Overflowing Joy 5

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect and surrender to the God, Source of Joy.

Scripture

Jude 1:24-25

24  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

25  To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

Observation

  1. What do we learn from God in this text:
  • God’s ability (what does/ can God do for his people)?
  • God’s character (what is God like)?
  1. Consider the fullness of the redemption from us who dead in our sins – whom God is able to preserve (keep from stumbling) and present spotless before him with overflowing joy; take a few moments of reflection and write describe the magnitude of the FULL REDEMPTION promised by and attributed to God’s power (ability).

For instance [dead in sin] >>> [alive in God]; [far from God] >>> [reconciled to God]; [rebellious to God] >>> [friend of God]…

  1. What do you understand by the phrase “exceeding joy” – what does that mean and look like?

Reflection and application

  1. Jude promise that God can present you before himself with exceeding joy – have you experienced some of that joy? Ask God to fulfill his promise to present you before Himself joyful!
  2. In your mind – is God a joyful or serious person? Why? Where do you get this picture from?  What is your picture of Jesus in this regard?  Ask God to reveal his true nature to you!

Prayer

“for the kingdom of God is… righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 14:17)   God is the King of Justice, the King of Peace, and the King of Joy!

Pray for the Kingdom of God to come in your heart, your family, your work and your neighborhood!  Pray for what is right and just, for what is peaceful and wholesome, and what is joyful to be dominant in your life, family and society!

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Overflowing Joy 4

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in perspective and desire for godly JOY.

Scripture

1 Peter 4:12-14

12  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  13  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  14  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

Observations and reflection

This letter of Peter is written to a suffering church.

  1. Read these three verses a few times – perhaps even out loud. Then write down Peter’s message in your own words.
  2. How do you understand suffering as a “fiery trial”? What does Peter mean by that?
  3. Verse twelve says that the church should “not be surprised” when suffering comes – that it is not “something strange”. What are your thoughts about that verse?
  4. Why are Christians surprised when they suffer? What do people tend to think when they suffer?
  5. Do you think it strange that he instructs the readers to rejoice in suffering? Can you identify with that statement? Why can Christians rejoice in suffering?  Think and write a few biblical reasons that come to mind.
  6. Do you see the promise of eternal joy hidden in the second half of verse 13? What is it?
  7. How do you interpret verse 14? Why were the readers blessed to suffer while the Spirit of God rests on them?

Application and prayer

  1. Spend some time and prepare your heart in prayer with God so that
  • You may not be surprised when you suffer as a Christian
  • Than you may see suffering on earth as temporal testing of your faith and character (“fiery trial” v12)
  • That you see suffering as a Christian not as abandonment or punishment from God, but rather as identification with Christ, with eternal glorious rewards.
  1. Spend some time to pray for a friend who is suffering in some way – for his faith to remain steadfast in God, to be anchored in God’s love, and for joy to fill his heart.

Overflowing Joy 3

The aim of this devotional study is to regain joy in God amidst suffering and oppression.

Scripture

Psalms 13:1-6

1  How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?  2  How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3  Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,  4  lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  6  I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Observation

  1. Note the three logical sections in the Psalm (v1-2; v3-4; v5-6). In a very short phrase, give a descriptive name for each of these three sections – what are they about?
  2. Regarding v1-2: In your own words, from the questions David asks God, describe the suffering he undergoes. (A short phrase for every question).
  3. Regarding v3-4: In your own words, describe the petitions David asks from the Lord. (i.e. what Does David ask God to do for him? – again a short phrase for every petition.)
  4. Regarding v5-6: In your own words, describe David’s confession and resolute decision in this unresolved matter. (Again – a short phrase for every confession he makes).
  5. What is the turning point for David – what stirs his faith, hope and joy? (v5-6)

Reflection and Application

In this Psalm David recorded his suffering through a sense of abandonment and humiliation from his enemies throwing him in a deep depression, yet he continues to plead with God for strength, hope and vindication – all the while reminding himself of God’s faithful love and deliverance, reminding himself of what the Lord has done for him in the past.

