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From the Pastors at Joy



Who is God?

The Almighty Creator of the universe -- "3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." Hebrews 11:3

All-Powerful Ruler over all things -- "6Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps."  Psalm 135:6

24 "The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,"  Isaiah 14:25

Infinite in Wisdom -- 8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."Isaiah 55:8-9

33"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”" Romans 11:33-34

Supremely good and loving -- 9 "The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made." Psal, 145:9

22"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:22-23

Benevolent Giver of all good things -- 25 "He himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything." Acts 17:25

17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."  James 1:17

Who am I?

A beloved, adopted, justified, forgiven, cleansed, child of God -- 11 "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us."  Psalm 103:11-12

16"The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ..."  Romans 8:16-17

17"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

13"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross."  Colossians 2:13-14

An ambassador of Christ; the circumstances, relationships and experiences that God gives me are not first for my happiness and comfort, but the context in which I am called to represent Him and His agenda --

15"and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised....Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us...."  2 Corinthians 5:15,20

9"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."  1 Peter 2:9

21"As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  John 20;21

A servant of Christ and others. Servants don't choose what they do on a given day; they carry out on that day whatever it is that the Master has for them --

22"For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men."  1 Corinthians 7:22-23

43"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”"Mark 10:43-45

A Disciple of Christ, one who is learning to bring the gospel to bear on absolutely every area of life. Today's circumstances are God's classroom in which He is teaching me how to apply the gospel to every crack and crevice of my life --

18"And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”"  Matthew 28:18-20

17"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."  Colssians 3:17

33"So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."  Luke 14:33

Whose Opinion of Me Matters Most Today?

Since the Creator of the universe loves and delights in me so much that He would deliver up His own beloved Son to the agonies of the Cross in order to adopt me into His family, I need not seek from other people the love and acceptance that I have already been given in Christ --S

9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love."  John 15:9

5"He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”"  Hebrews 13:5-6

10"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

22“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets."  Luke 6:22-23

Where am I?

I am in a fallen, broken world that God originally made good and will one day fully restore, but is now in bondage to corruption because of humanity's rebellion against God. So I should not expect that everything is going to go well and smoothly for me today, because I am a stranger and an exile here --

20"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." Romans 8:20-23

13"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth."  Hebrews 11:13

13"But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."  2Peter 3:13

14"For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come."  Hebrews 13:14

What is God's Plan for Me Today?

God's plan for me today, as every day, is to conform me to the image of Jesus, who is the happiest being in the entire universe --

28"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."  Romans 8:28,29

9" you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."  Colossians 3:9-10

9 "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”"  Hebrews 1:9

11"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."  John 15:11

How is God Fulfilling this Plan for Me?

Through my daily struggle with sin in this fallen world, God is enlarging my vision of His mercy in Christ and killing my sinful nature to make me more like Jesus --

6" In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."  1 Peter 1:6-7

2"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  James 1:2-4

11"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."  Hebrews 12:11

8"Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered."  Hebrews 5:8

When Will my Happiness be Brought to Completion?

My best life is not now, but will be when Jesus comes to resurrect all who hope in Him, to judge the world in righteousness, and to renew all things for His glory --

18"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."  Romans 8:18

16" So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

22"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death."  1 Corinthians 15:22-25

1"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”"  Revelation 21:1-5

Why is God Doing all this?

God's ultimate purpose for His work in me and throughout the world is to magnify the infinite riches of His own glory. The universe is not about me, but it's about Him --

14"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."  Habakkuk 2:14

9"And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the LORD of hosts."  Malachi 1:11

10"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. 11For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another."  Isaiah 48:10-11

10"as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth....2so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory."  Ephesians 1:10-12