What Joys Have You Brought into 2014?

Romans 5:1-11

Peace and Joy

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (NIV)

 

To the Believer, it is my hope that our joys from the past year (2013) were so complete that we have a “storehouse filled with joy to bring into this New Year of 2014, and will share our joys with others!

We enter this New Year with the peace of God. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 

Joy to the Believer is not dictated by what is happening in the world around us, or in our immediate circumstances.  It may even appear that we are not being realistic about our situations.  It may also appear to some that we are just “plain crazy”!  Because we are enabled by God, to continuously experience and display joy in the middle of calamity, that’s where “fear turns to faith”. “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18.  When we give our life-issues over to God daily, it’s because we know his track record— that He has always been faithful to us.  “So do not fear, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10.  That’s how we are able to experience his joy, peace, love, and mercy.

Will this New Year, 2014, add to your joys? Look around you, through the eyes of faith each day! John 14:12 says this, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Happy New Year!

Reverend Glenda Brunson

(Reprint from January 2012)

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT—TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS

By Thelma Bruce

Integrity– honesty, uprightness, morality. Biblically living according to God’s standards.

1. What is a “temptation”?
A. Things that cause people to sin. Matt. 18:7-9 – Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come. If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, that to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

2. Where do temptations come from?
A. The devil – Matt. 4:1 – Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
B.Evil desires. – James 1:14 – but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
C.Lack of self-control. – I Cor. 7:5 – Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
D.God doesn’t tempt us to sin. – James 1:13-14- When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.

3. How should we deal with temptations?
A. Pray. – Matt. 26:41 – “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
B. Lean and depend on God – (DBR)** I Cor. 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
C. Live in the Spirit. – Gal. 5:16 – So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
D. Be self-controlled and resist the devil. – I Peter 5:8-9-Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are going through the same kind of sufferings.
E. Avoid tempting situations.- Gen. 39:10- And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or to be with her.
F. Run. – Gen. 39:12 – She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
G. Flee evil desires. – II Tim. 2:22 – Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

4. What is a “trial”?
A. Testing of your faith.- James 1:2-3- Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds , because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

5. Where do trials come from?
A. God. – James 1:12- Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

6. How should we respond to trials?
A. Consider it joy.- James 1:2- Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kids, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you be mature and complete not lacking anything.
B. Remember God is in control.- Romans 8:28- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
C. Depend on God who rescues – II Peter 2:9 – If this is so then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment while continuing their punishment.
D. Know that God is always with us.- Gen 39:21- the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.

**DBR – Daily Reading Bible

From Homewords:
We, at Homewords, are delighted to share Ms. Bruce’s Handout from the Sunday School lesson on 1/1/2012 entitled, “A Life of Integrity” Genesis 39:7-21a. It is our hope that you will read and share this life-changing handout.

For more information see Guess Contributor – Ms. Thelma Bruce