“New Beginnings, New Mercies, New Life”, Scripture and Hope from L.Willows (a new thing, in Christ, the portion of Love)

As we look towards Spring 2021, my heart is filled with the hope of new beginnings. Life is filled with gratitude for God’s countless mercies, and as I look about- though I cannot escape that there is still much that grieves God’s Heart and needs to affect our own, there is a good and secure place to stand and say, “I am ready, life is about to be new.”

I am not, hopefully we are not who we were a year ago and I don’t want to go back. Lord, show us how to walk forward as a changed people, walking forward into the new time, with a new beginning that You are lovingly calling us into.

That may look like a challenge but after a time of rest or recovery, God will ask us not to dwell on the past. (Isaiah 43:18-19) He will ask us to do a new thing in His Name. His Holy Spirit will be calling us forward. We are being called into a new season, a new time. (1 Peter 1:3) God’s mercy has been with us even when we were tempted to lose heart. But we remember to that the Lord is our portion and His faithfulness never ends. (Lamentation 3:22-24).

Journeying under the banner of Christ’s Love and Power gives the ability to endure any wilderness and any trial because He is the one that walks before us. He secures the next steps, He directs our path and sees what we cannot know.

The illusion of control and desires for personal glory are set aside. They cannot exist in the same portion as Love. A portion is a space that is emptied and ready to be filled by God’s love and grace. His Spirit pours in generously. We become new and the old is gone. We are born into His Love and His Spirit. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 43:18-19
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. God is making all things new.

1 John 4:18
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.

1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 21:1-3
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21:4-5
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

“True Joy”, from L.Willows, quotes on Christian Joy (see Jesus, God’s purpose, Hope)

My journey with God has been accompanied by inner heart joy. It may recede at times because of an immediate challenge, weariness or the fog of my own perspective but the Lord’s Mercy rescues me just at the right moment and lifts me back into the arms of his Grace.

There- there is The Joy. We are secured in His Love, held in a joyful embrace; one that never let us go. One that was always there watchful and waiting for our return home. I need joy. I do ask for joy. I pray that we all walk with and for the purpose of True Joy.

James 1:2 ” “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” comes to mind when days become difficult. Scripture is reminding me to recall that God has a purpose for each trial that comes into our lives and that purpose is for good. As we put our trust, our faith in Jesus Christ, who is counted as the Joy- our lives draw us towards him and towards the purpose of knowing his Glory. Philippian’s 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

I saw a wonderful article that reminded us that the word “count” in the James 1:2 means consider. It suggested that we consider all of the blessings that we have been bestowed with now and learn to rejoice in the midst of difficulty. That is an artform! It means to alter perspective in the times that we are most likely to wish to turn away from God in hopelessness. Instead we turn towards him and give thanks. We worship, we praise. We give thanks for what we have been blessed with and lift our eyes and hearts up as we count our blessings before the altar of God. We see Jesus. Our perspective turns to the Joy of Jesus Christ.

This, in contrast to the word “fall” into trials. It is interesting that when it comes to trails- we fall. Paul, the speaker is telling us, his brothers and sisters to count- consider our blessings and alter our heart perspective. We are to lift our hearts to see differently.

We put our trust and faith in Jesus who is the count of Joy- counted as Joy itself. We draw towards him. We lift, rather than fall into trials. The sin and stains of falling from grace that cause pain and suffering are gathered by his Mercy and Love. And God works all for good and fulfills his purpose. (Philippian’s 2:13)

Here are some quotes on Christian Joy that I would like to share with you:

Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures. Thomas Aquinas

Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A genuine revival without joy in the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or day-dawn without light. Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting. C.S. Lewis

I choose joy… I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God. Max Lucado

 The mere fact itself that God’s will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice. A.W. Pink

Those who know where the treasure lies joyfully abandon everything else to secure it. D.A. Carson

 There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. St. Augustine

The world looks for happiness through self-assertion. The Christian knows that joy is found in self-abandonment. ‘If a man will let himself be lost for My sake,’ Jesus said, ‘he will find his true self.’ Elizabeth Elliot

 In the long run, there can be no joy for anybody until there is joy finally for us all. Frederick Bruckner

When the heart is full of joy, it always allows its joy to escape. It is like the fountain in the marketplace; whenever it is full it runs away in streams, and so soon as it ceases to overflow, you may be quite sure that it has ceased to be full. The only full heart is the overflowing heart. Charles Spurgeon

Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen. Mother Teresa

“The Gift of Christian Joy”, from L.Willows with Quotes (Hope, Faith, Gratitude)

As my heart is turned towards Christmas this year, I am filled with gratitude for the many ways that God has answered prayer. While this year could be counted as one of great trails, it can also be seen as one that has revealed the power of God’s love and faithfulness. I have witnessed many miracles and healings in my community. Though there were difficult times and deep valleys to walk for all, it has been a journey that caused us to call out to the Lord, to seek His counsel like never before and to follow Him faithfully- perhaps to learn what our faith was really about.

I am grateful that we can speak words of hope because we worship and pray- even in new ways. God’s Church poured like His river into media. Separated was never alone. We gathered together in new ways that became sweet joy. Prayer meetings were sublime calls to God. Fellowship online became an artform; now it is a cherished treasure. I am grateful for the hours that brought me to my knees in surrender and humility. They brought me to the Altar of Jesus. And ultimately, again to the peace of living in the everlasting joy of His Love. My prayer is that hearts everywhere know Him. May His Love and Peace be born into this world, into heart mangers everywhere this Christmas. –L.Willows

And those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. –Isaiah 35:10

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.–Galatians 5:22

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. –Psalm 30:5

Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen. –Mother Teresa

How divinely full of glory and pleasure shall that hour be when all the millions of mankind that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God shall meet together and stand around Him, with every tongue and every heart full of joy and praise! How astonishing will be the glory and the joy of that day when all the saints shall join together in one common song of gratitude and love, and of everlasting thankfulness to this Redeemer! With that unknown delight, and inexpressible satisfaction, shall all that are saved from the ruins of sin and hell address the Lamb that was slain, and rejoice in His presence! –Isaac Watts

I choose joy… I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God. –Max Lucado

Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I was delivered from the burden that had so heavily suppressed me. The spirit of mourning was taken from me, and I knew what it was to truly rejoice in God my Savior. –George Whitefield

The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him. –Dwight L. Moody

 Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross. –S.D. Gordon

Joy is Strength. –Mother Teresa

Joy is the serious business of Heaven. –C.S. Lewis