Joy: Our Commanded Blessing

1 Thessalonians 5:16 TPT says, “Let joy be your continual feast.”

1 Peter 1:8-9 TPT say, “…through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory. For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory!”

According to the Tyndale Bible Dictionary, there are two distinct types of joy: One is a feeling, which is not commanded. The other is an action, which is commanded.

In regards to joy being a feeling, this dictionary says, “Joy is a feeling called forth by well-being, success, or good fortune. A person automatically experiences it because of certain favorable circumstances. It cannot be commanded” (Ps 137:1-6).

In regards to joy being an action, this same dictionary says, “There is a joy that Scripture commands. That joy is action that can be engaged in regardless of how the person feels. Joy in adverse circumstances is possible only as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, who is present in every Christian” (Mt 5:11-12, Phil 4:4, 1 Thes 5:16, Jas 1:2).

Galatians 5:22 TPT affirms this by saying, “But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.”

Limitless, overflowing joy, like all the fruit of the Spirit, is an expression of the love and victory we have in Christ (Ps 21:1).

Romans 5:11 TPT says, “…we overflow with triumphant joy in our new relationship of living reconciled to God—all because of Jesus Christ!”

So this divine victory, expressed as joy, is what we have inside of us—sealed in our spirit as believers. And, it can overflow as we rejoice in The Lord, regardless of circumstance.

God greatly honors our intentional choice to rejoice in Him, despite enemy resistance.

Romans 5:2 says, “…as we keep on celebrating our hope of experiencing God’s glory,” “incredible joy bursts forth within us.”

Proverbs 28:12 TPT tells us, “The triumphant joy of God’s lovers releases great glory…”

Rejoicing in The Lord honors God, which invites Him to pour out His Spirit, not only through us like a fountain, but also upon us from Heaven above.

I have experienced this many times during praise and worship sessions, especially when my heart’s cry has been desperate.

There’s nothing more overwhelmingly satisfying, joyful and powerful than the tangible, glorious Presence of Almighty God, where all of His fruit is expressed as love.

Psalm 84:10 TPT says, “For just one day of intimacy with you is like a thousand days of joy rolled into one!…”

If you’ve never experienced this level of intimate joy, I invite you to try:

Get alone.

Play some worship music.

Worship God for an hour, focusing entirely on Him.

Then, see what happens.

A breaking through of enemy resistance into a heavenly realm occurs.

In God’s Glory-Presence, even more breakthrough occurs (Ps 35:9, 51:12, 145:7)!

Peace, revelation and healing occurs as the power of God is released.

So, if you need a lift from whatever is weighing you down, rejoice in The Lord.

Joy is our strength.

We know this from Nehemiah 8:10 AMPC, which commands us to, “…be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.”

Friends, we have a decision to make to remain on the side of victory by intentionally choosing to rejoice in The Lord with gladness, no matter what our circumstances or how we feel.

Romans 12:12 TPT encourages us to let our “hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times.”

Joy is a mighty weapon—as an escape from enemy traps (Pr 29:6 TPT) and a protective covering that the enemy cannot enter into (Ps 5:11-12 TPT)!

Friends, we have so much to be joyful for, beginning with our salvation. God has seated us in powerful victory. He has the final Word over our circumstances when we trust and obey Him (Ps 28:7, 119:2, 14; Pr 8:32).

Psalm 119:56 TPT reveals, “All this joy is mine as I follow your ways!”

Friends, my prayer for you is this…

Lord, Thank You for revealing to us “the pathways to life” and for filling us with “euphoria” (Acts 2:28 TPT)!

“…Let them all be glad, those who turn aside to hide themselves in you. May they keep shouting for joy forever! Overshadow them in your presence as they sing and rejoice. Then every lover of your name will burst forth with endless joy. Lord, how wonderfully you bless the righteous. Your favor wraps around each one and covers them under your canopy of kindness and joy” (Ps 5:11-12 TPT)

Lord, May Your strength be our “song of joy. At each and every sunrise,” may the “lyrics of” Your “love fill the air!” May You become our “glory-fortress, a stronghold in” our “day of distress” (Ps 59:16 TPT).

Lord, May Your victory heap blessing after blessing upon us as we rejoice before Your face (Ps 21:6). And, may Your Words of wisdom bring us joy…for Kingdom purposes (Pr 8:34).

In Jesus’ Mighty Name.

Amen.

“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!” (Ro 15:13 TPT)!

