Tag Archives: joy

Who Am I Really?

Discovering Your True Identity

Written by Luis Palau
Tags: Family, God, Identity, Jesus
This article was written by Andrew Palau.

From the time I was seven years old, I hung out with the same group of friends. As we grew up, I carved out an identity for myself that fit in among the group. I was “the crazy one.”

When I went off to college and left these familiar friends behind, this reputation I had built for myself disappeared. I realized that I didn’t know who I was because my friends weren’t there to define me. I was plagued by the question: “who am I really?” Left without an answer, I felt lost and out of place.

But once I became a follower of Jesus, that question took on a new and exciting dynamic. Who am I? The answer fills my heart with joy, confidence and a sense of eternity. When we accept Jesus Christ, our identity no longer relies on anything or anyone in this world.

Many of us let things such as our jobs, our talents or the people around us define our perception of who we are. But these things are fallible and temporary. Romans 8:16-17 calls us “God’s children” and “co-heirs with Christ.” God has claimed us as his own and promised us eternal life! This is our true identity; one that will never fall away. Isn’t that something worth sharing with those around us?

One of the deepest questions in life is "Who am I?" So who are you? Share with a caring Christian who you are.

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Trials Allow Us to Comfort Others Why does God put His children through such terrible situations? Is there a purpose for our trials?

Why does God put His children through such terrible situations? Is there a purpose for our trials?

Written by Joy on 06/04/2014
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Family, Friends, Relationships, Trials
“God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

“Your baby has a hole in his diaphragm and no lungs, so he cannot breathe on his own without machines. Even with advanced medical treatment, he has only a 5% chance of survival.”

Those were the devastating words we heard when our son David was born. Why does God put His children through such terrible situations? Is there a purpose for our trials?

Life is Not Always Happy
Life does not always turn out the way you expect. After 8 months in the hospital and many surgeries, we approached David’s first Christmas with very little joy or hope. I watched David struggle to breathe, realizing how easy breathing was for me, and how I took it for granted. I was so tired of seeing my baby suffer. Then I “heard” a voice in my head say, “I know how you feel. I watched my Son suffer, too.”

God Understands Our Suffering
God sent his Son to suffer for me. Jesus’ suffering started at Christmas — his birth — when the God who created the universe confined himself to a human body. “Though he was God… he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being” Philippians 2:6-7. How strange for Him to have to breathe, to feel hungry and uncomfortable, to depend on less-than-perfect parents to meet his every need. This world was a prison of limitations to His divine qualities. But he endured all this, and the pain of the cross, for you and me. “This High Priest (Jesus) of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15

God Promises to Be With Us
God never promises to take away suffering, but He does promise to always be with us. “Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” Psalm 23:4.

God was with me in that hospital room, and because of that experience I have been able to understand and comfort others in ways I never could have before. Your testimony of God’s strength and hope through difficult times can speak to people who might not otherwise listen. So when you experience trials….“Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus….Who endured the cross because of the joy awaiting him.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Pray this week:

For your eyes to stay focused on your hope in Jesus Christ, no matter what the trial.

Have you suffered trials and hard circumstances in your life? I challenge you to share with others how God carried you through these times. When you do this, the Holy Spirit turns your ashes into something beautiful that brings God glory. Are you willing?

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Your Example Lasts for a Lifetime

Moms and dads, don’t underestimate the impact you have upon your children!

Written by Luis Palau
Tags: Family, Fathers, God, Jesus, Mothers
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

People always say children learn by example. I know that was true in my own life.

My dad was a consistent man; the same person at home as he was at church. He rose early on cold winter mornings in Argentina to start a wood fire in the stove. I should have been sleeping, but often I sneaked out of bed just to watch him putter around the house.

If I watched long enough, I might see him go into his office—a little study he built on one side of the house—and kneel alone. Wrapped in a blanket or poncho, he would read the Bible and pray before going out to work. Though I was not even eight years old yet, I would steal back to my bed, feeling warm and grateful that I had a good dad.

