Daily Discovering the Blessing

Archive for March, 2016

Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory!

There is a wonderful scene in Anne of Green Gables when young Anne quite dramatically cries out in a fit of self-absorption, “Oh, Marilla, don’t you ever despair?”, and Marilla calmly replies, “To despair is to turn your back on God”.

Despair, hopelessness, and fear find their antidote and are rooted out through praise. As born-again children of God, praise is our joyful response to our Father’s love. It is His command to us over and over throughout the Word, and it is His due-deservedly so! To praise Him is to acknowledge His Kingship in our lives; it magnifies the Truth of His Being, His authority and His loving care; it powerfully establishes God and His loving purposes as the center of your life.

Faith-filled praises to God, our amazed and thankful response to His love and goodness, opens up the door of your heart for the entrance of joy. For how can there not be joy?! Released into His care, trusting His Word, experiencing the “Yes” of God regarding His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20), understanding all that Jesus willingly endured on our behalf, we “exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy” (1 Peter 1:8).

A praising and thankful heart relinquishes concern; it affirms God’s ownership of our lives – every detail of our lives -and it expects God’s faithfulness to His Word and His promises (Romans 4:21, Hebrews 10:23). Not only is a joyful heart the direct result of praise, it is, like salvation, a gift of God to us. Heavenly joy is not something we manufacture; it is not just a happy by-product of praise. We are the blessed recipients of His joy. He made us – He knows how our bodies function. He tells us:

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing. Proverbs 17:22

The joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold. Nehemiah 8:10

In John 15:1-11 Jesus explains to us the importance of Vine life. He is the Vine, we are the branches. Living vitally connected to Him we bear much fruit, and in so doing we honor our Father. He then completes the teaching with:

I have told you these things that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing. (Verse 11)

For years I mistakenly interpreted this verse as saying that if we remained connected to Him, He would have joy and delight in us; that would make Him happy. In fact He is saying that His joy would transfer into us through our connection with Him. The Message Bible offers:

I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that My joy might be your joy and your joy wholly mature.

In Christ, vitally connected to His power we have His joy. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22) As with all other aspects of Kingdom life, it is by faith that we operate in such joy. It is by faith that we understand that the joy of the Lord, “joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:3), the joy of Jesus Himself is within us. It is ours. Allow this Truth to inform your days, your outlook, your every response. It will positively and profoundly color your world!

You will show us the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

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Praise Him!

Sincere praise and joy coming forth out of a truly grateful heart are the underpinnings, the foundations, of faith. They are its true expression, and they accurately and reliably demonstrate the reverential fear and honoring of our God. They proclaim our Abba’s faithfulness, His affectionate care and watchful attention to everything that concerns us (1 Peter 5:7).

There are so many potential opportunities within any given day to have our praises silenced and our joy extinguished. We need to recognize that praising God is a powerful tool in our spiritual arsenal, and that expressing joy in every situation establishes our reliance on and our trust in God. Not only is this our demonstration of love and gratitude for Him (as well as reverential fear), not only is it the deepest part of who we are calling out to and acknowledging our Life Source, it is “mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Praising God defeats the enemy. When we fix our hearts and minds on His power and authority, when we hold onto the Truth of His Word as our only reality, when we stand in faith that His wonderful promises are ours – Satan has no foothold! He is a defeated foe and our faith-filled praises seal the deal!

And how often and when do we utilize this tool? Constantly!

Hebrews 13:15 – Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His Name.

We truly are meant to be continuous praisers. Ephesians 1:12 identifies us as having been “destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory”, and Isaiah 57:19 (Amplified) tells us that our Abba will make our lips “blossom anew with speech in thankful praise“. Praising God in all situations is an essential aspect of our spiritual DNA.

As with everything our Father commands, this directive to praise Him continually is for our benefit. Honoring and reverencing Him with grateful praise establishes us in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), hides us in the Secret Place (Psalm 91:1), and strengthens and encourages us concerning His mighty power on our behalf. It places Him rightfully on the throne of our lives and effectively reminds us daily that He is in charge of everything that concerns us not we ourselves (Psalm 100:3).

So when a tactic of the enemy rises up to try to defeat you – health issue, financial concerns, persecutions, confusion – when fear attempts to derail your faith and accompany you along your way – praise our Father for He has already accomplished your means of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). He is our Provider, our Healer, our Peace, our Wisdom, our Overcoming Victory. Praise Him joyfully! Think on Him and praise Him throughout your day. For you have been “destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12).

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are those who dwell in Your house and Your Presence; they will be singing Your praises all day long. Selah (pause and calmly think of that). – Psalm 84:4