due to their self-righteousness. Jesus is "God with us." Through His Holy Spirit, Jesus is now "God in us." So God is continually working on us, and in us, despite the day or circumstance at hand. God's desire is that we be whole and healthy. Jesus came to break the bonds of sin and habits that keep us captive; behaviors that do not bring glory to God, but keep us focused on ourselves. Jesus is continually working on and in us and He is never in a rush. God is too gracious and merciful to bombard us with attempts to change all the areas in which we fall short all at once.

Trust Him for your shortcomings; sometimes we are our own worse critics. Recognize that God is not always worried about, or surprised by, or in a rush to fix some of the weaknesses which concern us so much. We need to be honest, be open and be willing to be obedient. The Lord will be faithful to complete the work He began, because Jesus is always working.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

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