Daily Bible Reading
One day Dad told me he read a chapter from Proverbs every day, since it has 31 chapters and most months have 31 days. That has stuck with me all my life, and I still practice it. In spite of all the other Bible studying and reading I do, I try to start the day with my chapter from Proverbs. And I have learned to do it on my knees.

I don’t want to be legalistic about it, but there’s nothing like studying the Word of God and praying on your knees. I have never shaken the habit of spreading my Bible and study materials out on the bed and kneeling to read and pray. It sure keeps your heart and mind in the right attitude.

An Example Even in Death
My dad died when I was only 10 years old. The way he died impacted me as much as the way he had lived. Though I wasn’t there during my dad’s illness or last moments on earth, my mom later told me what had happened.

“Papito began to sing,” she said, “‘Bright crowns up there, bright crowns for you and me. Then the palm of victory, the palm of victory.’ He sang it three times, all the while clapping in time, as you children did when you sang it in Sunday school. Then, when Papito could no longer hold up his head, he fell back on the pillow and said, “I’m going to be with Jesus, which is far better.” Two hours later he had died.

As I grew and my evangelistic fervor grew, I knew God was calling me to tell entire cities about His love and forgiveness for them. I don’t want anyone to die without the joy my father had found in the Lord!

What About You?
Moms and dads, don’t underestimate the impact you have upon your children! I could give you example after example of how my father influenced me in the 10 years I had with him. I could tell you of the spankings I rightly deserved, of the bills Dad always paid on time, of the chapel he helped pay for, supervise, and build, of the times I sat in that chapel with my parents and sisters, receiving the Lord’s Supper. My father’s legacy to me came not only through his discipline, but also through his example. And that legacy’s impact is multiplied every time I get to tell another person about Jesus Christ.

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Being Thankful When Family Disappoints You

Why do we grumble and take for granted the people we love most?

Written by Joy on 06/12/2015
Series: Weekly Devotional
“Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20

God knows we often grumble and complain so he reminds us throughout scripture to give thanks. When we focus on the things we lack, we can forget to appreciate what we have. God wants us to give thanks for everything! How can we be thankful for our spouse, children and parents when they don’t meet our expectations? Here are three reasons:

1.God is Good
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).

When we give thanks we confirm God is good. It acknowledges we are placing our hope in a good God Who has given us these relationships for a purpose. Even if your spouse or children do not believe in Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 7:16), God may work through you to save them.

Even if you have a poor relationship with your parents, God will always be there for you—ready to show His unfailing love as your Heavenly Father. If your family has accepted Jesus Christ, then you can truly thank God that he promises to complete what he started. God can use our relationships to lead us to Him and strengthen our faith.

2. It is God’s Will for You
“Give thanks” is written as a command over and over in scripture. It is not a suggestion or a feeling. It takes a deliberate choice. “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Paul sang praises and thanked God even while he was in prison. We too can give thanks “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” who has given us salvation, eternal hope, and everything else good in our lives, including our family.

3. The Holy Spirit Fills Us
God never commands us to do something without giving us the power to do it. “…Understand what the Lord’s will is. …..be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God …..” (Ephesians 5:17-20). The key is being filled with the Spirit! Ask God to help you give thanks and fill your heart with joy.

It’s easy to dwell on the annoying things our loved ones do instead of rejoicing over the blessing they are to us. Keep your thoughts focused on good things that are worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8) Say the words, “I’m so thankful for you.” Appreciation lightens the heart, (Psalm 138:1), and spreads to those around us bringing peace, love and unity. (Colossians 3:12-17)

Pray this week:

Lord, please fill me with joy and thanksgiving for my family. Open my eyes to the blessing they are in my life. I am choosing to thank you for the people around me.

