Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Joy of the Lord

Scripture: Nehemiah 8 v 10 - 12: "Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.
And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them."

How often do we cry out to the Lord to strengthen us to cope with the mountain we have to climb?  James says we must count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations.....because the trying of our faith produces patience.

Happiness is a fleshly form of pleasure.  It fluctuates depending on emotional well-being or gratifying a desire.  Give a child an icecream and he will be happy. Take it away and tears will flow.

Joy is different.  It is a spiritual gift from God.  When joy is established within you it has a special ability to maintain your equilibrium even while being tortured for your faith or facing death.  Look at Stephen being stoned to death by the Pharisees in Acts.  His face shone like an angel, and Jesus stood to receive the first martyr.  He asked the Lord not to hold them guilty for killing him.  That is joy in full flow.

Nehemiah said the joy of the Lord is our strength, so seek this heaven sent attribute that enables you to withstand intense pressure and keep your head when others are losing theirs.  Uncork the barrel of joy within your spirit by refusing to submit to depression and the sorrow of the world.  Everyone looks for the down side so change your stance and see the upside of every situation.

Never forget Who created everything and Who has the final say.  Jesus came to show us how to overcome the sorrows and evil, to walk through this world as pilgrims passing through.  He translated us out of this world into His heavenly kingdom so it no longer affects us unless we allow it to do so.  Jesus says we must wash one another's feet to cleanse the world and its misery from us.

'O the joy that floods my soul!  Something happened and now I know He touched me and made me whole!' This beautiful song sums it up.  Jesus has made us whole. We were broken and battered but He took our sorrows and griefs upon Himself so that we could live a joyful and abundant life.  

Have we learned to live a life filled with joy? This is where our inner strength comes from.  Walking in joy is because you praise and thank God for everything, even things that seem wrong or bad.  Ask Him to show you the reason it had to happen.  You will be so surprised at His answers.  

He will point you to Jonah, the prophet who ran from Him as he hated the Ninevites.  God told him to warn them that He was going to wipe them out unless they repented of their evil deeds.  Jonah wanted them wiped out, forget repentance.  It took a sinking ship, strong storm, a whale and a cry to God for Jonah to be spewed out on the shores of Nineveh and be obedient!  And they repented and Jonah lost his joy all over again. Seriously? 

So rejoice at calamities and persecutions and find the wellspring of joy to sustain you through them all.  Patience will grow, humility will adorn you, love will shine through you and your Father in Heaven will brag on you!

Prayer: Heavenly Father we need more joy.  Hardships are increasing daily and we want to live on the bright side.  Fill us with joy in Your presence and let that fountain spill over onto all Your children.  Let those in the tough world desire the joy we have and find the way that leads to Life. In Jesus'  name. Amen.