This is the kind of life you've been invited to, the kind of life Christ lived... He is your example, and you must follow IN HIS STEPS. 1 Peter 2:21
Week of September 11th 2023
“The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” (Psalm 126:3 NIV)
What do you think of when you hear the word “joy?” Feelings of happiness and excitement? It’s true, when we are joyful, we do feel happy. But, joy is actually something that goes way beyond happiness. Usually, our happiness is dependent on our circumstances. When things are going well for us, our needs are all met and we’re doing things we enjoy, we feel happy. But, then, the opposite is usually true too - when those circumstances change and we find ourselves in the middle of challenging times or in a situation we don’t like, our happiness usually goes away. But, joy is something that can exist beyond our circumstances. We can still have joy even when things aren’t going our way.
Joy comes from a deeper place than just our surface feelings. It fills us with peace and contentment that isn’t dependent upon other people or things going on outside of us. It’s why the Bible describes it as a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Joy comes from things like knowing the Lord, feeling His love, being grateful for His blessings and loving and serving others. Because when we stop to focus on the things that we do have instead of worrying about the things we don’t have, our hearts become filled with joy!
When is the last time you stopped to acknowledge all of the blessings God has given you in your life? With the fast-pace and many distractions of life, it may have been awhile and that’s okay. But, this week, make an effort and set aside some time to think about the great things Jesus has done for you. You can journal about them, draw pictures, make a list... whatever feels most natural for you. The important thing is just to focus your attention on the things you do have and are grateful for. They don’t have to be huge, even simple things like a roof over your head, a friend to talk to or a special talent like dancing or singing. Every blessing matters and every one is a reason to shout with joy!
Week of September 18th 2023
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13 ESV)
Has someone ever asked you to fill something up for them? Maybe a glass of water or a pot on the stove to cook some spaghetti. Those are simple enough tasks for you to do on your own. But, what if someone asked you to fill up a swimming pool? That might be more difficult to do all alone. Well, the same thing is true for us when it comes to being filled with joy and peace. We can work on our own and try to make ourselves feel joyful and peaceful, but usually even if we do manage to muster up those feelings for a little while, it doesn’t usually last very long. Something usually comes along pretty quickly that stresses us out or messes up our day and there goes our joy and peace - right out the window.
But, that’s because God doesn’t want you to try to fill yourself on your own. In fact, you couldn’t even do it if you tried! Filling you with joy and peace is the Lord’s job. And, He’s up for the task because He’s got the power of the Holy Spirit. But, just like you can’t expect a car to run very long without stopping at the gas station to fill it with gas, we need to make sure we are spending time with the Lord so we can get “filled up” too before we break down. Jesus wants to fill you with a joy and peace that you can’t muster up on your own so you can have hope in Him. And the best part is, His supply never runs out!
When we read about things like joy and peace in God’s Word, it can sometimes leave us feeling frustrated and confused. Wondering, “Why don’t I feel more joyful in my life? I know Jesus, but I still can’t seem to be peaceful!” But, the good news is - there’s nothing wrong with us! We simply weren’t meant to try to achieve peace and joy on our own. So, instead of beating yourself up the next time you’re feeling joy-less, take that as a cue to go running to your quiet place with the Lord and ask Him for a fill up!
Week of September 25th 2023
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)
Last week, we talked about how joy and peace come from God, but that’s not all. In fact, it’s only the beginning! Galatians 5:22 tells us all the fruit of the Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. That’s some pretty amazing stuff! But, the important thing for us to realize and remember when we read about these characteristics is that they are FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT not WORKS OF THE FLESH! Which means, they simply cannot be achieved by our own efforts. Every one of those things in that list is something the Holy Spirit produces in us.
In fact, that’s what separates man’s religion from being in a real relationship with Jesus. We can surrender to the Lord, trust in Him and ask Him to fill us with these qualities! He’s not offended by how hard it is for us to be patient or kind or loving, He already knows that and that’s what His grace is for!
Which fruit of the Spirit would you like to experience more of in your life? It’s okay if there’s more than one or even the whole list! Because every single one of them is available for you! Take some time this week to talk to the Lord about it in prayer and ask Him to develop them in you as only He can. On your own, it might feel impossible to be a more patient person or more loving toward your enemies. But, the good news is, you’re not on your own and nothing is impossible with God!
Chaplain Info In His Steps has Chaplains on-call and available for In His Steps families. Our chaplains have extensive experience and training in a wide variety of pastoral care situations. Some of the assistance IHS Chaplains can offer grownups include Biblical pastoral counseling, marriage and family issues, conflict resolution, grief and trauma support. Please also contact us for assistance with premarital counseling, weddings and funerals.
You may contact our chaplains by contacting Ms. Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org or
704-650-4089 with questions or to arrange an appointment.
As with all In His Steps activities, there is no charge or honorarium expected for our pastoral/chaplaincy assistance. In His Steps is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and donations are always welcome, appreciated and are tax deductible.