Sunday, May 23, 2010

JOY

I just posted my first entry on my other blog. I recently joined a bible study a couple weeks ago and the book we are doing is Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore. I'm actually on week 5 of the study, but I just got a chance to get my notes together on the last lesson, which was JOY.

You can read the post by clicking this link - Living Beyond Yourself: Week 4 JOY

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Living Beyond Yourself: Week 4 - JOY

A couple weeks ago I joined a bible study group with some people I went with to the WOF conference. They are currently studying, Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore. When I joined the group they were already on week 3, but I was able to borrow the first 2 DVD sessions to get myself caught up. So that is where I'm going to start with on my review notes of the bible study.

We have our studies on Tuesday nights & I wanted to post this earlier in the week before I started this week lesson, which is on peace, Unfortunately, I didn't get around to making my notes until earlier today, so this is actually from last weeks study.

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength - That was the name of the introduction to the study on JOY.

Before I go on with the actual notes from my lessons, I just wanted to mention how AWESOME I think our God is and how I love the different ways He uses to get our attention.

Right now, I'm not a member of any church. Some of you may/or may not know that I used to be a member of the SDA church. Well, as of last year, I had my membership removed. For the sake of time & space, it's too long of a story for me to go into the full details right now, but I'm currently working on my testimony of why I left the church. I'm hoping to have that up on my website before Sunday night. But if I don't, I will have it ready by next week sometime. With that being said, for the past several months I've mostly been joining some different bible studies during the week - such as this one. And since I've gotten used to sleeping in on the weekends now, I usually watch some services on TV or online.

Well the day after my Tuesday night meeting, on my way home from work, something told me that I should visit a local churches website where I can watch live services online. Since it had been raining earlier that day, I already knew I wouldn't be going anywhere that night. So at 7pm that evening, I got online to watch the service.

I've visited this church on Wednesday a few times, so I was already familiar with they're format. They sang a few songs, the pastor said a prayer & they started the study. Well, guess what the first words he just happened to say was? If you said, "the joy of the Lord is our strength", ding, ding, you would be correct! His study that night was on 'joy' and the different things in our everyday life that can steal our joy. I just got a HUGE kick out of this & was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my study for that week and the title of the introduction was "the joy of the Lord is our strength". Had I not been obedient that night, I believe that I would have missed out on a huge blessing.

So back to my lesson... The Greek word for Joy is chara, which means 'joy, rejoicing, gladness." In many ways it means, "to celebrate"

The 5 areas of Joy (chara) that Beth mentions in the study are:

1. Salvation
2. Discovery
3. Restoration
4. Abiding (or remaining) in Christ
5. The body of Christ - or fellowship

Here are just a few notes that I've taken that describe each area. The words in red are quoted from Beth in the study.


Salvation

"Salvation is a gift of grace that we have a privilege to accept." The Greek word for grace is charis, which means "unmerited favor."

Read Luke 10:17-20. Jesus says in verse 20, "Rejoice that your name is written in Heaven." This is definitely a reason to be joyful. Knowing that the God of the universe sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins, so that we can spend eternity in Heaven with Him.


Discovery

"The discovery of one perfect treasure - Christ, Jesus." (Matt. 13:44, Matt 28:8, Luke 1:44, Luke 2:10, Luke 10:21, Luke 24:52)

"Chara is the supernatural result of which flows from the glorious discovery of our Lord & Savior in every circumstance where we wish to find him."

"Joy also comes as a surprise through our trials in which the "presence, purpose & power" of God is best discovered through our difficulty." I know this is true because I've been through several trials and, even though I didn't understand it at the time, I was joyful at the end result & seeing how God had worked through that difficult situation.

Restoration

She gives several examples of finding joy in restoration

1. Difficulties & trials - "One reason God allows us to experience troubles is because He desires to reveal his joy to us through restoration" (Psalm 7:1-24)

"I am convinced we cannot begin to really know Christ until we learn to fellowship with Him in His sufferings." (Phil 3:10) We know that just as Christ suffered, that we will have to suffer as well. I know from experience that the Christian walk is not an easy one, but I believe that it will be well worth it in the end.

"If God has ordained difficulty for you, he has also ordained restoration for you" (1 Peter 5:10)

2. Our own sins (Psalm 85:6)

3. Our separation from God (Jeremiah 31:1-20) "Discipline basically means 'teaching'." (Hebrews 12:6-7,10)


Abiding in Christ

Remain in Christ - the Greek word for remain is meno, "to abide, dwell, live"

"to remain in Christ means to cling to him, to refuse to be budged under pressure, to never allow loss to cause us to leave."

"the key to "abiding" or "remaining in Christ is in John 15:3, 7, 10"

"Chara can be lost as well as gained"

Reasons we may lose our joy:
1. When our out pour exceeds our intake
2. When our talk exceeds our walk
3. When we become 'wonders junkies'
4. When we are exhausted
5. When we feel all alone


Body of Christ

(Romans 15:30-32, Romans 16:19, 2 Corinthians 2:3, 2 Corinthians 7:4, 2 Corinthians 7:7, Phillipians 1:25-26, Phillipians 4:1)

"We are a catalyst of joy for one another" (Hebrews 10:24-25)

"Joy not only comes from the body of Christ, but also adds joy to the body of Christ. Our joy makes us soul winners" (Psalm 51:12-13, 1 Peter 3:15)

I throughly enjoyed this study on Joy. I've started the first few lessons this week on Peace & it's interesting how much peace & joy are greatly linked. Which is very easy to see because it's hard to have peace if you're unhappy or have no joy.
I'm already planning on posting my notes on that study sometime next week, probably Tuesday night or Wednesday, before I start the new lesson. I think it's easier to take notes as I go along with each days lesson & then, at the end of the week, write one complete post to summarize what I've learned.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Been busy...

I know it's been a while since I've updated here, but I've sort of been busy with some bible studies, going out of town, trying to get my exercise in, working, dealing with being tired, etc.

I wanted to let you know though that I started another blog - in my minds eye, I can see your jaws drop thinking, "why another blog when she doesn't even update this one?". Well, I'll tell you why. Right now, I'm going through an important period of my spiritual journey & I want to be able to document it.

Why online & not just in a personal journal? Well, mainly because I'm not really keeping a seperate journal for that area of my life right now. And, also because I just finished a 6 week bible study & have started another one. I want to, not only share what I've been learning through these studies, as well as my own devotional time, but I also want to use it as a way of keeping myself accountable.

I'm gonna be honest, it's hard when you're single & live by yourself. Sure, you have free reign to do what you want & go where you want, but it can also get you into trouble. Especially with a broken-down Jesus girl, such as myself. I don't have anyone physically present to keep me accountable for my actions. So, it's really easy to slip & not pray, study or even pick up my bible like I should.

It's also the same with exercising & dieting. I wrote in a previous post that I had a exercise plan that I wanted to do. I actually was doing it for a while, but then I stopped. And, since I didn't post anything to my blog about it, nor did I tell anyone who did read my post, no one knew what happened to give me any kind of words of encouragement.

The other reason I decided to create a seperate blog is because I want to keep all those types of posts in one area & not confuse those with my regular 'every day' posts. It makes it easier to find and I also think it keeps the blog more organized that way.

So, with all that being said, here is the link - A Former Wallflower Learns to Dance. I just started it, so I don't have any posts right now. But I do have a static page up that explains how I came up with the title of the blog. I'm getting ready to work on typing out my testimony from the past year & will let you know when that is up. I will be posting that on my new blog, as well as, my website.

Well that is all for now. It's getting late & I need to be going to bed soon. It's been a long week & I'm just grateful tomorrow is Friday. :)


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