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Spiritual Refreshment for Women
By Janice Hanna
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2009 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Know My Heart
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139:23 NLT
Have you ever asked the Lord to give you an "anxiety check"? He longs for you to live in peace, but that won't happen as long as you're driven by worries and fears. Today, allow Him to search your heart. Ask Him to dig deep. Are there cobwebs that need to be swept out? Things hidden that should be revealed? Let God wash away your anxieties, replacing them with His exceeding great joy!
Anxiety ... a Joy Killer
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6 NASB
Be anxious for nothing? Is that possible? Aren't my anxieties tied to my emotions? And aren't my emotions tied to the things that happen to me? I can't control what happens to me, so how can I control my reactions? Deep breath, friend! Instead of knee- jerking when troubles come, slip into the throne room and spend some time giving those problems to the Lord. With thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to Him.
An Anxious Heart
A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song.
Proverbs 15:15 MSG
Have you ever felt weighted down? Heavy? Sometimes the cares of this life can make us so anxious that we only see the tips of our toes, not the road ahead. Today, lift your eyes! Speak words of faith and hope over your situation. Go out of your way to cheer someone else up. This simple act will lift your spirits and cause you to forget about your own burdens. Watch the joy sweep in!
Thou Shalt Not Worry!
"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34 NIV
What if the Lord had written an eleventh commandment: "Thou shalt not worry"? In a sense, He did! He commands us in various scriptures not to fret. So, cast your anxieties on the Lord. Give them up! Let them go! Don't let worries zap your strength and your joy. Today is a gift from the Lord. Don't sacrifice it to fears and frustrations! Let them go ... and watch God work!
What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?
Ecclesiastes 2:22 NIV
Sometimes, out of anxiety, we bury ourselves in work. We labor from sunup till sundown. There's nothing wrong with working hard, but striving is another thing altogether. When we "strive," we're not trusting God to do His part. We're taking matters into our own hands. Today, take a moment to ask yourself an important question: "Am I working, or am I striving?" Don't let the enemy steal your joy! Strive no more!CHAPTER 2
Attitude Equals Outcome
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Psalm 100:2 KJV
Attitude is everything. Our attitude determines our outcome. We are challenged by scripture to serve with gladness. (It's funny to think of service and gladness in the same sentence, isn't it?) But here's the truth: If we serve with an attitude of joy, it changes everything. Our service doesn't feel like service anymore. It's a privilege!
Filled with Joy
And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 13:52 KJV
Want to know the secret of walking in the fullness of joy? Draw near to the Lord. Allow His Spirit to fill you daily. Let Him whisper sweet nothings in your ear and woo you with His love. The Spirit of God is your Comforter, your Friend. He fills you to overflowing. Watch the joy flow!
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
James 3:11 NIV
Can you feel it ... that bubbling in your midsection? Can you sense it rising to the surface? Joy comes from the deepest place inside of us, so deep that we often forget it's there at all. Wonder of wonders! It rises up, up, up to the surface and the most delightful thing happens. Troubles vanish. Sorrows disappear. Godly joy has the power to squelch negative emotions. So, let the bubbling begin!
Joy ... Minute by Minute
Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good.
Proverbs 4:25 NCV
Ever wonder how you can be perfectly happy one minute and upset the next? If joy is a choice, then it's one you have to make ... continually. We are often ruled by our emotions, which is why it's so important to stay focused, especially when you're having a tough day. Don't let frustration steal even sixty seconds from you. Instead, choose joy!
A Word in Due Season
Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
Proverbs 15:23 NLT
Ever had a friend approach you at just the right time—say, when you were really down—and speak something positive and uplifting? Ah, what perfect timing! You needed to hear something good, something pleasant. The right word at the right time was just what the doctor ordered, causing joy to spring up in your soul. The next time you see a friend going through a rough time, decide to speak that "good word."CHAPTER 3
Beauty for Ashes
Beauty for Ashes
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness ...
