by Julia Bruce
If we were created with a joy meter of some kind and everyone could see just how joy-filled we are, where would your level be? Overflowing? Maybe it needs topping off? Half full? Running on empty? Or just totally drained? Often we allow our circumstances to determine how “joy-filled” we are. (click to tweet) It’s the logical thing to do. We get impatient and aggravated when traffic is backed up and we’re late. Something goes wrong at work and we grumble and complain. We feel we are treated unjustly at work or school and get hurt or angry. A friend betrays us and we are deeply hurt. A child becomes rebellious and our heart breaks. Our spouse has an affair and every negative emotion in the book comes into play.
Emotions are a gift that God gave us when he created us and there is nothing wrong with emotions. In fact, since we are made in His image, we can know that God has emotions also. At the baptism of Jesus, he’s the proud father who is well pleased with His Son. When the Israelite nation reject Him for idols, he was angry. The Bible tells us the Jesus wept. He also felt a natural anxiety about facing the cross, so much so He “sweated drops of blood.” In Ecclesiastes 3, King Solomon wrote: “To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven (vs 1)” He goes on to say in verse 4, “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and time to dance.” However, sometimes our verbal response and how we act out negative emotions can get us into trouble. God did not create us to or expect us to go around with a fake smile when things are not good. However, as Christians, even when things seem to fall apart around us, we have something that the world does not have…the joy of Christ living in us. We also have the promises of God throughout the Bible and the freedom to bring all of our concerns to Him in prayer.
The Apostle Paul wrote “Always be full of joy. Pray constantly, Give thanks in everything for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Regardless of our circumstances, Paul gives us three instructions:
- Always be full of joy. Even when life seems to be attacking us on all sides, we can be full of joy knowing that God has everything under control. The Bible is full of promises that we can claim such as: “For I know the plans I have for you,” saith the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm, plans to give you a hope and future.” (Jer. 29:11). James tells us in his book that we are to “count it all joy.” Philippians 4:4 says we should “rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice” and verse 11 says, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Over in the Old Testament book, Habakkuk, we read, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:17-18) For us today, it would be like saying, “Though there is no food in the house, the electricity has been cut off, no gas in the car and the bank is coming to take the house, I will rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God my Savior.” That would be extremely hard to do, yet I can choose joy and to rejoice in a God that loves me and has a plan and purpose for my life and that he is busy working all things out for my good and for his glory. The joy that He gives, comes from deep within and from a peace that only God can give. Joy can co-exist with grief, hurt, and disappointment. We have joy, even in difficult times, because of our salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We have joy because we have eternal life. We can have joy because we have surety and are eternally secure in Christ. Once we are saved, no one can pluck us out of his hand (John 10:28). And we can have joy because Christ is our fortress … our hiding place…our place of safety. And we can rejoice because God gives us strength to endure any trail.
- Pray constantly. Living joyful in difficult times is not easy! I think this is one reason why Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God.” No matter what our circumstances are, God cares about them and He hears us when we take them to Him in prayer. In Matthew 6:25-29, Jesus teaches, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” God cares about every minute little detail of your life. When we “pray constantly,” it means that we go through life with a constant attitude of prayer, fully conscious of God and totally surrendered to him each minute of the day. From the time we wake up until our eyes close in sleep we should have an awareness that God is right there with us and he is an active participate in whatever we are facing in life….good or bad. It means that we have a constant participant in life and we should keep him in our every thought. When we do, then our actions will reflect it. Joshua 1:9 reminds us that God has promised, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” With a constant attitude of prayer, when difficult situations occur in life, we are able to cry out with a “Mayday Prayer.” If you’ve seen the movie, “Fireproof” then you’ve seen a mayday prayer in action. Kurt Cameron plays the role of a firefighter and while putting out a house fire, he rescues a little girl and when the home becomes engulfed, he takes his axe and makes a hole in the floor and he and the little girl escape by going under the house. Still smoke and sparks from the fire and dropping around them and he calls out, “God! Get me out of here!” That’s a mayday prayer – and sometimes that all you have time to get out and other times that all the strength you have to get out. But God answers our mayday prayers just as well as He does and long, carefully thought out prayers. So even if all you have is a mayday prayer – be constantly in prayer.
