Friday, March 7, 2014

Danger on Route 666

It was in 1888 when a certain man was looking through the morning newspaper and became extremely upset by what he read.

"... became rich by finding ways to kill people faster than ever before ..."

He noticed his name was listed in the obituary column.  All the information was correct except for one thing. The person who died was his brother.

After reading that article he started taking stock in what he had accomplished in his life and what people really thought of him.
It was surreal. He wasn’t ready to die, yet in reality he felt he hadn’t even lived and definitely didn't want to be remembered like this.  His solitary lifestyle led him into depression even though he was famously successful.
The unsatisfied gentleman realized that his “dynamite” life hadn’t amounted to much.  He got off the road he had taken then took a new approach and direction. 

With a different outlook of life, in 1895 he changed his will and set up a fund that would give awards annually to individuals who had achieved great things in the sciences, medicine, literature and establishing world peace. 

Alfred Nobel was his name, the inventor of dynamite.  Now he had joy and found a purpose for living ... so he thought.
Contrary to what we have been told, as believers we aren’t to be looking for earthly things that give us a meaning for living.  It's not about leaving our footprint, but Jesus'. Our reason or purpose for living is all tied to God - to bring Him glory.

When we travel down the world's road, we actually miss out on the best things that God provided for us through His promises to those who believe on Him.

Welcome new friends this week from: Around the World!
I am so thankful for those of you who have chosen to walk this Daily Inward Journey with me. It has kept me before the Throne of God in prayer and seeking Him.

Invite at least one person this week to join us. Continue praying for your brothers and sisters of faith following Daily Favor from around the globe.

Don’t miss out on this week’s challenge (below).  Q & A Section

How Hungry Are You?
With all the famines that took place in the Old Testament of the Bible, it may be hard to believe there are people in this age who suffer from starvation and hunger like they did.

However, I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people who can relate to the biblical account of Esau where he traded his birthright to his brother Jacob for a savory bowl of lentil stew. 

How hungry was Esau that he was willing to trade away his entire life for one bowl of Lamb Stew for the Soul? (See Genesis 25-28)
We can’t point a finger can we?  There are times we give into fleshly desires for instant gratification, and don’t realize that we have lost something much more valuable.  The moment we submit to our earthly yearnings, we lose Heavenly rewards that can be cashed in here and in Heaven.

Esau gave up on his journey and Jacob took a big detour the day they both exchanged their birthright.  Have you exchanged God’s favor for something short term along your journey?  If so, it’s not too late to get back on track.
Living on Highway 666
So let me ask you … “What route are you taking on your journey in life?”

You don’t have to settle for the porridge from this world when you can have manna from on High.
In discovering ourselves on this journey there are highways or roads that we have taken; some on purpose, some by accident, some out of desperation.  They all have stolen something from us.

There is an ongoing joke that girls often attend college to get their MRS degree, that is, to find husband. 
It’s funny, but my sister was one that did get that degree.  You could say it was her “masters” degree, because she did aim higher and achieved her goal.
That doesn’t happen for many of us though.  All too often we set out with high hopes, but when disappointment comes, we give up on those godly aspirations and settle for less. Here’s where people take a detour and travel down the Route 666 Highway.

What’s the Route 666 road? Well I can’t speak for others, but somewhat agree with the observations of Pastor James Ford
"Some women, they set out on their journey for an anti-christ man … they want a man that has a chest like a 6 pack, is 6 foot tall and has a 6 figure income."
Instead of waiting for God to send the Right(eous) man they are settling for Mr. Right Now, and are stuck on that road because they took their own path.  Don't think this pertains just to women ... men do it also.
Our HIM Book

I’d like to make something perfectly clear here.  If you are taking this Inward Journey and just reading your Bible, you won’t reach the end of the road.
The Bible is the way that we draw nearer to God, but we have to reach higher for that relationship with the Lord if our journey is to have meaning and closure.
John 5:39 tells us that we are to search the scriptures for in them we will find HIM.  The Bible is our songbook, our Him book to finding favor with God.  It shows us how to go beyond reading and step out into doing what we've read.

Jesus grew in wisdom and favor as He fellowshipped with God by doing the will of God. Jesus' joy was full and purpose established, because His relationship was right with the Father.
The Apostle Paul longed for that joy of fellowship with the Lord again, and said that his entire purpose in life was to “know Him.”

No Joy Suckers Here

One of the most important things we need in life is having our joy buckets filled on a daily basis. 

With so much depressing news it’s really hard to stay in a continual state of joy.

Some people are spreaders of joy whenever they enter a room.  We love being around those kinds of individuals. Then there are the others, the joy suckers; they spread joy when they leave a room.  Which one are you?  If you aren’t drawing people to you, guess what, you’re the second example here.
I don’t know if I shared this with you guys before, but if so, indulge me for those who haven’t heard it, OK.

By the front door of our house there is a sign I made that reads:

No Joy Suckers Allowed Here!”

When someone enters my home with less than joy (a positive attitude) they have to step out and re-enter.
That sign has been hanging for so many years that we’ve learned to leave negativity outside.  There have been times when it has slithered its way in and my husband will automatically put on his hat, step out the door and come back inside with a big smile proclaiming, “Hi Honey, I’m home!”

