Do you need some joy in your hearts today my friends? A re-discovering of the joy in knowing the love of Jesus that is down deep in our hearts – a deep, deep, deep joy.
I was reminded this week of the deep, deep, deep down joy of the Lord. Have you experienced and can you remember that deep, deep, joy of when you found Jesus as Lord and Saviour. When you realised that you were forgiven, loved, cleaned up, restored, healed, redeemed and part of God’s family.
There is a praise song about that deep, deep, deep joy found in Jesus. It’s a children’s song but the words are so profound we adults can definitely benefit from the reminder that because of Jesus we have a deep, deep, well of joy inside us that we can tap into. It’s rooted deep in our hearts.
When things get tough and we are going through hardships, trials and all sorts of tests we need to dig deep into our faith. The Joy of the Lord is our strength and how precious it is to know that deep down in the reserves of our heart and soul there is that deep, deep, deep joy just waiting to be re-discovered.
If you need a reminder of that joy today (and you might think this is a bit silly) but I encourage you to have a listen to the words of this children’s praise song again – I hope it will have you smiling, tapping your toes and singing along before you realise it. You might even have a dance around the kitchen!! I dare you. Guaranteed joy x.
So today is my birthday 🥳 and I’m very thankful to lots of people but especially my employer today for giving me the day off for my birthday. A holiday on your birthday, to do whatever you please, instead of going to the office. Yippee 🙌
So it’s a bonus day…what shall I’d do with it?. Decisions, decisions 🤔.
Firstly, no alarm clock ⏰. Time for a lie in and some shut eye. 💤💤
Hold on there….the sun is shining ☀️so let’s not waste it in bed…oh no, it’s a day to get out there, take advantage of my bonus day and enjoy it. Let’s get out and enjoy the beauty of this day God has created.
Every day God has given me in Christ Jesus, living as His child, with my family is a bonus day and I thank God for today. For the life He has given me, for my family and for the love He shows to me. God has made this day great 👍.
I hope you all have a blessed day today. I’ve posted below some pictures of the beautiful spot we enjoyed over the weekend celebrating another year older.
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,
I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19
I want to encourage you today if you are going through hardship and difficulties to take comfort and hope from these verses.
Habakkuk speaks of a time when there was on the face of it nothing to be joyful about. There was no fruit, no food, no oil and it was a time of barrenness and famine. It was the worst of times.
This was the truth of the situation. Sometimes we also need to acknowledge the truth about our situations rather than pretend everything is ok.
There are two very important words in these verses which will help us. THOUGH and YET.
We don’t deny our circumstances (that is the though) but (the yet) we acknowledge that true joy is not in our circumstances but our joy is found in God and His salvation. We praise Him because of who He is and His great mercy and grace towards us. We trust in His goodness to us.
We choose to rejoice and praise regardless of how we feel and regardless of our circumstances. That is the tough choice. It is difficult to choose to praise when you are in the middle of really tough times. To choose to say -Despite what is happening in my life, despite how I feel – “I will rejoice” I choose to rejoice and praise you God.
The promise in these verses is that when we look up from our circumstances to our Father in Heaven, He strengthens us and causes us to rise up. We rise up above our circumstances and we have the strength to overcome our circumstances. We discover that true joy is found only in God.
The joy that these verses speak of is a really exuberant joy. The type of joy that you can’t contain. It makes you dance for joy, it is full of zest and life.
Everything may be wrong in Habakkuk’s world but he is dancing with joy. What a picture. It’s a work of God to enable this to happen in us because it makes no sense. It flies in the face of common sense to be dancing with joy in these circumstances.
A few more encouraging verses about joy:
“Your presence is fullness of joy” Psalm 16:11
“Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5
“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them the oil of joy for mourning” Isaiah 61:3.
This is the divine exchange. God takes our sadness and grief and gives us His joy instead.
Jesus points the way to joy in John 15:11. “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full”. That is the joy that I want to have. Jesus’ joy in me because I am abiding in Him. To experience Christ’s own joy within us.
Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before Him. He looked ahead to the promise. “Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame; and has sat down at the right hand of God”. Hebrews 12:2
If Joy is in material things…we will be disappointed eventually.
If Joy is in results..we will be disappointed eventually.
If Joy is in experiences…we will be disappointed eventually.
If our Joy is found in Christ Jesus the rock of our salvation we will never be disappointed.
