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Peace and Joy, Part 1: The Fountain of Joy

Do you need more peace and joy? My answer to that question is a resounding "Yes." I believe I have discovered a key to experiencing more peace and joy. Often the answer to a problem is right under my nose, which is why I may miss it.

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Sometimes it is shocking to look back at attitudes I have had in the past on a subject, in this case peace and joy. I remember my constant irritation with a grade-school classmate who skipped onto the bus every morning, overflowing with exuberance, wearing an enormous smile. How could she be so joyful at 7:00 am? What was wrong with her? To me, she was weird. No one else on the bus was like her.   

Searching for the Fountain of Joy  

Now I am on a mission to figure out how to be that fountain of joy, not just at 7:00 am but 24/7. There are books, tapes, seminars, and webinars available to help me live in constant peace and joy. To date, it doesn't appear these products have produced long-lasting positive results. Looking at the history of the early Church, as recorded in the New Testament, I see they demonstrated a level of joy in the midst of difficult times that is worth investigating. What was their secret?

It may be that part of their secret was their focus on just one thing—the Kingdom. Jesus told them to seek first the Kingdom and everything else would be taken care of. (Matthew 6:35) Their steadfast obedience to this command kept them from distractions. 

Another aspect of the power of their focus was they understood the Kingdom was not in the future or somewhere "out there" but was actually within. The enemy tries to put our attention on the external circumstances because he knows the Kingdom is already within us. If he can convince us to focus on the outside, it will hinder us partnering with the power of the Kingdom on the inside. It is a game changer when I realize I already have what I need and want. Selah!

Coming soon: Winning the Battle for the Night

Hello friends! I am so excited to share more about my new book which will be released on July 4th!

Here's what some dear and respected friends of mine are saying about it:

"Wonderfully practical, brilliantly insightful and sure to inspire you to reconnect with God's purpose for sleep: communion and rest."--Bill Johnson, senior leader, Bethel Church, Redding, California

"Winning the Battle for the Night will bring a fresh confidence in God's design for sleep and dreams and challenge you to contend for more!" --Kim Walker-Smith, Jesus Culture

"A powerful guide for anyone who has struggled with sleep problems."--Margaret Nagib, Psy.D., clinical psychologist, Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center; founder, The Dunamis Project

"Faith does an excellent job of explaining how sleep can become our friend to help us grow spiritually. You will find this book a great help as you yourself learn the importance of dreams and sleep not for just yourself but for your whole family." --Beni Johnson, author, Healthy and Free and The Happy Intercessor

"It will empower you to value and experience good sleep, thus improving health, performance, wisdom and God-given creativity."--Dr. Michelle A. Miller, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick

I encourage you to pre-order a copy today, and be one of the first to get your hands on it!

It's Not Too Late for a Fresh Start

What has 2017 been like so far? Have you made progress with the projects you planned to begin, and the new habits you so eagerly desired to establish? I will be the first to admit that the beginning of my year has not been smooth sailing: paperwork, projects and surprise deadlines have all made an appearance in my calendar! And yet, I feel the voice of the Holy Spirit encouraging me that He is an expert when it comes to fresh starts, including this one.

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Last year I remember encouraging my followers: February 1st is the new January 1st! As I reflect on how this year has begun, the same rings true. We all need time to prepare, and I have chosen to view February as a month of preparation. It is not enough for me to have great ideas about what I will do this year: I am taking time to get God’s wisdom on how I can move towards the vision He gave me for 2017, one step at a time.

As I talk with my Heavenly Father about the year ahead, I am reminded that fresh starts rarely begin with fireworks and the strike of midnight - as much as I enjoy those things! Rather, they begin with a quiet but confident “yes”, and small steps that take me in the right direction. Our God is not so excited about our big plans as he is about the moments when we patiently choose to keep moving in the right direction. Like the disciples leaving their nets to follow Jesus or the boy who offered his bread and fishes, one small “yes” can result in extraordinary things when we are partnered with God.