Isaiah 61:3 KJV
Seasons of mourning are difficult to bear, but praise God, He promises to give us beauty for ashes! He pours joy over us like a scented oil ... to woo us out of periods of grieving. Can you feel it washing down on your head, even now? Can you sense the change in attitude? Slip on that garment of praise, believer! Shake off the ashes! Let God's joy overwhelm you!
The Oil of Joy
Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
Ecclesiastes 9:8 KJV
What do the words "oil of joy" (Isaiah 61:3) mean to you? Can you envision the Lord anointing you with that precious oil? Do you feel it running over your head and down your cheeks? Oh, that we would always sense the joy of His anointing. That we would see ourselves as usable to the Kingdom. Today, as you enter your prayer time, allow the Lord to saturate you with His oil of joy.
The Garment of Praise
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments.
Isaiah 52:1 KJV
Imagine you've been invited to a grand celebration—perhaps a wedding or a banquet. The clothes in your closet are old. Boring. You need a new outfit, one worthy of such an occasion. After serious shopping, you find the perfect dress! It's exquisite and when you wear it, you're in a party frame of mind. That's what God desires from each of us ... to "dress" ourselves in garments of praise. It's time to party!
Lifting the Spirit of Heaviness
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
Proverbs 12:25 NIV
Want to know how to get beyond a season of heaviness? Want to enter a season of joy? Speak uplifting, positive words. The things that come out of your mouth can make or break you. After all, we tend to believe what we hear. So, let words of joy flow. Speak hope. Speak life. And watch that spirit of heaviness take flight!
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23 NIV
Change usually shakes us to the core. However, if you've been in a season of great suffering and you sense change is coming ... you have reason to celebrate! The sands are shifting. The mourning is coming to an end. God, in His remarkable way, is reaching down with His fingertip and writing, "Look forward to tomorrow!" in the sand. Let the joy of that promise dwell in your heart ... and bring you peace.CHAPTER 4
An Offering of Joy
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Psalm 27:6 NIV
It's one thing to offer a sacrifice of joy when things are going your way and people are treating you fairly. But when you've been through a terrible betrayal, it's often hard to recapture that feeling of joy. As you face hurts and betrayals, remember that God is the Lifter of your head. Sing praises and continue to offer a sacrifice of joy!
A Joyous Defense
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalm 5:11 NIV
Oh, the pain of betrayal. If you've been hurt by someone you trusted, choose to release that person today. Let it go. God is your Defender. He's got your back. Take refuge in Him. And remember, praising Him—even in the storm—will shift your focus back where it belongs. Praise the Lord! He is our defense!
Hang on to Your Joy!
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
John 10:10 NIV
Have you ever been the victim of a robbery? It's a terrible feeling, isn't it? Who would stoop so low? The enemy of your soul is the ultimate thief. His goal? To steal from you. What is he most interested in? Your peace of mind. Your joy. He often uses betrayal as a mode of operation, so be wary! Next time someone hurts you—or betrays you—don't let him or her steal your joy. Stand firm!
Only Joy Remains
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 15:11 KJV
When you've been badly hurt, it's hard to let go of the pain, isn't it? Sometimes it can crowd out everything—your peace of mind, your enthusiasm, your joy. If you're struggling with the effects of a betrayal today, don't allow it to consume you. Release it to God. Ask Him to replace the pain with His joy—a joy that will remain in you, never to be stolen again.
Come on ... Get Happy!
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."
1 Peter 3:14 NIV
It's one thing to suffer because of something you've done wrong; it's another to suffer for doing right. Even when we're unjustly persecuted, God wants us to respond in the right way. If you're suffering as a result of something you've done for the Lord ... be happy! Keep a stiff upper lip! This, too, shall pass, and you can come through it with a joyful attitude.CHAPTER 5
A Joyous Treasure
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."
