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
A friend led me to the Christian 17th century text “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. He conversed with God as a way of living. He expressed, “the love of God was the end of all actions, it was a single motive behind all.” Prayer was constant, devotional and spontaneous throughout the day. At the core of his heart was trust. He speaks of the love of God as coming from knowing Him and that ‘knowing’ as being based upon the growing relationship formed through the holy habit of being in His Presence.
Living in God’s Presence always leads to His loving lead. His Presence pours Love and Mercy immeasurably. We only need to live with and for Him.
The Practice of the Presence of God
Brother Lawrence, Fifteenth Letter, his final letter
GOD knows best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we knew how much He loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from Him. The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong light. When we see them in the hand of GOD, who dispenses them: when we know that it is our loving FATHER, who abases and distresses us: our sufferings will lose their bitterness, and become even matter of consolation.
Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love of GOD were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.
Seek Him by Faith
Let us not amuse ourselves to seek or to love GOD for any sensible favors (however elevated) which He has or may do us. Such favors, though never so great, cannot bring us so near to GOD as faith does in one simple act. Let us seek Him often by faith: He is within us; seek Him not elsewhere. Are we not rude and deserve blame, if we leave Him alone, to busy ourselves about trifles, which do not please Him and perhaps offend Him? ‘Tis to be feared these trifles will one day cost us dearly.
Let our devotion belong only to Him
Let us begin to be devoted to Him in good earnest. Let us cast everything besides out of our hearts; He would possess them alone. Beg this favor of Him. If we do what we can on our parts, we shall soon see that change wrought in us which we aspire after. I cannot thank Him sufficiently for the relaxation He has vouchsafed you. I hope from His mercy the favor to see Him within a few days. Let us pray for one another.