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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY – HAVE WE LOST OUR JOY?

The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, but the joy of those who abide in Christ's love is a continual feast. – Matthew Henry.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. - John 15:11.

Have we lost our joy as Christians today? Has the sin and burdens of the enemy and the world stolen our joy? As I travel around and preach in Churches, I sense that a lot of Christians have lost their joy, as I meet and talk to Christians I know they have lost their JOY! In the famous words of a Christian author who wrote the book… ‘We Should Be The Happiest People On Earth!’ And so we should! What has happened that many should lose the joy of the Lord? This week we will have a look at what causes this and how to restore our JOY!

Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. - C. S. Lewis.

Webster’s Dictionary defines JOY as… Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness; The expression or manifestation of such feeling; A source or an object of pleasure or satisfaction. Holman’s Bible Dictionary defines JOY as… The happy state that results from knowing and serving God.

Joy is found over 150 times in the Bible, and if such words as "joyous" and "joyful" are included, the number comes to over 200. The verb, rejoice, appears well over 200 times. Joy is the fruit of a right relationship with God. It is not something people can create by their own efforts. The Bible distinguishes joy from pleasure, and it also warns that self-indulgent pleasure-seeking does not lead to happiness and fulfilment.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, records the sad testimony of one who sought to build his life on pleasure-seeking. The search left him empty and disillusioned. Proverbs offers insight into this way of life... Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. - Proverbs 14:13.

Cares, riches, and pleasures, rob people of the possibility of fruitful living… And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.- Luke 8:14.

Pleasure seeking often enslaves people in a vicious cycle of addiction... For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another - Titus 3:3.

Many people think that God is the great Kill-Joy. Nothing could be further from the truth. God Himself knows joy, and He wants His people to know joy…. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, - Psalm 104:31.

Author Leo Buscaglia tells this story about his mother and their "misery dinner." It was the night after his father came home and said it looked as if he would have to go into bankruptcy because his partner had absconded with their firm's funds. His mother went out and sold some jewelry to buy food for a sumptuous feast. Other members of the family scolded her for it. But she told them that "the time for joy is now, when we need it most, not next week." Her courageous act rallied the family. - Christopher News Notes.

Joy in the Christian life is in direct proportion as believers walk with the Lord. They can rejoice because they are in the Lord… Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. - Phil 4:4. Joy is a fruit of a Spirit-led life (Gal. 5:22). Sin in a believer's life robs the person of joy… Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. - Psalm 51:12. When someone walks with the Lord, they can continue to rejoice even when troubles come, joy in the Lord enables people to enjoy all that God has given.

An anonymous friar in a Nebraska monastery wrote the following late in life: If I had my life to live over again, I'd try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take more trips. I would be crazier. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. If I had to do it over again I would go places, do things, and travel lighter. If I had my life to live over I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I'd pick more daisies. – Source unknown.

Too many times, we allow circumstances and situations to drain us of our joy; we are going to learn how to overcome! Let us stand strong against the enemy, and the world’s pleasures, and ask the Lord to restore our joy as followers of Jesus!

Loving Father, I thank you for the love that you have for me, I thank you that Jesus said His joy is in me! Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to stand strong against the enemy and the world's pleasures, and activate the joy that is in me through Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, in whose wonderful name I pray, amen!

GBYAY

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