Showing posts with label Joy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joy. Show all posts

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - The Joy of the LORD is my Strength


Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 11/14/2021

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at:  Bible Study Podcast

The Joy of the LORD is my Strength


In last week’s study we looked at some of the dynamics of a warriors spirit, particularly how,  “prayer, fasting and singing are more effective than anger, logic and a sword”.


Often times we notice, in our study of Scripture, how principles in the spiritual realm are completely opposite to those of the natural.



         Financial troubles:

                  World says, “work two jobs, cheat, steal, hoard”.

                  Scripture says, “tithe, give”.

         Relationship troubles:

                  World says, “separate, get even”.

                  Scripture says, “forgive, reconcile, bless”.

         Health issues:

                  World says, “take medications, see a specialist”.

                  Scripture says, “call for the elders...lay hands...pray.”


With this understanding it’s not surprising to discover that a Christian warrior’s secret weapon for battle is joy.


In an epic passage of Scripture where in Joshua has been given the position of leadership over Israel, and is about to direct them into battle in the promised land, God speaks to Joshua, in chapter one, and says, three times, “Be strong and of good courage.”


Strength is a necessary component for battle.

          Jesus said, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his goods. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.  Lk. 11:21-23

In this passage Jesus had just cast out a demon. Notice the warlike language He uses to meet the skeptic's challenges.

         In our opening passage, “the joy of the LORD is your strength” from Neh. 8:10, the returned exiles had come together in the open square to hear the Book of the Law read aloud. And they were grieved when they heard the reading. But vr. 9 “And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the LORD your God, do not mourn nor weep.’’’


         The people mourned and wept because their transgression was great in comparison to the reading of the Law. But in the declaration of the Word of the LORD is also the presence of the LORD.


How much more do we have cause to rejoice, since the presence of God abides in us and with us.

         Phil. 4:4,5, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”


As Christians we have a unique opportunity to rejoice. The fundamental questions of life, for us, are sufficiently answered.

Our destiny is secure: Gal. 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s then you are     Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Our identity is established: I Cor. 3:22,23, “all things are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” Col. 3:4, “When Christ who is our life appears then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Our sense of right and wrong is defined: Jos. 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night…”

“God is for us… Rom. 8:31

We are loved. II Thes. 2:16,17, “Now may our Lord, Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your  hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”

These are established truths that we carry with us wherever we go, even into battle. When we rejoice, we confirm and magnify these truths, even in the midst of temporary hardships. We battle with this!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Happiness and Joy? – All Things for Good - Purity 533

Happiness and Joy?  – All Things for Good   - Purity 533

Purity 533 09/25/2021  Purity 533 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a stunning view of a massive cloud formation over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico comes to us from a friend who spent the first day of Autumn at Honeymoon Beach near Clearwater Florida.  I just love the sense of wonder and peace that this photo conveys and considering the marvelous developments in my life recently I thought a view from Honeymoon beach was wholly appropriate as I am filled with peace, joy, and wonder in contemplating a future with my beloved, Tammy Lyn.

While our story as a couple has just begun and may appear to be a sudden happenstance, the truth is that when we step back to look at the course of events in both our lives we can now clearly see that our converging paths were on a collision course and that we are destined to walk together. 

When we recognize that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, we can see how the various twists and turns and ups and downs of our journeys were ultimately leading to today. 

I was speaking to a brother in Christ last evening as we have drawn closer in friendship.  We have recognized that our journeys are similar and that we each have a burning passion for sharing the truth of God’s word and the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ in common.  We shared more of our testimonies with one another and we laughed at how both of us have had moments in our lives before coming to faith in Christ where God’s providential hand was at work blessing us and protecting us even before we agreed to trust in Him. Even though we were lost at the time, God knew we were His and He cared for and protected us right up to the day when we finally surrendered and made Jesus our Lord and Savior.  

Just following the twists and turns of one person’s life can make your head spin with amazement as in spite of rebellion, brokenness, and tragic events, that person was able to find their way to salvation and then follow the Lord in His purpose for them. 

So, you can imagine how overjoyed and in awe I am when I consider the fact that God was with both Tammy Lyn and me throughout our lives working all things together for our good and how He guided our paths to one another. 

I told Tammy Lyn after we confess our love for one another that I was experiencing happiness! Happiness is based on experiencing positive circumstances in your life.  I said that because of my faith in Christ I had the joy of the Lord in my life even when circumstances weren’t so great but now the Lord saw to it to bring us together and I had both happiness and joy!

