How to grow joy – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 5

Joy is a deep inner stability from the Lord, gained in his presence.  My wife Michelle told me the story of a conversation she had the other day with one of the women she works with.  The woman has resettled here in Lancaster, along with her husband and two kids.  They fled the African countryContinue reading “How to grow joy – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 5”

When joy is not easy – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 4

Joy as inner strength during trials is not to be confused with a bubbly or outgoing personality.  Not everyone has such a charismatic personality, but they can feel joy deep within them.  Also, not everyone who is bubbly and charismatic is feeling joy.  Extroverts most often seem joyful.  Introverts not so much.  But we’re notContinue reading “When joy is not easy – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 4”

Joy is a choice and a strength – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 3

Many Christians might wonder, “But what if I don’t feel joy?  Does that mean the Spirit hasn’t given this gift to me?”  Remember that being led by the Spirit requires action.  It is not a series of characteristics that he magically gives to us.  While the Spirit does work in, we also cultivate joy, weContinue reading “Joy is a choice and a strength – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 3”

Is there a difference between joy and happiness – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 2

What is joy?       When the writers of the New Testament wrote about joy, such as in Galatians 5:22-23, when Paul wrote about the Fruit of the Spirit, he used the Greek word kara. That’s right, the women’s name Kara is the Greek word for joy.  The people who study words tell us thisContinue reading “Is there a difference between joy and happiness – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 2”

When “rejoice always” sounds impossible – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 1

I once read the following quote:  “There are lots of reasons people cite for their loss of interest in faith, but one of the main reasons I have often heard stems from the perception that God’s people are boring, sad, anxious, narrow.  One person said: ‘I just think that life should be joyful; and manyContinue reading “When “rejoice always” sounds impossible – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Part 1″

What is your level of joy? – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Preview

At Christmas we sing “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!”  The words of that Christmas carol reflect what the angel declared to the surprised shepherds keeping watching over their flocks at night just outside the town of Bethlehem, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will beContinue reading “What is your level of joy? – Fruit of the Spirit: Joy, Preview”

When God feels like a dropped phone call – Ezekiel 2:1-3:15, Part 4

What does it mean to have a relationship with God? Is it just an intellectual concept that has little bearing on our real day-to-day lives? How do flesh and blood people have a meaningful relationship with invisible spirit? As a result, does God feel distant? Does it feel like God is something we read aboutContinue reading “When God feels like a dropped phone call – Ezekiel 2:1-3:15, Part 4”

How to live your retirement years “as unto the Lord” – Colossians 3:22-4:1, Part 5

Christian…how are you thinking about your retirement years?  The principle we’ve been studying this week, “work unto the Lord,” holds for retirement, even though in retirement you are no longer working a job.  This principle can guide you as you retire if you answer the question: What is a distinctly Christian view of retirement?  HowContinue reading “How to live your retirement years “as unto the Lord” – Colossians 3:22-4:1, Part 5″

How the aging process can help us evaluate the past year – Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:8, Part 3

Years ago, one of the home-bound members of my church family, who has since passed away, described for the me the process of her ever-decreasing eyesight.  She said that it was only during the bright sunlight of the day that she could see around her room.  As the months and years went by, the darknessContinue reading “How the aging process can help us evaluate the past year – Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:8, Part 3”

Not so fast 2021…why we needed 2020 – Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:8, Part 1

A new year is upon us!  Are you excited?  On one hand, the switch from December 31, 2020 to January 1, 2021 this coming Thursday night is the same as any old Thursday night.  It is one day, then the next day.  Sure, we get a long holiday weekend, which is nice, but New Year’sContinue reading “Not so fast 2021…why we needed 2020 – Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:8, Part 1”