Joy is a spirit that we are given when we receive salvation. Sadly, Christians are having their joy sucked out of them, because they are trying to find it through the things of this world.  They are pursuing Route 666 and not Route 66, which can be found in the 66 books of the Bible.
People of the world think they have it, but it is a Waldo Joy (remember last week ... a red herring, falsehood to lead you astray.)

Unless you are a born again believer in Jesus, it is impossible to possess the Spirit of Joy. It is a gift of favor bestowed on God’s children through the Holy Spirit. (See Galatians 5:22-23)

The Gospel of Joy

The book of Philippians is known as the Epistle of Joy, but when Paul wrote it, he was in prison.  What was there to be joyful about if you are bound in chains in a cold dark prison, below ground?

This is what Paul knew that we may not know. Situations, circumstances or events don’t give joy. They may cause someone to “feel” happy or excited, but that’s not joy.  We need to understand that joy is not an emotion, but an attribute we receive straight from God's spirit upon salvation.
Biblical joy has to do with the spirit man. When the spirit has joy, the flesh (body) and soul (mind of man) benefit from it, resulting in outpourings of happiness, elation, peace and serenity.

When will we realize that our setbacks are set-ups to stretching our relationships with the Heavenly Father?  Our stumbling blocks are merely stepping stones pushing us farther along the journey.
Philippians is such a short book with only four chapters, yet it mentions the word “rejoice” ten times, joy is used six times, rejoiced and rejoicing are written once.  It is so vital that Paul got the message of joy out that he wrote it 18 times!

Chapter 1: he rejoices in the service of Christ.

Chapter 2: he rejoices in the selflessness pattern to Christ.

Chapter 3: he rejoices in the suffering for Christ.

Chapter 4: he rejoices in the sufficiency of Christ’s power.

Re-Condition Your Condition
Just how far back would you have to go to check the condition your "condition of joy" was in on this journey?

You are no longer at the crossroad, but like Paul, are taking a new approach (A.N.A.) to the way you look at any situation. 
Things aren’t falling apart my friend, believe they are falling into place. 
Stop living in your situation and begin looking at the revelation God is showing you on this Inward journey.

While in prison, Brother Paul determined in his heart that his condition would not be the ultimate outcome to this current problem.  He talked about his past and the present.

Finally, Paul took the path on his earthly journey that would lead him to purposely pursue the promises of God in his life. (Now that’s a purpose driven life wouldn’t you say?) Read Philippians 3

Without hesitation I want to encourage you that whatever you are experiencing will be for your good, not that it “is” good.  The end result has to fit the plan of God for your life.  We already know He said it would turn out good for those who LOVE Him, but it won't always “feel” good at the moment.
At this point along our journey let's take a look at the condition our "condition of joy" is resting in at this time.

With A Joyful Heart
There isn’t anything more inward than the center of the heart of man, and that’s where we need to focus this week. 

If we are to gain ground in our relationship with Jesus we must operate in the joyful heart spirit as God’s does.

We possess it; now let's apply what we have already been given by the Holy Spirit.

This Week’s Challenge: 
Discover the joyful heart that is hidden inside you.  Don’t let circumstances or situations stop your joyful heartbeat.
That doesn’t mean you are to pretend that there aren’t problems, but to act on the knowledge that this state of affairs is temporary.

Since you are already talking, singing and now laughing with the Lord, you know how to ask Him questions. Get to the heart of the matter by embracing God’s joy.
First: The main thing you are to focus on this week is the joy in everything. It’s there, you'll find it. 

Finding the inner joy in you will help you reach peace about some things you have been dealing with for ages.

Second: Make yourself a joy sign and display it where it is highly visible.  You may need to make several. 
Be creative here and make one that fits your inner “character.” Without getting nasty, and with a joyful heart, follow it to the letter! 

 “No Joy Suckers Allowed Here!

I’m telling you from experience, that this really does work and your stress levels drop dramatically.

Third: When you find that your joy is about to be “sucked out” by someone or something, don’t take the detour the devil has set for you.
Take the expressway to Philippians on route 66 – the Bible.
Stay hungry for the Lord’s favor and don’t settle for something now (a measly bowl of route 666 red herring Waldo stew).  God promises that something better is just a few miles up ahead on the Kings Highway.

If you don’t know how that situation ended, let me tell you … Jacob not only got Esau’s portion, but the whole pot of blessings!

Be determined to have a change of heart, a joyful heart … for now and forever!
Let the devil know you won’t let him steal your joy by using people or circumstances to take you off the right road.  Even if you are not quite there yet, begin to speak these words over your journey:

“I have a joyful heart and God favors me!  This condition is a temporary prison whose bars cannot hold my spirit of joy!”

 Change This Heart - Sidewalk Prophets

Until next time, God will favor your joyful heart.
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What's New this week: The Fruit of the Spirit Gifts - Joy

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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by Gateway Bible
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Image: South sign  A. Nobel  Jacob/Esau  Lewis Quote  Never  Chains/Freedom/Joy  Condition  Romans 8:28