So as we go into the weekend, I encourage all my friends to draw close to God because regardless of the situations and circumstances that we are facing in this season of life, when we have a relationship with the Lord through faith in Jesus Christ we can have joy!

The joy of our salvation, the joy of His presence, the joy over His provision, the joy over our deliverance, the joy over our healing, the joy over His wisdom, and the joy over His love are all available to experience when we are walking in the Spirit.     

So try to arrange the situations and circumstances of your life to find a little happiness this weekend. You can do that by getting together with friends and family, doing a favorite activity, visiting a favorite haunt or a new place, or just by treating yourself and getting some rest and relaxation.  But in that pursuit of happiness, make sure that you bring the Lord along so He can add His joy to your experience.    


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 2:18 (NKJV)
18  Therefore we wanted to come to you--even I, Paul, time and again--but Satan hindered us.

Today’s verse speaks of spiritual reality of the enemy’s ability to affect even the lives of the most dedicated Christians.  

There is a commonly held belief that the Christian’s “state of grace” makes them untouchable from any negative affects of demonic influence. The rationale behind this is  belief is that because Christians receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit at salvation that the enemy can not oppress a Christian.   

Today’s verse indicates that this doctrine of freedom from demonic oppression or influence for the Christian is not true.   If the Apostle Paul who was blessed with a missionary spirit like no other and the gifts of healing and miracles is testifying to the fact that He was hindered by Satan, we should listen and believe that we must be on guard against the schemes and the attacks of the evil one.   

Today’s verse is not the only verse that testifies of the reality of Satan and other demonic entities and their ability to affect Christians.  Paul’s command to put on full armor of God in Ephesians makes no sense if we truly believe that the enemy can’t affect us.  James’ instructions to resist the devil so that he will flee from us doesn’t make any sense if we are untouchable.   The indication is that if we don’t put on the armor of God and resist the devil bad things will happen to even us Christians.  

The examples of Judas, Christ’s betrayer (John 13:21-30(, Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), and the Apostle Peter (Matt 16:23) all show that Satan can affect believers by implanting his thoughts, temptations, condemnations, accusations, and lies into our minds. 

So I committed today’s verse to an index card to point to yet another verse in the Bible that clearly demonstrates the spiritual realities that are unseen but can affect our Christian walk.

For a thorough discourse on this spiritual warfare and overcoming the enemy, I would recommend Dr. Neil Anderson’s the Bondage Breaker, and if you would like you could listen to our lessons on His book on the mt4christ247 podcast.  

So be on guard to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Evaluate the thoughts that run into your mind and if they don’t agree with the word of God refute them with God’s truth and your intention to live for Him. 

The ultimate victory has been won by Christ, but we will need to submit to God and resist the devil as we walk out our purpose in Christ.  When we focus on the truth of God’s Word and who we are in Christ the enemy is defeated and we can overcome life’s problems and negative mind states to enjoy the growth of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

So keep walking and talking with God.  Enjoy the victories you have won but keep moving forward in the upward call of Christ to take back more ground from the enemy and claim it for God’s kingdom.  


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 


Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

F. How to Maintain Your Boundaries

On the day that Rosie Ruiz steals the spotlight at the 1980 Boston Marathon, the rightful female winner, who maintains boundaries and rightly deserves attention, is virtually snubbed by the media.

Jacqueline Gareau of Canada crosses the finish line in two hours, 34 minutes, and 28 seconds and indeed is the fastest woman at the world-renowned race. She is a French-Canadian who has been described as an object of grace over the years, bearing no ill will toward Rosie and living life in full optimism.

"I just laugh," the 60-year-old former competitor reflects. "It doesn't bother me. I really don't think about her anymore."

But marathon great Bill Rodgers is quick to defend Jacqueline, believing she got robbed of her rightful honor. The Boston Athletic Association is eager to stand by her side as well. Jacqueline is awarded two gold medals, and Bill observes: "It was her ultimate biggest win and I doubt the public is aware of her. She lost the moment. I always say that the most famous marathoner of all time is Rosie Ruiz. I guess infamous is more accurate."

Bill models the call of the following Scripture concerning Jacqueline. . . .

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."

(Romans 12:10)

After setting boundaries, it is very common for the people around you to test them to see whether you really intend to keep them in place. They have been accustomed to getting what they want, so they will try very hard to get you to go back to your past behavior. However, remember that just like in any sport, boundary lines are in place to help everyone. Remember this counsel from God's Word...