- Give thanks in everything. When times get tough, it can be hard to give thanks and praise God. Yet, if you look hard enough there is always something you can give God thanks for. There will always be something for which you can praise Him. If your frustrated and stuck in traffic, thank Him that you are safe and not in an accident, that you have a car and not riding public transportation. If you have experienced the betrayal of a friendship, give thanks for God’s forgiveness for the times you have failed Him and then look to extend that forgiveness to your friend. When money is tight, think about the times when God has provided before and thank Him for those times. If your boss is hard and unfair, thank God for giving you a job that provides for your needs….and look for ways to show Christ to your boss through your actions and dealings with him or her. And for the times when you can’t think of anything else to praise Him for, praise Him for the gift of Salvation. If the words of praise just won’t come, put some praise music on and sing along. Even if it isn’t in your heart at first, your heart will soon catch on to the lyrics you sing.
What an opportunity you have to present your life as a testimony to God when the world sees you full of joy, always praying, and giving thanks in everything.
#verseoftheday #choosejoy #praywithoutceasing #maydayprayer #WCM
If you would like to be a part of the God-sized dream we call Wellspring Christian Ministries, you can help with your one-time or monthly tax-deductible contribution. Now, with two ways to give, you can help us grow and expand our ministry. To donate to our general ministries, you can now make a contribution through our website. We are also seeking the perfect 200 (or more) acres of land on which we will build and do the various ministries God is leading us in. To make a donation towards Phase 1 of our Land and Building campaign, you can give at buymeacoffe.com. We like to think of ourselves as “Distributors of Living Water” …and for just the cost of a copy of coffee, you can be one too through your contribution that will have an eternal impact as we lead others to Christ, help Christians develop passionate relationships with God, and help couples connect and reignite their marriages. Who knew the cost of a cup of coffee could do so much? Donate today to become a Living Water Distributor
You can also make a contribution to our general ministries as we grow and expand our ministry as God leads through our website. To donate to our ministry expansion, click here.
- Every gift will be acknowledged on our “Donor Wall” on our website. Just leave your name the way you wish it to appear in the message box as you make your gift.
- Every $50 will receive a free signed copy of Julia’s book, “God, Love & Marshmallow Wars”
- Every $500 or more gift will receive the “God, Love & Marshmallow Wars” Couple Event for their church with Julia’s speaker fees waived (host site is still responsible for travel expense and other costs of the event).
Wellspring Christian Ministries is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization.
Thank you for helping us grow!
#growingintoourfuture #fundraiser #buymeacoffee #WCM
BOOKING NOW to be a host site for the NEW God, Love & Marshmallow Wars Book Tour & Couples Conference:
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
#GLMWcouplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage
T-shirt Fundraiser: We have a new product line of Christian apparel and accessories available in our Teespring Store and our new Spreadshop Store. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more.
All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries.
Thank you for helping us grow!
#fundraiser #tshirt #teespring #spreadshop
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
#JuliaBruce #speaker #keynote #author
Affiliate links for The Case for Christ by Lee Stroble:
|The Case for Christ, Updated and Expanded, Mass Market||By Lee Strobel / Zondervan||If you were a journalist, how would you investigate the top story in human history? Join the award-winning former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune as he cross-examines scholars to uncover incontestable evidence supporting Jesus’ claims. Includes updated archaeological material, an interview with Strobel, and more. A powerful defense of the Christian faith! 464 pages, softcover from Zondervan.|
By Pure Flix Entertainment, LLC
A hard-driving journalist, Lee Strobel was exactly where he expected to be at work: on top. His award-winning investigative reporting recently earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But things weren’t going nearly as well at home where his wife Leslie’s newfound faith in Christ went against everything Lee believed—or didn’t believe—as an avowed atheist.
Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage. Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.
Starring Mike Vogel (The Help, Cloverfield), Erika Christensen (Parenthood, Flightplan), Faye Dunaway (The Thomas Crown Affair, Chinatown), and Robert Forster (The Descendents, Jackie Brown). Rated PG. Approx. 113 minutes.
Includes Blu-ray, DVD and CD
- “The Heart of The Case for Christ” Featurette
- Intro to the Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC
- 11 Music Videos from “The Case for Christ” Album
- Interviews with Lee & Leslie Strobel, Cast, and Crew
- Deleted Scenes
- English and Spanish subtitles
Bonus CD included:
- The Case for Christ – Songs Inspired by the Original Motion Picture