In the night I awoke with these verses from Psalm 91 in my thoughts and immediately felt a sense of God’s peace and assurance that His arm of protection was shielding me as I was nestled in a place of security. As a mother hen gathers her chicks underneath her for warmth and protection so was this sense of Gods love surrounding me.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 – https://www.biblegateway
There is a promise in these verses that when we abide in God (as Jesus encourages us to do) that we can rest (not be anxious or worried) even when the storm is raging around us and trust Him. His presence surrounds us in all circumstances and when we are resting and sleeping God is working on our behalf and He watches over us.
I am reminded of the song by Michael W Smith called Surrounded (Fight My Battles)
The Word Says “For the spirit of heaviness” “Put on the garment of praise” That’s how we fight our battles (yeah)This is how I fight my battles This is how I fight my battles This is how I fight my battles (What we’re doing tonight) This is how I fight my battles (Just when you think you’re lost)It may look like I’m surrounded But I’m surrounded by You (hey) It may look like I’m surrounded But I’m surrounded by You It may look like I’m surrounded But I’m surrounded by You It may look like I’m surrounded But I’m surrounded by You This is how I fight my battles
When things are at their worst. If you are feeling oppressed and surrounded by trouble, anxiety on all sides then God wants to encourage you today that He is surrounding you with His love and wants you to rest in Him. Give your worries to Him and receive God’s peace in exchange.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 – https://www.biblegateway.com
I was reminded this week of how easy it can be to neglect our worship times with God especially in the current COVID circumstances. I can get distracted by doing life, work and the busyness of doing and then my times of personal worship to God suffer.
The Lord prompted me through a dream not to neglect the former things but to return to the heart of worship. There is a song about this by Matt Redman with beautiful lyrics which say:
“When the music fades All is stripped away And I simply come Longing just to bring Something that’s of worth That will bless Your heart I’ll bring You more than a song For a song in itself Is not what You have required You search much deeper within Through the way things appear You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship And it’s all about You, It’s all about You, Jesus I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it When it’s all about You, It’s all about You, Jesus
King of endless worth No one could express How much You deserve Though I’m weak and poor All I have is Yours Every single breath I’ll bring You more than a song For a song in itself Is not what You have required You search much deeper within Through the way things appear You’re looking into my heart”
Those words really spoke to my heart and as I listened to the song, I realised again how gracious God is when He gently reminds me to check my heart and draws Me back to Him. The source of life and perfect peace.
A glimpse of heaven awaits us in our times of worship. We lift up our eyes to His throne and His glory. Heaven’s seat of might and power. As we worship we see the Lamb of God..His beauty, His power, His glory. Heaven’s darling. We saturate ourselves in His presence through our praise and worship. We get a heavenly perspective of things and clearer revelation to help us be steadfast in faith and overcome things. We ascend those hills of praise and answer His call to come up higher to Him. To ascend the hill of the Lord. Our faith rises up as we gain fresh understanding and revelation of our great God and Jesus. We encounter the refreshing power of His Holy Spirit as we meet with Him.
I encourage myself (and I hope you) to keep the music of heaven and worship alive in our hearts. We exchange the spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise and are filled with the joy of our salvation.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” Psalm 42:1
I had a dream the other night which was so vivid. In the dream my daughter burst into my bedroom and shouted loudly for me to wake up, wake up..you have overslept. I woke bolt upright in a state of confusion. I couldn’t understand why I had slept through my alarm which I had set the night before as usual.
When I looked, my alarm clock was flashing brightly but the number displayed was 00:00. There was no beeping sound coming from the alarm clock though just the flashing of the bright white numbers. 00:00.
I understand that 00:00 is used in military time to show the midnight hour and so the midnight hour is the hour in the dream that the Lord was calling to my attention.
At midnight Paul and Silas were singing hymns and praising the Lord when the power of God came in a miraculous way for freedom and salvation. Praise God 👏👏 Hallelujah 🔥🔥🙌
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” Acts 16:25-26
I believe that there is a season in prayer that the Lord is calling His people to in the midnight watch. Let’s the Saints arise and the power of their praises and prayers shake the heavens.
Whilst walking in the park the other day, these words kept coming to me, “Bless the Lord oh my soul, forget not all His benefits, who heals all our diseases”. I started singing the words from the song 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord by Matt Redman which starts with the same words , “Bless the Lord oh my soul” but I also remembered includes the line “May I be singing when the evening comes”.