"My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and to insight, 'You are my relative.'"

(Proverbs 7:1-4)

  • Pay attention to your feelings and watch for early warning signs that let you know you are beginning to lose sight of your boundaries.
    • —Remind yourself why you personally set the boundary in the first place.
    • "I set the boundary because _________________."
    • —Remember, repercussions are okay. . . . They exist because difficult people choose to violate the boundaries . . . not because you set the boundaries.
    • —Rehearse what the Word of God says. . . .
    • "I can do all this through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).
  • Plan ahead by role playing with a friend . . . or even just by yourself in front of a mirror . . . how to say no.
    • —Begin with simple situations where saying no has little impact; for example, saying no to a telemarketer who calls during your favorite television show. "I'm sorry but I don't have time to talk with you. I'm sure your cause is a worthy one but I must say no. Thank you for calling . . . good-bye." If they are persistent, just repeat what you have already said and gently hang up the phone.
    • —Be aware of how you feel after hanging up the phone. Thank God by reaffirming that the boundary
    • was good for you.
    • —Believe that as you continue to enforce your boundaries . . . it will get easier to exercise self-control and maintain your boundaries.
    • "gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:23).
  • Recognize that any feeling of guilt over setting your boundaries is false guilt because you have not done anything wrong. It is okay . . . and even healthy for you to establish and maintain personal boundaries.
    • —Appreciate the importance of consistency with your boundaries in helping others honor them.
    • —Apply the repercussions when your boundary has been violated.
    • —Always keep the end goal in mind as you persevere.
    • "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Hebrews 10:36).
  • Rejoice as you continue to keep your personal boundaries and find yourself "set free"!
    • —Trust that God will give you strength for this journey.
    • —Think about the other people in your life and honor their boundaries . . . recognizing that their boundaries are important to them . . . and are not a negative statement about you. Don't take boundaries set by others personally. Their personal boundaries are set to protect them, not to offend you.
    • —Thank God that He gave you such value when he sacrificed His only Son for you. Therefore, you are worthy . . . as His child . . . to protect yourself with boundaries.
    • "And pray that we may he delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thessalonians 3:2-3).

Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------




Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Joy and Obedience

 1 Peter 1:6-9 (NKJV)
6  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8  whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9  receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls. 

I saw the following posted on FB by my FB friend and fellow supporter of Freedom in Christ Ministries, Joanne Tilbury.  To my fellow Americans, forgive the anglicized spellings as Joanne hails from Sydney, Australia, lol.:  

"In my daily walk with God, I’ve learnt that my joy energises obedience to Him.
So many people say they have no joy because they are not obedient to God. I’ve learnt you can’t put the horse behind the cart, joy comes before obedience rather than after.
My joy is not in my obedience, my joy is in my knowledge of God. If you believe that everything God says about Himself and about you as His child then you will have joy, then joy is what energised obedience.
When your joy is based on performance it’s going to be up and down like the wind, up and down like the raging sea double minded and constantly changing.
Joy is not the result of obedience, joy is the result of what God has done. Now your joy is fixed on a fixed stable source."

- Joanne Tilbury

Friday, August 27, 2021

Joyful and Triumphant: O Let’s Go! - Purity 508

Joyful and Triumphant: O Let’s Go!                                          

Purity 508 08/27/2021   Purity 508 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a spectacular sunrise comes to us from a friend who has recently moved with their family to St. Croix and just wanted to share their view and their good morning greetings with their friends on social media.  There were many comments about the beauty of the view but the one I like best said: “Thank you for this, needed it”.  I absolutely love how we can touch one another’s lives simply by sharing our experiences.  We never know what is going on in the lives of our friends who are far away and what dark circumstances they may be walking through.  We can only speculate about why our friend’s commentor “needed” this photo but aren’t you glad they received it? 

So never underestimate your impact on someone else’s life.  I would encourage you to “put yourself out there” and share what’s going on in your life.  What may be simple and mundane for you may be special and meaningful to someone who is walking through hard times.    The things we have grown accustomed to and take for granted may be considered “really great” by somebody else.  When we share our experiences, we can bless others and in turn their response can wake us up to how good we have it! So share your hope because it may just turn out to inspire you as well.  

It's Friday, and I say thank God and rejoice.  I for one take great joy in the journey between places sometimes as much as I do in the final destination.  One of the activities that my generation took pleasure in as youths was “cruising”, just driving around somewhat aimlessly, enjoying the sights, each other’s company, and listening and singing along with music.  In the wake of my divorce, this is a joy that I have reconnected with.  

