Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of the Lord is my strength. How can it be my strength?
When we live life from a joy filled place, it is amazing what grabs our attention and what is no longer significant. What ‘burdens’ we can hold and what we can let go and not focus on.
When circumstances threaten to overwhelm us or take a turn for the worse, the joy of the Lord gives us the ability to stand firm and not be swayed emotionally or spiritually.
When the Joy of the Lord overwhelms you and becomes your new ‘go to’ or ‘live from’ place, then you find an incredible inner strength that changes your perspective.
Our burdens and grumbles turn into gratitude and blessings. Our outlook changes to focus on the good, not the bad. We focus on what Jesus is doing, not on what Satan is trying so hard to do to capture our attention and bring us down.
You may well say, “Jane, you don’t know my circumstances.”
You are darn right. I don’t know your circumstances but you also don’t know mine and how hard life has and can be for me. One of the biggest steps forward I have had in my life with God and my own personal growth was when I stopped focussing on my problems and started focusing on God’s goodness and giving thanks.
We begin to find things to be grateful for.
We change our perspective to how God sees the situation.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Paul said, “Always be joyful.”
Paul knew joyfulness is imperative in order to love the life God has given us.
But how do we do that when life stinks? When people hurt us? When circumstances seem hopeless? When our hearts are broken?
Paul then answers this question in the following 2 verses.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Never stop praying”. To be joyful, we need to stay connected to God in prayer, asking Him daily to fill us with joy based on our walk with Him — not our satisfaction with everything in life.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus”.
This can be hard to start to do and to develop it until it becomes a lifestyle. It can feel phoney. It can feel like I am not being honest with myself or with others. Am I trying to hide stuff instead of facing up to the reality of my situation?
Being joyful always doesn’t mean walking around with a fake smile on my face. It doesn’t mean ignoring reality. It doesn’t mean ignoring negative emotions.
It means getting a grip on our life and realising that we will never have the perfect life this side of eternity but Christ is in us and He is perfect. His will is for us to live with joy. To contend for joy. Not because we are perfect or false but because Christ is perfect and He is in us.
We are commanded to intentionally focus on the good, instead of the bad.
To count our blessings rather than our burdens.
To let our faith, not our feelings, dictate our joy.
To focus on Christ not on circumstances.
Lift your heads, my friends and keep your focus on God. Be grateful and watch the joy of the Lord fill you to overflowing.
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.
1. Children / Families Activation: Make cupcakes and decorate them by writing on them a word to encourage someone. Give them away to the appropriate people.
2. Group Activation: Ask people present to put their phones in a box in the middle of the room. Ask 5 people to come forward and each pick out a phone but not turn it on. Get those 5 people to prophesy over the owner of the phone they have in their hand. After they have prophesied, ask the owners to step forward to collect their phone.
3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to highlight a person to you whom needs joy. Ask God to give you an encouraging prophetic word for that person.
4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to highlight a local business to you that is not prospering. Ask God what He would have you pray, prophesy and declare over the business and its future customers.
5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to show you where you can find a homeless person and what God would have you say and do and give to this person. Get prepared and then go and find this person.