joy

A Life With Open Hands

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.” – Psalm 90:17 Here are some uplifting thoughts to consider as you begin your day: Within Himself, God is all-sufficient; He is all-joyous, all-powerful, and all-loving. There is no one in the world who is happier than the Lord. Even better, He is thinking of you, knows your name, and can count the number of hairs on your head! Wow! I know my children and adore them, but I can assure you that I have no idea how many hairs they have on their heads. Nonetheless, Jesus pays attention to these details. He is close by, not far away, and He possesses all of the money, time, energy, and power required on this planet. Even more, He wants to be constantly connected to you,

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The Darkness of Deception

“For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.’” – 1 Peter 3:10 Did you know that the kingdom of darkness is based on deception? The devil’s domain isn’t built on hate (though it is hateful), and it isn’t built on violence either (even though it is violent). Lies are propagated and promoted by the enemy of our soul, especially in the lives of believers. Satan’s power in the world is exercised through luring Christians into some type of deception that prevents them from experiencing Jesus’ total love and reign. By accepting any form of dishonesty, no matter how seemingly harmless, a door is opened for the devil to enter. Let our yeses be yeses and our noes be noes, Jesus says. That is, He expects us to understand what we want to do and don’t want to

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Leprosy of the Soul

“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” – Ephesians 5:5 If I were to ask you, “What’s the opposite of gratitude?” — what would you say? If you answered ingratitude, you wouldn’t be wrong, but I think there’s a more accurate way to describe it, and that’s entitlement. Unfortunately, we live in a society that’s filled with people who feel they deserve instant gratification, free stuff, endless entertainment, and a hassle-free life. However, I want to submit to you that the greed underlying this outlook is actually a kind of leprosy of the soul. Just as the disease eats away at the flesh of its victims until there’s little left, so a person who feels as if the world owes them is being destroyed from the inside out by

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A Magnet For Miracles

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 1:14 Years ago, I wrote a book in which I said, “A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.” And now, having lived even longer, I’m more convinced of this truth than ever! When we give someone a gift — perhaps we go to a store to invest a good amount of time picking out just the right item — and our efforts are met with an enthusiastic response, it stokes our desire to keep giving. In fact, knowing that blessing another person brings them joy, we’re inspired to do more of the same. And if this is true for us, how much truer is it for the Lord? He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and every resource is at His disposal. When we live from a place of

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Don’t Forget To Say Thanks

“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’” – Luke 17:17,18 Yesterday, we learned about a special ceremony that was held in honor of those who were healed from leprosy. However, even after this ritual cleansing, any leper seeking to be reintroduced into society had to stay on the outskirts of town for another eight days, just to be sure. In the interest of not infecting anyone else, they slept outside, and before they showed themselves to the priest one last time, they were required to shave off every bit of their hair — from head to toe. Once they had been thoroughly examined and finally declared clean, they took a bath, offered a sacrifice, and received fresh clothes. After that, they were allowed to go home to their families and communities. And this

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It’s a Matter of Gratitude

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 We talked yesterday about being a more enthusiastic and outgoing person and how it can lead us to good things in life. Today, I want to delve deeper into the manner in which this happens, and I believe it boils down to one word — gratitude. The more thankful we are, the more we develop the qualities that make us successful, since all good fruit grows from within. We can’t really “will” ourselves into attitudes and behaviors, because unless they are rooted in genuine love for Jesus, they won’t last. The measure to which we enjoy life correlates directly to the amount of genuine gratitude we have for who our Savior is and what He has done. This is why, when we begin to understand how perfectly He cares for us,

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Outgoing and Enthusiastic

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17 A while back, I interviewed an old friend of mine named Earl Lamar. He was the chairman of the board for Hour of Power in Australia, and he’s just a fascinating guy who’s had a lot of wins in life and business. He started out as a church musician, but ultimately, he became an accountant and made some great deals in real estate. His financial prowess set him up to support a lot of wonderful causes, and interestingly, he attributes a good deal of his success to the teachings of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who also had a big influence on my Grandpa Schuller. He shared with me that Dr. Peale talked frequently about two important things that lead to prosperity — outgoingness and

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What You Can’t Pick and Choose

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” – Psalm 42:7 Something I love about the Psalms is that they are raw and real. Most of them were written by King David, a man who minced no words regarding the depth of his feelings. In fact, if we have ears to hear and eyes to see, his ancient poems have something important to teach us about our human journey — something that’s been repeatedly backed by science: you can’t pick and choose your emotions. A song of hope and victory is often preceded by a song of lament and sorrow. Pain is a necessary part of the human experience, and unless we acknowledge this truth, we can never move fully into abundant life. Unfortunately, many people try to push down the yucky things that they feel and simply pretend

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No Shame On You

“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” – Isaiah 61:7 It’s hard to receive love when we have guilt and shame in our lives. Shame happens when there’s something about ourselves that we hate so much that we don’t let anybody else see it. We fear rejection due to our lack of perfection, and this keeps us in a pattern of hiding — at least partially — from the very connection that can set us free. If we deal with this kind of self-condemnation and guilt, it’s important to remember that everyone who we think is perfect is not nearly as infallible as we think they are. And while we don’t want to gloat in the struggles of others, it’s

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It’s Your Party

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” – Matthew 18:12,13 Have you ever had a party thrown in your honor? Though some of us don’t like to be the center of attention, I’m certain that nearly all of us feel a deep sense of joy and gratitude when the people we love gather to celebrate us. Whether it’s a graduation, a birthday party, or a wedding, being blessed by our friends and family is a highlight of life. And while experiencing this joy on earth is a great gift, it can’t compare to the kind of

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