“Go ahead–sing your brand-new song to the Lord! He is famous for his miracles and marvels, for he is victorious through his mighty power and holy strength” (Ps 98:1 TPT).

To God be the glory!

This video-devo was graciously re-posted by Salem Web Network, which includes iBelieve.com.

True Value: Our Intrinsic Worth

Psalm 139:17-18 TPT assure us, “Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.”

Friends, value is intrinsic to God.

Our truest value is God in us and God with us.

The origin of value is worth.

He is worthy.

His inherent worth, which is fixed, inseparable and innate, is sealed in our spirit, where His legal approval, substantiation and confirmation flow congruently.

1 Peter 2:7 TPT tells us, “As believers you know his great worth—indeed, his preciousness is imparted to you…”

But do we know this truth deep in our soul? In our mind, will and emotions? Do we know that Jesus is our validator, our strength, that He is our Treasure, and that we are His (1 Pe. 2:9).

Do we know that He is the Pearl of Great Price? Gold?

Do we know in our soul that, of everything God willed into creation, He values us most?

We were bought by Jesus’ priceless blood, which is worthy beyond measure.

He pursues us with His relentless love.

To reconcile us to His greatest intimacy.

He is a father to the fatherless, a husband to the husbandless.

He is our Creator.

And we are His handiwork.

He loved us while we were still wayward sinners and brought us into His Kingdom full of rich promises by His amazing grace.

A royal inheritance.

Of security and provision.

For us–His beloved sons and daughters.

The sum total of His precious thoughts of us are vast (Ps. 139:17).

He is our gateway to righteousness.

He gives us His understanding and priceless wisdom to triumph over fear and foolishness.

Praising Him is a strategy He gave us to triumph over wickedness that tries to defeat and destroy us, to steal our anointing, to diminish our hope.

God anoints our mind (Matt. 26:6-7) and our walk (Jn. 12:3). He provides Himself as our Anchor of hope–beyond ourselves and beyond others. He, as a trustworthy hope, who cannot be snuffed out.

God puts His own everlasting faith inside of us, so we cannot lose when we cling to it (1 Pe. 1:7). Faith—the great and consistent equalizer of value, honor, and respect—the confidence of our hope for God to produce His promise.

He helps our unbelief, to know Him as strong when we are not.

So, we can value what He values.

He renews our mind and puts a new heart and spirit in us, so we always have a compass of true life when we tap into Him.

We can receive His blessings that are tied to the condition and action of our heart.

“When our faithful obedience, which is the righteous action of the faith God puts in us, meets God’s faithful grace, a synchronicity of blessing occurs. Good fruit is produced. Treasures are discovered and recovered. Much of value is realized.”

We prosper as our soul prospers (3 Jn. 1:2).

Our soul prospers when we value God, above our ways, as our ultimate authority, who exalts us in due time.

With God we cannot lose.

But without Him we will surely fail.

Did you know that poverty is rooted in insecurity, the cracks of our foundation?

A lack of knowledge of God and His ways leads to a lack of trust in God, which leads to a lack of submission to God, which leads to a lack of His blessing.

Feeling insecure in any particular area of life is a red flag to trust God more. But it’s hard to trust God intimately when we don’t know Him specifically in Word, deed or character.

Our path to finding security in God is to repent from holding onto all that makes us feel insecure, all that opposes His truth, such as fear, hurts, injustices, unforgiveness and unbelief.

To honor God’s infinite glory-worth, we must repent from walking on any path of pain instead of His way, which is faith, love and truth.

When God highlights our insecurity to us, we can thank Him for inviting us up higher. We can simply pray and receive His help to overcome:

Psalm 118:5 TPT tells us, “Out of my deep anguish and pain I prayed, and God, you helped me as a father. You came to my rescue and broke open the way into a beautiful and broad place.”

In Psalm 139:24 TPT, David invites God to “See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—the path that brings me back to you.”

Luke 3:5 NIV reveals God’s will, which is that “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.”

God’s Glorious Presence with us reveals His infinite, intrinsic worth. His substance. His essence. His true value in us and for us.

His will is to prosper us (Jer. 29:11).

He desires we know this.

Partnering with God, on the narrow path, honors Him as an expression of respect for His worth and the value He extends to us.