I pray for those who are going through very difficult times at the moment that God will strengthen you by His grace. His grace is sufficient for us and His mercies are new every morning. Keep going, hold on, keep your eyes lifted to Him. He is sovereign and on the Throne. He loves us with an everlasting love. Remember His faithfulness and promise to be with us at all times and in all circumstances. I encourage you not to give up your confidence in Him but hold on so that when the evening comes you will be able to say “Bless the Lord Oh my soul”.
Psalm 103 is a beautiful and uplifting Psalm. I have posted it below and hope as you read it today that you are blessed, edified and inspired by Gods Word.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord , O my soul! Psalm 103:1-22
I have added the link to Matt Redman’s song 10,000 reasons below.
I mentioned in my last post that whilst myself and two friends were praising God & praying recently at the Waseley Hills – the “high hills”- the Lord gave us 3 separate words. I have set them out in the order they were given to us. The first was a tongue & interpretation:
“For the Lord God Almighty says
“Awake, Awake, Awake, Awake, Awake, Awake my people. Look & Listen for the Lord God is on the move and He strides out across this nation.
Wake up, Wake up, Wake Up – Hear the bells, Hear the bells, Hear the bells – For the glory of the Lord is going to fall. The glory of the Lord is coming. The glory of the Lord as it sweeps across this nation.
The Lord says “Awake, Awake, Awake – Arise people of God. Arise people of God. Arise people of God & hear the voice of your Master.
The voice of your Master is calling to you. The Lord is calling to you he says “Arise, Arise, Arise My people. Arise, Arise, Arise – Give voice to Me.
For the glory of the Lord is shining upon this nation and here He comes. He is riding. he is riding on the wind. He is riding. He is coming to this nation.
The Lord says He is coming in power and the sword is going forth from His mouth and He is declaring His word over this nation and the Lord says – every knee will bow, every tongue will declare that He is Lord and He is God and He alone is worthy of all praise and honour and glory – to Him who sits on the throne forever and ever – All glory belongs to the Lamb Amen.
After this first word was given, we saw opposite us in the distance on the hillside a bright white light – it was so clear and we believe it was a sign from the Lord. The light was visible for some time whilst we continued to pray.
The second word then came to my friend:
“All My people will see Me in My glory (Jesus). I will shine. You will see Me. You will not miss Me coming because I will stand out and everybody will see Me and the truth will be declared in this nation. All the lies, all the hidden things I will bring forth and the truth will shine. My people will speak the truth out – they will bring the truth to everyone. I declare the truth of the Lord the word of God- that you are coming (Jesus) – you are coming” Amen.
The last word was then given:
“The Lord says “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail. Satan your days are numbered. You have had your time. You have had your day but you will not prevail. I call to you My people to be aware, to be wise and to open your eyes and see. Do not follow that wide road, do not follow that wide empty road. Look for the narrow path that leads to Me, that leads to life. I am coming. I am going to be there with you and you will see Me in all My glory and your knees will bow and you will profess that I am Lord. I open My arms to you this day and I say “Come, Come to Me, Come to Me all you who are heavy laden, all you who are weary and you who are tired of this life and all you who are seeking. Come to Me. I am the answer. I am the way and the truth and the life. Come to Me.”
There is a scripture in Judges 5:12 which says “Wake up, Wake up Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam”.
I believe that this is the word to us as believers in Christ at this time -it’s time to wake up, to be watchful, to rise up and take action for Jesus. Live out our faith where we are – right in the heart of our communities. Church is changing – it’s not about a building where we all meet. We are a body – connected to each other in Jesus Christ. We are powerful testimonies for Jesus – we are His witnesses. Let us encourage each other to live as Jesus wants us to live as His disciples and co-workers of the gospel. To be bold and voices for justice & truth.
Romans 13 11-14 “And do this, understanding the present time: the hour has already come for you to wake from your slumber, because our salvation now is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh”.
Ephesians 5 8-20 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. Buy everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
It is so important that we as Christians are awake and not asleep & that we are clothed in Christ – Jesus said if we are not awake then he will come as a thief and we will not know when he comes.
Revelation 3:3 “But if you do not wake up (or watch), I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you”.