Today I encourage you to book some meetings with God. Be honest with Him about your hopes, fears and dreams for this year - he is not intimidated! Then ask Him to show you what small things you can do today to keep moving in the right direction. If you need guidance, why not use my e-workbook Prep7? I think it is a great tool to help you re-focus and converse with God about what He has in store for you. You may also want to talk with your friends and family about their plans for the year. Encourage each other to find where God’s grace is, and take the small first steps.

I would love to hear back from you about how God has helped you to get a fresh start in the areas you need it most. What made a difference for you?

Have You Made Your Christmas List?

I still remember the excitement I felt as a child when the Christmas catalogues arrived in November. What fun, going page-by- page, circling item after item with a red felt tip marker. I laboriously scribbled my Christmas List on notebook paper, giving product and page number to ensure my parents bought the right item. Their response was, "It would take a miracle for you to get all this for Christmas!" From my perspective nothing was impossible.

Christmas list

Christmas is a season that can re-awaken in us, as adults, wonder, awe and expectation that anything can happen. The birth of Jesus Christ ushered in an eternal season of the miraculous. Who ever heard of a virgin giving birth to a baby? The rest of the Christmas story is filled with the supernatural; angel choirs from heaven, angelic dream appearances, and bright spotlight star guidance.

Christmas is still a season of miracles. We are never too old to make a Christmas List. Why not make a list of every miracle we desire for our family, our friends, our nation, and ourselves? I believe our Father delights when we, as His children, come to Him as the giver of every good gift. Let's take off the limiting lenses we have put on as adults.

I encourage you to make your Christmas Miracle List. No matter how impossible the request is, write it down. We need to be like Ralphie in the movie "A Christmas Story". He wanted that Red Ryder BB Gun more than anything in the world. It seemed like an impossible request, but he believed, in spite of discouraging comments. You have probably seen the movie and know the outcome. Remember the joy on his Dad's face as Ralphie went behind the tree and found the gift?

Our Heavenly Father experiences great pleasure in giving us gifts above and beyond what we have even imagined. So go ahead and make your list. Enjoy a Merry Miracle Christmas!

Enter with Thanksgiving

David hungered and thirsted for God’s presence because he knew from experience that God and fullness of joy dwelt together. Life apart from God was stressful, scary, and dangerous. My life has had stresses, but nothing compared to his! Having had a taste of the Presence at an early age, I have been pursuing God ever since. I have discovered an important key to access that joy. There are other keys, but today I am going to focus on only one, and encourage you to try it.

Thanksgiving

I have struggled to fulfill the exhortation to give thanks and praise. Having grown up with a Dad who was a pessimist, although he saw himself as a realist, I was trained to see the negative rather than the positive. Only uneducated simpletons saw life through rose colored glasses, and I didn't want to be classified as one of those! This early training left me in the school of mind renewal for decades. I witnessed others who excelled in positivity, joy, thankfulness and encouragement, while I failed to pass.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has continued my tutoring. He knows my desire to be in the Presence of God and has convinced me of the value of thankfulness, the key to Presence. He reminded me of the words from Psalm 100:4: “enter His gates with thanksgiving.”  This is not a suggestion, but a requirement for entrance into His realm. Not just any key will open the gates. The only way to open the lock on these gates is with the key of thanksgiving.  

Of course, my mind wanted to know why. The Holy Spirit was gracious to give revelation. He showed me that gates are the boundary to God’s kingdom. The atmosphere, language and currency of that kingdom is truth. Only things based on truth are allowed to enter. Pessimistic, judgmental, and critical thoughts or words are based on lies, not on truth. That means I am not allowed access into His Presence with words and thoughts based on lies, but only with words of thanksgiving and praise based on the truth. Pessimism doesn't praise. I realized I had a choice: stay negative and remain outside His Presence, or give thanks and enter in. I am learning to enter his gates every day with thanksgiving!

As a tool to grow in gratitude, I keep a daily journal, which I call “Daily 12”. This is a list of 12 things for which I am thankful. This exercise helps prime the pump and open the gates. Recently I have started daily Instagram post titled “Every day - Entering with Thanksgiving.” Check it out if you need a daily shot of thankfulness!

I would love to hear from you: how do you cultivate thankfulness in your day-to-day life? What things are you most thankful for right now?