While I regularly use my drive time to and from work to worship the Lord by listening to and singing along with Christian music, and sometimes I am brought tears in the heights of joy as I reflect on God and what He has done and is doing in my life, it really wasn’t “cruising”.  Oh by the way, I highly recommend passionately worshipping the Lord in song. A regular practice of worship opens your heart, spirit, soul, and mind to the reality of Lord’s presence in your life and His great love for you. Worshipping the Lord in song is actually reaching out to Him with your spirit. When you do that, don’t be surprised when He reaches into your life and touches you.   

Anyway since I am single and independent again I have made new friends and often take advantage of opportunities to get together with them at various activities.  All my friends are at least 20 to 30 minutes away from me, some as far as an hour.  When I go on one of these “mini-road trips” to get together with them, I am positively filled with joy just at the fact that I am “free” and “going somewhere”.   I have compiled playlists of new music that isn’t necessarily Christian but  who’s content lifts my soul and spirit all the same. I love upbeat music that celebrates life, love, and freedom and I know that anything that points to these aspects of life are really just pointing to God.  

The sheer thrill of “going somewhere” on a “Friday or Saturday Night!” just runs through my spirit and I rejoice all along the commute to wherever I am going with a smile that goes from ear to ear.

While I suppose I could reflect on what is not perfect in my life, I instead just rejoice in the moment and anticipate what I will find when I finally get there.   Let me tell you, travelling with an attitude of contentment, joy, and expectancy is the only way to fly. 

And like I said when we rejoice over the blessings of our current situation we really are just acknowledging what God has given us.  When we realize that and bring Him in to our experience by thanking Him for it all, it just raises the joy all the more.  

O come all ye faithful. Joyful and Triumphant!  Are you joyful? Are you going through life triumphantly?  

Well, keep walking and talking with God, the joy and the triumph are there for the faithful to experience. Don’t look back into the past too much or too far ahead into the future. Joy and Triumph can’t be experienced yesterday, and we don’t know what’s coming tomorrow. So draw close to God by rejoicing over where you are and what you have, no matter the circumstances, and Let’s Go – O Ye Faithful! – and let the joy and triumph flow through our hearts, minds, and spirits.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 (NKJV)
19  For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
20  For you are our glory and joy.

Today’s verse speaks about the hope and joy that are inherent in the Christian’s life. 

Okay, while we don’t swear oaths and just let our “Yes’s by Yes and our No’s be No”,  I testify that I did not cleverly craft the first part of this morning’s message to fit in with today’s meditation verse.  When you walk in the spirit, it is utterly amazing how the events of your life will just flow into common themes or how appropriate Bible verse just seem to “come up”.   This phenomenon is called  “tracking with the Spirit” in some circles.   

So as referred to previously, what is our hope? What is our joy? What is our crown of rejoicing?  “Is it not even you in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”  For Christ is our glory and joy.   

Okay, this verse is reflecting on the ultimate  “joy to the world” that will come to all Christians when Christ returns. Yes, all of “this” is leading to something. As mad as the world may seem and no matter how strange and dark the days may seem to be getting, we have the assurance that one day all things will be made right. The fact of Christ’s eventual return is the hope and the joy that we can glory over at all times and quite frankly should be something we continually remind ourselves of to motivate us to be faithful to serve and represent His kingdom in the hope that we will be used by Him to bring more into His grace.  

So yes, we look to the end and can be joyful and triumphant over what will come to pass.  

However, as we indicated before, God is omnipresent.  He is everywhere. That means He is with us now.   His presence is with us now.  So we can have hope now. We can have joy now. And we can even put on our “crowns of rejoicing” now.   

So count your blessings today. Share the hope of Christ today. And rejoice and be triumphant today. 

The war has been won and somehow wretches like you and me have been selected to be on the winning side.  Because of our victory and freedom in Christ, we have something to glory over every day.  So why not let the joy of the Lord be our strength and triumph today?

As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing  Chapter 13.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Relationship: The Heartbeat of Growth and Maturity

The two most common questions I am asked about the ministry of discipling others to spiritual growth and maturity are, "What curriculum do you use?" and "What program do you follow?" If your curriculum isn't based on the Word of God and your program isn't relational, then what you are doing isn't discipleship.

