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03-10-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

03-10-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

[My awesome, loving and wonderful Grandchildren and Kaleigh, whom I love and pray for every day David realized that just being mended would not benefit him; he acknowledged that his heart was altogether corrupted and it must be new made, made as it was in the beginning of creation. This is exactly the sentiment of Paul:]

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is THE NEW CREATION.” (Gal. 6:15)

[The salvation given under the Gospel dispensation is called “being created NEW in Christ Jesus”.]

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10)

[This was a necessary prayer for David to have to pray, why? Because it shows he once had the joy of God’s salvation; and had lost because of sin! Thank God that He showed David the importance of praying this prayer.]

“Restore to me the JOY OF YOUR SALVATION and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. (Psa. 51:12-13)

[Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley and Kaleigh If one of your friends is surprised and falls into sin, without warning, suddenly invaded, taken before they are aware: all these meanings describe our being overtaken by sin. Don’t be uncompassionate or arrogant towards that person; as this person was suddenly overtaken, they are already deeply humbled and distressed, and need much encouragement and merciful treatment.]

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, YOU WHO LIVE BY THE SPIRIT SHOULD RESTORE THAT PERSON GENTLY. But WATCH YOURSELVES, or you also may be tempted. CARRY EACH OTHER’S BURDENS, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:1-2)

[As a farmer, in ploughing, sowing, and laboring in his fields, is strengthened by the hope of a great harvest, WHICH HE CANNOT EXPECT BEFORE THE RIGHT AND APPOINTED TIME; so as followers of God we believe that we must pray, weep, deny ourselves, and live in a obedience to our Maker’s will, and will reap the fruit of it in eternal glory. Thank God that we are able to obtain glory because we have prayed, etc., yet we can’t expect glory if we do not obey our Abba Father. This is sowing to the Spirit; and the Spirit and the grace are furnished by Christ Jesus, and by him the kingdom of heaven is opened to all believers; but only those who believe, love, and obey, shall enter into it.]

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP. Therefore, as we have opportunity, LET US DO GOOD TO ALL PEOPLE, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Gal. 6:9-10)

LOVE GOD, OBEY GOD, PRAY EARNESTLY AND FREQUENTLY [often]!

Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that:

WE WILL REAP A HARVEST IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP!

Notice it says: [We must understand that the bible says: Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, YOU WHO LIVE BY THE SPIRIT SHOULD RESTORE THAT PERSON GENTLY!!!] That’s for you: Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley and Kaleigh

A CLEAN HEART!

[David realized that mending would not benefit him; he acknowledged that his heart was altogether corrupted and it must be new made, made as it was in the beginning of creation. This is exactly the sentiment of Paul:]

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is THE NEW CREATION.” (Gal. 6:15)

[The salvation given under the Gospel dispensation is called “being created NEW in Christ Jesus”.]

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10)

[This was a necessary prayer for David to have to pray, why? Because it shows he once had the joy of God’s salvation; and had lost because of sin! Thank God that He showed David the importance of praying this prayer.]

“Restore to me the JOY OF YOUR SALVATION and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. (Psa. 51:12-13)

[If someone is surprised and falls into sin, without warning, suddenly invaded, taken before they are aware: all these meanings describe our being overtaken by sin. Don’t be uncompassionate or arrogant towards that person; as this person was suddenly overtaken, they are already deeply humbled and distressed, and need much encouragement and merciful treatment.]

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, YOU WHO LIVE BY THE SPIRIT SHOULD RESTORE THAT PERSON GENTLY. But WATCH YOURSELVES, or you also may be tempted. CARRY EACH OTHER’S BURDENS, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:1-2)

[As a farmer, in ploughing, sowing, and laboring in his fields, is strengthened by the hope of a great harvest, WHICH HE CANNOT EXPECT BEFORE THE RIGHT AND APPOINTED TIME; so as followers of God we believe that we must pray, weep, deny ourselves, and live in a obedience to our Maker’s will, and will reap the fruit of it in eternal glory. Thank God that we are able to obtain glory because we have prayed, etc., yet we can’t expect glory if we do not obey our Abba Father. This is sowing to the Spirit; and the Spirit and the grace are furnished by Christ Jesus, and by him the kingdom of heaven is opened to all believers; but only those who believe, love, and obey, shall enter into it.]

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP. Therefore, as we have opportunity, LET US DO GOOD TO ALL PEOPLE, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Gal. 6:9-10)

LOVE GOD, OBEY GOD, PRAY EARNESTLY AND FREQUENTLY [often]!

Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that:

WE WILL REAP A HARVEST IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP!

-Bill Stockham

3-08-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

3-08-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

[My awesome, loving and wonderful Grandchildren and Kaleigh, whom I love and pray for every day“Then the angel showed me the RIVER of the water of life, as clear as crystal, FLOWING from the throne of God and of the Lamb…” (Revelation 22:1)

God is inviting each of us to venture into DEEPER SPIRITUAL WATERS. We’re being called to leave the comforts of shallow water behind in order to taste of God’s wonderfully awesome goodness and experience the life WE WERE CREATED TO LIVE. As we follow Jesus, He’ll surely lead us into “deep water”: the deep water of the Heavenly Father’s heart, flow into our hearts, and the deep and living water of the Holy Spirit. It’s a journey that requires great courage, but IT’S WHY WE EXIST. The result will be a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with God and a GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR IDENTITY as His sons and daughters. Now, the devil hates this living water will DO ANYTHING to keep us from venturing out in the deep. So, he will tempt us to stop our progress by discouragement, by self-doubt, by insecurities in our lives and by listening to OTHER” VOICES, TRYING TO STOP THE FLOW, like the woman at the well “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. WHERE CAN YOU GET THIS LIVING WATER?” (John 4:11).

This is what the Lord woke me up with this morning…” Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, WATER was issuing from BELOW THE THRESHOLD OF THE TEMPLE (the temple of God) toward the east…the man measured a thousand cubits…and it was ANKLE-DEEP. Again, he measured a thousand, it was KNEE-DEEP. Again, he measured a thousand, and it was WAIST-DEEP. Again, he measured a thousand, and IT WAS A RIVER…It was deep enough to SWIM in…” (Ezekiel 47:1-5)

Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley and Kaleigh, every time the devil stops our progress WE GET SET BACK, we must “ask forgiveness” for going back and keep going on to the next level for a deeper relationship with God.

Jesus answered, “…whoever drinks the water I give them WILL NEVER THIRST. Indeed, the water I give them will become IN them a SPRING OF WATER WELLING UP TO ETERNAL LIFE.” (John 4:13-14)

Our awesome Lord loves us so much that He not only gave us water to swim in but He also fills us up with this Living Water!

SPIT OUT THE FOUL WATER FROM THE DEVIL AND DRINK IN THE “LIVING WATER”!!!

Notice it says: [We must understand that the bible says: “whoever drinks the water I give them WILL NEVER THIRST!!!] That’s for you: Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley and Kaleigh

CALLED AND EQUIPPED!

CALLED AND EQUIPPED!

[Joshua was about to take over leadership of the people of God, after the death of Moses. So our Abba Father spoke these words to him to encourage him!]

BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. BE STRONG AND VERY COURAGEOUS. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; DO NOT TURN FROM IT to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:6-7)

[Now, Joshua was going to be the one with the responsibility to lead God’s people. There was no one higher to pass problems and decisions up to. There is an enormous difference between being an executive officer carrying out the orders of someone else and BEING THE ACTUAL DECISION MAKER!]

“Keep this Book of the Law [their bible] always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful TO DO EVERYTHING WRITTEN IN IT. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL BE with you WHEREVER YOU GO.” (Josh. 1:8-9)

[Obey me Joshua, keep my word, DO WHAT MY WORD SAYS to do AND TEACH OTHERS TO DO THE SAME.]

“Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us WE WILL DO, and wherever you send us WE WILL GO. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God BE WITH YOU AS HE WAS WITH MOSES.” (Josh. 1:16-17)

[How important it is for us to seek the Lord for guidance, wisdom and knowledge when we are placed in a leadership position. We are RESPONSIBLE TO GOD for the people we are leading!]

“Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. ONLY BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!” (Josh. 1:18)

[This is the 4th time God used these words “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS” It seems that STRENGTH (spiritual strength) and COURAGE (godly courage) are important characteristics for us!]

WE ARE TO DO ALL THAT GOD HAS INSTRUCTED US TO DO!

Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that:

WE CAN BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS IN THE LORD!

-Bill Stockham

HOW TO KEEP US POWERLESS!

HOW TO KEEP US POWERLESS!

“But you, WHEN YOU FAST, anoint your head and wash your face…(Matt. 6:17).

Jesus didn’t say, “IF you fast.” He just assumed that WE WOULD OBEY AND FAST. I think the devil will do anything to KEEP CHRISTIANS FROM FASTING! Let’s take a look at a very controversial scripture about fasting,

this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting. (Matt. 17:21 KJV)

The NIV and many modern translations say it like this: “there is no verse 21” The translators decided to translate from a Greek manuscript that didn’t have that line in it. Most the old Greek manuscripts, however, DO have it. I believe that it is a serious omission. Why? Let’s look at an explanation of all that fasting will accomplish… “Is not this the kind of fasting I [the Lord speaking] have chosen: to lose the chains of injusticetobreak every yoke? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am IThe LORD will guide you alwaysYou will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail… then you will find YOUR JOY IN THE LORDFor the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isa 58:6, 8-9, 11, 14)

Now, doesn’t it make sense, if you were the enemy, to hide this from us?  

Pray about making your life powerful for God…Bill Stockham

Check this out: https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/fasting/personal-guide-to-fasting.html

 

WE CAN ALWAYS TRUST IN GOD!

WE CAN ALWAYS TRUST IN GOD!

[Hanna, the mother of Samuel, prayed this prayer:]

“…if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your handmaid [she was childless BEFORE God answered her prayer] and remember, and not forget Your handmaid but will give me a son, I WILL GIVE HIM TO THE LORD ALL HIS LIFE (1 Sam. 1:11)

[Our Abba Father honors our commitments!]

HANNAH PRAYED, and said, my heart exults [glories] and triumphs in the Lord; my horn [my strength] is lifted up in the Lord. My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. There is none holy like the Lord, there is none besides You; THERE IS NO ROCK LIKE OUR GOD. Talk no more so very proudly; let not arrogance go forth from your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and BY HIM ACTIONS ARE WEIGHED.” (1 Sam. 2:1-3)

[God, hears what we say but then He sees WHAT WE DOHannah combined tears with her prayers, imitating the mercy of God, who knows our troubled souls. God gives us permission, in prayer, not only to ask for good things, but to declare that special good thing we most need and desire. She spoke tenderly, none could hear her. Here, she testified her belief of God’s knowledge and desires of the heart.]

The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “FOR THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH ARE THE LORD’S; on them he has set the world. HE WILL GUARD THE FEET OF HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “HE WILL GIVE STRENGTH TO HIS KING [leaders] AND EXALT THE HORN OF HIS ANOINTED.” (1 Sam. 2:7-10)

[This is such an awesome prayer from a mother who was about to leave her ONLY SON in the hands of Eli, to be used of God to save Israel! A good prayer for each of us to pray over our children and grandchildren as we commit them to the work of the Lord]

REMEMBER; OUR ABBA FATHER IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL!

Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that:

GOD WILL GUARD THE FEET OF HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS!

-Bill Stockham

Noticias- Colegio Tomlinson

Noticias- Colegio Tomlinson

17 de enero de 2017

El Colegio Tomlinson sirvió un rol clave en el desarrollo del liderazgo de la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía de 1966 a 1992. Aunque hace casi 25 años desde que cerró sus puertas, aún podemos sentir el impacto que el Colegio Tomlinson tuvo en sus graduados que actualmente sirven como líderes en cada nivel de esta iglesia.

El desarrollo de liderazgo es un valor central de la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía y sentimos que es muy importante proveer oportunidades educativas económicas, relevantes y accesibles. Consideramos la idea de revivir el viejo campus del Colegio Tomlinson, sin embargo, no hubo suficiente interés o fondos para perseguir esta opción. A pesar de que el Centro Tomlinson no probó ser un método viable, se han desarrollado asociaciones estratégicas que nos permiten ofrecer programas educativos de posgrado que han tenido un alcance más amplio que nunca antes en nuestra historia.

Seminario Teológico Gordon-Conwell

  • Desde el 2010 hemos visto 958 estudiantes/líderes de la IDP tomar clases a través del programa del Seminario Teológico Gordon-Conwell (GCTS, por sus siglas en inglés).
  • Más de 500 estudiantes/líderes de la han tomado cursos dese 2014.
  • Hasta la fecha hemos visto 80 estudiantes/líderes de la IDP graduarse del GCTS con una maestría en religión.
  • Actualmente tenemos 29 estudiantes/líderes de la IDP cursando para obtener un doctorado en pentecostalismo mundial con el GCTS (estos 29 estudiantes tienen programado graduarse en el 2019).

Seminario Teológico Pentecostal (PTS)

  • La IDP ahora ofrece un certificado en ministerio wesleyano pentecostal, una maestría en ministerio cristiano y una maestría en consejería del Seminario Teológico Pentecostal (PTS, siglas en inglés).
  • En octubre de 2016, la IDP condujo su primer curso de certificado en el Centro para Capacitación Ministerial (MTC, siglas en inglés) con 15 estudiantes.
  • Se están formando nuevas cohortes en el 2017 para los cursos de maestría a través de nuestra asociación con el PTS.
  • Nuestra asociación con el PTS nos permite ofrecer un diploma de 90 horas de crédito en el ministerio wesleyano pentecostal.

Estos programas ayudan a sus estudiantes a obtener una educación superior sin tener que salir de sus hogares y lugar de ministerio. Dado que ofrecemos oportunidades educativas a través de la Internet, la instrucción in situ, y el desarrollo del nuevo Centro para Capacitación Ministerial en las Oficinas Internacionales, el otrora campus del Colegio Tomlinson está siendo utilizado solamente como una propiedad en alquiler. En julio de 2016, el Comité de Finanzas y Mayordomía presentó su informe a la 99a Asamblea Internacional con respecto a la propiedad del Colegio Tomlinson. Como un asunto de buena mayordomía, el comité solicitó y recibió la aprobación de la Oficina Internacional para vender la propiedad.

El 17 de enero de 2017, la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía llegó a un acuerdo con la escuela Tennessee Christian Preparatory School (TCPS, por sus siglas en inglés) para comprar la propiedad del Colegio Tomlinson. La TCPS ha sido inquilino en la mayor parte de la propiedad por un espacio aproximado de 20 años, y ahora sienten que Dios ha abierto una puerta para que esta propiedad se convierta en su hogar permanente. En caso de que surjan algunas circunstancias que impidan que una de las partes cumpla con su porción del acuerdo, la iglesia buscará otros compradores potenciales.

Estamos muy agradecidos por los años que estuvo en función el Colegio Tomlinson. Los líderes que se desarrollaron allí continúan haciendo un impacto positivo en la Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía y el reino de Dios. Muchas amistades que comenzaron en el Colegio Tomlinson aún continúan hoy día. ¡Qué gran legado! Es nuestra oración que el legado de desarrollar jóvenes líderes que impacten el reino continúe a través de la Tennessee Christian Preparatory School.

Update – Tomlinson College

Update – Tomlinson College

Tomlinson College served a key role in leadership development in the Church of God of Prophecy from 1966 to 1992. Even though the college has been closed for almost 25 years, the impact can still be felt today with Tomlinson College graduates serving in leadership at every level of this Church.

Leadership Development is a core value of the Church of God of Prophecy and we feel it is very important to provide affordable, relevant, and accessible educational opportunities. The idea of reviving the college as Tomlinson Center on the old campus was attempted, but there was not sufficient interest or funding. While Tomlinson Center did not prove feasible, there have been strategic partnerships developed that permit us to offer degree level educational programs with a reach far beyond anything in our history.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

  • Since 2010, we have seen 958 COGOP students/leaders take classes through our GCTS program.
  • Over 500 COGOP students/leaders have taken a class since 2014.
  • To date we have seen 80 COGOP students/leaders graduate from GCTS with a Master of Arts Degree in Religion
  • We currently have 29 COGOP students/leaders pursuing a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Global Pentecostalism with GCTS (all 29 are set to graduate by 2019).

Pentecostal Theological Seminary

  • COGOP now offers a Certificate in Wesleyan-Pentecostal Ministry, a Master of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry, and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Pentecostal Theological Seminary.
  • In October of 2016 COGOP held its first certificate level class in the MTC with 15 students.
  • New cohort groups are forming in 2017 for online and onsite masters-level classes through our partnership with PTS.
  • Our partnership with PTS allows us to offer a 90 credit-hour accredited certificate in Wesleyan-Pentecostal Ministry.

These programs allow students to pursue higher education without leaving their home or place of ministry. With online opportunities, on-site instruction, and the development of the new Ministry Training Center at the International Offices, the former Tomlinson College Campus is utilized only as a rental property. In July 2016, the Finance and Stewardship Committee presented a report to the 99th International Assembly regarding the Tomlinson College property. As a matter of good stewardship, the committee requested and received approval for the International Offices to pursue a sale of the property.

On January 17, 2017, the Church of God of Prophecy reached an agreement with the Tennessee Christian Preparatory School (TCPS) for the purchase of the Tomlinson College property. TCPS has rented the majority of the campus for approximately 20 years and they feel that God has opened this door for the property to become their permanent home. Should circumstances arise that would prevent one or both parties from fulfilling their part of the agreement, the Church will pursue other potential buyers.

We are thankful for the era of Tomlinson College. The leaders developed there continue to positively impact the Church of God of Prophecy and the kingdom of God while friendships made at Tomlinson College still endure. What a legacy! It is our prayer that the legacy of developing young leaders who impact the kingdom of God will continue through TCPS.

I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy

I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy

Joy and Happiness: Initial Observations

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart! Where?
Down in my heart! Where?
Down in my heart!
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart! Where?
Down in my heart to stay!
And I’m so happy! So very happy!
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart!
And I’m so happy! So very happy!
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart!

In a recent International Offices chapel service, I was asked to preach a message based on this familiar old song, mostly sung in children’s meetings. With the goal of mining deep spiritual truths from Christian children’s songs, the first truth we encounter is a close relationship between the words “joy” and “happy.”
In Scripture too, these words are closely related. The same Hebrew and Greek words are at times variously translated either as joy or happiness. Also, the Greek word for joy comes from the same Greek root from which we get the word grace. The children’s song shows that joy is a matter of the heart produced in us by the Holy Spirit: “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” “And I’m so happy, so very happy, I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart.”
Could we also say that happiness is joy manifested? I think so. Happiness ought to be lived out. Joy manifested blesses others. Another old children’s song says, “If you’re happy and you know it, say Amen! (and clap your hands, and stomp your feet).” If joy is manifested in our lives the happiness that others see will certainly bless others who are on the journey.
Joy, happiness, well-being, favor, grace. What a concept! What a word! In the Scripture text below, Peter will literally say that you can’t put words to the feeling of joy (“joy unspeakable”in the KJV). But can I tell you that joy is Jesus!

Joy – Not as a Feeling, But as a Person

joy-is-jesusJoy is best described, not as a particular type of feeling but as a particular person: Jesus Christ. His birth announcement promised joy to the whole world. “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10 NIV). During his earthly ministry Jesus brought great joy to his followers. Again in Luke, “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17 NIV). Jesus spoke of the joy of answered prayer. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24 NIV).
As Jesus prays for his followers, including us, in John 17 he says to His heavenly Father, “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they (his disciples) may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13 NIV). Joy is Jesus!
After his resurrection and ascension, His ministry continued in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. In Acts we find, “. . .the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52 NIV). “The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household” (Acts 16:34 NIV11-GK).

Our Joy is Jesus

This theme is revealed in 1 Peter 1:3-9. Let’s look at the first few verses:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice.
1 Peter 1:3–6a NIV)

The “all this” Peter mentions is all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Joy is Jesus. And. . .

Biblical joy is experienced by certain people: God’s elect, born again people.
“In all this you greatly rejoice” (1 Peter 1:6a). And no wonder. We, as God’s people, are elect, chosen, sanctified and able to be obedient, having received great mercy from God, born again into a living hope because Jesus rose from the dead. In all this you greatly rejoice: We are born again into an inheritance that is imperishable. An inheritance that God is keeping in heaven for us while we trust in God, and are shielded by God’s power until our full salvation is revealed at the end of time. No wonder we rejoice! The problem with our joy is that it does not banish trials and problems once and for all. As a matter of fact, the joy the Lord gives to his born again children often occurs in spite of and in the midst of great trials. Our text goes on to say, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6 NIV).

God’s people experience both joy and difficulties in this life.
We often look for something that God does not promise in this life: constant joy. We may preach on joy because we perceive a lack of joy amongst God’s people, but constant joy is not part of this life. The psalmist reminds us of reality: “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalms 30:5 KJV). In this life we find a mixture of weeping and joy. Our joy may be temporary and intermittent in this life but so are our trials and troubles. The text says “for a little while you may have had to suffer.”But these temporary trials serve a good and godly purpose in us.

These trials, that is, have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7 NIV

There will be rejoicing in God’s presence not because there has been an absence of trouble in our lives, but we will rejoice because we have come through those troubles by trusting in God. Rejoicing will fill our hearts for God has brought us through. “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith. . .may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (v. 7). We will rejoice because we made it. . . by faith in Jesus!

Joy is Jesus, and the Holy Spirit

Concerning this Jesus:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8–9 NIV).

Joy is found in believing in Jesus Christ and, by that same faith, being filled with joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Faith in Jesus in the best of times and the worst of times brings joy to our lives. You may have some trials but they’re temporary. And in the midst of trials and trouble, when we trust our lives to the Lord we “are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (v. 8). The Holy Spirit produces the joy of Jesus in our hearts. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. . .” (Galatians 5:22 NIV).

Joy cannot be taken from our lives

rejoiceIn our text, Peter mentions that we experience joy in the midst of trials. Later in the same epistle he writes, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12–13 NIV). For the believer it’s rejoice now, even in the midst of fiery ordeals, and in the future we will be “overjoyed;” a word that literally means “jump for joy.” As believers, rejoice now in Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, and later, in a new heaven and a new earth, be overjoyed. Literally, “jump for joy!” Sounds like a plan! Joy is in Jesus! James of course echoes the same theme of rejoicing in the midst of trials in his familiar passage: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2–3 NIV).
Whatever happens to you cannot take from you the joy that God produces in you. Joy is in Jesus! No matter what our circumstances, our destiny is eternal life, and knowing that will manifest the joy that God has produced in us through our faith in Christ. Paul would tell us as he told the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV11).
So, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.”“And I’m so happy. . .” And, “If you’re happy and you know it. . .then your life will surely show it.” To quote another song “It is Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory.”
Summarizing God’s Word through his apostle Peter to us: A real experience of salvation through faith in Jesus, plus an ongoing faith in Jesus, (a faith without sight, often in the midst of difficulty) will yield times of joy that are produced in us not by our circumstances, (and often in spite of our circumstances) but produced by the Holy Spirit that lives in us as born again children of God. Joy is Jesus!
Don’t pray for more joy, or less trouble, but ask for more faith and the grace to persevere in Jesus who fills us with inexpressible joy through the Holy Spirit. May we have more faith in God in the midst of trials. More faith to welcome the Holy Spirit to work in us in the midst of life. Faith in Jesus produces something in us: inexpressible and glorious joy, because joy is Jesus.

Haiti Relief Update

Haiti Relief Update

As soon as the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Matthew became apparent in Haiti, Bishop Dorlean immediately came up with a 3-phase Action Plan to help our pastors, leaders and members. Phase one is to provide for the short term needs of our people. This includes food, water, clothes, toiletries, bleach and more over the next several months. Phase two is to provide for the medium term needs which include church members and workers of the church helping each other to repair damaged churches and houses with metal sheets, wood, and nails. The last phase is the long term goal of reconstruction of the destroyed churches.

Through the quick actions of our church family, phase one was immediately implemented. We received these photos from Bishop Dorlean that show the distribution of bundles of rice and other supplies being given out to some of our people who experienced the most loss during Hurricane Matthew. Along with the pictures, Bishop Dorlean sent us this message.

“We have been able to distribute food, clothing, and financial assistance to our pastors, leaders, and some church members in the districts of Cayes, Baraderes, Cotes-de-Fer, Jeremie, and Grand Goave. We thank all of you for your prayers and support. We also thank Bishop Martin, the Caribbean Finance Committee, and Bishop Williams who sent in Bishop Octa into Haiti with money to help our pastors, leaders, and members.”

The need is still so considerable. Will you join us by donating to the relief work to help our family in Haiti? Individuals may give through the Helping Hand Ministry or churches can give through Project Giving with all donations marked Haiti Disaster Relief – Hurricane Matthew. Remember that gifts are tax deductible and 100% of your donation will be given to the need you specify.

Click here to view photos of the Haiti relief project