Tag Archives: others

Discovering Joy

Discovering Joy

Joy has been aptly defined in a simple and yet profound acrostic.

Jesus, Others, You.

I like that.  Consider the depth of joy as opposed to the shallowness of mere happiness.  Happiness is generally derived from outer circumstances, while joy comes from within.  Happiness is impacted by good or bad surroundings whereas joy remains constant no matter the events a person may go through.  Joy is something that God can put inside your mind when you love and adore Him first in life.  We can be happy when our team wins; but if our team losses, we can still have joy.  We can get excited when the report comes back good; but when the doctor says, cancer or surgery, we can still have joy.

Speaking of the Macedonian Christians, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 8:2 “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”

These early Christians were suffering persecution, yet remained joyful in Jesus.  Many were tortured and killed for their faith.  These believers were known to be poor, yet were rich in spirit and even in sacrificing what little finances they had in order to give to missions work and Gospel ministry.  They had and Gospel focus in life.

They were so focused on loving The Lord, and on serving others that in spite of their lack of stuff, they had joy.  Even though their circumstances were tragic – they were at peace with God, satisfied with life, and expressed the joy of the Lord in their countenance, actions, and relationships.

Many times, we settle for “pursuing happiness” when we should be seeking, Bible based joy. Even if your circumstances are “less than ideal” or even if it seems like one storm after another comes your way – you can have the joy of the Lord in your life.

Following the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, the people gather together to hear Ezra read the Bible.  Following his reading, Nehemiah stands up and says in Nehemiah 8:10, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

The Joy of the Lord is our strength too.  Nehemiah says to “go celebrate, but no matter what happens the rest of your life – you can rely the joy of the Lord.”  This joy gives us strength and hope for the journey called life.  The Jews in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem were to face more troubles and challenges in the days ahead – and we will too.  Relying on the power of God can reinforce this idea that no matter the circumstances, the joy of the Lord can be real in our life.

Change the priority and focus of your life.  When my love shifts from selfishly loving myself to selflessly loving God, then others, and then far down the list, myself – then joy is can be discovered in my life.

Jesus – First.

Others – Second.

You – Last.

It will change your life.

Giving A Testimony

Giving a Testimony

I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day… Acts 26:2

A man named Don was faithful in every testimony service to stand up and say “I thank Jesus for my salvation.”  I do not remember a time when Don would not say something good about Jesus when given the opportunity.  His testimony encouraged several preachers I know to serve the Lord in ministry.  Perhaps you enjoy hearing people give their salvation story.  Sometimes church services are blessed when people rise and vocalize what God is doing in their lives.

A Testimony is evidence given in court from an eyewitness accounting details of a case.  It is proof that supports a claim or a fact.

A Christian Testimony is when we are telling others what God has done for and in our lives.  It is giving evidence that God is working in our life.  What can you say about God in your personal testimony?

Concerning testimonies John Stott wrote: “So much so-called “testimony” today is really autobiography and even sometimes thinly disguised self-advertisement, that we need to regain a proper biblical perspective. All true testimony is testimony to Jesus Christ, as he stands on trial before the world.”

What does your testimony say about Jesus?  Testimony is more than reputation.  Reputation has to do with how you are known to other people.  Testimony has to do with how you live and what you say about God to other people.

Here are 4 ideas to help you share your Christian testimony.

Talk about Jesus with Appropriate Answers.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Perhaps an entire life story is needed to be told to let others see Jesus in you, but generally, the most meaningful parts of what God has done in your life is all that is needed.

Essentially what you are saying with a salvation testimony is: “This is what God did for me.  Jesus saved me.”  In a service testimony, you are conveying: “This is how the Lord answered prayer. He can help you too.” Or “The Lord helped and enabled me.”

Give Insight with Considerate Conversation.  Colossians 4:6 teaches, Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Be careful not to pour salt on somebodies wounds.  Others who hear your testimony may be grief stricken about sin or a circumstance.  Be careful to consider their thoughts.

Others are in the middle of a similar lifestyle you used to live.  As you speak, they may be battling the same depression, drunkenness, or abuse that you endured.  Great details of sin need not be given.  When the apostle Paul gave his testimony, he did not include the gruesome details of Stephens death, or of the families that he tore apart.  Paul spoke in general terms.  We must avoid magnifying the depth of sin.  Exalt the forgiveness of God.

Show Thoughtfulness With Godly Preparation.  Proverbs 16:1 instructs: The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

You may have witnessed a similar story: “It was testimony night in the church. A lady got up and said, “We are living in a wicked land where sin is on every hand. I have had a terrible fight with the old devil all week.”  Where upon her husband, who was sitting glumly by her side said, “It’s not all my fault either; she’s tough to get along with.””

It is a good idea to ask the Lord to help you prepare your testimony beforehand.  Not every occasion for verbalizing a testimony will be formal, but for those formal settings, you should be prepared with what you will say.  Let God help you prepare ahead of time.  Of course, He can give you the words before and even during the testimony.

Think about your story of God working in your life.  Know how to tell His story in your life.  Rehearse the story.  The more you tell it– the easier it is for you to recognize you are blessed and it is easier to tell others.

Many Christians who battle depression are simply not “practiced up” at telling others about God working in their lives.  Be rehearsing what God has done.  It will help you in many ways.

Be Happy Using Joyful Expression.  Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!  Giving a testimony, the right way and the right time is a wonderful thing.  Recalling forgiveness of sin, victory in Jesus, and the power of the Gospel is terrific.  Remembering our future with Jesus is inspirational!

Smile, have your eyes open; speak confidently and joyfully about the Lord Jesus Christ.  Ask the Lord to help you have the joy of the Lord evident in your testimony.

With these testimony ideas in mind, I encourage you to rehearse your salvation testimony this week, and then relate the testimony to someone soon.