We are quickly approaching Christmas as we enter this third week of Advent. For many tension rises and anxiety spikes as you search for the perfect gift for everyone, plan your holiday meals and so much more. It can be exhausting just thinking about all that is yet to be accomplished. In the hurriedness of this season do not let go of the real reason we are celebrating. Jesus Christ is God’s most extravagant gift to all who will receive Him. He is ‘the reason for the season.’ Keep that in the forefront of your heart and mind as you go through the next week or so and take time to refresh yourself in Him. Make Him the center of your family celebrations. Make Him the center of your heart’s desire. What you treasure most is where your heart is focused. There is no greater gift than Jesus.
This gift is eternal and will not be break, rust or wear out for He is ever faithful to those called by His name.
Jesus is First!
The acronym for joy is Jesus-Others-Yourself. If you live daily with this order of outlook you will find your life fall into a joy you have not yet experienced. To put Jesus first in your heart (and it is always, always, always a heart issue) opens the way for Him to shed His compassion through you. His light will shine through you. The joy of the Lord will emanate from you. When you focus on Him first His Spirit will move you away from being caught up in the whirlwind of worldly gossip, judgment and every other evil work.
With Jesus first, place others next. His compassion, light and joy will flow through you to others. Step away from being overwhelmed with wondering and talking about what others say or do that offends you. Their actions may not be what you think they should be but responding in kind or ruminating on these things pulls you away from the fullness of what He can do through you for others.
Focusing on perceived wrongs whether justified or not only drains you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
See others with the love and compassion of Christ. God has gifted each and every one of us as unique and beautiful in His sight.
Purpose to see others with His eyes. You have no idea what another is living so leave judgment behind and simply be present to them in the fullness of God’s grace through you. Respect what another may be walking through. Listen with an open heart and stop judging what you think they should be doing. I believe we are each doing our best as we grow in the Lord. Not one of us is perfect. Each of us is challenged with something. We are all challenged to love one another and leave the rest to Him. Live with His joy in your life toward others. Let Him work in your heart and on the hearts of others to bring the fullness of healing and restoration to each and every situation.
Care for Yourself
Last but not least consider yourself. Make sure you are taking care of the temple (your body, mind and spirit) that God has entrusted to you. Get enough sleep, eat wisely, and exercise your body, mind and spirit. Commit to spending time reading the Word to nourish your spirit in these times. Read uplifting works and exercise your mind through elevating conversation. Forgo anything or anyone that is toxic to you. I am not saying to delete people who simply annoy you as God may be working on perfecting you through relationship. What I am saying is to pray about your relationships and ask the Holy Spirit to show you if you have any connection that is not healthy for you. There are seasons in relationships that come to an end. Pray for the person, release them to the Lord and move on. He has more on the horizon for you.
In conclusion, start today to reorder your thinking for the future. Put Jesus first in all you do. Follow with others and then yourself for true J (Jesus)-O (others)-Y (yourself) to reign in your heart no matter what may be taking place around you. Bring His joy, be His joy to others in this Christmas season and every day throughout the year!
Quotes to Ponder This Week
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” ~Jesus, Matthew 25:21
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” ~Jesus, John 15:11
“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” ~Nehemiah 8:10
“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.” ~Psalm 5:11
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” ~ Psalm 30:5
“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.” ~Psalm 63:5-6
“The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” ~Psalm 126:3
“The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” ~Proverbs 10:28
“…To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness…” ~Isaiah 61:3
“…Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, o Lord God of hosts.” ~Jeremiah 15:16
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15:13
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” ~James 1:2-3
“The out-and-out Christian is a joyful Christian. The half-and-half Christian is the kind of Christian that a great many of you are~~~little acquainted with the Lord. Why should we live halfway up the hill and swathed in the mists, when we might have an unclouded sky and a radiant sun over our heads if we would climb higher and walk in the light of His face?” ~Alexander Maclaren
“It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full.” ~ A. B. Simpson
“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” ~ A. W. Tozer
“Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” ~ C. S. Lewis
A Prayer Request
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to pray. Please keep all who serve our country, our servicemen and women and their families in prayer for salvation and safety. They are our front-line on the battlefield, let us be their front-line in the spirit. Also, let us cover all who have come home wounded that they and their families will receive the kindness, help and support they need to go forward in their lives.
God bless all our diplomatic and military personnel and their families. May the Lord keep them safe. Pray for all throughout the world for hedges of protection against radical Muslim extremists and all forms of terrorism. We have long prayed for spiritual victory over radical Islam in Esther’s Warriors Ministry. We now see the reality of this threat come to the forefront in this time in world history.
Please pray for all in authority over us, for the full truth to come forth concerning Benghazi and for safety in Israel. May God richly bless the United States of America, bring to light every single crooked place and keep her safe. May we may arise united once again as One Nation Under God in this auspicious season in our country’s history.
We continue to pray for truth to prevail as we saturate this country in prayer and stand for all that is right in America and for all of us who call ourselves American. These are treacherous times and now more than ever we must maintain our walk. Fail not in this hour.
Please Join Me In Prayer
Father we thank You that you sent Your son, Jesus Christ, to be the joy of our salvation. May the joy of Lord be shed abroad in our hearts so we can carry that joy to the world. Grace us to release others to you with love. Help us to avoid judgment as that belongs solely to You. Cleanse our hearts of anything that is not of You. Gift us to boldly carry the joy of Your Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. We pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen and amen.