The curriculum of discipleship is not the problem. Bible-based studies on spiritual growth abound. The missing link in discipleship is usually the personal interaction. It takes very little commitment to say, "This book will tell you what you need to do to grow in Christ." It takes a lot of commitment to say, "Let's share with each other what Christ is doing in our lives and help each other grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Discipleship is an intensely personal ministry between two or more persons who help each other experience a growing relationship with God. Discipleship is not "building my life into yours." Discipleship is a process of building the life of Christ in one another. The life of Christ does not refer to the 30-plus years Jesus physically lived on planet Earth 2,000 years ago. The life of Christ is the presence of God within us. Discipleship is practicing that presence.

Jesus said, "Come to Me" (Matthew 11:28) and "Follow Me" (Matthew 4:19). Mark records, "He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons" (Mark 3:14, 15). Notice that Jesus' relationship with His disciples preceded His assignment to them. Discipleship is being before doing, maturity before ministry, character before career.

Every Christian, including you, is both a disciple and a discipler in the context of his or her Christian relationships. You have the awesome privilege and responsibility both to be a teacher and a learner of what it means to be in Christ, walk by the Spirit and live by faith.

You may have a role in your family, church or Christian community that gives you specific responsibility for discipling others, such as husband, father, pastor, Sunday School teacher, discipleship group leader and so on. As a discipler, you are always a disciple who is learning and growing in Christ. You may not have an official responsibility to disciple anyone, but you have the opportunity to help your children, your friends and other believers grow in Christ through these caring and committed relationships.

In this final chapter, I want to roughly sketch the ministry of discipling one another which we in the Christian community all share. Keep in mind that a good discipler is a good counselor, and a good Christian counselor is a good discipler. Whether you are a professional discipler and/or counselor or are a growing Christian who is committed to helping others grow in Christ, the following designs for discipleship and concepts for counseling will give you some basic practical guidelines for your ministry.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------


God bless you all!


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, July 16, 2021

Feeling Good is Good Enough? What about Joy?! - Purity 472

Feeling Good is Good Enough? What about Joy?! 

Purity 472 07/16/2021    Purity 472 Podcast 

Today’s photo of a setting sun dipping into the Pacific comes to us from a friend who is vacationing in Kaanapali on the Island of Maui in the great state of Hawaii.  While I am envious of my friend’s vacation, I am filled with joy for them and somehow that joy transcends to myself. I don’t know, somehow I feel good just knowing that I know someone who is out there enjoying the beauty that our Lord has created.      

That’s the funny thing about joy for a Christian, it’s not really dependent on our circumstances. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and when you are living by faith and walking in the Spirit you will experience it in many forms.  

In Oliver Stone’s Platoon, a group of soldiers gather to party with alcohol and marijuana. The euphoria caused by the drugs and peaceful environment drives one of the characters to say: “Feeling good’s good enough.”

Unlike the temporary happiness and skewed perceptions brought on by intoxication caused by drugs and alcohol and other fleshly pursuits, the heightened awareness of the interaction of God in our lives from moment to moment as we walk in the Spirit produces the “joy of the Lord” that is clean and pure.  The joy of the Lord doesn’t cause us pain and it doesn’t bring us feelings of shame or guilt.  The joy of the Lord is a deep-rooted inspired feeling that comes from our acknowledgement of the goodness of God and from the wonder of His presence when we commune with Him by welcoming Him into our life experiences.  

Some may look at today’s photo and say: “Man, it doesn’t get any better than that!” 

But I assure you that enjoying the moment of that view in Hawaii can be exponentially better when you bask in the wonder of the God who made it and thank Him for creating it, and for creating us, and for allowing us to have the time and ability to experience it.   

The word of God says that we are not to be drunk with wine which leads to debauchery, instead we are to be filled with the Spirit, whose fruit is peace and joy.   

So as the sun sets on another work week, I encourage all my friends to take their weekend experiences from the level of mere situational happiness and welcome the Lord of all creation into your lives to experience the joy that comes from being in harmony with Him.    

When you have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t matter if you take yourself to a Pacific paradise or you just stay in the familiar confines of your home; reflecting on the things of God and communing with Him in an unceasing conversation of prayer will open up the gates of heaven here on earth and allow you to truly know the peace and the joy that He has for you. 

So keep walking and talking with God. And when you discover a spring in your step, don’t be surprised.  That’s just the joy of the Lord flowing from your heavenly Father right into your spirit.      