Revelation 16:15 – “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake (watches) and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed”
Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, Shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”
Some weeks ago just after my posting on Praise 24/7, the Lord encouraged me and a few friends to go and give Him praise on the High Hills. Observing of course social distancing 😀
We went to a local beauty spot -Waseley Hills and from the top of the hills there are the most incredible 360 views all around. You can see for miles.
We had an incredible time praising and worshipping God. There was a tangible presence of the Holy Spirit as we sang about how awesome our God is and how worthy our God is to receive all honour and Glory. He alone is worthy of all the glory.
The Holy Spirit inspired us with bible readings and songs to sing. We sang, prayed and read aloud. It was so freeing and joyful especially after being cooped up for so long in isolation. There is something so special about being outside in creation, involved in the beauty of it and praising the Creator with fellow believers.
The Lord gave us 3 words to declare from those High Hills which we did. I also recorded them. I have transcribed them and will post on here shortly but having looked back at some earlier words this year I am struck by their similarity to previous posts. The key messages were for us as the people of God to Awaken & Rise up and be Christ’s light shining in the darkness. There is a clear sense that we are to be about Gods work and trust in Him. To be alert and watchful not sleeping. To be doers of the Word not just hearers.
If you have the opportunity then I encourage you to go do something similar. Go somewhere outside where there is lots of space and declare aloud how great our God is. We are lacking corporate praise whilst our fellowships are not able to meet and singing aloud is not possible with COVID 19. Let’s not be silent but let’s get creative. Satan hates our praises. Let’s not let him rob our praise. Praising God changes the spiritual atmosphere! It’s a catalyst for so much. It puts things into perspective and the focus on our great God. We look up and not down at our circumstances. It changes us.
Morning everyone 😁 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord hallelujah! hallelujah! hallelujah! It’s time to rise up in praise to our God. Psalm 150 what incredible words of praise. Let all things praise God.
We are at a time I believe when giving praise to our God is key to seeing His kingdom come and overcoming the darkness and evil which is seeking to rise up in these times in opposition to God. There is power in praise. Power to see victory and freedom in our lives. Power to overcome.
Satan hates our praises of God and will do what he can to stop us praising our mighty, wonderful and awesome God. He wants to silence God’s people and rob our praises. He wants to silence us so much. We under estimate how much he wants to rob our praises. He wants to discourage us. He wants to distract us from praising. He wants to try and quash any revival amongst Gods people.
We see around us disease, civil unrest, injustice, violence and lots more evil at work at this time but God is on the throne. Light is more powerful than darkness. Good is more powerful than evil. Truth is more powerful than lies. Hope is more powerful than despair. Death is defeated in Christ Jesus. Satan is defeated.
I refuse to be silenced at this time. I will speak, shout out, sing, write and declare my praises to God and Jesus. I am waking up with praises running around my head at the moment so can’t ignore this prompting from God’s Holy Spirit.
My actions, what I do, my very existence and my life will be my praise to Him. My very breath every day is testimony and praise to Him and the power and grace He works in my life. So it is in yours too!
Take hold of that. Who you are, your very life in Christ, your faith and service of Him is a powerful testimony of Gods amazing work of grace and redemption. We may fall and mess up but His grace is more than sufficient for us. His mercies are new every morning. His forgiveness is overwhelming.
Our Father in heaven and our saviour Jesus are worthy of all praise, honour and glory. All glory and honour belong to them. Whatever is happening at the moment, whatever season we are in, let us praise. In the good times and in the bad. He is worthy. Not because of what He does or has done or will do but simply because of who He is.
At the moment many of us cannot meet together as Gods people for corporate praise. Let’s get creative. Let’s share ideas and our praises. Let there be 24/7 praise to our God.
Can I encourage you to praise. To keep praising or to start again if you have stopped. Let’s get the praises to our God and King flooding the airwaves and the spiritual realm with truth, hope, life and light.
Praise Him in your homes, in your car, on your phones. Share praises with your social network, organising online praise parties or meeting in smaller numbers outside to praise. There is great praise music and resources out there on line to help. There are bible readings on line. Play or read aloud the word of God.
Let’s get praising Hallelujah 🙏🙏🙏 please share and encourage everyone you know to praise our awesome God. Let’s get a praise party going 24/7 down here on earth just as it is in heaven to Him who sits on the throne.
Revelation 4 v 8 “ and they do not rest day or night saying “ holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come.
V11 you are worthy, O Lord to receive glory, and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created”