  1. Can you identify with David’s suffering in any way now (or in the past) even that God has forgotten you or even cut you off?
  2. David is pulled from his hopelessness and depression – even to hope and rejoice again – when he reminds himself of what the Lord had done for him in the past and decides to praise God. Take a few moments and jot down a list of things the Lord has done for you in the past and even now.

Prayer

Paul (from prison!!!) instructs the persecuted church in Philippi to “rejoice always!” and then he says “6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Follow Paul’s instruction and David’s example (Psalm 13) and pray in this way to rejoice your heart now:

  1. Unburden your heart as you bring all you cares to God
  2. Ask the Lord for your needs and desires
  3. Thank God for all that he gives and all that he has done for you in the past.
  4. Praise the Lord for who he is!

* Note: Thanks is about what God does; Praise is about who God is.  i.e. “I thank you for giving me daily bread – I praise you for your faithfulness!  I thank you for answering my prayer – I praise you for being the God Who Hears!”

Overflowing Joy 2

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in longing anticipation and experience of God’s joy.

Scripture

Psalm 16:1-11

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2  I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

3  As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

4  The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.

5  The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

6  The [boundary] lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7  I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

8  I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9  Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.

10  For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

11  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Observation and reflection

Note: In Acts 2:25-29 Peter quotes v8-11 of this Psalm with reference to Christ’s resurrection.

  1. Read through the Psalm again and mark all the references to positive emotions or experiences the Psalmist records that he has with or because of God. Then summarize these benefits in your own words.
  2. Now note all the negative emotions or experiences the Psalmist describes outside of God’s presence or preservation.  Explain why they experience these emotions.
  3. Record how many ways the Psalmist records (a) security and (b) joy in this Psalm. How dies that tie in with the conclusion of the Psalm (v11)?

Application and prayer

Knowing that God is the one who gave him what he has in life and God is the one who guides him through this life, the Psalmist finds pleasure and security in God alone.

  1. Look at the benefits of those who serve God in points 1 above (and what he protects us from in point 2 above) and thank God for those benefits he promises.
  2. Can you honestly say with the Psalmist “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you” ? (v2) Search your heart and talk to God about what you delight in – then surrender the delight in your heart to Him only. Ask him to help you.
  3. Spend some time in prayer and worship while seeking to find joy and peace (security) in God himself. [I spent some time in this point meditating and praying through v11]

Overflowing Joy 1

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and desire to experience Godly joy.

Scripture

John 2:1-11

1  On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  2  Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

3  When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4  And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6  Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7  Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  8  And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.

9  When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom  10  and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

11  This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Observation

Note: the 6 stone jars filled with water would translate to about 750 bottles (565 liters) of wine today!

  1. John states that this is the “first of signs” Jesus performed. It is the first public sign he did after his ministry began.  Is it also strange to you that the first sign Jesus did was a healing or deliverance etc?  Why did Jesus do this miracle?
  2. What would have happened if the wine ran out?
  3. What is the nature of the miracle?
  4. How was each of these people benefitted from the miracle?
  • His mother
  • The bridegroom and his family [hosts of this feast]
  • The disciples
  • The guests
  1. What do we know the quality and quantity of the wine made?

Reflection

  1. Why do you think Jesus bothered to make wine at a wedding? What does that say about his character and his relationship with his family?
  2. Everything in John’s gospel is deliberately written to also add symbolic message; what is the symbolism and message of this miracle? (hint: what is usually associated with celebration and wine? And think of the quality and quantity of wine made…)
  3. Everything in John’s gospel is written “so that you may believe” (John 20:31). With that in mind, what then the motive of inserting this account?
  • relating to his disciples?
  • relating to you the reader?
  1. Jesus demonstrated at the wedding that he came to give joy in greater quality and greater measure than we can expect or duplicate.
  • Have you experienced this joy Jesus promised before? Where and when?
  • Would those around you call you a joyful person?
  • Do you experience this joy Jesus promised daily? Why / why not?

Prayer

In prayer today, take time to unburden yourself before the Lord as Peter wrote “cast all your cares on Him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) and then pray with David “Restore to me the joy of your salvation…” (Psalm 51:12)