Need more than jokes

wordswag_1510316777726Yesterday, while visiting our Christian school, two cute little girls came to me before the chapel began and asked if I would play a Vacation Bible School song that they love.  A few seconds later there were 20 kids dancing, laughing, loving life. I let myself be a child for a few moments, caught up in the spontaneous joy that kids seem to find more easily than those of us who are weighed down with responsibility.  I love to laugh! Life is full of moments that invite a smile, if we will take time to see them!

The Bible teaches me that joy is mine, through Christ, regardless of the circumstances of my life! When sadness is threatening to overwhelm me,  when failures appear to far outweigh successes, when disappointments march into my life one after another – there is a resource for me that drives away the darkness, that gives me joy.  Yes, I turn to prayer.  When we gather in church for worship, I feel the Spirit moving in me and I often there are  tears wetting my cheeks. Are they from a broken heart?  No, they are actually deep emotion, a kind of joy that comes from knowing the amazing love of my Abba.  Others, young and old alike, tell me that they experience the same thing as we worship, feeling peace and relief in their world, and letting tears of joy fall.

This is the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah, the rebuilder of Jerusalem, called the people of God together to read them the Law.  As they heard it, they realized the depth of their sin and they began to weep.  The priests instructed “the people said to them all, “This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  (Nehemiah 8:8-12, NIV)

What is this ‘joy of the Lord?’

  • It is the conviction that despite difficulties, we live under the watchful eye of our Heavenly Father.  Many things test that conviction, don’t they?  For a time this past weekend, as I watched the news of the horrific shooting at that Texas church, my faith was battered as I wondered aloud, “O God, where were You in that moment?”  I no immediate answer, but I hold onto the fact that He was there to receive those who died into His Presence.
  • Then, too, the joy of the Lord grows out of our assurance that there is more to life than what we can see at this moment.  We find rest while waiting for Him to make a way where there seems to be no way.
  • And, there is the knowledge that we live in His covenant of grace.  There is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  I need not live in regret and guilt because I am forgiven and at peace with my God.

In the Spirit’s life, we find joy!  Let me encourage you to ‘choose joy’ this Friday morning.

If you are sorrowful today, know this  – there is no sin in sorrow!  Grief has many causes. Perhaps you are wrestling with temptation to the point of exhaustion.  Or, maybe you are frustrated with something that won’t yield to your best efforts at finding a solution.  Rejection by another is a deep wound in the soul.  Missed expectations can make skies gray and become fertile soil for bitterness.  There is joy in Jesus for you. He sees, He will keep His promise, He loves you. Declare those things and pray for renewed faith that makes them the truth you live by. The “joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Instead of making a joke of it all, or hiding your disappointment bravely, find a place of worship.  Remember not all worship happens in a church, though I hope you’ll find your way there each week.  Find a place alone with the Lord. Tell Him, aloud and honestly about your need. Follow up that petition with thanksgiving for Who He is! If tears flow, let them, for they are a language that the Man of Sorrows understands.  Joy will find you as the Spirit fills you.

Make this word from the Word your confession so that the joy of the Lord will overtake your sorrow.  “Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.” (Isaiah 51:11, NLT)


Joy To The World (Antioch)

Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing

 Joy to the earth the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat repeat the sounding joy

 No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as far as the curse is found

 He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders wonders of His love

George Frideric Handel | Isaac Watts
© Words: Public Domain


Jerry D. Scott, Pastor
Faith Discovery Church

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