Fast Wednesdays: Week of February 3, 2016 – JOY!

Greetings Beloved!

Today’s Fast Wednesday was a bit of struggle developing for me. I was thinking that I would hate to send out information that was not helpful or useful and just for the sake of sending but then I remembered the scripture of the year for my church which I have posted below in three versions (King James, The Message and New International Version):

1 Cor 15:58 KJV 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Cor 15:58The Message (MSG) 58 With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

1 Cor 15:58 New International Version (NIV) 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

 

With the above in mind, how did I come up with JOY!

You would be amazed…NOT! Hahaha

During the end of the year time, I did a little “exercise/quiz” on Facebook where you would discover your word for the year, 2016, and my word for the year is JOY! Anyone else take the challenge? What was your WORD? Don’t be shy. Well on with my story. Impressive on my random word selection because I really love that word. I actually have it printed on a pillow, on index cards, etc. And, my middle name is: JOY-ce. So, its appropriate to me that, I a little dive deeper into the word JOY with you:

1) You know, Joy, is not something to take lightly. And, these days you really, really, really must work hard to maintain your JOY because there’s many people, places and things that want to STEAL it. However, I am a FIRM believer, that for the most part, people, places and things don’t steal your JOY, you actually give it away. In far too many cases, I see people, easily giving it away. They let the smallest things irritate them.
2) I have an expression or phrase that was shared with me years ago by a friend in Connecticut, Ishray Traver Jones … The Blessing is in the Pressing … here’s something on pressing. What does it mean to press? To press to exert  continuous physical  force. Phil 3:13-14 Example 1: Paul is encouraging the saints to be encouraged that nothing comes easy. Our adversary is never resting or relenting so we must “press on”. Nothing comes easy to a child of God.  Apostle Paul  in the scriptures admonishes us several times to press on. He was a good example . He always had his mind made up. He knew it will cost him everything to get to where God wants him to be.  We too need strength like Apostle Paul to press on until our joy is full.
3) Question: “What is the joy of the Lord?” Answer: The joy of the Lord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit. Because of its supernatural origin, the joy of the Lord—our gladness of heart—is present even through the trials of life. We know we are children of God, and no one can snatch us away from Him (John 10:28–29). We are heirs to “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade,” and no one can steal it from us (1 Peter 1:4; Matthew 6:20). We see the Author and Finisher of our faith, and, let the enemy rage ever so much, we know who wins in the end (Hebrews 12:2; Psalm 2). Faith is the victory that overcomes the world, and the joy of the Lord is our strength. Adverse circumstances, instead of hindering our faith, can actually enhance our joy. Paul and Silas knew adversity as they sat with their feet in the stocks in a Philippian jail cell. Their legal rights had been violated. They had been arrested without cause and beaten without a trial. At midnight, since they couldn’t sleep, they sang—loudly—the praises of the Lord they were serving (Acts 16:25). A miracle soon followed (verse 26). The apostles in Jerusalem were arrested—twice—and ordered not to preach in Jesus’ name. The second time they faced the court, they were beaten. Unfazed, they returned home “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” and ready to preach some more (Acts 5:41). Of course, the apostles were only following the example of our Lord, who had “for the joy set before him . . . endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). The joy of the Lord may be inexplicable to the one who does not possess it. But, for the believer in Christ, the joy of the Lord comes as naturally as grapes on a vine. As we abide in Christ, the True Vine, we the branches are full of His strength and vitality, and the fruit we produce, including joy, is His doing (John 15: http://www.gotquestions.org/joy-of-the-Lord.html
 
SCRIPTURE(S):
1 Chronicles 16:33 – Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
Nehemiah 8:10 – Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…
I am not sure if you all are like me, I do know some of you are. Sometimes I JUST HAVE TO ENCOURAGE myself. Another person who was one of my spiritual leaders years ago, shared with me that sometimes when things are getting rough in life, just start humming and praising and worshiping God and you will see tremendous results: Thelma Jordan, when she was the leader of Christian Education at UBC in Stamford, CT. Some following is one of my most favorite songs, I hum for this purpose, I get excited just talking about it:

SONG:
Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers “Encourage Yourself”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbEaftzaFWA

PRAYER:

For an Abiding Joy:  Heavenly Father, what a comfort to read of the prophets of old who despite the difficulties and dangers that they were called upon to face, were able to rejoice in the Lord and trust in Your never-failing faithfulness. We pray that like them we too may receive Your abiding joy and discover like them… that the joy of the Lord is our strength and that the peace that comes from You is an abiding peace that enables us to overcome all difficulties of life – in the power of Your Holy Spirit. So fill our hearts with Your abiding joy and that we may rejoice in life’s circumstances.. in periods of plenty and during those seasons when we have very little – in times of hardship as well as those times of  great sufficiency. Thank You that we are Your children and You are our Father and sovereign Lord. May our hearts rejoice in good times and in bad and may Your abiding  joy and perfect peace find residence in our heart – as we rest in Your love and trust in Your unfailing goodness … Amen

Love, Joy and Peace, 
Debra J. Ellis

Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters (and some brothers) in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us, for various reasons, participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the blog continues to grow!

The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord, both chronologically and spiritually in accordance to: A God-Filled Life Titus 2:3-5 “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.”  Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (djf52055@gmail.com), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog in Word Press: https://fastwednesdays.wordpress.com

 

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