Monday, January 23, 2012

Choosing JOY

Yesterday, we began our January Bible Study with Bob Allison from International Center for Biblical Counseling of Texas. His message was so explicit and thought provoking. The topic was “SOUL-BONDS” and he talked about “Breaking Negative Spiritual and Emotional Bonds of the Heart and Soul.” Wow! Heavy stuff! This is a topic so many people are plagued by yet remain in a query as to how to deal with. Loved it! I could think of so many people who would benefit from the information we received…pretty much everyone I’ve ever come in contact with during my life. After all, who is immune to sin? To no surprise, the topic touched the hearts and minds of every person present.

It is not often we get the basic how-to guide, step-by-step instructions or self-application process handed to us…for mending our heart and soul…you know, the simplified version of the one buried in scripture. Short of seeking a good Christian counselor, usually the only way to approach this process is to delve into a life-application study Bible, pray, read, study, pray some more and work through it with God’s help and His healing.

I have done the latter and have conquered forgiveness. First and foremost, I have repented and I know I have been forgiven for my sins. Secondly, I have forgiven others who have sinned against me. Thirdly, I have dealt with guilt and have forgiven myself. Forgetting, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. Forgetting may come after a time and the scars may heal and fade, yet they are forever present. We know God has the ability to turn our ashes to beauty. In other words, if we let Him have complete control in our life, He will turn our scars of brokenness into His lessons which provide strides of remarkable strength as we comfort others in the same way He has comforted us. This He has taught me. This I have learned. This I know to be true.

So how do you begin to forget? You must practice choosing JOY. I choose JOY as a result of making a conscious and constant effort to walk and live in the Spirit. By that I mean I continuously remind myself that my body is the temple of God and His Spirit resides within me. He provides continuous guidance and intervention in my life…giving me clarity and insight into the ways and truths of my Father. You could say I am captured in His reflection…for I am…forevermore.

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” ~ I Cor 3:16 NKJV

The Holy Spirit guards, guides, instructs and encourages me to walk in Christ’s likeness and to seek the absolute and extreme ways of my Father. I long to know Him better so I continually pray and delve into His Word. I choose praise and worship music on my radio. I listen to Christian speakers and read books written by Christian authors. I make only selective choices watching television and my viewing is minimal. This keeps my mind and my focus stayed on God, my Father; Christ Jesus, my Savior; and the Holy Spirit residing within. JOY is mine, dear friends! Yes, He is my JOY…my fullness and my eternal peace. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. He loves me unconditionally. He answers my prayers. He walks with me and talks with me, teaching me along the way. He sent His only Son to die in my place so that I may have eternal life. He knows every hair on my head and every tear I have cried and everything about me...and He still loves me and cares for me so deeply. Am I immune to Satan hurling his darts? No! Does this mean when I am blind-sided by Satan that I no longer regress? Yes! In this life, I have been laughed at, ridiculed, chastised and been written off for being “too Holy.” Does that bother me? No, it no longer bothers me in the least. The more Godly traits that are instilled in me, the more my Father expects of me and the more extreme I probably seem to many in this world. I am human. I am not flawless. As I have said before, there have been and will be seasons of sadness. There will be failures (lessons), but I am not to dwell there. God has no purpose for me in that. In the same sense, the same JOY that I now reside in is also yours for the asking and He has no purpose in your dwelling in your those places of sin’s bondage. Satan will use every tactic possible to hold you there and attempt to steal your JOY but if you clothe yourself in righteousness, put on the armor of God, practice thinking on things pure and holy, abide in Christ Jesus by calling on the Holy Spirit throughout your day, JOY will triumph in your life as well! I can only imagine how it will be in Heaven where JOY is no longer a choice after our lessons, but instead it is a constant way of life. Practice kingdom living now by choosing JOY!

Captured in His reflection,

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