Pray with me if you will . . .
Lord, Thank You for Your worthy Presence in me. I renounce all forms of poverty and receive You as my inherent true value. By Your grace, lead me to experience a deeper inner awakening of Your truth, value, love, life and rest for my weary soul. Purge from me any contemptuous false treasure—especially the idol of hopelessness—by overthrowing it. Heal and deliver me from all that does not please You, so I can have a pure heart of honor toward You and others. Make me into a person of valor, determined to trust and obey You. Help me to guard against entering into any type of bondage forward. Enable me to receive Your finest blessings. Thank You, Lord, for doing that which only You can do. And now, I declare Psalm 139:5 TPT over my life: “You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me.” Thank You, Lord. I love You. In Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.

This video-devo was graciously re-posted by Salem Web Network, which includes iBelieve.com.

Your Spirit-Filled Strategy for Ultimate Victory

Proverbs 21:31b TPT makes it clear: “…ultimate victory comes from the Lord God.” 

We alone cannot discover it, accomplish it or sustain it, because ultimate victory is not only a win against overwhelming opposition, it’s also a divine gift.

Defined & Delineated

The gracious gift of ultimate victory Jesus offers to us is the complete establishment of mastery over darkness by Love. It includes the foundational elements of deliverance and salvation. 

Ultimate victory was accomplished once and for all time by Jesus’ finished work of redemption at the cross for our sins and His resurrected life in Heaven, on earth, and in the believer’s spirit. 

Ultimate victory is never subject to change (James 1:17). 

We Need Him 

We receive the gift of ultimate victory by our Savior’s triumphant grace and faith. 

Whether we believers reign truly victorious in life on earth is based on God’s power of grace and our humble obedience to live out The Lord’s finished work, even though we go to Heaven afterwards.

2 Peter 1:2-4 TPT reminds us: 

May grace and perfect peace cascade over you as you live in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. As a result of this, he has given you magnificent promises that are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises you can experience partnership with the divine nature, by which you have escaped the corrupt desires that are of the world.

To Sustain Ultimate Victory

Hebrews 10:36 TPT forewarns us, “You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full.”

We need His resurrected life in us. Since there is life in His Word and in the blood of the Lamb, we need both His truth of Word and Spirit (see Rev. 12:11, 1 Peter 1:22-23, 25).

This means hindrances in the heart have to go to grow (3 John 1:2). 

This means yieldingness must rise: We must surrender to His will, His ways to produce the greatest yield of fruit of The Spirit in and through us.

Merciful love toward others forms the highest rung on the ladder of fruitfulness (foreshadowed by the spies’ pole of fruit from their promised land in Num. 13:23, 26-27, Gal. 5:22-23). Truly extending authentic mercy and divine love is our final step of obedience before we see the resurrection life of God’s manifest promises (foreshadowed by Jesus’ declaration on the cross in Luke 23:34):

So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. Since these virtues are already planted deep within, and you possess them in abundant supply, they will keep you from being inactive or fruitless in your pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately. But if anyone lacks these things, he is blind, constantly closing his eyes to the mysteries of our faith, and forgetting his innocence—for his past sins have been washed away. For this reason, beloved ones, be eager to confirm and validate that God has invited you to salvation and claimed you as his own. If you do these things, you will never stumble. As a result, the kingdom’s gates will open wide to you as God choreographs your triumphant entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah (2 Pet. 1:5-11 TPT).

Jonah’s Story

In studying the topic of victory during the month of April, The Lord particularly highlighted the story of the prophet Jonah to me. 

We know Jonah spent three days in a fish’s belly, because he ran from God’s assignment to deliver a warning of repentance to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria (modern day northern Iraq). We know Jonah finally delivered God’s message and that the people of Nineveh took God’s Word to heart, believing Him and repenting for their sins. 

This resulted in a revival of over 120,000 people.

God proved faithful, even when Jonah did not.

These pagans and longstanding enemies of the Israelites were destined for victory, regardless of Jonah’s ungodly attitude and behavior.

Psalm 98:2 NLT assures us, “The LORD has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!”

The Ninevites humbled themselves unto God and extended overcoming faith to believe Him for their victory of salvation, even though Jonah did not value them.

Since one of the elements of faith is value, this reveals that Jonah lacked faith, hence his depression. His soul was not right (see Matt. 6:21, Hab. 2:4). He had trouble believing God would rescue Israel’s abusive enemies (see Is. 14:27). God’s strategy was to send one of His covenant people (Jonah) to do a work of outreach and, in the process, convict him of his own limitation to lead him through his own deliverance into greater maturity.