Matthew 13:44 NIV
Have you ever stumbled across a rare treasure—one so priceless that you would be willing to trade everything you own to have it? If you've given your heart to Christ, if you've accepted His work on Calvary, then you have already obtained the greatest treasure of all ... new life in Him. Oh, what immeasurable joy comes from knowing He's placed that treasure in your heart for all eternity!
There shall be showers of blessing.
Ezekiel 34:26 KJV
Don't you enjoy walking through seasons of extraordinary blessing? We can hardly believe it when God's "more than enough" provision shines down upon us. What did we do to deserve it? Nothing! During such seasons, we can't forget to thank Him for the many ways He is moving in our lives. Our hearts must overflow with gratitude to a gracious and almighty God.
A Joyful Noise
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Psalm 100:1 KJV
How do we praise God for His many blessings? If we follow the pattern of Old Testament saints, then we lift our voices in thanksgiving! We let others know. With a resounding voice, we echo our praises, giving thanks for all He has done, and all He continues to do. So, praise Him today! Make a joyful noise!
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7 NIV
Sometimes our sorrows run deep. We can feel buried alive. That's why it's so important to allow our joys to run deep, too. Today, as you ponder the many things you have to be thankful for, pause a moment. Take a comforting breath. Thank God—from the bottom of your heart—for the deep joys in your life.
Abounding with Blessings
A faithful man shall abound with blessings.
Proverbs 28:20 KJV
To abound means to have more than enough. When you're abounding, all of your needs are met ... and then some! How wonderful to go through such seasons. So, what do we have to do to qualify for these "more than enough" blessings? Only one thing. Be found faithful. Trust God during the lean seasons. Don't give up! Then, when the "abounding" seasons come, you can truly rejoice!CHAPTER 6
The Body Of Christ
Joy in Unity
Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Philippians 2:2 NIV
Want to know how to bring joy to God's heart? Live in unity with your Christian brothers and sisters. When we're like-minded, it pleases our heavenly Father. Are there problems to be ironed out with a Christian friend? Troubles in your church family? Let this be the day you fulfill His joy by resolving those differences. Let unity lead the way!
How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness.
Isaiah 52:7 NASB
Ever had a contagious illness? Something like chicken pox or measles? Maybe a bad cold? Surely you did your best not to share it with your friends and coworkers. Joy is a lot like that. It's contagious. You can spread it without even meaning to. Pretty soon all of your Christian brothers and sisters are catching it. Now, that's one virus you don't need to worry about ... so, spread the joy!
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12 NIV
It's fun to look around the church on any given Sunday morning and see the various gifts at work. One teaches, the other leads worship. One edifies, another handles the finances. God didn't make us all alike. Praise Him for that! He recognizes our differences. How do we merge all of those unique people into one body? We don't! That's God's job. We simply do our best to remain unified members of a joyous family.
In the Midst of the Church
Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
Hebrews 2:12 KJV
The most amazing thing happens when we gather together in our various churches. When we lift our voices in joyous praise to the Lord, something majestic occurs. In the very midst of our praise, God declares Himself to His people. He's there! The next time you gather together with fellow believers for a time of worship, pause a moment and reflect on the fact that you're entering into God's presence ... together!
Joy in Serving
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Romans 12:5 KJV
There's a lot of work to be done in the local church. Someone has to teach the children, vacuum the floors, prepare meals for the sick, and so forth. With so many needs, how does the body of Christ function without its various members feeling taken advantage of? If you're in a position of service at your local church, praise God for the opportunity to serve others. Step out ... with joy leading the way.CHAPTER 7
A New Season
"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world."
John 16:21 NIV
If you've ever delivered a child, you know the pain associated with childbirth. But that's not what you remember after the fact, is it? No. As you hold that little one in your arms, only one thing remains ... the supernatural joy you experience as you gaze into your newborn's eyes. The same is true with the seasons we walk through. Sorrows will end, and joy will rise to the surface once again!
Excerpted from Everyday Joy by Janice Hanna. Copyright © 2009 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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