“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

“The joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Would you like to increase your joy and displace the internal emotional pain in your life?

The key is the quality of your relational connection with Jesus throughout each day, and how well you have attached to a grace-based people. Joy is relational. Joy-strength grows as we cultivate grace-based long-term securely attached relationships.

I learned a new condition a few months back. It is called “acute subcortical attachment pain”.  All of us have this condition at some level, but most of us have learned different ways to stuff it down inside or relieve ourselves with synthetic counterfeits. This level of pain is so deep in our brain’s control center that it can go undetected unless triggered or exposed through cravings.

We can’t live with this kind of hidden pain, so we figure out thousands of ways to escape, distract, or cover it up. Much of what we do in life, even acceptable behaviors can be a coping mechanism. We call them BEEPS (Behaviors, Experiences, Events, People, Substances). [Create to Ed Khouri: Becoming a Face of Grace]

The antidote is high levels of love and joy which comes from experiencing God’s presence as a way of life and creating securely attached long-term relationships with others. I do realize this is much easier said than done. But it is possible to live in high levels of joy and freedom. It all comes from love.

There are five simple steps that will help you enter into a lifestyle of “presencing” with God and others. Practicing the presence of God is called an “Immanuel Lifestyle”, a way of life that involves praying, hearing, and obeying. The degree of our relational connections with God and others will determine the level of our joy-strength – an essential for health and growth.

It is important that you set aside a time and place to meet with God every day. Have a Bible, notebook or journal, pen or computer ready. One of God’s names is “Immanuel”, which means He is always with you. (Matthew 1:23)

Expect God to meet you. I would also encourage you to practice daily meditation in the Word of God. Truth sets us free by revealing and replacing the collection of lies embedded in our minds. These lies are strongholds and will only be dislodged by proactive confrontation. (2 Corinthians 10: 4-6)

Five Steps to Cultivating an Immanuel Lifestyle:

  1. Pray for protection and put on the full your armor of God. Matthew 6:13; Ephesians 6:10-18; Romans 13:12
  2. Give your cares and burdens to the Lord and allow the peace of God to calm your body, soul and spirit.  Philippians 4:4-6; Psalm 46:10; Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7
  3. Gaze upon the Lord through the Word of God and through the eyes of your heart. Daily reading and meditating on the Word of God is an important way to access the presence of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you remember a golden memory (testimony) in which you experienced the goodness and presence of God in the past. Enter into gratitude and praise for who God is and for what He has done.  Golden memories mixed with gratitude open up the relational circuits in your brain. When our relational circuits are open, we have access to the unseen realm where our heavenly Father dwells. Psalm 27:4; 95:2, 100:4; Revelation 12:11; Hebrews 12:1-3; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 1:17-19; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Philippians 4:4
  4. Hear: Listen with your spiritual ears and open the eyes of your heart. This is your innermost being, your mind, and your heart. God wants to transfer His thoughts, feelings, motives, desires, visions, dreams, will, and ways into your thoughts and mind. He wants His thoughts to become your thoughts. You can actually “thought rhyme with God. Pay attention to the impressions, pictures, visions, and dreams that come into your mind. If they correspond to the Word of God, there is a good chance that your Father is speaking to you. It is important that you write down and record these thoughts and impressions in a journal. Acts 2:17; John 10:27-30; Ephesians 1:17-19, 2:10; John 7:38; Psalm 139:17
  5. Share & Act: Share what you hear from God with your small group, friends, and family. Sharing has a way of turning the thoughts of God into prayer, which then unleashes God’s grace to actualize these words in your life. Take action. Obedience unleashes another level of God’s grace. Be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer. Luke 6:46; James 1:22-25; Malachi 3:16; John 14:15-17

With Father’s Love, Affection, Grace, and Joy!

Guest Blog written by Tim Johns, Founder of Rock Tribe and used with permission.

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