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…They Don’t Count At All

How terrible when all people speak well of you;
their ancestors said the very same things about the
false prophets (Luke 6:26 GNB).
God desires that every one of us be successful.
And depending on your level of success,
you’ll automatically become a persona non-grata to
some; you’ll attract adversaries. This isn’t out of place.
Never be worried, downcast, feel rejected or sad if
there’re those who are against you, or those who don’t
accept or approve of your success.
Actually, when you identify those who are against
your success, you should be glad! The reason is that
this world is so big, with a population in excess of
seven billion people. Those who are against you left
everything else just to be against you; that shows
you’re very important. So, get excited when you’re
criticised by your adversaries.
There’s something inspiring in what T.L Osborn
said several years ago; he said, “When you see a man
with many or powerful or influential enemies, mark that
man, for he’s going places.” How true! You measure
a man’s strength, worth or value, not by his friends,
but by the power of his adversaries. You measure a
man’s greatness or influence, by the number or power
of his enemies.
As long as you’re successful, your detractors will
have you in focus. Once you’re no longer as radiant or as successful as they think, they wouldn’t care. But
you don’t need to bother about them, because they
don’t count. When they come out against you, they’ll
stumble and fall, because the Lord is your salvation.
Never give thoughts and undue considerations to
Satan, and the activities of wicked and unreasonable
men that seek to bring you down.
Understand this: your daily life is the fulfilment
of that which has already been written. The Psalmist
affirmed, “…When the wicked, even mine enemies
and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they
stumbled and fell” (Psalm 27:1-2). For those who set
themselves up to be your enemies, their fate is sealed:
they’ll stumble and fall.
Therefore, refuse to be distracted. Focus on what
you’ve been called to do. There’s no need to pray
about your enemies; instead, love them as Jesus said:
“…Love your enemies, do good to them which hate
you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them
which despitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28).
Confession
The peace of God garrisons
my heart and mind in Christ,
irrespective of the adversaries
and adversities around me. My
heart is stayed on the Lord who
is my rock and fortress, my
protection, and salvation. Now
and always, I walk in victory,
and in the dominion of the
Word, reigning by grace through
righteousness. Hallelujah! 

 

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Express Joy

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any
merry? let him sing psalms (James 5:13).

Imagine that someone got the news that a kind
person left him an estate worth a hundred million
dollars; how do you think he’d receive the news? I’m
most certain he won’t receive it with a listless “Thank
you.” He’ll express much joy for what he received.
Likewise, when you pray about a situation, maybe a
health condition, and you believe God answered you,
act like it. Express joy!
One day many years ago, I was leading the church
service and had invited everyone to come forward for
prayer. They all came around the altar and prayed.
After the prayer, they returned to their seats as though
they had just been whipped, and the Lord said to
me, “They didn’t receive answers to their prayer.”
He didn’t say, “I didn’t answer them,” because He
always answers when we pray. But they didn’t receive
because they didn’t act like people who had received
answers to what they prayed about.
There have been people who received healing or
other miracles in a meeting, and just as they turned
to leave the venue, everything returned to what it
was before. They lost the healing. Their healing was
a sign; God had given them attention, and got their
attention, but expected them to further act their faith.
He wanted them to rejoice, testify, and be glad about
what already happened, and thus keep their miracle,
but they didn’t.
Many people don’t know that their expressions
are a message. Faith is expressed in words and in
actions. If your words and actions don’t demonstrate
your faith, then there’s no faith. Every time people
received something from the Lord in the Bible, they
demonstrated it in their joy, and their blessing was
sustained. Some actually received more as a result of
their joyful testimonies and gratitude; an example is
the leper in Luke 17:11-19.
The Bible says faith without works—corresponding
action—is dead. If you accept what God has said about
you, you’ve got to act like it. 
Prayer
I thank you Precious Father, for
making my life a bundle of joy
and happiness, and a testimony of
your goodness. I go forth in your
glory today, in righteousness,
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,
in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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