But Jonah got stuck in his lack of faith, the victorious power that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

Jonah was commanded to go where he didn’t want to go to, in part, to confront his own attitude of prideful self-justification for the purpose of breaking through to love on a higher level of true justice: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34b MEV).

Is this not our daily commandment and standard?

To love our enemies beyond ourselves (Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:27)?

Grudge-holding is a sin that hinders blessing. 

God calls us up higher.

How can we prevail or ascend by superior power (to be victorious) above petty grudges if we are not synced with God’s ways of faith and grace?

As submitted followers of Christ, who are we to pick who we minister to? After all, Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:6, 8).

“Is it right for you to be angry?” God asked Jonah twice (Jonah 4:4b, 9a).

This rhetorical question reveals that we are not entitled to self-justify our ways. If we desire to see maximum fruit in our lives, we must maximize our yield to God to see God’s maximum yield through us.

Mercy Over Judgment Is Critical

“…Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13b). 

Both Jonah and the Ninevites were desperate for God’s mercy. 

God desired to give all of them life over death. 

Victory to not be overthrown by evil came to Nineveh through God’s prevailing mercy and grace. But there was no victory coming or going in Jonah’s prideful self-justification. 

Jonah stumbled to go the distance as he ran a false race fromGod before he reluctantly showed up to finish the task he was sent to do (Jonah 1:3, 10; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Ps. 119:32), all because he did not believe the Assyrians deserved mercy and love since they had been abusive to Israel—God’s covenant people. 

By the end of Jonah’s story, he still hadn’t come around in his heart. 

Everyone was faithful, except Jonah.

What would you do if you were in Jonah’s position?

Would you decide to value what God values? Even your enemies? Would you humble yourself and ask God to help you receive a new perspective through His eyes of mercy? Would you ask our Lord to fill your heart with His love for them? 

Would you decide to break through prideful self-justification? Or would you make it all about you, your pain and your opinions, ending up depressed with your false pride exalted, like Jonah?

Do you desire to live a powerful life?

Submission to God is our greatest position of power.

We all know it’s easy to devalue our enemies. But also know this: God’s will is to use them to provoke us to come up higher. We may be the only one praying righteously for them. God will bring reformation to them, often after we have done our part. He will use all of it to build His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven (1 Chron. 29:11, Matt. 6:10). 

Everyone will be better off.

Our greatest victories await on the other side of our obedience to receive and pour out His resurrection life. 

God’s Strategy for Ascension

“This gospel unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness—a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. And it moves us from receiving life through faith, to the power of living by faith. This is what the Scripture means when it says: ‘We are right with God through life-giving faith!'” -Romans 1:17 TPT

“You see, every child of God overcomes the world, for our faith is the victorious power that triumphs over the world.”  -1 John 5:4 TPT

“But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.”  -1 Corinthians 15:57 TPT

“And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God. In other words, it was through the Anointed One that God was shepherding the world, not even keeping records of their transgressions, and he has entrusted to us the ministry of opening the door of reconciliation to God.”  -2 Corinthians 5:18-19 TPT

“However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them.”  -Matthew 5:44 TPT

“For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.” -Matthew 6:21 TPT

“Now, because of your obedience to the truth, you have purified your very souls, and this empowers you to be full of love for your fellow believers…And this seed that He planted within you can never be destroyed but will live and grow inside of you forever. For the Word of The Lord endures forever.” -1 Peter 1:22-23, 25 TPT

“You love him passionately although you did not see him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory. For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory!  -1 Peter 1:8-9 TPT

“In your glory and grandeur go forth in victory! Through your faithfulness and meekness the cause of truth and justice will stand. Awe-inspiring miracles are accomplished by your power, leaving everyone dazed and astonished!” -Psalm 45:4 TPT

“For you bring me a continual revelation of resurrection life, the path to the bliss that brings me face-to-face with you.” -Psalm 16:11 TPT

“To everyone who is victorious and continues to do my works to the very end I will give you authority over the nations to shepherd them with a royal scepter. And the rebellious will be shattered as clay pots—even as I also received authority from the presence of my Father. I will give the morning star to the one who experiences victory.” -Revelation 2:26-28 TPT

“For he enjoys his faithful lovers. He adorns the humble with his beauty and he loves to give them the victory.” -Psalm 149:4 TPT

This article graciously appeared on Charisma.com May 1, 2019.