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NKJV)
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,

Today’s verse encourages us to give thanks to God for the people in our lives and to lift them up to the Lord in prayer.  

Two of the fundamental disciplines of the path of Christian Discipleship are gratitude, or thanksgiving, and prayer.  

Technically, I guess thanking God for all the things He provides in our lives is a form of prayer but it’s a form of prayer that I continually practice as a means of walking in the Spirit and for dealing with discursive thoughts and reactive emotions. Gratitude, which I think of as the continual practice of thanksgiving, is an effective antidote for depression, angry, and anxiety.  But please understand me that I am not recommending a general attitude of thankfulness. 

Secular psychologists make the same recommendations to be thankful, but because most secular psychologists hold an atheistic of humanist world view the thanksgiving that is recommended would have you thanking “good fortune”, “chance”, “my personal wisdom”, my hard work”, or “my specialness.”  In these instances, the object to which we are giving thanks is selfish and temporary.  In essence we are thanking ourselves for being able to see that we should be thankful.  “I can do it! Yay!”  

With that said you can even practice this form of thankfulness in the worst conditions too, “I’m thankful because I KNOW things could be worse.”  While I applaud, that attitude of pure grit to persevere, do you see how lonely that is? 

With a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, you are not alone.  And when you practice gratitude you take your logical reasonings of why you can be thankful, and you can lay them at the feet of the One who is worthy of them.    

With God we are not alone. And today’s verse encourages to us be thankful to the Lord for the people that He has put in our lives here on earth.  Our thanksgivings to the Lord should include the special people that love us and that we can love in return.  

Our family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ give us the ability to give and receive love.   Our love for the people in our lives causes us to care for them and wish that they would prosper, and flourish and we can take our hopes for them to the Lord in prayer.   God wants us to love one another, and it is only natural for us to prayer for one another. 

So practice your disciplines of prayer and thanksgiving and included the people in your life in each one of them.  Although our relationship with God is highly personal, we are to open our hearts to others and go to God to tell Him all about the relationships we have that bring such meaning and joy to our lives.


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, beginning Chapter 8.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Chapter 8

God's Guidelines for the Walk of Faith

A few years ago, I accepted an invitation to speak at a church retreat the weekend after Mother's Day. A month before the retreat, the pastor called to tell me that the conference center had been double booked, so their retreat had to be moved ahead one week. He asked if I could still be there the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Mother's Day weekend.

I wasn't about to schedule anything that would take me away from my family on Mother's Day, but my wife, Joanne, overheard the conversation and suggested I go ahead with the retreat. I told her I didn't want to be away on her special day, but she insisted I go. So I did.

During a break in the retreat, I visited the little gift shop on the grounds and got a wonderful idea for making up to my family for being gone on Mother's Day. One of the gift items in the shop was a cute little basket containing a package of muffin mix and a jar of apple jelly. I decided I would get up early on Monday morning and fix a delicious, banquet-style breakfast for Joanne, Heidi, and Karl—complete with eggs, sausage, and muffins.

So on Monday morning I rose with the chickens, had my devotions, and started making breakfast. I was stirring the muffin mix, singing, and feeling great when sleepy-eyed Karl wandered into the kitchen. He grabbed a box of cereal and an empty bowl and headed for the table.

"Hey, Karl, just a second. We're not having cereal this morning. We're going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffins."

"I don't like muffins, Dad," he mumbled, opening the cereal box.

"Wait, Karl," I insisted, starting to get annoyed. "We're going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffins."

"But I don't like muffins, Dad," he repeated as he got ready to fill his bowl.

I lost it. "Karl, we're going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffins!" I barked. Karl closed the cereal box, threw it into the cupboard and stomped back to his room. The kid blocked my goal!

When I realized what I had done, I went to Karl's room and said, "I'm sorry, son. You can have cereal."

He said, "I don't like cereal."

Like me, I am sure you have suffered your share of blocked goals, which are described in the previous chapter. You had this great plan to do something wonderful for God, your church, your family, or a friend. Then your plan was thrown into disarray by hectic, daily events over which you had no control. A pileup on the freeway kept you from getting to work on time. Your husband was late for the special dinner you planned. Your child decided to be the lead guitarist in a rock band instead of becoming a doctor, as you had planned. You didn't get your way at the board meeting.

When you base your sense of worth on the success of your own personal plans, your life will be one long, emotional roller-coaster ride. The only way to get off the roller coaster is to walk by faith according to the truth of God's Word.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------


God bless you all!


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship