Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

Tamper Resistent Joy

Tamper Resistant Joy

By Carolyn Dale Newell

…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b NKJV

Imprisoned and chained to a guard, Paul wrote several of his epistles, including the “joy epistle” of Philippians. How could Paul rejoice when he could no longer plant churches and preach the gospel as he did on his missionary journeys?

Paul believed God’s promise in our focal verse: the joy of the Lord is our strength. Paul lived Christ

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NKJV)

In the original Greek text, the verb “is” is absent. So, Paul lived Christ. Paul’s enemies had meant this for evil, but God had meant it for good. Paul recognized that, and he rejoiced.

The enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our joy. Nothing would please him better than to see grimacing Christians. He has no authority over God’s children. When Satan cannot deceive us into temptation, one of his plots involves zapping our joy. Sadly, we allow him.

That’s right. We fall for his trickery, and the devil knows better than most Christians that the joy of the Lord is our strength. He steals our joy and leaves us weak.

But we are not without hope. We can turn our faces toward the Son and away from our circumstances. Away from the depression, the loneliness, the pain, anxieties, the season we find ourselves in. We don’t find joy in those situations, but when we face Jesus, we see joy, for Jesus is joy.

We live in a topsy-turvy world, and sometimes life must get more confusing to get us right side up. We allow circumstances to dictate our emotional thermometers rather than trusting our sovereign Lord. Sweet friend, we are measuring the wrong thing (topsy-turvy). God allows things, painful things, into our lives to turn us right side up.

We can get our joy back when we live Christ as Paul did. When we commit to praise God no matter what, we will find strength through joy. When we can look at our messy lives and know Jesus loves us. When we look through joy colored glasses, we are made strong.

Christmas can either be depressing or joyful. In order to have a tamper-resistant joyful Christmas, look to the Baby in the manger. He is now our King and has been granted authority over all things. Joy doesn’t erase the hurt, but It delivers strength to cope with it. Joy isn’t found in friends, family, or feasting. Not genuine joy. That joy exists only in Jesus.

Heavenly Father, help us turn our faces toward Jesus this season. Easier said than done, but with You all things are possible. Thank You for the joy You will bring many who would be sad and alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Philippians 1: 12-26.

HIKING THE TRAIL

What is one attitude you can adopt this Christmas season to see joy amidst your situation? How can you help someone else who struggles at this time of the year?

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.

Who is Your Example of Godliness

 

WHO IS YOUR EXAMPLE OF GODLINESS?

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Now a certain woman named Lydia Heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

Acts 16:14 NKJV

Is there someone in your church, a mentor, a teacher, or the little Christian woman next door who You look toward as a godly example. If you lack that special person, may I suggest a woman from Scripture?

Lydia is a superb role model. She had a full plate, but she handled it. She was the best of Mary and Martha combined.

Lydia was a business woman, a sales rep for the purple dye used by royalty. God had blessed her because Her home was spacious enough to accommodate the Philippian church (Acts 16:40). Let’s unpack the qualities this busy woman possessed. Qualities we desire.

First, Lydia was a woman of fervent prayer. Paul and his companions found this group of women praying on the river bank. These Gentile women committed time to prayer, and they realized its importance. They had learned about the God of the Jews, and now, they communed with Him. Could it be as they prayed that day, they asked the Lord to increase their understanding? And then came Paul.

Lydia worshiped God with all the truth she knew at that point. She was teachable, and she desired to learn more. As Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, “the Lord opened her heart.” Lydia’s entire household was baptized also. God reveals Himself and the truth to those who seek Him.

Yearn to learn more about Jesus. Yearn to learn Jesus more. The difference is life-changing.

Next, Lydia was a woman of faith (Acts 16:15). She was faithful in prayer, worship, and service. She had put complete trust in Jesus Christ. Her faith increased as she drew closer to her heavenly Father.

Finally, Lydia was a woman of service. She opened her house to Paul and his friends. She fulfilled the commandment to love one another through her hospitality.

How much time did we spend in prayer today? In God’s Word? In worship? Worship is not reserved for Sunday only.

What about our faith in God? Does it grow? Can it move mountains? Are we faithful in all these areas? How do we serve God and His church?

Lydia was committed to prayer, worship, faith, and service. In addition, she managed her career. Today, how can we begin to live like this lovely seller of purple?

Lord, we ask You to examine us. Help us become mighty prayer warriors, faithful worshippers, and servants to You. Guard our time that we can live a life pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Acts 16:13-15.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Prayerfully consider the questions in the devotional. What areas can you spend more quality time on?

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.