Tag Archives: joy

Finding Joy in the Midst of my Life (A Daily Bible Study)

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Day 4

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

In a modern pop rock classic, the singer talks about how it would feel to lose every material thing. It would be a very dark and personal place the songwriter claims.

Yet as believers, we can be living a rich joy filled life, in Christ, no matter what our bank account has in it. How? I think John shows us some insights here in this verse.

  1. John had his perspective heavenward-focused on God. The LORD was his first thought and his consuming passion. He wasn’t living in denial. He was simply convinced Christ was the main thing. And John kept the main thing the main thing.
  1. John’s life-focus pointed upward to Christ and secondly, outward to his “children” in the LORD, those who God had placed in his spiritual care.

I can think back to people in my life in whom I invested, but God doesn’t want us to live in the past. When I read this passage, it challenged me to continue to engage in mentoring. God has given us a lot as Christians. We have the regular teaching in church, listening to sermons. God has given us many trying experiences through which he has comforted us with his love and wise counsel. God’s desire we share the comfort with others that he has given us is not just for the sake of giving. I believe it is for the sake of the joy!

With whom is God leading you to share your testimony? With whom is God leading you to come alongside and mentor?

It’s easy to grow inward as Christians and actually live in cocoons. But Jesus said we were to be reaching out not reaching in. Yes the experience of working with others can be challenging and take a lot of energy. Yet the joy of seeing “our children” learning to walk in Christ’s truth, and in turn see them reaching out to mentor others, is the stuff of real joy! Nothing we can possess in the material world compares to this spiritual blessing.

Jesus knew what he was talking about when he urged us to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, he knew that if we throw off self-interest, and seek his kingdom, our lives would gain joyous perspective (Matthew 6:33).

Prayer: God, when my life lacks joy, help me to reach out to someone who needs my encouragement. Help me to throw off the heavy weight of self-interest. Help me to seek your kingdom first. You see how these things are counter cultural. Culture would lead us dive in to life me first. So we need your help God. We cannot do this on our own. Give us courage to focus on you first, and then help us have an outward focus on helping those who you have placed in our lives for us to help along the way. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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Jump into Fall

 

jumping with sun 2I confess, this is the time of year when I struggle a little. It’s not that I’m not in touch with Jesus. It’s just that season… leaves fall, the wind blows, temperatures get colder (unless you’re blessed enough to live in a warm climate year round). So what can you do?

  1. Try on a new attitude-spring doesn’t have to be the only time you get a fresh start. Fall can be a starting point instead of the ending just as the Jewish tradition has looked at the night as the start of the new day. We can choose to look at fall as a sort of beginning, a prologue, or an introduction to all things new! By the way, that’s one of my favorite verses “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone” (NIRV).
  2. Re-arrange the furniture-I once met someone who admitted, “this is the only way I can arrange my family room.” Okay so to some this may sound radical… but what would it hurt if you moved that armchair into another corner and placed a cabinet in its place? Sometimes rearranging furniture can really add zip to a room. Check out some fun ideas at Better Homes and Gardens. Just remember where you put things so you don’t do a Dick Van Dyke over the ottoman!
  1. Add a little paint- (paint you may already have just waiting in a can, around the house)… There are new methods to paint like these vertical striped walls which place your seal of style on any room.
  2. Thoroughly clean everything- from the walls to the curtains to the carpets … who says spring is the only time to clean? Check out Real Simple for ideas. It just makes sense to get your house ship shape for the holidays now before the rush. Cleaning can be a lot of fun, put on a favorite Christian Praise CD and pump up the volume! Although many verses in the Bible talk about cleanliness, the phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness isn’t in the Bible, rather it was a phrase apparently coined by the founder of Methodism. But surely our God is a God of order. As we look at the changing of seasons, and the intricate systems he has designed within plant and animal life, we see his beautiful orderly mind. God is not a God of chaos, but of order.
  3. Set some goals before the new year approaches-weight loss and exercise can lower risks of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Walking, an aerobics video, or even dancing to the songs on Christian radio stations like Family Life Radio and K-Love for 30 minutes can really add uplift to your day (your family can even join you).
  4. Join a Bible study-chances are you may have some Bible study groups in your area you didn’t even know about. I benefited greatly from Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). When my husband Jeff was going through long term debilitating depression, my friends at Bible Study Fellowship were my life-line of encouragement! God used my teaching leader Bonnie, to speak God’s words into the places of my life that needed it most, reassuring me and helping me know the joy of perseverance. I actually served as a BSF small group leader for a few seasons because I saw the benefits. If you are well-grounded in the Bible, you can also ask your pastor if you can start a Bible study at church. You don’t have to write it. Many Christian publishers specialize in Bible study material. Publishers such as Discovery House  and Lifeway have some great Bible centered book studies from which to choose. Think about this time as a gift to you and your group! When you grow close to friends through Bible study and praying it creates bonds that just may continue not just through the fall season, but for the rest of life.

This is by no means the entire list of things you and I can do to jump into Fall. I invite you to add your ideas to this blog so others can benefit.

From my heart to yours,

Tammy Bovee